Monday, November 30, 2015

The 5 Totally Useless Statements You See In Every RPG Discussion

As a fan of RPGs, there's nothing I love better than sitting down and having a long talk about my favorite games (except, you know, actually playing them). I'll talk about rules, I'll talk about stories, and if I've got a receptive audience I'll even talk about how to subvert the accepted tropes of a given genre to do something unexpected. However, I also spend a lot of time on the Internet, and while I love the RPG community as a whole, I would take it as a huge, personal favor if we could remove these five phrases from our lexicon when it comes time to express our views on the games we love.

Just as a preface, this article is not meant to attack anyone specific. I am not calling out anyone, nor am I demanding that everyone do things my way. Just pointing out some things I've seen over the past few years, and why I think these behaviors are total nonsense.

All right, starting at the top...

#5: Every Table Is Going To Do It Their Own Way

For good, or for ill.
This is one of the first lines people whip out whenever there's a nuanced or controversial subject under discussion. When I first posted Sexuality Matters in Roleplaying Games (And Here's Why), this phrase was legion in the comments sections. It was as if, somehow, hundreds of my fellow gamers had forgotten that I'm just some schmuck on the Internet with a blog and an opinion, and that I have no ability to declare, rule, or mandate that any game out there be played a certain way.

This phrase is appropriate in one context: someone is going on a One, True Way to Game rant, and insisting that anyone who does things in a manner other than this one, prescribed way is playing the game wrong. If that isn't happening, then this phrase serves no purpose except as a placeholder.

Every Table is Going to do it Their Own Way is just like That's What My Character Would Do; a phrase we usually hold up as a shield when someone has made a suggestion, or asked us to re-examine our opinions on an issue. If you have an opinion, state it. Instead of a meaningless, "well, everyone has to make up their own minds," say, "in this situation, I would prefer a game that X's over Y-ing, and here's why."

Don't remind us that everyone has an opinion. We know that already, and you're breaking up the flow of the discussion.

#4: The DM Can Just Change That Rule, If He Wants

Yeah, I can... wait what?
This is another dandelion that sprouts in otherwise verdant lawns. This one typically crops up whenever someone is asking a question about a certain game mechanic, particularly one that falls into a gray area because of wording. Some gamers will insist that a mechanic works one way, and others will point out that because of the wording it could work a different way. Then someone stands up in the middle of the discussion and says, "It works however the DM says it works."

Again, this phrase is inherently true. It is the DM's job to adjudicate the rules, and to interpret them in a way that the table is satisfied with. It is also within the DM's purview to change rules, with the consent of the rest of the table, in order to make the game more enjoyable.

Bringing it up contributes nothing to the conversation, though, unless the person asking the question is somehow unaware of Rule 0, which gives the DM such power. Not only that, but if someone is asking for legitimate input on how a given rule has been run at other people's tables, or if a rule should function with X or Y interpretation, then saying, "just do whatever you want" wastes space, distracts from the conversation, and makes you look vaguely like an NPC yelling out stock lines while the main characters are trying to solve the plot.

#3: This is So Unrealistic!

I know, right? Magical fireballs conjured from the ether should TOTALLY do more damage.
I know that most people who use this phrase when it comes to RPGs don't realize the sheer irony of calling games that allow you to play immortal bloodsucking badasses, demon-tainted barbarians, or wizards who can conjure lightning from thin air unrealistic. But it is. It is not only ironic, but it is ironic in the most painful, eye-rolling, head-desking way.

No, it is not realistic that a gunslinger can reload a musket in a bare few seconds. It is also not realistic that you can use that musket to shoot a necromancer raising an army of the dead to do her bidding. It's also unrealistic that a level 1 fighter can take a critical hit to the face and die, but a level 10 fighter taking that same ax to the bridge of his nose would barely even bleed. It is not a roleplaying game's job to simulate reality as we know it. A roleplaying game's job is to act as a conflict resolution system and storytelling tool.

