Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Ep 10: Running the Giant Lairs - Running Storm King's Thunder

In Episode 10, I summarize events in my game after Kraken's Gamble and then dive into the challenges I faced running Grud Haug, Lyn Armaal, and Iron Slag. The first half is plot details specific to my game (i.e. - ideas for yours). My discussion on challenges running the enclaves starts around 29:00. Timestamps after the video below. 

00:00 Intro
01:00 Pacing Challenge
01:38 Summary of My Campaign
01:50 Yartir / Kracken's Gamble
05:25 Harshnag Set Up
06:48 Yartir Redux
07:15 Aboleths and Villain Contingencies
10:00 Eye of the All Father, Harshnag, & Zephyros
12:50 Frost Giant Subplot
18:15 Grud Haug - Focus on Prisoners
19:28 Lyn Armaal
22:30 Rescuing Felgelos
23:54 The Dark Side of Felgelos
25:40 A Surprising Turn
29:00 Challenges DMing Giant Enclaves
29:30 Grud Haug
30:42 Lyn Armaal Constraints
37:35 Iron Slag Issues
40:54 What To Do When Things Go Bad
41:22 Alternatives to a TPK
45:15 Keeping Players Focussed on Goals
47:00 Summing Up
49:36 Outtro

Monday, July 20, 2020

Dad sucks at video games

Minecraft Dungeons box art
Today marks a slightly new direction for Raging Owlbear. I am adding a Twitch stream to my into my blogging alongside my YouTube videos. Tbis won't change the content of the blog that much. I'm still primarily interested in talking about D&D and other table-top RPGs, but I'm going to add some diversion on the side.

Tonight's steam is "Dad sucks at video games."  A stream for those of us likely to get sniped by a 12 year old just after spawning. 

Don't worry... It's not yet another Fortnight stream. I'm going to be looking at dungeon crawlers, adventure games, and classic CRPGs. It will be on-brand for the blog.

I got this idea after watching my 6 year old son master Zelda: Breath of the Wild. He was doing shield parries and flurry rushes... He was the first in our family to defeat Ganon. He doesn't even read! (I helped him with the quest text).

I'll be starting out with Minecraft Dungeons, which is a Diablo-like dungeon crawler, but with Minecraft aesthetics. I might occasionally just into classics or whatever strikes my fancy. 

But don't worry. Whatever it is, I'll be bad, so it will be good for a laugh or two. Come hang out in chat and we can talk role-playing games, video games, or whatever. Steaming at 10 PM Eastern on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Minecraft Dungeons - camp site

Sunday, July 5, 2020

GM 101: How To Say Yes

There are many ways you can say "Yes!" to your players to give them more control over narrative or lore in your campaign. In Episode 8 of my Game Master 101 series, I discuss ways you can give a player the spotlight even if it bends or breaks the rules a bit. I also discuss some other narrative controls you can hand to a player during play. 

As a new Dungeon Master, you may be hesitant to bend or break the rules in a way that benefits the players. When they ask if their PC can do something which normally they could not, think about how you can give them the opportunity to perform their requested action even if it is not covered in the Rules As Written.

TLDR: If the ask is small, and it's going to get your player more invested in the campaign or encounter, then do it.

Raging Owlbear tops 1 million views!

a raging owlbear
Just 6 years ago, I started a little experiment talking about old school gaming and the D&D Next play test that was to become D&D 5th Edition. In that time, my blog has seen some really explosive months where I was getting over 20,000 views on average, and some less than stellar months when I mostly ignored the blog leading to a slump in views from its highs.

However, in over 6 years of content, there are several posts that stand out. I have reviews of which I am proud that have consistently brought in thousands of views year over year. I have posted my share of unpopular opinion pieces for the internet to pillory, doled out sometimes questionable advice... but all in all, it's been a fun experience. 

Sadly, the loss of Google+ and the comments section upon which my blog relied really hurt the interactivity with the audience (all 9 of you)... but somehow I clawed my way up to 1 million page views and the blog stays steady at around 10,000 views a month even when I ignore it.

June was one of those ignoring months... and also the month where I topped the million view mark. 

My goal for the rest of 2020 is to get the juice going again. Perhaps I'll get to 2 million before I retire the blog. The way the world is, who knows what will be in store over the next few years. 

Stay safe and stay sane... and thanks for reading -- all 9 of you. Your fingers must be aching after clicking my posts 100,000 times each. If you're relatively new to the blog, I invite you to peruse some of my favorite articles.

Dungeon exit with self portrait of artist David Trampier
See you again soon!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Hackmaster - D&D Alternatives, Episode 5

In Episode 5 of my Alternatives to D&D series, I discuss what makes Hackmaster unique among old school systems. Hackmaster has dynamic "real time" combat, a flavorful magic systems, and an old school character generation that still allows a great deal of customizations.

Hackmaster Basic is available FREE to download, so this make a great "try before you buy" system to check out.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Castles & Crusades - D&D Alternatives, Episode 4

In Episode 4 of my D&D Alternatives series, I talk about Castles & Crusades which is an old-school hommage to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons but with cleaned up modern game mechanics The C&C the Player's Handbook is also currently free to download right now from the Troll Lord Games web store, so this is no reason not to check it out.

Castles & Crusades was one of the first old school games published in the modern era under the Open Game License. It uses a single d20 mechanic for all attribute checks across the game, so it eliminates a lot of the messy mechanics sometimes associated with D&D and AD&D retro-clones.

In addition to Castles & Crusade, Troll Lord Games published numerous 5th Edition Adventure modules for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, which are absolutely fantastic and worth checking out, especially A1 Assault on Blacktooth Ridge (also part of this awesomely inexpensive bundle).

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Adventures in Middle Earth and The One Ring - D&D Alternatives

In the 3rd episode of my impromptu series, I explore two RPGs set in the Tolkien's Lord of the Rings universe -- The One Ring and Adventures in Middle Earth

Both RPGs are low fantasy / low magic to match the narrative feel of the The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The One Ring has a mechanic based on d6's and a d12, while Adventures in Middle Earth uses the familiar D&D 5th Edition / d20 mechanics. Both systems are wonderful, although The One Ring has a bit less power creep than its 5th Edition translation. Adventures in Middle Earth has many ideas and mechanics that can be adapted to your standard D&D 5th Edition game or other d20-based low fantasy game.

If you're a fan of the Lord of the Rings and D&D-style fantasy, you absolutely need to pick these offerings while they are still available at retail prices (they are now out of print). See the video for what I love about these two games and how they differ.

The One Ring RPG - Books / PDFs
Adventures in Middle Earth - Books / PDFs

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