I derailed the DM’s plans.. and I sort of liked it.

I had the pleasure of stepping out from behind the screen and playing an actual character this past weekend. A comrade of mine invited me to a charity fund raiser Game Night at his church. D&D was on the schedule and we both RSVP’ed to guarantee us spots at the table.

With less than a week left on my D&D Insider subscription, my comrade and I both rolled up level 4 Bards to tag team the action. I found a fresh list of Yo Momma jokes to go with the Vicious Mockery At-Will power my character possessed and packaged up my play-gear.

Game time came (after being exposed to Munchkin for the first time!) and I was eager to get down to business.  Since it had been quite some time since I had played or even DMed, I had a physical copy of the Rules Compendium handy to flip through as needed.

Our first encounter began in a tavern. Baddies attacked in the middle of a bardic song. After a few rounds consisting of Yo Momma jokes, the DM made a move that made my ears perk up. She moved one of the heavy hitters towards the bar tender. But in the next turn, moved another heavy hitter also towards the same target.

Something’s going on. I felt it in my DM bones! I continued to wail on the two baddies about to harm he who makes the ale flow and then one of them grabbed the bar tender.

Oh hells no!

Quickly I thumbed through the Rules Compendium to the section on” Grabbed”.  I knew there was some way to cause the monster to drop his poor victim. A few seconds later, I found the answer and feverishly pawed through my power cards that I printed out on card stock. There it was. Staggering Note – Attacks the target and moves it two squares.  I looked up and grinned from ear to ear. Forced movement causes the grabber to drop the grabbed but only if the movement ends up being out of reach of the grabbed person. Two squares did it.

When it was my turn, I began to describe the action. As stated on the card “The sharp sound you create causes your opponent to recoil clumsily.” Since I was using a magical short sword as my implement, I described the sound as my scuffing the blade against the stone floor. When the hit landed, I read off the rest of the power and noted that the bar tended was now free.

The DM looked a little surprised and took a moment to think before responding. With her next turn she moved and regrabbed the bar tender. It was then that I knew her intention was to drag him out of the tavern and probably end the encounter.

I continued to use the aforementioned power to have the monster drop the bar tender. After a few rounds, the rest of the party was able to come over and layeth the smack down. With the killing melee blow, the DM asked with a smile “Do you just want to knock him unconscious?” Her husband who was playing a character looked at her and simply said “…no.”

Our session ended because it was getting late (we started late) but everyone agreed that nothing short of a good time was had.

Also bought a copy of Munchin the next day :)

Thursday, August 8th, 2013 at 10:30

If anyone’s still out there.. I’m getting back in to D&D!

Yes.. It’s true. I’m getting back in to D&D.  It has been quite some time since I’ve done anything D&D related. I’ve since finished nursing school and now have actual free time to do stuff.

This time I’ve decide to do a combination of both online and in person sessions.  Perhaps with a 4:1 ratio of online:live. Also, I’ve decided to have a smaller group. Before, my group was 6 or so people all of which had different skill levels but this time.. 3 people. 4 max if I find a suitable human.

I’ve been out of the loop for almost two years! I’m sure a few new books have come out and some other materials. The group ponied up for a group D&D Insider account so we’ll do some exploring and see what happens.

So stay tuned and I’ll try to update with any helpful hints/tips I find as I get myself back in to the D&D world.

Thursday, August 9th, 2012 at 02:22

My scheme to play D&D on Christmas Day! MUHAHA!

My Wife’s side of the family is rather large so they opt to do a Secret Santa/Pollyanna gift exchange with each person randomly picking the name of another family member. The gift limit is $50. One of the potential items I placed on my list was the D&D Red Box. Later on in the evening, I had a idea.

An awful idea. The Czar got a wonderful, *awful* idea!

Why not bust open that sucker right there at the party and start playing? Of the expected attendees, there are a few that I feel would give it a go. My bro-in-law, a cousin, and an uncle at least. There may be more though a smaller group should work better.

The wifey’s 97 year old great grandma should be there. I wonder if she’d care to cast a few magic missiles.

