Thursday, September 30, 2010

Vampire The Masquerade: Frank Goodwin Pt. 1

I have recently begun playing a forum version of Vampire the Masquerade. After listening to one of my players go on about it for quite some time, I had to get involved. I will post the biography for my character, Frank Goodwin, up here on the blog. Going forward, I'll also post updates on this character and his goings on in the world as they happen.

Frank Goodwin Part 1


Name: Frank Goodwin

Gender: Male

Age: 86

Apparent Age: 30

Place of Birth: Detroit Michigan

Species: Vampire

Clan: Malkavian

Sect: Camarilla

Generation: 11

Disciplines: Auspex 4, Dominate 3, Obfuscate 3


Frank stands about 6 feet tall and when he enters a room, unease tends to spread. He has light skin and appears to be in his late 20’s/early 30’s. He has dark brown eyes with dark circles around them; he appears that he obviously hasn’t been sleeping. He has short black hair which is always slicked back. He prefers wearing expensive, light colored, fashionable suits and dark ties. He is almost always seen smoking a cigarette, even in places where it is strictly forbidden. Occasionally, someone will catch a glimpse of what lies underneath his clothing, a full body covered in Japanese Inks, a product of over 30 years of meticulous work under the needle, accept in the area around his heart, where he almost always has a bandage in place. Frank looks like the product of several eras ago. His speech is still very old fashioned and he uses terms from the time when he was embraced, but when he opens his mouth, he exudes politeness. He very rarely has a bad word for anyone, unless it is to scold someone who has committed a slight against someone else. In public, Frank is often seen at clubs and other functions, but he always pays in advance to reserve a booth for himself. In the open, he is always looking over his shoulder and seems to be locked in a world of his own. Even then however, he never goes out alone.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Dump Stat Turns 100

This is my 100th, post. It has been almost a year and a half since I started this blog in order to showcase creations for D&D 4e because I didn't have anyone to play with. However, this lonely beginning has grown into something awesome and fruitful. I have really loved writing this blog for the last 100 posts and I can't wait to write the next hundred.

This blog has evolved over time and has begun to encompass a wide range of games. It has been an awesome Journey so far and I thought, that as a birthday present, I would give the Dump Stat an overhaul. Over the next two days, I will begin an aggressive redesign of the site. I hope you all like Dump Stat ver. 2.0. Stay tuned for lots more RPG Goodness.

Apparently I'm a Neogi...

I had a few minutes so I thought I would take the "What Monster are you" test at Apparently I am a Neogi...

D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - D&D Compendium

What monster are you? Why don't you take the test and find out... I gotta go read up on these guys cus apparently we are kindred spirits...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Campaign Begins Pt. 3

In my last campaign report, we talked about setting the scene for play. Today, we will talk about what the players revealed about that setting and then on.

So, I tell the players... what do you want to do?
Everyone has their own ideas. This is good. Different ideas, in a time like this, get the most information.

One of our players, I forget exactly who, walks up to the Goliath Station Master and inquires about the train that is supposed to have arrived at Half-way height by now. She rolls very well and he politely tells her that the train that was supposed to arrive here had been stopped and that they were bringing down a smaller train from the mountains to head to Kalm. The new train is a bit older and designed for mainly for freight, it is much slower so it is taking its time.

Next our Dwarf Battlemind, a noble of the Dwarf clans, walks over to the first class tent and is stopped by the guards. They explain that the first class car is for Nobility only... Dwarf flashes his signet ring. The guards immediately give him a quite bit more respect and ask him for the ticket fee of 1000 Gold. That is a little too much for our dwarf (only level 5) and he returns to the standard car.

Our halfling, heads over to the freight area. She notices, with a great perception check, that the people in cloaks are actually very well armed and armored. They are a group of elves and they mean business. She asks them how they are doing and they greet her politely, but when she tries to get more information out of them, she has a bit more difficulty and they tell her to 'politely' make herself scarce.

