Archive for the ‘Satan’s Game’ Category

Secrets of the Fairy Ring (Long Post)

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

When we play Dungeons and Dragons at my local game store, sometimes we are honored to have Erik Scott de Bie as one of our DMs. Erik is an expert on the Forgotten Realms, D&D’s most popular world, and he has co-authored the recent Neverwinter Campaign Guide and written the modules Halaster’s Lost Apprentice and The Lost Crown of Neverwinter.


My character in the current D&D Encounters season

One of the players asked Erik how he had come to write for Wizards of the Coast. Erik replied with the same advice applicable to job seekers in any field: get to know people in the industry. In Erik’s case, that meant joining online communities and attending gaming conventions.

Now it’s no secret that I plan to become a professional artist in the future, and have been spending all my free time improving my art skills because of it. But I should also be spending time getting to know people in the industry. Although my immigration status forbids me from leaving the company I currently work for, that is no excuse for not at least trying to network. Even if I can’t leave my job, I could become an elite fan artist like Justin Treadway or Souin Kuhou. (I would have to become better at drawing first, but I’m working on that.)

I decided it was time for me to meet people at conventions. The problem is, I had no portfolio to show to contacts and recruiters. All I had is my Pixiv page, a business card and a resume that shows 5 years of experience at an unrelated IT job.

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Taking it easy again

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

I worked too much this past week and developed eyestrain. I’m taking a break from drawing for a while. Expect Fairy Ring next week as normal.

So I went to the local game store and talked to the Dungeon Master who I hadn’t seen in a while. I had thought I would be able to play some Dark Sun this summer, but I turned out to be too busy. Turns out a new wave of changes are coming to the 4th edition rules, and I for one approve.

I can’t wait for the Character Builder to incorporate these changes, allowing for Dwarves with strength bonuses, powered-up Fireballs and Burning Hands, more effective Great Fortitude/Lightning Reflexes/Iron Will, and the new Human racial power Heroic Effort.

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Keep on the Shadowfell: The Party

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Character generation guidelines

1) Choose five characters, evenly distributed among the various Toho games. For example, even if I had some good ideas for how to translate Momiji, Hina, and Kanako, I could only choose one of them, because they’re all from the same game.

2) The characters have to be legal first-level characters under the 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons rules. Some Toho characters, like Kanako, Sakuya, and Mokou, would not really be themselves if I had to nerf their power down to Level 1. The Paladin power “Tower of Faith” (a must for Kanako) isn’t available until Level 15; “Time Stop” (an integral part of Sakuya’s identity) isn’t available until Level 22, and Mokou’s immortality (represented by the Undying Warrior’s ultimate power, “Spontaneous Resurrection”) isn’t available until the highest possible level, 30. Thus, the characters I chose are not very high up on the Toho power rankings.

3) For gameplay purposes, there has to be at least one character in each of the four roles: Defender, Striker, Leader, and Controller. A party without someone to cover each of the four roles is much less likely to survive.

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Keep on the Shadowfell (Eastern Style)

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

I’ve been on summer break for a few weeks now, but I’ve still had my day job to deal with. But now, I get a week of actual vacation in which I go to Chicago and visit my parents and other relatives. I’ve been going back and forth about whether I should be continuing Fairy Ring while I’m away, but not having my tablet or my scanner makes things somewhat difficult. I may work on sketches and stuff, or I might not. Depends on how much stuff I have to do.

I’ve prepared a series of posts for next week though:

Because I’m missing next week’s session of Dungeons & Dragons Encounters over at my local game store, I’ll make up for it by demonstrating an actual combat encounter from a D&D module I own, complete with an annotated map and tokens.

Keep on the Shadowfell is about a keep, or fortress, built to seal a gate to the dark dimension known as the Shadowfell. The fortress was inhabited by soldiers and priests whose mission was to watch the gate, keep it sealed, and keep away evildoers who would seek to unseal the gate and summon the evil creatures of the Shadowfell into the world. But the evil priest Kalarel and his minions took over the keep, and now a team of heroes must enter the keep and defeat Kalarel before he figures out how to unseal the gate.

The first encounter in Keep on the Shadowfell involves the five heroes (Half-Elf Cleric, Dwarf Fighter, Human Wizard, Halfling Rogue, and Dragonborn Paladin) fighting a group of lizardlike Kobolds on their way to Winterhaven, the town closest to the fortress.


Example of a turn during a combat encounter

However, to keep things relevant for my readers, I have replaced the five heroes with five Toho heroines, each converted into Level 1 Dungeons and Dragons characters. (Which means they aren’t all that powerful and don’t have the ability to fly, but I have tried to be faithful in the conversions otherwise.)

You can see the characters on the map shot, but I will show their stats tomorrow. (You could get a headstart by looking in the appropriate image folder, but you wouldn’t get the writeups.)

Returning to the Shattered Lands

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

After my attempt at playing Dungeons and Dragons last spring was foiled by homework, I decided to sign up for the summer season of Encounters. This summer’s campaign, Fury of the Wastewalker, features the unforgiving desert world of Athas, defiled by magic and lit by a Dark Sun.

The titular Dark Sun may not be as bright as a normal sun, but it is certainly as hot as one. The reason Athas is a desert is because arcane magic, used by wizards and sorcerers, drains the life force out of the surrounding nature when used, causing plants to wither, water to turn to silt, and soil to parch and lose its fertility. The tyrannical sorcerer-kings who rule most of the Athasian city-states used vast amounts of magic to build their empires, and the planet suffered as a result. Sorcerers became known as Defilers, because of the effect they had on nature. They were feared and hated, but their power was so great that no one could challenge them.

Some creatures on the planet learned to adapt to the new, harsher world. The monsters of Athas are much tougher and deadlier than their counterparts in other fantasy worlds, with thickened hides, razor-sharp claws, corrosive venom, armored carapaces, and superhuman resistance to the elements. In order to survive, the humanoid races became tougher as well. Those who refused to bow to the sorcerer-kings learned to wander the wastes and make the best use of limited natural resources. Those who lived in the city-states were often toughened by the abuse they suffered, or the crimes that ran rampant, or being forced into gladiatorial combat in the sorcerer-kings’ arenas. Since the gods had abandoned the world, in order to challenge the stronger monsters and the magic-using Defilers, many people evolved to be able to alter reality with their minds alone – becoming psychic power users, or espers.

Everything else just died.

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Returning to the Forgotten Realms

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Dungeons & Dragons Encounters, which started this spring, is a program started by Wizards of the Coast in cooperation with local game stores that organizes people to play Dungeons & Dragons. My local game store, Blue Highway Games, is participating in this program. Every other Wednesday, from 6:30-9:30 PM, a bunch of Dungeon Masters go to the store to run the module Halaster’s Lost Apprentice for any players who want to drop by. One of the DMs at Blue Highway Games is none other than Erik Scott de Bie, the author of the module himself. Yesterday, April 28, was the fourth session of the program.

Having bought the core rulebooks back in 2008 when they first came out, I was unable to find a group to play with… that is, until now. Of course, my current hell schedule prevented me from attending yesterday’s session, which kind of puts me behind in experience points. I wonder how they deal with the sudden absence of a character? The four-person party that I was in was not DM’d by Scott de Bie, but by one of the Blue Highway staff, Max Reichlin. In Halaster’s Lost Apprentice, a group of adventurers is recruited by a wealthy noblewoman whose uncle, a noted wizard, wants to retrieve ritual components from the recently discovered underground workshop of another wizard, who was supposedly an apprentice of the mysterious archmage, Halaster.

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