December 19, 2014

5E Friday - Codename: Morningstar

This is tangential to 5E in that WotC already cut their ties with Trapdoor and their Codename: Morningstar aka Dungeonscape digital product. However, 5E put their name in the public eye and I feel their Kickstarter is a continuation of their 5E work. And that is what I want to talk about today, their Kickstarter.

As most people know, they have a Kickstarter to update the software they were working on for 5E to be used for Pathfinder (and any other system they can get). They are asking for nearly half a million dollars ($425,000). For any Kickstarter that is a lot to ask for in the initial offering. Most Kickstarters, even those that break $500,000 initially ask for far less. Look at Numenera - $517,255 pledged but $20,000 was the initial goal. I think Trapdoor asked for too high an initial goal.

Now for my real problem with Morningstar. Essentially Trapdoor is asking to people to fund a product that already failed. They already had a contract with WotC. They failed to reach their end of that deal. They failed to meet their deadlines with the quality they had promised and was expected. From many accounts, the beta, which didn't start until after the product should have already been launched, was riddled with problems. Some of those problems were basic things that should have been sorted out long before a beta (mis-adding stat bonuses to a basic attack). And now they want us to give them more money to finish the product they couldn't finish before.

Sure, converting the software from 5E to Pathfinder can take some time, but their proven track record is...bad. Really, the software should have already been completed.

Personally I think Trapdoor has high and lofty ideas, ideas that are great if they can be achieved. I'm not sure they can do it, certainly not in a timely manner. And to ask for half a million dollars to finish something that should already be done, seems ludicrous to me.

December 16, 2014

5E Group Background - Family

The World Builder Blog did a nice article on Group Backgrounds for 5E. Basically these are backgrounds with the assumption that the player characters are all from the same background instead of the usual individual ones. This allows for player character group to have some initial ties, giving a more coherent reason of why they are together.
The initial article gave some basics for the Group Backgrounds, but I thought it would be neat to expand them into regular backgrounds. These could also work as regular Backgrounds for individuals.

Group Background: Family
Your party is made up of characters who are all part of the same family. Not everyone needs to be blood-related. Some might be related through marriage or adopted. Others might be servants or friends so close they might as well be family. Whatever the relation, you have spent a significant portion of your lives together and that time has created a familial bond.

Skill Proficiencies: Persuasion, choose one of the following (Insight, Perception, Sense Motive)  
Languages: One of your choice
Equipment: A set of fine clothes, a token from your favorite sibling (a ring, toy, or scarf), a belt pouch continuing 15gp

Feature: Favor Exchange
If someone outside the family owes a family member a favor they can repay the debt to any member of the family. Any NPCs consider your family one close unit and as such will grant favors and friendship to all members of the party equally.

Suggested Characteristics:
Family has its own quirks and foibles. You may hate each other, but in the end you are all family. Blood runs thick. The truly odd part is that it is possible to be an individual while still being part of a large group all with a similar background.

Personality Trait:
1. I have an annoying habit of always saying what’s on my mind – no filter.
2. I tend to interrupt people in conversations. We just got used to talking over each other growing up.
3. I love to cook but I always over-estimate how much to make.
5. Growing up I had to wear hand-me-down clothes. Now that I’m an adult I make sure to always wear new and fine clothes.
6. I eat my food quickly.
7. I tend to be the quiet one in the back. I’m used to not being noticed; being noticed makes me uncomfortable.
8. I try to have good manners all the time. I don’t swear or yell. I open doors for others. I say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. I am respectful to others.

1. Clannish. My family is the most important thing to me. Everyone else takes second place to them. (Neutral)
2. Closeness. A family is the fundamental core of any society. It all starts with the family and a strong family can make the world a better place. (Good)
3. Pandemonium. In a large family there are always multiple things going on. I embrace that diversity of action as it keeps life interesting. (Chaotic)
4. Respect. The elders of the family are the ones with the learned wisdom to best make the decisions for the family. I treat them with the respect they deserve. (Lawful)
5. Exploitive. I’m just using my family to get ahead. (Evil)
6. Enduring. Every family has its ups and downs, but in the end we’re still family. (Any)

1. The founder of our family was a famous adventurer who changed the world. I seek to emulate him and make my name just as celebrated.
2. The family has fallen on hard times and I seek to bring it back to the heights of society.
3. Some of the ancestors of our family live on as ghosts. Maybe it’s just my overactive imagination but I believe I can see them…and that they talk to me.
4. A few generations ago we lost our ancestral sword in battle against orcs. My driving goal is to recover it for our family.
5. One of my sisters married into a powerful family. Unfortunately I believe she is in an abusive relationship. I will find a way to free her from her predicament.
6. I have a favorite sibling; I would do anything to keep them safe.

