Based on some advice from Mike Bourke of Campaign Mastery I’m trying something new this week. Instead of bookmarking items for later comments and compiling the entire Friday Five post in one fell swoop (which always seems to fall on Sunday these days), I’m going to stick the links and comments into the post as I find the articles I want to highlight. This will allow me to give more immediate and “gut feel” feedback on the articles. Fortunately, WordPress has a “schedule” feature, so I can schedule this post for near the end of Friday.
Let’s see how this experiment works out….
Now, on with the links!
Last minute update: I only found four articles this week that really caught my eye. Lots of talk about D&D 5/Next/Whatever this week, and I have no interest in that. This diluted the pool of possible posts quite a bit. Please, keep talking about the next flavor of D&D. I find it interesting, but not quite interesting enough to link off to.
One of the reasons I link to Campaign Mastery so many times, is that Mike’s thought process and mine are very similar. However, he seems to have more time, energy, and coherence of thought than I do for putting ideas down. This post is no different. I’ve done a “domino theory” game (actually, campaign) in the past. I set up several “lead dominoes” for the PCs to knock over. If they only tipped one of them, fine. If they hit two, three, or more of them, that was great. I think they ended up running with four different plot threads running in the background. Well, it wasn’t always in the background. When it was convenient for me (or inconvenient for the party) a chain of events would rear its ugly head and cause trouble. That was when the PCs could take action to stop the next domino in the chain from falling, or perhaps have them fall faster. Either way, it was a great deal of fun, but did require quite a bit of prep work as not all dominoes fall at the same rate. A good time table was needed for each chain to keep things in perspective with cross-links between the tables to ensure that if chain A interacted with chain C, then things would work out properly. Mike’s got some great examples and ideas on how to keep everything straight, so go check it out!
Walt has an excellent post on how to bring in a character of higher levels or power advancement in an ongoing campaign. There are issues with this. Things like targeted power/feat/skill/ability choices instead of organic growth of the character when they level up naturally. Things like choosing (again) targeted items that support the character in a precise manner instead of having them adapt to what they would randomly find while adventuring. There’s also the case of “I’m retiring my 5th level fighter. Can I replace him with a 5th level wizard?” Some GMs are okay with this approach. Others are not. Walt delves into the details of how to handle all of these situations in his post over at Gnome Stew.
Ahh…. Edition wars. The only time I war over editions is when my group and I are choosing what to play next, and it’s rarely a war. Just because D&D Next/5/WhateverTheyAreCallingItThisWeek is coming out soon, that does not mean the WotC police are going to kick in your door and confiscate all of your previous editions. The upcoming version of a game does not automatically invalidate what you already own. So long as you’re willing to play the version of (A)D&D of your choice, it’s not dead. Let me repeat that. Your. Favorite. Version. Of. D&D. Is. Not. Dead.
Dave over at Critical Hits has a really good article about “stealing” from other ideas to incorporate them into your own. He wholeheartedly endorses this approach. I do to. I’m going to use my fiction writing as an example. I once asked the great Connie Willis at Mile-Hi Con about how to advise people to not to worry about this aspect of writing. I’ve never been shy about snagging an idea, making it my own (that’s key), and running with it. However, some of my old critique partners would stop writing something if they realized it was similar to something else. Connie told me that all good stories boil down to “Man In Conflict.” I couldn’t agree more. Since this idea has been done thousands of times, how do you make something unique? Well, most people tend to forget that they are unique. By putting their personal stamp on something, it’ll be unique… just like them. Just avoid a straight copy/paste from some SRD for a description of an ability/spell/feat/skill/etc.. You see, that’s copyright violation. Just don’t cross that line, and you’ll be fine.