Sunday, 29 September 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 29

“What is the number you always seem to roll on a d20?”

It’s good to be the Dungeon Master!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 28

“A character you will never play ever again”.
Actually, I don’t know. I am aware that I’ll never get to play again any of my past characters (maybe with the exception of Aaron, the cleric), since almost all the adventures/campaigns I took part in are well over.

Being usually the DM I’ve never had many characters, anyway...

Friday, 27 September 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 27

Actually, I don’t plan to take part in any campaign or adventure as a player: I like DMing, and that is what I hope to do in the future.
In the unlikely event of having to create a character, I’d go for the paladin. I know, it is a difficult character, who due to his restrictions and moral standards binds the whole group, and before playing a paladin I’d feel obliged to ask my fellow players for their approval.

RPGs are for me a wonderful gate to adventure and heroic deeds. And paladins are heroes in their purest form!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 26

“Favorite nonmagic item”.
The torch. I recently played with my friends an adventure of my own, thought to be finished in about four sessions. All the characters started as convicted who had been given the chance to commute their sentence to death with the imprisonment in a subterranean gaol; whoever managed to leave the gaol was a free man. Every character had only some water, some food and single torch, and the group received just one tinderbox. It was soon evident to the players that the main danger was the lack of light rather than the hostile inhabitants of the dungeon.

I really enjoyed their struggles to find a way out (and some of them even managed to exit the prison!), and learned never to underestimate the importance of having a source of light when you are surrounded by total darkness...

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 25

Double post again today.
Here we go.

I like intelligent swords. They are not an easy item to find, but magical, intelligent swords may be very interesting (and amusing) NPC by themselves. Daystra was the intelligent broadsword of a PC ranger in our AD&D campaign. I don’t remember her powers (we decided Daystra was a “she”), but I remember that she had a deep loathing towards ogres, and when the ranger had to battle the big brutes, Daystra always tried to find an excuse for not taking part in the fight, sometimes suggesting that her master would better show his prowess just wielding a dagger!
We had a lot of fun with Daystra and her continual, but good-humored, bickering with her master. The sword was lost after a terrible fight during which almost the entire group was killed or taken prisoner: Daystra was taken from her unconscious master (whose defeat was principally caused by the intelligent weapon, which took over the wounded and weakened  ranger and bravely, but foolishly, forced him to stay and fight instead of retreating), and our adventures came to an end before the precious sword had ever been recovered.

What a shame!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Monday, 23 September 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 23

Boring and bad-tempered...

Dinosaurs are undoubtedly my least favourite monsters. I find them boring and dull (at least inside a fantasy setting; the ones in Crichton’s books are simply terrifying).
So boring, actually, that I get bored just writing about them!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 22

Was Smaug a red one?
Well, the Professor seems
to imply so...
“Favorite monster overall”.
Here are my candidates:
·         Skeletons (undead)
·         Rust monsters (aberration)
·         Spiders (vermin)
·         Demons, maybe (outsider)
·         Violet fungi (plant)
·         Humans (humanoids)
·         Red dragons (dragons)

Though I like low-level creatures, my monster of choice is a very powerful one. The winner is: RED DRAGON!

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 21

Perhaps the most well-known dragon illustration
 in RPG history: Elmore's Basic Set cover.
And of course it's a red one...
I like dragons, I really do.
I like them to be powerful and terrible opponents with “human” weaknesses; this last characteristic is the reason why I find them superior to all other monsters. I played with delight the first seven or eight modules of the Dragonlance campaign, and every time I read The Hobbit I’m awed by Smaug and overjoyed at living again the wonderful adventures of Bilbo and his bearded companions.
Good dragons are obviously an interesting element (I still find that part of Dragonlance a good one), but the REAL dragon must be evil. And it must be red.
Ok: acid-spitting, lightning-spewing, gas-blowing dragons of different colours can be fun too, but no one of them beats the fiery breath of a red dragon, the incarnation of ruin, destruction and devastation. And maybe of vanity too!

