Wednesday, November 19, 2014

WIP: D&D Primer Annotated Character Sheet

My D&D Primer series continues.

Last time, I attempted to illustrate the rules through a fictionalized example game between two friends. This time, I've taken a crack at annotating the character sheet (inspired by Pathfinder Beginner Box).

It displays best if you have your PDF viewer set to 2-page (side-by-side). There are a couple minor display artifacts I'm still cleaning up.

I'm still working on ideas for adding more "tips" to the sheet. Please share any ideas you may have to improve the sheet in the comments.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0By4wksmFuwuSQzdlbk45RGZsTTg/view?usp=sharing

Thursday, November 6, 2014

WIP: A D&D Primer for new players and DMs

A couple months ago, the Angry DM posted a rant about how Wizards of the Coast has done a poor job in recent years creating a Starter Set that actually teaches new players and, more importantly, new DMs how to play and run a game.

Although I haven't looked through all the new player materials in recent years, I definitely agree with the Angry DM that the D&D Starter Set fails pretty significantly in this regard. The gist of the Angry DM article is that D&D often still requires someone knowledgeable about D&D to pass that knowledge on to the next wave of DMs and players. This is referred to as the "Older Cousin" sales model... which is a bad sales model because it places the burden of recruitment on existing players and DMs rather than on the introductory product itself.

I posted a similar critique of the Starter Set failing to be a good teacher in a recent article, but I didn't go quite as far as Angry DM. In retrospect, I should have emphasized this failure even more, as that would seem to be the most important goal of a Starter Set.

The Pathfinder Beginner Box does a much better job of explaining the basics of the character sheet and walking through character creation and the basics of running an adventure... However, even the Beginner Box doesn't quite present it in the best possible manner... and we're looking for a primer for D&D 5th Edition, not Pathfinder.

In that vein, I decided to try my hand at an example play session to help illustrate the Basic D&D core mechanics. I'd very much like to get some feedback. Constructive criticism is appreciated, but be gentle.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-q2EqROguspdCD8Jv_Kf9qkvYXCHUzZqyjObJ1IGLV4/edit?usp=sharing

This is very much a work in progress, but I would like to put it out there as a free PDF at some point and need insight on how it can be better. Give it a read and let me know. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What rules would you put into your OSR stew?

Following up on my article on innovation, there was some intriguing discussion related to the subtle difference between creativity and innovation, which got me thinking...

If you were to make a giant OSR gumbo, what ingredients from different games would you stir together? 

  • Encumbrance from Lamentations of the Flame Princess
  • Kingdom management from Adventurer, Conqueror, King?
  • Initiative and combat movement from HackMaster
  • Prime attributes from Castles & Crusades
  • A crap-load of spells from Fantastic Heroes & Witchery?

I'm curious to know more about what the community believes are the coolest or most interesting rules or mechanics that OSR games have added into the mix.

Name a mechanic and let me know why you think it's cool enough to stir into the stew. I'm interested in what kind of beast might emerge from the conglomeration.
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