1. Every family has its black sheep. I guess it’s my turn for this generation.
2. One of our ancestors was a traitor to the kingdom.
3. My family is used to sharing, clothes and other possessions, all the time. Sometimes I forget other people aren’t like this and they get upset when I take their items.
4. I suspect someone in the family is cheating on their spouse. It’s only a suspicion so I am not sure what to do about it.
5. I am deeply in love with someone, but one of my siblings is also in love with them.
6. You are an illegitimate child. While not of direct blood, they still accept you as a member of the family…for the most part.

December 9, 2014

5E Group Background - Secret Society

The World Builder Blog did a nice article on Group Backgrounds for 5E. Basically these are backgrounds with the assumption that the player characters are all from the same background instead of the usual individual ones. This allows for player character group to have some initial ties, giving a more coherent reason of why they are together.
The initial article gave some basics for the Group Backgrounds, but I thought it would be neat to expand them into regular backgrounds. These could also work as regular Backgrounds for individuals.

Group Background: Secret Society

Your party is made up of characters who work for an organization with inner workings which remain a secret to the public. Your society might be spies for a government, a cabal of assassins, a band of hidden protectors of nature, a team of vigilantes, a group trying to divine the secrets of the world, an organization bent on world domination, or something else. Whatever the case, you have a secret mission to carry out. This secret bonds you and your party together in trust.

Skill Proficiencies: Deception, choose one of the following (Persuasion, Stealth)  
Tool Proficiencies: Disguise kit, forgery kit
Equipment: A set of fine clothes, two sets of common clothes, a disguise kit,  a belt pouch continuing 15gp

Feature: Information Network
You are part of a network that relays secret information on a regular basis. You are able to pass along and gain information easily. Once a day you can send out information or request information on a topic and sometime thereafter (as determined by your DM) a response will come back to you through your network. 

Suggested Characteristics:
Being a member of a secret society means always living a lie. Who can you trust? Who can trust you? Fortunately, you have a core group of people you know you can trust, but beyond them the world is uncertain.

Personality Trait:
1. I do not have many possessions. I may have to pick and move on a moment’s notice.
2. I don’t like looking people in the eye. This tends to make them nervous around me.
3. I enjoy discussing politics.
4. I am afraid of giving too much away so I talk as little as possible.
5. It’s very hard for me to trust anyone I haven’t known for a long time. I assume everyone is lying to me.
6. I am more of a follower than a leader. Maybe that explains why I was so willing to join this society.
7. I like to think I’m a sexual charmer.
8. I am as outgoing and friendly as possible. Everyone trusts a friendly face.

1. Revolutionary. Things need to change. I haven’t thought much about what the world will be like after the change, but that can wait for later. (Neutral)
2. Idealist. Only through change can the world be made better. (Good)
3. Anarchic. Down with those in authority! Change the status-quo! We will prevail and change the world! (Chaotic)
4. Trust. I have reliance on the society. To question it would introduce doubt and lead to failure. (Lawful)
5. Rebel. I like being outside the established societal order, whatever that might be. If we win by accomplishing our goals and become the new society, I’ll rebel against that. (Evil)
6. Diligent. I believe in our mission. (Any)

1. I once had an intimate relationship with a leader of the society. It didn’t work out but I still have feelings for them.
2. My older brother, who was also part of the society, was taken in for “questioning” by the local authorities and has been missing ever since. I will find him one day…or at least uncover what happened to him.
3. I’ve used so many aliases, it’s starting to get confusing as to which one I’m supposed to be using when.
4. There is one new recruit that may be too young for this sort of thing. I’ll have to keep an eye on them and make sure they stay safe.
5. I used to do a lot of heaving drinking to help me get through everything. I realized I had a problem and stopped completely. However, some days it’s hard not to go back to drinking.
6. I am building a hidden stash of money and items in case it ever all goes bad.

