Monday, May 23, 2011

Elminster's Jock

Yeah, this will drive traffic to the site.

Well, you can blame Brian, the creative genius over at d20monkey for this one. He posted THIS COMIC, and I couldn't help but take it from there.

Brian, this is all on you:

Until next time...

Game excellently with one another.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Future of Dungeons & Dragons - What if D&D 5e Had No DM?


My brain is still humming after last Friday's Twitter conversation. I had caught wind of, in my feed, of some discussion of what WotC (Wizards of the Coast) was or was not doing to market Dungeons & Dragons as a gaming experience. In addition, there was a great deal of speculation on how the brand could be better leveraged to increase interest in the game, and as an aside, increase general interest in role-playing games (of all types) as a hobby. After lurking the feed for a bit, this question popped into my head:

"If Dungeons & Dragons were as popular as say, Scrabble or Monopoly (but not be a board game), what would that look like and how would you get there?" I expanded the question by adding, "So the question becomes: How do you make Dungeons & Dragons a "pastime" instead of a niche game? What social machinery has to be activated to make it so?"

Twitter then "blew up" (but in a good way).  In fact, my friend Mad Brew (from Mad Brew Labs - an excellent RPG web site, by the way) was motivated to provide his own answers to this question. Check out his blog (I believe Tuesday and Wednesday of this week) to check out how he answers. Hopefully, this post (which preempts his just a bit), won't step on his toes. To prevent that, I want to take the question in a more specific direction.

If Dungeons & Dragons were played like more traditional social games, it would almost have to drop the role of the Dungeon Master .  If that actually happened, what would the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons look like? Would it even be recognizable as the same game? Is that even possible?

Well, I have to admit, as a Dungeon Master myself, I find the thought both intriguing and a little scary.  However, there's a lot more research to be done before I can make a fair assessment of the idea. Games like Castle Ravenloft and Wrath of Ashardalon go a long way to bridge the gap between the Dungeons & Dragons in a board game format, and Dungeons & Dragons the RPG.

I hope to be acquiring a copy of Wrath of Ashardalon soon, in hopes it can give me insight in how a group of folks could play Dungeons & Dragons without a DM. Thanks to DMSamuel over at RPG Musings, for sending me his copy to experiment with. You'll be getting some dinner, my friend, come Gen Con.

In the meantime, I'm working on answering this question. I don't have answers today, but maybe you have some input for the question?  I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Leave a comment!

Until next time...

Game excellently with one another.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Confessions of A Prop Whore DM: The Found Object

Yes folks, I confess. I'm a Prop Whore DM.

What's a Prop Whore DM, you ask? my definition, a Prop Whore DM (hereafter abbreviated as PWDM) is a dungeon master that uses a number of objects (or props) to enhance the role-playing experience of his players. In addition, a PWDM might use a number of interesting everyday objects to use at the table (instead or in addition to purchasing items specifically designed for role-playing) for terrain, miniatures, or handouts.

Today's post is a feast for the eyes, as I intend to show you a number of items I have acquired over the past few months. These are items that caught my attention one way or the other. Enjoy the show!

Candy Box Frame

I came upon this thing while fishing out the little plastic containers of  this really awful candy. I think it may have been Korean or Japanese. It was unlike any candy I'd ever tried. Sort of pressed dried rice, glued together with honey or something. I'm sure it's fine...wasn't my cup of tea. However, since no one in the department at the "candy" it had to be thrown out. So I got both the box, and the individual containers the "candy" was packed in. I spied the frame at the last minute and realized it would be the perfect platform to place dungeon tiles upon. Plus, the sections of the frame lock together, and could be duplicated with a piece of cardboard. Instant platform!

Tea Pyramids

I believe these little containers are from a company called "Tea of Life". These stood out immediately to me as either great obelisks or (if turned upside down), curious containers for scrolls, potions, or reagents. Just paint, seal, and away you go. I'm still waiting to go through all the tea before I actually do something with these.

Tiki Mask Ice Cube Tray

Awhile back, I posted on Twitter some images of some casts I made with a seasonal silicone rubber ice cube tray. The Halloween skulls were a big hit! So, the other day, I hit the dollar store again, and found a summer time luau ice cube tray. Tiki masks! These masks will make great additions to a wall for a temple entrance, etc. I tried to do some ice to show you how they look, but the detail isn't that great. When I actually get a chance to cast some stone in these, I'll post up the pictures.

Blinds Samples

These are interesting. They're actually sample swatches from a home improvement store, something you pick up when shopping for blinds. I thought they would make great screens, curtains, mats, or even the flexible portion of a rope bridge.

Candy Containers

Remember the "candy" I was telling you about earlier? Well, that candy came in these individual square containers. Each little container has a clear plastic lid that snaps right down on top of it. First thing I thought of when seeing these was cauldrons. Not the round pot type cauldrons, but the low square kind that set nearly into the floor. You could fill these with a colored epoxy for difficult terrain. Or, if you've a mind to, you can use the containers for holding counters, coins, or what-have-you for the game. Great find!

M&Ms® Minis® Candy Tubes.

If "scroll case" doesn't scream at you when you look at these things, then I don't even know what's wrong with you. Paint these an interesting bone or leather color, pop inside that important scroll or map, and you have a killer map/scroll case. 

Well, that about does it for now. This is just small sample of the ordinary things you can utilize to enhance your tabletop RPG game. A tactile object can be just the thing to bring home that important role-playing moment. Don't let a limited budget impact your game. Become a PWDM and blow your players' minds!

Until next time...

Game excellently with one another.