Tag Archives: Save vs Death

Weekly Roundup: Papercraft Dragon Edition

This week, Wizards of the Coast posted a papercraft dragon on the D&D site. If you’d like to make one and display it on your desk, coffee table, or nightstand, here’s the link… just don’t take it in the shower with you. Below is the results of our efforts 

In this picture, I am moving his head up and down to make him talk. I swear that glass of wine has nothing to do with my behavior.

Do the characters in your game have no real connection to one another? Is “why are we adventuring together?” a question no one dares ask for fear that the answer will be a shoulder shrug? Try this exercise on the card provided at Some Space To Think this week.

Greyhawk Grognard posted his first impressions of Dungeon Crawl Classic. This is a new RPG system with a real old-school feel to it. If that’s something you’re hoping for in D&D Next, DCC might be a good way to get an early fix.

The new Charactergen blog had a good article on the power of “yes, and” and its nemesis “well, actually.” (Disclosure: F-bombs) You’ll remember we talked about “yes, and” in a recent article about quests.

RPG Musings posted some thoughts on what classes could look like in D&D Next. Some interesting thoughts on how “classes” might be more like “roles.”

Steve Winter posted a week’s worth of articles on the subject of random encounters at Howling Tower. They’re something that were eschewed in 3 and 4e, and may be making some kind of comeback in 5e.

Finally, Save Vs. Death posted their submission to the One Page Dungeon Contest, titled The Tears of Mother Pestilence. By the way, if you go to the contest page, you can find links to all the current submissions!

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: Did Ya Miss It? Edition)

While this isn’t really the point of The Dungeon’s Master‘s article, I found the idea of having character “trees” in this article intriguing.  Does anyone else play with a stable of characters as opposed to one character?
(4/9/11) 

RAWR! Lil' Flame is coming to get you!

 

Weekly Roundup: New Homebrew Campaign Edition

This coming weekend, our group is going to be starting a new 4e homebrew campaign. A little Greyhawk, and a little special ops, we’re pretty excited to get going on it. If you want to hear more, stay tuned for our next podcast, hopefully going up sometime this week.

Kobold Quarterly posted its first article by WotC alum Steve Winter this week. He talks about lethality in D&D, and whether you should expect your character to survive until level 30. If you want more of Steve’s musings, he has his own blog at Howling Tower.

About a month ago, we posted an article on making an interesting solo in 10 seconds. Extended Rest tried the technique and blogged about it. See how it turned out!

If you’ve ever played one of those old school “text adventure” computer games, you’ll enjoy the Exits Are project. While not an RPG, per se, it’s very RPG-ish, and very cool.

Blog of Holding wrapped up its series “Playing D&D With Mike Mornard.” Check out all seven parts, they’re all good. (Mike Mornard played in Gary Gygax’s D&D game, as well as Dave Arneson’s)

What do you do when a party goal could be accomplished most easily by a single character? The Dungeon’s Master tackled the question this week.

If you’ve played Revenge of the Iron Lich, be sure to head over to Save vs. Death to leave your first impressions and memories. RotIL turned 1 this week!

Finally, check out the new animated webseries from ENWorld called “The Perturbed Dragon.” The prologue is currently up for your viewing pleasure.

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: Who Wins The Free Book Edition)

The Hopeless Gamer had an amazing guest post detailing how to make a ravine for your miniature game terrain.  Say it with me: Arts…..And…..Crafts!!!

Weekly Roundup: Did The Roman Empire Play D&D Edition

How old is D&D? Almost 40 years, right? Hmmm… think again. It seems the Roman Empire may have invented the d20. So, ok, maybe it wasn’t used for D&D, but it’s pretty cool to think that the d20 has been around since at least the Roman Empire. Which gets our imaginations going… what WAS it used for? (via Going Last)

There’s some news out about the upcoming Pathfinder MMO over at Geek Related that doesn’t sound too promising. In an MMO world dominated by WoW, how do you make your product different enough to stand out, while still making it something people want to play?

Troll in the Corner had a great suggestion to track what’s going on in your campaign, while at the same time gauging what plot hooks your players are interested in. Called “Big Open Questions,” it’s worth a read if you’re not sure what direction your game should go in next.

Next time you’re in need of a really quick random room, check out the two part table from Gamer Assembly. First, you get a room type, then one defining feature in that room. It’s that simple. Give it a try!

