Tag Archives: roleplaying

4th Edition D&D – First thoughts

So I’ve read the PHB (Players Handbook) now, a first pass, taking in the major elements needed to create a new character.

  • It’s dissapointing to see so many typographical errors present.
  • Wow, is it me or is the section on Wizards, spells / powers and spell books hugely over complex or under-explained?

Once a roleplayer, always a roleplayer

After not doing any tabletop roleplaying for a good number of years, I was thinking of selling the 80plus rule books, modules, expansions and add-ons that are taking up space.  I thought I was over it all.

And then some friends asked if we wanted to start up a little D&D group again, and we thought ‘yeh sure’.

So I ordered the 4th edition rulebook from Amazon, and it arrived.

And the excitement I experienced opening it and reading it is undiminished since I first opened the Red Basic D&D edition rules when I was in my mid-teens.

Friday at last

It’s been a long old week, but we finally made it to Friday.  I need to start doing more than 30 minutes on the Wii Fit, because I’m not out of breath after 30 now like I was at the start.  Or, start mixing it up a bit more (I tend to do mostly Aerobic stuff) and throw in some more Yoga.

I’m working on a little Wii Fit high score web-app thingy so that the folk I know with Wii Fit’s can see who’s the champion at Super Hula, but work over the last couple of days ate into my evening free time so it didn’t make much progress last night.

I think we may be about to start tabletop roleplaying again with Chris and Christine which would be fantastic, it’s always going be tougher at our age due to kids, jobs, lives, but hopefully we’ll be able to get together twice a month at least and get some games in.  Really looking forward to that (probably 4th Edition D&D at this stage).

I was reading some stuff about diabetes and the HbA1c test, and it suggested that morning glucose readings (basically, fasting readings) should give a good indication of where you are with your blood sugar control.  If the morning readings are high (consistently) then you’re probably not getting enough drugs, or your control is out, or you’re eating too much (or a combination).  Mine tend to be pretty good, I don’t check them all the time (it doesn’t really help to do that with type 2 diabetes), and at 4.8mmol/l this morning I was quite happy.  I had some low GI bread toast from a small bakery chain which I’ve not tried before, it was ok.  I’ll check in a bit and see how it affects my sugar, I had four slices so I should get a decent indication if it’s going to be worth buying or not.  (In fact, I just noticed it’s a couple of hours since I ate it, so off I go to finger-prick).

Hmm, 8.4mmol/l is a little higher than I’d like, I guess I’ll need to stick to less slices and/or the Bergen low GI bread although the strong flavour in that had started getting to me so I needed a break from it.

Up or Sideways redux (cross MMO communication)

I wrote a lengthy blog post about vertical or horizontal scaling in online roleplaying games, and Leigh wrote a just as lengthy comment.   He made some interesting points which I thought I’d address in another post, rather than writing a lengthy comment in response to his lengthy comment.

I’m going to quote bits of his comment but you should really go and read the comment as well.

I’ve often wondered what a game can do for these types of people, who are, let’s face it, just after more experience, a higher level, or a bigger pot of gold than others in their peer group. While I do like the idea of more horizontal progression I think it ultimately leads to another dead end – it just takes players longer to get there.

Perhaps.  And maybe horizontal expansion of that kind won’t interest a lot of players either, but what I think it provides is a flatter range of power which lets new players get involved quickly, without totally destroying the ability of people to progress into new things.  If it’s done correctly.

How good would it be to have a chat system that shows all the channels available, makes it easy to set up your own and invite people, and gives a wealth of topics to talk about?

Without a doubt this is something I totally agree with.  It’s certainly something I don’t think many games exploit as well as they could.  There’s an increase in the tools to build web-based communities, but I know that a lot of players are only ‘in the game’ mindset, while they’re in the game, they don’t want to spend a lot of time outside of the game working on a forum or website.  If there were easier ways to communicate on a global level within the games, it would help build community.

One of my big bugbears with WoW is that you can’t (or couldn’t when I played) talk to people if you weren’t in their alliance (i.e. horde vs alliance).  You can’t even set them as a friend and see if they log on.  Ok, so there’s some big PvP element in WoW and you don’t want alliance members tipping off the hoard about their every move – except if they wanted to they could just IM them.  It’s stupid to prevent poeple talking to each other because of some in-game alliance mechanic.

Games should be doing as much as possible to facilitate communication, to allow persistent channels to exist, allow poeple to take part in those channels even if they’re not in the game perhaps.  As you said, there should be an easy way to view all those channels and take part.