Note that this is not a, "magic exists, therefore no complaints are valid," argument. Simply that the way physics work in the game world is not bound by the laws of how physics, damage, or chemistry work in the real world. The system for falling damage should be enough to explain that, but sometimes we need to be reminded. Yes, we know that the actual long range of traditional longbows, period crossbows, etc. isn't what it says in the book. We know that rapier fighters can attack faster and more often than someone swinging a greatsword. The book also lets you play as a hulking, tusked brute who can see in the dark. Perspective, people.

#2: It's So Broken!

Assassins... not even once.
There is a trend in video game criticism where some players will use the phrase, "this isn't a real video game," as a way to deride games they personally don't like, or which do not cater to the things they want from a game. The phrase "X is so broken," is essentially that, but with RPGs.

Again, this phrase has its uses, and there are time when it is appropriate. For example, if you begin your post with, "X is so broken," and then go on to explain why you feel it is that way, using examples from the game and pointing out instances where the "broken" thing in question creates real problems, you will be given a pass on my complaint. If you can show that you have a full grasp of what the rules say, and that you have carefully thought through your opinion about why a given ability exists the way it does, then you may have a point that it is not properly balanced. However, if you're just shouting about game mechanics you don't like, then you're not helping anything.

Put another way, if you just want to shout that you don't like a thing, scroll on by.

#1: That's Historically Inaccurate!

Ridiculous! Ducks didn't harness the power of magic till 1582, 200 years after this campaign is set!
This one gets the top honor because it is deep-fried bullshit on a stick on multiple levels. The biggest one, though, is that if you are playing an RPG that takes place anywhere other than the Earth you actually live on with unchanged history from the way things actually happened (which means no secret vampire cabals, no hidden mage sanctums, and no behind-the-scenes war between heaven and hell), this argument is completely irrelevant to the discussion.

Now, the closer your game world is to Earth's actual history, the more these complaints may become valid. However, you cannot argue that the trends in real human history are at all valid when your game is set in another world that has never shared any of its history with the one you live in. Social structures, religion, ideas about freedom, and how the economy works are independent from your experiences in this world as soon as you set foot in Greyhawk, the Forgotten Realms, Golarion, or any of a dozen other settings.

So, before you make the "historically inaccurate" argument, ask yourself the reason why you're making it, and look at the context of the thing you're objecting to. Then ask yourself if the argument you want to make is valid, based on the history of the game world where the campaign in question is happening. If it isn't, then tuck your objection back in the box, and close the lid, because it won't contribute to the conversation being had.

And if someone is having a conversation about how historically inaccurate the pseudo-medieval fantasy RPG world full of wizards and dragons is when compared to the actual history we experienced, just walk on by. Even if it's meant as a joke, there are going to be all kinds of terrible things jumping into this bait-filled swimming pool.

All right, that's all I've got for this Monday. Hope you at least had a few moments of amusement, and that none of my bile splashed on your shoes from up here on my soap box. If you want to make sure you keep up-to-date on my latest posts, follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. If you would like to get into the holiday spirit, you can drop a few dimes in my jar by becoming a patron right here on my Patreon page!

Friday, November 27, 2015

The 1st Level Badass (Freeing Your Backstory From Level Restraints)

There are a lot of complaints about starting a campaign at level 1. The most common complaints are that low-level heroes are made out of cardboard, armored in aluminum cans, and that they can be taken out by a lucky critical hit from a goblin, or a moderately successful spell from a kobold shaman. This complaint is often followed by the fact that low-level PCs don't have any of their really shiny red balls yet, and so can't string together deadly feat combos that can clear the battlefield in a single round, or cast spells that shake the mountains and split the heavens. And, as much as we might look down our noses at that complaint, there really is nothing like watching the minis fall over when you did that thing you built your character to do.

All right, my action is over.
Another complaint that we often hear from around the table is that 1st level characters are inherently limited in the story they're allowed to have up to that point. After all, you can't very well be a champion of the realm, a hero of a great war, or an infamous death-dealing assassin if you're starting off at level 1...

