Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts

Friday, October 10, 2014

Averoigne via Ravenloft

Chances are we are going to go see the new Dracula movie tonight.  But tomorrow I would like to get in some gaming.  My home group is nearly done with Castle Amber so given the season (and their levels) I want to segue right into Ravenloft.




For those that have played it you know that Stephen Amber send the party back to their own reality once they free him.  But what if he didn't? What if didn't have the power to do that since freeing him also meant letting go of all his power.  Stephen fades, Château d' Amberville crumbles to dust and the party is left standing in the mists.  Where are they to go?

Easy.

Castle Ravenloft.

I have for years talked about the similarities between Château d' Amberville and Castle Ravenloft and the connections between Mystara and the Demi-Plane of Dread.  It is likely that this is all taking place in the Demi-plane of Dread (Ravenloft) or the Dimension of Nightmares (Mystara) where even the Immortals fear to go.

Why do this?

I was thinking about the Doctor Who Series 2 episodes "Rise of the Cybermen" and "Age of Steel".  The Doctor, Rose and Mickey (who had not traveled with them before except for one episode) get stuck in an alternate universe.  Mickey stays behind.
The pay off on this is when we get to the Series 2 Finale and Mickey is back, and not just back, but since he traveled through "the Void" he and Rose are saved from being killed outright by the Daleks and it was Mickey who passed on his time travel energy (or void energy) to the Genesis Ark.

What's the point of this?  Well the reason they went to the parallel universe were not apparant at the time, but paid off in the finale.  From a story arc they all, including and especially Mickey, needed to go to that parallel universe when they did.

My players are in Ravenloft because they have to be.  They needed to free Stephen Amber and stop the Amber family because that gets them to Castle Ravenloft which in turn gets them the Sunsword and the Holy Symbol of Ravenkind.   They are going to need those in the coming darkness.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Girls on Games

One of the things I will be forever thankful for from White Wolf is that it showed that gaming is for everyone.  Men, Women, diverse gender fluidity and sexual identities.

Yes D&D opened with Women in Gaming years before, but the approach was well...70s and 80s at best.  D&D is doing better these days, but if watching the battles our younger cousins over in video gaming are having then we still have a way to go yet.

To that end we have a new Kickstarter with just 3 days to go.

Girls on Games: A Look at the Fairer Side of the Industry
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/625614616/girls-on-games-a-look-at-the-fairer-side-of-the-in

It doesn't matter to me what your gender politics or your position on feminism is.
ANYTHING that make our hobby more inviting and inclusive is a good thing.

Plus, and here is the important bit, women still make the household buy choices in nearly all families (anywhere from 70% to 90%, Google it) and getting women into games gets the next generation into games.

So check out this Kickstarter and through some cash their way.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Another Great 5e Weekend

It is the the first weekend of Fall (more or less) and that means a lot of yard work for me including cleaning up my wife's garden.  I don't mind. I love getting all the fresh veggies.



But this weekend was also a great 5th Edition D&D weekend.

Began our time picking up a couple copies of the newest Monster Manual.



The new Monster Manual is a damn attractive book.  Like so much of D&D5 it reads like a "greatest hits" of D&D.  Yest there is still plenty of room for more books especially a Fiend Folio.

Tonight the family explored the temple in Castle Amber.  They might more of the crazy Ambers and manged to get one character turned to stone.  Fortunately for the paladin, the sorcerer still had a wand of negation that could undo one magical effect.  So our paladin was back.

But the dice were cold tonight and we stopped after a couple of hours.  Still, more fun to be had at Castle Amber.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Castle Amber by Candle Light

Running behind on posting (and reading).  We got slammed by a freak storm in Chicago and we were without power from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning.

Friday we went out in the hope that the power would be back soon.  No such luck.  So we spent the night reading by flashlight and candle light.  I grabbed my old 2e Ravenloft Boxed set to flip through.

Saturday was spent grilling everything in the fridge so we would not have to throw it all out.

