Sunday, August 30, 2009

Greyhawk Construction Company

In past campaigns we used to carry a log of each session, usually designating one of the players to take notes during the game and then write a summary. The task fell on a different player each session. In that way, if any of the players missed a session, everyone had the chance to read what had happened before the next one. At first everything was all right, with the players handing their summary on time so I can upload it to the website. But then, when people begun to fell behind schedule and to pile up unfinished summaries, I took the task. With time I also stopped writing them. Yes, I guess we are all lazy. That's why there are no session logs of our current campaign (3.5e) in this blog.

But what's the title of this entry has to do with this? Well, I want to post something from yesterday session. The party, composed by a two fighters, a cleric, a fighter/sorcerer, a beguiler and a rogue, is lost in the dungeons under the Tower of Magic, found a natural tunnel that led to the Tower of War. Following that tunnel, and after a series of rooms, stairs, secret doors, long winding corridors and even a drawbridge, they came to a room with an inscription hewn in dwarven runes on the wall opposite to the entrance:


On either side of the inscription two arcades provide exit from the room. Behind the wall a series of pegs hold several orange metal helmets. Each helmet has attached a small lantern with a flickering flame that radiates magic. Above the pegs another inscription also hewn in dwarven runes reads:


I've been wanting to introduce the Greyhawk Construction Co. in the game for a while now and yesterday, without previous preparation, I did it just inspired by the maps I was using. This was just a little preview for the characters and keep them wondering what G.C.C. stands for since none of them are from the Free City. There'll certainly be more of it in the future.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Well this blog got its first follower! It's like when you find the first comment on one of your posts and say "Hey, someone out there actually reads this!?". Thanks to Aslan, a fellow gamer from the End of the Earth and the World of Aeran, whereever those places are. ;-)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

S&W goes Silver

Catching up with all the blogging of the weekend, it was great to read the Ennies 2009 results and find that Mythmere Games won the Silver award for the Best Free Product category. Congratulations! I'm proud that my vote contributed to that. This award has to be seen as a milestone for the Swords & Wizardry project and a boost to the whole OSR movement that creates and supports free-form RPGs.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

On game rules and fun

Today I was reading the MicroLite74 rules set booklet, considering it as a possible candidate to use once I finish DMing my current 3.5e campaign, when I came across a sentence on the Designer’s Notes section that caught my eye:

"So don’t search your character sheet or the rules for the perfect solution [...]"

It was like having a deja-vu. When you look over the DM screen and see your players going back and forth their character sheets (or rulebooks) trying to find the answer for any given situation, you should know that something is wrong. It's then time to stop and ask:

People, is this really the game we want to play? Are we having fun?

In the end that's what games are all about: having fun. I've come to believe that in a game (at least in RPGs) the quantity of rules is inversely proportional to the quality of the fun you get playing that game. This has no scientific basis but an emotional one, and by no mean intends to be a static statement, so maybe someone could prove me wrong.

Later in the booklet, on the same section, there's a summary in reference to A Quick Primer for Old School Gaming by Matthew J. Finch, and under the item "Player Skill, not Character Skill " you can read the following:

"Players don’t need to be rules lawyers."

And I would humbly add, neither do DMs. Amen.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Goodbye 3.5e

I never played D&D or B/X. I started playing AD&D 1e, then switched to AD&D 2e, then to 3e, then to 3.5e, always thinking that the new rules set was better than the prevoius one without giving it much thought, but no more. I now DM three 3.5e campaigns all set in the World of Greyhawk; one ongoing (Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk) and two other "on hold" (a long term one that we left in the middle of Maure Castle from Dungeon magazines - heathens! - and a homebrew one).

With time I've realized that allowing the use of books like the "Complete" or the PHB2 was a mistake. I should have known better that with the three core books was more than enough. What was done in the eagerness of adding flavor to the game, in the end became a cumbersome corset for me. I don't need more rules, spells, feats or classes to do what I intended to.

So then it's decided, once we've finished EttRoG I plan to go back to the roots, back to 1e, or B/X, or some of the OSR rules set like Swords&Wizardry or Labyrinth Lord.