From Adam Katz
Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is a wonderful social game simulating adventures in a fantasy world usually very similar to that of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings setting, Middle Earth. Players each control a character and role-play interactions with other players and the Game Master who runs the game.
Nowadays, this game is mostly known as a series of computer or video games and perhaps a movie. These games are only simplifications of the real thing; there's more to the game than just leveling up and killing stuff: take social interactions, trade, puzzles, and mysteries, for example. So you're stuck in a man-sized rat-maze. If there are trees and no top to the maze, what's to stop you from climbing a tree and simply walking to the end of the maze while viewing the whole thing? Usually, the problem is that the computer or console cannot facilitate that request; you can't tell it you want to do that (quick, press A+B+X+up!), and even if you could, the strategy would have to be evaluated and assessed; in a software environment (ie, computers and consoles), the developers have to anticipate each and every move.
Disastrous effects can result in not foreseeing something that the game physics allow; take a look at Quake done Quick, for example, in which a team of players rocket-jump over walls to beat levels in a fraction of the intended time and effort. With a person acting as Game Master, such things can be done, or plausible excuses can be derived (so rather than "the world doesn't exist above fifteen feet off the ground," we could get "the tree branches are very thin and bend too much to be useful in climbing to the top of the maze").
There are now two new types of Role Playing Game for computers and consoles, movie-like games (like the more recent Final Fantasy games) which blow players away with great graphics and story (albeit a very scripted one), and interactive online games (ie Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs), which take a different tilt to the social aspect of gaming, sometimes to a complex enough degree to include politics, economics, and even mini-adventures with plot. These are different entities from the paper-and-dice games that inspired them, and deserve to be seen in their own light.
For more on what D&D is or how to play, please see the Official D&D Site. The D&D content provided here is supplemental in nature, as I am trying to put together enough content to put me on the map, whatever that might mean.
D&D design projects
- New Campaign World Basalt Tides with very different pantheon and races, incorporating new rules and concepts, with a rich history featuring a bronze-age culture interrupted by a war between an iron-age/renaissance pair of wizards.
- Birchstone, a very educated remote city in the cold, remote reaches of a mountainside birch forest, including an interesting new wizard/druid prestige class all citizens are required to take.
- Magespeak, a system to replace Draconic as "the" language of magic itself, complete with tiny cantrips used in speech and writing, encryption, and more. While this is devised for my Basalt Tides campaign, it should work in any setting.
- Children Characters, playing a character who is anywhere from infant to juvenile, plus using the spell Awaken on an infant to speed up development.
- Superior Masterwork Weapons, crafted by smiths of such skill that they are effectively magical without actually having that quality. ...Elven chain is actually a superior masterwork armor, though it requires a magical process to create.
- Inheritance of keen skills, a way to explain characters like Drizzt Do'Urden who are powerful due to natural ability rather than acquired talents. (The book Homeland explains Drizzt's father was the city's most talented warrior and passed this talent down to his son.)
- [D&D 3.5] Class Equivalences, a comparison of the complicated base classes and multi-class approximations of them, such as Ranger vs Fighter/Druid vs Fighter/Druid/Rogue, Monk vs Fighter/Rogue/Duelist, Paladin vs Cleric/Ranger, Bard vs Sorceror/Rogue, ... I also have a 3.0 version of this page hosted here: De-classifying the 3.0 Ranger
- [D&D 3.5] Moving Paladin to a Prestige Class (they are very powerful and rather similar to fighter/clerics).
- Pathfinder update for Genasi, possibly soon to include the para-elementals as well.
- Norse Pantheon for Pathfinder; if we're replacing the pantheon from the well-known 3.5 one (which is "Product Identity" and therefore cannot itself be converted), we might as well go with something better-known.
- Play yourself in D&D (a questionaire from my old site to determine your stats in 3.0 rules).
- Single Page 2nd edition Character Sheet [GIF], distributed in one giant image file to be fully cross-platform.
Yes, you can send rulings questions to me, so long as they aren't "what is it" or "where can i download it" (find those answers at the official D&D home.) There was a time at which people actually asked me tough rulings questions and I gave useful (but unofficial) answers based on how I interpreted the rules and what I would do as the Game Master in that position. Send your questions to email@example.com with [dnd-rulings] in the subject line (you will otherwise likely get filtered as spam).