With that, conversation breaks out amongst some of the players while our Half-Elf Revanant busts out his guitar and starts to play a tune on the platform. He earns a couple of gold pieces for his trouble. After a couple of hours, the train pulls into the platform. It is a Big Iron Beast with, "THE HAMMER", written in big block letters on the front engine of the train. The train has three cars, besides the engine itself, each of which is about 50-60 feet long. The front car looks like it is well fortified and has bars over all the windows. The middle car looks like a converted cattle car with big windows carved out of the sides. The third car is a bit over sized and is defined for freight. It doesn't look highly fortified and it has no windows. Each car has a pair of ladders near the entry doors between cars and another ladder on the outside leading up to the top.

The station attendants get to work, quickly loading up the freight car and all the passengers hurry to board the train and claim what little seats there might be in preparation for a long trip to Kalm. It will take several days and this train has no individual rooms or sleeping cars.

Next time, we will find out what happens on the train itself. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mad Lands Banner... COMPLETE

This took a while.... but... i finished my banner for my campaign setting/campaign over on Obsidian Portal. Took several hours in Artweaver to get it done, but I am happy with it. You can find a perma link to this campaign on Obsidian Portal at the bottom right on this page.

Vampire the Masquerade - My First Try.

One of the player's in my running D&D campaign is a long time player of Vampire the Masquerade. He has been playing the game for a long, long time with a LARP group in Scottland. I asked him about it after our Thursday game and I found the entire thing fascinating. At some point, I want to get him to talk about the game here, on the blog. He made the game sound so interesting that I went out and got myself a copy of the book and looked for somewhere online to play the game. I managed to find a group that was willing to accept a new player to the game and so now, I am trying my hand at some serious Vampire role-playing. So far, I have been reading the book from cover to cover and have been making my character. I'll talk about my character in a near future post. Wish me luck.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The very long awaited Tokyo Game Show Post Pt. 1

A little over a week ago, I got to do one of my favorite things every year... make the trip to Tokyo Game Show. I went to Tokyo with my wife on Friday night and stayed with her parents for the night. She lives about an hour and a half from Makuhari-mese, the convention center where Tokyo Game Show is held.

I got up at 3:30 in the morning, something I will not do for any other occasion or event. I got my stuff together, took a shower without waking my kid or the rest of the family and got out of the house and to the Train station in time for the first train at 4:30 am. There were several other people there who were headed to the same place I was. This was going to be a fun time.

By the time the train pulled into the convention center station, it was totally packed. We all made our way to the very, very long line to begin waiting for the doors to open. By the time I got there, there were probably about 10,000 people already in line. It was insanity, but, not as bad as the last time I went in 2008. I was able to get all the way around the convention center to the back side and about half way down to the corner close to the door. This was a great spot. I was almost three times as far away when I went in '08.

I waited for about 4 hours before the doors opened at 10:00. I played some Dragon Quest in line and took some notes for the upcoming DnD game, which I have been talking about in the ongoing series about our campaign.

When the doors opened, it was a snail's pace rush by the line to get into the convention center. When I finally made it through the door's, I was greeted by a glorious sight. Beautiful Neon lights and massive video screens. It doesn't get much better. One of the things I wanted to do really badly this time around was play Monster Hunter Third, the new game coming out for the PSP in December. I picked up my assigned play time, 1:45, and quickly headed for the dealer area to get my first pick at some great merchandise before it all disappeared.

Next time, I'll talk about the games I played. I got my hands on a fair amount this time around. Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Campaign Begins Pt. 2

The campaign begins with all the players assembled on a train platform in Half-way Heights, a small village on the main line bound for Kalm, the capital city of Jiyuland. Each player has his or her own reason to be there; some of them know each-other already or have had dealings in the past, but they haven't been journeying together as a group up until now.

