Monday, December 12, 2011

Kid's Games

I have signed up to run some games at my kids' elementary school.

It is part of their after-school program.  So in February I am running 2 sessions of two-weeks each of D&D.  Totally introductory, 1st level.  I am even going to buy dice for the kids.

My plan was to run D&D 4e out of the new Red Box.  But this weekend I also picked up the new Pathfinder boxed set.  It is really, really nice.

The two are comparable on every level to be honest.  Figures or tokens for characters and monsters, maps, player's books, DM's books, a starting adventure.  Nice sturdy box and dice.
But now I find myself in the situation of which one to run?

Both have their merits and I know I could both justice and my audience justice with either.

I was talking to my friend Greg who runs a Pathfinder game with my son and his own kids.  He suggested run both, D&D4 one session and Pathfinder the next.
I think that is a great idea to be honest.  Though it is twice the work for me.

I would run the same adventure for 1st levels. So I might have to make something up.
Here is what I am looking for:

  • Appropriate for new players 
  • Plenty of chances for everyone to be a hero
  • Should include teamwork
  • I'd like them fight a dragon, even a small one, at the end
I guess the Pathfinder adventure is the box is close to that, but I have not checked it out in detail yet.  If so doing a 4e conversion will be easy.

Now before anyone says "Why aren't you play XXXX game?", simple, these are the ones I have chosen.  These are the ones that have the mainstream appeal and the kids will be able to then later go to the store and get them.  I am trying to entice the next generation of players and to do that I need to be able to steer them to product they can play on their own in their own groups.

I'll keep you all posted on what is going on with this.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

All I Want for Christmas is...

The Dresden Files RPG.

I have been going back and forth on this one for a while, but I want to have my own hard copy now.
I bought the PDFs at DriveThru and I thought they were fantastic, but never thought I want the hard copies too.

Well now I do.

Gotta tell my kids.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Random Stuff Friday

I had a cool post for today, but on re-reading it this morning I realized it might need some edits first.  Game stats and trying to get day-job work in at the same time is not good for either.

So instead here are some random things I'd like to share with you.

My friend Kim Pauley has a new book coming out, "Cat Girl's Day Off" about a girl whose super power is the ability to talk to cats.  If it is like her last books, the "Sucks to Be Me" series, then is should be fun.  Expect to see some stats for Natalie Ng here in the future!

Douglas Wall would like you all to check out his fun game "Adventures in Oz".
It is a fun game in and off itself, but I also think it is a good supplement, like an Oz source book for whatever game you are also playing now.  I already did a "Wicked" version of the main good guy, er, wait, sorry main witch (I can't help it, the Wicked Witch of the West IS the hero for me, has been since I was little).
I think you should check it out.

IO9, the website obsessed with all things in geek culture has a cool "Rules of Magic" chart up and it is huge.
I did notice some errors, but they expected there would be some.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

You are playing what??!

I am sitting here.  Avoiding work. Starring lovingly at my stack of DC Heroes books and wondering why I don't have more of them.

This got me thinking.  What games are you all playing that you don't think anyone outside of your group is still playing?

For me it's True 20.  I still like it.
I'd love to get a good Superhero game going again; Silver Age Sentinels would be cool, V&V, DC Heroes, I am not picky.

What are you all playing that you are sure no one else is?

Now this is disapointing

Was checking on my stats today and noticed a few new hit coming from the OSR's pet troll.  Went there to see what "she" was saying and saw this instead.

Well.  At least she didn't get all dramatic and ragequit.  Or maybe she did, I might have missed it.
I was at least getting 5-6 hits from this blog a week.  What am I ever going to do about the loss of traffic.

Actually what I find most disturbing is the number of hits I am getting on my Houri write-up from a website forum of people looking for rape-themed RPGs.  Guys, not here.

The Witches Three: 4e v. Pathfinder v. OSR

We are at an an interesting time in the history of D&D.  Today we have two games, but fun and great to play, that are the heir's of the legacy that is D&D.  The first is a direct descendant of the previous version with some of that version's best and brightest minds; Pathfinder.  The other bares the name, but is very different in structure and play, but no less fun and no less of an adventure: Dungeons & Dragons 4th Ed.  BUT that is not all, like buying two and getting the third for free we also have the large and chaotic mass that is called the OSR.  In it are many games that also claim rights to the throne.

