Change the World

27 September, 2011

Eberron is the kind of place where every quest undertaken can change the world.

The gods are dead and their assassins continue to plot. Wars are fought out in open to hide the wars carried out in secrecy. The fragility of the nations’ borders doom Khorvaire to repeat history. Ancient legends of Arkhosia and Bael Turath┬áthreaten a new age and a war spanning continents, planes, and dimensions.

And in order to forge peace for all of Khorvaire, we'll be running a mash-up of several Hackmaster modules and every single Tomb of Horrors.

The enemies of our enemies die next. It’s good to be a dungeon master.

To the DMs of Eberron. Cheers.


PS. Oh, and today’s my birthday. Happy birthday, me.


Pencil and Pen Storage

16 April, 2010

I’m the type that kept losing his pencil in school. As soon as I could buy things, instead of asking my parents for them, I bought a thousand pencils, so I would never run out. Ever again.

For some reason, this curse has followed me to my gaming table and affected the players, as well. Sometimes, I fear that there’s only two pencils on the table for seven people, an existence made possible by sharing.

…But… I have ten… thousand… pencils.

*Frothing at mouth*

Anyway, I was asking my players for a pencil-case. I figured one of them had one, back in middle school, or something. The search turned up being unsuccessful. But I found something my grandma had discarded in the garage.

I emptied out a tubular plastic box originally for chocolates and threw wooden pencils, mechanical pencils, pens, whiteboard markers, a whiteboard eraser, a few rubber erasers, and a roll of tape in there. To get a writing utensil required one to jam their hand into the tube and risk being stabbed by several pointy objects. No, I did not think of placing all the pens and pencils writing-side-down.

I was buying something almost entirely not-game-related, when I saw a 5 dollar pencil cup holder at a Staples office supplies store. After about three weeks of getting half a dozen tiny lead pricks whenever I needed a black marker, I really wanted to get something that would be more effective, without the danger involved, that my ancestors surely suffered.

Photo pencil cup holder. Brilliant. Can be used for photos. Or for anything the hell else I want. Behold, the campaign banner used on my Obsidian Portal site.

If I was a really good Dungeon Master, I’d change this photo for every major campaign. It’s the little things that count.


Response to Cheating

12 April, 2010

A few posts ago, I mentioned I had a cheating problem at the table. Here’s what I did.

I opted not to talk about it at the beginning of the Saturday game. I didn’t want to put a damper on everything, before what should be the fun part of the week.

So first, I talked to all the players I could, one-on-one. I told them that cheating wasn’t okay, and if they saw it, they should say something, out of respect for the game.

Second, I changed my position at the table. We sit at a rectangular dinner table, and I, as the DM, usually sit at the head, behind a DM screen. I changed my position to the middle of the table, where I could see everything. I got rid of the DM screen. I took a piano chair (lucky I had a piano, sitting around), and it fit underneath the table. That’s where I now keep my notes. An upside down lid of a cardboard office box keeps my dice from falling onto the floor.

Third, during player turns, I would try to clear the table, so players couldn’t hide. Books go on the carpeted floor. Empty soda cans, cups, and plates are cleared. Giant bags of chips and boxes of grain bars are juggled on players’ heads and passed around like a delicious American football.

As a result, I’m in the players’ faces. They all know that cheating’s not okay. The table’s much clearer, and I and everyone else can give more feedback on high and low rolls. Best of all I can now reach the board without needing to stand up. After the game, even without prompting, two of the players noted that there was no cheating at that table, that night. Turns even seemed to go by faster, because there were more misses and less damage calculation.

I found that humorous.

It feels like recovering from a bad cold. After medicine and recuperation, I feel better than ever, even though I know that I’m more-or-less normal. Now, time to plan some dragon hunting…