Stuffed Crocodile

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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Day 3: In which I slowly learn that buying Forgotten Realms is like pissing away money

Day 3: First dungeon you explored as a PC or ran as a DM.
Hmm… my memories here are a bit foggy. I think it was either the first dungeon from the Starter Set or the one from the Forgotten Realms campaign setting box. The first one was nice, the latter taught me that FR is horrible.

No, come to think of it, it was the one from the FR set actually. (from the book on Shadowdale in the boxed set: “Beneath the Twisted Tower”)

The Forgotten Realms seemed to be a good idea at the time. Most of the material that was translated at all was set there, if it wasn’t generic, and the boxed set was one of the first products then-current AD&D publisher Amigo translated into German.

Of course once I actually read the whole thing I noticed what a strangely incoherent place the Realms really were. In my youthful ignorance I thought it might play better than it actually looked on paper, but soon after I noticed that no, sometimes you can’t polish a turd.

I don’t even know anymore what exactly made me think that way, there were so many things wrong with it in many subtle ways. Political systems didn’t fit together, cultures were in weird places in relation to each other, sometimes expies for Earth-cultures were doubled or tripled (how many Egyptian cultures are there actually on Faerun?), and everything was full of overpowered showstealing munchkin NPCs.
I ran the guys through the dungeon in Shadowdale and killed off one of them. Hilarious antics followed.

Well. I don’t know. The problem was that the Realms never clicked with me.
I did buy a few more products afterwards, but never really used them. I suffered from a bit of scarcity-induced gamblers’ fallacy: I already spent so much money on stuff, lets try to buy some more to get something out of it! And the fact that the only things I could get for AD&D were Forgotten Realms things didn’t help.
It never got better though. The Harpers sourcebook showed me that there are even more showstealing NPCs around, the Cult of the Dragon was bland like cottage cheese, only the Guide to the Underdark gave me some ideas for some fancy monster lairs. I think that one was the only one I ever used, and then it was for a campaign set in Mystara.
FR kept on being bland and untinteresting and pointless. Oh, but the computer games were a bit of fun. I played Baldurs Gate and a few of the SSI games.

Hmm… I guess that was not what people want to hear. On the other hand I killed my first PC in that scenario, but that is a story for another day.

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Day 2: Oh no, I created munchkins

Hmm.. I noticed that I might be kind of weird in this blog hop. I actually decided to post all the questions and answers in seperate entries. Most of the other participants just seem to do the whole thing in one batch. Me? I am using this as an excuse to actually post a lot more than I have been doing the last year or so. Small entries might not be so great, but at least I can get them out quicker than those I write on for ages and then don’t publish. There is one which I want to publish tomorrow that has been laying in my drafts since January last year!

Day 2: First person YOU introduced to D&D? Which edition? THEIR first character?

Did anyone else notice that some people in this blog hop are kind of weirdly focussed on the edition thing? Seperating AD&D and D&D and for some reason starting with 3rd edition it’s something completely else.

Not that I like 4th edition, but I don’t doubt that it’s D&D. On the other hand neither do I doubt that of Pathfinder, Labyrinth Lord, or any of the retroclones, so there is that.
The people I introduced to D&D first were my friends Achim and Julian. Horrible munchkins the both of them, which is why they both ran multiclassed human Fighter/Mages in AD&D 2nd edition, houseruled in by their Monty Haul GM. Which was, uhm, me.

Ok, I admit, I should have read the combat rules better. They managed to talk me into strange situations in-game and were a on a power trip. They managed to conquer an island (empty, well, after they killed the gnomes that lived there, but what did they care? They wanted to grow weed on it) around 5th level. That was when we decided to retire them and start over with a bigger group.
800px-Island_near_Fiji

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Oh look! Another D&D movie…

…only this time D&D stands for Drakar och Demoner, as in the Swedish RPG I just wrote about yesterday.
Well, the acting and the special effects don’t seem to be really that different from the last Dungeons & Dragons made-for-TV-movie, which itself was orders of magnitude better than the first one. Not that Book of Vile Darkness was good.