Short entry. .I know :)

Friday, December 3rd, 2010 at 13:36

Free Printable, Stackable D&D Status/Initiative Cards

I know I’m not the first person to think of this idea but I wasn’t able to easily find any printable version online so I went ahead and made my own. Please feel free to download these, print them out, and use them in your sessions.

The premise is simple – Use folded pieces of card stock paper to hang over your DM screen to keep track of initiative. Here is a picture of the system in its crudest form, just scribbled on with a marker/pen and hung over the top.

Please note that from the DM’s side, initiative should be read from right to left so the PCs can see it in the normal reading direction of left to right.  Anywho. The system worked fine but I wanted a way to tract status as well of both monsters and heroes. The solution is to stack smaller cards on top of the larger ones so you’re still able to see the info of all cards at the same time.  Like this:

The bottom most card is for the baddies or hero. In the .rar file, the green bordered ones are for heroes, the black are for baddies. The second tier from the bottom is yellow and are the conditions. The rest of self-descriptive. For “marked”, I’ve left it up to the PC who marked the creature to keep track of it and claim the mark upon his/her (well…`his` in my case since my sessions are always a giant sausage fest) marking of the creature and when the marked creature’s turn comes up. Sort of the same for ongoing damage.

So please. Download this file, un-rar it, and print out what you need. There is a sheet full of the hero and baddie cards as well as marked, bloody, and ongoing damage. For the conditions, I included a sheet for each one but I also have a sheet that has one of each on it.

Click to download the cards(214k)

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010 at 17:21

Board game replacement parts as D&D figs!

I was playing “Sorry!” with my 3 year old a couple days ago and realized that the pawns are the perfect size to be used as D&D figs on the battlemap. While I didn’t want to take his pieces as I may never return them again (bwahaha!) I went to the interwebs to see if I could buy some. Ebay was empty and I thought for sure I’d find some there. But then… I found the holy grail of board game replacement parts.. and Herp-A-Derp..it was the Hasbro website! They have a whole section for replacement parts and they are DIRT cheap.

http://www.hasbro.com/customer-service/replacement_parts.cfm

I went to the “S”‘s and found Sorry. For $3 (that even includes shipping) you get a complete set of Sorry! pawns. That’s 16 pawns in 4 colors.

To differentiate them from each other while in play, I’m going to use some 1/8″ colored dots I picked up and place them on the heads. Or.. I could paint them with colored stripes or something.

One thing we noticed at our last session is that from a distance it can be hard to tell the difference between the red and orange dots with both on the map at the same time. I solved the issues by placing dot with my pen on the orange one.

I called the Hasbro customer service line to ask how many pawns came in a bag and if I had to pay extra shipping. A full compliment of pawns was included and so was shipping. Awesome. So I ordered two bags. During the ordering process, the lady asked me how long I’ve had my Sorry! game. I should’ve said “Oh ages..” but instead I responded with “Oh I won’t be using this with Sorry!” She then asked me a slew of questions “A game for adults or children?”, “A Hasbro game?”, “Will you be selling the pieces?”, “Are you buying them for yourself?” Oye. If any of you order, just tell them they’re for your dang Sorry! game! ha.

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010 at 10:01

Can’t wait for the D&D Virtual Table? Try Virtual Daivve NOW!

So you think the official D&D Virtual Table looks cool..? Bummed that you’re not in the beta testing of it? Worried it’ll take forever and a day for it to get released? Don’t wait! Check out a new program that honestly, looks 80% like D&D:VT. It’s called Virtual Daivve (pronounced Dave).

We’ve seen Gametable before. I’m a huge fan of it. A community member took the code for GT and modified it to be specifically used with 4th edition D&D. You can do just about everything that the screens show for the D&D:VT AND more. In VD you can:

  • Set initiative order
  • Have dice macros for everyone
  • See current health above the pogs
  • Set status conditions with icons on pogs
  • List important character info (AC, W, F, R, and more) on each pog
  • STREAM MP3S TO YOUR PLAYERS! (sounds effects, background music)
  • Have Fog of War effects

Ya know what? I’m not going to post screens of the program. Look at any post I’ve done here on Gametable for an idea of its look. Trust me. If you play 4e D&D online and want to use something like the D&D Virtual Table now, hit up Virtual Daivve. The mp3 streaming is available in the latest dev version, not the newest stable release.

