Hubs and ashes and rising and things

After nearly a decade of being dead in the water, the old Montreal RPG Hub has risen from the ashes to become the RPG Hub! The site is still growing in features, and it might look a little rough around the edges, but the ball is rolling and things are happening *snaps fingers in the air*.

If you’d like to be an author, let me know. Furthermore, if you’d simply like to be a moderator (comments, forums), let me know. Otherwise, you’re free to create your own account and join in the community like any other.

This site is still for personal things, crazy stuff we find on the internet, and for video games and technology. The Hub is for RPGs, Board Games, etc.

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? 🙂

PAX East, here we come!

Well I think this is official as we have ever gotten on a road trip like this. But here is graphical evidence that we are indeed going. Now please note for everyone else interested, you can go to the PAX East site and do pre registration. You have the option of having your badges sent to you via FED Ex (which I did). I bought these now as I owed Curt from awhile back so rather then get lost in translation now it’s fucking booked! Oh yeah!

pax_east

Game Mastering is Not an Exclusive Club

Yes, there’s a division between players and GMs, despite the fact that at the end of the day we’re all players, and we all share the same goal: to have a great time gaming with our friends.

Is game mastering harder than playing? Yes. Is it more work? Yep. Is it more rewarding in some ways? Sure, depending on your personality.

So: There are differences.

But I believe the long-standing perception that GMing is scary, intimidating, or too much work — rather than something that each and every gamer should attempt at least once — is due in part to this perspective: the notion that GMs are special.

We’re not special.

What we do can be special — but what our players do can also be special. And what everyone around the table achieves together? More special still — because that’s the magic that keeps us all coming back, whether we GM, play, or both

Go read it at Gnome Stew

iplay4e characters

Now this is a cool little web app. We probably won’t need to use it, but you guys might find it handy for at least storing copies of your characters somewhere. It takes files from the Character Builder, which you then upload and can share with others, like your DM. I haven’t really tried it out yet, so if anyone gives it a whirl, let me know what you think.

iplay4e characters

Dave Arneson

Dave Arneson It’s a sad day for gamers everywhere, as Dave Arneson, the co-creator of D&D and the first DM ever, has passed away from cancer. He was lesser known to a lot of gamers simply for no other reason than Gary stuck around longer at TSR. This is no less reason for him to be mourned, however. He was the first DM with his Blackmoor campaign setting (the first ever, even before Greyhawk), and paved the way for a few of the most fun parts of this hobby: creating worlds and great story telling. He will be missed.

There were originally some conflicting reports on whether he had truly died or not, so I was waiting for some decent confirmation before I said anything.

RIP Dave.

PS: This latest Order of the Stick comic is a brilliant homage.

via Escapist Magazine

The Mossmantle Campaign

Keep on the Shadowfell is, at long last, complete. Last night, the group fought their way through foul undead into the chamber where Kalarel was in the middle of summoning some great evil, perhaps even Orcus himself, through a portal. With great effort, the group dispatched the vile priest in the nick of time and saved the day.

As the Keep on the Shadowfell drifts from view, the quiet hamlet of Mossmantle approaches. It’s time, at long last, to start our next campaign!

I went over it previously, but I’ll mention it briefly again just in case. This campaign is going to follow a much different model than we’re used to as of late. Basically, it’s a “sandbox” game, meaning that there’s no overarching plot and expected conclusion. It’s an old-fashioned sort of D&D game where you will basically be exploring the countryside near the town of Mossmantle and what dungeons lie within it’s shadowy woods. Your motivations are entirely your own, and you are encouraged to be as simple or as complex with them as you please. Anything from a treasure hunter seeking the lost amulet of the Gatekeeper Athul’chek to a landed knight looking for his missing sister. As I mentioned in the comments of the linked post, I really want to encourage the idea that you can do whatever you want with this campaign.

Here’s the basics:

