Character Death in RPGs #ADnD #DnD #RPG #TTRPG #1e

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it, and please visit my 1st Edition D&D resources page.

Today, I kick off my death theme for the last throes of my one-year streak of daily posting to this blog, I’m going to reiterate and summarize the content from a couple other posts. More detail on my positions can be found by clicking through.

I’ve spoken about how dumb I feel the save or die mechanic is (though my stance has softened a bit since I wrote that and started playing 1st Edition D&D [“1e“]). Moreover, in that same post I’ve talked about how much I enjoy the way 4th Edition D&D (“4e”) applied their remedial mechanic (“save three times or die”) to one of my favorite creatures, the medusa: slowed on first failed save, immobilized on the second failed save, and petrified on the third failed save. In fact, I’ve adapted that mechanic to my medusa in my 1e game simply because I enjoy it. Even if you prefer save or die, petrification is far more dramatic when the character (and player) can feel it slowly taking over. That’s dramatic and immersive.

Seriously?

All that said, I never understood the aversion modern gamers have towards character death (at least among those that play D&D). I have a friend who refused to kill my character even though he knew I didn’t mind it. He minded. There are two reasons I’m completely okay with character death. First, without risk, the reward loses meaning (at least to anyone with an ego). Second, as with other forms of failure, it presents new opportunities. I can switch to playing a completely different character before having the chance to grow tired of the now-dead character. Moreover, the one time I convinced that friend to kill one of my characters, it was because I wasn’t enjoying playing the character. This character is the brother of two of my other characters, one of whom I played as recently as this year’s Winter Fantasy. His death was not only heroic, but has now enhanced my other characters’ backstories. Win-win. Besides, it’s not as if anyone is actually dying. This is a fantasy world and should be viewed as such.

Now, all that said, we can have overkill. I was in a 4e Dark Sun campaign where, over 9 weeks of gaming, I lost five characters. My barbarian died in week one, so I rolled up a new character that lasted two weeks, then another that lasted two weeks, and so on. Each of those deaths meant that I had to write one of my one-page-or-more backstories. To paraphrase a friend, I shouldn’t have to write that much for you unless the result is money or a university degree. Full disclosure: One of my characters was a reanimated revenant of the one that died the week prior. So, I prefer a balance between the two rather than choosing one at the exclusion of the other. As with most things, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

This streak of daily blog posts is almost dead.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc

Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)



Bonus Post Today: My Last Lame AD&D Unboxing Video #ADnD #DnD #RPG #TTRPG #1e

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it, and please visit my 1st Edition D&D resources page.

This unboxing is for the very last thing I plan to purchase for 1st Edition AD&D. I have everything I want for sentimental reasons, and there’s nothing left that I need to actually run the game.

Finally finished!

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc

Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)



Puzzles and Cistercian Numerals @dCode_fr #ADnD #DnD #RPG #TTRPG #1e

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it, and please visit my 1st Edition D&D resources page.

It’s been a minute since I’ve written about D&D, and it’s going to be a little while before I do so again. (The next couple weeks of posts have been written.) So, I wanted to get back on track. I’ve talked about how I prefer to play D&D, and why that drove me from the game for a while, and in that post I discussed puzzles a bit. This expands on that.

I like puzzles.

Acrostics, sudoku, crosswords, Wordle . . . you name it, I love to solve them or write them. I also like to be challenged, which means if I always succeed, I lose interest. I’ve noticed that many players don’t like puzzles, and that many who do like them will get frustrated unless they always succeed. That’s fine, of course; play what you like, but it’s part of why I stopped playing altogether, and even now am just running games. I seem to be in a small minority among the nerd circles I frequent. Crafting puzzles is as much about finding the right level of difficulty for the group as it is about the logic of its design.

I think I found the basis for a puzzle that many people can enjoy. I present to you the Cistercian numbers.

If you have a group that doesn’t like hard puzzles, then simply writing a number can be the puzzle itself. To make sure you get it write (intentional typo, because I think I’m funny), here’s a converter care of @dCode_fr. If you have a group that likes hard puzzles, this can throw a wrinkle into the mix. If they need to calculate or otherwise decode a number, make them read the puzzle, or write the answer, in this system. You could also provide a hint that the characters must add the appropriate markings in the order in which they appear in the Arabic numerals (i.e., if the number is 12, add the horizontal line running left first, and then the one running right second — 10 than 2). Perhaps a Cistercian clock could be counting down, so that you don’t know how much time you have. That would probably require some software engineering on your part, but if you can code and you like puzzles, why not?

I like puzzles.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow dCode @dCode_fr

Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)



Bonus Post Today: Yet Another Lame Unboxing Video, but This One Is Worth It #ADnD #DnD #RPG #TTRPG #1e

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it, and please visit my 1st Edition D&D resources page.

Okay, I know I burdened you with a lame unboxing just 5 days ago, but this is a good one. This is without a doubt the nicest collectable I now own. Behold, the unboxing of a 1st Edition D&D Wilderness Survival Guide with James Ward’s signature in the inner cover.

So nice.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc

Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)



Vampires! @MythsExplained @jakelikesonions #MythologyMonday #MythologyMonandæg #folklore #DnD #ADnD #RPG #TTRPG

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it, and please visit my 1st Edition D&D resources page.

As a follow up to yesterday’s post, I provide a video talking about the history of vampires. Sure, I should have posted this last Monday, as I had just seen Morbius the day before, but I’m weeks ahead of schedule in my writing, and I’m too lazy to shuffle around the posts and rewrite them so their new order of publication jives with the text within.