1. I was once accused of selling out the group for money. It was later proved it was someone else instead. Now no one completely trusts me any longer.
2. Members of my family have been asking a lot of probing questions about my activities of late. Soon I may have to choose between my family and my society.
3. I have the local authorities out looking for me.
4. I suspect another member of the society, one outside on my immediate circle, of betrayal. However, the person is highly placed within the society so openly accusing them without proof will get me killed…but the longer I wait the more harm they can cause.
5. I am being blackmailed. Someone knows of my membership in this society and is threatening to reveal it.
6. My father is a high ranking member of the authorities that are actively hunting us.

December 2, 2014

5E Group Background - Religious Order

The World Builder Blog did a nice article on Group Backgrounds for 5E. Basically these are backgrounds with the assumption that the player characters are all from the same background instead of the usual individual ones. This allows for player character group to have some initial ties, giving a more coherent reason of why they are together.
The initial article gave some basics for the Group Backgrounds, but I thought it would be neat to expand them into regular backgrounds. These could also work as regular Backgrounds for individuals.

Group Background: Religious Order
Your party is made up of characters who are all part of the same religious order be it a monastery, cult, or temple. You share devout beliefs in the same gods, studied religion together, and are friends who share common morality. Together you walk the world, doing deeds in the name of your religion.

Skill Proficiencies: Religion, choose one of the following (History, Medicine, Persuasion)  
Languages: Two of your choice
Equipment: A set of common clothes, vestments, a holy symbol, prayer book, a belt pouch continuing 10gp

Feature: Aid and Comfort
In any given community it is highly likely there will be people of the same faith as yours. They will provide lodging and food as long as you are in that community. They may even be persuaded to give additional aid as requested, such as local information or even putting themselves into danger for your cause.

Suggested Characteristics:
The belief in the same god or religion can bring together people who otherwise would have little in common. It also helps define their relationships and actions. For many people they are defined by which religion they follow.

Personality Trait:
1. Before I do anything else at the start of the day, I offer up a prayer to my god.
2. After meeting a new person, one of the first things I try to do is discover which god they worship.
3. I took to the more somber teachings of my faith. Thus I have a glum outlook on life.
4. I can’t help myself and feel the need to let other people know about my deity.
5. I make it a point to thank every person that provides me some sort of aid or service.
6. I am trying to better understand the world and my faith. This means I ask a lot of questions. Sometimes people don’t like those questions, but I need to know.
7. My personal grooming is a reflection of my devotion to my god. Thus I try to look my best at all times.
8. I like to quote religious texts as responses to questions or as a parable in related situations.

1. Benevolence. I have faith in my god, but people are free to form their own opinions on which god to worship.  (Neutral)
2. Kindness. The purpose of our worship is to make the world better for everyone. (Good)
3. Thoughtful. I love to have philosophical discussions on the nature of the gods. Sometimes I’ll even take up a contrary position to better explore a topic. (Chaotic)
4. Devout. By holding true to the words of our god, the world will be a better place. (Lawful)
5. Zealot. There is no true god except for my god. Anyone who worships another god is a heretic. (Evil)
6. Faithfulness. Worshipping my god brings me joy and a sense of well-being. (Any)

1. My mother is a high ranking member of the church. I work to make her proud.
2. The village where I grew up in needs a full-time minister. When I retire I am hoping to settle there.
3. My father was a traveling priest and faith healer, who turned out to be a charlatan. I work to absolve the memory of his sins.
4. Sometimes I hear voices in my head that guide me. I don’t know if they are from my god, but so far they have not steered me wrong.
5. I have been tasked to carry a holy icon of our order. I must display it for all to see, but more importantly, I must keep it safe.
6. I see all those who worship my god as family members. A worshipper of my god can count on me for aid.

1. I have begun to lose faith in my god.
2. I am disgusted by those who try and use their faith as a means to give themselves more power and control over other people. I will oppose those people wherever I find them.
3. I have faith that my god will protect me in all things. This mean sometimes I may seem to be reckless.
4. While I allow the foolhardy to believe in their own false gods, I become violent when someone says something bad about my god.
5. I tithe far more than required. I can’t help myself from giving to those less fortunate than myself.
6. I automatically trust anyone who claims to be a fellow worshipper of my god.

