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Spherical Time
New York, NY
Recent Activity
I do the monster switching thing quite a bit. When I was running D20 modern/future campaigns, I used to keep my 3.5 DMG handy. Skeletons make perfectly decent robots and orcs make easy low level bullies if you fudge the numbers a bit. And, you know, the descriptions.
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Terrorist-fist-jab returned. My PCs are/were a totally wild bunch. Ah, that brings back memories. I once had a campaign that I'd planned thoroughly to be in a single city. Right up until I hinted that a bit NPC had left the city (he hadn't, and if they'd, you know asked someone about him I could have let them know that). So I threw up a fairly BS excuse as to why they couldn't leave the city just then involving the city guard. They then proceeded to test the limits of that by spending half a session creating a magnificent escape from the city involving disguises and horse drawn carriages and a forged letter from a Countessa in distress. And you know, after all of this planning and work, they rolled really well a few times in a row, so I ended up having to draw an area map on a napkin during a ten minute break and come up with a slew of new town names and relocated two major and maybe three minor characters. It just wouldn't have been fun to do otherwise. I'm pretty sure that wasn't the same game where the God of Death had to personally show up to talk a neutral good character out of a planned massacre. Oh, right, the PC ended up getting in a duel with the Death God (that time I luckily had the Death God's stats, just so you don't think I never do any planning). During the duel the PC surprisingly didn't die but I finally convinced him that killing everyone wasn't necessary. Or the same game in which a full two hours were spent on an impromptu poetry competition in which I as DM had to write a sestina. That will never happen again. Any further poetry duels will be decided by haiku, by DM decree. Darn English majors and bards. On the other hand, I can now run an okay gaming session with ten minutes of setup time and a few sheets of scratch paper. So I guess there is something to be said for wild gaming crews. I miss them terribly.
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For a monster, yeah, I could pull that out of the MM. But I don't normally have a random druid of 4th level in my prep work just in case my party decides they need to hire one for a day. I don't usually bother to stat out the 10th level wizard that the King has hired to teleport my party to the dungeon because I don't anticipate them attacking him because they're all drunk from the dwarven tavern and trying to stay in character. Or just if I need the hit points for a random wooden door (although 4.0 probably has that too, I just haven't DM'd a 4.0 game yet). If you do have that on hand, more power too you, but it's really tough for me to see that sort of crazy stuff far enough ahead of time to adequately stat it out. Wil and raingods, someday I'm going to want to drop by to see your gameplay bible with a separate character sheets for each of the 20 levels of gnome illusionist that you might need. ;) You guys never use the stat blocks in the 3.0 or 3.5 DMG? Amazing.
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To a certain extent, I couldn't disagree more. Yeah, the 4th Ed. DMG contains lots of information on how to make a game flow, and it's definitely a must read for DMs, even experienced ones like me. On the other hand though, when I'm running a campaign and something that I don't expect pops up and I suddenly need a powerful noble or red dragon or 10th level wizard that I didn't plan for in the middle of a session, a book of stat blocks is exactly what I need. This isn't exactly a 4.0 criticism though. It's just a criticism of having a guide vs. a reference document, sort of. In 3.0 and 3.5 the DMG was a reference document, and in 4.0 it is mostly a guide. Really, if they split the two I would buy the reference document and borrow the the guide from a friend. One I'll need to read once or twice, and the other I'll need to have with me when I run a game. Right, the reason that I disagree with you is that I don't think that this is a strength of 4.0. Rather, the lack of big blocks of stats means that I, as DM, am going to have to specifically limit players to the world that I imagined when I came up with the game ahead of time. I'm not going to have the chance to expand the world according to the players input during a game session. And that's not a strength.
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Speaking of live looping, my favorite version of Imogen Heap's Just For Now is her live looped version. The studio version is okay, but the version performed live and solo is just incredible. From Zoe's comment, it looks like it's something that they've all been working on.
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That is awesomeness.
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I think 4th ed is an okay system. It's just not D&D to me. It's not as expansive, and the books don't cover as much. With the core books from 3.5, I feel like I've got worlds at my disposal. With the 4th Ed books, I feel like I'm playing in a small country a few miles across. It's accessible. Very accessible. Except for the crazy house rule game that I'm playing that is. But a little bit of me misses the fact that you did need to learn advanced mathematics and the histories of several made up universes in order to have the slightest idea what was going on.
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