Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dungeon Crawl Classic - swirling down the funnel

My Wednesday gaming group completed the funnel portion of the new Dungeon Crawl Classic Beta last night. 

We all started with 5 0-th level 3X5 notecard characters with little more than a pickfork/hammer/pick for weapons, a helmet for armor and some pretty random inventory items: 10' of chain, lantern (no oil), 1lb of clay, empty vials, a cow, dog, mule, goose, duck, etc. etc.  The purpose is to play through the funnel, have 1 or 2 of the notecard characters survive and then they become your 1st level character(s).

My overall reaction to the experience, to the dismay of my DM, was - meh.  I understand people's desire to go old-school on stuff.  I understand the appeal of 60's-70's-80's themed parties, but I don't attend them.  Maybe I'm not old-school enough, but I remember not really liking playing Advanced Dungeons and Dragons once I was exposed to other game systems, to the point that I pretty much swore I'd never play AD&D again - ahh, youth and powerful declarations.

What don't I like about it?  Nothing and everything, I think.  I really can't quantify what I don't like, -C is convinced that I'm just burned out on *high* fantasy settings - maybe.  But that doesn't change the fact that I'm just pretty underwhelmed with what I've seen so far.  The upside is that apparently, the actual character classes are pretty powerful and interesting, so I'm at least looking forward to seeing what involved there.  I think I'll d/l DCC and read it over the holiday weekend.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Zombies - (one of) the game(s)

Ok, so I'm not a huge zombie fan but some of players in my gaming groups are.  So we picked up ZOMBIES!!! (Director's Cut) and give it a try the other night.

May the gaming gods strike me down for this comment, but I enjoyed the D&D 4th Ed board games more than this one.  Maybe it was because they are cooperative and this one is a free-for-all (except you don't directly attack other players). 

The basics: every player starts in the "middle" of town, draws a tile, places a tile, places the indicated # of zombies, bullet and life tokens, rolls to move, rolls to fight, rolls to see how many zombies move.  The goal is to get to the chopper or kill 25 zombies first.  Apparently the chopper is a one-seater like the Cobra Fang (you know, the one that a standing GI Joe would get decapitated by, the one with an exposed cockpit so one good shot could kill the pilot, the one that had 4 missiles attached to the skids to blind the pilot when they were fired, the one that probably didn't actually have enough horsepower to lift-off with a full weapons compliment, pilot and 2 passengers (attached to the foot pegs on the skids)).

There are several randomly rolled aspects of the game that didn't sit well with me - player movement and zombie movement being the most glaring.  I can understand the random nature of zombie movement, especially when multiple players move the same zombie in opposite ways.  But rolling to see how far you move, then having another player play a card that prevents you from moving, AFTER you have rolled just irritated the fuck out of me (maybe because it kept happening to me). 

Combat also creates a bit of an irritant, on a 6-sided die, roll a 4-5-6 and you kill the zombie, roll a 1-2-3 and either the zombie hits you for 1 damage or you spend your bullets to raise it to a successful attack.  If you "die" you lose half of your kills, all your  active equipment and go back to the middle of town.  Much more likely early on, and in my case, was actually a boon because it put me much closer to more life, bullets and zombies.

The outcome of our game was that we walled ourselves in, so the silly helicopter never came into play.  Fortunately, the designers did a good job of putting lots of zombie spawn cards into the deck and we ended the game with kill totals of 25, 22 and 18 with easily 10 zombies left on the board.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wrath of Ashardalon and Castle Ravenloft

So after the initial success of Castle Ravenloft we picked up Wrath of Ashardalon.  Awesomely, they work together to form a 3-part "Campaign".  We attempted the first stage of the campaign - to limited success.

The kicker, both with the core games and the campaign, is the limited number of healing surges - but I'll get to that in a bit.

So we randomly picked what characters to play and ended up with the Dwarf Cleric, Dwarf Fighter, Human Rogue and Human Ranger.  The ranger is both exciting and frightening because, for some reason, rangers in our games always die, always.  ALWAYS.

So the goal of the first session is to free several kidnapped townsfolk.  Simple enough, go into the dungeon, save the innocent, kill some baddies, get some treasure, maybe even level up - we can do this.  Once we got our marching order figured out, using the fighter to move ahead first, then the ranger to distance scout a tile, rogue/ranger/fighter kill the spawned monster, cleric staying on the previous tile to prevent to much trap damage.