November 25, 2014

5E Group Background - Military Unit

The World Builder Blog did a nice article on Group Backgrounds for 5E. Basically these are backgrounds with the assumption that the player characters are all from the same background instead of the usual individual ones. This allows for player character group to have some initial ties, giving a more coherent reason of why they are together.
The initial article gave some basics for the Group Backgrounds, but I thought it would be neat to expand them into regular backgrounds. These could also work as regular Backgrounds for individuals.

Group Background: Military Unit

You are all part of the same military or mercenary unit. You have trained together, lived together and fought together. You know how each of you will act within a combat situation. There is a camaraderie that only a soldier can know. Upon leaving the military you carried that comradeship with you into the civilian world.

Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, choose one of the following (Animal Handling, Intimidation, Survival)  
Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set
Equipment: A unit insignia, a set of common clothes, a set of bone dice, a belt pouch continuing 10gp

Feature: Secret Code
You and your party know a secret, coded language which is only shared with others of your former unit. This language is both spoken and written. Parts of the language can be used to communicate through hand gestures.

Suggested Characteristics:
The camaraderie of a tight military unit where life and death are on the line forms a bond that can be carried over in a civilian life. However, it can also be too easy to carry over part of the military life, making a non-military life difficult.

Personality Trait:
1. When it comes to personal grooming, I have a morning ritual I adhere to every day.
2. When times get hard, I have to crack a joke to lighten things up.
3. I naturally follow orders.
4. I like to travel light. If it doesn’t fit in one rucksack I won’t bring it.
5. I keep all my weapons and armor as polished as possible.
6. I dislike politicians as they meddle in affairs they know nothing about.
7. Shoes are the most important thing to me. Keeping my feet dry can be a lifesaver.
8. In combat situations, I expect people to follow my orders and grow annoyed if they do not.

1. Duty. I was just following orders. (Neutral)
2. Involved. The ultimate goal of war is to bring peace. (Good)
3. Pre-Emptive. War is the extreme response to eliminate those who would harm us. Hit them before they hit us. (Chaotic)
4. Organization. One thing I learned while in the military - following the structure of command will keep you alive. (Lawful)
5. War. I enjoy killing people. War was legalized murder for me. (Evil)
6. Necessity. War is something that is inevitable. It is best to be prepared for it so it can be concluded as efficiently and quickly as possible. (Any)

1. This shield saved my life countless times. I won’t go anywhere without it.
2. I received a medal for bravery in battle. I wear it proudly.
3. There was a commander on the other side that I still want to see dead.
4. During one battle I was able to save a family caught in the wrong place. I still look out for them.
5. We had a mangy dog as a unit mascot. I took him with us when we left.
6. Not everyone in my unit mustered out when I did, but they are still family to me. I would do anything for them.

1. I’ve seen enough death to last a lifetime. I try to avoid combat as much as possible now.
2. The unit fell into disrepute due to something I failed to do. I carry this shame with me.
3. My hesitation caused the death of one of my comrades. I still blame myself and so do his family.
4. I rarely get a full night’s rest as I suffer nightmares from the horrors I’ve seen in battle.
5. I am always on high alert, never able to appear calm or in control. This makes it hard in personal interactions.
6. Sometimes I have flashbacks and think I’m back in a past battle.

November 18, 2014

Time Constraints and "Everyone Gets To Shine"

There is a general philosophy in rpg gaming that everyone at the table gets a chance to shine; ie everyone's character gets a chance to show off what they can do, a chance to be special. This means that a social character (the Bard in D&D or the Face in Shadowrun or anyone with a lot of social skills) will be presented with some social interaction. The characters that fight well will get into combat. The characters with specialized skills (the Thief in D&D or the Decker in Shadowrun) will be presented with a situation where their skills are required to advance the story.

However, some systems bog down into singular encounters. There have been many nights where all we did was run one combat in 4E, 3E, Shadowrun, even Savage Worlds. There have been nights when we never got to combat because we got bogged down in rules or skill challenges. Shadowrun Deckers were a blight on the game when everyone sat around waiting for the Decker to finish doing his thing.

This is not to put down certain systems, but some systems run...slow. The downfall of this is that sometimes (all too often in truth) we end up only running one encounter. This means that only those characters geared for those types of challenges get to "shine"...or really, do anything at all interesting. Thus, some players feel cut out of the action or, even worse, bored.

