GenCon, Factions, and Magical Classes
What is up. We’re back at the game table for another round of Down with D&D. This time we talk about D&D at GenCon, the factions that are used in Adventure’s League play, and the Wizard, Sorcerer, and Warlock. We’re sans the Unstoppable Force, Alex Swingle, due to the internet, pesky tubes and clouds but that’s ok because our very own Regional Admin for the Adventurers League, Cindy Moore, helps me in filling the hole as best as we can. Hope you enjoy.
Tag Archive: D&D
Aug 27 2014
Jul 16 2014
Hey folks. Chris here with the newest show on Misdirected Mark Productions “Down with D&D” and no, we’re not down on D&D but down with it. My Co-host Cindy Moore is the newest addition to the Misdirected Mark family and together we talk about The Tyranny of Dragons, Tier’s of Play, and the Diversity section of the basic rules. Let us know what you think and we’ll talk to you in two weeks.
Jul 10 2014
Hey Folks. This week Chris and Phil chat about The Improv Tool Kit and Creative Constraint while things are heating up with the yearly story as the villain makes their first appearance on the mics. Hope you enjoy and feel free to leave feedback. We always want to get better.
- L.U.G. Con (Let Us Game: All day and all night Convention!)
- Mechanical Bard: Ninth World Tales
- Evil Hat is looking for Playtesters for War of the Ashes
- D&D Basic Rules
- Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set: Fantasy Roleplaying Fundamentals (D&D Boxed Game)
- Blood Bowl coming soon on iOS and Android
- Zombiecide Season 3
- Stray’s – Kid friendly Fate Accelerated
- Short Order Heroes – Locations:
- Ross & Sean’s Big Denver Adventure happening this week.
- Pro Level Gaming’s D&D Starter Launch Party
- Collectors Inn
Sunday July 13th – UFS demo’s at 2pm.
Saturday July 19th – Golem Arcana Demo’s at 3pm.
- The Mad Wizard’s article on Critical Hits: A D&D Lover’s guide to DW
- Dresden Files Accelerated RPG playtest should be live sometime towards the end of July.
- Hero Forge partners with Shapeways
- Encoded Designs is gearing up for a bunch of information in the next week or two.
- The Hood - slow start, but solid session, tensions building
- Airy Peaks - good god what a great session
- Shadowrun Returns – loving it, but had to rewind
- Minecraft – Diamonds Steve’s best friend.
- Airy Peaks,
- The Hood
- Shadowrun Returns
- Lords of Waterdeep: A Dungeons & Dragons Board Game
Workshop – Improv Tools and Constrained Creativity
Recent Gnome Stew article: http://www.gnomestew.com/gming-advice/improv-toolkit/
- Drone films Fireworks
Jun 18 2014
Hey Folks. This week I hang out with Garrett Crowe from Threat Detected and the MMPs secret weapon Drew Smith. We get into the idea of what the railroad means to us and some ways to avoid and deal with it along with many of the regular segments and a visit from Friend Computer.
Sponsors for the Show: Level 99 Games
3:49 – Intro
9:28 – Bar
- Age of Cthulhu #8 - Starfall over the Plateau of Leng
- Servants of the Cinder Queen – a DW adventure, only $3 to back at PDF level
- Hipster Pinball Night
30:01 – Gameroom
1) D&D Encounters
3) Cthulhu Wars
2) The Hood
4) Marvel Puzzle Quest
3) Star Wars Edge of The Empire Campaign
46:47 – Workshop - The Railroad and what does it really mean?
1:12:12 – Geekery
1) Apocalypse Codex
Jun 12 2014
Hey Folks. This week the Mad Wizard Merwin is back into the house and bringing some of his magical mayhem to talk about the newest version of Dungeons and Dragons. There also might be a troll sighting. Enjoy and feel free to leave feedback here and let us know how we’re doing.