  1. Sessions will be scheduled by the players. If you want to play, you have to email everyone and see who’s available, then set a date/time and be ready to play then. The only requirement is that this is scheduled in advance, to give people time to respond, and to give me time to be free as well. If you don’t take the initiative, then we don’t play. Outside of sessions, you are welcome to blue book as much as you like. This will enable you to really explore the town itself and your character’s downtime. But that doesn’t mean that each session with everyone must be consumed by adventure and that alone: if you guys want to spend a session exploring town or whatever, that’s fine too. The pace is your own.
  2. Because I despise level disparity more than anything else, experience will be a shared pool. If someone gets a roleplaying reward, everyone benefits. If some players clear a mine, everyone benefits. I know this can be a bit unfair when someone’s not present and still gets XP, but that’s a downside that (in my opinion) is greatly outweighed by the benefits. I will keep track of the XP meter and will simply email you all (or tell you if we’re in a session) that you’ve leveled up. I’m not certain, but I’ve kinda toyed with the old-fashioned idea that you can only attain levels when you go back to town to rest, but I don’t think I’ll go that route.
  3. There is no plot. While there are stories to be told and histories to be learned, and NPCs have motivations and desires that will cause certain things to happen; there is no expected route. You’re encouraged to do whatever you like. If you feel that you’d like to join the bandit king Sutger and his band, then that’s fine too. I’m very curious to see where the game goes and what it’ll look like by level 30. 😉
  4. We will likely have an introductory session where the characters can do a “meet and greet” and get settled into the town of Mossmantle. If people are native to the town, let me know and I can give you some details ahead of time via email. This’ll give us a chance to find out what’s in the area and what you guys might like to explore. We may even have enough time in the first session to do a dungeon or something.
  5. Encounters will only be somewhat scaled. There will be things out there that you cannot handle and could easily wipe the group. Be careful! Pick your battles when you can and know when to run. I will be remorseless. There is no plot, so characters can easily be replaced.
  6. 4e suggests that characters should have magic items tailored to them. This won’t happen in this game. I will be placing magic items at random. If you find something useless to all of you, then so be it.
  7. The game will be semi-realtime. If possible, each session will start on the same day in the campaign as real life. This means that time will pass relatively quickly compared to our other games and it means that seasons will pass as they do in real life. This may very well change the dynamic of encounters or dungeons.

Characters will be starting at 1st level, using the default point buy. Monster Manual races in the back of the book are available, including the slightly more detailed versions on the Wizards’ site. Please ask before choosing one of these, though. The Genasi and Swordmage from the Forgotten Realms Player’s guide are available. Adventurer’s Vault is also available for use (it’s got some mundane items in it).

The town of Mossmantle is a little hamlet in the north eastern Eldeen Reaches under the protection of the Wardens of the Wood, who came to protect the town after Aundair left the region. It’s a sleepy town, though sometimes it has trouble with bandits or other, less friendly, druid sects like the Children of Winter or the Ashbound.

That about covers it for now. Feel free to discuss character ideas, adventuring company ideas (if you want to make things official-like), and whatever else springs to mind. I look forward to starting!

Creative Vectors

A while back, I came up with the “One sentence character concept”, which basically followed this format: A (descriptive) (role) is trying to (do something). A forlorn detective is trying to run away from his past. A heartbroken ninja is trying to overthrow the Empire. An untested new superhero is trying to know her friends from her enemies.  Basically, each character concept is a creative vector for play.

From Deeper in the Game and part two is here

Futurama: Bender’s Game DVD Preview

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oj2VU_8l6gs]

The second Futurama DVD hasn’t even stopped spinning in our drives and we’re already looking forward to the third one. It’s a much geekier affair than even Futurama fans are used to, as they’re delving into the world of Dungeons and Dragons. Will this Ender’s Game Futurama movie be any good? We’re pretty sure it will, seeing as the Kirk and Spock heads are back, and that was probably one of the best episodes ever. – Gizmodo

RIP Erick Wujcik

Erick Wujcik, author of our beloved TMNT roleplaying game, along with alot of other books for the abysmal Palladium line of RPGs passed away earlier this month after a long bout with cancer. While I didn’t follow his work closely, I know that we all had great fun with the TMNT RPG, and it pretty much is the sole reason we discovered RPGs outside of D&D, so I think he deserves at least a little bit of our respect.

Besides, without him we wouldn’t have had anything as creative as a nitroglycerin-laden, artifically intelligent, murderous van run amok!

http://forums.palladium-megaverse.com/viewtopic.php?f=49&t=90372

The West Marches and Campaigns Like It

I recently read a series of really fascinating articles from Ars Ludi called Grand Experiments: West Marches (part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4). With all the excitement surrounding the release of 4th edition, I’ve been reading alot of DMing articles and such to find inspiraition and to hone my skill set as a DM. The article I mentioned talks about a different sort of campaign we’re used to. Instead of a set plot line with a defined villain and goals, it’s very much a sandbox-style of campaign.

I find this to be really fascinating as it’s almost like exploring a more living, breathing world. Sometimes, from where I’m sitting at least, things can seem to be a bit linear. I sometimes feel that you guys are almost fearful of straying from the main plot just in case you might derail it indefinitely. I agree with that sentiment to some degree. With campaigns like the Shackled City (Cauldron), it had a very defined path and pacing to it that were fragile when faced with the possibility of players straying from the path. Furthermore, and honestly, unless I’ve made everything up on the fly, my ability to improvise is not always on call.

