Thursday, May 26, 2011

An Old School Summer

So we haven't officially decided to run some old school modules, but it looks very much like that is what we will be doing for the summer. 

However, I'm not sure which way to proceed.  We can either jump right into the madness with GDQ1-7 Queen of the Spiders (level 8+) or start low with T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil (level 1+).  I know at least one of the players has never played any 0th, 1st or 2nd ed. games, so low levels may be more appropriate, but then the older stuff doesn't have near the level advancement complexity of the later editions.  There was a suggestion to modify whatever we decided to run to Pathfinder but I'm not sure that an update would maintain the traditional feel of these modules AND it would totally ruin the experience of seeing how things were done back in the day. 

I have never run either of these modules, but I have run enough modules to be comfortable with how modules as a whole work.  Since both of these are ranked very high (#1 and #4) in the greatest modules of all time list, I don't expect there to be many problems, but nothing is perfect.  So those of you who have run these, any suggestions on what to look out for?

Monday, May 23, 2011



Sometimes I wonder why DM/GM/ST's put so much time and effort into crafting intricate stories with depth and rewards.  This will be *at least* the sixth time I have spent many hours developing a world to run a game in that lasts all of 3-4-5 game sessions before the real world smacks it into a thousand useless pieces. 

So one player moved out of state, one player decided they were uncomfortable without the player who moved out of state and one player has decided that they just don't have enough time to commit.  All reasons I can respect and understand.  I'm still totally bummed.  So what are my two remaining players and I to do?  Well, this week we ran by our local game shop and picked up a board game to try out.  That game was Castle Ravenloft Board Game

It's 4th edition D&D the way it should have been - a board game.  Yes, it is 4th edition D&D the board game - it was actually fun, unlike the RPG version, which is...not.  The set-up was interesting, the randomness of the tiles/dungeon make each game unique (sorta).  The rulebook is lacking in full explanation of all the pieces in the box and some questions that arose during game play - does it take an action to open a coffin?  We decided that yes it does, but grabbing the "win" token may or may not.  However, it is very well balanced - assuming you don't pull Strahd on the first coffin you open - yes, we pulled Strahd on the first coffin we opened, but it was in the 2nd game we played - the first saw no coffins opened due to monster placement and timing.  It took us about an hour to play through a game, which is good, but I can see it taking much longer with more players. 

I'm not sure it is worth $65-$75 to just play occasionally, but it is certainly worth a look if you like board games.  Because it is cooperative, most people over the age of 8-9 can probably grasp the rules well enough to participate and that makes it worth a lot more than most other board games.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Well, it looks like we are moving in a new direction.  One player has moved to Orlando for the next 15 or so months and one player has decided they don't want to play any longer.  So we are down to three and that makes for some very drastic changes to the story arcs/metaplot of a White Wolf style storytelling game.  The remaining players and I are still getting together this evening to discuss what to do and how to proceed. 

I'm going to do a one-shot zombie game with the players effectively playing themselves coming back from a camping trip and the zombie plague/virus/attack has occurred during their trip.  I'm either going to use the generic WoD rule set or FUDGE - depends on if I have time to throw together/find a decent character sheet.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

On Spirits

Spirits in Werewolf serve both as a great resource and a great problem.  They are the primary inhabitants of the Shadow/Umbra/Ether, the reality that exists on the other side of the Gauntlet.  The Gauntlet is the barrier erected to prevent “normal” from directly interacting with “abnormal”.  Many werewolves and other supernaturals have the ability to pass through the gauntlet into the lands of spirits.  Most spirits do not welcome the intruders and many will actively oppose the unwelcome guests.

However, spirits provide much benefit to werewolves.  They can be consumed to help in healing and regaining power, they can provide other-wise unknowable information, they can be powerful allies and they can mean the difference in winning/losing/surviving a fight.

Spirits come in all sizes, shapes, mentalities, personas and types.  Everything that has ever been created, everything that has ever been felt, everything that has ever occurred has a spirit associated with it, but not all spirits are awake or active.  A grain of gunpowder’s spirit is so miniscule as to be effectively irrelevant, but a bullet or pistol could have a very powerful spirit.  For example, Captain Jack Sparrow’s pistol with one shot in it probably has a very powerful “revenge” spirit awake within it – thus the perfect shot at the end of the movie to defeat Captain Barbosa.  

As I stated, spirits have their own agenda’s, often opposed or irrelevant to the werewolf’s.  This means that when you try to contact one, you must approach with caution and understand the actions of the spirit may make no logical sense.