Archive for the ‘Meet the DM’s’ Category

I’d only DM’ed for/played with one of the players at my table before, so it was nice to DM for a fresh set of faces…

  • Mark, playing the theif, Keira.
  • Daisy, playing the warpriest, Valenae.
  • Chris, playing the paladin, Brandis.
  • Glenn, playing the slayer, Fargrim (only one i’d gamed with previously).
  • Travi, playing the hunter, Belgos.
  • Ian, playing the mage, Jarren.

Intro:
My players dived straight into roleplaying, taking the backgrounds of the character to give their characters vboices and mannerisms, and this continued through the first section while they were looking for clues in the temple. I actually found this a bit difficult, because while they were roleplaying to their characters class/race/background, they weren’t really asking the right questions to discover clues. I think if i’d have made notes on which characters skill was highest it would have helped.

Encounter 1: The Cellar
Our dwarf declared he was going to attack the dwarves the moment they entered the room, which effectively bypassed any option other than combat. They didn’t get a surprise round, and while they knew the pillars were magical, only used these for effect while the paladin monologued. Combat was swift, the dwarves were minions so did’t stand a chance, while the drow were dispatched before they could flee. I liked the pillars position, it blocked some lines of sight, and made the feel feel sneaky. The instant decision for combat kind of limited this encounter because their were ways to get round it, such as Fargrimm speaking to his clan mates for an adventure long bonus, or pretending to be captured.

Encounter 2: The Passageway
I wish i’d had the time and molds to make this in 3d… Annoyingly i’d forgotten to pack my doors so they just went straight down the wider corridor, which I found amusing given the secret door on my 3d terrain was painted a different colour. I did try to hint at something sinister to worry the players, mentionning the passageway looked to have been carved by umber hulks, but they didn’t really bite on that snippet of misdirection.

Encounter 3: Temple Prisoners
This proved to be a fairly tough fight for my table, mainly because they opted not to bring the roof down on the prisoners. The dwarves hammer/throwing hammer combo didn’t make much sense given their equipment, but on the other hand, was a nice way of moving around the room dealing damage. The spider was awesome, jumping here, there and everywhere, while the drow managed to got off 1 dagger strike from being invisible, nearly downing our thief.

Encounter 4: Did you Bring Trunks?
Knowing we were almost at the 2 hour mark, I simplified the skills check needed to figure out and deactivate the runes, but at the same time, Ian absolutely wiped the floor with his rolls here. Everyone made the stealth check to get through the water stealthily, and Jarren hung back to summon the water elemental. There was a nice ‘oh shit’ moment from the rest of the table as I put the mini down…

Encounter 5: Something Wicked Lurks Within
Daisy came up with the idea of sending the water elemental into the mist, and Travi charged through with Belgos only to be surrounded… Mistress Silhouette died by the end of the first round… the victim of a surprise round, dailies, and focused fire from 5 party members. The blademasters double strike was effective, but again, focused fire quickly took them down.

In the end, we overran by about 30 minutes, but my table was putting the effort into roleplaying rather than always making the most tactical choices. As a DM I fell victim to the paladins defender aura a lot, as my monsters went after thosewho had hit them. The adventure itself is well wrtiten and fun, with just enough drow to hint at the dangers to come in the Rise of the underdark storyline. My main downside is that my table chose straight up combat over the alternative solutions Shawn Merwin presented in the adventure.

Mik has written up his thoughts on the adventure (remember, this was the second time he’d run it) over on his blog:

http://vobeskhan.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/drowathon-the-sun-never-rises/

Meet the DM’s – Adam

Posted: May 9, 2012 in Meet the DM's

An easy first question to get you started, who are you and where are you from?

I’m Adam Page, from Leeds. I’m found on twitter as @adampageuk or @ukdndtweetup, and I occasionally blog 4e material at http://dailyencounter.net

How long have you been into roleplaying games?

I first encountered roleplaying games when my brother and his friends were playing X1: Isle of Dread that came in the BECMI Expert box set. I sat in on a few of their games and annoyed them by making suggestions, so eventually he convinced my parents to get me my own starter set of D&D. That was 21 years ago…

What systems do you usually play and do you usually play/DM?

Recently i’ve been DM’ing a lot of the D&D Next Playtest which has been really enjoyable. My favourite system to play or DM is D&D and its the system I always return to. I love 4e, which to me was nearly perfect, though i’ve been blessed with great gamers top play it with.

