Saturday, April 4, 2015

New Monsters for D&D 5th Ed: Choker, Blazing and Decrepit Skeleton

I had some time last night and today to do some fun things after finishing off a deadline earlier in the week, so I set about writing up some monsters from previous editions of D&D that I like, but haven't appeared in 5th edition yet.

As usual, these are my first passes at these critters, so if you have feedback or advice, I'd love to hear it. I think they're fairly balanced and correct, but I haven't yet run them in a game (thought I may soon!).

I wish I had some kind of graphic design program, so I could make a pretty PDF, but I don't, so instead you'll have to take this text-only PDF, if you want one.


Chokers are small, cruel, and hate-filled monsters created long ago in the laboratory of some mad wizard or otherworldly being. They live underground or in heavily-shadowed areas that allow them to easily conceal themselves—both to keep them safe from predators and so they can attack from surprise. They are most often found in caves, tunnels, or the Underdark, but they’ve learned to live in large cities, specifically in sewers, crawl spaces, or other nooks and crannies that are easy to find in a city. Constantly on the lookout for food, chokers are nasty, evil creatures who prefer to work together to take down larger creatures before consuming them. Chokers have long, boneless arms and legs, more like tentacles than anything else, and walk with a strange, long, loping gait. While no taller than halflings, they look nothing like that race otherwise, instead they are gray skinned creatures with oversized hands lined with sharp spines, a hairless head with no nose, dark pits for eyes, and jagged teeth, and stunted feet with only a few long-nailed toes.

Nighttime Stalkers. During the daylight hours, chokers prefer to hide away, emerging from hiding only at night to hunt and inflict pain on others. Their preferred method of attack for a choker is to strike from surprise and wrap its pliable arms around its target’s neck, then slowly choke the victim to death. If attacking with others of its kind, one choker strangles the target while the others slash at it with their spiny tentacle-like arms.

Bauble Fascination. While not very bright, chokers are intelligent enough to understand that some things are valuable or important. Sometimes, this leads them to fixate on stealing a certain item from a person, like a brooch or shiny dagger, while other times a choker might become desirous of a fancy hat or cloak. As such, it’s entirely possible to find chokers bedecked in odd bits or clothing or secreting away odds and ends of uncertain value.
Small monstrosity, chaotic evil
AC 15 (natural armor)
HP 18 (4d6 + 4)
Speed 20 ft., climb 10 ft.
Str 16 (+3)   Dex 14 (+2)     Con 13 (+1)
Int 4 (-3)       Wis 13 (+1)     Cha 7 (-2)
Skills Stealth +6
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages Undercommon
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)
Quickness. The choker can take the Disengage or Move action as a bonus actions on each of its turns.
Multiattack. The choker makes two tentacle attacks.
Strangle. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (2d4 + 3) bludgeoning damage, and a Medium or smaller target is grappled (escape DC 13). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained and takes 5 (2d4) bludgeoning damage at the start of each of its turns, and the choker can’t strangle or use a tentacle attack against another target.
Tentacle. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4 + 3) piercing damage.


Blazing Skeleton                   
A blazing skeleton is the result of someone dying in a fire intense enough to reduce their body to smoldering black bones. The blazing skeleton is granted unlife due to the strong emotions it felt as it died or due to the presence of necromantic energy or evil linked in some way to fire or the hells.
Blazing Skeleton
Medium undead, lawful evil
AC 13 (armor scraps)
HP 26 (4d8 + 8)
Speed 30 ft.
Str 10 (+0)   Dex 14 (+2)     Con 15 (+2)
Int 6 (-2)       Wis 8 (-1)        Cha 5 (-3)
Damage Vulnerabilities bludgeoning, cold
Damage Immunities poison, fire
Condition Immunities exhaustion, poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 9
Languages understands all languages it knew in life but can’t speak
Challenge 1 (200 XP)
Explosive Destruction. The blazing skeleton explodes in a fiery blast when it dies, and each creature within 10 feet of it must make a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw, taking 7 (2d6) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. The explosion ignites flammable objects in that area that aren’t being worn or carried.
Fiery Aura. At the start of each of the blazing skeleton’s turns, each creature within 5 feet of it takes 3 (1d6) fire damage, and flammable objects in the aura that aren’t being worn or carried ignite. A creature that touches the blazing skeleton or hits it with a melee attack while within 5 feet of it takes 3 (1d6) fire damage.
Blazing Weapons. When the blazing skeleton hits with a melee weapon, it deals an extra 3 (1d6) fire damage (included in the attack).
Illumination. The blazing skeleton sheds bright light in a 10-foot radius and dim light for an additional 10 feet.
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) slashing damage, plus 3 (1d6) fire damage.
Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage, plus 3 (1d6) fire damage.


