Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Rethinking running a public bi-weekly game

I thought it might be neat to try to run a game in the city at one of the hobby stores where they are boasting 10 player tables (meaning lot's of people are looking to play). However controlling 10 players is insane as well as only getting two hours to play is bad when combat runs with ten people. I thought I would have to go every week, but I recently seen a post where someone is running a table bi-weekly and got to thinking.

Things I would want to bring or do:
Have campaign guides (paper copies) available for $2.00 or so
Have the logo displayed on my steel book holder
Have business cards with the campaign info on them available
Be able to video record, audio record or live stream the game would be nice

If the table was large I could try splitting the players into two parties who are going for the same dungeon, at least to start off and have them competing to see who can get the treasure first. After this they can meet up and see what evolves.

Now as for the game where to start? I could run dungeons to keep things moving for two hour games, since that is the easiest solution. I don't mind the role playing, but with a group over ten it would not be possible. One person would hog the spotlight and more timid players would not get one word out all game with ten people talking (if the table is that high).

Also setting, we know it will be a UPM game and I always start in Ashura. Lately though I have been running a game north of Ashura along the west oceans coast in the Untamed North. I could all together also go to my most beloved place and just straight up run a Ravenloft game. So many ideas, but the one I pick has to be easy for many players in a short time span, so it can't be heavy investigation role playing for sure.

As I was saying earlier combat is an issue. Combat helps with large groups by getting everyone to have a turn and get into the fight, it also helps with a straight forward adventure of kill the things and find the loot, but it can also be the only thing that happens if the number of enemies needed to balance the large party takes all night to defeat. In that case we are having two hour combat games and getting nowhere. The fights would have to be easy and quick with maybe a long boss fight when called for.

As for dungeon exploration, with a large number of people they would surely have the skills to avoid things like pits, chasms and the like, any NPC they met would be overwhelmed by the sheer size of the party and how many people are tying to talk to them that, that would fizzle out as well.

One of the dungeons I have been planning is a large dark souls, darkest dungeon type setting however again if we have a lot of players and one dies, the party will not go back to town they still have nine more party members and will go forward. This could leave someone dead all night as the dungeon picks off PC's who are non-essential for the groups success. This gives more opportunity to kill a PC in a large group instead of the classic four heroes surviving all encounters with one death which is immediately treated.

This all depends on the group size as well, the table might be smaller and then we can just run a game of our choosing, however I am looking forward to a large group and finding ways to run it that everyone can participate and have an interesting game going on as well.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Getting to the video

Took a good couple hours a night over a couple nights and then two hours and thirty minuets to render followed by a good two hours to upload, wow!

I decided to go back to the idea of posting the entire four hour game (edited down) in one video for a few reasons. I found that most of the footage was actually usable, it wasn't taken up by hours of arguing over Pathfinder rules like in the Pathfinder Mini's Videos and I like the feeling of settling in to watch an entire game (as long at the game can be entertaining). 

While we may get zero hits on the videos that are sitting at one hour and forty three minuets long (after editing and trimming), vs the good twenty or so hits on our mini's vids that sit around twenty minuets. I still think in the end it will be a better idea for this game in particular. 

Some of the old footage is best off as mini's, only showing the good parts, but this new series I wanted to show all I could of the entire game. I did cut a lot of combat since you can't see the map with the initiative board in the way and I've cut a lot of the parts where everyone is eating loudly at the table or crushing chip bags and the like (for your benefit), but the core of the game is there.

If you still can't sit through the entire length of the video, we just ask that you visit the page once or twice to give us hits as YouTube has taken monetization away for channels under 10,000 page views. We are asking for help (We can return help) in getting our page back to monetization status. You can watch the video here:

Along with the video, I have begun work on a map of the west coast area of the north known as the Untamed North. This is still in progress, but has the parts from the starter set that we need mixed into our world. These maps help to give more visuals to our world broken down as parts with more detail than our major over world map.


More videos and work on the Untamed North are on there way, it is just going to take time as these are very time consuming.

Stay tuned for more updates to come!

Monday, 16 October 2017

Back to a weekly game!

It's been months, but this autumn marks 15 years of D&D for me and I can't be happier to have the group finally rebuilding. After playing every other week with a group of three, we now gain two new players to build us to a group of five and get us back on track. This mixed with the ability to now once again play every Sunday night brings back our weekly gaming night.

 The new players are just getting into d&d so adding them in during the "Lost Mines of Phandelver" is a great way to welcome them to the game. As we've been playing the starter adventure, it's turned out to be a terrific journey so far and I can't wait to incorporate it into what comes next. The adventure has brought us all over the northern countryside and had us fight a good number of foes, we've lost party members and they have used their skills to uncover secrets.

One of the memorable moments was having a large ogre in the road walk off with the corpse of a PC wizard and eat him as the other PC's clinging to life ran for their lives after the creature fed. 