Can you?

Creating The Level 1 Badass

I'll be the first to admit that it's frustrating when you have an epic character idea, but you still have to start that character from square 1 mechanically. After all, in your head, the Dragon's Bastard is a terror to behold. A warrior without peer, whose heritage is writ large across his body, there's just no way to bring across the raw physical and magical might of a feared mercenary captain with the blood of great wyrms flowing through his veins at such a low level.

Except there is. But it requires a little thinking outside the box.

You have my attention.
My best example for how to do this was my character Brazen Red-Eye, a half-orc gunslinger/alchemist whom you might remember from Why You Should Never Field a One-Eyed Dragon in the Table Talk section. The character was a war leader, the right hand of a sprawling orc tribe, and he had been single-handedly responsible for the destruction of several towns and settlements, in addition to the raids he'd led on larger areas and cities. The problem was that the abilities he needed to justify that kind of swath of destruction (in particular the combination of fast bombs with the enhanced destructive power of certain gunslinger deeds and higher BAB) meant that I was looking at a character who, in his pre-game background, was level 10 or 12. While it's true that he came in at level 5, and not level 1, that's still a big discrepancy in power level.

So what did I do? Well, he was in hiding. You know, for being a wanted war criminal, and all.

Just like that, poof, I had a character whose displayed level of power made total sense. It wasn't that he didn't possess the higher-level abilities that he'd used to rampage in his backstory; it was that he simply could not use them because they were part of his old life's calling card; anyone who saw him fight like that would recognize him as surely as they would if they saw the brands of rank across his chest and upper arms.

It Really Is Easier Than You Think

There are all kinds of ways you can swing this idea to make it work. I've included a few below, in case you're looking for further inspiration.

- Amnesia: While it's tropey as hell, if you have forgotten you used to be a great warrior or powerful sorcerer, then it will take time for your memory to return. Your capabilities are still there, though, and they may manifest in a kind of spiritual or muscle memory.

- Left That Life Behind: This is a variation on the story I told above. For example, say you wanted to play a paladin/rogue/assassin. Assassins are, by the requirements of the class, evil. However, your backstory can shift the timeline around by saying you were once an assassin, but you allowed yourself to be redeemed and have since walked in the ways of the righteous. Thus when you take assassin levels mechanically, you aren't just learning these skills; rather, you've had them this whole time, and simply not used them because that's not who you are anymore... or is it?

- Was Never Worth My Full Power: Whether your character is an accomplished warrior, a learned wizard, or a sorcerer with a particularly potent bloodline, the justification for your badass backstory is that you are significantly more powerful than any foe you've ever faced. Even when you are, mechanically speaking, pulling out all the stops at level 4, in-character you're just barely flexing. And if your character gets beaten down, taken out, or nearly killed? Well, it wasn't because the foe was too strong, but rather because you were too arrogant. It won't be until you've reached the pinnacle of your mechanical build that you decide to give it your all. This is similar to Superman's "World of Cardboard" speech, suggesting you've been holding back till you found a worthy foe.

- Blending In: This applies to more than just characters with criminal or formerly evil backgrounds. For example, you might be a prince of the realm, famed far and wide for your skill with a dueling blade. You could be a famous war hero, or even a minor celestial being. For whatever reason, you're trying to move undiscovered among the common folk. This might mean that you sometimes throw fights, or that you have to take careful precautions to disguise birth marks, so that no one knows who you are. When the stakes are down and your friends need you at higher levels, though, it's time to drop the charade.

- Cursed: You are a character who possesses great power, but you're prevented from using it until your curse is lifted. Perhaps you're able to access it in small doses, such as when your barbarian/alchemist rages and downs a mutagen, along with a potion of bull's strength, allowing out a minor aspect of the titan you have locked inside yourself for a scant few minutes. Whether your arrogance has driven a deity to teach you a lesson through struggle and strife, or you once wronged a powerful hag who laid a quest across your shoulders, there is more to you than you can sometimes bring to bear.