Friday, 20 September 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 20

Who's more human
than Fleetwood,
the warrior?
My favourite humanoids are... well, humans.
Humans are usually exempt from the stereotypes that plague almost every other humanoid race, and I far prefer human NPCs and enemies for my campaigns.
There is a danger, though, or at least I perceive it as such, while others could consider it a positive feature: too many humans could mean a dearth of fantastic elements, a lowering of the fantasy rating and a shift toward a more “historical” setting. In the past years I was a committed supporter of low fantasy worlds, but since my discovery of OSR I have been enjoying more and more the richness and the diversity of a “classical” fantasy setting.

Humans remain my “favourite” humanoids, but they are by no means alone in the world...

Thursday, 19 September 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 19

Are fungi plants? I think so.
Then my answer is: violet fungi!

Yet I admit that the yellow musk creeper is a close runner-up...

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 18

Late again...
I need to catch up...
Favorite monster (immortal/outsider).

I really don’t like much outsiders and extraplanar entities, but I have used sometimes devils and demons, and I remember a 3rd edition campaign where a mighty demon had possessed the crown prince of a powerful kingdom. The final showdown between the characters and the fiend took place on the roof of the royal palace, and as far as I remember it was a really good battle.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 17

Favorite monster (animal/vermin).
That’s easy. Spiders!
They range from the tiny wall-crawler to the huge and malicious Shelob-class brute, and they are all lethal!
There’s no better way to give the creeps to your players than describing the room they are about to enter as “festooned with web and stinking of death, the floor strewn with bones and sorry remains of unlucky creatures”.


Monday, 16 September 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 16

I don’t have my 3.5 manuals any longer (and so I can't check the monsters classification), but I think mind flayers could be a good example of scaring aberrations. I like the illithid concept and I find that they can make wonderful opponents for a high level group, but my aberration of choice is quite less powerful.

No creature, in my opinion, combines weirdness, humor, old school inspiration and the ability to terrify a fully armoured fighter like the good old rust monster!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 15

I like undead monsters, and use them a lot in my campaigns. There is of course the terrible lich, who makes for a perfect opponent and plotter of evil schemes, but my favourite is the lowly skeleton.

If you ask, you’ve never watched Army of Darkness...

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 14

I have no doubt about my favourite NPC: it’s Kilje Daskov.
Kilje was a dwarf and a friend of the characters’ group. When I created him I was looking for a kind of ambassador, and I thought that the best class for diplomats was the bard; dwarves, however, can’t become bards in AD&D, and so I decided for a multiclass fighter/thief. I remember that Kilje wore a cocked hat and played a lot of instruments, but what I really liked about him was his being a very uncommon dwarf, witty and impudent rather than grim and brooding (as many dwarves happen to be).
During a dangerous adventure that took the characters deep into a drow city, the group was attacked by a beholder. I don’t remember if I rolled for it or simply chose (maybe in order to protect the PCs; I was shamefully soft-hearted at that time), but Kilje got targeted by the monster’s disintegration ray. We all held our breath when I rolled Kilje’s save, and we all exulted when the dwarf’s toughness proved to be stronger than the foul magic!

Kilje became part of the group, and shared almost every major adventure and quest until the end of our AD&D gaming days.

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 13

Just a curtain?
Are you sure?
Late again!
Triple post today!

In the depths of the Temple of Elemental Evil there is the Greater Temple. My friends got there with their characters after long months of adventuring (and many dead adventurers); at that time we had a monk in the group: his name was Ged.
When the characters eventually got inside the Greater Temple they were overjoyed and immediately started looking for treasure. Ged choose to inspect the area behind an innocent-looking curtain, and discovered the access to the inner chamber; he didn’t notice anything unusual, and so he joined his companions who were still plundering the temple.
After a while, their thirst for riches temporarily satisfied, the characters decided to proceed beyond the curtain, but as soon as the first of them touched it, he was forced to make multiple saves against poison to prevent his arm from rotting! The curtain was entirely composed of violet fungi! And the monk hadn’t noticed because he was immune to disease!