One solution to this is to run faster systems. While this article isn't a 5E fanboy post, I did notice in last week's 5E game (which included handing out the pre-made characters and explaining the basics of the system) that everyone had something to do. We had role-playing, skill checks and several combat encounters. Everything moved fast. Everyone got to do something they liked to do...everyone was able to "shine". Maybe not every minute but at least once during the night...unlike some games where it can be a couple of play sessions before they get to do something "special".

4E was designed so that no matter what class you played you would be effective in combat. Even with skills they wrote skill challenges to allow for every class to do something in them. With 4E, WotC attempted to make every type of character useful.
5E instead tries to speed up game play (mostly through the Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic) as a means to make every type of character useful. By being able to run multiple encounters it means the odds are that every type of character will be able to do something special within a night's game time.

It is all well and good to write adventures tailored to every player's character so each of them has a chance to shine. However, it does no good if a night of gaming only runs one encounter from that adventure. This is a symptom of the game system not the adventure.

I've decided I like fast moving systems, ones that allow for many encounters in a night. Remove or minimize the time constraints built into a system. This is the better way to let the players/characters "shine".

November 11, 2014

5E Background - Scout


There are those whose job it is to walk into the unknown. They find where the enemy is before a battle. They make the world smaller by exploring the hitherto undiscovered regions of the world. They are the ones who explore by going there and seeing it for themselves. Being able to bring back the information is what sets apart the skilled scouts and the bad scouts.

Skill Proficiencies: Stealth, Survival
Languages: One of your choice
Equipment: A set of traveler's clothes, 50' silk rope, a trinket, and a belt pouch containing 10gp

Feature: One with Nature
You are adept at living off and blending into the land. You become one with the area you find yourself. You have an innate sense of direction. You are always able to retrace your steps in any environment. This allows you to eventually get back to a point you are familiar with.

Suggested Characteristics:
You are an explorer into the unknown. You are often the first into an area no one has been to before. You have to be able to deal with anything. Hidden terrain can impede your progress or cause injury while you are alone. Native populations of either sentient beings or savage monsters can inhabit the land you have been tasked to map and explore.
You must be self-reliant, but having some competent friends along can help.
Personality Trait:
1. I always eat whatever the local food is, that way I do not smell foreign.
2. I like to have a contingency plan for every mission.
3. I like to make paintings of places I’ve seen.
4. I always dress to blend into whatever surroundings there are, whether in the wild or urban.
5. I prefer to wait and watch before acting.
6. I rarely talk louder than a whisper.
7. Getting dirty is part of a good camouflage. I just forget to clean up most of the time.
8. Ever since one bad mission, I make sure to bring extra food.

1. Mission Oriented. I am good at completing my assigned tasks. What happens with the information I gather is outside my area of responsibility. (Neutral)
2. Concerned. Whenever I meet a new race or peoples, I make sure any potential contact will not harm them. (Good)
3. Wild. The world is an untamed place and I fit right in. (Chaotic)
4. Expansionism. Expanding the boundaries means we can bring all society has to offer to new people and lands. (Lawful)
5. Greed. People are always willing to pay well for information, even those who didn’t do the hiring in the first place. (Evil)
6. Pioneer. The best part is being the first person to somewhere new. (Any)

1. On one mission I discovered a lost tribe of people. I decided to not reveal their presence for fear of what would happen to them if I did.
2. My single most important piece of equipment? This rope has saved my life multiple times, I wouldn’t go anywhere without it.
3. I’ve kept a copy of every map I’ve ever done for someone. It is fairly extensive.
4. While scouting a new area I was captured by a cannibalistic tribe. I managed to escape with a small trinket which I now keep as a memento. However, I suspect they want it back.
5. My mother was a famous druidess. While I cannot access her divine magics, I still seek emulate her love for nature.
6. I am too close to the animals; I can’t stand to eat meat anymore.

1. I used to be a scout in the military until one of my reports was wrong and hundreds of soldiers lost their lives. I still say my report was solid, but that didn’t stop them from kicking me out of the military and blaming me.
2. I am perpetually disappointed in the abilities of other people.
3. I am opposed to beings that seek to exploit the world or people weaker than them simply because they think they can.
4. I’m good at following orders no matter what they are.
5. On one mission I discovered a lost tribe of people. Using my report, the military moved in and that tribe no longer exists. I left the military soon thereafter but not before making some enemies in the hierarchy.
6. There is no one better than me in the wilderness. When it comes to the wilderness, I won’t take advice, not even if it’s good advice.