The platform itself is very long. At one end, a great purple tent has been erected and is guarded by two humans wearing full plate and wielding long muskets. Every once in a while, a cloaked individual walks up, waits for a moment before the guards, and enters the tent. On the other end of the platform, a group of cloaked figures are milling about, making no attempt at hiding, amongst the cargo to be boarded on the train. Their are about two dozen people on the platform. Most of them look like middle class merchants or craftsman, traveling with their children and families. The other people on the platform look like station workers and are all trying to keep busy, or at least look busy.

The train, which was supposed to arrive is running very late. The Station Master, a Goliath in a dark blue suit, red tie, and constantly looking at a golden pocketwatch, is pacing around the platform and looking very nervice. His brow is covered in sweat.

At this point the players begin their actions. I'll talk about what they did in the next post.

Thursday Game - Campaign Begins Pt. 1

I had meant to post our first session report on Thursday, but it has been a busy couple days. I caught a cold, so I have been sleeping a lot. The Game went really, really well. Everyone got to my house around 1 pm. The group I am playing with now is an assemblage of other English teachers from the area. Some of them have been here for several years, but all of them have a range of experience with Dungeons and Dragons. Some of the players are very new to the game and have never played before. Some have played in different versions, but not 4e. Some of them are actually playing in another ongoing campaign taking place weekly.

We started by refining and building characters. I have the DnD Character Builder on my PC, so, we took turns letting people use it to build their characters. Another of the players brought theirs too which really helped to speed up character creation. It took abuot 2 hours to help 5 people make characters essentially from scratch. This would never have been possible in the past.

The characters playing in this game are as follows; we decided to start all characters off at Level 5 to make the game a bit more interesting.
  • Deva Cleric
  • Halfling Rogue
  • Minotaur Barbarian
  • Revenant Half-Elf Ranger
  • Dwarf Battlemind
  • Half-Elf Ardent
  • Human Wizard

The group is a great mix of classic old-school and awesome new. I really like this type of character mix. I'll post some of the character backstories up here, on the blog, as my players submit them.

After character generation, we did a quick sample Encounter, mostly so people could understand the variety of powers they have available. This encounter went really quickly and we decided to start the game. I'll talk about the campaign itself in my next post.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

GAME ON! New Campaign Starts in 2 Hours

Our new Campaign starts in 2 hours. We have a group of 7 playing today. We will try to get through 4 encounters. It is going to be an intense day of combat and roleplaying. With any luck, it will be a successful day of adventuring for the party and hopefully, I wont TPK them all. The encounters I have set up are going to be pretty intense (I think)... There will be a full adventure report up here after the game is over.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

XDMC #22 - My Return to the Wizards Forum Contests

I have taken a loooooooooooonnng vacation from doing any of the myriad forum contests over on the Wizards forums, but I threw in my hat on this round. It was a lot of fun rolling up this entry; if you don't know, the Expert Dungeon Master Competition is a fun way of competing in a creative way against other DM's who share in the desire to create new stuff for the DnD hobby. It is a lot of fun. I have made many entries in this competition in the past. This one was a joy. The theme this round is the Subverting Villain. Get over to the Wizards of the Coast forums and get an entry of your own into the pile. The contest is open until October 1st. The guys there, especially Wrecan, are very good about getting results back in a timely manner as well. Get over there! GO!! Check it out. I will post up my entry here once the results from the competition is in.

While you wait...Badass of the Week...

WHAT AN AWESOME WEBSITE. The guy who writes this is a genius and has a book to his credit. This entry was posted up on a forum that I frequent quite often. Gotta give it up to this guy. His personal history sounds like a fantastic background for a DnD character of Epic Levels. He is just too badass.

Please read this and enjoy.

A Dump Truck Full of Posts to come

I have a lot of posts in me right now that will flow out of me very shortly. Hopefully, today I will be able to come out with a lot of them, including a formatted and prettier version of the new game I just wrote up. I also have my report from the Tokyo Game Show, which I think maybe a few people here might be interested in... maybe not. My groups first game is coming up on Thursday and I have a lot of prep-work to do. I will post an adventure report up here on Thursday. I hope you are all giddy with anticipation.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Edge of Annihilation Finished

here is the link to my game for Game Chef 2010. I hope i get it in on time.
I hope the link works...

