Tag Archives: d & d

D & D: Well, That Was a Slaughter

The level 1 to 30 D & D 4e campaign Greg and I started last week has proved… difficult. Our intrepid adventurers handily took on the set of Fell Taints (tee hee) they first set out for, despite the whirlwinds and strangely difficult terrain in the big room.

On the second excursion, though, the four grumpy adventurers found themselves up against their most difficult encounter: a young black dragon. …In a small room. …With a pit in the middle. Major advantage to the dragon’s breath and fear weapons.

They fought valiantly, but ended up as tasty dragon snacks.

Turns out they were mere appetizers for the main course. The dragon had scooted himself to a strange, cross-shaped area while the four replacements were being rallied. Three of the four went in hoping the fourth would die, as he had an annoying tendency to shout out his status in the third person and name his actions. “LO-KAG DOESN’T FEEL WELL!”

Unfortunately, LO-KAG! was the one who kept the dragon at bay, so when he went down, the gig was up.

The last woman standing–a bard depleted of healing powers–dodged fairly well for a little gnome weighed down by chainmail and a shield, but the dragon ultimately peeled open her mail like a tin can and ate her, too.
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D & D: Erathis Save Us

The setting: our town fell through a portal into a dark and inhospitable world. Luckily, Erathis shines upon us and keeps the darkness at bay… for now.

Except that the portal’s not closed. Little pockets of other worlds and planes are landing outside the town, chock full of baddies. Who’s going to squash these bugs?

Four adventurous types with big weapons and the gods’ backing step up to the plate.

So they’re a little breakable right now. They’ll grow into it, we’re sure. Or we’ll replace them.

Flimsy plot? Yes. It’s essentially a miniatures game, combat-only. Greg and I (playing two characters each) are going to work our way through the Monster Manuals 1 and 2 by monster level.

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“Observation” posted!

Jackie in a hamperChapter 8 of The Witches of Ming Ung, “Observation” is up, and picks up right where “Interception” left off:

“Hardi, why in all the worlds wouldn’t we tell Wilder about this?” Robert asked, waving a hand at her comm. He’d just listened to the ransom note for the second time, and was sitting at the desk with his feet propped up.

Yet. Not tell him yet.” Hardi stood still in the middle of the room, staring at the floor with her hands tucked in her pockets. “And I… don’t know,” she said slowly.

After that deep voice had threatened to go on “vacation” for a week, Hardi had listened to the message again. And again, until the rough voice was etched into her memory. Robert had walked in on her standing as she was now, letting the file loop. She’d looked at him guiltily, but let it play for him.

Robert sat leaned back and balanced his chair on two legs. “Have you had one of your visions? Does it feature you as the heroine, saving the planet from the bad guys?”

Continue reading “Observation” posted!

More D & D racism

I love how just one day after I posted a link about racism in D & D, I played in the most racist D & D game (one-shot) I’ve ever had the misfortune of being in.

Every Halfling was a “peck” (I don’t really get that), we were reminded again and again about how dwarves are so “resourceful” and “industrious”, and well, you know how those swamp women are. Half-elves aren’t just half-elves, they’re disgusting half-breeds, and the NPCs had to play up asking the full elves whether they’d be willing to work with one.

I think the GM was going for gritty realism — after all, real people are racist and sexist and crude — but it fell pretty flat with some of the crowd, I think. Greg, who played a Halfling, made a point of having his character (upon being called a “Peck” for about the third time) say, “Do you realize that that’s a derogatory term for us? We prefer to be called Riverfolk, if you would.”

I left shortly thereafter, but I’m told things got a little better after that.

After about the first 15 minutes of incessant “Peck” references, I started a running tally in my notebook of racist references. I got to 56 in the next hour and 45 minutes before I left.

I’m tempted to email the GM that article, but I don’t think it would do any good.

Wearing the GM hat

I finally put on my robe and wizard hat — I mean, my robe and GM hat.

I’ve been table-top roleplaying for about a year and half now, and I’m just now starting my first campaign.

WO — who’s run a few games since arriving in Charlotte — found himself desperate to play in a good game. Those are damned hard to find here in Charlotte. They were — to my surprise, in reflection — a dime a dozen at Rose.

Imagine my surprise when I found myself longing for my old Palladium and D & D companions. (My visit to an old GM’s blog prompted this post, in fact.)

I mean, I did post about the “nigga knife” incident, right? Right.

So I said, “Sure! I’ll run you a game!” He already GMs a game with me in which I play the five player characters. I can do the same for him.

I limited him to 4 characters and let him go wild. He made great characters, of course. Very fun.

But being in the GM seat is odd. I don’t quite know what I’m doing yet, but I will say that think I’ll always be very picky about who I have in my games. I’ve played with folks here in Charlotte who go out of their way to fuck up a GM’s plans. Not just doing creative stuff — which is fine and I’d better be prepared for — but doing stuff that’s completely out of character, deliberately playing to the GM’s weaknesses with malicious intent, etc.

I think there’s a time and place for that sort of play, but by and large, to have a fun, long-term campaign, there is a social contract between the GM and the players. It’s probably implicit, but it’s there anyway. I’ve always been mindful of that contract as a player. It might be that you try to trip up the GM, but usually it’s more cooperative.

I’m especially interested in those people who don’t understand or care about that contract. I tend to think that a lack of understanding of that is a demonstration of a weak theory of mind — the person can’t put themselves in someone else’s shoes enough to really empathize with other peoples’ annoyance or dislike of his/her behavior. They don’t understand why isn’t not a problem. Or, they can’t put themselves in another person’s shoes enough to role-play consistently, possibly resulting in similar behavior.

For those that don’t care… Well, there may be some reformed assholes — I mean, brave counterculturals who regularly exclaim, “Fuck the man!” — who can chime in here, but I wonder if that sort of mindset (which often seems to extend to other facets of their lives) isn’t indicative in some way of bona fide psychopathy. I don’t mean in-game silliness here, or having cartoonish qualities in a character, or anything so simple or harmless. I mean that deep, ingrained, destructive thinking process that leads people to work very damned hard to destroy the fun — and more importantly, the carefully, group-constructed story — around them.

Some people seem to like to break shit, no matter whose it is or what the consequences.

I want to know what’s going on those folks’ minds. What self-justification/reasoning/unreasoning makes that cool or fun?