So some treasure, a level-up and 11 tiles later, we find the townsfolk and the nightmare that is NPCs in this system.  These shits cower, wander, and do randomly the stupidest things they possibly can, then turn into fucking wraiths when they die.  We actually considered killing all but one of the townsfolk just to make our escape from the dungeon easier - we should have.  If you play any computer/console games, you've likely done at least one escort mission - they suck there and they suck here.  We found and freed the townsfolk only using 1 healing surge.  By the time we got 1 of those fuckers out of the dungeon we had used all but 1 healing surge.  Now this is where those healing surges become important - you only get a limited number of healing surges for the entire campaign and the clerics decent healing abilities are the utility and daily powers (effectively once per session).

So, net result, we'll have to replay the first stage due to townsfolk being *not the brightest, swiftest, most eager* individuals to get out of a *deadly, monster-filled, death pit* dungeon.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Monster Battle Tactics - Wyvern

Dragon-lite and dragon-like.  Experienced players know to fear dragons, new players think they should fear dragons.  I like to throw in a caveat at the beginning of my games that not all monsters in my games will perfectly resemble the monster manuals incarnation - thus, dragons may not always have 4 legs or be highly intelligent plot devices.  So when a wyvern shows up in the story with players in the 2-5 level range, they get fairly anxious about what it actually it. 

Wyverns do a great job of teaching players how to use their equipment/skills/magic to greatest effect.  They also serve as great additions to combined arms encounters.  Being large creatures with feats such as grab, rake and fly-by attack allows me to get creative in what I do to the party, like disarming a polearm or bow.  It's often inevitable that at least one player has chosen a small race and that's just a grab, gain altitude and drop sequence waiting to happen.  The look on players faces when a wyvern has grabbed the little person and gained about 30 feet of altitude is priceless - do they try to shoot the wyvern out of the air or try to catch the precious cargo on the drop?

But combined arms is the most fun place to use wyverns.  Giants, ogres, ettins and even goblinoids work great for setting up a wyvern fly-by or a wyvern fly-by sets up a ground assault perfectly.  In one game, the PCs had set up an extremely elaborate trap for a pair of hill giants - they didn't bother to check to find out if there was anything else assisting the giants.  So the half-dragon paladin acts as bait to sucker the hill giants into the kill zone.  The hill giants (not because I knew what the players were planning) decided it was a much better idea to have the pet wyvern just go fetch the juicy dinner for them - result, one very squishy half-dragon paladin.

In a previous post, I indicated that I don't like having one poison type per monster, so as with snakes, spiders, scorpions, I randomly decide what type of poison a wyvern has.  Yes, I know this is a house rule, but why should a wyvern in one world or region have exactly the same everything as a wyvern in a different world or region.  Diversity is why we have cougars, panthers, jaguars, cheetahs, lions, tigers, bobcats, ligers, tigons - yes, they are all big cats and all have mostly the same attacks/damage/hit points, but there are differences.  Embrace those differences to give your campaign a unique feel.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Monster Battle Tactics - Otyugh

Otyugh - the wonderfully nasty cross between Beholders, Pak'ma'ra and Illithid.  Disease is a mechanic that has lost favor in current editions due to forcing the DM/GM to have to remember specific events in the game.  However, I'm leaning more and more towards just marking down when a PC has the chance to be diseased and not saying anything, then asking that player to roll the save at the end of the night.  Often they have forgotten about whatever might have happened to cause said requested die role.  This prevents them from immediately knowing to get a cure disease spell and heightens the mystery of what is happening.

Yeah, so disease, that's great, what else makes them interesting?  Well, for one, they are large with long reach (longer than PCs with long weapons if you are using minis).  If you aren't, then the players have to say they are getting close enough to attack, which should give you ample opportunity to attack, trip, grapple them.

The other thing I love about Otyugh's is that they often have deals worked out with more intelligent beings in the area.  Meaning that if the PCs kill an Otyugh, they've probably pissed-off the locals.  So?  Well, the locals are probably going to notice when their trash isn't being taken care of when they expect it to.  So if you have PCs trying to sneak through an area, they may have inadvertently given away their presence.  If they aren't trying to sneak through that Drow/Druegar/Illithid controlled zone, the Otyugh probably has a deal worked out to let their "employers" know that intruders are in the area.

Yeah, that's not really a battle tactic.  Sure it is, cause why would an intelligent monster straight up attack an armed invading force.  They don't, they go tell those who's job it is to get rid of the intruders, then it's time for the buffet.