These are, of course, just some of the more obvious methods of playing characters with more experience, and more power, than is written on their sheets. While there's certainly nothing wrong with the wide-eyed farm boy hero, the barbarian away from her tribe for the first time, or the freshly-minted paladin out to take on the world, sometimes you want to do more than that. That kind of ambition should be rewarded, and be given a place in the story.

As always, thanks for stopping in and checking out what I've put up this week! If you'd like to make sure you don't miss any updates, then please follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. If you'd like to support this blog so I can keep bringing you content just like this, then stop by my Patreon page to become a patron today!

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Undead Feats Are Now Available From TPK's "Feats of Legend" Series!

I mentioned awhile back that I was working on the Feats of Legend series with TPK Games. The first one to bear my name is The Infernal Feats, and is already out like I mentioned a few weeks ago. However, the next one in the series has been released, and it's one that players and DMs alike will have a ball with.

What is it? The Undead Feats, of course.

You were expecting something less necrotic?

What's In The Book?

The latest installment in the Feats of Legend series has 22 feats, brought to you by myself, Brian Berg, and by Simon Peter Munoz (who runs the Creative Repository Blog, which you should check out if you haven't already). These feats are for characters who are undead, who hunt undead, or for characters who have access to the undead bloodline.

What do they do? Well, there are 22 feats, so there's a lot of nasty tricks in this book. You'll find feats that let you poison undead, feats that increase your knowledge of undead, and feats that allow you to hide from undead. You'll also find feats that increase undead creatures' natural armor, feats that allow the undead to gain fast healing whenever they kill a living foe, and even feats that allow the undead to resist their greatest bane; positive energy!

If you want to throw your players a curve ball, or if you're a player who wants to really make the most of your character's undead heritage, The Undead Feats is definitely a book you should have on your shelf.

As always, thanks for stopping by! If you want to make sure you don't miss any of my updates, then follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. If you'd like to help support my blog, then please stop by my Patreon page to become a patron today! Even as little as $1 a month can make a big difference.

Friday, November 20, 2015

5 More Rules Pathfinder Players Keep Forgetting

Apologies to all my readers for the skip week, but I was at Windy Con in Chicago last Friday, and between travel time, panels, readings, and networking just didn't have the time to put up a new entry. However, I'm back now, so I thought I'd add on to what has been one of my most popular series thus far by pointing out even more rules Pathfinder players tend to forget, mis-remember, or just flat-out not know.

Previous entries in this series are:

Playing By The Book: Some Pathfinder Rules That Players Keep Forgetting
MORE Rules Pathfinder Players Keep Forgetting
Even MORE Rules Pathfinder Players Keep Forgetting
Still More Rules Pathfinder Players Keep Forgetting
5 More Rules Pathfinder Players Keep Forgetting

What didn't I cover in the first four installments? Well...

Rule #1: You Can Charge As A Standard Action

Time to bring the pain!
This one actually requires a bit of clarification. Under the charge rules on page 198 of the Core Rulebook, if you are limited to taking only a standard action on your turn (as you would be when staggered, like when you're below 0 hit points and have the Die Hard feat, or if you're acting in the surprise round), you can make what I refer to as a partial charge. It's the same as a normal charge attack, except you can only move up to your movement speed, and you can't draw a weapon during the charge unless you have Quick Draw. Just the thing for that suicidal barbarian who wants to wager it all on a single roll of the die.

Rule #2: Damage Reduction and Energy Resistance Are Different

Damage reduction and energy resistance are both traits we tend to associate more with monsters than we do with PCs, but there are a lot of class archetypes and playable races that will get one, or both, of these abilities. And they seem simple, but judging from the posts I see in the groups I frequent, they're often confused. So, here's the simple run down you need to know when you have these powers.

Energy resistance is for energy damage (like fire, cold, acid, etc.). It doesn't matter if it's magical or mundane. If you get hit with alchemist's fire, or a fireball, and you have fire resistance 5, you take 5 off the damage you would have been dealt, according to page 562 of the Core Rulebook.