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Game Chef Entry

OK... I am really loving this whole Game Chef thing. It has been a much better experience so far than my entry for the 24 Hour RPG a couple years ago. That time frame is just too stressful. I have been pounding it out like crazy for the last few days and I think I have myself a very interesting system and a very interesting game concept. Ill post up the whole thing on my blog and on other sites when it is done, but at this point, I don't want to give anything away.

I have been using the optional elements:
I ignored Skin; I didn't feel like I could incorporate into my game concept very easily. I guess that I will tease that my game is a cross between what I imagine Settler's of Cattan must be like (though I haven't really played much of it), SimCity, Gamma World, and Shadowrun; these elements are all stirred up in a Mad Max pot. That is a lot of comparing... I hope it turns out the way I want it to. There is a long way to go before I sleep. Gotta find somebody who is willing to play this game with me at some point.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Game Chef 2010

Well, there are only a few days left until the end of Game Chef 2010, but I like the way it works, so I think I am going to throw my hand in and try to roll up an entry. We will see how this works out.

Here is a link to the site - if you see me on there, you know that my head is working....

Haven't really gotten a title for it yet, but I am sure something will come out shortly enough.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Busy Week Ahead

Well, I have been really busy building stuff for the game that is now fast approaching, as well as populating my ever expanding game world. I had each player write up a backstory for their character. I will be posting some of these on the blog going forward, until the start of our game on the 23rd. They have been really good so far. I am looking forward to get this game started.

I will be attending the Tokyo Game Show on Saturday the 18th. I went two years ago when I was in Japan studying abroad and had a great time. I have no doubt this year will be just as good. I really cant wait to see this all again. Hopefully, the lines wont be too long *crosses my fingers* I will post some pics from it when it is all over. I am sure some people in the RPG world would probably be interested by them...

Friday, September 10, 2010

First Map - Sigilsval, the Mad Lands

Today, I completed the first draft of my campaign world map. I made this using Artweaver, a free version of photoshop, designed for painting using a computer. It is an awesome program, created by a German company, but also available in English. I love it. It works great. I spent about 13 hours working on this today - good use of a day off in my opinion. The full size map is 36 by 24, made for poster printing. I will eventually poster print this, given some time and perfecting it. I still need to work out some of the details on the map, including shading around some of the continents, as well as some of the other fine details, such as cities and roads, but for now, the general topography of the world is on digital paper.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

An Uncanny Likeness to a Certain Setting

As I have been playing through different ideas and concepts for my setting, I am realizing how hard it is to come up with original ideas. I have been combing through all the old books that I have, including some of the other campaign settings that have been released in the world up until this point. What I realized is that my setting is beginning to take on a close resemblance to several existing settings - not intentionally, but for some reason, good things stick in my memory and are hard to get out of there, even subconsciously.

I used to run a game in Eberron during high school. I really liked the concept of the system, especially the Warforged/Magic-Tech element. I thought it would be really interesting to have an ongoing campaign in this world, so I did a lot of prep for that game, reading the books cover to cover, and have stayed pretty close to it ever since. When I started building my game, I new I wanted to have some of the elements from this campaign setting in my game, but in writing mine now, I realize that I have put more of those elements into my game setting then I had originally thought of. Not only have I put in the Mage-Tech element, but also I have essentially recreated the world of Xoriat in this setting through the Aberrant influence that has been played out in the Mad Lands.

Not only Eberron, but I have also pirated some of the ideas from other sources as well. This a bit more intentionally. Dark Sun was a setting I was always aware of when I was growing up in the hobby. When I was managing a game store, we had all the old Dark Sun books from days gone by; sometimes, collectors or older more experienced gamers would come in and take them off the shelves. So, when the new Dark Sun came out, I was delighted to get a hold of it. It is an awesome setting in itself. I have really enjoyed tearing into it, but there are definitely some things I am not really keen on, the giant freaking desert is one of them. Maybe it is because I used to live pretty near a desert and was really, really tired of the heat, or maybe it was because it seemed simply bland, but I don't really get down on the whole desert setting. However, I like the idea of alternate and varied racial concepts. The Halfling cannibals might be a bit much, but elf raiders, beardless dwarfs, and slave keeper dragonborn, these are are awesome new ways to look at races. I love that idea and will gladly manipulate the races and their histories in my setting as well.