I am not going to delve into the relative merits of one game or the other. Or even talk about play style or anything else.  Play the game you enjoy, the way you enjoy it.  Personally I like to play all of the above.

No today I want to drill down my attention on one thing in particular.  How the witch class is presented in the rules in these games.  For the first time we have what can amount to an "Official D&D Witch Class".

The 4e witch was just introduced in Heroes of the Feywild and the Pathfinder witch was introduced in the Advanced Players Guide.
For the moment I want to recuse myself from commenting too much on the OSR witches.  Both "The Witch" and "Eldritch Witchery" are off to editors, but still I don't think it would be the most proper thing to do.  That all being said I don't have issues commenting on these witches since a.) they have already been written and published and b.) all my ideas are already on "paper" and sent off, so I am not likely to change anything at this point.

So what do we have here?
Both the 4e and Pathfinder witches use Intelligence as their prime ability and the one tied to their spellcasting.
Both require the use of familiars to learn their spells.
Both can form covens for an added benefit or coven related benefits.  The 4e witch handles covens a bit like builds.  The Pathfinder witch can only join a coven with a hag.  I don't like that at all really.
Neither offer much right away in terms of higher level class options; ie no Paragon Paths (outside of the Legendary Witch) and no Prestige Classes.

The 4e witch, as mentioned previously, is a "type" of Wizard. This bugged me at first, but I got over it once I saw the advantages.
The Pathfinder witch is a base or core class.

The 4e powers are very much in line with charming, controlling and turning enemies into animals.  There are some "striker" like powers, but not many really.  The authors took care to make the distinction between Witch, Wizard and Warlock a lot clearer.

The Pathfinder Spells are similar, but lot are pulled from both the Arcane and Divine lists.  The Pathfinder witch with Hexes and a familiar gets an absolute ton of spells.  I'll need to go into detail on the Pathfinder witch on a later date.

I am using my checklist from Tom Moldvay as a means to identify how witchy these classes are, at least for a start.

Ability 4e Witch Pathfinder Witch Basic Witch
1. Ability to use Herbs skills skills ability check
2. The Power of Fascination powers spells spells
3. Clerical and Magic-User magic Yes Yes Yes
4. Sympathetic Magic limited to powers limited to spells new spell mechanic
5. Worshipers of forbiden religions yes yes yes
6. Powers based on natural cycles "Moon" builds no spells
7. Covens Yes only with hags Yes
8. Ritual Magic In PHB I only limited Yes

Based on that, the Pathfinder witch is a little short, but nothing that can't be fixed with role-playing and some supplements.  I do notice that Moldvay's list does not include the ability to use familiars.  I think that is rather important too.

I am getting a chance here in a bit to play some more of the 4e Witch so I'll know better how she plays out.  I am still looking for a chance to play the Pathfinder witch some more.

Here is what I don't like about the classes.

4e Witch: There is still some confusion over the roles between a Witch and a Fey Pact Warlock.  Maybe this is on purpose.  Warlocks and Witches should have animosity towards each other and this could be where it comes from.
While it is nice that the Witch has some of the same options as does the Wizard, it also means the witch can take "Fireball" or "Lighting bolt" as spells.  Two very iconic wizard powers.

Pathfinder: I hate what they have done with covens for the Pathfinder Witch. It robs the witch of one of her key elements to be honest.  The hexes are cool, but some of them are too focused on curses and less on the other aspects of witches.
Where are the Prestige classes?

Both/Either:  Intelligence as a prime stat?  I can see why, but really it should be Wisdom or maybe Charisma. They supposed to be members of the craft of the wise.

In any case it is an embarrassment of riches. I am not sure if I'll ever have enough time to play the games I have now, let alone anything released in the future.  I like both of these classes and would love to see more for both of them.

It's a good time to be me! ;)
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