Eggs, toast and bacon on the grill. I might never eat inside again.

We then spent the day preparing and playing one of my favorite modules X2 Castle Amber.

And trust me, nothing was quite as fun as playing it all by candle light.



We played it under 5th edition rules.  Unlike Bone Hill, I did not have 5e stats for all the monsters in this adventure.  But fortunately the conversion process was very easy and most I could do one the fly.

Yeah that is my 1st Ed. DMs screen.  I had my kids grab everything and they also got that.

So far 5e is still working very nice for us.
Castle Amber is also a great adventure to play and run.  The kids are having a blast.  They managed to get through the west wing and they even found an intelligent magical sword.  I am not sure what do with that one yet. I hand-waved it for now since I have not found any D&D5 rules about intelligent weapons yet.

My family is loving this adventure so far and I have to admit I was rather gleeful inside at scene where they have to run from the "Grey Mists" to get into the castle.

The nice thing is that even though this feels like a "monster of the week" adventure there is a great tie-in to the overall "Cult of Chaos" plot I have been weaving through all the adventures.  Yeah, yeah I have seen the posts that D&D isn't supposed to be "cinematic" or "storytelling".  Screw that. I do what my family and I enjoy.   My youngest spends his time playing looking for any clues that might help him understand more about the mystery and my oldest wants to read Lovecraft now.

So next time they will finish the central forest and hit the East Wing and then beyond.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tomb of Horrors

Today the Dragonslayers ventured into the most fabled of all dungeons, the infamous Tomb of Acereak himself. The Tomb of Horrors!

I am running the 3e version of this module with ideas stolen from the 4e version and the 2nd ed Return to the Tomb of Horrors.  Additionally we are using this map set to help us along the way.



So far so good.  My youngest loves the traps and he very meticulous on checking each one.  It was even his idea to use a 10' pole on the Green Devil Face to check for traps and he found the Sphere of Annihilation. He loves the puzzles and really has a brain for them.  My oldest prefers good old fashioned combat.  They both were able to guess the correct sequence of the Yellow/Blue/Orange gems right away.  Sure a couple of characters have been hit with some poison, but the brought plenty vials of healing, curing and cure poison.   Though they have taken quite a bit of hitpoint damage.

So far it has been a great followup to S4/WG4.
The Dragonslayers have now finished S4, S2 and now working on S1.  I wasn't going to do S3 (Expedition to the Barrier Peaks) but now I think I might.  It would be a lot of fun.

We played for 6 hours (or more) today and I think we can knock this one out fairly quickly.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Virus

Really late on postings for today.

I am cleaning up the kids homework computer from some really nasty malware they picked up on a Minecraft site.

Hope to have something for you all soon!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Return to the Caves of Chaos

How many gamers cut their teeth on The Caves of Chaos / Keep on the Borderlands?
I have been taking my own kids through this well trod adventure for our current 1st Ed AD&D game.

For this time around I am adding some new ideas.  Stealing from the Return to The Keep on the Borderlands and even some ideas that came up in my "Ash vs. The Keep on the Borderlands" for the Army of Darkness game.  I am going to set up some of clues for the ultimate adventure they will be on (AGDQ+).

Michael Komark, The Caves of Chaos (2005)
In my research I found the following resources and thought I would share.

Some awesome 3D maps. Click for larger.



Map by Weem
http://www.theweem.com/2012/02/caves-of-chaos-reimagined-by-weem/

Caves of Chaos - D&D Next Playtest report
http://cryptthing.blogspot.com/2012/05/caves-of-chaos-d-next-play-report.html

Google Sketch-up Map
http://dungeonsndigressions.blogspot.com/2010/12/playing-with-sketchup-and-caves-of.html

Humanoid Distributions
http://recedingrules.blogspot.com/2010/05/humanoid-combatants-in-caves-of-chaos.html

I am sure there are more.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Family Game Night

Not playing a game tonight, fighting off a migraine at the moment.