2:29 – Intro
3:40 – Bar
Heat kickstarter by Dave Chalker – It’s over but you might be able to get a copy if you contact Asmadi Games
Gameday at Dark Forest on Saturday
Unframed Pre-orders still open
Recorded Lounge interview with Martin Ralya
25:16 – Gameroom
1) Manhattan Project
2) Airy Peaks
1) Manhattan Project
2) Airy Peaks
3) Marvel Puzzle Quest
1) Love Letter
2) Lords of Waterdeep/Ascension for iOS
3) D&D 5e Playtests
40:49 – Workshop – D&D Cometh
1:35:13 – Geekery
1) Finished Unframed
Phil & Chris
1) Xmen days of futures past
Jun 04 2014
Hey folks, this week we get down and dirty in the workshop first talking about a little about designing games with professor McGowan and then Phil and I go inside the apocalypse engine and how it is an awesome game for getting you to be an excellent GM faster. Hope you enjoy.
Sponsors for the Show – Level 99 Games
0:53 – Intro
1:55 – Bar
- A!C Fate Keepers Guide has released to backers. This completes the Fate Set making A!C able to be run in three systems.
- Dark Forest Games is having a board game day on Saturday, June 14th this month.
- RonCon is the 19th at 168 Payne Avenue, North Tonawanda, NY 14120. $5 donation for the space
- QCC Planning meeting this past Sunday
22:39 – Gameroom
1) Savage Elhal – more swing ness at the table
2) The Hood – setup of the game
3) Minecraft – more exploration
1) The Hood
2) Disaster at Descent
3) Marvel Dice Masters
36:13 – Workshop one
Conversing about designing games with Professor McGowan
1:00:59 – Workshop two
Apocalypse World as a way to better GMing
1:48:24 – Geekery
1) Epic Rap Battle of History Season 3
3) Another trip to Madness Games
1) Skin Game
May 29 2014
Hey Folks. This week we have Ron and Dan in the brand new War Room where we get to know them and talk about miniatures 101. Also Phil is sick with atomic poisoning and I’m looking around for my friend professor McGowan who’s supposed to fix the portal.
Sponsors for the Show – Level 99 Games
0:48 – Intro
1:22 – Bar
- Ryan Macklin breaks down how to handle conflicts and contests and their various permutations. This might be a must read for all Fate GMs.
- Origins is June 11-15. The Mad Wizard Merwin will be there running some new D&D stuff on Saturday and Sunday.
- D&D is free and Organized Play
- 3EG announces Infestation: a Game of Bugs and Heroes. Infestation is the third game to use the company’s Pip System, previously used for Mermaid Adventures and Camp Myth: The RPG.
- Dark Forest Games is having a Game Day on the second Saturday of the Month which is June 14th. It starts at noon. Mark is usually there all day playing board games.
- Saturday May 31st is also a Warmachine/Hordes Tournament at Dark Forest Games.
- QCC update: Mark and I are plugging away moving data from the Kickstarter to the QCC site getting everything updated and ready.
- MGC has started up a Demo Team but it’s a little more than a demo team. You can get the details at the link in the show notes.
- Deadlands TV Show through Microsoft also a Halo TV show produced by Steven Spielberg.
- Piazo is looking for an Editor. You can get more information from the link in the show notes.
10:15 – Gameroom
1) Krossmaster Arena
2) Bang the Dice Game
3) Dungeon World
4) Fate of Elhal
5) Marvel Puzzle Quest
6) Johann Sebastian Joust
19:52 – The War Room - Introductions
- Dan and Ron
- First Games
- Painting 101
1:01:31 – Geekery
- Godzilla and $5 movies at Regal.
Mar 27 2014
Hey Folks. This week I learn we have a garage and it needs an access card or a portal gun. In there we pull apart Multidimensional Dice as a mechanic and then we chat about Making Story Happen on the Grid and ways you can keep the narrative strong when the mini’s and the maps come out.
1:06 – Intro
2:23 – Watercooler
The One Page Dungeon Contest
All Rolled Up is turning 1 year old. – Phil’s Gnome Stew article on All Rolled Up
Dungeon Elementary –
Icons Assembled Edition
Shop Till You Drop by Mike Merals
Coming to DnDClassics this week:
Eberron Campaign Setting (3E Eberron)
Mind Lords of the Last Sea (2E Dark Sun)
Circle of Darkness (2E Ravenloft)
FRA3 Blood Charge (2E Forgotten Realms)
SJA1 Wildspace (2E Spelljammer)
and looking ahead to next week:
Thri-Kreen of Athas (2E Dark Sun)
RM1 Roots of Evil (2E Ravenloft)
The Gothic Earth Gazetteer (2E Ravenloft)
WGR5 Iuz the Evil (2E Greyhawk)
SJQ1 Heart of the Enemy (2E Spelljammer)
22:34 – The Garage — Multidimensional Dice
39:58 – Gameroom
Marvel Puzzle Quest
League of Legends
More Minecraft! On the iPad a well as PC
Scattagories (parents house)
Ticket to Ride (parents house)
52:03 – Workshop – Making story happen on the battle map.
