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A Dungeons and Dragons Documentary
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TOPIC: A Dungeons and Dragons Documentary
#20045
A Dungeons and Dragons Documentary 7 Years, 11 Months ago  
Oh...and Capt. Kirk and Col. Hogan always got the babe, too!
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#20046
A Dungeons and Dragons Documentary 7 Years, 11 Months ago  
I actually have this movie on DVD. I think it's very good content-wise. Production value wise...not quite so much. But overall it's a great movie I think.

I wonder if YouTube is hosting the extras with Gary. Hmm...

Anyway the bestest thing in the world about this video is the fact that Stefan is a 1e adherent (or seemed to be in the video). Still playing AD&D1, Stefan?

Yes, I am still old, old school, but have taken some things from all the subsequent versions too...3rd edition is better for miniature combat.

There is a lot less abstraction in their minis combat rules; but I've never understood why so many of my 1e fellow fanatics eschew miniatures rules. If anything AD&D 1st edition is closer to miniature combat than not: it stems directly from the 1974 edition of D&D (which I own and is a great game in it's own right - if you're going to blow a couple hundred bucks on gaming stuff that's not Dwarven Forge I heartily recommend grabbing a set of the OD&D rules and supplements), which in turn comes from Gygax & Perren's Chainmail - a table top medieval wargame with a "fantasy supplement" that became D&D! :)

I find that if anything, miniatures make AD&D easier, even when we're abstracting. F'rex you can't really get three 28mm minis across what is nominally a 10' wide Dwarven Forge corridor, so we write down marching order and the minis are there just to give us an idea where things are going - and because they're super cool and look great with the awesome DF! :D

But when it comes to spell ranges and spell effects, DF + minis shine for AD&D. Here's an example: reading the description for the 1e Fireball, the whole "33000 sq. ft." sounds like a nuclear blast in terms of AoE but once I actually put "33000 sq. ft." (scale) of Dwarven Forge on the table, voila, the fireball spell lost some of it's deadly mystique: that 33000 sq. ft. is merely 33 squares of Dwarven Forge, assuming 10' high ceilings - and if the party's squaring off against, say, giants who've got 15' ceilings, suddenly that's only 17 squares, and so forth.

In conclusion, I put up quite the front as being an "auld grump" when it comes to my gaming (and there is much I dislike about 2nd edition AD&D and d20 Fantasy...:-/ ) but as Gary himself will tell you, if you're having fun then you're doing it right. :)
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Too much Dwarven Forge to list!
 
#20047
A Dungeons and Dragons Documentary 7 Years, 11 Months ago  
I agree with the position that the rules are guidelines - and its up to the gamemaster how rules strict the game should be...I almost always er on the side of free-flow playability and tend to simplify rules (roles and such needed to accomplish actions etc) rather then defining them to the point of micro-reality. To me playability almost always wins out over "realism" though I think Ive struck up a good balance.

As for "storytelling" approach I like it - have really enjoyed the Ars Magica campaigns I've played (never DMd)...but such an approach doesn't do it for eveyone. I've even run the same (D & D based) campaign with different groups that have ended up being like 2 entirely different games - I largely let the players take it where they will. I ussually have a good enough mix of slash & kill stuff with the more talky intruiges and the like (I tend to do a lot with politics & religion)...I personally find that I like a good balance. What I don't enjoy so much is some of the overly formulaic/mathmatics orientated games...solving puzzles is OK/great - but getting bogged down into consulting mutliple tables to do one little thing - no good...

BTW I have a pristine copy of the little silver spiral bound chainmail book as well....I go back a ways as far as this gaming stuff is concerned...though I'm not sure I could even pull off running or even running in a straight up AD & D campign (whatever edition...and I could hardly tell you what is different from one to the next)...I always have just pick and chosen bits to use and just translate stuff into my "system" (which is largely based on attribute roles with mods...with the rest being role-playing)...and I've spawned a number of folks who ran (once) campaigns based upon whatever system I was using at the time. Most who have ever played in my game really liked it (I've had a great many players play my game over the years and most have been very loyal and claim its the best they've ever played in...really truly) - though my game is a little too loose for some of the engineer types who just couldn't handle not knowing what series of rolls are required to perfrom some act..."What do you mean its just one roll? And you won't even tell me what I have to roll until I describe to you exactly how/what I'm doing?" lol
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#20048
A Dungeons and Dragons Documentary 7 Years, 11 Months ago  
Heya Jim!