But what about damage reduction?
Damage reduction, the barbarian's best friend, applies only to normal attacks (normal in this case being from weapons, as opposed to being hit by something that deals elemental damage or untyped damage from a spell) according to page 561 of the Core Rulebook. So, if someone hits you with a longsword, and you have DR 5/-, then you take 5 points off that damage. If that longsword has the flaming quality, though, the fire damage still goes through, unless you also have fire resistance.

It should be noted, though, that spells which specifically deal bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage are subject to DR. As mentioned in Paizo's FAQ, spells like ice storm, which deal bludgeoning damage, will still be blocked by a zombie's DR 5/slashing.

Rule #3: You Can Take A 5-Foot Step During Your Readied Action

The 5-foot step is the best friend to adventurers everywhere. It allows you to get some breathing room before casting a spell, or to back up before shooting a zombie in the skull. But the villains also have access to the mystical 5-foot step, and there is nothing worse than your readied action becoming useless because your target backed off 5 feet before triggering your action.

It's okay, just follow him!

Your clever plan, you did not think it through!
According to page 203 of the Core Rulebook you may take a 5-foot step as part of your readied action, provided that you have not moved during that round, and provided that your readied action isn't a move action. So if you took a move-equivalent action like, say, standing up from your seat in the tavern, and you ready an action to deck the spellcaster if he tries anything, moving 5 feet back from you won't save his face from your fist.

A handy thing to know for all the tacticians out there.

Rule #4: You Can Totally Catch Falling Party Members

We've all been there. The party has to climb to the top of a chasm wall, or go up a chimney in harpy-infested territory, and no one has any means to actually fly. So you break out the pitons and the rope, knowing that as soon as you're high enough for the stakes to really matter, someone's going to fall. And when they do, you'll have to recruit a new party member.

Or will you?

Not if you have very good arms.
According to page 91 of the Core Rulebook, if someone climbing above you or adjacent to you falls, then you can make a melee touch attack to grab them. The falling character can willingly forego his or her dex bonus to AC in order to make the grab easier. Once you've snatched your falling party member, you have to make a climb check equal to the wall's DC + 10 in order to stay in place. If you fail by 4 or less, you lose your grip on your party member, but don't fall. If you fail by 5 or more, you lose your grip on both. Also, said party member and all the gear that person is carrying can't exceed your heavy load, or you automatically fall.

Again, you want the brawny fighter at the bottom to be sure you catch the falling wizard.

Rule #5: Invisible Creatures Gain Bonuses on Attacks

This one is for both DMs, and for lovers of ninjas, rogues, and dastardly magi. We all know about the ridiculous bonuses you get to stealth while you're invisible, but if you are invisible and attacking sighted opponents, then you also get a +2 to attack rolls. This is over and above the benefits you get for ignoring the dexterity bonuses to AC your targets receive. All of this according to the description of the invisible condition on page 567 of the Core Rulebook.

Good news for the 15 invisible kobolds who won the initiative order.
And that, my loyal readers, is the latest installment of this particular series. As more books are released, and more games are played, I'm sure I'll have even more fun things to share with you. Until then, follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter to get all of my updates, and if you want to help me keep producing content just like this, then consider visiting my Patreon page to become a patron today!

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Iron Hand of Gotz von Berlichingen

Germany is a country with a reputation. Its tribes stopped the advance of the Roman legions, its swordsmiths created a two-handed rapier, and if certain schools of musical thought are to be believed, gave birth to the ancestor of heavy metal with creation of Richard Wagner. It's a nation whose mythology is bloody, whose fairy tales are terrifying, and whose warriors are legendary.

With that said, Gotz von Berlichingen is unique even among the hardcases coming out of Germany in the 1500s. He started his career around the turn of the century as a mercenary, and he was marked as a particularly tough man. Good if you were the one paying him and his company, not so good if you were on the receiving end of things. According to Atlas Obscura, in 1504 Gotz lost his hand, courtesy of a cannonball. He did not, however, let such a minor inconvenience get in the way of his continued, paid-for rampages.