I like starting way up north where the lands are just below the snow covered elven lands and far enough above the metropolis of Ashura. It gives a unique perspective for the PC's as more of wilderness explorers and being able to survive in the wild vs. having grown up in the comfort of the large city. This mountainous, land full of thick evergreen forests, cold rivers, rain and mud adds challenge as the PC's battle nature it's self on a daily basis.

I have planned a series of adventures out in the wild until we either go into a linked published adventure such as "Storm King's Thunder" or some "Tales from the Yawning Portal". Either way, with all the books I have amassed now for 5E will give us a good couple years of material to play through.

In time I will have video of the games from the start posted up on the YouTube channel for watching. Still debating if it would be better as a podcast since the video is just of us playing around the table. More info to come as games go forward. 

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Campaign Guide Update

I am still working on our campaign guide and pulling inspiration from various sources where I can. The thing I hate about campaign guides is that many of them are full of nothing of value. They have a nice opening page that tells you about the world then drops off to a normal players guide with the same write up for all the races and classes with a few stat differences and some names of new gods as well as geography or things that happened but not how to incorporate that into a game.

That is all well and good for telling you a bit about the world, but does nothing for being a book you can use. I want mine to be full of stories that bring you into the mindset of the world though descriptive writing so you get a feeling of immersion of the world and to have actual usable content as in some small adventures and how to run them, tactical skirmishes and write ups on ideas for longer campaigns and how they should flow.

If I was to talk about races I would want them to be only focused on being unique and not  just a difference from the core books. I would want to again write up a story of how the race lives in most cases and what they go though daily to see how they fit the story. Maybe some fun way's to play them or how you should see them in our world. One thing I do not want to do is linger on for pages and pages about each race that has no difference or such from core.

I had a neat idea about new spells that are super fun for the first time ever. I came up with some new spells after reading a third party resource that values fun and description over coping the original spells and trying to make attacking spells that may be overpowered. These fun new options have to be tweaked, but are so easy with the new 5th format and focus on role playing and interpretation versus stats on a page.

Gods and deities are so boring and have ever been. I get a symbol of the god and a boring basis stat saying which domain they reign over, if your lucky you get a description of the god as to what they look like, believe or how their followers act. This has been ever hard for me to deal with because it is so boring. I can make my deities all have domains, etc, but how do the gods fit into the gaming world? Why do the PC's follow these gods besides just picking their domains or such? I was thinking about some boons to the players, how to pray or what is involved and how the deity will talk to the player during the game.

Until next time.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Assuming new players are dumb

Not long ago someone posted this on Facebook in the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition forum. Needless to say everyone went off about it. Many of the people thought that OP was saying his girlfriend would not be able to game on the level of anyone else because she was a girl. Some people implied that everyone should be given an easy class to start, others argued that you should start with a difficult class. Others thought he was calling his girlfriend dumb, while others assumed she was dumb and posted for him to make her play a simple class and to stand at the back out of the way.

It was funny to see how many people read this a different way and why OP even posted it this way to start. He could have worded this completely differently saying that she wasn't understanding the game and wanted something easy to learn from or if he thought she would be overwhelmed and never gave her books to see if she would surprise him by coming to the game prepared and fully understanding. 

Reguardless of what he actually meant, if someone wants to learn a game it depends on the way they learn. If the person wants to come to a game and learn while playing, they may quickly find that playing a simple class was a terrible choice as the game unfolds and they pick it up quick, they may want to change not having known how quickly they would grasp everything and realize they could be doing so much more. If the person is the type to learn from the books, they may have read everything and come to the game completely prepared and blow your mind at how much they have latched together to create a top notch character, not needing to start easy at all.

I would shy away from finding something easy and giving it to someone to play if they truly want to start playing D&D. The best way is to find out how they learn and teach from there, that person you thought you needed to dumb the game down for might just surprise you with how fast they take to it after all.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The revision is in progress

With the upcoming new games and possibility of running two games in our world I have combined things I wanted changed for a while now and written a full (almost complete) campaign guide as well as a second document that is a house rules book.

The first part was to fix the world after the cataclysm. I wanted to include the cataclysm, but fix the problems with breaking the world the first time that took away from the campaign and lost part of the original feel. Once quick way to do this was on the world map. I started with fixing the Cloud-Tower Mountains and maintaining that there is no way to cross them easily without going on an extended voyage to the far south, or navigating the ice in the north. This made the Everstorm still a very valid and dangerous crossing path that would separate the east from the west.

With this new map we still have areas of destruction from the cataclysm but have a more reunited old world that worked very well in the long running campaigns of past.

The next part I wanted to work on was the city. The city never had and still does not have a grand map due to it's sheer size. However I wanted to fix the broken city as well and keep it to a simple sketch. The city post cataclysm has been flooded into the bay below and that worked well for one storyline, but as time went on I missed the old northern gate and kept referring to it, even thought it was long gone. This time around I kept some of the features of the cataclysm such as the grand bridge to the royal quarter which is off and into the bay and but have re attached the city to land to function as the southern end of the country and the top of the grand bay.