Use away! I think it's mostly the product of my cold, but let errr rip!

My sister runs a Star Trek game everyonce in a while... and we use the new CODA game. It's pretty cool... don't get hit by a phaser though!

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#20049
A Dungeons and Dragons Documentary 7 Years, 11 Months ago  
THOTH,

It sounds as if our approach to running a game and the results are almost identical.

My DMing goal is always to ensure a creative, enjoyable, challenging, intriguing and "sensible" scenario.

Any redundancies that essentially detract from these goals were "weeded-out" in my style years ago. An added bonus of this strategy is that things like "party initiative rolls" can now be dealt with on an individual, as needed basis.

By applying creative interperetation of many aspects of the games I run, (including character history and spell range/AOE) I empower my players to contribute more to the game and to take greater risks at the same time.

I have tried the later edition and although I stopped using it after a test run, I do believe they are very well-suited for those who prefer a more "structured" style of gameplay. I'll leave it at that.

BTW, my expanded, custom character sheets still have H.T.K: on them. Does anyone else use that, or am I the only die-hard/relic left in that regard.

Steve
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#20050
A Dungeons and Dragons Documentary 7 Years, 11 Months ago  
And i thought i was an old-school grognard...

What is HTK?
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Champion of the 6" DOE Hallway!VINDICATION!~!

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#20051
A Dungeons and Dragons Documentary 7 Years, 11 Months ago  
Hits to Kill
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#20052
A Dungeons and Dragons Documentary 7 Years, 11 Months ago  
Guys;

I gotta admit, when I DM a game, I mostly run with 'What's fun?' rather than rigidly adhere to any ONE set of rules. I USUALLY run with 3E, because that's what I started with and am most familiar with, but if AD&D, or even 1E sneaks in, oh, well...
Of course, there are the non-D&D goodies that crop up under D20OGL, such as DragonStar and D20 Modern. Also, ADB has the new Prime Directive sets out, and someone else has Babylon5 stuff coming around in D20, and Ad Astra has threatened us with Honor Harrington Universerse stuff, which is one of my VERY FAVORITE fictional universes. Plus, Eric Flint has his 1632 universe, which is EXTREMELY susceptible to D20 interpretation.

Okay, I admit it; I'm a pretty ECLECTIC gamer. So shoot me - but YOU figure out what you're going to shoot me with!

See ya!

Jim
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#20053
A Dungeons and Dragons Documentary 7 Years, 11 Months ago  
I'm one of the old guard that's been playing D&D since 1977. Actually, I started in '76 with Tunnels & Trolls, then called the "poor man's D&D," because D&D was three booklets for $10, while Tunnels & Trolls was one booklet for $3.

Personally, I feel that the current edition is substantially better than previous ones. They've done a great deal to make the game move and play the way I prefer. The designers actually listened to players and playtesters, and the game has evolved well. If I find a rule here or there with which I disagree, I'm free to house rule otherwise for my campaign, as can any good GM.

I won't denigrate anyone for their preferences to previous editions - to each their own. But this is the edition I prefer. I have my big brushed steel D20 (which I got for Iron Heroes), and love to let it roll - in a Chaosium dice corral, so it doesn't roll overy my carefully painted minis.

Whatever you like play, have fun doing it. That's what really counts, after all.
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#20054
A Dungeons and Dragons Documentary 7 Years, 11 Months ago  
Steve/Wereweasel - I agree/hear ya. And I always try to simplify where possible - though I've done a spell excursion (not yet complete - though I often use it in part - to test it out) that shares a great deal (in certain aspects of the practicle approach to casting spells) with the Ars Magica magic system. I call it my true magic system and I wanted it to reflect as much as possible how magic is - more or less - actually supposed to work. I didn't so much intend it that it would be like Ars magic - and its not exactly at all the same - but does share many chracteristics. I have been very influenced in my time by the Earthsea books (true names/summoning/elemental magic etc), I'm a huge Moorcock fan - so Elric and summoning magic and invoking powerful gods/demons etc is pervasive in my system, I'm also a big fan of Tim Powers and have incorporated some aspects of his approach to magic. And I'd be curious if anyone is familiar with a set of 3 books writtn by a fellow called Lyndon Hardy? Master of Five Magics, Riddle of the 7 realms and Secret of the Sixth Magic. These books contain a fantasitc approach to magic and meta-magic that I just love (and have more-or-less incorporated aspects of). I'm also a big fan of shamanistic stuff - though I can't say I've fully (yet) incorporated such into the mainstream part of my game (though I do have shamanastic type chraracters & NPCs) Many people have described my (world) campaign as something akin to Indiana Jones - where the players are off searching for lost spells and hidden magic in various faerie, infernal and magical realms or sifting through the remains of destroyed civilizations looking for items and/or rare elements or herbs or such that they need for certain powerful spells and rituals. I also rely heavily on my background in history and anthropology and have crafted a number of (human/humanoid) races/civilizations that have very distinct magic systems (& unique character classes) and I'm still working quite a bit on fleshing these out. I even have quite a history of wars, colonizations, blendings and exiles etc. Perhaps one day I'll quit my day job and write some books!
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#20055
A Dungeons and Dragons Documentary 7 Years, 11 Months ago  
THOTH,