Ok, so here's something to think about.  The party is probably going to search out a defeated monsters lair, well, that's GREAT.  What's in an Otyugh's lair, DISEASE, rats (possibly dire size), spiders (possibly large), DISEASE, some coin, maybe a potion or two, DISEASE, a couple of gems, a minor magic item, DISEASE, a mate or offspring or two, possibly some traps and the fact that if the party spends any time in the lair, they are going to smell of carrion - always pleasant when trying to negotiate passage through neutral or hostile terrain.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Monster Battle Tactics - Manticore

Another entry in the "I hate cats, but love..." family.

If I haven't mentioned it earlier, I love flying.  I've spent hundreds of hours in private aviation aircraft (both fixed wing and rotor).   The fighter pilot creed goes: Speed is Life.  For a manticore, that isn't the case.  They are poor/clumsy/whatever edition description of flyers.  Effectively this means that they move in straight lines, making it easier to deal with 3 dimensions. 

What makes up for their poor flight is that they have an omni-directional long range attack - tail spikes.  24 of them to be specific, all at a decently high attack bonus and damage output.  So use them, use them all, if you haven't worn down the party enough for the manticore to swoop in and grab a snack, then have the manticore leave the area.  If however, you do have a nice, tasty dinner laying on the ground, then what happens?

Well, depending on your edition, feats can allow a manticore to have hover, fly-by attack, grab, etc.  Otherwise, just make it up.  If that halfling thief is laying motionless on the ground, then there's no reason you cannot get creative with how the manticore takes it's lunch to go.  (It might even spark some creativity in your players.)

But what happens when the manticore lands?  Simple, it doesn't, unless everything is laying on the ground dying.  If the party is to powerful for the manticore to attack directly or alone, they have great tracking ability.  Have it follow the party for awhile, days even.  Then when the party gets preoccupied with something else, like camping, climbing a mountain, crossing a river on a rope bridge, fighting a different creature - BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG and that nice juicy mage/sorcerer/summoner is a piece of manticore cheese, just waiting to be picked up at the next window.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monster Battle Tactics - Ettercap

Ettercaps are a staple in the lower level games I run.  They are tricky, use combined arms tactics, have the intelligence to withdrawn, complexity and function in three dimensions - something most people have difficulty with.  I love 3-D environments, I grew up spending summers in whatever large body of water was nearby, I fly private aircraft and rock climb, I get functioning in 3-D.  The average person only thinks in 2-D most of their waking life (read the section on the nebula).

So what's special about ettercaps? 
Well, for one, they move in ways the PCs often cannot follow, meaning even if the PCs win the fight, they may not get any treasure.  Ettercaps pretty much always have giant spiders around.  They are smart enough to created complex traps.  And they are straight-up bad guys, there's never any hesitation on whether to kill them or not.

What's the best use of the Ettercap?
I almost always give the PCs an opportunity to spot the webbing and nest of an ettercap, often with clues on the ground such as bare bones or empty insect husks.  However, the PCs usually spot the spiders (who aren't hiding) and immediately underestimate the danger they are in.  Which is usually about the time I spring the traps/web attacks.  I try to have at least one snare to either hook a PC or push them towards more interesting traps.  The more interesting traps are usually deadfalls underneath where the hooked PC is hanging or in the most obvious advance/retreat path, in case the PCs decide the fight isn't worth their time.

The poison isn't so impressive unless you can get it on a low dexterity (and poor save) PC.  However, combined with the various spider types (no, I don't like for all spiders to have 1 type of poison, snakes having a different type, scorpions having yet a different type, I randomize what poison a creature has), and selecting traps to augment those poison types, you can have quite an entertaining combat. 

Lest I forget to point this out, because of the Drow's love of spiders, I have also been known to put ettercaps near or in Drow areas to add to the sense of dread a party should feel going into Drow territory.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Monster Battle Tactics - Duergar

People seem to love Drow.  So I don't know why the Duergar aren't used more to set-up Drow storylines.  They occupy the same environments, participate in the same activities (genocide, slave trade, underground empire building, betrayal), have the same type of vision and vision affecting abilities (darkness vs. invisibility) and use the same type of weapons (crossbow at range, then melee if necessary).

However, Duergar aren't known for their poison usage, which I'm fine with, fewer rolls that the players  have to deal with, fewer chances for radical swings in the flow of a battle.  But that reduction in complexity is offset by the increased numbers complexity of the Duergar's enlarge person  - being prepared with the numbers ahead of time negates this complexity. 