But I was curious  about how many of you out there on this cold Sunday (in Chicago at least) are spending your time.  Or more to point, how many of you all have a family game night?
If you do what do you play?

Around here the old Dungeon! board game is a fave.  But we also play a lot of Scrabble and Monopoly.
I have gotten my wife into a few games of D&D before, but it's really not her thing.
I never gotten her to play Ghosts of Albion despite all the time I spent on it. ;)

Speaking of family games.  Just decided that we are not going to Gen Con this year.  Might go to Gary Con, but don't really know yet.  I am hoping some con opens up locally that I can take my boys to.



Sunday, February 3, 2013

Game Room Walls meme

Over at the Savage Afterworld people are posting what they have on their gameroom walls.  This is very timely since I just put up some more art on my walls.  So here is my game room!

Please ignore the wood paneling.  It was there when moved in and I have not had the time or money to tear it off and replace it with something more modern. Also I don't mind it.
Here they are.


On the west wall I have some prints from Eden Studio's WitchCraft game line on either side of one of my favorite Larry Elmore paintings.


The South wall I just got up.  An autographed picture of Zatanna cosplayer Alouette, an Elmore poster from my kids' first Gen Con (and the one where we were hit at 70mph by a guy that fell asleep. The poster was messed up pretty bad, but I kept it).  An original drawing from George Vasilakos for Conspiracy X.  And an evil looking worm from my brother Dan.


Better view.


On the south wall. In keeping with what I am known for, a couple of vaguely Celtic-looking Amazons from Peter Bradley of Ravenchilde Illustrations.  Best know for Castles and Crusades.
http://www.facebook.com/RavenchildeIllustrations
http://www.ravenchilde.com/
Close up here, http://www.ravenchilde.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/amazonsCLC.220213011_large.jpg


And of course a Harry Potter poster.  I have room on the other side for something else.


And the East side for my custom shelves.  The area below are for games I am not playing, binders of PDFs and board games.

My basement is not just my game room.  I also have my office down there, the video game room and workout area.


Above my office desk.  Put it up for Halloween and never to it down.


The back wall of the video game room/workout area. These are not reproductions, I got these from a local theatre when they were being shown.  They had two of those Star Wars ones, I kept one and gave the other to a friend of mine.  He can trump me because his has been signed by George Lucas.


And the clock on the wall.

So that is my game room.  Worked pretty hard to get it like that.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Delay

Don't you hate it when you get everything ready to game and the DM says you can't play today because of other issues (family, work...)

What makes this worse is I am the DM.

Crazy hectic week and I had hoped that the 12+ hour days I had been pulling this week would have given me some time to play today.  No such luck.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Gen Con updates

Gen Con badges bought.
Hotel booked.  More expensive than last year, but not undo-able.

The big issue this year is my Ghosts of Albion game.
As in I am not going to be running any.

I might do a pick up game, that I would announce here.

It basically boils down to me not having enough time to work out a new adventure.  That and my kids are older and they want to play in more games with their dad.

So this year I am looking forward to playing more and trying out a bunch of new games.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

"Let's Play 1st Ed. Dad!"

Those are the words I heard after I told my boys that 5e was on the way and there were going to be reprints of the 1st Ed AD&D books.

Part of me is thrilled, another part of me is wondering what the hell am I going to do with all the 4e stuff I bought. ;)  You might recall my Big PlanTM was going to be have the kids fight Orcus.

Here are the adventures I am thinking of running with them at the moment.  You will note that these all have a large amount of undead and "horror" themes to them.  As with the "Dragonslayers" I'd run this to level 20 or so.


