Posts Tagged ‘RPG Blog Carnival’

Blog Carnival – Heroes Living and Dead

December 2, 2011 2 comments

Courtesy of Nevermeet Press

The theme for this month’s Blog Carnival is Heroes Living & Dead. For some, it will be an opportunity to tell you all about their favorite characters from campaigns new and old, but I’d like to focus on what gives a hero depth, and makes them worth remembering.

When designing a character (or Hero) focus first on that individuals strengths. Sometimes this is literal strength in the case of a barbarian or fighter, sometimes this is strength of mind (Wizard/Psion), faith (Cleric/Druid/Shaman), or skill (Bard/Rogue/Thief). Generally your character is going to be really good at something. This strong-suit can and should be character-defining, but in order to stand out from the crowd of potential heroes, one must add details to make a character unique.

A good character is going to have a weakness as well. This can be reflected in the numbers on the character sheet (Dump Stat!) but can also be revealed through character background, and role play. A particularly unwise character may charge headlong into battle despite very grim odds. Constitution not your strong suit? Your character may be suffering from a chronic ailment that plagues him, perhaps contracted in a gambit for more power (you guys have heard of Raistlin, right?).

Ok, its too tempting. I’m going to tell you about my character after all. In our pirate campaign, my elven ranger stood his ground, guarding a fallen comrade against a small undead horde while the rest of the party made somewhat of a tactical retreat. We’re first level, so my character went unconscious twice and failed two death saving throws, but survived by the skin of his teeth. In his background his village was ransacked by orcs, and he spent his life training to stand against evil now that he is of age. So when a host of undead pirates land on his beach, he wasn’t going anywhere. The rest of the party did the wise thing in retreating, then had to come swooping in to bail me out of the fire, but it all worked out in the end, and actually added to the story. Since its my turn to DM the pirates for next session, my ranger will be sullenly nursing his wounds now that he knows the breadth of valor of his companions! It should make for some fun interplay between the characters.

So remember, when making a hero its important to think about that individuals flaws or weaknesses as well as what their more heroic qualities. In that way you’ll have a mulch-dimensional protagonist that bards (or at least players) will tell tales of for years to come!

RPG Blog Carnival – Orcs Must Die! – Tricks and Traps

November 2, 2011 1 comment

Courtesy of Nevermeet Press

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival topic is tricks and traps. I couldn’t help thinking of the game Orcs Must Die from Robot Entertainment. Orcs Must Die is essentially a tower defense game, except it combines setting up traps and defenders with shooting orcs in the face with a crossbow. In the game, you play a battlemage defending portals to the rift. At the beginning of the level, you are given a budget with which to buy and set traps. If your hero is slain, or too many baddies get through the portal you lose.

Screenshot of Orcs Must Die

This is not a review of the game (which is pretty fun, and I typically don’t really get in to tower defense games), but got me thinking about a one-shot adventure in which the party would be made up of “monster” races, and defend their dungeon home against DM-run parties of “heroes.” Its made particularly tempting if you had a Dungeons and Dragons Insider account that gives you easy access to monster races in the character builder. The thought of a party made up of a Gnoll, Hobgoblin, Kobold, Bullywug, and a Bugbear just makes me smile. They all have interesting racial powers and stat bonuses just like the regular “hero” races we all know and love. The idea would be to turn the typical dungeon delve on its head, and give the PCs the XP budget, with a short catalog of traps that they could place around the map at will. The DM would have to prepare maybe two or three “parties” of heroes of increasing levels to challenge the dungeon. For an added level of complexity, the PCs could be in charge of a squad of minions of whatever race they chose. The goal would be to defend their home from those pesky heroes and protect their treasure.

In one of the 4e campaigns I’m playing in currently, we had a side-quest in which we all played monster races and got to be the “bad guys” for a night. We sneaked in to our regular party’s hometown and helped a madman escape the prison in which our regular party put him. It was awesome for a few reasons; We all got to be some iconic monsters and try builds and roles that are different from our regular game. It also advanced the plot of our regular campaign, and allowed us an almost cinematic perspective to the other side of the story. In typical evil-party fashion, we all turned on each other at the end, but it was a great way to keep a long-running campaign fresh. At the end of it, I was left wanting more. I think a nice trap budget and a lair to defend would be just the thing. Who wants to dice up some do-gooders?

Screenshot from Orcs Must Die