Decrepit Skeleton                  
At one time the decrepit skeleton was a normal skeleton, but that was a long time ago. Now, so much time has passed that the necromantic energies keeping the skeleton animated have weakened and its bones have started to rot and fall apart. A decrepit skeleton creaks and bone dust falls from it with every motion. While they can still fight, they are weaker than other skeletons and shatter with almost any blow or crumble to dust when affected by the power of the gods.
Decrepit Skeleton
Medium undead, lawful evil
AC 12 (armor scraps)
HP 5 (1d8 + 1)
Speed 30 ft.
Str 10 (+0)   Dex 12 (+1)     Con 13 (+1)
Int 4 (-3)       Wis 6 (-2)        Cha 3 (-4)
Damage Vulnerabilities bludgeoning, radiant
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities exhaustion, poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 8
Languages understands all languages it knew in life but can’t speak
Challenge 1/8 (25 XP)
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d4 + 1) slashing damage.
Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6 + 1) piercing damage.
Shortbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, range 80/320 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6 + 1) piercing damage.

I hope you get some good use out of these!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Playing Around With D&D: New Fighter Archetype

I'm sure this already exists online somewhere, but I didn't bother searching for it because I wanted to create my own version of fighter archetype that uses guns. 

One of my long-running Gamemasters used firearms in his games along with black powder and he did an excellent job of it. Firearms were exotic and cool -- and the powder itself was pretty dangerous.

Anyway, for this new edition of D&D, I wanted to write up a gunfighter or pistoleer or musketeer, or whatever you want to call it, so I did.

Personally, I think this archetype has one or two too many abilities, but in order to make it work the way I wanted, this is what I ended up with. It's also entirely possible I haven't thought through every rules problem well enough. While I like the Coolheaded abilities, adding that d4 to a cleric's bless d4 or a bard's bardic inspiration d4 or d6 might be a bit much. But then again, bless and bardic inspiration exist next to each other already, so maybe it's not so unbalanced. Some of the abilities are also limited so they only apply to firearms, so hopefully that balances the abilities a bit. (I made some edits so the abilities come at the correct levels.)

I should add, this archetype requires a new background to give it proficiency with gunsmithing tools and access to a pistol or musket, which is priced out of reach for beginning characters. I might write up that background at some point.

Anyway, enough talk! Check out my take on a gunfighter for D&D:

