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I stink of paint. Actually, the whole house stinks of paint. Five layers in the hall, three in the study, bath, and hall closet, plus trim. It's taken three times as long as I feared, but it's all done but the touchup. Famous last words, of course, as touchups can take hours as well.

So you'd think the writing would have gone to hell this weekend, and you'd be right. I didn't touch the new novel I was so hot about a month ago (and it bugs me that paint fumes are slowly killing it). But I did the pro thing and wrote most of a draft for the new monthly column I have in Dungeon.

Actually, it's an old column, Dungeoncraft, which covers various areas of gameplay from design to play to optional rules, from the DM perspective. It's been a couple years since I had a monthly column, and I find I'm enjoying it. Of course, the prior columnist was Monte Cook, so I'm holding myself to certain high bar.

If you've got a topic you'd like to see covered, let me know.


( 9 sutras — Your wisdom )
Oct. 16th, 2006 12:50 pm (UTC)
Sounds like our weekend. We painted at our new place as well. All done but touch up here too. The wine red Ann used in the kitchen needed a lot of work. But the mint-like green in the living room turned out great.

Hope you are pain stink free soon.
Oct. 16th, 2006 07:34 pm (UTC)
We're looking for a good dark red! So far, it's been all blues, white ceilings, and a great "yellow squash" that's actually a pale brown, much better than it sounds.

I would never have guessed mint green works anywhere, but then, greens are tricky. Anyway, we rocked the brush and rollers, and I hope not to touch the paint for a couple days.
Oct. 16th, 2006 08:02 pm (UTC)
Topics to cover
I'm sure you have your own ideas for Dungeoncraft and will make your own unique mark on the column. I'm looking forward to seeing what you have to say!

Monte's current series (Running a Game Is Hard to Do or whatever it's called) is my all-time favorite. If you have ideas along the same lines and could finish up this topic that would be my first choice. At least until I see where you take it next... Especially if Monte leaves dangling threads, such as the article on experience that he mentioned and then didn't do.

Thanks for asking!
Oct. 17th, 2006 02:30 am (UTC)
Re: Topics to cover
I do have some ideas on Experience and Levels, but I'm not sure they add up to a column's worth. I'll give it a go, though.
Oct. 17th, 2006 12:38 am (UTC)
Congratulations! That's a big win to get that column. I may have to renew my Dungeon subscription for that. In the event that I do, I'd like to suggest the topic of Organization. With so many freakin references, I have trouble remembering which thing I want to use came from which one.
Oct. 17th, 2006 02:31 am (UTC)
Man, I need someone to write that particular article for me. :)
Oct. 17th, 2006 09:34 am (UTC)
One thing thats always been a pickle in my campaigns has been random probabilities in a dungeon or any structure. By this I mean, we know that monsters/ NPC's wander and we know that noise attracts other defenders of an area. But seldom are these taken into account in a home game, much less most video games. Usually PC's tromp from room to room w/o care of how much noise they make and things like stealth are left for those scouting for traps.

What I'd suggest is a quick and dirty review of the effects of Listen checks in dungeons and perhaps the motivations of those in the surrounding rooms or within hearing range. Also in all likelihood taking into consideration maybe rolling up to check the wandering encounters in the area before combat begins to see if the PC's are in real trouble and might need to flee.

Geez, that brings up fleeing from combat to lick your wounds and how the inhabitants might fortify after such an incursion.

But...anyway...I think you get the idea.

Its been an idea for an article I wanted to do, but seeing as if I write it it will never get published. So, I'm shooting it your way.

I have plenty of ideas on stuff like this. I also had an article on how magical nodes affect magic with a few examples of how they work and everything. That hit the fan too, sadly. =/
Oct. 17th, 2006 03:03 pm (UTC)
I'd like to see you do an article about the crunch, and the logic behind applying templates and levels.

Is it better to apply a template that diminishes or overcomes a creatures weaknesses, or a template that makes a creature even better at something it is good at? I'm sure there are good ways to make both work, and based on your writing, I think you could examine the topic quite nicely.

Safe travels,

Oct. 18th, 2006 06:30 am (UTC)
I have a few Dungeoncraft columns that I'd like to see

Making Play Faster. Right now, I'm at times reluctant to insert combat encounters because they bog things down.

Stopping the problem with PC's always needing to rest in the dungeon (without a rules overhaul to chane the spellcasting system or some such)

I'd like to see a column on wilderness adventures and campaigns that allow lots of freedom of movement, or even encourage it, across vast sections of the campaign world.

I recall that Monte wrote one column on how an urban campaign has unique needs in terms of GM prep and flexibility. It occured to me though, that a far ranging campaign, and campaigns with lots of wilderness adventures have their own needs.

I'd think there's at least one column's worth of material on the special needs of that type of campaign.

I'd be interested in that type of advice for a couple of campaign ideas that I have.

PC failure.
Specifically, how to handle it.

Should a GM allow villains to win? Does this mean the demise of the PC's with the dreaded TPK?

How do you avoid the TPK?

Strategies for challenging the PC's with encounters that may be unbeatable in terms of a raw power confrontation, both when you have players who have mastered the rules (and thus you arguably can expect much more of them in terms of effective utilization of resources/escape tactics, etc), vs. people who aren't so good with the rules (perhaps newer players, perhaps not, in either case, the type who might not realize some ways to levarage their powers to escape and fight another day).

What about player personality types? Some people seem to not mind losing, and then running away never to return. Others don't mind losing, so long as they can flee now, but return to succeed later. And then there are those that don't want to have their character run, won't flee, won't back down or try to avoid a fight, and feel like you've gone out of your way to create an unbeatable situation for them if you either really design it to be so, or just play it effectivly and/or roll spectacularly well. Maybe it's unfair to accuse the GM of that, but regardless, there are people who will feel that way, and a GM will have to account for that if present within a group he runs for.

I'd think that most times (or perhaps, at least to satisy the play style I enjoy when on the other end of the screen) you need to design things to be defeatable by the PC's using at least one tactic, if not multiple tactics. If you subscribe to that theory in the first place, then how easy do you make it to find the solution?

And even if undefeatable initially, you have to open the door for them to succeed if the players are really motivated to accomplish a given goal.

I once described to a gm a style of play that gives me the emotional kicks to enjoy the game enough to keep wanting to come back to it week after week. Basically, that it can be fun to be defeated or stymied once, but that ultimately I want to win, i.e it's no fun spending too much time grinding away through defeat after obstacle after defeat.

I want the game experience to provide the emotional kick of a comic book or movie...Hero runs into problem. Has challenges, maybe even outright thwarted or fails to accomplish goal, but then comes back and wins (sometimes through hard work and sacrifice that carries the day - but just barely, and other times you want the
victory to feel like whooping ass - the players get to hand it to the nemesis that punked them before.)

That said, how do you convey to your players that running is okay, and a viable solution to an encounter? Maybe even make it fun and rewarding (aside from the obvious your character is still alive)?

What do you do if they just aren't running, but you wanted the encounter to be overwhelming for the party at the present stage in the campaign. Saying oh well, you should have run, now roll up new characters isn't fun for anyone.
( 9 sutras — Your wisdom )

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