Your campaigns sound as if they are full of remarkable details and have a level of authenticity rarely found together -in equal measure.

Admittedly, technical detailing of crypts, ruins and exotic locales is the one area I could truly enhance my DMing most noticably.

With having notable (or formal) exposure to anthopology, might I ask for a bit of advise on reference material?

Essentially I would to know of any useful texts that would provide insight, including minute details of crypts/ruins etc.

For example:

Does dust collect in sealed crypts? When, what type of insects may be found? Decay, how long do skeletal, wood, metal, various provisions and leather/fabric items last in various environs etc.

For me, having a reference point for these questions would be of considerable interest to me and would enhance my games significantly.


BTW,

In addition, if there is reference material of this sort in any edition of the AD&D books (or another gaming system), I would really appreciate a tip on any of those as well.

Thanks.

Steve
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#20056
A Dungeons and Dragons Documentary 7 Years, 11 Months ago  
You may find that detailing crypts is a tricky business. My archaeology elective used tombstones as an example of how differing influences occur at differing times -- over a hundred or so years, there were three distinct trends in headstones in America alone. I suspect you will find that time, region, culture, and environment/weather are all factors in how crypts are constructed, decorated, and naturally aged.

What do you mean by dust?

Household dust is comprised of very fine fibers from clothing and carpets and pets, dead skin cells, pollen, and minute particles of biological matter. If your crypt has nothing exposed but stonework, then there will be (at most) a fine layer of dust; if the crypt has lots of tapestries, and bodies lying exposed on stone tablets, then there will probably be quite a lot of dust. If the crypt is hermetically sealed (no insects, plants, molds, or bacteria to speak of) then there won't be a lot of dust; if it is home to a thriving ecosystem, then plenty of dust (and decay, and droppings).

Dust can also be particles of dirt, sand, and stone. If the crypt is well-constructed (no gaps or breaks to the outside, stable structurally and geologically) there won't be much dust; if the crypt has holes to the outside, or settling and tremors causing debris to shake loose from the ceiling, there will be lots of dust. Dry (desert) environments are notorious for dust -- it gets EVERYWHERE! Construction will also be a factor here. The thicker the walls (more layers of stonework) and the fewer seams, the less dust will likely settle. A crypt carved into solid granite will have little dust, a crypt made of sandstone blocks will have more.

For insects and basics of human decay, try:
www.kathyreichs.com/entomology.htm
users.skynet.be/lilith/english/deathtodust.html
members.tripod.com/csi-playingwithfire/guide_to_forensic_science.htm
These were found in a ten-minute search at AskJeeves.

However, I have found that letting the story drive the effects often makes for better play than letting the effects drive the story.

(My starfleet captain died because I couldn't flash-freeze him (for later revival) in the vacuum of space -- heat dispersal is actually very difficult in vacuum, you see, and it was more important to keep things realistic than it was to allow my character to live.)

If you want the body to be perfectly preserved, then put a spell on it. If you want your characters to have to look around to find an item or an inscription, then put a thick layer of dust on everything. If you want to have the players roll saving throws against nausea, make the dead body stink. If you want to foreshadow the giant beetles that live two levels down, populate the first level with lots of regular beetles. If you want the characters to contract a long-dormant disease or other infection, put lots of mold and dust and wet scum all over the crypt. And so on.

One nod to realism I will make, however, is this: mechanical traps in ancient tombs don't reset themselves -- unless somebody comes in to reset them, they go off once and that's it. If you want a trap that goes off every time someone walks by, either stack the traps (multiple instances of the same trap to create "charges") or come up with some reason that the trap resets itself (a tension spring that was wound up before the tomb was sealed, flowing water operating gears that move all of the pieces back into position, whatever).
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