Black Powder Irregular
Some warriors work for lords who have mastered, or have themselves otherwise learned, the secret of black powder. These gunfighters are trained to keep their cool and make the most of every shot. This archetype uses only the Renaissance Items off the Firearms table (see the DMG, page 268).
Armor Mastery
Beginning at 3rd level, while you are wearing no armor and not wielding a shield, your AC equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Wisdom modifier. If you are wearing light or medium armor and not wielding a shield, you gain a +1 AC bonus.
Beginning at 3rd level, you gain advantage on initiative rolls, and, if you aren’t within 5 feet of an enemy when you attack, don’t move more than 5 feet during your turn, you may add 1d4 to your first attack roll with a pistol or musket.
Improved Critical
At 7th level, your pistol and musket ranged attacks score a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20.
Additional Fighting Style
At 10th level, you can choose a second option from the Fight Style class feature.
Improved Coolheaded
At 15th level, you may move up to 15 feet during your turn and still gain the bonus to your attack rolls as long as you’re not within 5 feet of an enemy when you attack, and may add 1d6 to two attack rolls with pistols or muskets instead of 1d4.
Improved Critical
Also starting at 15th level, your pistol and musket ranged attacks score a critical hit on a roll of 18–20.
Wounding Shot
Starting at 18th level, once per turn, when you hit a creature with an attack using a pistol or musket, you can wound the target. At the start of each of the wounded creature’s turns, it takes 1d4 damage for each time you’ve wounded it, and it can then make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, ending the effect of all such wounds on itself on a success. Alternatively, the wounded creature, or a creature within 5 feet of it, can use an action to make a DC 15 Wisdom (Medicine) check, ending the effect of such wounds on it on a success.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Playing Around with D&D: New Rogue Archetype

I had a player request a "cleric" version of the Arcane Trickster, meaning a rogue with the spellcasting abilities of a cleric instead of a wizard. I liked the idea and have played similar sorts of character in previous editions, usually created using multiclassing rules. But, since they already had the Arcane Trickster, it made sense to me that a divine version was within the realm of possibility.

I stuck pretty close to the Arcane Trickster on the whole, but tried to specialize the abilities to be more like a cleric's. The abilities tend to be more supportive and defensive than offensive, but still give the rogue a unique flavor. I stole and altered some of the abilities from the cleric class, trickery domain, and even from the wizard schools.

Feedback is welcome and I already plan to make some changes based on discussions with the player. I'm hoping to come up with some different and more interesting abilities than the ones I have here, so feel free to make suggestions.

With that out of the way, here's the ...

Divine Scoundrel
Even rogues have gods and many of those gods have priests who not only worship them, but also practice what they preach. These rogues are blessed by their gods with good fortune and quite a few tricks to make them better thieves, tricksters, confidence men, or any other sort of scofflaw.
When you reach 3rd level, you gain the ability cast spells. See chapter 10 for the general rules of spellcaster and chapter 11 for the cleric spell list.
Cantrips. You learn three cantrips: guidance and two other cantrips of your choice from the cleric spell list. You learn another cleric cantrip of your choice at 10th level.
Spell Slots. The Arcane Trickster Spellcasting table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.
For example, if you know the 1st-level spell bless and have a 1st-level and a 2nd-level spell slot available, you can cast bless using either slot.
Spells Known of 1st-Level and Higher. You know three 1st-level cleric spells of your choice, two of which you must choose from the enchantment and divination spells on the cleric spell list.
The Spells Known column of the Arcane Trickster Spellcasting table shows when you learn more cleric spells of 1st level or higher. Each of these spells must be an enchantment or divination spell of your choice, and must be of a level for which you have spell slots. For instance, when you reach 7th level in this class, you can learn one new spell of 1st or 2nd level.
The spells you learn at 8th, 14th, and 20th level can come from any school of magic.
Whenever you gain a level in this class, you can replace one of the cleric spells you know with another spell of your choice from the cleric list. The new spell must be of a level for which you have spell slots, and it must be an enchantment or divination spell, unless you’re replacing the spell you gained at 8th, 14th, or 20th level.
Spellcasting Ability. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for your cleric, spells, since you gain your spells directly from a god of thieves and trickery. You use your Wisdom whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Wisdom modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a cleric spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.
                Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier
                Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier
Cunning Guidance
Starting at 3rd level, when you cast guidance, you can choose to do any of the following with that same casting.
  • You can cast guidance at a range of 30 feet instead of a range of touch.
  • When you cast the spell on another person, you can choose to have that same casting target you as well. The spells are treated as one for the purposes of Concentration and if one use of the spell is expended, the other instance doesn’t end until used, it ends (due to time or loss of concentration), or you cast the spell again.
  • You can cast guidance without its vocal or somatic components. You choose which when you cast the spell.
Expanded Spell List
Starting at 9th level, your god grants you spells normally only available to clerics of that deity. Once you gain a spell from the Divine Scoundrel Spells list, you always have it prepared, and it doesn’t count against the number of spells you can prepare each day.
If you have a spell from the Divine Scoundrel Spells list that doesn’t appear on the cleric spell list, the spell is nonetheless a cleric spell for you.
        Divine Scoundrel Spells
            Rogue Level           Spells
                   9th                       charm person, disguise self
                  11th                      mirror image, pass without trace
                  14th                      blink, dispel magic
                  17th                      dimension door, polymorph
                  20th                      dominate person, modify memory
Insightful Guidance
At 13th level, you gain the ability to use the insight granted by guidance to get the upper hand in combat. As a bonus action on your turn, you can choose to end a guidance spell you cast on yourself. Doing so gives you advantage on your next attack roll until the end of the turn.
Illusory Decoy
At 17th level, you can create an illusory duplicate of yourself or another creature as an instant, almost instinctual reaction to danger. When a creature makes an attack roll against you or another creature up to 30 feet away that you can see, you can use your reaction to interpose an illusory duplicate between the attacker and the target of the attack. The attack automatically misses, then the illusion disappears.
Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

