Monthly Archives: March 2014

The D&D silence is deafening

As I type this, the D&D Next playtest has ended, and D&D 4th edition has essentially ended with the cease of publication of Dungeon and Dragon magazine. The only new products that are coming out of WOtC are novels, PDFs of old edition modules, and D&D encounters modules that by every opinion that I have read and experienced are terrible.

The barebones info that is being drip fed is, in my opinion, completely inadequate for a product of this scale. this should be the biggest release of any RPG product in the last ten years, but WOtC is treating it like they are embarrassed about the whole thing, and would rather people not pay much attention to it. they have spent ten times as much effort promoting their attempt the brush over their big rewind of the Forgotten Realms story with their The Sundering event.

The most unforgivable aspect of this whole thing is that we don’t even have a release date to look forward to. The longer we go without a firm date to look forward too, the more people will forget about the whole thing. And when you have such an active competitor in the same field, as they do with Paizo and Pathfinder, every day we go without something to look froward to is a day you loose customers to a company that is actually releasing products and support players in a way that WOTC never even dreamed of.

Never Stop Gaming




I spent my recent long weekend at PsyCon Nøught, a Sydney Pathfinder convention. normally i don’t attend the Pathfinder conventions because they clash with the other RPG conventions in the area. but this one did not, and we have been playing a fair bit of pathfinder since i started running one of the monthly game days, so i volunteered to run some games, and I have discovered something about myself in the process.

I am very very bad at running tactical miniature encounters.

I have always suspected this, but never has it been so spectacularly on display. On other tables characters were dying left and right, and my players were barely getting scratched. I sometimes encountered this when playing 4th edition D&D, but it was never bad to this degree. Some of my players didn’t even get hit in encounters that probably should have almost killed them.

i have always been a story focused GM, i believe the story is more important that the combat. yes, combat is fun. but it was never why i played D&D or any other RPG. i think both D&D 4th edition and Pathfinder are very combat oriented games, and that has led to an increased importance of combat. if you look at a 4th ed character sheet, there is almost nothing that is not combat related, and so combat becomes the focus.

I really enjoy running D&D, but if i can’t give my players a complete experience, then should i be doing it?

I think the answer is yes, I will keep running it, and i will work hard and practice running encounters so that I can be a better GM and provide a better gaming experience to my players.

Never Stop Gaming



Convention Wrap-Up – SydCon 2013

Another SydCon has come and gone, and a lot of fun was had by all. Or at least by me.

I played three games this convention:

New X-Men – Marvel Heroic Roleplay

A Fist Full of Ghost Rock –  Deadlands Reloaded

Lights Out –  Paranoia

New X-Men was fun, it was my second time playing this system and I’m starting to like it. the dice pool system is quite intuitive, although it did get quite bogged down when the big combats started. the story was quite good, with the main x-men being captured and the younger members having to free them. although i was a bit disappointed that we didn’t get to play the big name characters. we managed devised a truly horrible punishment for Sebastien Shaw by paralyzing him and forcing him to mentally do his taxes (without using the number 7), while we dealt with some weird clones of combined X-Men. my only complaint about the game was that our GM was quite uptight, i don’t think he was used running convention games and needed to chill out a bit. he was definitely put out when the players started to go running in different directions  doing wacky silly stuff like con players normally do, and a Con GM needs to be okay with that.

The second game was Deadlands Reloaded. I’d picked up the explorers edition of this a while back but never got around to playing it, and it was a ridiculous amount of fun. it could almost work as a straight western if you wanted it to , but the wackiness did come around and it lends itself well to a convention game. players like to do big ridiculous things in con games and there was plenty of opportunity to do so.

Paranoia was… Paranoia. Like those old TV adverts for The Matrix, you cannot be told what Paranoia is, you have to experience it for yourself. The really stand out thing about this game was that there was nowhere near enough death! not a single player used all their clones. i think the GM was trying to run a more straight and serious version, that i think left a few people disappointed. Mel particularly wanted to play, as she is normally the one running Paranoia, and ended up being disappointed when her every attempt to get her character killed was thwarted by the GM.

the highlight of the con was running Star Wars with Mel. We decided to break from the mold of her last few Star Wars games and put players right in the middle of the original movie, playing the main characters. hilarity ensues. We hadn’t tried to co-GM before, and it worked out really well. Mel took all the scripted stuff and ran combat, while i did all the Improvised storyline when the players went off the script, and most of the Talking NPCs (Mel wanted to do Vader 🙂 )

we were really glad how willing people were  to go off script and try their own thing. Darth Vader was kill several times, most often by capitol ship weaponry, and Yoda was brought in very early in one game. the highlight was probably Luke going to the dark side, but the other players had already sabotaged the Death Star’s hyperdrive so it exploded with Luke and Vader onboard.

so there goes another Con, now the waiting game begins…

Never Stop Gaming