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Google Wave May 25, 2010

Posted by elopingcamel in Uncategorized.
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I have found Google Wave to be an excellent preparation source for my different creative hobbies: song-lyric writing, poetry, story ideas, etc. Recently for me though, when they updated the system to provide templates and options, Google Wave as a D&D prep tool went from occasional to standard use.

Now, when you create a new Wave, you can select from 6 different Wave options. The Brainstorm template comes pre-setup in outline format and has the Napkin Gadget already embedded into it, which makes it ideal for preparing combat encounters and skill challenges. The Napkin Gadget allows me to actually map out terrain and monster placement, as well as jot down stats and combat tactics. For skill challenges I can also map things out, but it is most helpful in providing a clear space for me to set skill DCs and consequences of both success and failure.

I can also set links in the Wave to provide me easy access to additional references during game play, so I don’t have to waste time looking things up. Wave also allows me to upload pictures and PDFs so I can keep track of players’ stats and powers as well as be able to show images to players of what their characters are seeing.

The best benefit is that I can access Google Wave anywhere that has a computer and the internet. I can prep at home, work, school, etc. If I get a cool idea I can jot it down and keep it all in one central place that I don’t have to literally carry with me. It is an awesome tool.

I invite you all to check out Google Wave when you get a chance. It may never actually replace e-mail, but it is a pretty sweet tool for planning, preparing, organizing, and collaborating, and–perhaps most excitingly–it is now open to all without the need of an invite. While many users will likely find it unnecessary, maybe some of you out there will benefit from it like I have.

A New Page Turns November 13, 2009

Posted by elopingcamel in Uncategorized.
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This is the first new post that I will have started for many months. Recently I’ve been catching up on finishing old drafts that I had started but never finished.

This Sunday I will be running Keep on the Shadowfell for the first time. I have had a few practice runs with pre-made adventures now and for the most part felt like they met with success. I also learned a lot from them about encounter design and specifically terrain design.

The area where I know that I am the weakest is role playing. That is the part that interests me the most right now, but it is the part that I have experienced the least and therefore with which I feel the most uncomfortable.

My hope is that skill challenges will provide an easily understandable way for my players to begin down that path. Anyway, I don’t really plan on doing anymore write-ups for my 3.5e Eberron campaign. We are going to play again on Saturday (it has been a REALLY long time since the last time we played), but unless something incredibly noteworthy occurs, I feel like my time and efforts need to go more toward providing the most enjoyable experience for my players as possible. So, until further notice, Fetalus and friends will be silently adventuring, far far away from the interwebs.

Some Background July 4, 2009

Posted by elopingcamel in Uncategorized.
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I am new to the world of Dungeons and Dragons. I have owned the 3.5 core rulebooks since 2004, but I never played a game until last year (February 2008). I will tell that tale at some future point, but let us just say that it was not a great introduction to the game.

However, I persevered and eventually talked some friends (who had also never played the game before), my brother, and my wife to give it a try with me. I bought the 3.5 Basic Game and ran the first 3 or 4 encounters of the included adventure. We all had a great time, despite my lack of experience in DMing, and I was excited to play more. Unfortunately, life got too busy for all of us and then my brother moved out of state, so eventually the game died off. The last time we played was toward the end of last summer (July/August 2008).

This past month, my wife and I went and played with a couple that we became friends with (and then later discovered also played D&D), and their friend ran the game. This also was a 3.5 game. We all had tremendous fun and it got me itching to play more. We will hopefully be returning to play again within the next couple of weeks, and I am really looking forward to it.

This past weekend I had some family come into town, so I ran the next encounter of the Basic Game with my wife, brother and his incredibly bright six-year-old son, and my younger step-brother (who was now the only one of us who had never played before). Again, it was awesome. I felt much more comfortable DMing after having seen someone else do it while I played.

So here we now are. Last night I ran my first solo game with my wife. It didn’t go as great as I would have hoped (as many who have tried to run a solo game have probably already learned), because you have to make quite a few adjustments to the style and it needs to be extremely tailored to what the player (my wife) wants. Also, I sort of threw it all together using some 4e resources that I purchased/downloaded. I had never played nor tried 4e before so we both had a learning curve. Adding to that, I don’t have any of the core rule books for Fourth Edition so…I had to wing quite a bit of it. I still enjoyed it though.

This blog will mainly focus on the lessons that I am learning while I DM. I will talk about choices I make (both wise and poor) while we play and how they work out. As time permits, I will also talk about the story and character of my wife. Occasionally I will add in details of other games that I run or play in, also. My purposes are somewhat selfish in this; I wanted a place to focus my thoughts during the learning process. I promise to do my best to keep it interesting and entertaining as well. With that said… Welcome to elopingcamel’s Learning How to DM!