November 7, 2014

5E Friday - Storylines, Bloat and New Releases

WotC has made mention of their upcoming concepts for new releases (as seen in this article from EnWorld). Essentially new releases are tied into a "storyline". The upcoming storyline is Elemental Evil which features the Adventurer's Handbook (a book of player options centered around the storyline) and 2 Adventures (of which the first will be Princes of the Apocalypse).

While I like the idea of a central story arc to drive products, I am not happy that the Adventurer's Handbook will be so closely tied into the storyline/adventures. Basically, the Adventurer's Handbook is a splatbook for playing characters where the the characters have backgrounds in the Elemental Planes or options for characters interacting with those planes. As a DM I am looking for splatbooks that are more generalized. This book seems as if it will be too closely tied to the adventures.

Another example given was that of psionics. Any future book on psionics will be tied into whatever adventures/storyline is ongoing at the time. In my "psionics rulebook", I don't want it cluttered up with background information on a setting I may not be using. All I want are rules for psionics.

We'll see how the books are actually written but I expect a lot of useless information in my splatbooks.

November 4, 2014

5E Background - Traveling Merchant

Traveling Merchant

Traveling the world in search of new markets and new products is exactly where you want to be. Anyone can open a shop in a town and grow fat, but exploring new marketplaces is where the action is…along with the potential for even greater profits. Wheeling and dealing is your way of life and the best place to do that is out in the world.

Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Persuasion
Tool Proficiencies: One type of vehicles (land)
Languages: One of your choice
Equipment: A set of traveler's clothes, 15 gp of trade goods, a belt pouch containing 5gp.

Feature: Well Prepared
To get far as a traveling merchant you have to be prepared and you are. Choose or roll on the following table to determine what extra assets you start with.
1. Mule and cart.
2. 10gp worth of trade goods.
3. Another trinket.
4. A Comfortable Lifestyle already paid for the next month.
5. A Modest Lifestyle already paid for the next year.
6. A potion of healing.

Suggested Characteristics:
Traveling merchants are that rare breed of accountant and explorer. While making money is important, just as essential is seeing new places and interacting with new people.
Personality Trait:
1. I look at everything as a balance sheet. I am always calculating cost and potential profit.
2. I make sure everyone knows the shortest path between two points.
3. Knowing how essential animals are to my business, I make sure to always treat them right.
4. When I am excited, I tend to talk very fast.
5. When I’m not working, I like to spend my time fishing.
6. I enjoy talking about the local politics.
7. I believe in teaching people about fiscal responsibility.
8. I may have to look good when negotiating with a potential client, but I’m not afraid to get down and dirty when it’s called for.

1. Materialism. Gold is a measuring stick for how well you are doing in life. (Neutral)
2. Charity. Everyone has to start somewhere. I had some help starting out, so when I can, I pass that aid along. (Good)
3. Gambler. To hit it big, you have to take risks. (Chaotic)
4. Society. I am part of the process that keeps society moving forward. (Lawful)
5. Greed. Everyone else is just a person carrying my gold. (Evil)
6. Explorer. To see the world and make a living at it - is there really anything better than that? (Any)

1. My ledger book includes a list of every place I’ve ever visited with the local commodities and relative values of each.
2. The startup costs were huge; I am still paying off the debt to my lender.
3. I have a monetary goal for retirement and keep a constant tally of how close I am getting to it.
4. I have a spouse and children that I send my profits back home to. I miss them but the job keeps me on the road.
5. I enjoy writing about my travels. One day I’ll see them published.
6. I hope to one day buy myself a title of nobility.

1. I used to have a business partner but he was a lousy merchant. I had to break away and start my own business. He took it personally and harbors resentment.
2. I understand small gains and losses, but if ever a really big score came along I’d do anything to gain it.
3. I hate being on the losing end of a deal, really, really hate it.
4. I dislike spending money. I’d rather do without, and suffer for it, than spend gold.
5. When I was first starting out, I sold a trinket to raise some quick money. I now regret it and have been looking for it ever since.
6. When things don’t go my way I get depressed and sullen.