    • T1 The Village of Hommlet, levels 1-2. 
    • B1 In Search of the Unknown, levels 1-3
    • B2 The Keep on the Borderlands, levels 1-3 (this should be higher really, the caves are a killer)
    • L1 The Secret of Bone Hill, levels 2-4
    • X2 Castle Amber, levels 3-6 
    • I6 Ravenloft, levels 5-7. That is if I don't use it as a convert Ghosts of Albion adventure. Use some of the Ravenloft campaign/world setting stuff here too.
    • I10 Ravenloft II, House on Gryphon Hill, levels 8-10. (maybe)
    • I9 Day of Al'Akbar, level 8-10. Useful for the Cup and Talisman of Al'Akbar.
    • S1 Tomb of Horrors, levels 10-14
    • S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, levels 8-12 (this is an odd one.)
    • G123, Against the Giants, levels 8-12
    • D12 Descent into the Depths of the Earth, levels 9-14
    • D3 Vault of the Drow, levels 10-14
    • Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits, levels 10-14 (maybe)
    • CM2 Death's Ride, levels 15-20. (If I don't use it in my current games. Thematically it fits better here.)
    Then there are these modules:
    • H1 Bloodstone Pass, levels 15+
    • H2 The Mines of Bloodstone, levels 16-18
    • H3 The Bloodstone Wars, levels 17-20
    • H4 The Throne of Bloodstone, levels 18-100
  • Interestingly enough this is almost EXACTLY the same path my characters took when I played back in the day.  Some of these will be my first time running, others (B1, I6) I can run in my sleep.




  • Others I have a bigger issue with.  As muchas I LOVED the D series, we live in a post Drizzt world.  Drow are not the TOS era Romulans anymore.  They are the DS9 era Romulans.  The mystery is gone. Drow are no longer a big secret anymore.  Plus how does Lolth fit into the Orcus plot?  No idea.  She doesn't have too, but I want a big sweeping epic.  Something my kids will talk about when they are older.

  • If I do keep with 4e, I can do my original plan.  In both cases the Big Bad is Orcus.  And I kinda like that idea to be honest.



  • If do 1st Ed I am very likely to include information from JB's B/X Companion Rules and the Rules Cyclopedia to deal with the higher level play.

  • Who knows, maybe 5e will give me the power to use all this stuff under one game system.





  • Of course there is one other option.  Play the 1st ed games as a "Flash back" game or even (gasp!) a time travel one.  The characters (whether 4e or 5e) spend some time in the past.  I would stat up the characters as 1st Ed ones.  I kinda like this idea to be honest.  Play my 4e plan, and then hit some of the past adventures too.  I could then be more selective about which older adventures to use.



  • So many games to play and so little time....
  • My first House Rule

    Ok, maybe not my first one, but one of them any way.

    "You are allowed to name your character after a Lords of the Rings character.  But only once."

    I think we have all done it and then later in life thought "man what was I thinking?".  I had a halfing thief named Bilbo.  My son is in the "regret" stage now with his wizard named "Gandalf".  I told him not to worry that everyone has done it (que a bunch of replies of people saying "I never did!").

    So instead of feeling bad about it I say embrace it.  Own it.
    Galdalf was named after a legendary near-mythical wizard.  With a name like that he was bound for greatness.  Bilbo is a very popular name among halflings, as is Frodo and Sam.

    So here is where I have to ask.  Did anyone name a character after a Tolkien character?

    Sunday, January 29, 2012

    The Dragonslayers vs. The Lost Caverns of the Tsojcanth, Finale

    Last night the Dragonslayers (aka my kids) finished up the Greater Caverns to discover Iggwilv's greatest treasure and fight Drelnza.  I was considering to bring her back, but she was so completely destroyed that I just can't imagine how she would do it.


    The boys did great really, I am very pleased how they played.  I was amazed how well my youngest did.  He figured out the secret of the central doors really fast and had a really good sense of direction.  We used minis of course, but not for the entire dungeon, just the battles.  They got the Lanthorn, the Prison, and all her books of magic.  Everyone leveled up one level.

    Of course the boys had a  great time and we even got to play past bedtime. They woke up today and wanted to get right back into it.  That is the sign of a good adventure.

