Heroic Demolition

What is it about heroes and leaving a wake of destruction in their path? Watch any comic book movie and I swear that the cost of property damage has to tick upwards every time there’s a fight. And how many lives are lost in those same battles?

I’ve played in more than a few campaigns where we have always been at the center of some of the most horrific events in the world’s history. The Zeitgeist campaign we’re playing now just has us on a cross-continental train ride which just had a violent incident involving aberrant beasts, bandits, and the certain doom of many passengers.

Not us of course. We’re still alive. And many of the NPCs we have dealt with on the train are still around as well – but there were at least three train cars that were demolished whose occupants didn’t make it to their final destinations… And I don’t think we know the count of dead or injured.

Should our characters be affected by these deaths? Should we be held accountable for the cost of the damage to the train? In this case, we didn’t cause the event that occurred. The bandits stopped the train and we just happened to be attacked at the same moment. So perhaps the bandits (if any survived) should be tried and convicted for the lives and property destroyed?

It’s not something that we usually deal with in our gaming sessions. I think we actually did have a few earlier incidents with our “boss” in this campaign where we discussed the damage we caused. But beyond the unfortunate deaths of a few innocent lives here and there we’ve come out of this relatively unscathed…

zod-superman-battle-aftermath_04-the-hypocritical-hate-on-man-of-steelKind of like Superman after his battle with Zod in Man of Steel or the Avengers after the big battle in New York.

Nobody wants to roleplay the aftermath. Courtroom drama just isn’t the kind of thing we like to watch (unless you watch any of the courtroom dramas on television).

I’m not sure there’s an answer to this. I just wonder if our characters should feel a bit more remorse after destroying property and lives during the course of our heroic activities.

What do you think?

Gassy out.

Would I Ly To You

Ly-To-You-mock-up-02-e1419308818572Hi. I wanted to take an out of cycle moment to send out a congratulations to my friend Lawdon for the self-publishing of his second science fiction novel, Would I Ly To You. The book continues what was started in the first book of the series with another fast-paced tale as Ly tries to become a star-fighter pilot as the universe deals with invading aliens.

Check out Web of Lys and Would I Ly To You at Amazon!

Playing in my Sandbox

A while ago, Paizo decided to continue what TSR┬ástarted with Dungeon magazine and publish dedicated Adventure Path’s which are essentially 6 installments of a campaign that would take you from first level to around 15th level (give or take some levels depending on how it goes). From the outside looking in, it looks like they have been doing very well with it.

lemmling-SandboxIf you happen to go through one, it is a very linear path through a campaign that is made with generic hooks into the story because it would be impossible to know all the types of players that are going to go through the paths. They are usually creative stories with lots to do as the characters race through the adventure. The problem is one that you would expect though … it’s a fairly linear campaign that doesn’t have great hooks for your own group of characters going through it. While they do present some suggestions on how to get the characters more entrenched into the setting, that heavy lifting is left to the GM if they have the time.

A while back, in what I believe was first edition Shadowrun, FASA had published a super-module called Harlequin that was a series of short-adventures that were related to each other. The advice in the module was very specific though … don’t run the sub-chapters together. Run other things in between and the players will be shocked when they see a set of their adventures all relate to each other. That advice was golden as it caught my players completely off-guard when they finally let the players into the know about the bigger picture of things going on.

Shadowrun: HarlequinSeeing how successful it was, I have actually taken that approach to most other campaigns I have run. There may be bigger things at work, but I take time to intersperse other stories including ones related to character’s backgrounds and goals to make the campaign more about them. It also has the desired side-affect that the characters have their own personal attachment to the setting so when something threatens the NPCs that they care about, they are all the more likely to try to make a difference. It’s a tricky balance though … do too much and the campaign feels like it doesn’t have a lot of direction. (I have gone too far in the past as well — so you need to know your players and how much that interests them.)

While you certainly could run through Paizo’s adventure paths as is and have a good time, it will be potentially a more impactful experience if you can weave other stories that really force the characters to interact with the setting and grow attachments to what is going on. At a very high-level that is what I like to do when setting up my sandbox campaigns. What do you like to do if you decide to run a sandbox campaign?

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Playing the Race Card

There are quite a few RPGs available where you can play a non-human race (or alien). Outside of the RPG realm, it also has a significant presence in books and shows (the latter more in sci-fi shows/movies). However RPG games like A Song of Ice and Fire (based on novels and then a tv show), . . . → Read More: Playing the Race Card

The Art of Character Flaws

Last week, when I spoke of redemption and how it could play out for a role-playing game, Sean Holland (Sea of Stars) spoke up about liking to play flawed characters. Some RPG systems have built-in systems for handling character flaws. In these systems, you can usually take on flaws that open up more ways to . . . → Read More: The Art of Character Flaws


What crosses your mind when you read the word “Redemption”? There are obvious and not so obvious ways to look at that word and its meanings and then apply it to gaming. While there are religious overtones to the word, at its heart is someone trying to overcome a past failure.

A player character trying . . . → Read More: Redemption!

Into the Unknown

Even without monsters, the world is full of challenges. Exploring jungles, deserts, land near the North/South Poles can be trying even for the most prepared parties. Reading about the early explorers of Antarctica and how they fared is a great example. There are even TV shows dedicated to people trying to survive in the wilderness. . . . → Read More: Into the Unknown

Adventures in 5e, The Actual Session

In the last two articles we’ve talked about character creation and module prep… now let’s get into how the actual play session went!

Quite honestly, I wasn’t sure how this adventure was going to go. In the last two years when we’ve done our holiday game with the kids we’ve done a more traditional dungeon . . . → Read More: Adventures in 5e, The Actual Session

Dungeons & Dragons’ Legacy

The D&D system will always hold a fondness for me. It was my introduction to roll-playing and then (as I became more sophisticated) role-playing. It allowed me to play in worlds that were inspired by authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, Fritz Leiber, and Robert E. Howard (among many others). While I owe a great debt to . . . → Read More: Dungeons & Dragons’ Legacy

Adventures in 5e, The Fey Sisters’ Fate

I started this series last week with Adventures in 5e, Overview and Character Generation… So let’s move on to the module I chose…

Spoilers ahead, so don’t read if you’re planning on diving into this adventure from Goodman Games.

Fifth Edition Fantasy #2: The Fey Sisters’ Fate from designer Chris Doyle and Goodman Games was . . . → Read More: Adventures in 5e, The Fey Sisters’ Fate