October 31, 2014

5E Friday - Dungeonscape

The news this week is that Dungeonscape, the online gaming tool being made by Trapdoor, is no longer being made for 5E. News has been sparse and is likely to remain so as to the actual behind the scenes decision making. Here are some of my random thoughts on the topic...

-I suspect the product was late. Normally such a product should have launched with the Player's Handbook. Two months after the PHB release and they are still in beta. It also looked like a release version was far off.

-Seeing some recent feedback on the beta...things were not going well. They didn't even have the character generator complete or non-buggy.

-Combine a late product with it looking even later and WotC probably decided to pull the plug on what they felt was a non-viable product. Maybe I'm reading too much into it but from WotC - "we remain committed to creating great tabletop and digital gaming experiences for Dungeons & Dragons players and DMs" - To me this sounds like Dungeonscape was not looking like it would be a ' gaming experience'.
If the product had hope of completing I suspect WotC would have kept them on...but it didn't look like that was a possibility.

-People are hoping that PDFs of the books will become available now. Previously the only online versions of the books would have been through Dungeonscape. However, I suspect WotC is working on a new online resource with the same intent of keeping the books behind an online source (ie no PDFs).

-It sounds like Trapdoor is looking to continue on the project, however, it will likely not be for 5E. They will likely shop it out to other companies or make it something generic.

-I never expected a personal "need" for the product, though I would have checked it out. However, I won't be missing it now that its dead.

-Look for news about their newest online product for 5E from WotC soon. I suspect they've been looking for another producer for at least a month.

October 28, 2014

5E Background - Guard


You have the skills to protect other people and their possessions. In the past you may have been a bodyguard protecting a traveling merchant caravan, protecting an important person or a security guard protecting a place of business. Likely you've done a bit of all of those tasks over the years. However, keeping other people's gold safe gets old after a while. Eventually you decided to go out and find your own gold...though sometimes you still have to take the occasional guard job to pay the bills.

Skill Proficiencies: Intimidation, Perception
Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set
Equipment: A set of common clothes, a set of bone dice, a belt pouch continuing 10gp

Feature: Steadfast
You are used to spending long periods of time waiting but being on high alert the entire time. During a long rest you can perform light activities such as reading, talking, eating, or standing watch for 4 hours instead of the maximum of 2 hours.

Suggested Characteristics:
A guard has a broad range of skills. They need to be capable with weapons, but they are not soldiers. They need to be aware of what is going on around them at all times. They need to put themselves in harm's way. They are a military jack-of-all-trade but master of none.

Personality Trait:
1. I have given names to my weapons and I talk to them.
2. I am very good at waiting. Patience is a virtue I have conquered.
3. I am awkward and uncomfortable around people I am attracted to.
4. I do not lie and hate being lied to.
5. I am good at taking orders.
6. I never panic in a crisis situation.
7. When there is not much going on, I like to eat. My gut would indicate, maybe I like it a bit too much.
8. I like to know the names of everyone around me.

1. Aloof. I try not to get close to those I protect, it makes my job more difficult. (Neutral)
2. Self-Sacrifice. My job is to save the lives of other people, even at the expense of my own. (Good)
3. Spontaneity. Try to keep them guessing. If the enemy doesn't know what defenses I've planned then they can't prepare for them. (Chaotic)
4. Diligent. I'm getting paid to do a job, I'll see it to its completion. (Lawful)
5. Sadist. I like to hurt people and being a guard makes it legal. (Evil)
6. Meaningful. It may not be glamorous but what I do is of value. (Any)

1. I once saved the life of an important noble. I keep a medallion he gave me as a reward.
2. During one of my stints as a security guard I found a stray cat. It still travels with me.
3. I'm not an alcoholic, but I perform better after having a drink.
4. I work better as part of a team; we can watch each other's backs.
5. After 6 months guarding a caravan the boss stiffed us on our wages and left us out in the middle of no where. I want my pay.
6. Some day I'll be the leader of my own mercenary company.

1. Someone I was hired to bodyguard died under my watch. The family still blames me. Even worse, I blame myself.
2. I am suspicious of everyone. It is very hard for me to trust anyone.
3. Once I am on a job nothing will dissuade me from completing it.
4. I was once a soldier but left under a cloud.
5. I hate organized crime and will doing anything to crush it wherever I find it.
6. I was tasked to protect an artifact from a cult. I failed and my goal is to recover it one day.