Of course, one thing that also might be in such a room is a Pink Dragon. That’s right. A Pink Dragon, complete with sparkles and rainbows. You know you want to click through…. (via That Robed Guy)

For all the old school Gamma World fans out there, the news out of D&D Nexus is good. Metamorphosis Alpha (Gamma World’s predecessor) is back in print at LuLu.

RPG Athanaeum gave us some ideas on how to “reverse engineer” 4e modules to be more like first edition adventures.

Over at the WotC community blogs, Wrecan introduced three additional pillars of D&D (the original three are Combat, Exploration, and Roleplaying), and Jester waxed philosophical on rules for roleplaying.

Finally, Twitter was abuzz this week with everyone’s “Fourthcore Villan Name.” Find out yours at Save Vs. Death‘s name generator.

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: Postponed Game Edition)

Icosahedrophilia (say THAT five times fast…) had a very interesting article on the history of miniatures in D&D.  Specifically, how the rules, as written, supported (or didn’t support) the use of miniatures on a battle map.  Good read, even if you’re only interested in the general history of D&D.
(2/6/11)

Weekly Roundup: End of Campaign Edition

This past week saw the last session of our two year long campaign.  The group of guys we DM for are all headed off to college.  We were able to finish the story quest that was introduced in the very first session, so we think everyone went away with a bit of closure.  What’s next?  We’re not sure.  Perhaps a Gamma World campaign with another group of high schoolers, and also getting back into playing and DMing LFR with a group that has recently drifted a bit.  Plus, we’re still involved in D&D Encounters.  Here is the week in articles:

Some Space to Think mused upon the differences between 4e and 1e – from a first person perspective.

Omnivoracious‘ “How to Write Betrayal” has some great tips that DMs can use in plotting out a story arc that includes… well, betrayal.

Also, make sure you catch The ID DM‘s article on a psychological experiment that was done in the 1960’s, and how you can incorporate a little bit of morality psychology into your game.

Save Versus Death posted the first of his new mini dungeon modules, Gallery of the Hate Blossom.  Weighing in at four pages, it’s a great mini delve, and we hope to see more mini delves from him and other sources in the near future. (There were also Twitter rumors of Fourthcore one page delves this week)

Finally, did you miss the contest at The Angry DM this week? If you follow us on Twitter, you shouldn’t have. It’s a cool logic puzzle worth trying to solve (and steal) even if you didn’t get your entry in under the deadline. (Answer is here)You can still enter the Illuminerdy contest though, if you’re looking to win stuff.

Weekly Roundup: Secret Project Revealed Edition

Recently, I hinted at a “secret” project I’ve been working on.  Well, time to pull back the curtain.  I have been building 3D models of the Fourthcore Deathmatch maps for GenCon.  The first two maps are done, and I’ve posted pictures here – I put them in a separate article because there are too many for a weekly roundup.  The third map is secret, so I won’t be posting any pics of that model.  Check them out (next article), or if you’ll be at GenCon, come see them in person!  The models will be for sale at GenCon after the Deathmatch, and any models not sold at the end of the con will go up on Ebay.  I’ll announce that here if I end up auctioning them.  Now, on to some articles…

Geneome showed us how he made the Ritual Tower from the Dark Sun adventure “Revenge of the Marauders.”  This is as simple and inexpensive as a project can get, and it still looks great!

Spinoff Online wondered if Hollywood is over its love affair with geek culture.  While not a D&D specific article, it’s still a good read.

Arcane Springboard conjectured about the future of D&D over at This Is My Game.  Is D&D close to 5th edition, or is 4th edition simply expanding further?  Time will tell.

Daily Encounter gave us a free multi-part skill challenge.  In it, PCs need to evacuate a town before the adjacent river overflows its banks.  Success is measured in how many villagers are killed in the natural disaster.  Check this one out!

Finally, The D&Dverse was rocked on Tuesday, as Save Versus Death announced that he will no longer be working on Fourthcore, then followed up with this explanation.  We hope to see Fourthcore live on, however, as fans continue to develop within this subgenre of D&D (and we believe he has this hope as well).

Don’t forget to check out the Deathmatch model pics – next article down!

Weekly Roundup: 100th Post Giveaway Edition

And the winners to Tuesday’s giveaway are…. James Whistler, Generic Fighter, and Edwin.  In case anyone is wondering how I pick winners, I count the number of entries, and then use random.org to generate random numbers.  Pretty simple, and (as far as I can tell) fair.  Now, some articles from this week:

Over at his own blog, Geek Ken asked an important question that deserves an answer: Where is the WotC support for Gamma World? 