I want to fix that. I want to have a campaign like the West Marches. Start small with a town that has some ruins nearby and let the group decide their own fate. The idea, of course, being that stories and characterization are emergent. The characters would grow and change with the setting and NPCs would become alot more familiar.

At this point, it’s all just an idea. There’s not alot of play going on right now so I’m not certain it’s wise to start another campaign, and I’d really like to focus on the ones I’ve already got at this point, but I just thought I’d mention the idea and the articles as I’ve been thinking about it all a fair bit just lately.

Characters

Don’t forget I would like to see Ravenloft and Call of Cthulhu characters come in. So far I have for CoC only Neil and Curt. For Ravenloft I have none. Not sure if this is just the interest for these two particular games. If you think you may not be available just make a guy anyways as you never know when we will decide to play or when you may become available.

Eschalon: Book 1

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqSkCka_Ijg]

I’ve had a real hankering to play some old-fashioned computer RPGs lately, like Ultima VI: The False Prophet or something. Well, with a little digging around I found something that could sate that interest. It’s an indie RPG called Eschalon: Book 1. It’s has a very old-school feel and I very much enjoyed my taste of the demo. Check it out here.

Play By Email

PBEM is a very new thing to all of us, I’m sure. I imagine that at first, regardless of what we do, it will be shaky ground. But I also have faith that before long we’ll be well into the swing of things and having a great time. To help ease us into this whole new play style, I’ve been reading whatever I could and found a nifty little site called www.pbemplayers.com that has all kinds of advice for both players and DMs. It’s very generic, and sometimes that means that it can be a bit ethereal in it’s explanations, but I still found it to be a handy guide.

If you’re looking for some more concrete examples, feel free to check out ENWorld’s Play by Post forum.

Lastly, we’ll also be using Invisible Castle for die rolls. Well, for your rolls anyway. I’ll be using my fancy new dice for mine. 😉

I hope to see all your characters (Carl, Joe, and John remain) soon so we can start ASAP!

Ravenloft: Welcome to the Carnival

Well seem’s with 4th edition we are just bursting with ideas around this place and here is yet another.

Welcome to the Carnival will be my Ravenloft campaign which will be an alternate to Call of Cthulhu if other players cannot make it. The idea behind Welcome to the Carnival is that everyone is part of the troupe. Zoe being perhaps in acrobatics under the big top, Youri divining peoples pasts and futures…cursing them, etc. While traveling you will see various lands which will keep things dynamic and the story itself can continue despite who is not present.

As far as timeline it is definitely pre-requiem. How early in RL history I am not sure yet but will provide more details soon on that. I would like the characters in around the same time as CoC characters that are to be handed in for those who are interested.

I was originally thinking about doing an RL game as a PBEM however while cooking tonight the idea is almost too good to pass up doing in person. Not to mention it makes a good alternate to Call of Cthulhu so there is always something to play.

Call of Cthulhu: Horror on the Orient Express

I did a post about this awhile back wanting characters but will post again for all interested.

I am looking to run the Horror on the Orient Express campaign. This is a 1920’s game (specifically 1923) which will take everyone across Europe. You do not have to know each other from the bat but if you can plausibly link yourself to someone even as an acquaintance that would be cool though that is totally up to you.

Curt and Neil have both sent in their characters though I recommend people make a minimum of 2 replacements because the campaign is pretty hardcore no punches held.

As for a time to play I am thinking a weeknight Mon, Wed, Fri or Sunday day/night. So pop off availabilities though I am pretty sure I can reference the D&D thread for that. I know some people may be excluded due to schedules but I am aiming for max people who can attend consistently. This is a game I ideally want nobody missing from.

I am aiming to have things going in two weeks however I want peoples primary characters done by Fri 9pm of next week. Please use Byakhee to create characters, it takes all on 10 minutes or less.

Planescape by Email

Alright, even though the books haven’t quite arrived yet, I figured I’d make a post about this so we can get the ball rolling and the creative juices flowing.

The arrival of 4th edition gives us an impetus to start a whole host of new campaigns to make good use of the new rules. However, time is limited and schedules are difficult to arrange. As such, in addition to the more conventional campaigns we’re playing, I think it’s time to dip our toes into the literary wonder of Play by Email.

Being that this is our first foray into the medium, it might be a bit rocky at first but I hope that we can settle into the swing of things and enjoy ourselves. The pace of the game will be MUCH slower. As such, whenever something like combat occurs, I’ll likely not make it too difficult or complex of a fight, but I’ll still award good experience to level at a decent rate. This isn’t to say that the game won’t be challenging, but I want to draw the focus off exciting battles and onto exciting roleplay. On the upside, the slower pace is counteracted by the fact that the game is not in discreet sessions: we are technically always playing in a PBEM.

