Category Archives: Pathfinder

Ask the readers: Tools of the trade, RPG book transportation!

I’m on the last leg of my current Mutants & Masterminds Dawn of a New Age campaign. It’s gone on longer than I planned and we are having a blast, I am really pleased with the campaign and once we finish I plan on doing a retrospective for the blog. But the campaign has a few months to go, so this is not the post mortem.

However, I am planning to return to my Pathfinder Swashbuckling campaign and unlike Mutants & Masterminds where combats are abstract and narrative and I get along with just two books and dice. For Pathfinder I bring along a few more books, and I use maps and miniatures, and I have all the cool goodies I got at Gen Con, Paizo GameMastery cards… Well you get the picture, I need a cart. So as I begin to plan for the eventual return to my campaign I need to do some planning.

We used to play at my house so I had all my books and minis at hand. That setup was ideal, but we can’t play here right now. We have a sweet place at a friend’s house/office, that we call “The Lair”. My Colossal Red Dragon is already there, so I’m pretty sure I could leave some of my minis there. Other groups play there during the week so there are markers and erasable boards, and I think I’ll leave some of the goodies I have there, within reason, the place IS used for something else than gaming!

I’ll be bringing my laptop along, these days I don’t GM without it. It has its own case and I do ALL my note taking there, so that’s covered.  What I need to do is find a tool to transport my books!

I’ve tried all sorts of options. Lugging around two backpacks, leaving books where we play, a trunk with all my D&D 3rd edition books that I pulled in a cart (I kid you not!). So what are my options? I’ve thought about a book bag with wheels, a wheeled computer case, the Bag of Holding Messenger Case (with a great review here!). Ideally it will hold my big core Pathfinder books, some mini cases, my dice, maps…

What do you use? How do you transport your books? Looking forward to your suggestions…

My points of light…

Who knew that former US President George H. W. Bush was a Game Master, and a groundbreaking pioneer at that! He spoke about points of light campaigns in 1989 almost twenty years before D&D 4th edition. What’s that? He didn’t mean that? Let me look at that link… Well I feel like a fool!

In all sincerity I knew what the quote was about, I remember hearing it back then. The link to Wikipedia above explains that the origin of the “thousand points of light” is from the Magician’s Apprentice by CS Lewis. But the D&D points of light campaign is another matter entirely. When I first read of the concept in the run up to D&D 4th edition I was intrigued. But I have a long running campaign and the idea of the points of light style game really did not mesh well with the world I had created over 20+ years.

Every edition change entails some mechanical changes in ongoing campaigns. If you consider my world was first played in D&D Basic, and then went on to be adapted in AD&D 1st and 2nd editions, D&D 3rd edition and 3.5, you’ll see I’m no stranger to change. However I don’t like hand waving stuff that is an integral part of the campaigns consistency. If dwarves could not be magic users before, why can they be now?

So I like to create in game rationales for this type of changes. The change from AD&D 2nd edition to D&D 3rd edition was easy since the games where set in the same world but in distant continents. Still I created in game explanation for many changes. When D&D 4th was coming out I was fully on board and while I was unsure how the whole points of light concept would carry though I was ready for other changes, tieflings were already in my campaign since 2nd edition, they looked different but that was not a problem per se. Dragonborn where another matter, so even before I made the rule change I began to work a rationale of where the race would come from. I was set! All that was left was for D&D 4th ed to come out.

And then I read the books. Don’t get me wrong I liked D&D 4th edition, I still do. It’s a game with a clear purpose, delivers well what it’s intended to be, and it certainly dared to sacrifice some sacred cows I thought they’d never touch. But I could tell this was a different game, that its feel and game play would be different from what I was used to, so I decided NOT to jump in into my campaign right away and instead do a trial run using the points of light idea.

That turned into our 7+ month D&D 4th edition campaign. We played weekly during that time and went all through the heroic tier and into paragon. Those where some turbulent months, with rebellions at the table over the system, some players disliking it so much they quit the game they have been playing with me for decades, exploring the tools the system provided, and telling a pretty entertaining story along the way. Ultimately we decided the system was not for us and moved on to Pathfinder.

With D&D Next coming up I’m suddenly thinking about adaptations all over again, I am not sure I will switch my campaign if I play it. IF I get to participate in the playtest (WotC pick me, pick me! I only bash you semi-regularly!) I will most thatn likely create a mini-campaign just like I did for 4th edition.

Continue reading My points of light…

What about the Kobold of Winter, aka #20? A review…

“The Winter Kobold is coming!” If those were the words of House Stark, Eddard would have faced a different fate! Because the know Kobolds are powerful, dangerous creatures. Well at least that’s what Wolfgang Baur, the folk of Open Game Design and all the authors and contributors make me think issue after issue. I am a fan of the magazine and they keep pushing the envelope and producing quality content consistently. But let’s leave strange references to A Song of Ice and Fire behind and dive in into the issue at hand!

The theme this issue is archers and its well served. Let’s see, it opens with the Elven Archer, a race specific class for the Pathfinder RPG. It’s an interesting mix of the ranger and the rogue that fits a traditional fantasy niche. The article has some typos (and you all know I’ve got plenty of those, so I shouldn’t be nitpicking), but I found it interesting and it’s a perfect fit for my long running campaign. The notes on adapting the class for other races, cultures, or even weapons make it useful in other contexts. There is also an article on magic arrows, which again provides what in my mind are some archetypical magic arrows. These two articles seem plucked from my adolescent love for RPGs updated for Pathfinder.

What else is there? Read on to find out…

Continue reading What about the Kobold of Winter, aka #20? A review…