D&D Background: The Laborer

I've really enjoyed what I've seen of the newest edition of D&D. One of the areas I think has the most room for innovation is the Backgrounds. While most of the playtest backgrounds have covered broad things like Sage, Criminal, Soldier, etc. I think they'll really come into their own when new ones are created for specific worlds or campaigns.

I could, for example, see backgrounds related to being a member of a knightly order, mages' school, or any number of other, more flavorful options.

That said, I wanted to try my hand at writing up my own background, so I followed the design considerations I assumed the writers of D&D followed and came up with a "generic" background that can be used for almost any sort of character. I came up with the laborer; a very broad background that makes sense for a fantasy setting, especially one with a grittier feel.

You have worked as a manual laborer your entire life. You have dirt under your fingernails and never shy away from a little hard work. Most of your time is filled in back-breaking labor, the type of work that keeps merchants and mine owners in business even as it makes you just enough money to get by. It’s a hard life, but it’s toughened you and made you confident in your abilities. Your past marks you as one of the common folk, but all great heroes start somewhere. 
Skill Proficiencies: Animal Handling, Athletics
Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set, vehicles (choose water or land)
Equipment: A job-related tool (choose a piece of equipment from the gear table that costs 2 gp or less), small knife, a set of bone dice or a deck of cards, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp.
Experienced Laborer
Laborers are everywhere in the city and countryside, from the dockworker unloading goods, to the cart driver delivering them, to the miner deep underground. Choose which type of laborer with which you have the longest history or roll on the table below. This list is not exhaustive so you can make up your job with the DM’s permission.
d8           Type of Laborer
1              Boatman
2              Carter
3              Clerk
4              Farmhand
5              Logger
6              Miner
7              Servant
8              Stevedore
Feature: Day Laborer
As one of the working class, finding work and a place to stay is easy for you. In any location that needs workers, you can find room and board plus enough money for a poor lifestyle for as long as the work holds out, unless you prove to be a danger to those around you. Your employer and the other laborers may even protect you from the law or anyone else searching for you, though they will not risk their lives for you.
Suggested Characteristics
Laborers are the workaday people that fill the cities and countryside, but just because they’re looked over by everyone doesn’t mean they’re not capable of great deeds. Most are likely to run from danger, but the exceptional few rise up from their humble origins to be great heroes. They tend to be earthy and defer to those of a higher social rank out of habit. They hold their family, friends, and home in high regard.
d8           Personality Traits
1              I work hard and I play hard.
2              I am always looking for ways to get out of working. If there’s a job to be done, someone else can do it.
3              I am gruff and have the social graces of a mule.
4              I take a measured approach to all problems. Any problem can be solved by thinking it through.
5              I have no patience for people who think they’re too good to get dirty.
6              I have a different pithy comment or aphorism, passed on from my grandfather, for every situation.
7              I prefer to stay silent than ask or say something stupid.
8              My family and friends come first, no matter what.
d6           Ideal
1              Tradition. I trust in the traditions handed from my parents and grandparents. What worked for them works for me. (Lawful)
2              Greed. I work hard and expect to be paid for it. I will do whatever I must to become wealthy. (Evil)
3              People. I do what I do for the people who are important to me, not because of the gods or what others think of me. (Neutral)
4              Respect. Everyone, even the lowest of the low, deserve to be treated well. (Good)
5              Independence. It’s my life and I’ll live it any way I want to. (Chaotic)
6              Aspiration. I want to prove that I’m exceptional in some way. Any way. (Any)
d6           Bond
1              I’ll prove myself to the one I love with great deeds.
2              The home I grew up in is the most important place in the world to me.
3              I will avenge the death of my loved ones by destroying those who took them from me.
4              I have a family that means the world to me. I will always find my way home to them.
5              I owe my life to the company owner who took me in and gave me work.
6              Relatives from long ago were nobles. I will reclaim their title and land.
d6           Flaw
1              I can’t be trusted with secrets. Actually, I just can’t be trusted.
2              I’m jealous of anyone stronger or smarter than me.
3              I’m bad with money, love to drink and gamble, and I’m always in debt.
4              I’ll do anything to get ahead.
5              I’m rude and pushy to people weaker than me. I say it’s to toughen them up, but really I enjoy it.

