Sunday, 20 July 2014

Normal Service Resumed.

I hadn't realized just how long it is since I last posted anything here. Work & house repairs have seriously been eating into my leisure time ( which is limited at the best of times) plus the latest plan to get my dungeon stuff into circulation went badly tits up. So in a huff I stuffed it into a large box & promptly forgot about it for a few months.

I have however decided to get back on that particular horse & have produced a master & mould for a new piece:

A classically decorated room created with the help of hot water, a litre bottle of gin & some strong elastic bands ( sounds like a honey trap for 1980s conservative politicians).
Its a nice change from carving stonework from sheets of balsa foam, the dust of which is like itching powder & now I've got the masters done for the straight walls I can begin to put together some corridor sections with the same pillar detail for those more aspirational dungeon environments.

In other news I've bought my first D&D product after an interlude of 32 years.

I wasn't initially that interested but there was a fair bit of enthusiasm for it with my local board gaming group so in a fit of madness I agreed to DM a session for a few of the other members. There are actually two of us D.M ing on consecutive weekends, it will be interesting to compare notes afterwards to see how the two groups get on. The default setting seems to be The Forgotten Realms, at least that is where the introductory mini campaign in the starter box is set; but I'm going down a different route with my own setting & scenario. Not that I've anything against the official game settings produced down the years, i'm sure they are very good, its just easier for me to remember details of stuff made up in my own head rather than trying to cope with pages of detail written by someone else.

Anyway, for £12 its a very nice little set:

The starter rulebook gives you all the basic mechanics of the game, movement, fighting, magic etc but doesn't cover character generation; however there are five pre-generated characters included in the box or you can download a basic rules pdf from Wizards of the Coast's website. The starter campaign is nicely done, though a bit of a dead loss to me, but even this is redeemed by having a short bestiary in the back of the book featuring amongst others goblins, orcs, giant spiders & four types of undead. Even the dice included are fairly decent, certainly a vast improvement over the light blue ones included in the Moldvay Basic set I bought back in 1983.

There is quite a lot that appeals to me in this iteration of the rules, I like the advantage/disadvantage mechanic whereby you roll 2 d20s & use the lowest or highest number depending on your circumstance. The character sheet is recognisably D&D, anyone who had played BECM or AD&D 1st edition would be able to pick it up & understand it straight away. I also like the fact they've included a skills section on it, each skill being modified by one of your six characteristics. Its a subtle jog to the players memory that they possess attributes other than combat skills & magic.
They've even made magic users a viable class at low level through the addition of use at will 'cantrips', 0 level spells with unlimited daily use, so no more cast one spell & then throw daggers or keep out of the way for the rest of the gaming day. My only reservation is that the balance might have swung the other way a bit, but magic users still only use d6 for hit points & have very limited access to protection  so they still have to keep out of the way when the swords start swinging.

Looking forward to running this, probably have more considered thoughts post the event. Just have to see how my group of four players cope with " The Fane of the Drowned God".