Outside of D&D, I was a large presence in the SLA Industries community in the early 00’s, I’ve built homebrew systems, played obscure indie games like Project, and generally tried most systems at some point in their life. One system i’m really liking at the moment is All for One by Triple Ace Games

Whats your favourite D&D Campaign setting and why?

Thats a tough one. I started in the BECMI era, so Mystara was my home campaign world, with the Hollow World, and Savage Coast (later the Red Steel Campaign Setting), and i’d love to see D&D return to this world (incorporating the excellent Nerath stuff into it). Theres so much potential in a fairly generic world like Mystara and Nerath, no major personalities to come up against, and thus the DM is free to make the world their own.

Dark Sun came out not long after I got into D&D and i’ve always loved that setting, though I got a bit bored of the $e version after all the Encounters, Free RPG Day, Games Day etc… Theres only a handful of ways a DM can make sand sound exciting…

Whats your favourite individual adventure?

I’ve got 3. X1 Isle of Dread, because it got me into D&d holds a very special place in my heart, and it was nice to see @Matt_James_RPG use the location in his recent Lair Assault adventure.

Kalarels Revenge (by the excellent Shawn Merwin who wrote The Sun Never Rises…) is a perfect example of what 4e can do. The pc’s have selfish motivations for being in the area, and the encounters can be fought through, negotiated through, bluffed through, sneaked through… It’s brilliant, and I really wish WotC would give it away on their website.

My absolute favourite adventure though, is the Labyrinth of Madness, the 25th anniversary mega killer dungeon by Monte Cook. Featuring a host of yaun-ti, a magical field/entity that warps everything, killer traps in almost every square foot of floor or wall space, weird sigils that must be collected in order but are found out of order… It puts tomb of horrors to shame…

How would you describe your DMing style?

  • Its all about the combat
  • The story rules all
  • By the book, ma’am
  • Improv is the key
  • A general mix of the above

I’d say i’m a general mix of the above because my style really depends on the group i’m with. I’ve played with some groups where it has just been about the combat, and i’ve had to step up my tactics. I’ve played with other groups where we’ve played 3 or 4 hour games and never rolled a dice, and where even a simple combat is deadly because they are so story focused.

The main thing i’d say is that i’m not a “by the book” DM, if you want to use a power in an inventive way, or want to do something that bends the rules slightly but is in keeping with your character, then I’m not goign to let the rules stand in the way of the group enjoying the game.

A word of warning though, unfortunately through years of running games at Travelling Man Leeds, and through twitter, the tweetups, and Forge of the Dawn Titan lair assault, I have an (undeserved) reputation for being evil…

It’s not like i’ve ever placed a huge spider mini down in a delve after they’ve finished 3 tough encounters with drow and their spidery allies, thus thinking they’d finished, and given a player arachnophobia… No thats just a bad rumour… Honest…

Based on the numbers signed up to the Meetup page for the Drowathon, myself and the team are currently thinking the following player combos. If you can suggest a better layout  or know of missing people, please let us know.

Shanes’ Table: James, Sarah, Darron, Toby, Daniel Creed

Miks’ Table: Tilly, Daniel Page, Glenn, Colman, Matt + friend

Pedrs’ Table: Paul, Rich, Daisy, Chris, Adam

Meet the DM’s – Shane

Posted: April 20, 2012 in Meet the DM's

An easy first question to get you started, who are you and where are you from?

Shane Leahy (@Grami_WER), from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

How long have you beeninto roleplaying games?

I started back in 1984 when my father brought the rule book from the Red Box home. I have been playing since then. My primary love has always been D&D.

What systems do you usually play and do you usually play/DM?

Currently 4e is my primary game. Other ones get tossed in when it some else runs the game. In my usual group we rotate the GM position so currently I am playing in a D&D campaign. I am also DMing a group on Monday nights and I take my turn DMing Encounters though I am currently a player.

Whats your favourite D&D Campaign setting and why?

Greyhawk. It was the first campaign setting I had and so much history is tied into it. Though as much history as there is, you can still make it yours.

Whats your favourite individual adventure?

My favourite is I3 Pharaoh, though I have never had a chance to play it all the way through. My favourite that I have played, and have played several times is the classic Keep on the Borderlands.

How would you describe your DMing style?

  • Its all about the combat
  • The story rules all
  • By the book, ma’am
  • Improv is the key
  • A general mix of the above

I believe a general mix when doing home campaigns. I try run games that appeal to the players so if they want more combat, then I try and give it to them. At teh end of the day, its all about having fun for everyone.