6              I think people look down on me because of my history and take offense at the smallest slight.

I'm really looking forward to creating more flavorful backgrounds, but this is a good start. I look forward to any feedback you have to offer.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hitting Reset

I haven't posted here for a while, but I'm going to start again.

The Song of Ice and Fire game wrapped up with all the sturm and drang you'd expect from that setting.

Someone else ran a very good game of Deadlands for a few months. That was great because I actually got to play in that setting. And a Huckster no less, which was a blast!

Now I've started a DC Adventures/M&M3 game, which is what I'll be posting about mostly. Including the characters people have come up with. Maybe some villains, too.

I'll be back!

Stand by for adventure!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

SIFRP: Session 3

After creating their house in the first session and the slaughter at the bar in the second session, this was the first full session of the players actually playing their characters for a whole night. The players all showed up this time around and as a reminder, they are:

Erik Wyrmwood (Bill)
Damian Wyrmwood (Randy)
Jasque Wyrmwood (Adam)
Wulfgar "the Nighthawk" Oakmeade (Jim)
Ser Olivar Bryce (James)
Ana Greyjoy (Kate)

The characters and their lord have learned of an attack, supposedly by Ironmen, on one of the villages on their land, so they decide to head for the village immediately. Their party comprises the characters listed above as well as two guerillas, Nyck and Ulvin. Ana was sent along because she's one of the Ironborn and might recognize something the other characters would miss. 

Before setting off, Lord Wyrmwood and the characters discuss what they should do and they decide this is mostly an information-gathering mission; find out if it was actually Ironmen, see how the village and villagers fare, and find out anything they can about the size of the force and how serious a threat it poses to them and the surrounding coastline.

A few hours of travel on horseback in gray, drizzling weather (I view this part of the world having weather similar to Seattle due to the ocean and the mountains) they arrive in the village of Goldwater. It is beset by crows and from a distance they see shapes moving through the ruins. They move up cautiously until they can see the shapes are survivors who've already set to work piling up the victims and finding anything that might still be of use.