I have never played in the Forgotten Realms (except for a few RPGA events once in a while). I have never run a game there and I have never really played a Forgotten Realms campaign. If you think of the Realms as the vanilla of the D&D setting worlds, I guess It has never really interested me from a game running perspective. However, I will definitely say I love the books, at least the little exposure to the world that I have had through the novels (and I will admit that exposure might be severely one sided). From these books, I always like the very traditional adventure landscape. Even if the setting might seem a little bland, the way adventurers exist in the setting always seemed very classic and traditional to me. Others may think very differently. This was something I still wanted to maintain in my setting as well. Keeping with the traditional, at least somewhat, in a setting that is breaking all the other boundaries, is a good conservative way to go forward in my mind.

Of course, Wizards sources aren't the only place I'm willing to steal from other settings, systems, and sources as well. The Iron Kingdoms setting was something I used to gradually pour over at work on a slow day. I put together a fairly large scale army of Khador for the Warmachine tabletop game. I loved the Steam Punk element of the game and really enjoyed all the tournaments we had at the store. It was a lot of fun. I like the idea of steam punk in general, so this setting was great fun. I never played in the setting, but putting together a 4e steam punk world is something I have always really wanted to do.

Like I said when I was making this setting originally, I wanted to draw on lots of other sources as well. I like Shadowrun, I play it occasionally, but I prefer the d20 system to the system that Shadowrun uses. I have always grown up with D&D and the d20 system, so I never really wanted to play any others. Granted the world of Shadowrun is set in the apocalyptic future, but that doesn't really matter. I want to pull this setting into a fantasy world.

So, I am stealing a lot of stuff from a lot of sources. It is like the say: Nothing New Under the Sun. Everything draws its inspiration from somewhere. I am drawing a lot of inspiration, and sometimes stealing very good stuff from some of the sources above, but in all honesty, I don't feel bad about it at all. I have no intent to sell this setting off. I don't even have any plans to have it printed or anything. I just like putting my swing on the stuff that is out there, in order to build a setting that is all things to all people, where all people is really, just me. I like what they say on page 5 of the Eberron Campaign Guide - "LOOT THIS BOOK!" My response - "Ok, I will!"

GOLD the Series – Joy Incarnate

If you haven’t heard, or seen the series GOLD, you definitely need to check this internet series out. I could try to explain the series to you, but it can be best described by the creators themselves.

“GOLD is an independent television series about a world where tabletop role-playing gaming is a professional sport. The American and British teams, the best in the world, prepare for the World Championships, deal with their personal and professional demons, and plot to destroy each other. It takes nerves of steel to compete in the world of professional role-playing gamers.”

This show is really, really funny. I’m watching it right now and loving it a lot. The show has received a lot of critical acclaim and has just been screened at DRagon*Con. It is up for a couple awards, including a 2010 Parsec Award for Video Story Telling. You should definitely check this one out.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sickness and Creation

So, I have been out for the past few days with the flu. It has been a real bummer, but it has given me days, upon days, to ponder... I have been listening to old D&D podcasts over and over and gaining inspiration. It has been an enjoyable and restful experience. Now, I am ready to hit the books again, my books, and get back to work on creating and filling out this campaign setting of mine, that has been the focus of most of my efforts over the last few weeks, in preparation for the big campaign that is coming up. It should be a rewarding experience at the least, to get more of it down onto digital paper, from my notebook of ideas. I hope that some people are looking forward to new editions as they come out.

Also, there will be a new post up on Stargazer's World coming out, about the Gamer in Japan and his return to the far east under very different circumstances than when he was there the last time.