    Now I need to figure out what the guys are going to do next.  I'd love to move on to the Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, but I am anxious to get them to the big battle against Tiamat.

    For that I am considering using the old H4 Throne of Bloodstone, but not sure yet.

    Here are the previous posts in this series.



    Tomorrow. Something special!


    Monday, January 23, 2012

    Year of the Dragon

    Today is the start of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dragon.  And what a year it is turning out to be so far.



    "May you live in interesting times." goes the old saying (which may or may not actually be Chinese in origin).

    We are certainly living in interesting times now.  Never has there been such unprecedented access to games of any generation.  So of course I have indulged, maybe even over-indulged.

    There has been an interesting side effect to this. The editions war have hit home.  In February  we are ging to playing: D&D4, Pathfinder, Basic D&D, and we want to try out some 1st Ed AD&D as well.  This is not even taking into consideration our semi-regular D&D 3.x game. And everyone here has an opinon on what works and what doesn't.

    I have talked to some of the new D&D5 playtesters and so far 5e/D&D.Next does not appear to be what most people think it is going to be.  Well, I say "most" people, I guess I really should be saying "loud" people.
    I do have renewed hope for the next version of D&D.

    I fear no matter what both the 4e and the OSR crowds are not going to like it; each thinking this new game looks too little like their own and too much like the other.

    While there are plenty of doom-and-gloomers out there, I want D&D to succeed. I would love to see a new Golden Age in fact.  We have everything we need really, we just need to get the world to see D&D (and by extension all RPGS) as a good low cost alternative to MMORPGS/Computer games that the whole family can enjoy. (see this bit here)

    Get the families.
    That is where the money and future is.

    Sunday, September 25, 2011

    Limited Posting

    Hey all.

    Posting is going to be fairly limited over the next few weeks.
    My wife needs to go in for surgery and at present has very little mobility.  So now and till after she heals I am both mommy and daddy at the house.

    I'll keep you all updated.

    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    The Dragonslayers vs White Plume Mountain, Part 3

    Today was a good day for adventurers.

    The Dragonslayers continued on their mission into the White Plume Mountain.  The defeated the monsters of the inverted ziggurat and immediately distrusted the hooka smoking halfling to recover Blackrazor.  The boys were also extremely distrustful of the black blade and hid it away in a bag of holding.

    They made it down the last hall and confronted the vampire Ctenmiir.  The Dragonborn Paladin of Bahmut had a few choice words with the vampire and the characters had made it out with Whelm as well!
    Of course, there was more to be done.  The weapons in had they rushed out of the volcano only to have their wizard (with the bag of holding with Blackrazor) snatched up in claws of a undead dragon flying north.
    The hunt for Dragotha has begun!

    The boys did really great today.  They were able to solve the Prime number riddle with no problem and the sphinx riddle only slowed them down a little.  There is still the effrit to deal with though and of course one of the party has been kidnapped to be taken back to Dragotha's Lair where the final battle will begin.

    I have been playing down the guardians of the weapons to lull the boys into a false sense of security. Dragotha and Keraptis are different matters all together.

    I am also going to start planting the seeds for my 4th Ed game.  The boys will defeat Keraptis, this is a foregone conclusion, even if it is Dragotha killing him himself.  But as he dies he is going to utter "beware, the shadows".

    During the next couple of adventures there will be other clues dealing with shadows.  I'll talk more about that later on, but I am very excited with the prospect of it all.

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    Lantern Corp: Confidence

    So my boys have been getting into Green Lantern a lot lately and have enjoyed all the new Lantern Corps in the whole emotional spectrum deal from "Blackest Night".

    So I got them some rings, a green for my youngest and a blue for my oldest, their favorite colors.  Today my oldest decided that he needed a new one; Aquamarine.   Here is his logic:

    "Aquamarine rings are for Green Lanterns that are exceptional. They are the best so they get a Blue Ring, but it becomes like Turquoise or Aquamarine.  Their power comes from Confidence."