Both Enrico (Ged’s player) and I howled with laughter, but our friends were far from happy...

Thursday, 12 September 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 12

“Favorite dungeon type/location”.
I like megadungeons, and I like “intelligent” ones. No funhouse dungeons for me: though I can enjoy them for a short while, I eventually find them boring and dull. I prefer “themed” dungeons, with a strong internal consistency, as long as they are not overly “logical” and by consequence unimaginative.

I like sandboxes too, preferably with a sprawling megadungeon inside, and I really find this indoors/outdoors mixture the best one for my campaigns.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 11

I’m no enemy of published adventures and campaigns, but I usually mine them for ideas rather than running them as written. There are however four notable exceptions, two of which pertain to other game system than D&D&family: The Great Pendragon Campaign (Pendragon), The Enemy Within (WFRP), Dragonlance and The Temple of Elemental Evil.
I ran all these campaigns during the past 20+ years, but for many reasons I managed to finish only one of them. The Great Pendragon Campaign is still open, and I get to play it almost once a year (not much, but better than nothing); The Enemy Within was never completed; Dragonlance was abandoned after the 10th or 11th module; only The Temple of Elemental Evil was ever concluded (many, many years ago).
When I think about TToEE I still remember the long hours spent with my friends while their characters unraveled  its secrets and battled its inhabitants. It was fun of the best sort, and if I had the chance to run again the whole campaign, I’d jump at it with no hesitation whatsoever!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 10

It was rather early in our AD&D campaign, and the characters were around 3rd-4th level. One of them was Nightspell, an elf magic-user/thief who had got a truly valuable treasure: the Shadowring. This magic item allowed the wearer to make short dimension-door-like jumps, and it was most useful to get behind enemies and to backstab them, for example; the Shadowring worked three times a day, and was considered a great asset by the whole group.
The adventurers were following some clues which led directly to a mysterious tower on the moors. Just before they got inside, I asked my players to secretly write on a scrap of paper the reason why their characters were entering the tower. Everyone but one answered truthfully: the player of Nightspell suspected instead some form of mind reading, and trying to be smarter than the DM (always a bad move) wrote down that he was just looking for a way to ally himself with the dark powers that ruled the building.

The tower was no doubt ruled by a dark power, but its enchantment was such that only those who had fulfilled their stated mission could ever come out. The characters were eventually successful and managed to reach their goals, with the notable exception of poor Nightspell, who remained trapped inside the accursed tower! And with him the prized Shadowring!

Monday, 9 September 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 9

The favourite character I haven’t played?
It must be Wulfgar. It was to be the start of a new campaign, about ten years ago; we had resolved to play Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, and one of my friends was to be the DM. For a change, we tried to give a common background to all the characters, and we decided that every one of them had to be a convicted, forced by a “good” church to undertake the dangerous quest.
Wulfgar was a young barbarian who had been sentenced to a lifetime of penal servitude for killing someone in a tavern brawl. Before breaking out, Wulfgar managed to learn a lot about the art of thievery, and after working for a while as the bodyguard of a petty noble he was caught again and sentenced to death.

We sadly played just one single session of that campaign, and Wulfgar never got to fulfill his destiny. Or to die in some horrible way in the dungeons beneath the evil temple...

Sunday, 8 September 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 8

Hmmm... my favourite character?
I am almost always on the “other” side of the DM’s screen, and the characters I’ve played are few.
I was very fond of Thoronim the cleric, my very first character, who was born with the BECMI rules and reached the 31st level after many years of play, but close second (very, very close) comes Wolfram, my paladin. I played Wolfram for a short time, and the gaming system was D&D4 (my only experience with that edition); I didn’t like the rules very much, but I had a lot of fun together with my fellow players and our DM.