My 1st Edition AD&D (“1e“) players’ characters are still in their adventuring infancy, so it’s too early to throw a vampire at them, but I look forward to it. Maybe I could create a more level-appropriate 1e Dhampir myself.

No, really. They can be a lot scarier than this.

Ctenmiir, anyone?

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow Mythology & Fiction Explained @MythsExplained
Follow Jake Likes Onions @jakelikesonions

Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)


What’s Old Is New #DnD #ADnD #RPG #TTRPG

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it, and please visit my 1st Edition D&D resources page.

Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, it’s an image shared in my social media stream. The title of this post serves a double meaning. As any reader of this blog knows, I’m running my first 1st Edition D&D campaign in 40 years, and I have no idea what I’m doing, so what’s old is new. The meaning I infer from the image below is to say that even something trite can shock the players.

As always, if you can translate the signature, I’d like to point people to the artist. EDIT: The artist is Miles Tevis. You can find his work here.

Bon appetit.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc

Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to, nor endorsed, the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)

Bonus Post Today: Another Lame Unboxing Video #ADnD #DnD #RPG #TTRPG #1e

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it, and please visit my 1st Edition D&D resources page.

I know what you’re thinking:

Not another lame-ass unboxing video?

Yes. The answer is yes. More information in the video.

I immediately went for the non-weapon proficiencies section, and read a bit of other stuff. So far, this looks like a great buy for my game.

My ridiculous, weekly Caturday post will publish at the regular time. You can’t wait, can you?

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc

Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)



Juiblex: The Nerdiest Example of the Mandela Effect in the History of Sociology (Maybe) #DnD #ADnD #1e #RPG #TTRPG #gaming #Juiblex #sociology #MandelaEffect

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it, and please visit my 1st Edition D&D resources page.

If you’d rather listen to this blog, you may watch the video here.

I posted this on social media in the past, but never on my blog.

For those few that don’t know, the Mandela Effect is an effect popularized by a “paranormal consultant” (i.e., a kook) to describe false memories shared by a large number of people. Some famous examples are the misremembered movie, Shazam, starring Sinbad, which was memorialized in an April Fool’s Day joke; spelling errors like “Fruit” Loops and Oscar “Meyer”; and, of course, the alleged 1980s death of Nelson Mandela in prison from which the phenomenon gets its name.

Eats Froot Loops for breakfast and hot dogs for lunch.

Enter Juiblex, the grotesque demon lord of slimes first introduced in the 1st Edition D&D Monster Manual. Whenever I mention this, there’s always someone that chimes in that, even today, they thought JuIBlex was spelled JuBIlex. That is, many people, myself included, switched the ‘i’ and ‘b’ in the word. This might be — and I say “might” because I’m neither a psychologist nor a sociologist — because a few people made that mistake, and then it cascaded through nerd society (i.e., the Mandela Effect). It might also be because “Jubilex” is easier to pronounce, so everyone making that mistake did so independently based on some psychological effect (i.e., not, as I understand it, the Mandela Effect). I prefer the former hypothesis. It supports my premise.

Now there’s some psychological bullshit.

But wait! There’s more!

Earlier this week, I published a post on Atlas. As originally written, I pointed out that Atlas carried the world on his shoulders. I was reminded that this is, of course, wrong. Atlas held up the sky. This common mistake has changed the way Atlas is portrayed in art, and may be the origin of the phrase, “carrying the weight of the world on one’s shoulders.”

It appears this may also be an example of the Mandela Effect with an interesting impact on art and language.

Considering how cold the South Pole is, you’d think he’d wear more clothing.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc

Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to, nor endorsed, the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)

Atlas in D&D #MythologyMonday #MythologyMonandæg #folklore #DnD #ADnD #RPG #TTRPG

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it, and please visit my 1st Edition D&D resources page.

The image below revived a memory from my elementary/middle school days, which is when I last played 1st Edition D&D (“1e“).

This image alone could be the subject of another post . . . on another blog.

Being a mythophile – mythology brought me to 1e, not the other way around – I loved perusing Deities & Demigods and finding ways to incorporate the material in my games. The results were ridiculous, but that’s not today’s point.

Intelligence and Wisdom of 12. That checks out.

I recall seeing Jim Roslof’s (RIP) drawing above of Atlas from Greek mythology and thought, “Wait a second. Why even stat the guy? He’s not going to be able to put up a fight if he’s got the sky on his shoulders.”

This wasn’t me at my most creative moment. Mythology itself had precedent for Atlas not always shouldering the sky. Hercules relieved him for a bit. The better question would be, “Why would you want to kill a guy who’s tasked with this burden? Who’s going to take over if you kill him? Will the sky just . . . fall?”

Perhaps a better question should be, “Shouldn’t shouldering the sky be metaphorical considering that the game contemplates the possibility of multiple, coexisting pantheons? Are Indra, Shang-Ti, Ra, and Odin also relying on Atlas to hold up the sky?”

Fortunately for my current group, these aren’t difficult questions to answer, but I was a kid.

Mythophile is too a word!

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc

Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)


1st Edition D&D, Form-Fillable, Auto-Calc Character Sheets #DnD #ADnD #RPG #TTRPG

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it, and please visit my 1st Edition D&D resources page.

Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, it’s neither.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I took the Mad Irishman’s character sheets and automated them. You can find my automated forms over on my 1st Edition D&D Resources Page. Don’t forget to visit the Mad Irishman’s site, though. He’s got far more material than what I’ve modified.

Game on!

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc

Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to, nor endorsed, the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)