Monday, December 22, 2008

Controversial Trek

Okay, I know that Gene Rodenberry was a little on the liberal side. I know that Star Trek has always challenged the politically correct view of society on a number of issues. Heck, it featured inter-racial kissing that really made the networks tremble--back then. Now, Kirk & Uhura seem like they will be an item, from Abrams new Trek's previews. (Of course, it could also be because she is like, the only chick in the crew main cast... so Kirk would otherwise be in his undies with a no-namer.)

"Blood & Fire", the long-awaited David Gerrold two-parter for online classic Trek... not only features some nice starship combat, some bloody evil monsters, which would make D&D players tremble, but the damn things are resistant to phaser-fire and... oh wait...

This was about something else. It was about the lovey-dovey man on man couple... in little Starfleet German beerfest um... jumpsuits? When the heck did they get these cutesy jumpers? Or was that designed by the same guy who gave men wrap-around skirts in the first episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and then they disappeared?
Was it a good episode? (Part 1 only, so far?) Well, it was okay. Special effects and ships nicely done. Cool framed artwork of the Enterprise from Enterprise TV series on the wall. Was it meant to be cute? And... how the heck do Regulan Bloodworks = a gay AIDs episode???
I will have to wait until Part 2, with poor, not aging well, Denise Crosby, NOT playing Tasha Yar.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Playing without Books

No, I'm not talking about the Amber diceless RPG or a LARP... I'm talking about something I like for 4e that I feel like some critics ignore.

I've found that, aside from some condition and movement look-ups, we can set aside our PHB, DMG, and even MM most of the time in 4e. With power cards, or power sheets, or power-whatevers filled out by the players, and nice concise monster stat blocks included in published adventures, there is a lot of time saved [for me] to run back and look up rules.

The horizontal format DM Screen has a lot of condition and action info summarized there, and that helps a ton. Sure, the errata are not in my PHB because I don't have the super-deluxe version yet, but I don't miss them yet either.

All in all, this time saving helps me feel the game is easier to run, and once a player becomes familiar with their own specific character--what that character can do, as opposed to the whole darn game system--play is faster. I've run 4e sessions with 4 - 6 combat encounters plus roleplay, in one night, which I never ever did in previous editions... and they were not rushed, they were fun!

Friday, November 21, 2008

"Re-building" an established campaign

Okay, so here is a problem I have on my DM plate: I have a long-running, multi-year, deeply roleplay immersive campaign that was begun in 3.5 DnD.

Yeah, duh, it's "Elven Quest"!

So, the wonderful engine of the story and awesome, broad roleplay and character development has ground to a halt, because the group changed a little, we are down to at best 4 players, on a very good day, and we are exploring low-level 4e with an overlapping gaming group. (By overlap, I mean some players are in both groups).

I want the campaign to continue, but to do that, one of things I must consider is adding new players to a story which has a LOT of background, and possibly having them feel like someone is telling inside jokes all the time, and they are left out.

So, I'd love to hear any ideas from people as to how they might handle it... and "end the campaign" is not an option!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Blog Title?

Okay, while my bias leans more and more to 4e DnD, my Blog was named for a 3.5 campaign, which we called at the table, "Elven Quest". It began when WotC published the Lost Empires of Faerun hardback for Forgotten Realms campaign setting.

Basically, we said "Let's have a campaign begin with some common theme..." and I chose, Elven History...

Who would have known? Among several awesome DnD campaigns over the years, including great gameplay and roleplay by wonderful players, this one is the best to date!

4e has brought back an Old School feel for me, and I enjoy DMing again! So if I could get EQ campaign to level 12, slowly, over years (playing like, once every 8 - 10 weeks) even in 3.5, I wonder where it would go if I convert it to 4e, write some background to help the transition, and then move forward. Maybe it's selfish, but damn I would love to see 30th level with those characters and those players.

Two movies to share

Okay, I have two completely different movies to share with you, which both are--to quote Sean--"Brilliant!"

First of all, there is this unique movie I discovered in the Blockbuster Blu-Ray section called "The Fall". Let me just say, it's not only incredibly well acted, but filled with some of the most amazing "real" imagery from locations all around our world. This is the kind of movie I would sit everyone down in front of at least once, and it's one of the reasons I game, because of the way it looks at the world. Don't take my word for it, but if you don't find something to like in "The Fall", I'll buy you dinner.

Second, I needed to laugh, and not only did I laugh, but I nominate Robert Downey Jr. for ever frikkin movie award there is, followed by Ben Stiller. Yes, and a few other actors who you may or may not care too much about, or think deserving of Oscars... well... then you haven't seen "Tropic Thunder". This cast of actors must have gotten together and decided to show the world what they can do best....and they pull it off with style. I won't even say how fun Tom Cruise is, in this one. Watch it, Jack Black alone is worth it.... Forget anything these guys did which you don't like, and watch it!

Both of these movies make me think of the fun of gaming, when you get to create unique characters, who may or may not "go together in the party" when the campaigns begin...but... :)