July 14, 2008

D&D – Week 2

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:54 pm by Transmuter

Our second D&D session was a fun time. DW showed up and made an elf ranger, but DG was a no-show. Brett then pitted the three of us against a trio of ghouls, which happen to be level 5. Three level 2 PCs against 3 level 5 ghouls. I think Brett expected it to be challenging, but a couple turns into the battle it looked more like we were going to be completely crushed. The ranger was immobilized the entire time and couldn’t move back to use his bow and the accompanying powers, so he was forced to resort to basic melee attacks. Not good. The fighter and I (the warlord) were also immobilized, so my tactical movement powers were rendered useless. Yet somehow, amazingly, we managed to beat them. The ranger was unconscious by the end, but still alive. Of course, it was only possible because the ghouls decided pair off with us. If they had ganged up on one of us at a time we would have been dead for sure.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable experience. It’s a lot more fun with three players than with only two, since there’s more chatting as well as more tactical options. I’m not sure what happened to DG, since he didn’t call to cancel or anything, but I’ll see if I can get ahold of him.

Today’s web game is an awesome RPG called Kingdom of Loathing. It’s a very tongue-in-cheek, pun-filled look at RPG stereotypes, complete with amazing stick figure graphics! It’s very engaging and amusing, and it’s held my interest for months, which is a sure sign of success. I strongly urge you to check it out, since any description I give would not do the game justice.

July 6, 2008

D&D – Week 1

Posted in Games, Role-Playing Games, Video/Computer Games at 8:45 pm by Transmuter

Well, we had our first D&D 4th Edition game night at my brother’s apartment, and it was fun, despite not actually playing an adventure. My friend David Wu, who I will abbreviate as DW henceforth for reasons I will explain later, was sick and was unable to attend, leaving only me, my brother Brett, and his friend Adam. I finished my character while Adam created his character, a dragonborn fighter. We then ran a test battle against a bunch of goblins and barely survived, but it was a lot of fun! DW will be attending next week, so I’m looking forward to it. Also, I got an IM from my other friend, David Grow, this week. (Due to having two friends named David, I will abbreviate the latter David as DG.) He played D&D with us back in the days of 2nd Edition, and he said he’d be interested in playing with us! Score! Now we’ll have 4 players in our party, which will be much easier for Brett to balance encounters against.

I’ve been spending a lot of time finding and evaluating various fan-made tools for D&D 4E, such as alternative character sheets and power cards. I’ve tried several of each, and while I haven’t come to a conclusion on the power cards yet, I can list a couple of my favorite character sheets.

The top character sheet in my opinion is by Kiznit. It’s a pdf document that is form fillable and savable, which both add huge value, since I have poor handwriting and I’d hate to have to retype everything each time I want to print it. The sheet seems to have all the information you might need for your character, including a few improvements over the official character sheet to make it more intuitive. It has pages for power cards, and even has a pattern for a little envelope you can stick on the sheet in which to store the cards. You can find Kiznit’s character sheet here. I’d go for the form-fillable version by NeoLithic, just under the main file link.

Another option is an HTML character sheet by “Aria Silverhands”. Links to the necessary files can be found here. It’s a neat collapsing character sheet that you can post online. It’s not really meant for printing out, but it’s a cool idea for keeping track of characters over the internet. My character sheet can be seen here.

A third method of creating a character is by using an Excel spreadsheet you can find here. It’s an autocalculating character generator where you input your race, class, attributes, and pick your skills, feats, and powers, and it’ll generate a character sheet for you. It’s not completely automated, and the character sheet isn’t nearly as pretty as pdf character sheets tend to be, but the convenience is great. What I ended up doing is creating my character with this, then transferring the resulting information to the other two character sheets I listed above. Very nice.

I will post about the power card solutions I like in the future after I’ve had a chance to work with them more.

If you like strategy games, check out Travian. It’s a real-time, persistent game where you build up your farms and village, recruit troops, and pillage your neighbors. The up side and down side is that the game is very slow: for example, upgrading a farm might take an hour or more, and resource production for a small village might be 60 wood per hour, where an upgrade might require 500 wood. Basically, you log on, do what you need to do, then log off for a few hours until the actions get done. It sounds boring, but it’s actually kind of interesting. I admit I didn’t stick with it for more than a few weeks, but it’s a good experience to broaden your web-based gaming horizons. Just try to pick a server that has restarted recently, so you don’t start too far behind everyone else.