    So he drew a picture (then we later did it up in Photoshop) and he wrote their oath.


    Here is the oath according to Liam:

    In wounded day, in Bleeding night
    Confidence shall rise
    To the sight of Aquamarine Light!

    If we come up with an Aquamarine Lantern character we will stat him up in M&M3/DCA for you all to see.

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    The Dragonslayers vs White Plume Mountain, Part 1

    Sunday was cold and rainy, so the perfect day to recover some stolen magical artifacts in a volcano!

    The Dragonslayers (my kids' 3.x game) ventured into the classic module White Plume Mountain.  I changed the set up a bit, they have been hired by one of my more infamous NPCs, Crazy Omar, to recover Whelm, which he claims is owned by his family.  He tells them of Wave and Blackrazor and that representatives of their owners (which of course are already dead now).

    I spent a couple days cutting out and taping the the White Plume Mountain Dungeon tiles I reviewed a while back, and the boys loved them!  They liked being able to see the doors and being able to write on the maps themselves.  BTW i figured if I printed the map out and connected all the tiles they would be about 7 feet by 5 feet.




    Astute readers will recognize Fire and Ice back there as well (they are quasi NPCs in this game). Our minis are an eclectic lot of D&D minis, Heroclix, Darksword, and Heroscape. More astute OSR players will recognize this as room 10. 


    My sons' ranger/arcane archer found the deeper pool and they made short work of Sea Hag and her pet, even with me boosting the Hag using some of my new rules on the witch (all hags in my game can take levels in Witch).

    We had to cut short the adventure, diner was ready, but we will be getting back to it very soon.  I think my youngest wants Blackrazor, my oldest, who plays the Dragonborn Paladin, wants nothing to do with it.

    I am dropping some of the Cthulhu-ish ideas I had earlier in favor of running it "straight", but there is something I just can't pass up.  A totally throw-away by Erol Otis I am sure, but the picture has always intrigued me. 


    My boys after all are the "Dargonslayers" and Dragotha has to be one of the most powerful dracolich around. I figure he is a ancient (1,000+ years) red dragon lich.  I'll have him breath "black fire".  Give the boys something to really remember.  Maybe even put Kerapis on top of him, a lich of course.  Make them both pretty difficult to beat. 

    Spoke too soon!  I found this online, http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4pr/20081105a.  Sweet.  And given that he is in 4th Edition, I might let him escape to plague the characters when we move over to 4e.  Plus, his stats are pretty much custom made for my son Liam!  Red dragon, dracolich, breaths cold blue necrotic fire, I am a bit surprised he never pointed this dragon out to me before in fact.  He does own all the Draconomicons.


    To fit it into themythology of the game, Dragotha was once the red dragon consort of Tiamat.  Like all her consorts though he did something to offend the great Queen of Dragons and she killed him.  Of course Dragotha and Kerapis had already struck up a deal.  Kerapis, already a lich himself, turned the great dragon into a demi-lich and has been in Kerapis' service ever since.   If the players kill Kerapis first then Dragotha is free and he will use that freedom to lay waste to Kerapis' lair; ignoring the characters (till another time!).  The Dragonslayers only need his tooth to complete their own ritual to create a portal to Tiamat's lair.

    This will be fun!

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Epic Dragonslayers

    A couple of the Dragonslayer characters hit 19th level over the weekend.

    I let my boys play two characters each, but sometimes the characters can vary.  My oldest has a cast of 6-7 that he uses two at a time.  Well both boys now have a character each that are 19th level.  The lowest ones are still 15.

    I am planning to let them take ALL their characters for the final battle with Tiamat.  Yeah, yeah I know, not really a good role-playing experience for them and more of a roll-playing one, but it is the final battle and the last time they will be able to use any of these characters.

    Plus I have a couple more adventures I want them to do before that big battle.

    So I am considering using the Epic Level rules.

    Anyone have any insights, tips, suggestions?
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