That covers another big hatred of mine, which I’ve mentioned previously, enforced geographical splits.  Splitting up friends based on where they live to allow you to make support easier reduces community, it doesn’t build it.

Second Life doesn’t have a ‘game’, it doesn’t have a goal, it doesn’t have any progression mechanic, and yet it has huge communities built up around it, friendships, relationships.  I’ve not really delved deeply into the chat side of Second Life but I know people who spend a lot of time socialising there.  Which goes to show you don’t need a game to build a good community, but you do need good communities to build good multi-player games.

We’ve recently started using XFire to keep in-touch with friends spread through a lot of games.  A persistent channel we can join and read from within just about any game, even if chatting isn’t always easy.

Here’s what we should be telling MMO producers.

  1. Give us good channels, good communication methods and no restrictions
  2. Develop a standard for MMO chat
  3. Implement cross-game MMO chat services

How cool would it be if you could log in to your favourite chat channel (say #lunatics) and chat as EQ2.Realm.Nickname with WOW.Realm.Bob and LOTRO.World.Billy and SL.Vegas.Sarah.  Each of those people could be in their own virtual game world, using the chat system and communicating with their own native tools in the chat channel and everyone could take part.

I know MMO producers want us to stay with their game for ever, but if they provided a cross-MMO communication device that was standard, people wouldn’t feel obliged to leave a game just because a bunch of their friends had, they could keep in touch.

We want cross-MMO communication tools built into our games and virtual worlds, and we want them soon.

Roleplaying stuff

I’m thinking of selling my roleplaying books. They’re not doing us any good taking up three shelves in the bedroom, much of it is entirely obsolete (D&D, 2nd Edition AD&D, old rules for other games, etc.) If we did ever happen to start tabletop roleplaying again we could pick up any rules we needed at the time, but I can’t imagine ever needing over three quarters of the stuff that’s there. But there’s that little doubt, that maybe it’ll only get more valuable over time and that if I took good care of some of it, it might be worth holding onto.

I wonder if there’s anywhere on the web that values roleplaying stuff, I seem to recall something ages back, maybe I’ll have a look on ebay for a while and see how much some of it might be worth before making a decision.

Caught Up!

So we’ve caught up with friends, Andy, Chris & Christine, Sarah & Michael after about 2 years. We’ve promised them it won’t be another 2! We’ve booked Maelstrom as well, so if you knew us from the Omega LRP campaign you should see us at Maelstrom in June.

We’ve spent a week or so now seeing friends, sorting Maelstrom, testing reading some stuff for David Gemmell, getting out of the house, sorting the back bedroom, picking up one or two other DIY bits and pieces and generally moving our life forward a bit, which is a little unusual. It’s meant less time in EQ than normal but I can’t think of a psychologist on the planet who would describe that as bad. We’ve probably burned ourselves out a bit on life and I should think we’ll be a bit busy in EQ for a few days catching up with those friends.

I may try and fix the clothes rail in Grete’s wardrobe tonight if I get time, have to see how I feel, generally really down at the moment, not sure of any specific cause other than my usual ‘worrying about everything related to money’ thing.

Roleplaying and Me

There was a time when every page on the Internet had a section on ‘what is roleplaying’. These days, awareness seems to be much greater, and there’s less need to explain things. This is a good thing[tm]. There is still a lot of misunderstanding around about what roleplaying is as well though. This is a bad thing[tm].

Am I going to fix that? Probably not. I roleplay. With friends. It’s most excellent fun, and when I’m not feeling too stingy, I GM the odd game now and then as well. I like to think I’ve got a lot of roleplaying experience, but that’s not true. I’ve played quite a bit, and run quite a bit, but my actual experience is quite narrow. I’m doing my best to fix that though.

Now we’ve moved down here to Nottingham, we are both playing more than we were in Stockton. Once during the week with a couple of long-standing friends, and once at weekends with some new-found friends. So far, things are going well!

I have played quite a few gaming systems at one time or another, including, but not limited to, [in a semi-quasi-chronological-order]

  • Dungeons and Dragons [original]

    This is the game I started playing first, while I was still at school. I still own all the rules and several (many?) modules and accessories. I was looking for a second-hand copy of the D&D Rules Cyclopedia, and finally found it on e-bay.

