Saturday, January 22, 2011

Same Old Song and Dance

While I work on my ideas for my new Star Trek campaign (NY) and my new Post-Apocalypse campaign (NJ), I head out today to run my D&D-for-those-who-don't-like-D&D game. I may have mentioned this before, but Erin Palette said to me not long ago, "For someone who doesn't like D&D you sure seem to play it a lot."

She's right of course. I feel like Al Pacino in Godfather III..."I try to get out but they keep pulling me back in."

It seems my approach to D&D, whatever it may be, goes over really well among the gamers I know. Generally speaking the usual response is, "This is not D&D. This is something totally different." In reality, its not. That is, its not really that different in game terms. Mechanically its a blend of AD&D first and 3.0 with no feats. Instead, I injected my Talent System and that seems to make all the difference. That and my style of play is very fast when action of any kind is involved. I've removed the need to look up anything, consult charts or roll anything that isn't a contested challenge (meaning you roll to hit, save, 'Talent' checks but not for every little thing every moment. A Fighter is going to recognize most weapons and armor without needing to roll. A Ranger familiar with a given terrain doesn't need to roll to determine which berries in his home turf are edible.).

Currently, our group of freelance Monster Hunters are in a region of what on our Earth would be Canada. Originally they went their on their own volition to locate a creature known as The Ghost Wolf, a massive, spirit wolf whose fur, if it can be obtained, will make the perfect component for a magic bow one of the players wants to have constructed. While in the area, they stopped at a trading post and discovered several other potential jobs.

Miners in the region need help getting rid of a Wendigo that haunts the hills where the mines are.

A Mage from a prestigious Wizard's College and Guild is doing research on plants useful for alchemical purposes but is constantly being hindered by tree spirit creatures.

The local trade authority has revealed a desire to get the exclusive mining rites to a dried up lake area where they believe there is oil (Yes oil. Black gold. Control of the area would also enable them to develop a road North to what is essentially Alaska and perhaps more of the stuff). Unfortunately for them, this desire puts them in conflict with a small but tenacious mining outfit that is already staking a claim to the lake bed, originally unaware of the potential oil deposits. The PCs have since negotiated a deal that looks to benefit everyone involved. The only snag is that a previous Monster Hunter of some notoriety was sent to scout out the Alaska region and never returned.

The PC group's 'leader' (guy who owns their ship) also discovered an Elven Fighter/Mage whose father may have been friends with the PC's father. Both men disappeared 10 years ago. One went looking for the other.

The PCs are...
Male, Half-Elf*, Ranger/Shaman, Levels 3/3
Male, Grey Elf, Mage (Illusionist Specialty), Level 5
Female, Human, Cleric (of Poseidon), Level 4
Male, Half-Orc**, Fighter, Level 4
Male, Human (Appears Native American), Ranger, Level 4

Several NPC companions accompany them at this time including three Male Dwarves (all Fighters), a Male Half-Elf* Rogue (More Sailor/Pirate) and a Male Human Barbarian (of sorts).

Anyway, off to the races. Take care and I hope your day is as gamey as possible!

Barking Alien

*As I may have mentioned, Half-Elf is a misnomer. While there are Half-Elves on my world, both of the characters noted are from this nearly Australia sized island where Humans and Elves have lived together so long that any given individual can't really determine how much Human and how much Elf is mixed into their genes. Some 'Half-Elves' are more like three quarters Elf while others are about 85% Human. The Ranger/Shaman's dad was 50% Human and 50% Wood Elf, while his mom was a pure blooded Wild Elf.

**Orcs are rare on my world, having largely been killed off and driven to extinction by Humans, Elves, Dwarves, etc. Half-Orcs might as well be aliens. When people see him the basic reaction is either 'What the hell is wrong with your face? Are you cursed?" or "Damn that guy is ugly. If I didn't know better I'd say he was half Orc." "Half-Orc? Don't be silly dear...".


  1. Having a half-orc in the group must make for some excellent encounters. The possible language issues within the party would be great spice too, especially if one or more members has a combustible nature. And those jobs are all good ideas, essentially universal.

  2. Since the world is sort of a parallel Earth, language plays a big part in the milieu.

    While common is just that, a language commonly known by most people and used as a trade language by the largest cities and nations, many villagers and peasants who don't travel will speak a 'native' tongue. Therefore, while everyone gets to know common as a 'free' language, many PCs fill their bonus languages for Intelligence with Allebequese (French), Esperanzan (Spanish), Gelt (Scottish-ish) or a particular Elven subgroup. While all Elves share a base/parent language, each group has its own very distinct dialect.

    A Half-Orc will speak what its parents or local caretakers speak. In the case of this abandoned Half-Orc he knows Common, the dialect of the 'Half-Elf' islands (really a pigeon mix of Elvish dialects), a little Wood Elf and Gretha-Novan (a Latin derivate language spoken in the 'modern' Rome-ish nation). He has no idea what Orc sounds like.