awesome, personal

RPG Blogging

A good friend and long-time D&D player has started his own D&D / RPG blog over at Good stuff so far and I encourage you to go and check it out. It’s probably not surprising that his burst of writing energy has inspired me to revisit my backlog of post ideas for this blog, so hopefully you’ll see a few things here as well.

dndnext, personal

5th Edition so far…

It’s probably been almost two years since I started reading about D&D Next. It has been fascinating to see the game evolve over that time – reading discussion forums and comment threads debating the merits of Vancian spell casting, flattened math, and a more flexible, “hack-able” framework. Now that I have two of the three core rulebooks, and have played about 20 sessions, I am happy to report that D&D “5th Edition” has renewed my love for the game. It’s awesome and my favorite edition so far.

That’s not to say that I wasn’t really enjoying 4th Edition. I was. Playing 5E just feels right… it flows in a way that 4th didn’t but doesn’t turn its back on the things that 4E got right. Lots has been said about this edition and others… I’ve enjoyed playing each one, and am now enjoying the modern incarnation.

Being excited about the new edition has also stirred my interest in creating content for my game and contributing more to the community. I know a few people have occasioned across this space over the past year and I hope that you’ve found something useful on your visit. Now that I’m playing and creating more, I hope to add more frequently.

Until then, keep a d20 close and keep rolling.

admin, personal

Welcome to 2012

While this isn’t my first post to this blog, it’s a new year and in 2012 I plan on increasing the activity you’ll see here. As such, I thought it made sense to take a few minutes to introduce myself and our first guest contributor at, David. There is a lot going on in the D&D community, and with WotC’s recent announcements, I expect that there will be a lot more in 2012 and beyond. Exciting stuff… and I’m looking forward to it!


Dungeon Master, gamer, computer technology professional

I’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons since I was in third grade in the 80’s. Through junior high and high school I poured through printed materials, playing when I could get a group of friends together. I spent hours painting minis, designing dungeon crawls, and progressing my favorite character up to Immortal status using 2nd edition rules (and ignoring some of them too).In college I DM’ed a large group (as many as eight at one time, I think) for a couple of years in a weekly game, and had a great time doing it… ahh, memories. 🙂 Unfortunately, after college I didn’t play for years.

A little over a year ago I got the itch to play again largely because of a couple of really good podcasts (Major Spoilers’ Critical Hit primarily). David and I started talking about putting together a game and a couple of months later we had four players ready to go. We have since grown to six (with 5 actively playing right now) and have settled into a pretty good rhythm. We’re playing 4th edition and I love it… that’s not to say that there aren’t things that I think could be tweaked, but we’re level 7 today and happy.

Not unexpectedly, over the past year I’ve found myself with the kinds of spin-off projects that DM’s often undertake to make their game better – houserules, papercraft, game organization, etc.. And that brings us to… a place to post some of my thoughts and ideas about role-playing with Dungeons & Dragons and hopefully give back to a community that has given me so much over the past year.

That’s it and that’s me. I hope you subscribe and I look forward to hearing what you think of some of the projects I’ll be working on in 2012!


Player, gamer, computer technology professional

While the details are a bit fuzzy, I’m pretty sure I started playing Dungeons and Dragons in the 4th grade.  I picked up the Players Handbook and DM’s guide at a garage sale.  I went on to buy the original Red Box, and the Blue Expert set.  I spent hours reading through modules that I poured what little money I had into.  I played and DM’d an equal amount, running friends and siblings through classics like Village of Homlet, Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, Beyond the Crystal Cave, Castle Amber, and many more.  My sister still holds a grudge because she was killed by a snake the one and only time she decided to play with me and my brothers.

In college, I found a great gaming group that went on to be my closest friends from college.  We played weekly for about a year and a half and then drifted apart, and I continued adventuring as a solo for a while.  To this day I ponder what surprises the world my DM came up with had in store.

John wrote about how we got into playing again. Since we started, I’ve been completely obsessed: consuming blogs, podcasts, and Insider material.  I’ve recently started DM’ing for my 10 year-old son and 4 of his friends, and he’s now equally hooked.  I’m really looking forward to sharing thoughts on our game, and the game as a whole, and hearing your comments.


PAX East Report

I played my first public/convention game today. Despite having played D&D since I was in elementary school, I really was nervous about playing at a convention. I also wasn’t sure if i would be able to join a game easily as there are a LOT of people at PAX that want to play… Perhaps especially since WotC is running Encounters sessions. I took the advice of my wife and decided to try to play first thing today – perhaps Friday would be less crazy than Saturday? There was no lack of crazy, but I did secure an early line position and sat at a “catch up” table to play the first 5 sessions of the current season of Encounters. I played with a good bunch of guys and had a great time. Really… What was I nervous about? And it was heck of a way to play hooky from work. 😀

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Happy New Year!

I’m looking forward to 2011… not that 2010 was particularly bad (insert comment about the economy, etc.) but we just got a good group of players together at the end of the year and I’m looking forward to playing again (and more).

I’ve got a few projects lined up for myself to build off of the last game, not the least of which is to spec out the next evening’s worth of encounters and get a story arc down on paper… lots of ideas, but not much holding them together as of yet.

I’m also going to work on a DM screen – the upcoming Wizards screen looks high-quality, but I’ve never totally agreed with the reference tables that they choose to put on those things. I also find that my needs change as the game progresses, so I want something a little more custom. Again, I have some ideas… more on that later.

Santa was good to this gamer, so I got my copy of the Monster Vault and a copy of The Dungeon Alphabet (which looks like a fun read). I also stumbled upon a clearance sale at one of those “only open for the holidays” calendar stores in the mall and picked up the new Red Box for $10. I counldn’t pass it up… so I’ve got some cool bits to play with and plenty of reading ahead of me.

I hope you had a great holiday, and here’s to your game in 2011!


Getting back in the saddle…

First, some history.

A friend introduced me to D&D (AD&D actually) when we were in the third grade. I’m not sure how closely we actually played to the rules in those days, but I loved reading the books and it was a great catalyst for what we should probably call “interactive fiction with dice”. I played with a variety of friends through Junior High School, and then maybe a little in High School.

Then, in college, I got involved in a game an upperclassman was running in my Sophomore year. We had a great time and by my Junior year, I was running a regular weekly game that peaked with 7 or 8 players. The party’s journeys were epic and there are moments that are retold to this day at reunions and picnics.

Fast forward to the present (I’m 38 in a few days) and I stumbled across the Penny Arcade’s Dungeons & Dragons podcasts… I’d never played (or even really heard of) 4th edition before listening to those sessions and they were a great introduction. They made me want to play again. So, with the help of a friend, we pulled together a few recruits for a new campaign. I’ve been working behind the scenes to prepare to DM the new game and we’re hoping to meet for the first time in December.

On this blog, I plan to do a couple of things:

  • First, I’m going to chronicle the party’s adventures for friends of mine that might enjoy reading their (mis)adventures
  • Second, I’m going to post thoughts/observations/ideas on the game itself and the things that I’ve been working on as a DM to make the play experience easy and fun for “grown-ups” that have a limited amount of time to prep and play

Well… I think that’s enough to get us started. First couple of posts will be about my prep work and I hope to have a report from our first session by the end of the year!