14 July 2017

Religion as Alignment

Alignment in D&D has always been something that is criticized, caused countless arguments, and seemed completely arbitrary. For the past several years I have used my own version of alignment. I have still been using the standard labels of Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic from Classic D&D, but with different meanings. In my games alignment is more of a general philosophy or mindset of the character; alignment represents how the character views the world. Someone who is Lawful beleives that government and Laws are good and that man needs government to be good; while a chaotic person believes that man is naturally good and that society and government corrupt the soul. It is basically the argument between the the philosophies of John Locke and Thomas Hobbes. Neutral would be someone who has a middle ground philosophy or doesn't care/hasn't put much though into it.

Despite sticking to alignment for so long, I'm finally going to abandon it. I am thinking of using religion instead to guide how NPCs will react to characters and as basis for the clerical class. As argued on Grognardia and Delta's D&D Hotspot Clerics in the original game belonged to a monotheistic/christian faith. There was an implicit presence of an underlying politically powerful and christian based religion in the early games of D&D run by Gygax and Arneson. Also, if I am using the Known World setting, the Empire of Thyatis is described as having a Byzantine culture. How can I have a Byzantine culture without Christianity? The Church was an intrinsic part of the culture of the medieval byzantine empire, not to mention the other countries of the known world based on medieval Europe.

The Known World won't be drastically different due to this change, simply many of the churches will be monotheistic instead of Polytheistic. Religions/ Churches of different regions are as follows. Thyatis, Karameikos, Corunglain, Minrothad, Darokin, Ostland = monotheistic(Christian). Atruaghin, Akesoli, Akorros, Ierendi, Selenica, Ylaruam = monotheistic (Islamic).  Glantri = polytheism (Druidic). Ethengar = Shamanism. Sind = polytheism (Hindu). Heldann, Vestland, Soderfjord = polytheism (Norse). Malpheggi Swamp = polytheism (Egyptian). In the future I will go into more detail about the dominant church in each region and the class associated with each faith. Basically the traditional cleric would belong to the christian analog and the druid class would be present in Glantri.

12 July 2017

Drausi Company, Part 2

Date: 8 July 2017

Characters:
Woluf, Dwarf level 1
Orianna, Thief level 2
Litzy, Cleric level 2
Wylfus, Fighter level 1
Eff, Magic User level 1
Taber, Hin level 1
Daila, Elf level 1

Calendar Date: 13 Yarthmont AC1231
      In the morning the party is in the green ale tavern; Eff and Taber just graduated training and decided to join Drausi company. Daila who had been on a few adventures decided to join up with Drausi company for now. The party looks at the job board and decide to talk to Aleena, Patriarch Sherlane's daughter. They find her in the town hall. She says a local druid in north of the lake has been courting her and she has had no word from him and sent servant to find him but they never returned. she gives the party an advance payment of 50 sp each.
     They leave and head along a trail to the north. past the lake before they ascend into the mountains they are ambushed by 2 men with crossbows who retreat into the woods. The company doesn't follow and continue to Eltan's Spring. At the edge of Eltan's Spring they are attacked by a giant Wasp who poisons Orianna. she takes a potion of cure disease to stop the poison.
     Once in town they go to the local tavern, the crock and goblet, and speak to village elder Gernon. He offers information about bertrak the druid and says he has been infatuated with a raven haired beauty and has not been takingcare of the village crops or the local woods.

Calendar Date: 14 Yarthmont AC1231; weather=mostly sunny, warm, calm and dry
     Inn the morning the company leaves Eltan's Spring and head to the Druid's Grove. At a rope bridge below a waterfall they are ambushed by goblins and kill them. they interrogat one of the goblins. They find the goblin lair and battle with the tribe. they shut up the hole into the goblin lair and kill the remaining goblins on the surface, keeping 1 alive for interrogation.

XP: 272 each

05 July 2017

Death in D&D

Yesterday Alexis at Tao of D&D put up a post comparing golf to D&D and said this "If the DM of a campaign plays according to the original precepts of D&D, players will die.  If the players are of the sort that find the business of living to be obvious and dull, if they're not challenged by the process of going to work or being part of a group, they will want this.  They will see the risk of dying as a good thing.  Not because it doesn't matter if they die, for they will feel the pain and the sadness of losing their characters as keenly as anyone; but because if that chance of dying isn't there, the game just isn't hard enough."

