Sunday, March 13, 2011

How to Make a D&D Character Deck

This is my character from Encounters.
I got the idea from Ben's RPG Pile

So a while back, oh probably about two months ago I found this link to a site called Ben's RPG Pile. It had a post about How to Make a D&D Character Deck and I was intrigued. So I watched it and was immediately impressed, in fact the whole site has some nice informative posts on making D&D better visually and play wise. Take a look and watch this video.

Not only does he talk about making your character deck but all other kinds of nifty things like re-basing Mage Knight and Dreamblade mini's for use in your D&D games. He also does some great terrain pieces for his games. Again check it out.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Starting up a new campaign

So in about two weeks I will be starting up a new campaign for D&D 4e and it will not be with my gaming group of over 15 plus years! During that time I have had a few different groups in addition to my sorta stable group. I used to run Jovian Chronicles from DP9 and Star Wars d20 versions for a store my friend used to own. I recently started playing D&D Encounters at a new local store that opened up before the holidays last year called Fair Game. It is a great little store, follow the link and take a look.

Anyway, I was recruited to run Encounters as I had offered when I first started playing and we had expanded to two tables and still turned away people who said they would come back the following week. My first week of running I had a group of six! Five new to 4e and one regular to encounters, at the end of the night the DM's talk about what we did, how the players fared and the like and I mentioned I wanted to run a game on the weekend.

Normally I just go completely into design mode and start thinking of things I want to do and maybe jot notes down. I am a fly by the seat of my pants DM and the least amount of planning on my part seems to make the games go very well in my group. The thing is this is not my group, or not right now. I do not know who I will get as players though I have a pretty good idea it will consist of several from the encounters crew with a sprinkling of local vets.

Next weeks encounters we are going to hype it up, the plan is a weekly game but if I get a lot of people I will break it into two groups perhaps the same day or every other week kind of deal. I decided with talking with the other DM's that I should probably allow Core 4e books and Essentials material to co-exist at the table which also lead to the conversation to the level of experience I want at the table. I said open to all and I got a few looks like, are you serious?

Initially I looked at it from the encounters player standpoint. How, if you are only doing one encounter a night spread out once a week, do you learn the rules to any proficiency? We have a lot of kids play (10 years old and up) and I thought, "this would be a great opportunity to mold the new generation of players, I would be Obi-Wan Kenobi and they would be the padawan's!" I got a bit of advice from the store manager that perhaps I should say they need to have finished a few nights of encounters before committing to an on-going campaign.

There are going to be a few caveats to playing in my game. Since this is a store game I do not want to loose potential customers for the store so I need to be diplomatic about my approach. I will be running the game for everyone to have fun but once it stops being fun or someone is preventing that from happening for others I will need to have a talk with said offender. I am not anticipating any real problems outside of the learning curve for some of the players ability to grasp the concept of role-playing in general.

I have chosen to run Slaying Stone from WotC as the first adventure and then dig into the Monster Vault and DM Kit adventures from the essentials line. I am probably going to disallow the use of the PHB3 since I do not want psionic's in my game, I might allow the Monk but that is it. Hey it is my game. Of course I will suggest essentials classes.

I am hoping that when game time comes that I have players and I have a decent game.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My GM Kits - Dungeon Tiles and Monster Token Storage.

014725R - Stanley® Professional Organizer & 014708R - Stanley® Deep Professional Organizer
I learned long ago that when you run a game of Dungeons and Dragons or even my favorite Star Wars Saga Edition you have to go prepared. I got inspired to show how I finally transport and store my own tiles by a twitter in an answer to a question on this very topic. This is my Game (Thadeousc Have Box Will Travel post) I had looked around just before this past Christmas after getting the second Essentials tiles set and having just ran a D&D session. Yet again I was bringing more and more things with me to the game and I was getting more disorganized than I liked.

I poked and prodded the interwebs and I had seen someone else use something similar to this on ENWorld (Tile storeage solution), but I did a Bing search today and found even more solutions. NewbieDM (Tiles and Mini's Solution) is interesting, I use the ziplock bags for my mini Star Wars Mini's since at one point I was moving them a lot, more on that later. Another site that has info on tile storage, Mike Shea from Sly Flourish has a video and does a similar storage like NewbieDM when it comes to the tiles.

Edit (9/26/2011) I just found out that a site I visit a lot had this same solution, Icosahedrophilia I do not know how I missed it but here it is for completest sake.

When I run my games I bring all kinds of goodness with me and I wanted it to be smart for me. These are three Stanley boxes I picked up at Meijer but you can also find them at Home Depot as well. Stanley® Deep Professional Organizer. and Stanley® Professional Organizer  (I linked off the official Stanley Tools website because both stores do not carry these items online).

I have drawn a lot of ooh's and aah's from the kids (and some parents) at the store (Fair Game) where I now run (used to play) D&D Encounters. Let's take a look inside.

My DM Kit
This one contains all of my "essentials" all the books, fate cards, pens and pencils Alea Tools magnetic markers with deck protectors. An old SWAG Rook deck box and my PC mini's and my dice bag.

Stanley® Deep Professional Organizer
Dungeon Tiles
This is one of the dungeon tile holders. This is only a portion of my collection as I learned to get 2 over every set recently sometimes more.
The compartments are removable. What I like about this is that I do not need to bring my entire collection with me. I can build my encounters during prep and then store them in the available containers and tote them with me. Do I actually do that? (Hearty DM laugh) Alas no I don't I am a glutton for self punishment and bring everything with me.
 here I swapped out a larger one in the top right for two smaller ones.
Monster Tokens
Here are my token sets from the Monster Vault and Dungeon Masters Essentials kit's.

Stanley® Professional Organizer
I like this one a lot. I found one in purple colors over at Walmart that is a bit smaller that I might buy to store my Gamma World tokens in. I have not seen this case at Home Depot only at Meijer for a cost of $12.99

Outside of this I usually have a backpack or a laptop bag that I tote the regular books I might need like the Adventure Tools 1 and 2 or the monster manuals. Extra character sheets, my character folder and maps. Along with that I have my portable hard drive and various USB Flashdrives containing all PDF versions of the groups characters, various pieces of artwork I have used for inspiration and then music that I have listened to during that day's planning.

About Me

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I am Regional Coordinator for the Great Lakes Region for D&D Adventurers League. Worked for Best Buy as a Project Team Specialist were I did store remodels, support Vendor displays and set merchandising standards for the stores in the Chicago market. He also enjoys playing games (PC, Console, Board Games, RPGs and Miniature Skirmish Games), reading, watching movies and listening to music.