May 12, 2017
TerrainCrate by Mantic Games is in the last few hours of it's campaign. As you can see, there are offering a metric ton of terrain options, from Dungeon and Battlefield accessories, to add-ons from their popular Dungeon Saga product and a Dark Wizard's Tower pack suitable for any Dungeon or Castle sets you may already have.
They've been blowing through stretch goals the whole campain, and look to be on target to raise about half a million.
Regardless of what you might be looking for, I'm sure you can find something usable in the many different offering in this Kickstarter. Check them out today!
Sep 22, 2016
It's been quite awhile since I posted here, and almost as long since I've done any miniature painting. Let's try to change that starting today!
During an email exchange with some of the players in my current campaign, one of the more experienced mini painters gave out some handy painting guidelines, tips, and tricks.
But I just had to add my own commentary to the discussion...
- Use an Xacto knife to clean up any flashing.
- [Use Xacto. Cut yourself and scream.]
- Wash the miniature with soap and water; rinse thoroughly and allow to dry completely.
- [Wash your cut in soapy water and reuse it to clean the mini.]
- I use a pair of small vise grips to hold the tab at the bottom to avoid touching the miniature while painting it.
- Paint the whole thing black; I spray the black base coat. Make sure you didn't miss any, touch up as required.
- Pick 3 major colors; more than 4 looks busy.
- [Pick three colors, then realize they dried out since the last time you used them. Pick whatever is still liquid.]
- Start painting from the inside out (ie paint the under shirt, then the shirt, then pants, then vest, then coat and boots, and finally the cloak).
- [Paint the inside out. When you mess up the outer layer, repainted the inside layer.]
- [Repeat this two more times before getting angry and throwing the mini across the room.]
- [Clean up the broken mirror before your wife sees it. Prepare to blame one of the kids and/or pets.]
- Consider going with a slightly lighter shade than you want the finished color to be. Apply a thin coat of brown wash or ink after finishing the main painting. This will add depth and a 'dirty' look.
- Admire your work.
- [Admit defeat and show up to the next session with a d6 for your character.]
- Also consider watching some YouTube videos. Dry brushing highlights is the next step in spending too much time painting. Wet blending is another advanced technique I would skip when starting out.
Mar 21, 2016
Dwarven Forge recently launched their latest Kickstarter, Castles terrain. Like their previous campaigns, they have a variety of options to choose from, and have already achieved a number of stretch goals.
Like previous Kickstarter campaigns, parts of this new one are easily compatible with previous offerings, like the mixing the new castle offering with the city streets from the previous Kickstarter, or mixing the mountain add-ons with the caverns pieces from the second Kickstarter.
If you're interested in seeing just what they have to offer, check out the Kickstarter here. And if you missed out on the previous Kickstarter offerings, you can still pick up some sets here on the Dwarven Forge website.
Feb 11, 2016
I thought I knew of all/most of the D&D related comics, until I found this site: http://kuronons.blogspot.com/
Here, you can find a full chronological list of comics, including the original D&D comic ads as well as plenty of one-shots and promos that I never heard of.
While the information is complete, as of 2012, sadly, it seems not to have been updated since then to include the few new D&D comics that have come out in the last few years.
If you have some time, check out the site. Not only does it detail plenty of D&D comic goodness, but there's also information on some unusual treasures (like the Dragonlance baseball cap!) that I was completely unaware of.
Jan 28, 2016
Some time after the events of the previous game session, Duncan is given a task by Lady Miranda, his superior in the Church of Kiri-Jolith. It seems a group of lay followers of the church have recently gone missing during a pilgrimage to the shrine of Arden Brightheart. The party is several days overdue, and Lady Miranda would like Duncan and his friends to quietly check out the shrine and its caretaker, Jarson Tender, and find what happened to the missing people.
At this point, the party consists of:Arden Brightheart was a legendary Knight of Solamnia around the time of Huma Dragonbane. His shrine sits on the sight of his greatest battle, destroying the necro-lich Dread Watcher. The site also serves as his tomb, as the brave knight did not survive the battle.
- Duncan - Cleric of Kiri-Jolith
- Ataraxia - Monk
- Rainos - Apprentice mage
To aid the party, she acquired the services of Rainos, a local apprentice mage. Rainos' mentor, Santos, is a powerful and well respected member of the Saltmarsh community.
After meeting up with Rainos, the party sets out in the direction of the shrine. It takes them about a day and a half to make the journey. Along the way, the party is forced to camp out under the stars and keep watch, but being so close to the city, nothing bothers their campsite.
- Defeating the One Thousand Fists goblin tribe
- Slaying Sunfire, an orange dragon
- Discovering the Helm of the Squire
- Defeating the Plague Lord of Morgion
After dispatching the creatures, the party continued down the finished hallway. They came across two doors, one on each side of the hallway. From the door on the right, they could hear monstrous noises coming from within, but the door seemed sturdy and the lock was strong, so they decided to leave whatever was inside the room there.
