Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Trimming the Fat Part 4: Killing Off Revenants Once and for All

Just a short post today because not much needs to be said on the topic. My "Trimming the Fat" series basically deals with bits of 4e that I find so offensive and contrary to my tastes that they cannot be house-ruled away. They must be completely excised from the game and buried under rocks. Previously we threw sunrods, skill challenges, and backgrounds on the trash heap (although I did end up using a background variant in my zine). Anyway, today we say goodbye to the Revenant as a playable race.

The reasoning is simple: 4e already requires that DMs inch up the difficulty. The last thing it needs is an unkillable munchkin race. Sure, the flavor is fine, but I have yet to see one played for any other reason than to be a get-out-of-death-free card. At higher levels, with tips and tricks like those found here, they become unkillable. Unkillable builds are not welcome in my D&D, regardless of edition. There is no reason to over-think it; just ban them and be done with it. If someone wants to use some sort of Revenant-ish storyline for their PC, they can work with the DM to do so in a way that isn't disruptive to the game.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Your RPG Person Profile!

Hey, this is a cool idea started by Zak S. from the Playing D&D with Porn Stars blog. Basically, your "RPG Person Profile" is a brief resume or snapshot of what games you play, blog about, and/or design, along with info on how to find any material you have released. Kind of like a blogger/designer character sheet. It is pretty handy-dandy, and I encourage other bloggers out there to put one up! Check out his original post about it HERE.

Anyway, here is my profile:

I'm currently running (at home): An occasional Call of Cthulhu or B/X one-shot.

Tabletop RPGs I'm currently playing (at home) include: None, sadly, but I might get into some PF Society stuff after the holidays.

I'm currently running (online): A 1e/2e hybrid Greyhawk campaign, and the occasional 4e one-shot.

Tabletop RPGs I'm currently playing (online) include: The last games I have gotten to play were Pathfinder and some OD&D.

I would especially like to play/run: Much, much more Call of Cthulhu.

...but would also try: Numenera, Night's Black Agents, Shadows of Esteren, and too many more to name.

I live in: Athens, GA, USA

2 or 3 well-known RPG products other people made that I like: The last two things I bought were Isle of the Unknown and Hammer of the God (LotFP), both of which are awesome.

2 or 3 novels I like: The first two that come to mind are The Transmigration of Timothy Archer and the Illuminatus trilogy.

2 or 3 movies I like: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Gummo, Young Frankenstein

Best place to find me on-line: G+

I will read almost anything on tabletop RPGs if it's: Fantasy and/or Horror related and contains random tables.

I really do not want to hear about: How terrible you think 4e D&D is.

Free RPG Content I made for D&D is available HERE.

4e Forever Issue #2 Updates, DDI News, and Shameless Solicitations

So I know that my blog updates have been few and far between recently, and there is a pretty good reason for it: I have been busy with other stuff. I also haven't had a lot of new ideas. To be honest, I pretty much have 4e where I want it. I have done a lot of work with monsters, from simplified creation techniques, to old-school stat blocks, to increased lethality. I have tweaked PC options, not just to help prevent analysis paralysis, but also to reign in some of the broken min/max crapola and magic item entitlement that so permeates the game. I have said my peace regarding 4e adventure design. I have pretty much said all that needs to be said on some subjects, at least from my perspective, and I even wrapped it up with a nice bow and put it into a free zine. While I am still working on the elusive final installment of my Stronghold series, I do not have the artwork in hand, without which not a lot of it will make sense. Which kind of brings me to this blog post.

The good news regarding issue #2 is that I have gotten a lot of high quality submissions. Next issue will feature articles on Warforged in Serd (complete with a new Epic Destiny), an article presenting Orcs as a playable race, one on Ophidians as a playable race (this one has some exciting fluff tying them to the 4e Forever world), a piece on creating your own powers, one on multiple outside-the-box uses for items in an adventurer's kit (no sunrods of course), a new character class for 4e (the Soulknife), and of course, my long overdue Stronghold rules, as well as part 2 of the megadungeon serial adventure "Tales of the Lost City". It is going to be quite awesome. I am just moving pretty slowly with it. Part of it is that I am waiting on some revisions to come back, and part of it is that I have been so covered up that when I get a five minute break I do not feel like writing. I am pushing through it though, as best as I can.

One thing that I desperately need is artwork. I have gotten by on public domain artwork in the past, and will continue to use it, but as we get into more specialized subject matter, I really need original artwork. Specifically, I need images of Warforged, Orcs, castle and/or manor house construction, items from an adventurer's kit (save sunrods), and "generic" battle scenes. If you or anyone you know likes to draw or paint, etc, please let them know that I am looking. This is a free zine, so there is no pay, but I can link to your sites and help promote your work. Despite being a very niche product, I still got an amazing amount of traffic and response to the first issue, and it could be a good way to feature your work. Leave me a comment or shoot me an email at frothsof@gmail.com for more info.

As far as 4e news goes, one positive is that it was announced this week that DDI would remain up indefinitely. They will be done with updates in March of 2014, but after that time the tools and zines will still be accessible. This is great news for folks that have come to rely on the ease of use that the tools offer. No word yet on pricing changes, if any.

 So that is all I have for you today. I wanted to at least let readers know that issue #2 is very much alive and that it will be very cool when it is completed. I am going to work as hard as I can over the upcoming holidays to get through a lot of it, as I won't have so much work-related stuff to take care of. I have a few little ideas for things that you may see over the next couple of weeks; a new "Trimming the Fat" post, and maybe a little something for Halloween.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Download THRESHOLD, the Mystara Magazine, FOR FREE!!!

Mystara aka "The Known World" remains one of the most unsung of all D&D settings. What began with just a scant few pages in the old 81' D&D Expert Set eventually blossomed into a full-fledged fantasy world through products like the Gazetteers and one of my personal faves, the Hollow World setting...basically the "innards" of Mystara.

Fans of Mystara have reason to be excited; the first issue of Threshold magazine, a free supplement, has been released! This thing is over 180 pages of awesome stuff, including a wonderful interview with Bruce Heard, who was instrumental in the development of the setting and is still going strong. Congrats and thank you's to all of those involved!