1:09:26 – Geekery
Mar 13 2014
Hey Folks. Chris here and I’d just like to say thanks to everyone for listening these past two years. Going forward there will be some changes but this last year and the story we’ve been telling with all the gaming, game mastering, and entertaining we’ve been doing has been great, and fear not, there will be an episode 105 and a year 3. So I hope you enjoy and feel free to let us know what you thought of this episode.
Batman Arkahm Knight
State of the Hat
Katana’s and Trench coats
Bruce Cordell on Ordering Art
Everyone is John
Nathan Poletta’s Wrestling Game
International Boardgame Day
The Queen City Conquest Kicksarter
Dec 01 2013
Hey Folks. For this special Patreon episode I’ve managed to coerce Teos Abadia and The Mad Wizard Merwin to join myself and the informant Rob Dorgan to lay the skinny on Organized Play on you. The conversation was quite good…hey, what the heck. I didn’t authorize thi… Pay no head to those words. They’re just a little interference in the signal. Anyways, enjoy the show.
Nov 20 2013
Hey Folks. This week we have Garrett Crowe on to talk about Threat Detected and his campaign he finally finished, after three years. All that’s left is to roll out the rest of the audio. So we’re gonna talk about really long games. Garrett is also here to hone Marks skill with the force so Mark can finally catch that Evil Hat.
0:41 – Intro
Jedi Master Garrett Crowe from Threat Detected
2:11 – Watercooler
Evil Beagle games Typhoon Relief Charity Bundle
Joan “The Game” Nobile is our New AOA&E (Audio Operations Advisors & Engineer.
Cthulhu Britanica kickstarter
Amanda Valentines Daughter writes about gender discrimination.
Evil Hat Street Team Bump
The Corporia Kickstarter
Breaking down the Fate Core kickstarter financially
Eathbound Time Lords
Level 99’s newest game. Argent the Consortium
16:33 – Gameroom
Tomb of Horrors
25:56 – Workshop The Long Game – Chatting about long campaigns.
1:04:30 – Geekery
Chris – Constantine and the Flash coming on WB. Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Daredevil, and the Defenders coming on Netflix.
Garrett – Turkey Day is back
Mark – Arkahm Nights is a thing and in Toronto
Nov 13 2013
Hey Folks. Chris here and we’ve got another installment of the show for you. This time we have a panel of folks who tell us all about their experiences as gamers with significant others and give some advice for being gamers and having healthy relationships. Mark also might be suffering from the effects of being beaten by the Evil Hat. There are a few audio glitches but that’s because Mark was wearing his aluminum foil hat.
0:53 – Intro
3:14 – Watercooler
The Actual Play Festival by Ginger Goat
We are all Strange Video
World Wide D&D Gameday is November 16th. Buffalo D&D Encounters Facebook Group
Father and Sun Galaxy
Garrett Crowe and Threat Detected
Prismatic Tsunami Quarterly
Artimis Night at UB on the 3rd Monday of November
Level 99 games spot
17:05 – Gameroom
Gaming With Baby
King of Tokyo
42:26 – Workshop: Gaming and Relationships at MiniCon
1:24:27 – Geekery
Thanksgiving Vampire Larp at the Buffalo Screening Room
The Age of Genre TV. Arrow and Dracula
Feb 07 2013
Hello Friends. This week we have Teos Abadia who is an upcoming frelancer for WotC and one of the prime movers behind the Ashes of Athas Organized Play Campaign so settle in and enjoy an excellent conversation.
1:12 Watercooler – Longest Watercooler to date
Who is Teos
Ashes of Athas Living Campaign
Organized Play discussion
The Ashes of Athas Battle Interactive
Winter Fantasy – Shawn and Chris’s Mod
Pathfinder Special – Beneath the Bone Keep
League of Legends
Super Mario Bros
Star Wars Edge of the Empire
Week 3 of Advice from the Underground – All Players are Created Equal.