Across the hall, they found the door to this room unlocked. As they listened at the door, only small clanking and chipping noises could be heard. They opened the door slightly to look inside. Within, the party could see about half a dozen people all in tattered travelers clothes. They were all tending to a huge mural, depicting Arden Brightheart's conflict with Dread Watcher, that filled up three sides of the room. The people made no notice of the party when they entered.
After some discussion, the party decided to leave these people in this room. It was the party's hope that they would find the source of this compulsion further within the desecrated shrine, along with the remainder of the missing followers of Kiri-Jolith.
Jan 19, 2016
Wizards of the Coast made an interesting announcement Monday, the ripples of which affect much of the official gaming content to be coming out over the next several months.
While the original I6 module has been updated several times before for various editions of Dungeons and Dragons, see House of Strahd (2e) and Expedition to Castle Ravenloft (3.5e), this module claims to be the most expansive and open ended version of the classic storyline.
Some other little interesting tidbits about this module.
- This is the first of the major module releases to be developed in house at WotC, instead of being outsourced as they have done for all their previous modules.
- This module was written by Chris Perkins, one of the most prolific module writers for Dungeon magazine before becoming a full time TSR/WotC employee.
- This is the first updated version of the module to include input from Tracy and Laura Hickman (authors of the original module).
- Unlike past 5e modules, this only offers enough content for players to reach level 10. I personally don't see this as a bad thing, part of the appeal of horror is the heroes being underpowered versus their opponent.
Anyone familiar with any version of the Ravenloft module knows that one of the key elements are tarokka card readings. The original version of the module provided charts to roll on, as well as instructions on how to modify a regular deck of cards to simulate a tarokka deck. Later, TSR or partners produced real tarokka decks for use in the game. For Curse of Strahd, WotC has licensed with Gail Force Nine for a new version of the deck.
As a way to generate more interest in Curse of Strahd, if you tweet to Madam Eva (@Wizards_DnD) with the hashtag #DnDFortune she will reply with a new "reading" each day!
Finally, if you are interested in reading more behind the scenes details about the creation of this module, check out this interview on Geek and Sundry's website with Chris Perkins, Tracy Hickman, and Laura Hickman.
So, until the module is release on March 15, 2016, beware of things that go bump in the night...
Jan 7, 2016
As I've mentioned from time to time, I often look for inspiration as a Dungeon Master from a variety of different sources, and I'm always on the lookout for inspiration from unlikely channels.
Recently, as I was trying to introduce my 5yr old son to Scooby Doo, one of the cartoons I loved as a kid, and I found myself seeing the show as a wonderfully plotted long term Dungeons and Dragons campaign.
Now, just to clarify. When I was growing up, I was watching reruns of the original Scooby Doo, Where Are You! show, which, while good for its time, had some shortcomings in terms of story and animation. The show I was trying to introduce to my son to was the 2010 Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated (henceforth abbreviated as SDMI). After the first episode, I was hooked, not just as a TV fan, but also for the story telling techniques that I could borrow for my own D&D games.
Now, here are a few reasons you should be watching Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated right now!
- Easy Availability - This is a simple one, but still important. Unlike some other shows I might want to recommend for DM inspiration, this one is currently available for instant streaming on Netflix, lending itself to binge watching. As a DM, you could easily borrow the outline of one or two episodes (with a few minor changes) for entry level parties.
- Balancing Story of the Week and Ongoing Story - Most episodes included not only the monster/villain of the week, but also clues and details about a much larger mystery the group would investigate and solve by the end of the series (a refreshing aspect few of the other incarnations of the show follow). Watching how this unfolds and how seemingly inconsequential details all add together can offer inspiration and suggestion for DMs on how to do the same things in their own campaigns.
- Character Arcs - In addition to the monster of the week and the overarching story lines, SDMI also develops the background stories of many of the main and recurring characters seamlessly into the story of the week. Once again, all DMs can use these techniques to weave character backgrounds, either directly (like encountering a past villain) or indirectly (upholding a personal ideal), into any adventure they are running.
- Real Consequences - Unlike many of the other Scooby Doo shows before or after SDMI, this show had characters suffer real consequences over the course of the series, including the heavily implied death of several key characters. All D&D campaigns can be strengthen by reminding the players of their own mortality through the death of key or beloved NPCs.
- Setting Consistency - One of the best things I liked about this show over any other incarnation of Scooby Doo was how it took effort to be consistent in its setting and explain that consistency to the viewer. Thorough the course of revealing the overarching story, the show explains why Crystal Cove (the home base for this party) is so prone to strange events and even why Scooby (and a few other animals) can speak. It's often said that DMs can craft settings as fantastical as their imagination will allow, but those settings must be consistent. With SDMI, we learn the rational of some of the more fantastical elements presented.
Several episodes featured characters from other HB shows, including Jonny Quest, Blue Falcon and Dynnomutt. One episode in particular featured a bunch of characters from other similarly-themed HB detective shows, including Speed Buggy, Jabberjaw, and Captain Caveman.
Lastly, the show makes great reference to other shows and movies, from Terminator, Tremors, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and even Star Trek, to name a few.
If you have a Netflix account, and some time to kill (the series consists of 52 episodes, each running about 22 minutes), I highly recommend checking this out.