There was lots of talk this week about the errata to Clerics.  Plenty of posts, but we thought we’d point out two: one by The ID DM, and a response by A Walk in the Dark. (p.s. You can find the class updates here)

For those of you who remember WotC hinting at the challenging adventure path they’re releasing, some teaser info was released on their site this week.  We look forward to testing our mettle!

Themes are a fairly new part of 4e D&D, and we were happy to find a good primer over at Temporary Hit Points.  There are a lot of good links to information about themes; if you want to know more, check it out.

Oh, and the Fourthcore Armory droped today over at Save vs. Death. Pick it up, it’s free!!

That’s all for this week kids.  If we missed any really cool articles, leave them in the comments!

Dungeon Accessories: The Phantom Staircase

This article is part of an ongoing series discussing different accessories you can make for your 3D dungeon tiles.  For the rest of the series, click the “Article Series” link in the menu bar.  Please note that even if you don’t intend to make this project, we always include ideas at the end of these articles that can be integrated into adventures with or without the accessory.

Last week, I took some time to read over the module Revenge of the Iron Lich written by Sersa V over at Save vs. Death.  I haven’t played it yet, but there’s a lot to like about this adventure. I highly recommend at least checking it out if you haven’t done so already.  It certainly has a flavor all its own; it brings back the danger in a dungeon that comes from messing with dungeon objects and the environment itself, as opposed to the danger presented by the monsters living there.  And did we mention the puzzles? We look forward to the second installment of this series.

Without giving out any real spoilers, one of the cool features of the dungeon (and there are many) is the Phantom (or “Insubstantial”) Staircase.  It really sparked my imagination.  But if you were to put this dungeon together with Dwarven Forge or Hirst Arts blocks, you’d probably be stuck when you got to the Phantom Staircase.  Who makes such an accessory?  No one but us.  And now you can too!

This is another one of those projects that’s so easy, it’s a no brainer.  Even if you only use it once, the small amount of time invested is worth it.  For materials, you need a hot glue gun, several hot glue sticks (at least 4), parchment paper, and something to make the staircase out of.

  • First, I stacked some Hirst Arts blocks in a staircase pattern.  You could really use anything you like – legos, books, styrofoam blocks, etc.  The only prerequisite is that the top floor tile is of the correct height for whatever it is you’re going to use it for.  Make sure that each step is big enough to put a mini on.
  • Then, I cut a strip of parchment paper, and put creases in it to lay over the staircase.  This would keep the hot glue from drying to the blocks.  I also used a little double sided tape to keep the paper on the blocks.
  • Next, I spread a thin layer of hot glue over the whole thing.
  • Lastly, I thickened the hot glue at each 90 degree angle in the staircase, except for the top and bottom steps.  This will help strengthen the staircase and prevent sagging.  You don’t need to do the top and bottom steps because you’ll glue the staircase to floor tiles at the top and bottom. 
  • When the glue is good and dry, you’ll flip the staircase over so that the bottom step is now the top step, and all the thickened parts are underneath.  Remove the parchment paper, and glue the top and bottom step to a dungeon tile.  You could either glue it under or on top of the tile, as you prefer.  Ok, I get that you might not want to glue it to your precious Dwarven Forge (which is why I like Hirst Arts), and there may be a way around that.  I would start experimenting with removeable adhesive, such as sticky tack, double sided tape, or rubber cement.  Just know that the staircase is going to work best when both ends are well anchored.

Total make time: 30 minutes (!)

As a side note, I initially tried this with water effects.  Unfortunately, when dry, water effects is too rubbery and flexible to support a mini.  The staircase sagged under the weight of even a plastic mini.  Hot glue, when dry, is a much stiffer material, and has no problem supporting even a large metal mini:

This is a rather heavy metal mini, placed at the center of the staircase. There is minimal sagging.