The survivors are happy to see help arrive and they all gathered in the mostly-intact tavern to take a break and talk for a bit. Of all the people in town, only one was actually in the village at the time of the raid and apparently the only one to make it out alive. He was the smith's young apprentice Torrhen (15 years old). The others are an elderly woman named Correna and her granddaughter Anya (12-ish) who'd just returned to town the day before, another slightly older boy named Harlan (17), and a Night's Watch recruiter named Staven Manley and his "recruit" Bors, a thief and rapist from Lannisport who was in manacles to keep him from running away or causing too much trouble. I'd actually created Staven and Bors as possible characters for the bar fight that took place in the previous session, but when they weren't used I decided to slot them in here.

During the course of their conversation with the villagers found out that the smith had been taken by the raiders and that, yes, as far as Torrhen could tell they were Ironmen, but he'd never really seen any before, so he couldn't be sure. At that, Harlan spoke up and said they were definitely Ironmen. When quizzed as to how he knew this he hemmed and hawed and generally made the PCs suspicious until Erik persuaded him (with a simple intrigue) to come out with it. Harlan revealed that he was actually a member of a group of bandits who were camped not far from the village. They'd heard the noise the raid caused and came to investigate, but that's all they did because there were so many attackers and not very many of them.

While this discussion was going on, the Nighthawk and Ana were digging through the ruins and looking for anything that might give them some more information. They found a hand axe stamped with the symbol of House Greyjoy and a handful of arrows with fletching that matched that the Ironmen typically used. Upon returning to the tavern they showed what they'd found and the group decided the bandits might be able to tell them more specifics regarding the size of the force.

The players and the characters were all fairly nervous about walking into the camp of a group of "not quite a score" of bandits, especially since there were only eight members in their own party. Of the people they might have brought with them to help in case of a fight, they only took Torrhen. They couldn't trust Harlan to not call out even though he promised not to cause any problems as long as he could go free. They wanted to bring Staven despite is age, but he wouldn't go without Bors and since Bors couldn't be trusted to behave if he came with or to stay put if they left him behind they decided Staven was out, too.

So, off into the woods they went. The plan was to have everyone sneak up as close as they could (Harlan said they didn't really keep close watch, so it wouldn't be a big problem) and let Erik, Ser Olivar, and Nyck ride up to parley. Their reasoning was they didn't want to ride in looking like a big threat and make the bandits nervous, so instead they'd send a small force in and have everyone at hand in case things went south. Good plan.

When the four men rode in the bandits took notice, walked up with weapons in hand, while a handful sneaked out the back and side of camp to circle around. The Nighthawk, who has the Night Eyes quality noticed that since it was late night and rainy for everyone else. Oh, Ana and Jasque also noticed too since they both have INSANE passive perceptions (24 and 18 respectively, I believe) that even the darkness and rain couldn't overcome. Anyway, the roamers in the forest were being watched as they moved around.

Erik engaged the bandit leader, an older man named Ser John. He considered the Wyrmwoods turncoats because they'd followed the Lannister's lead against the Targaryens during the War of the Usurper/Robert's Rebellion and he insulted the Wyrmwoods incessantly. Erik, for his part didn't rise to the bait and, in fact, didn't even let it be known he was a Wyrmwood. Instead he merely said he was working for the Wyrmwoods and wanted information on the raid. Over the course of a full-fledged intrigue with the old knight Erik convinced the man to give them the information he wanted. Eventually he confirmed the men were definitely Ironmen, but with a shield he'd never seen before -- a red claw on a blue field -- and there were about 100 men in five ships.

With their business concluded, Ser John decided only one of them needed to leave the camp to communicate the information and the rest of them would be staying to be ransomed back to the turncoat Wyrmwoods. As soon as he completed the threat he sprouted an arrow from his eye courtesy of the Nighthawk, who wouldn't stand for a man raising a hand to his lord.

