Archive for the RPG Rants Category

The Many Worlds of D&D, part one

Posted in Rants, RPG Rants, Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 26, 2017 by Charlie Brooks

Dungeon MasterDungeons & Dragons has never been about one single fantasy world. In fact, beginning in the 1980s, the game spawned a multiverse that stands on par with anything churned out in the comic book industry. Through the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition years especially, D&D became home to dozens of parallel fantasy worlds.

Unfortunately, the D&D multiverse was very bad for business. In the 1990s, TSR split its market by supporting too many settings and chasing diminishing returns. Recent editions have focused on the most profitable settings, with 5th edition adventures taking place almost entirely in the Forgotten Realms and paying lip service to other worlds.

Despite the more sensible business model, the many settings of D&D still have their fans and, thanks to the existence of affordable PDFs, are available to new audiences who want to explore the past. I can’t tackle the many settings of D&D in a single article, but this is a start with more to come.

For the purposes of this survey of worlds, I’m focusing solely on officially published campaigns released by TSR or Wizards of the Coast. Including other D&D compatible settings such as the ones introduced through the Dungeon Crawl Classics and Pathfinder lines would quite honestly make my head explode. Continue reading

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Gaming Stories: The Ignominious Death of Machiavelli

Posted in Gaming Stories, Rants, RPG Rants, Uncategorized with tags on May 24, 2017 by Charlie Brooks

Carriage ChaseThis is a story about chaos and mismanaged expectations. It involves the death of a PC whose player had only started gaming two sessions ago. Somehow, my botched GMing didn’t drive him away from the tabletop for good and in fact became a tale that many who were there recall fondly.

The poor unfortunate PC was an elf named Machiavelli. I remember very little of the character himself, save for the fact that he had a Dexterity of 20, which will become relevant later. This game took place right at the start of 3rd edition D&D, so the fact that a 1st-level character could have a 20 in anything seemed amazing at the time.

The story doesn’t begin with Machiavelli, though. It begins with his adventuring companion Penelope. The same Penelope who killed a dryad and called it an evil tree spirit, who loves drawing from the deck of many things, and who turned into a magic sword. She’s been a constant agent of chaos in my setting for 17 years now. For her 18th birthday, I might buy the character sheet some lottery tickets and porn.

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Gaming Stories: Return of the Deck of Many Things

Posted in Gaming Stories, Pathfinder, Rants, Role-Playing Games, RPG Rants with tags on January 11, 2017 by Charlie Brooks

Deck of Many ThingsFor more than 15 years now, one of my main GMing strategies when I run a D&D or Pathfinder campaign has gone something like this:

  1. Give the PCs the deck of many things.
  2. Wait for them to draw from it.
  3. Have fun with the results.

If I ever doubted that the deck of many things is the greatest magic item in the game, those doubts were dispelled at my last Pathfinder session. Continue reading

Delving into the Book of Erotic Fantasy: Wear Protection

Posted in Rants, Role-Playing Games, RPG Rants with tags , on November 15, 2016 by Charlie Brooks

Book of Erotic FantasyOriginally posted on Sidekickcast.com

Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition introduced the Open Gaming License, which made huge chunks of the D&D rules open to third parties. It created thriving adventure lines, such as Dungeon Crawl Classics and even allowed the creation of competing games, such as Pathfinder. But by far one of the most simultaneously awesome and horrible products that emerged as a result of this license is the Book of Erotic Fantasy.

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D&D and Pathfinder: What’s the Difference?

Posted in Pathfinder, Rants, Role-Playing Games, RPG Rants with tags , on October 11, 2016 by Charlie Brooks

Pathfinder Dragon

Originally published on Sidekickcast.com

I tend to use Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder interchangeably. In a lot of ways, they’re the same game – after all, Pathfinder is directly derived from the 3rd edition D&D rules. At the same time, both games have evolved in different directions and provide a distinctly different feel at this point. If you’re looking to start a game using one of these systems, which do you choose?

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Weird Magic Items I Wish I’d Used

Posted in Pathfinder, Rants, Role-Playing Games, RPG Rants, Uncategorized with tags , on September 27, 2016 by Charlie Brooks

LiddaOriginally posted on Sidekickcast.com

Thanks to whatever weirdness inhabited the heads of Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, fantasy gaming has some really bizarre stuff baked into its history. I’ve gamed long enough to use a lot of that weirdness (including my personal favorite, the deck of many things), but there’s still so much more out there. Here’s a quick list of some of the fun items in Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder that I’ve always wanted to slip into an adventure but have never quite been able to make fit. Continue reading

The Awesome Silliness of Fantasy RPGs

Posted in Humor, Pathfinder, Rants, RPG Rants with tags on September 6, 2016 by Charlie Brooks

Flumph and GoblinsOriginally posted on Sidekickcast.com

If you’re a fan of role-playing games, you probably got introduced to the game through a little thing called Dungeons & Dragons. It may have come by a different name back then, such as Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, but the general gist remains the same. In my unscientific study, about 99% of gamers were found to have come into the hobby via some iteration of D&D.

I’ve hopped around a lot in the RPG hobby, and while I got off the D&D train, my current game of choice, Pathfinder, is an extremely close cousin of the world’s first role-playing game. While there are a lot of reasons I tend to stick close to the D&D tradition, one of the major ones is the oddball humor that the game’s history is steeped in.

I like a good beer and pretzels game, where the play is fairly casual and the jokes are frequent. And when it comes to D&D-style fantasy, the jokes have been baked into the game for decades now.

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