Here I have re-added the ability to have the northern gates, kept the magic university off on it's island and gave prestige to the royal quarter by the awe inspiring bridge that is a marvel of engineering. This makes the city over all more solid and easier to navigate.

So for the maps I have amended two major outlooks going forward that the new players will see as their first look into the world of Under the Pale Moon. It should give back that old school feeling and still show signs that something has happened to the world since it's creation.

As for the house rule book, I have a small sample of some rules on the "House Rules 5E" page on this blog as well as the full document in a Facebook Group. I may openly post it here soon, but for now that is in a PDF format.

The campaign guide is still in the works, as there are stories and such to be added to it the newest of which spans five typed pages and is a guided tour of the city of Ashura as told from a visitors point of view. This should greatly immerse anyone who truly wants to know about the world and get a feel for how things are in this homebrew campaign world.

I hope to roll out these two major documents and the two new maps in the coming months and might want to charge $1.00 or such for printed copies at the gaming table for anyone who is interested in the world beyond playing each week at the store. All things considered, UPM Gaming is going forward nicely, I would just like to get more players for our weekly game of course of if that dose not pan out, to then do the traveling DM thing and bring the game to new players out there.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

DM's Workshop - Building the adventure

With the start of a new game upcoming I was wondering just what we would play. I have purchased many of the new 5E adventures and will want to play them, but we need a first adventure that sets the tone of our campaign world.

After seeing so many of my adventures and campaigns trashed (not even getting through some openings) I have decided to resurrect one in particular that I really had high hopes for. The first game I wrote for our first venture into 5E was called "Below the Mansion" and featured a Lovecraftian dungeon for the players to explore. This dungeon had a mystery to it's opening tale and a general feeling of woe. The fact that it was the end of a dying winter with snow and mud clinging to the earth beneath a deep overcast sky that constantly drizzled on the PC's who had to bundle up in cloaks for the trek to this ominous cliff side seeking this dark, abandoned mansion half fallen into ruin really set the mood for me.

The slight presence of the gnomes barely viable to greet and quietly leading the PC's into the mansion and down into the well, still made the place feel creepy and desolate. The dungeon itself was one of the best I think I have ever described, with it's cthulhu like decor of stone tentacles wrapping the walls and ceiling and the entire thing lit by a braziers red glow.

In the original adventure the PC's got only a few rooms in so not much was ever uncovered. This time around it's riddles, secrets and treasures can finally be flushed out by new players and their PC's. The story of course will have to change a bit, as the old story relied upon a PC's tale to get the party into the depths, but this time I have an even more tempting hook to get the PC's into this dark dungeon.

As we play d&d over the years we get to try things out and see what works and what dose not. One of the biggest success I have had is in finding a world that works perfectly for PC's to play in. All the failed attempts of populated worlds where the PC's would just hire guards or other NPC's to do the quest for them have been fixed by the world I now run (as that is not possible).

The main thing I liked about starting 5E was the idea that the PC's were friends before hand. Most times the PC's just meet up at a tavern, introduce themselves and move on, either not liking each other or not having bonds or ties to anyone in case they die or get in trouble. The attitude was always "who cares I don't know them". Now with the friendship idea, the PC's have a bond between them which in turn leads to looking out for each other, healing each other, helping each other with quests, story lines and such.

It is a great idea and mixing that with the start of a book I have just starting reading again "Dragons of Autumn's Twilight" you can see how a group of friends coming together one night to celebrate something is the perfect way to start off a quest line. As the PC's come to meet up with old friends, celebrate good times, they are met by someone who has a story they cannot refuse which leads to the mansion and the beginning of our first adventure.

Now that I have the adventure we are going to be playing and working on flushing out the dungeon once more. And I have the starting point for the PC's who will be friends and meeting up to celebrate good times with their friends. And I have the hook for the adventure along with an NPC I am thinking of who will start things off in the right way, I need to work on the tavern. I am pretty sure I have just the place to begin as well, with the release of the newest book "The Yawning Portal" we may return to our old friend at his tavern in our city where we did the original "Undermountain" Campaign as it seems a best fit all things considered.

As more develops, I will post more about our upcoming 5E game and be sure to set things up on YouTube when I can so you can watch along. Other projects I am working on are reliving our other unfinished campaigns with an all new group of PC's who've I rolled up on "Jade Dice" and have started writing as a full length story so we can finally see the end of both "The Wizard of Talisky" and finish "The Invasion" campaign with Gen the pathfinder.

The characters are terrific and flushing them out has give me many new ideas for the adventure. I will post more as I develop more and am also looking into just how Pateron works . . .  hmmmmm.