- The Road to SmogCon continues to unfold before me. The Skorne are built, liquid green stuff has been acquired to fill the unsightly crevices and joins, and the first game beckons (tomorrow night: I’ll take pictures if I can be arsed, but it’s going to be a lot of grey plastic and who wants to see that?). I still haven’t done the design work for the Unleashed scenario: I really should, and give it a playtest at some point before the year is out.
- I am once again pretending to do NaNoWriMo, although I’m not actually pretending to write a novel this time, or that pissed about the target: it’s more that I’m using it as an excuse to crack the whip and produce some D&D setting notes. Behind the scenes stuff: Fantasy Encyclopaedia entries, written in my natural twenty-first century prat style rather than anything highfalutin. Ideas on paper, cleared out of my head to make way for fresh concepts to percolate. The sort of thing I need to know and have available for reference when I’m actually running a game, so that I don’t stall and sputter and make up regrettable shit on the spot. If anyone is interested in that sort of thing I’ll post it, but don’t expect refined, literary, authentically-anachronistic prose, because you won’t get it.
- I have been playing a great deal of Baldur’s Gate recently. Not sure why. Something said “play Baldur’s Gate” and I listened. Eventually I will get beyond the parts of the game I have already played, i.e. everything up to the end of the Cloakwood. It’s a long game, it doesn’t handle dungeons very well (the crappy pathfinding and the narrow passages and the fixed isometric perspective all combine to make a very frustrating experience compared to the open landscapes above), and I have a tendency to delete and reroll characters on a whim, which further slows me down. If I’d just rolled with it, or set an objective and stuck to it, I’d have finished by this time. The general principle is an easy mode playthrough (a min-maxed Paladin, so I don’t have to think too hard) and a hard mode playthrough (a Neutral Evil bard, carefully tuned so that none of the stats are quite optimal), but you’d be surprised how many times I’ve stopped and started on this. The secret seems to be doing one at a time, so the Bard awaits while the Paladin is seen through to the start of BG2.
- Talking of which: exposure to the AD&D rules has reminded me of how much I like them. THAC0 makes perfect sense once you conceive of your Armour Class as a modifier to your opponent’s hit roll (and vice versa), and once you remember that this started out as a wargame, a context in which using an opponent in full armour as the benchmark made more sense. I still instinctively favour a consistent “high numbers good” system but that’s my love of consistency talking, not an inherent contempt for the Old Ways.
- Talking of which: D&D 5e. I’ve had a quick flick through the rulebook and taken a Human Fighter out for a spin on someone else’s watch as DM. It’s not intolerable. It would seem to scale well. The clear roping-off of various rules by chapter and subsection means that it feels tidier to say “no multiclassing, but class kits are OK” or “no multiclassing, class kits or subraces, let’s keep it simple this time”. I haven’t bought it or anything, because I don’t really have £90 to throw at another ‘new’ system when I only bought Unleashed last month, but it’s on the cards unless I decide to stick with OSRIC out of spite.
- I have an idea for relaunching the podcast, and making a proper go of it this time. Shorter episodes (around 30 minutes) with a regular co-host or an interviewee, and folded into ‘serials’ of six or so episodes with a common theme, interspersed with longer ‘specials’ for product reviews or game reports. Oh, and starting with a proper introduction, because it turns out that not everyone who listens to the podcast is an existing reader of the blog.
Tomorrow, then, I play some Hordes. But first: a Top Night Out.