As soon as Ser John fell dead most of the rest of the bandits moved to attack, specifically Erik, Olivar, Nyck, and Ulvin who were in their midst. A couple of the bandits fled into the woods, not knowing what sort of force waited for them in the dark, but most attacked. Erik turned to flee, leaving Ser Olivar, Nyck, and Ulvin to fight eight or nine men on their own -- which didn't sit well with Ser Olivar. The bandits in the woods were taken by surprise by the PCs who'd managed to remain hidden despite some close calls. Even so, a couple of the men were able to charge Erik as he moved back down the path and stabbed him handily in the gut forcing him to take a wound in order to survive. That made all the PCs a bit nervous. The men he left behind faired well against their assailants, especially Ser Olivar, but Nyck eventually took a fatal blow and dropped. When the front line of bandits dropped a handful of others saw the writing on the wall and fled -- their dirks were no match for an armored knight and an unknown number of archers in the dark forest.

At the end of the fight, Nyck was dead, Erik was wounded, and nine bandits were dead on the ground, while seven managed to escape into the woods (a couple earlier and a few more late in the fight).

The end of the fight was also the end of the night, so we wrapped things up there.

Next time: The All-Roleplaying Session!

...and, let's face it, gamers love to bitch anyway...

That's what someone posted on a forum I was reading today to excuse his disrespectful posts. (I assume the poster was male, but that may not be the case. Doesn't matter either way, I just needed a pronoun.)

...and, let's face it, gamers love to bitch anyway...

With that sentence he's removed any interest I have in reading anything he has to say.

Clearly he had an issue with a game I'm interested in and even did some work on, but this post really isn't about that. It's about this: If you comment on a game, then say something like this, how is it possible for me as a designer to know what you really want? How can I take you seriously?  How am I to know if you're actually offering criticism (and hopefully the constructive kind) or just bitching? Will you warn me? Will the bitchy parts be in all caps or italics so I can ignore them since they don't actually contain any information I want or need?

As a creative type, I'm always interested in giving my audience something they'll enjoy and I'm always interested in their feedback since I always want to make the next thing better, but with that phrase he made it impossible for me to take him seriously. I get it, you don't like the way the game turned out because it didn't match what you felt it should have been. I understand that emotion, that disappointment, but I think going on a forum and bitching about it doesn't help anyone. Especially when you undercut your own argument by saying you're just bitching.

Here's the deal; in these, the days of the Internet and public forums that are read by many, many of the people who actually make the games you buy and play, you don't want to be the guy no one listens to. No wait, I want to revise that: In these the days of the Internet and public forums that are read by many of the people who make the entertainment content you consume, you don't want be the guy no one listens to.

We have this wonderful technology that allows us to talk to each other about the products we love -- and to contribute to them like never before. You have the ears and eyes of the people making your games, novels, movies, whatever. Why would you waste the opportunity to take part in the process, the feedback loop that all creative types thrive on, just to be bitchy? I know, everyone is a unique little snowflake. It takes all kinds. Yada yada yada. But if you have a passion for something and you want the best for it, the way to bring that about is to be as reasonable and rational as possible. Someone -- Not you, by the way. You didn't actually contribute anything to the creation of that product. -- but someone spent hours of their life to make the thing you spend $30 and then "bitch" about to no end. The least you can do is extend the courtesy of treating the creator with respect until he or she proves unworthy of that respect by, say, treating you with no respect.

Oh, and I'm not saying you don't have the right to bitch about something, you absolutely do, but don't expect me to listen to your useless whining.

For those of you looking to break into the industry you're passionate about, you greatly improve your chances by being a decent human being online. For example, the guy who posted the sentence I've been going on about is interested in writing for games. What do you think the likelihood of him getting a helping hand from me or any of the others that worked on the game he's been bitching about is? It's not that I hate him, hell, I don't even know him, but the way he presents himself online makes me not want to know him. If I received a submission from him I'd drag it right to the recycle bin, not because I don't think he'd be capable of writing something of good quality, but because I'd know he's not someone I'd enjoy working with. It's that simple. He might be the next Shakespeare, but I'll never work with him because he's already proven to me he's a pain in the ass -- and that I don't need. So, don't be that guy.

I have some other thoughts on this that have to do with crowdsourcing and truly collaborative projects made possible by the Internet, but I'll save that for another post.