So he did what any self-respecting, hard-bitten soldier of fortune would do. He stopped by the blacksmith, and told him to make an iron hand so he could keep pummeling the living hell out of his enemies.

Years later some British guy is going to write a heavy metal ballad about this shit.
The model you're looking at above is the second installment, which Gotz had made for him after he'd roused a significant number of rabbles, collected a metric butt-load of plunder, and along the way gotten himself knighted. While the initial hand was little more than a crude metal clamp holding his sword, the later model could hold a quill, his reins, and perform a range of other tasks as well.

Get your mind out of the gutter.

Anyway, in addition to smashing teeth, wielding a sword, and likely doing some awesome saluting, this iron fist became Gotz's symbol. He, and his hand, grew so popular that it was made a part of his home city's flag. Because they wanted to advertise to anyone who thought about starting trouble that they would have to bring some serious A-game to survive an encounter with the man who lived there.

And if that name sounds familiar to you as a fan of anime, then you might recognize the similarity to Guts, the protagonist of Berserk... iron hand and all. While there's no historical record of the German mercenary knight keeping a cannon in his arm, there is a character build for the animated character at How To Build Guts From (Berserk) if you'd like to see my take on it.

Like, Follow, and Stay in Touch!

That's all for this week's Moon Pope Monday!

Again, for more of my work, check out my Vocal archive, and stop by the YouTube channel Dungeon Keeper Radio. Or if you'd prefer to read some of my books, like my sword and sorcery novel Crier's Knife or my latest short story collection The Rejects, then head over to My Amazon Author Page!

To stay on top of all my latest releases, follow me on FacebookTumblrTwitter, and now Pinterest as well! To support my work, consider Buying Me a Ko-Fi, or heading to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to become a regular, monthly patron. That one helps ensure you get more Improved Initiative, and it means you'll get my regular, monthly giveaways as a bonus!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Military-Grade Evoker

There's been a never-ending argument about what kind of wizard is the most powerful. Some argue that the transmuter can transform his allies into titans, and his enemies into worms, and thus can adapt to any situation. Others prefer the power of the conjurer, pulling allies through rifts in the planes to lend their aid to her cause. Necromancers wield the fell powers of the grave, and enchanters may turn the staunchest foe into the dearest friend, but no one will ever claim that the sheer, destructive power of the evoker is something to be taken lightly.

Or, at least, no one who has made the claim has lived to tell the tale.

These blasting mages are perhaps some of the most common casters found in any game. Despite their vastly different builds, spells of preference, and countries of origin, though, we tend to picture them all in very similar ways. Evokers, as wizards, will be bookish, intelligent, and likely physically frail despite the raw power they're capable of channeling.

So why not change that impression up, and put your wizard through boot camp?

The Mechanics

Despite the name, the military-grade evoker doesn't have to have any levels of a martial class. Just because a wizard is a product of a war machine, that doesn't mean you're necessarily building someone whose job is to fight and cast at the same time. If you want to go that way, though, then two levels of a class like fighter, ranger, or even swashbuckler can be partially evened out with the magical knack trait, which increases your caster level by 2, up to your character level. If you opt to go the straight blaster route, then traits like heirloom weapon might be useful. Once you've picked a melee weapon that would be seen as standard-issue among graduates of your arcane program to use as a bonded item (the idea being that you receive a masterwork weapon as a mark of your rank), you should consider all the traditional feats that increase your caster level, spell DC, damage, or which help you penetrate spell resistance. Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot are good feats to invest in, but so are things like Varisian Tattoo, which you could make a standard mark for anyone who passed your training regimen. You may choose to invest in Arcane Armor Training, which allows you to cast in armor at a lessened penalty, or you may decide to rely purely on your magic to protect you. Every caster will have his or her own strategy, and unique idea of what constitutes "field ready".