Thursday, November 18th, 2010 at 15:32

I DM out of necessity. There. I said it.

I need to get out from behind the screen. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the role (roll?) and find great enjoyment in gathering my comrades together to give them their D&D fix but deep down inside I long to roll a character, slay baddies, find nifty magical items, and save the day.

When I started playing D&D, which really wasn’t all that long ago, 4 years? Or.. 1 year B.C. (before child), I found a local group that was playing 3.5e and rolled me up a Dwarven Paladin. We had a few sessions and the group fell apart. I managed to get in on another group, only this time it was online with a friend of mine. It too was 3.5 (4 wasn’t out yet) and he set the adventures in the Diablo II realm. Fun indeed! That group also fell apart and I found myself again without a group to play with.

So I decided to make my own group with me as the DM since no others were available. I even found a chap online who was very dedicated to the game and even DM’ed a weekly session that included me as a PC. It was great! Engaging story line. Great DM…but then he disappeared. Didn’t show up to one session online. Stopped logging on instant messengers. Didn’t respond to email. Missed the session after that. Just plain disappeared. I have my theories. Either he died or was arrested. Unfortunately I didn’t know too much about him prior to his disappearance. Only that he went by the online handle Yevold and that his real name was Brian and that he lived in Elkridge, MD.  (Anyone know him..?)

Anywho..The bottom line is that I’m itching to get out from behind the screen now and again. I’ve offered my current PCs the option to DM a session or two with my assistance. No takers yet. Some are completely new to D&D so I can imagine the prospect may be a bit overwhelming.

So..DM’s. If you can’t be a PC in a game, how are you getting your fix? Do you treat the monsters as your character? Drink to excess?

Does anyone have room for a Caeseropapist Monarch such as myself in their group that meets Thursday, Friday, or Saturday nights starting at 9pm Eastern? :)

Friday, November 12th, 2010 at 12:16

Things I Learned From My Recent D&D Session

My monthly 4e D&D group met up for its third session. After the 10 hour gaming session, I learned quite a few things as a DM.

1) I need a d100

Well, sure I could use two d10′s but a d100 is a little more…dramatic. My PCs kept rolling 1′s most of the night and I decided to adopt some Critical Fumbles. A google search during the session relvealed a few lists/tables but I think I’ll end up making my own. A dagger was busted, some folks stunned themselves for a few rounds, others granted combat advantage.  On the flip side, I’m thinking of using a Critial Hit list as well to give some bonuses when folks roll crits.

2) Don’t underestimate the importance of initiative

It’s not just for keeping organization during combat. The party decided to spend the night in the dungeon. During the second half of their extended rest, a skeletal cyclops and some of his boneshard buddies paid the slumbering adventurer’s a visit. The cyclops went dead (ha..) last in the initiative order and was almost bloodied by the time the 5 PCs were done with their first turn. I thought for sure I’d get to harrass the PCs a little longer but his time on the map was short lived (..heh…ugh).

3) Combat after combat after combat after combat is Teh Suxx0r.

I’m running a canned adventure and the never-endeding series of combat encounters is nauseating. I used to create my own adventures with my last campaign but due to time restrictions, decided to use a canned one. My players are itching to solve some puzzles and role play (well..some are) and I don’t want to let that enthusiasm fade away due to lack of opportunities. I’m going to be tweaking the canned adventure to add some elements in that will spice up the sessions while still being able to use the maps and what not. I may have to use the Monster Builder thingy to tweak the baddies if the PCs advance in level ahead of schedule.

4) The new printer I bought was VITAL!

I picked up a new printer that would play nicely with the Windows 7 64bit I run – a wireless printer at that. Last night, the party leveled (level 2..woo) and everyone updated their char on the character builder and was able to print it from their own laptops to the wireless printer. When magic items were obtained, new sheets with the updated stats would spit out of the printer tray. We had to load it with paper three times last night.

5) Glue the tokens on the BACK of the 1″ glass tiles I mentioned previously

In the last post here, I talked about glueing tokens to 1″ glass tiles purchased at Lowe’s/Home Depot. They worked great BUT the back of the tiles has a glue like substance on it which began to stick to the paper maps I had printed out and were hard to slide around using my craps casino stick (which rocked by the way). The solution is to glue the tokens to the glue’ish side of the tiles.  S’all good in the hood.