The real difficulty with Duergars is that the vision rules have changed through the versions.  Originally, low-light vision was the cover-all and it was in gray scale.  So the Duergars skintones made for decent camo, as later editions came along, the separation of vision into low-light and darkvision changed how effective skintone camo was.  The key for the players to understand and the GM/DM to remember is that low-light vision doubles normal vision ranges, whereas darkvision functions in complete darkness, but in gray scale.

Duergar present some complexity for parties to deal with.  Their immunity to paralysis, phantasms and poisons negate some of the more colorful character builds while their stability counters characters who specialize in tripping, bull rushes and grappling. 

One of the things that frustrates me the most is having a PC who's armor class has made them almost un-hittable by normal monsters.  With the Duergar (and Drow), now you can play that same card against the PCs by giving them decent armor/shields/spells - just be wary of having the PCs use said equipment after they have defeated the Duergar. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Monster Battle Tactics - Displacer Beast

I hate cats, I love displacer beasts.  They have above animal level intelligence but aren't overly smart, are the size of a lion/tiger, get missed 50% of the time, have long reach and good hit points.  They come in numbers from solitary to pride (10 or so), which gives you all kinds of opportunities to throw at the party.

I like to foreshadow the presence of a displacer beast with a dead or gravely injured blink dog.  Most of the time, however, the players never catch on to what is lurking in the shadows until they come face to face with the beasts.  So when they aren't paying attention, usually while in camp or in a fight with something else, I will have them catch a glimpse of something out of the corner of their eye.  Then when the opportunity presents itself, the ambush happens.

If you missed the previous link to how lion prides stalk prey, I highly recommend it for learning basic squad-level ambush techniques.  For some reason, I always seem to have displacer beast encounters at night, maybe due to their color, maybe due to wanting heavy armor on the ground instead of on the PC, and maybe I read something in an old MM - I don't know.  But on a moonless night in the forest, with little to no breeze, you can expect a displacer beast attack at some point during the watch of a human or other low-light vision lacking party member.

In the newer editions (I'm not sure about the older editions), displacer beasts also get a bonus against ranged attacks.  So keep them at range if possible, using their tentacles to trip the melee types.  Use their speed (and leaping ability which I think they should have, given 6 legs and all) to get around defensive positions and characters.  If you want to use hit-and-run, then let them get a halfling/gnome/familiar/animal companion and get out.  This encourages the players to immediately start the tracking, don't forget night modifiers and sleep penalties for spell casters. 

The other way I like to use displacer beasts is as pets for various humanoid baddies.  Their size makes them acceptable mounts for the smaller goblinoids (technically all the goblinoids, but that just doesn't seem right to me).  And I have been known to put them in place of dire wolves/boars when working in conjunction with ogres/hill giants/trolls.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Monster Battle Tactics - Centaur

The groups I play with seem to have a theme leaning tendency.  Sometimes that is fun and sometimes it just does not work well at all.  One of the more fun games was a party of all elves - sorcerer, druid (healer), druid (summoner), fighter and ranger.  The real beauty was that the foes weren't orcs or hobgoblins, but centaurs.  Lead by a centaur with several levels of druid, the DM/GM played them perfectly.  We never knew that the centaurs were the bad guys until we actually caught them in the middle of a village raid.

So what are a centaur's battle tactics?  Well, they are effectively elves, but with a lot more speed, and no ability to climb trees.  Give them a few PC levels and they become truly fearsome.  A fighter centaur specializing in the lance makes open-field combat deadly for just about anybody who cannot find cover.  Centaur rangers do well with bows due to their strength and dexterity bonuses.  And not every centaur needs to have character levels, they are decent combatants without levels, so just have the leaders with some levels.

But how do they fight?  Well, the book says they are organized into many different sized groups, from solitary to multi-hundred member tribes.  How do you want them to fight?  As an organized war-band lead by a trained fighter, following planned and executed battle formations - that works.  As a chaotic mass of hoof and club, hyped-up on barbarian rage - that works too (be prepared with all the buffed numbers though).  What about hit-and-run tactics where the PCs are getting off 1 or 2 long range bow shots after being ambushed - yup, that works.

But these are simple, forest dwelling folks who are usually neutral or neutral good!  Yeah, and most elves are chaotic good, how many elven PCs have you seen that didn't fit that descriptor?  So, give that centaur a handful of spells and a high charisma and call him a sorcerer - when the PCs see the friendly centaur and come walking out of the forest without their guard up, they either give away all their information to the bad guy or they get a fireball/lightning bolt/flame strike in the face for being *stupid*.