I would even feel comfortable extending the staircase higher.  Time did not permit me to try this, but manipulating the finished product has me convinced that it would work.  Also, time did not permit any kind of decorative work on the staircase, but it would be easy to take the hot tip of the glue gun, a soldering iron, or a hot craft knife, and work some swirls or icicles into the stairs.  (The failed water effects really threw me a curve ball on this one)

Some ideas for using The Phantom Staircase:

  • Like anything insubstantial, there’s a 50% clause: any character starting their turn on the staircase has a 50% chance of falling through it
  • The PCs need a special item that allows them to ascend the staircase.
  • The PCs need to trigger something in another part of the dungeon to make the staircase substantial
  • The PCs need to be insubstantial themselves to ascend the staircase
  • The staircase only becomes substantial in total darkness
  • The staircase has recently appeared just outside the town gate, and no one is brave enough to investigate where it goes. (It could ascend into the sky, or down into a mysterious hole)
  • It is made of air, very hard to find, and is the only way to get to the Temple of the Four Winds

You could also use this technique to make water cascading down stairs.  You would just stop at the initial thin layer of glue, and lay the finished product over the dungeon tile staircase.  Here are some ideas for that:

  • Any character starting their turn on the staircase must save or be washed two squares back.
  • The water squares are simply difficult terrain.
  • The water is mysteriously flowing up the stairs.
  • The water has no apparent source, and no apparent draining point.  If the PCs pry up the floor tile at the source, they find an Endless Canteen (Adventurer’s Vault) or some other water-themed wondrous item.
  • Healing effects heal an extra 5 points (10 paragon, 15 epic) to any character standing in the water.

How would you use the Phantom Staircase?

Weekly Roundup – DDXP 2011 Edition

It’s quite possible most of you are still detoxing from DDXP.  We’ve got what you need! More D&D!  In the form of articles!  For you to read!  Check out this week’s best (non-DDXP)  articles.

RPG Musings pointed us to a great resource for campaign ideas that’s right in front of you.  Why didn’t we think of this first? Brilliant!

If you haven’t been following Sersa over at Save Vs. Death and his “Fourthcore” philosophy, you should.  There’s lots of great usable content over there, and all of it deliciously deadly.  Don’t know what Fourthcore is?  Never fear, this week a FAQ was posted.

And did you hear the news about the prison who won’t let its inmates play D&D because it threatens prison security? No? Geeks are Sexy had a great blog post covering the story.

The Weem posted a fun Twitter interview with WotC. Quick read, since questions and answers are limited to Twitter’s 140 characters.

Finally, The Labyrinth had a great article about the process they used to find a new player for their game.  While their success rate varied, you might find a resource here that you haven’t used yet.  Or you might just find the story of them trying to find a new player entertaining.

Leave us a link to YOUR blog in the comments!

Weekly Roundup – Impending Holidays Edition

We’re all getting ready for the holidays…what kinds of holiday swag are you hoping to get?  New dice?  Minis?  Dare I say it….Dwarven Forge???

Save Versus Death pointed us to the new article he wrote for Kobold Quarterly.  It’s a fully fleshed out encounter with an undead guardian that sends the PCs on three quests.  Definitely worth checking out!

Arcane Springboard over at This is My Game talked about how receiving the Red Box from his grandparents when he was a kid was more than just the gift of a game.  Made us think about how it’s important to bring new people into the hobby, and how D&D is more than “just a game.”

We were interested in The Labyrinth‘s call for a good Mass Combat System.  Everyone readily admits that D&D is no good for mass combat, which is fine because it’s not meant to be.  However, it’s always nice to have something like this in your back pocket.  (Here are the preliminary results)

Level 30 Yinzer wrote a great article on combat alternatives to “kill all the monsters.”  Worth a read if the “kill everything in sight” tactic is the only way your group plays, and you’d like to switch it up somehow.

What? Your article isn’t listed? Leave it for everyone in the comments!!

Weekly Roundup – Spoooooky Edition

Today is Halloween, so obviously we have candy on my mind.  Yeah, we’re too old to go trick or treating, but we’ll never be too old to steal the kids’ candy after they go to bed. 

Lately, we’ve been using Starburst as minions.  In case you’ve never seen this before, whoever kills it, eats it.

Kicking off our Spoooooky Edition, Vanir over at Critical Hits gave a nod to the holiday by talking about childhood nightmares, and adding horror to your game.  Shawn Merwin also wrote a Critical Hits article about the merits of playing with strangers.

The Dread Gazebo and Save Vs. Death teamed up to give us part one of some deadly new traps.  Our favorite part?  His inspiration for the trap – Mario Bros.

Ryven of At-Will wrote a killer new piece in his “Serious Skills” series.  The topic?  Heal.  We’d suggest catching yourself up on all the previous installments as well.

Finally, Aaron over at Phelanar’s Den gave us the perfect “wishlist vs. random treasure” hybrid system for doling out the goodies to the trick or trea…. I mean the party.

Your blog didn’t make the cut?  Feel free to post shameless plugs in the comments!