6) My craps stick needs to be modified

It was hard to push around the tokens once combat groups clumped together. The possible solution as suggested by a player of mine is to go back to the washer system and rig the craps stick with an electromagnet with a button control on the base of the stick. That way, I can go fishing for the metal washer token I want to move, engage the electromagnet to pick it up, move it, place it down on the map, and release the button disengaging the magnet and releasing the token on the map. It doesn’t seem like too hard a deal really.

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 at 11:42

How to STILL share your D&D Insider Account

I’m sure it is old news by now but WOTC has announced that later this month, the D&D Insider Character Builder will be moving to a web based interface. I have mixed feelings about this.

For one, it`ll be nice to not have to try to install the update a bunch of times hoping one of them takes. That was a pain to say the least. Secondly, I hope the web version will support different monitor resolutions as the current character builder is almost unusable on my Asus EeePC netbook.

But for some people who share their D&D Insider account with their group, this may cause issues. The first being that you`ll have to share your Insider account password. For security reasons, just change your password there to something easy to remember for your group and something you don’t mind them knowing (as in…don’t use you facebook or web banking password).

One way WOTC may put an end to account/password sharing is to lock an account out if too many different IPs log in. But. AH HA! We’ve already touched on a method we can use to get around this:

Set up a computer either at your house or a friends or wherever you can and have you and your party members remote desktop to the system and log in with the shared pass that way. Here’s the post I made talking about Remote Desktop. That way, everyone using the account will have the same IP address.

The solution for WOTC to prevent people from sharing logins like this is to set up a special pricing package. Let’s call it… The Czar’s Awesome Party Package. A DM can pay one subscription price and get full access to all D&D Insider material as it is now and shall become. But, the PCs can pay a low price to get full access to the Character Builder and all updates to it as long as they remain subscribed. For my PCs to pay $71 a year to use the character builder is absurd to imagine. Do the PCs need the compendium…not really..The monster builder..No. Game Table…wait..er. :)

Please get with it Wizards. This move won’t solve the problem. Pirates are still scanning dead-tree books page by page to distribute them to the masses. Work WITH the community, not against it.

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 at 18:13

DIY Tokens/Pogs/Figure bases – Now even cheaper!

It’s no secret that I’m infatuated with the post from the Newbie DM about making your own D&D pogs/tokens using metal washers and your printer. Real plastic figs are expensive! But I’ve found a way to reduce the cost even more than the washer system.

Behold! The Tile System:

These are decorative recycled glass tiles for application in your home – perhaps as a kitchen back splash or bathroom tile work. Each one is 1″ x 1″ and comes in a 12″ x 12″ sheet for $4.98 at Lowes. 144 tiles for $5. The 1″ washers I use are 30 for about the same price.

Of course they fit on a 1″ grid marked battlemap perfectly.

Token Tools from RPTools.net allows the creation of square tokens quite easily just as you would make round ones by selecting a square patterned overlay instead of a round one.

The next task would be to find a square 1″ scrapbooking punch to pop out the square tokens for application on the glass tile. A quick Google search showed that such a creature does exist and is around the same price as the round one I purchased a while ago.

Also, with the new acquisition of my craps style dice stick for moving my tokens around the map, I can mount my pewter or plastic figures to these tiles so I can push/pull them around the map without tipping them over due to being top heavy.

Oo. I just noticed one my Transformers in the background. Better put that away before my kid destroys it! You can also see in this picture how the tiles are attached to the sheet. They are meant to be glued to the wall/surface and then grouted. The sheet allows them to be placed with precision so you don’t have thousands of 1″ tiles to apply and measure out just right. When I pulled the tile off the sheet, I had to remove some of the strands from the back by hand as they stuck on. The process took a few seconds.

In closing, I’m excited to use this new system and will soon have to find a way to neatly and safely store the multitude of tokens I have amassed – something organized so I can find what I need quickly. Perhaps another post when that system is devised.

Thursday, October 7th, 2010 at 14:41