Sunday, August 5, 2012

D&D, VTT, and Me (Part 2)

My previous post laid out some of the changes I have made to my D&D game to make it run more fluidly (my players not rolling dice ad nauseum with piles of modifiers or constantly consulting tables for random effects). I have accomplished this in two ways. First, I have adopted a lite version of the rules (basically the D&D Next playtest) upon which I am bolting on my own hacks and systems. Second, I have taken the randomization of the universe upon myself: I have many tables which I have been using behind the screen to keep things fresh. The inspiration for my tables has mostly come from the DIY D&D blog-iverse.

I have laid out the basics of what I am doing now, but many do not now know exactly where I am coming from. I am an old-ish D&D player. I have been playing regularly since 1990 (though I first dabbled in D&D a few years before with the Red Box). The first book I bought was the 2e PHB, and I still own it. We played a mash-up of AD&D and 2e, taking what made sense from each rules set.

After a break of quite a few years I returned to D&D through 3x in the early 2000s (like many of us out there) and have been playing regularly ever since. I have come away from 3x liking many of the rules "innovations" from this edition. After moving to Europe a few years back our old group had to take a break from gaming. With the introduction of 4e and the push for VTTs, we started up again. We looked to 4e to invigorate our game and to re-connect our group. We were initially pleased with the newest edition of our old game. We used Skype as a talk channel and used the Fantasy Grounds VTT as our online gaming table.

I do not want to come off like an edition warrior; play D&D however you like to play D&D... just roll some dice and get some XP. Even in the "old days" every game was different from every other game. We all had house rules back then just like we do now. But, after a year of playing 4e we were tired of it. The rules heavy, encounter-to-encounter style of play combined with the need for long periods of preparation required to have a good game had started to wear on us. We decided to switch back to something more like what we had started with when we were kids. It fell to me and another one of the guys to begin searching for something new... or old.

At about that time (a year ago, give or take) I stumbled into the online OSR or DIY D&D blog-iverse. I saw what was going on in other peoples games and saw that they were doing the same thing I was: trying to find, build, and cobble together the best forms of D&D for themselves, and then they were sharing their experiences through blog posts and published materials with the rest of us. You can look to the right to see which blogs I have gotten the most out of. Most of the hacks that I use in my game have originated from one of these blogs.

So, now we are basically playing a D&D 2.5 hack. What about the VTT? Fantasy Grounds is a great tool and I am glad that I purchased it, but we have decided to pitch it and have found that using a simpler method to play online is more our style. We have followed the lead of many others and have gone to G+ gaming, using Twiddla as a shared, online mapping tool. I am a signatory to the FLAILSNAILS Conventions and eventually I will be putting some games up on ConstantCon.

So, this is where I am. The tabs above are not all updated yet, but I am working on it. This information is for all current players in my game, future visitors to my home campaign: Saedom, and for anyone to look at get some inspiration for their own game.

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