Drakar och Demoner

Drakar och Demoner... and yes, that is artwork from the Stormbringer RPG, I guess they got some deal

Drakar och Demoner… and yes, that is artwork lifted from the Stormbringer RPG, I guess they got some package deal with Chaosium

Drakar och Demoner (Dragons and Demons, confusingly abbreviated D&D) is the Swedish standard fantasy RPG. This is where the hobby started in that country back in the 80s and where most Swedish gamers come from. It is not actually very close to D&D at all, being instead based on Runequest.

Specifically in the beginning it was a translation of the Magic World supplement from the Worlds of Wonder RPG, which was based on the Basic Roleplaying System, which in turn was originally based on Runequest. That reminds me of the fact that the first game to be translated into German was Tunnels & Trolls. Now that was a squandered opportunity. Although DSA at least got the same rhyming spells in the beginning.

Where was I?

Oh yes, Drakar och Demoner. It just got a new edition (the 7th!) a while ago. Fancy book with nice layout and in a language that I only understand partially. German and Swedish are rather close linguistically, but that doesn’t mean much. Although like with scientific languages I can guess a lot of the meanings of words from the texts anyway. I nearly bought the book when we were in Stockholm last year*, just to have it standing on the shelf. It’s not like I would have played it with anyone.

I guess that new edition is the reason why it’s publishing house decided to publish the old books for the game online for free. So if you are interested in the history of RPGs in Sweden (and if you can read a bit of Swedish) this might be interesting.

 

* if anyone is stranded in Stockholm with a desperate need for RPG material or boardgames I would recommend visiting the excellent Science-Fiction Bokhandeln in Gamla Stan (the old town).

Day 1: I had to do it all by myself godamnit!

With the 40th birthday of D&D happening there have been a lot of blogposts about that lately. d20 Dark Ages called for a blog hop (whatever that is) celebrating the whole thing. And guess what? I finally caught one of these multi-blog-questionnaire thingies before the whole thing was half over already. Weird.

What started AD&D for me

What started AD&D for me

Day 1: First person who introduced you to D&D? Which edition? Your first Character?
Hmm… I got into RPGs over the German entry drug Das Schwarze Auge (The Dark Eye). Which I had to find out about all by myself. DSA back then was basically available pretty much everywhere because it was published by one of the biggest game publishers in Germany, so that is where most German gamers got their beginning. This also means that some of the standard trappings of D&D never really made it to Germany until way later: miniatures for example were barely in use when I started, only 3rd edition brought this aspect of the game into focus. Most people playing with miniatures were into Warhammer, if interested at all, and GW miniatures were the only thing one could get for a long time.

Although… there was HeroQuest as well. I had that, as did many other guys my age. But even though I knew that the games were similar we had this understanding that DSA was HeroQuest for adults, and that it didn’t need miniatures to play it.

Anyway, D&D was something that was mentioned in a PC gaming magazine which ran a special on Fantasy and RPGs, but that was way after I already had the starter set for DSA. A while later I bought a German-language Starter Set for AD&D 2nd edition. I had introduced some people to RPGs before, but my regular players were rather enamoured with a system closer to the computer games they were playing (I think it was Diablo back then) so we switched to AD&D.

The first character I myself played (instead of just made and never used) was a Chaotic Good Fighter/Cleric.

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[Labyrinth Lord] Zombie Whale

Whale Zombie

Whale Zombie

Zombie Whale

No. Enc.: 1 (1d4)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 60’ (30’)
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 15 +3
Attacks: 1 (swallow or zombie powder)
Damage: 1d4+2 or special
Save: TH4
Morale: 7
Hoard Class: None

More often than not accidental spawns of dark magic these undead are found in the realms under the waves, but on occasion veer into beach areas. They mostly swim, but the can fly if movement on land is needed. (thought you escaped? Ha!)

Living beings killed by them have a 50% chance of raising as zombies within a week, if no appropriate countermeasures are taken. If successfully attacked by their zombie powder attack (a breath weapon dealing 2d8 damage) characters are infected with a zombie virus and will transform into a zombie within a week.

Okay, this one is silly. They show up on one beach in Final Fantasy IX and are wonderful to boost levels with some extra XP. But they still are flying zombie whales. I think I am going to use them for some seaside encounter with a very weird aquatic necromancer.