  • Dungeons and Dragons, 3rd Edition

    Well, Wizards of the Coast have done the deed. They’ve released the third edition of AD&D, they’ve dropped the Advanced bit (since the original D&D is out of print, there’s nothing to be Advanced from), and they’ve revamped the rules quite a bit. I like it. The Players Guide certainly seems more mature than the 1st/2nd Edition versions, the rule changes are sensible, they’ve dropped THAC0, and they’ve made the combat rules more specific.

  • Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, 1st & 2nd Editions

    At the time, this was an entirely natural progression from D&D. We managed to play quite a few adventures owning only the DM’s guide, I’ll never know how we managed. Anyway, started with 1st edition, still got the rules (DM’s guide only of course!), and now own far too much 2nd Edition stuff. I’ve also converted just about every AD&D spell name into pigeon-latin. Yes I know I’m sad, but it adds atmosphere to the game.

  • Warhammer FRP

    I haven’t played anywhere near enough of this – it’s quite an excellent system. I really must buy the rules one day. [Update : 24/1/99 – Got the rules for Christmas from Grete!

    Further update : now have a couple of modules and a source book as well. Really must play more of this.

  • Super Hero thingy [Golden Heroes? Golden Super Heroes?]

    I played a little bit of one of the super hero RPG genres. Couldn’t get to grips with it though.

  • Call of Cthulhu

    I wouldn’t have expected to enjoy this, but I did. It’s excellent, and with a GM who can create atmosphere (David Sant and Tony Byrne for example) it’s superb. Getting your face sucked off has never been so much fun.

  • Paranoia

    I ran this, I’ve never played it. Howling laughter. Screams of agony. Most excellent. The computer is your friend. Can’t always get it right though – we tried to play this a short while back (mid-2000) and I totally failed to generate the right atmosphere, total disaster 🙁

  • MERP

    Playing this at the moment (20/9/98 – when I forget to update this for 12 months, someone let me know). It’s good, I’m enjoying messing about in Tolkein’s world, although it feels a bit like messing about in his garden. Any minute he’s gonna see me and chuck me out! [Update : 24/1/99 – Andy let me know, we’re playing some other stuff now!! Although we’re still intending to get back to the MERP]

  • Toon

    One game so far – enjoy it – hopefully more to come.

  • Force Lords

    A new game some friends are putting together, very enjoyable, had two or three playtesting style games now!

  • Pendragon

    One game of this as well, went hunting some deer I recall. I keep meaning the buy the rulebook.

  • Ars Magica

    We’re just starting to roll up characters for this [as of 21/4/99] which takes some time in it’s own right, and then we’ll get round to playing it.

    Well, we tried playing it, and it didn’t go too well (perhaps I can’t GM after all), although I think people want to try again.

  • Deadlands

    Andy has the rules – we’ll be playing it eventually!

  • Xena & Hercules

    Well, it was a bit of fun, and quite entertaining I thought 😉

  • Legend of the Five Rings

    [September 2000] We’re currently playing this, and it’s currently excellent 🙂 The Dragon Clan is mighty indeed. I love the rules, I love the background, I love the humour, I really do like the system.

    [June 2001] We haven’t been playing this for a while now, and in fact, we’re now playing D&D 3rd Edition.

  • Torg

    Played a couple of times, but I can’t get on with the system, we will probably try a few more times.

  • 7th Sea

    Not played yet, but Christine has the rules and sourcebooks, and we will be rolling up characters soon.

  • Fading Suns

    Played a couple of times, I quite enjoyed it, but I was playing a combat wombat at the time, and as a group we never really seemed to gell.

  • Live Action Roleplaying [LRP, LARP]

    Until I met Grete, I’d wondered about LARP, and considered it, but never got around to it. We couldn’t make the ’96 or ’97 Gathering, and we didn’t find any local places in Stockton (we had no transport). Again, the move to Nottingham helped, and my first Live Action Roleplaying was with the Melnobs, in the Viper faction, at this years Gathering (98). It was most excellent fun. We’re going to try and make some moots, and perhaps some smaller, more local events, but you know how cash is …

    Update 18/04/99 – we did make it to the Omega LRP event in Manchester.

    Updated 21/9/99 – and I’ve banged a couple of LRP related websites together, check out The Lorgaire De Eolas and Just Another Gathering Website.

    Updated 13/9/2000 – Well, we’ve been ‘doing’ Omega for two years now, I really can’t believe it. We’ve done four events, we’re quite established! We are very much looking forward to the next event, in 2001. One problem with two events per year, the years seem to fly by!

    Updated : 01/12/2001 – my character died at the last Omega event. So I’m now playing a salamander wizard 😉