Quick Draw and Improved Initiative might not be bad ideas, though.

The Flavor

Picture this scenario. A meeting has been called in a tavern, and volunteers are being requested for a dangerous mission. There's a man at the bar, drinking a pint of ale, who has the look of a newly-minted soldier. Broad shoulders, shorn hair, polished boots, a short sword on his hip, and a lock gauntlet on his right hand. He's unarmored, but that's not uncommon in the city. He volunteers, and shakes hands with his fellow adventurers. His name is Arden Blaze.

No sooner have the introductions been completed, though, then a brawl breaks out. Bottles are flying, punches are thrown, and hands start reaching for cudgels and steel. The new compatriots find the melee moving their way, when Arden slashes at the air. An invisible missile hurtles into the face of the nearest attacker, shattering teeth and laying him out. Before the others can put two and two together, Blaze has his sword in hand, the eldritch pattern along the blood channel which declares his completion of war college training glinting in the light.

Let's get this party started!
By playing with the idea of what people expect to see when they hear there's a wizard in the party, you upset assumed stereotypes. If you create someone who was trained to command in battle, and who was given knowledge of both tactics and creatures, then you may find yourself with a wizard who shouts commands to the party before leveling his sword to fire a lightning bolt at a mass of foes.

There's even more to it, though. For example, if you have a military-grade evoker, you should ask what the reputation of the nation's battle mages are. Will they be seen as heroes among the common people of their own nation? Will they be hated as jack-booted thugs in others? Is there a rivalry between casters and their martial brothers in arms, or did they train and fight together? Will the wizard and the fighter discuss deployments and get drunk together when they're in town, and form a two-person unit when the party is attacked because of their mutual experiences?

The concept is more than just overturning the status quo by making a wizard who can fight. It takes the concept of a wizard as a scholar, and alters it into a wizard whose primary training was as a warrior. If you alter that, what does it do to the character's demeanor, experiences, and way of looking at the world?

For more inspiration, check out 5 Tips For Playing Better Wizards!

Like, Follow, and Stay Tuned For More!

That's all for this installment of Unusual Character Concepts. Hopefully this one gave you something to chew over, whether you're a player, or a game master.

For more of my work, check out my Vocal archive, and stop by the YouTube channel Dungeon Keeper Radio. Or if you'd prefer to read some of my books, like my alley cat noir novel Marked Territory, my sword and sorcery novel Crier's Knife or my most recent collection of short stories The Rejects, then head over to My Amazon Author Page!

To stay on top of all my latest releases, follow me on FacebookTumblrTwitter, and now Pinterest as well! To support my work, consider Buying Me a Ko-Fi, or heading to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to become a regular, monthly patron. That one helps ensure you get more Improved Initiative, and it means you'll get my regular, monthly giveaways as a bonus!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Dungeons and Dragons, Gangsta Edition (You've Got To See This)

We've all got our favored play styles. Some of us love to kick in the door, kill the monsters, and loot the room. Others love our political thrillers, coveting the high-tension of the cloak-and-dagger plots that could save the kingdom, or topple it. And then there are those of us who just can't be serious, and have to have light-hearted games.

All of us, though, can appreciate the amusement of Mann Shorts, and their various takes on our favorite past time. Like the Gangsta Edition, seen below.

That's just one example of this channel's sense of humor. From hipsters to rednecks, and even a straight Game of Thrones take on TPKs, Mann Shorts is mostly a channel for spoofs. You could read into it more if you wanted to, but before you start digging for subtext, first take a moment to enjoy the videos for what they're trying to do. Which is either to make you laugh, or to give you an idea for your next campaign, depending on your personality type.

You've been warned.
Thanks for dropping in on the Monday update! Again, check out Mann Shorts to get a look at all the videos they post. If you'd like to get more of my updates, then follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter. If you'd like to get that Christmas-season spirit going early, then you could help support me by becoming a patron over at my Patreon page. Also, if you do that before the end of November, there's free stuff in it for you!