Teos and the Flumphs
Winter Fantasy Swag
Tag for 23 year
Nov 14 2012
Hey folks. This week we have Shawn Merwin to chat about the current season of D&D encounters. Shawn was one of the writers for the current season and we’re chatting about the things which are different, the things people like so far, some stories from the table, and tips to deal with the changes. Also I think the phone joke is dead. Sorry Phil.
1:07 – The Watercooler and Gameroom are merged
Shawn Merwin is in the House
The Queen City Conquest
Edge of the Empire
10:52 – The Workshop – D&D Encounters
Mark’s embarrassment concerning James Wyatt
The changes to the rules for this season
Stories from the table
Tip in dealing on dealing with rules this season – Link to Community page on WotC.com
More Stories from the table
GMing Tips and design tips
45:44 – The Geekery without sound
A Song of Ice and Fire
An Arrow chat that is destroyed by Mark and his tom foolery.
Oct 08 2012
I usually don’t do this because I try to keep my advice general but my friend Drew is running a 4e D&D campaign for some of his friends as his last hurrah for 4e Dungeons and Dragons before putting that game away for just about good. I told him I’d share some of the things I’ve done over the years with him so I thought I’d share them with you too.
What I mean by rolling encounters is encounters that roll from one into the next. I’ve run plenty of sessions where the game felt like one huge encounter. I do this using primarily these three methods:
- Reinforcements showing up.
- Changing the objective.
- Changing the terrain.
I consider each of these three things an event or something that happens to change the situation. For example I had a battle on a bridge as the PCs were trying to move from one tower to another. All around them battle was raging in the skies as dragons and their allies battled with the occupants of the towers of Darkenspire. On the partially enclosed bridge the PCs had run up against the Followers of the Sacred Lady, a holy order who worshiped one known as the Sacred Lady. As the battle progressed more and more members of the Sacred Lady came from the far tower to help their allies. The idea of reinforcements changed the nature of the battle. Players didn’t want to unleash their most powerful abilities or press to far forward because they weren’t sure what was coming out of the door next and how many were left.
The next thing I had going on during this encounter was a dragon was hit by a lightning bolt and was going to crash into the bridge. This was going to change the terrain. I had the passive perception set higher than anyone’s passive since they were in the middle of a fight when the dragon was hit by a lightning bolt and crashing into the bridge. The thing I did to give the players hints to the event was by throwing specific flavor text into the fight about things happening around them. I use a lot of flavor text in my combat sequences so this wasn’t unusual. During the second round of the fight I mentioned a dragon was struck by a lightning bolt. All anyone needed to do over the next three rounds was say they look to the right or mention they check on the dragon. Someone did the initiative count right before the dragon hit the bridge so they were the only one who got a chance to move before the dragon hit the bridge. I had a flip mat with the bridge drawn on it. I had it folded over so when the dragon hit I marked where everyone was, flipped the mat, and had a drawn crashed into bridge with the dragon on it. Some people were crushed by the dragon, some buried beneath it, and the crashing into the bridge almost knocked a couple of people off who were on top of the bridge.
I always enjoy changing the objective or at least adding something to the objective of an encounter or an adventure. During the last part of the Drakenspire arc I ran (It was something like 8 to 10 sessions) they were in a tower where energy was being gathered and focused for some nefarious purpose through several crystals in the tower. Up to this point the PC’s were just trying to get to the last tower to kill a mind flayer named Quat Lilarack. They hated it for various reasons. In any case once they got to the last tower they learned of this energy, found one of the focusing crystals, and figured out how much time they had left before the energy needed to do whatever was happening was gathered. This wasn’t at the speed of plot. I had an actual doom track, taken from Arkham Horror. The track went from 1 to 7 and every five minutes it would gain a tick. Basically every short rest was a tick and after any 3 encounters I threw a tick up there to take into account exploration and fighting time. I also threw a tick up there if I felt they had used up 5 minutes worth of time. The thing was they could gain ticks back if they messed up the focusing crystals, which they did. It also made them conserve powers so they could skip short rests here and there to cut down on their time. It changed the objective from just killing Quat to stopping Quat from doing whatever it was he was doing. If anyone is curious he was gathering the energy from a pair of “gods” trapped beneath the mountains Darkenspire was built on to open a portal large and stable enough to allow the King in Yellow to come through from Carcosa, one part of my version of the Far Realm.