Dungeons and Dragons is not just a game. If we played it just to have fun, or experience a story, or to socialize with friends, we could just play video games or read a book or spend time hanging out. D&D is more. D&D challenges our mental faculties. Death is such an intrinsic part of D&D that even for those games where character death never happens, the DM still works to make it look like it could happen. Even with my houserules, which makes death a much less likely possibility, a PC will die if they are foolish.

This is a problem I always have with players who have experience with other DMs and they're coming to my group for the first time. They become connected to their character, and because their character has never died or only when there was dramatic reason for it, they mope and complain when the PC dies. These players somehow get the idea that they shouldn't be as closely attached to their PCs as a result of the high risk of death. In reality the player does and should feel a connection with their PC, but that doesn't mean the player shouldn't be ready to generate a new character and learn from their mistakes.

As an example, a few weeks ago I DMed a solo game for a new player and, even though she hired 3 npcs to go with her, she died within the first half hour of play. She ran into a lair of ghouls and stayed to fight and every round 1 more ghoul came out of a burial mound, and she was outnumbered pretty quickly. But she went ahead and made a new character and some other players showed up and the rest of the session she was very cautious. She used what she learned to improve her chances of survival with the next character. If anything her change in behavior shows how she had an attachment to the first character and didn't want the same thing to happen to her new character.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that Players should have some emotional attachment to their characters, but without the real presence of death and other consequences in the game, there is no challenge to the game. People who have never played before ask how do you win when playing D&D. You win by having your character survive.

03 July 2017

Drausi Company, Part 1

Last Saturday I had my first game since moving to Vegas.

Date:1 July 2017
Characters:
Woluf, Dwarf lvl 1
Orianna, Thief lvl 1
Litzy, Cleric lvl 1
Wythus, Fighter lvl 1

Calendar Date: 6 Flaurmont AC 1231 - 13 Yarthmont AC 1231

6 Flaurmont
     The charataters have just completed their initial training at the Adventurer's guild in Threshold and are given their first mission as a last test/trial before becoming full members of the guild. They are told to retrieve a red silk blanket that was stolen recently. They follow the trail of the robbers, which leads to ruined castle on an island in the Foamfire River at the entrance to the Foamfire valley. There is a broken bridge leading to the castle and at the base of the bridge they kill a crab spider. They eventually cross the bridge with some difficulty. They set off a trap of boiling oil in the gatehouse. They enter the main keep and the ceiling collapses blocking the entrance. They find the Kitchen. In the Kitchen are some kobolds, whom they defeat. They kill giant centipedes in the great hall. They climb onto the roof of the keep and find a small hole leading into room below. In the room is canopied bed and a red blanket. they take the blanket and flee. At the wall are some skeletons and Litzy turns them. They make it back to the Guildhouse safely and are given rewards and granted full membership.

7 Faurmont
     The Characters sell some loot they found and order pieces of armor which will be completed in a few weeks

8 Flaurmont
     The company goes back to the castle. They head to the tower at the north end of the island and find some zombies. Orianna and Woluf get infected. Litzy turns the zombies. The company flees to Threshold and pay the Guild Priest to cure them. They buy some burning oil from the guild.
     They return to the castle and burn the zombies. They find a naked man named Heli in the ruins. He claims his partner was killed by a person who looked just like his partner and then betrayed him. The company climbs the roof again and this time Heli's partner is in the bedroom and attacks them. They retreat temporarily and when they return to the room, the partner is gone. They loot the room and find a treasure chest some magic quarrels, scrolls, and an ancient tapestry. Wylfus tries to make the hole in the roof bigger and ends up collapsing the whole keep. they dig around in the rubble looking for loot for the rest of the day and return to Threshold.

9 Flaurmont
     Orianna and Litzy begin training for 2nd level. Woluf and Wylfus sell stuff.

13 Yarthmont
    Training is completed along with armor for Wylfus.