So long live both Thoronim and Wolfram!

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 7

And I’m late again.
Once more, double post!

My favourite edition is AD&D 1st. I already declared my boundless love for it, so I’m not going to vex you again, gentle readers.

If I should instead pick my favourite D&D (simply D&D. No “As”) edition, I’d choose BECMI. It was the first version of the game I ever played, and I still find it a very good one, particularly for novice players.

Friday, 6 September 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 6

Having almost always played on worlds of my creation, it’s no surprise that my favourite deity comes from one of these: Jus, god of Light, Justice and Courage.

Jus was modeled after Tyr, god of Justice in the Forgotten Realms, but I decided to add Light and Courage to his portfolio. Technically speaking, Jus is Lawful Good.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 5

Today’s question sounds a bit weird, but here is my answer nonetheless.

My favourite die is the iconic d20. I met it first in Das Schwarze Auge, but with D&D it became a true symbol.

I generally like to play games which use many different dice. Don’t ask me why; it is a totally irrational thing. And though I love gaming systems like Rolemaster or The Riddle of Steel, having to roll some good, old d20 just makes me happier. 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 4

Today the question is: What is your favorite gameworld?
Tricky question.

When I bought the Forgotten Realms boxed set I found it amazing and fell in love with it; I never got to use it as a setting, though, and so I cannibalized it, picking some ideas for my own gaming world. In truth, I always preferred my own worlds to the published settings, and Weisshirsch, the most long-lived of these worlds, has survived cataclysms and catastrophes, and is still my favourite.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 3

That's a paladin, you say?
Well, I'm just too lazy to pick
another picture... ;)
Second post for today. Now I’m back on schedule.

My favourite playable class are clerics, but just because in D&D there are no paladins! My first D&D character was a cleric (and my latest one too), and though I usually am the DM, clerics are always my first choice, closely followed by fighters as a second one.

Then, of course, there are paladins, but these righteous heroes find no place in D&D... 

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 2

Some AD&D art are really a bit
... funny
I realized this morning that I am late in the Challenge’s schedule: the first day was 09/01, and today it’s already the third. Double entry this time!

Humans have always been my favourite playable race. During my roleplaying years I had a try at elves and dwarves (one and one, if I recall correctly), but humans are simply my stuff. Actually, this partiality of mine led me to play human armies/teams in WHFB, WH40k and Blood Bowl... Definitely human, that’s it.

Monday, 2 September 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 1

I read about the challenge on Mad-Kyndalanth, checked it on Tenkar’sTavern and found it irresistible.
So here I go.

Shortly after buying my copy of Das Schwarze Auge/The Dark Eye (Uno sguardo nel buio in Italy) I found an amazing book in a bookstore in my home town: Giocare a dadi col drago, the Italian translation of Dicing with Dragons, by Ian Livingstone. I had never suspected the existence of such a huge and multifaceted roleplaying universe, and if getting DSA was my first step into that fantastic world, reading Dicing with Dragons was undoubtedly the second one: D&D (among many others like Runequest, Call of Cthulhu and Traveller) was mentioned there, and I started dreaming of an Italian edition of that most renowned game.
My dream actually came true in a few months. My pal Didi, with whom I had started my path to roleplaying and high adventure, called me one day, saying that he had got in a local store a copy of D&D, translated in Italian! It was the famous red box, and I felt at the same time delight and envy. I had to get a copy of my own!
So it all started. My first character was a cleric, Didi’s a thief, and together with Cristiano (the third of our close-knit group), who was playing a fighter, we began playing and adventuring. Those characters eventually reached the 31st level, but it took us several years (and the other “coloured boxes”, as we called them) before getting to that dizzy heights.

By that time, however, I was already tinkering with MERP, and my first AD&D campaign was not too far in the future...