Setting this up changed the encounters and scenario from getting through to the top of the tower where Quat and the energy being gathered was to a timed situation where making stops to mess with the crystals and resource management became very important.
So I’m not a huge fan of solos, I’ll talk about them in a bit, in D&D but I do like elites and I like encounters where some NPC’s are dependent on other NPC’s. Linking them up together or giving them abilities which make them work together in synergy. Two examples:
In one encounter I had a knight who had two men next to him at all times. As long as those men were next to him it increased his defenses so it was easier to take out the side guys first then go after the knight. The second example is a two-headed dragon with a caster who used primarily ice attacks. One of the dragons was a white dragon who could frost up the battle field. This was in an open field but the ice mage and the dragon were creating terrain with icy spots which the ice mage could teleport to and from as a move action while also being able to teleport back on top of the dragons back. This goes back to changing terrain but also shows how two different adversaries can work together to create an interesting situation for PC’s to deal with.
Mike Shea has an invaluable tool on his website Sly Flourish. It is a chart with every level of damage expression, hit points for monster type, and DC’s for skill checks. I have one of those screens where you can slide in paper inserts. It’s a great tool to have if your players go off the cuff. You can ad lib encounters from it. It’s like having wire frames for any possible thing you can think of.
Staying with Mike Shea I stole an idea he started applying to solo monsters. I always give any solo an ability where they can shake off any single effect at the beginning of their turn but they take 10, 20, or 30 points of damage depending on the tier of monster. Now there are a couple of variations you can put on this idea. Instead of shaking off an effect you can have them ignore it for a round so it has the potential to happen again the next round. You can apply some penalties to the monster along with the damage. Instead of Stunned the monster is dazed. Instead of immobilized its slowed and takes a -2 to its attack rolls. You have some options but my preference was always the monster shakes off the effect but takes damage for doing so. Now I only ever did this for things like stun, daze, and immobilized because the action economy in 4e is a very important part of the game. Having an extra action, extra attack, extra turn or even an extra move is very powerful and taking away those actions is just as powerful, especially when you’re a solo and only have a few actions each round. Having the choice to shake off a status for damage fits in with the mechanics of D&D pretty well. You’re not getting everything you want but solos should be scary things that can pound through your abilities and status effects. Making it cost the monster hp gives the mechanic some “balance”.
If you’re looking for more 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons tricks I would suggest reading Sly Flourish. It’s quite good.
The Healing Surge
The healing surge is a resource which is very plentiful in my opinion. Players have a lot of them and I have implemented a few house rules which make them a little more interesting and useable:
- If you miss by one you can spend a healing surge to put forth that little extra effort in order to succeed on what you’re doing. I always ask for a little descriptive flavor to go along with it.
- I implemented the use of second wind three times. Once as a minor, once as a move, and once as normal each encounter. This rule is excellent when you have situations where there isn’t a leader.
- Sometimes I’ll tie healing surges into player’s special abilities. For instance one of the characters in a game could wreath themselves in a blue magical fire which made them more powerful when using magic (+2 to hit, +5 to damage) but it cost a healing surge every round it was activated and it required a saving throw to turn it off. Of course when it ran out of healing surges it would start dealing healing surges of damage.
This is the last one and isn’t really a D&D 4e trick but one that can be used in any game. You have the players come up against a situation where they have to make a choice and the choice isn’t good or bad but will push the story one way or another or give them a difficult decision. For example one of the PC’s had just ripped an abnormally large amount of aberrant energy out of an angel of death. They decided to help this angel of death instead of killing her. The problem was the energy didn’t dissipate due to not rolling quite well enough so instead the PC had a choice. Absorb the energy or let it randomly fly about which might get one of his allies, possibly the angel again, and maybe it would just disperse. He chose to take it into himself. He made the choice which drove the game forward. Now he has to deal with this energy which basically makes him the incredible hulk. Giant aberrant rage monster once he is bloodied twice in a fight or knocked out once.
The thing with the choice is whatever the decision is it needs to have a consequence that is visible to the person who made the choice eventually, otherwise the choice becomes meaningless.
Please feel free to throw out some more interesting tricks and hacks you’ve thrown on your 4e game to make it play better.
Good Night and Good Gaming,
Chris “The Light” Sniezak