March 26, 2011

Adventure Building (Part I): Plot

I am about to DM an adventure for some people that never played D&D before. So I wanted to create a small, fast and exciting adventure so they would be hooked into D&D for now on. But how can I do that? By creating an adventure that makes them believe in it, an adventure they could not forget easily, an adventure with compelling elements.

So, what are those elements? Well there are numerous elements in an adventure, but the most important are the plot, the location, and the cast. Those three are the main elements that are the core of the adventure and define everything else like encounters, skill challenges, puzzles, atmosphere and others.

In order to make a memorable adventure, those elements should be worked very well by the Dungeon Master. Because of that I decided to make a helping sheet to make me think about those important elements. This post we will look at the plot element.

March 20, 2011

Monstrous Plots - Kobolds

This post is the first one of a series I am going to make about adventures plots involving creatures from Dungeons and Dragons. It will work something like this: I will choose a creature from the D&D universe and try to write a few adventures plots that include them either as enemies, allies, patrons or whatever trying to vary as much as I can. Also, in those plots, I will try to put the creatures in different situations, trying to avoid the cliché ones they are used associated with, but I can’t promise I will be successful in doing that all the time.

The first creature to appear in our Monstrous Plots series is the Kobold. Kobolds are small reptilian creatures usually known to be cowards and cruel murderers at the same time. They live in barrows with mazelike tunnels filled with deadly traps they make to avoid intruders to find them and prisoners to flee. Know to be a race of surprisingly excellent miners, Kobolds are fond of gems and shinning objects, which some says that they received that from their dragons ancestors. Kobolds revere dragons as if they were gods, although most of these “gods” ignore them or simply eat them. Many towns have ignored kobolds for too long considering them just as an occasional annoyance to one day see their community overrun by these creatures, even being known by their cowardice kobolds can be surprisingly bold if they have a proper reason.

Enough with the chitty chat, right? Let’s check those plots I talked about!

March 15, 2011

Pterrans Character's Options

Reviewing the design I made for the pterran race for D&D 4e, I realised that there was space for quite a few feats that would make the race more interesting to play and would give some story elements for a character.

In addition I decided to create a paragon path for pterran characters. This paragon path would reflect the premise that the pterrans prophets are seeing that the race will play an important role on the events that are about to occur in the Tyr Region. Even if you don’t have a pterran character in your group this could be an nice adventure seed where the heroes have to help a pterran adventurer to fulfill his destiny.

At the bottom, you can find a PDF with all the information on this post and a little something extra. Check it out.

March 10, 2011

Pterrans of the Hinterlands

As I said before, I never played Dark Sun before the 4th edition of Dungeons and Dragons. I just knew about the campaign settings through pictures and few friends that actually played it. But since I read the Dark Sun Campaign Setting book for D&D 4th I became fascinated with the setting. I read both the original campaign setting and the expanded one. I also read a couple of supplements, and I am planning on reading all of them as soon as I can.

One of the things that I missed about the newest edition of the Dark Sun setting was a particular character race which has a strong connection with the setting in my opinion. The pterrans are a race of spiritual people with strong ties to the spirits of Athas. They are reptilian humanoids that revere the Earth Mother and follow paths to protect the world and the living creatures. Just recently they have made contact with the people from the Tyr Region, and they believe they will have an important role in future events regarding the destiny of Athas.

The following adaptation was made based in diverse sources including official and unofficial materials about the Pterrans. Feel free to give any suggestions and ideas to make this adaptation better. You can download a PDF version at the end of the post.

March 05, 2011

Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate...

I never really had a chance to play with psionic classes over the last editions of Dungeons and Dragons. Mainly because I didn’t have the supplements that presented psionics and because I’ve always heard the rules were complicated and psionic powers were unbalanced.

In fact, I did bought the Expanded Psionics Handbook for 3.5 but by the time I got it fourth edition was released in a couple of months. I read it, I liked it, but I never played with psionic classes until recently.

With the release of the Player’s Handbook 3, Psionic Power was introduced to D&D fourth edition. Not that there weren’t psionic monsters and effects, but this book presented psionic classes, four of them. The Psion, classic psionicist who developed his powers through hard study and discipline; the Battlemind, which powers were honed with a combination of physical and mind training in battle; the Monk, who is the embodiment of the perfect balance between mind and body through hard discipline and martial arts; and, one of the most interesting classes in my opinion, the Ardent.

The Ardent is a psionicist that developed his psionic powers through emotions. He feels the mood around him and can absorb it to empower himself or he can do just the opposite. He can spread the feelings he has to those around him. Some Ardents are disciplined and keep their emotions very tightly controlled not to be overwhelmed by them. Others embrace them freely and let them have control of their actions. This class really reminds me of characters of a movie I really like. If you said Jedis, you’re right.

March 03, 2011

Colaborative Campaign Building

I read the Dungeon Master’s Guide 2 a couple of weeks ago and realized something about my campaigns. I always made them thinking about myself, what I wanted it to be like, who I wanted the players to fight against, where I wanted to adventures to happen and so forth. By doing this I may have created good adventures, but with the help of my players I could have built greater ones that would relate to them more easily and they would remember it for years.

The book suggests that you should get input from your players about what they want in the campaign. What kind of campaign they you like to play? What enemies they want to face? Do they prefer combat encounters or interaction encounters?