Meet the DM’s – Pete

Posted: April 19, 2012 in Meet the DM's

An easy first question, who are you and where are you from?

Pete Griffith, ‘from’ all over the place (and Wales, spiritually). Now based in Sheffield

How long have you been into roleplaying games?

Since I got one of the Dragonlance games for my Amiga and it had a copy of Dragons of Autumn Twilight in it. Convinced my parents to buy me the 2nd edition PHB and DMG from Hamleys (I wonder if they still sell any RPG things?) and promptly got frustrated that I didn’t have any monster stats! That makes it a bit over 20 years, I think.

What systems do you usually play and do you usually play/DM?

I mainly DM 4e, because Essentials and Living Forgotten Realms makes it quite easy to get a group together and run something without needing everyone to commit to an ongoing campaign and all the organising that takes! I end up DMing as that works out to be easier than convincing other people to do it. I play Star Wars Saga Edition with some old friends when I visit my family and that’s fun – we’ve been playing the same campaign for perhaps five years now.

Whats your favourite D&D Campaign setting and why?

I’ve spent a lot of time in two settings: Dragonlance, from very early on until I stopped playing for a while a few years before 3e was released – I didn’t really get into 3e Dragonlance, which I regret – and Greyhawk because my more recent return to D&D was via Living Greyhawk. I’m no expert – I played with people whose Greyhawk lore was pretty extensive – but there is something quite evocative about all of the references to early D&D adventures which crop up all across the Flanaess.

Despite running LFR I know very little about the Realms, really, and it has never grabbed me as a setting. For my old friends I’ve just started running a game in the Nentir Vale, which is great at allowing space for our shared campaign creation to take place.

Whats your favourite individual adventure?

I have run one of the early LFR adventures, ‘Sense of Wonder’ more times than any other adventure, and it’s great fun – a very odd gnome, a barfight, and a well designed puzzle. Perhaps it’s not quite as weird as Shawn Merwin’s first LFR adventure, where a Halfling in a boat in the middle of a landlocked country sends you on a quest with rather limited information and you end up delivering a baby.

How would you describe your DMing style?

  • Its all about the combat
  • The story rules all
  • By the book, ma’am
  • Improv is the key
  • A general mix of the above

The organised play I’ve been involved in means I’m aware that with a game as complex as 3e or 4e the rules as written are important because that’s what players use when creating characters and working out what choices to make in play. DM judgements are great with a group of players who have a shared understanding of the game, but when running games for the public or for strangers

I think it’s useful to have the books to fall back on where there’s any confusion about what is supposed to be ‘possible’. Between combat and story, though, my lack of tactical ability means I far prefer to be presenting a world for the PCs to explore rather than complex battles. Perhaps my players enjoy the ease with which they often defeat even my strongest monsters, though!

Meet the DM’s – Mik

Posted: April 18, 2012 in Meet the DM's

We’ll start with an easy first question… Who are you and where are you from?

Mik Calow (@Vobeskhan), 40+ gamer dad from Leicester.

How long have you been into roleplaying games?

A little over 30 years now. Started in 1980 with original Red Box, played through 1 st and 2nd Edition
before taking a break then getting the bug again with 4e about 3 years ago.

What systems do you usually play and do you usually play/DM?

Usually its 4e these days, DMing weekly Encounters now at Tabletop Tyrants in Leicester, as well as
Lair Assaults there and at Mondo Comico. Though I try to get to be a player when possible when I
visit Mondo as its usually my only chance, I quite like the opportunity to DM for different players.
I’ve just got my regular FR 4e campaign back in play on a monthly basis at my friends house.

Whats your favourite D&D Campaign setting and why?

The Forgotten Realms has always been my campaign setting of choice (with Ravenloft running a very
close second). A huge fan of the numerous novels produced throughout the 80-90’s for the Realms,
particularly the R A Salvatore Drizzt series.

Whats your favourite individual adventure?

It would have to be either N5 Under Illefarn, FRC1 Ruins of Adventure, or I6 Ravenloft – all 1 st Ed
adventures that I rejigged for running in my 2nd Ed campaigns over the years.

How would you describe your DMing style?

  • Its all about the combat
  • The story rules all
  • By the book, ma’am
  • Improv is the key
  • A general mix of the above

I’d like to think its a general mix, although I’ve been gaming 30+years I’m still a relative newbie to
4e and tend to follow the script on printed adventures, though I try to inject a bit of myself into the
npc’s etc involved.