Posts Tagged: Dungeons & Dragons

Ever wanted to play Dungeons and Dragons against some of Fantasy’s best (and coolest) authors? Of course you do. Last year, thanks to Justin Landon, we were privy to a documented game of D&D featuring Patrick Rothfuss, Peter V. Brett, Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch, Elizabeth Bear and a whole bunch of other awesome people. The saliva lost by drooling Fantasy fans was enough to fill the Dead Sea (and just as salty). You can read Brent Weeks’ account of the game right here on A Dribble of Ink, in fact. Now, this time around, you (yes, you), have an opportunity to take part in the next D&D game, alongside many of these same authors, including Patrick Rothfuss and Peter V. Brett, and newcomers like Sam Sykes. How? By auction. Read More »

"This is an Emergency Test of Your Magic System" by Josh Vogt - An image from MISTBORN: BIRTHRIGHT
Creating a new magic system isn’t all that hard. Do I hear a few dissenters in the audience? For the sake of the next exercise, let’s assume I do. Time to play a quick round of Magic Mad-libs!

Fill in the blanks:
“In a(n) adjective world populated by noun, practitioners known as made-up-word can call upon energy source to fuel a form of noun magic.”

What’d you come up with? In a forested world populated by squirrels, practitioners known as fuzzummoners can call upon mystical oak trees to fuel a form of acorn magic? Me too! Weird.

Once a basic concept is pinned down, it’s still not difficult to flesh out the system. There are so many types of magic systems swarming the shelves these days, they’ve started to lump into familiar categories. Here are a few common approaches:

  • Beakers full of fairy dust – This is magic as science. The fuzzummoners exist within a universe that has an extra level or two of physics, with established rules that govern their acorn spell-casting. (Think pretty much any book by Brandon Sanderson.) Or the fuzzummoners have stumbled across mysterious, ancient—possibly alien—doohickeys that are so far beyond their comprehension it might as well be magic.
  • The mythology wood-chipper – Fuzzummoners are just one supernatural faction alongside Norse gods, dragons, trolls, vampires, and whatever else gets thrown into the mix for variety’s sake. (Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series is a great example.) Bit of a magical free-for-all where anything goes (Also look at T.A. Pratt’s Marla Mason series).
  • Is that a D20 in your pocket? –The fuzzummoners magic originates from a roleplaying world with game mechanics complicated enough to boggle Jeopardy’s Watson. Whether a tabletop or video game, the gameplay came first, the stories came later. (Look to the Pathfinders Tales series as a current example, plus plenty of other media tie-ins.)

If creating the magic system isn’t hard, what’s the difficult part then? Read More »

An epic game of D&D with Peter V. Brett, Brent Weeks and Joe Abercrombie (Photo court. Peter V. Brett's Facebook Page)

Remember this post? It was incredibly popular. Well now, thanks to Justin Landon at Staffer’s Book Review, you can watch a snippet of the now legendary D&D game featuring the likes of Jim C. Hines, Saladin Ahmed, Joe Abercrombie, Patrick Rothfuss and several other great authors. The full video is rumoured to exist and will, at some point, hit the ‘net.

An epic game of D&D with Peter V. Brett, Brent Weeks and Joe Abercrombie (Photo court. Peter V. Brett's Facebook Page)(I can’t guarantee the completeness or veracity of this account of the D&D game at Epic ConFusion. As a kid, I never got past rolling a character before my friends lost interest, so if it appears that some players didn’t do much, that’s likely because I spent their turns squinting at the handbook.)

“Wait,” I say, “we’re going to role play this, right? I mean, we’re not all just going to go for the racial min/maxes on stats, are we?”

Nine flat stares.

Everyone does racial min/maxes.

We’re rolling stats the night before our Epic ConFusion D&D game. I notice Joe Abercrombie (The First Law Trilogy) is definitely rolling more than six times. “My first rolls weren’t very good,” he explains, perfectly nonchalant.

Huh, guess I don’t understand the rules very well.

Peter V. Brett (The Demon Cycle) claims to have only rolled once. And he’s gloating. I’m too wrapped up in Abercrombie’s cheating to tell if Brett got that many 17’s naturally.

We’re playing old school D&D. First Edition old school. Everyone agrees an assassin is gimped at level 2, so because I’ve played the least, I buddy up with Peter Brett. He’s going with a half-elf cleric named Glendrin Smythe. I’ll be his little brother by 22 years, also a cleric: Grrthog Smythe, half-orc. (Clearly, Dad Smythe’s charms declined with age.)
Read More »

Dungeons and Dragons


2008 saw the release of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Ed., a release that was originally met with some strong vitriol from fans who were bothered by both the relatively small amount of time since the previous major release (3.5, released in 2003) which required a major time/cash investment for core players, and the drastic changes made to the game (ostensibly to make it more welcoming and inviting to new players). As we all know, the Internet has a drastic inability to respond proportionately to issues that bother them and in the four years since its release, fans have cooled down considerably and 4th Ed has fans and detractors in equal proportion.

Now, hoping to head off similar controvery with the next release of the classic Role Playing Game, Wizards of the Coast is looking to its fans for feedback on how they can improve things next time around.

A testing period will be open for a significant amount of time after the new editions is finalized a move the powers at Wizard of the Coast are hoping will assuage any fan fears of over-simplified rules or any other emphasis that might perceive as being wrong. Specifically, this new effort is centered around the notion for face-to-face interaction between gamers in a traditional tabletop play environment. James W. Ward, the former vice president of TSR Inc.

Here’s a suggestion, WoC, how about not asking your fans to spend a few hundred dollars every four years if they want to keep up with your product? How about spending your time and resources on creating great add-on content and adventure modules to keep fans interested in your product? There was 11 years between 2nd Ed. and 3rd Ed., 12 years between AD&D and 2nd Ed. Remember those days? The golden age?

You can find out more information about 5th Ed., along with how you can contribute to the development process, on the official D&D website.