But that will make my PCs want to kill everything or at least not trust anybody!  Have you noticed that the goal of most parties is to kick in the front door, take whatever they want and kill anybody who disagrees with them?  Occasionally showing the PCs a mirror-monster is a fun way to teach them to keep their guard up and gain a little perspective of what they are doing.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monster Battle Tactics - Barghest

The barghest has gone through several changes with the changing editions of D&D.  I personally like the pack approach to hunting and growing better than the solitude.  What I like most is making them the power behind the power controlling a large goblinoid tribe/war band.  Sure, the goblinoid with shaman or druid, barbarian or fighter levels may be the "leader" of a tribe.  But how did they get there, probably with the help of a barghest.  How many savage species leaders have a pet wolf/dog/bear/boar that stays with them pretty much all the time?

Depending on which version of the barghest you are dealing with, will greatly strengthen or weaken them against the PCs.  The version that gets sent "home" after being hit with magical fire is almost useless in 3rd or 4th edition due to the prevalence of groups with magical fire.  However, in more old school games, magical fire was pretty rare and really powerful, especially in games where mages don't get to pick their spells.  Also, their abilities change fairly significantly from version to version, I personally prefer the later versions with their blink, dimension door and misdirection abilities.  I have been known to put one in charge of a pack of fiendish template blink dogs (FBD) that caused a party wipe due to the PCs trying to enforce their standard "fighters in front, ranged in back" battle tactic.  Granted, they did kill the barghest, but several of the FBDs ripped the druid(not really a dedicated healer) apart in three rounds.  Without heals, the barghest and FBDs just kept falling back after they would trip the melee combatants and do some damage to the casters/ranged slowly wearing them down, then cutting off their escape route.  The barghest went down when the barbarian and ranger both got critical hits back-to-back (about 35 points of damage effectively instantly).

Anytime I have goblins (and most of the time any goblinoids) I have wolves mixed in to create a more realistic feel of the combat and to keep it more entertaining.  Since barghests are almost indistinguishable from wolves/dogs, they make a great addition to a chaotic combat, despite their LE alignment.  And they have a very respectable intelligence making them capable of using their "allies" to the advantage and knowing when to slip away if the fight is going against them.  When you combine their intelligence with goblins natural capacity for making traps, the combo can truly be wonderful and I never feel like I'm cheating the players by making goblins overly intelligent or capable.

Barghests lose a lot of their effectiveness with the inclusion of a paladin in the party, which is more common in newer editions due to paladin being a class available to every race.  But if you've got an old school group who like challenges and being surprised, a barghest is a great addition to your game.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Monster Battle Tactics - Ankheg

Resource management is as much a part of RPGs as combat and spell selection.  There is nothing more painful to a player than having to determine what resources to give up when going into a dungeon or what treasure when coming out of a dungeon.  Sure, any competent adventurer is going to give up the copper first and only part with the platinum if it is a matter of life and death (and sometimes not even then).  But what about having to make the choice of losing a porter (and his carrying capacity) before you go into a dungeon or losing a horse with its food-stuffs and over-land carrying capacity?

And that's why I love ankhegs.  They aren't very dangerous to a prepared party or even an unprepared party past about 3rd level.  What they are dangerous to is horses, mules, porters, guard dogs and animal companions/familiars.  Ankhegs have animal intelligence, meaning they are just as smart as dogs, cats and horses.  This means that they can learn to work together, use simple tactics, be trained and create basic ambushes.

Working together, an ankheg pack/pride/flock (I still haven't decided what to call them) could easily create a network of tunnels under commonly traveled areas.  This lets them track and evaluate caravans passing through their area - just as African lions, wild dogs and feral boars have been know to do.   Remember, they aren't that smart, so don't always have them attack the light armor PCs, but they could certainly learn to not attack the shiny (armor wearing) humanoids in favor of an easy to grab donkey or unarmored porter.  They are also only large, so grabbing that halfling mage or gnome rogue might be particularly tempting.

*Blogger deleted about half of my original post, so here's the rest added after the fact.*

Lots of people seem to like using wolves or boars for goblinoid mounts, I like using ankhegs and giant scorpions.  The expression on the faces of the players when they realize that the mount is more dangerous than the rider is priceless.  And when under control, coordinating a directed acid attack against the heavy armored PC means that either multiple saving throws have to be made, or a fair bit of damage will be done.  Not a big deal you say?  Well, it's not just the HP of PC that's at stake when a saving throw fails.  All that nice, tasty armor, shield, backpack, pouch, weapon, etc. gets to make a save as well.  So suddenly, that massive AC that's hard to hit becomes a little less difficult when it's laying in pieces around the PC.