Even though the wiki says the advantage is keeping everything private, I would like to do the opposite for the most part. I want the game to be collaborative as much as possible, and so most of the actions in the game will be sent to everyone (reply to all).

Now, for the setting. It’s Planescape, but with the new 4e cosmology. Outland is gone, and as are the gate towns. The planes are much more morphic now, sitting primarily all within the Astral Sea or the Elemental Chaos. Sigil now spins in an unknown space between planes. Planes are not necessarily aligned and there are infinitely more planes that can be explored.

In addition to this, the setting will emphasize the whimsy of the planes. It’s the planescape as it is in planescape’s art. Only it will be advanced somewhat to an Edwardian era (think around WW1/Jules Verne sort of stuff). People wear tophats and tuxedos with coat tails. Guns exist, but are rare and typically only for the wealthy. Industry is paramount and unless you want to be working in some smog-belching factory your entire life, you might want to see what money can be gleaned from the planes themselves. What riches could be found beyond any portal, if only you knew the key.

If you’re interested in playing this, please comment on this post. This will allow me to determine just who I need to add to the mailing list for it.

When you get the chance, please make 1st level characters. There are no house rules, and you may (with approval) use racial details from the Monster Manual (this includes Planescape favorites the Gith) as well. Furthermore, because the game has such a strong emphasis on roleplaying and characterization, you will likely need a good solid background as well. If you’d all like to collaborate (and I encourage it), please do so in the comments here, or we can get an email conversation going around once people have signed on.

Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition

This post’ll kill a few different in-flight things with a single solid object. First things first, Chris and I were chatting last night and he will be unavailable on Thursday. I noted from the discussion in the shoutbox that Carl and Neil were available Tuesday night, so how about we play D&D on Tuesday this week? Let me know in comments.

Secondly, 4th edition is almost upon us! When people get a chance after poring over the books, please remake your Eberron character using the new rules. There are no house rules for this campaign now, and character creation is by the book. Re-buy your ability scores using the point buy (you might actually get the same scores, I haven’t tested it) provided to get something as close to what you had before as possible. You’ll all be level 1, as sort of a reboot and so we get familiar with the system and character creation from the absolute ground up. Lastly, Carl and Joe are both classes that are no longer in 4th edition, so you’ll need some kind of close approximations. For Carl’s Barbarian, I’d recommend either Fighter or melee Ranger. For Joe’s Monk I’m not too certain. Perhaps a very dexterous Fighter, melee Ranger, or maybe a Rogue. Luckily, we don’t have any dragonmarks in the party, so the conversion should be relatively painless.

Once we finish H1: Keep on the Shadowfell, we will continue Eberron.

Postboy Activated!

So i am sure i am the only one, but i have been going back and playing Fallout 1&2 lately to prep myself for the release of fallout 3. In my quest to find patches and what not to try and make it a bit more stable (it tends to crash every so often and give me weird errors on XP, expected due to its age) I came across this. It is an expansion for Fallout 2.

It was released back in 2005, maybe some of you heard of it. I could swear someone mentioned it to me…maybe. Anyways I have just downloaded it and am getting ready to install it and give it a try. So much has been added, following the link i provided will give you the full run down on it. So if your bored like me and want to soak up some good old Mutant killing fun and explore Fallout 2 in a new way, you might want to take a gander.

Fallout 2 Expansion.

Edit* Apparently he will be releasing a new version of this at the end of May. Apparently i was wrong about this being originally released in 2005, first release was only like 6 months ago or something. 😯

Keep on the Shadowfell

H1: Keep on the Shadowfell I spent some time on the weekend reading through the adventure and it’s quickstart rules both for the players and the DM, and I believe that I am now ready to start running this adventure. I’ve not quite finished reading it in it’s entirety, but I’ve read enough to cover a session or two of play. By the time we get around to that, I’ll have read the whole thing.

So, now, the big challenge is getting together to play the game. Whatever solution that enables the most people to be able to attend is optimum. I will make time to run this any night during the week and any day or night on the weekend.

The adventure itself looks really cool and offers a detailed look at the 4th edition rules before they are released, allowing us to hit the ground running when it comes out on June 6th.

I’ve already emailed you all the PC quickstart rules and am ready to begin at any time, just say the word.

D&D: The Scheduling

So, before our next session of D&D creeps up on us, it would likely be a good idea to sort out everyone’s schedule so that we’re on top of things before it’s too late. This has come up because Neil’s new job, precludes him from being able to attend our Thursday-night games (I believe). I know that I’m very flexible and am pretty much available anytime. I’m thinking Sunday afternoons would be great if we could do that again, but ultimately it’s up to you guys and what we can work out.