In the newer editions, monster advancement is pretty straight forward.  But what's more fun is adding a template and ankhegs are just begging to have a dragon or fiend template applied.  Just think about how nice a red dragon template and its fire breath adds to the effectiveness of something that already has a descent acid attack.  This also gives them a little more AC and HP to take their time in picking a juicy target.

It is also not out of the realm of possibilities to have them function as a team like a lion pride. And, with their ability to create tunnels, they could certainly trap or funnel prey into designated areas by digging trenches or dead falls along the paths they want their targets to take.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Monster Battle Tactics - Animated Object

One of the things that was always hardest for me to grasp as a DM/GM was exactly how monsters approach combat.  It never seemed like a group of orcs should stand there fighting a straight-up opponent in any sort of organized way, whereas a hobgoblin squad would be very organized and use standard battle tactics.  Sure, that's what the book says to do, but how many players and storytellers alike actually have military training to the point of understanding or planning a combat situation? While I have never served in the armed forces, I have spent time in ROTC, CAP and participated in a number of "coordinated exercises" lead by members of the military.  As well as having read many books on the tactics used by  Rommel, MacArthur, Patton, Longstreet, Grant, Lee, Sun Tzu, etc.

So I figured I'd do a little blurb of how various, imho under-used monsters could approach an encounter.  Going in roughly alphabetical order, the first is Animated Objects.

These little annoyances come in all shapes and sizes, materials and mutations.  It's easy enough to figure out how a knife, sword, candlestick or hammer would work but what about an ottoman or foot stool, birdcage or chained tapestry.  The first thing to figure out is what exactly is animated and why it is where it is. 

I always liked putting these in a study or library, waiting till the PCs decided to sleep or are otherwise distracted and then activating the objects at random times.  There's nothing saying that the object has to respond immediately to an intruder.  So, give the players a nice, soft lounge chair to rest for the "night", then after they have settled in and only 1 or 2 are on watch (or none if they are that *daring*) have said chair begin suffocating the PC trying to rest.  What about that empty birdcage in the corner, you know, the one hanging from 10 or 15 feet of chain.  Well that's just a trip, entangle or disarm waiting to happen.  Or better yet, combine them to use the chain to constrict around the PC resting on the couch that is trying to suffocate him.

I also like to add "flavor" to some objects - spikes to a chain, sharp edges to a table/desk, burning pitch to a brazier.  Most of the time these things just do a bit more damage, but consider the vision impairing effects caused by a flying tapestry or how much steam a cauldron could make before it attacks.  Remember these objects aren't intelligent, but whoever created them probably was and putting the objects into position to be as effective as possible is something they probably considered.

One of the other things I like to add to animated objects is rust, rot or disease.  Think about it, that object may have been sitting there for hundreds of years and dungeons are notoriously damp.  When was the last time an adventurer took any precautions after getting out of a dungeon and had a cure or remove disease spell cast on them? 

The other place I really like to use animated objects is in conjunction with traps.  Nice, you found the arrow trap and used that candlestick to mark the location of the trigger in case you need to come back this way in a hurry.  Sucks that it moved a few feet from where you originally sat it down.  Oh, your fighter didn't find the pit trap and fell 30' and all those spikes/swords/spears at the bottom of the pit were animated.  I have used this combo once and the players really didn't like it, but while they were working to pull the unfortunate fallen soul up with a rope, a pair of animated sheers came out from a side room (weaving room) - he fell again...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

GenCon 2011

The 4-day badge has been purchased.  The plans are coming together about where we're staying and how we are getting there.  We'll be crashing at a friend-of-a-friend's house in St. Louis on the way up and possibly back, sadly the Cardinals are not in town unless we want to stay a couple extra days, which I doubt will happen. 

I've never attended GenCon but I am getting quite excited at the prospect of actually getting to go.  I have attended the now defunct UnCommonCon in Dallas, back in 2000, whatever the Con was called in Northwest Arkansas many years ago and the sad Little Rock GameCon a few years ago.  However, there appears to be a new player on the block: NWA GameCon.  They certainly have a decent web-page, a little more research is needed I think.

On a related note, I saw this little article about DC rebooting its entire line.  I've never been a big DC fan and I don't know where most of their story lines are, but with the changing tastes of American consumers, this may well be a make-or-break venture.