Here ye here ye, come one come all and let the Middle-Aged DM try and stomp your balls. That’s right Fan Expo is next week from August 25th to 28th and I will be running two D&D 4th Edition games. Fan Expo is the big deal convention in downtown Toronto Canada that has burgeoned over the years into a massive cornucopia of comic, sci-fi, anime, and gaming goodness. Yours truly graciously offered to run 2 slots (August 26th and 27th, 11:00am to 3:30pm) out of the goodness of my heart. The free pass to the convention that just happens accompany running 2 slots had nothing to do with my generous offer I can assure you.
I will be running “The Fire Within”, which is an introductory adventure for a new living campaign that is being promoted at Fan Expo called “Living Divine”. The campaign is set in a homebrewed setting and the basic gist is that you have a spark of divinity within you, a god living among men. As you progress throughout the campaign and your power increases you gather followers and build an empire.
My first impression, at a quick glance, is that the concept is an intriguing story and premise for a campaign, particularly with 4th edition D&D where at the epic tier you are quite god-like and well….epic. What I am not really sure about is how it will actually play out at the table. For example, at each level your character chooses a “divine trait” which is essentially a power, ability or talent that is meant to illustrate your growing divinity. While cool and flavorful story wise, my concern is the level of power creep that this creates. I think PC’s are already overpowered and hard to challenge as is without adding extra bling to the mix. In a similar vein, I also noticed that the villain/monster stats are pre-Monster Manual 3 leaving them a little underwhelming in the damage and threat department. This has the potential to result in a bit of a snore fest, similar to a lot of the early LFR adventures. But don’t worry, if you are planning on sitting at my table as I obviously pimped the damage to more respectable levels. You see, I don’t like to be hindered or stymied in my attempted ball stomping. I haven’t had a chance to really look deeply at the mechanics for having followers or the mass combat so I can’t really comment too much on that, but cursory glance appears to be more of the same in terms of adding power the more followers you have. There is also a mechanic called “Divine Manifestation”, were the DM, after the adventure can dub your character with an a adjective that is meant to exemplify an important action your character takes or way they behave during the adventure, which then physically manifests in your appearance. for example, say you do something that is kind of douchey, the DM at the end of the adventure can dub you “Evil”. Every time you level you put all these key words into a hat (not making this shit up honestly) and roll a d20, if it is 15 or higher you pull a keyword out and take on that manifestation. If you pull evil “when you laugh, you scare small children. Unconsciously, you often rub your hands together conspiratorially”
Overall, Living Divine seems like a interesting home campaign and not something you should necessarily subject the public at large to. For my tastes, if I am going to participate in a D&D living campaign I want it to be set in one of their worlds such as the Forgotten Realms or Dark Sun like the more recent living Campaign “Ashes of Ashes”. There are also a lot of fiddly bits for both the DM and players to manage in a system that is already high on fiddly bits to manage,while adding to power creep and bloat. that being said, I don’t think I will run or play in this living campaign after Fan Expo, unless their is cool swag to be had as the Middle-Aged DM can be easily bought with shinny baubles.
So if you want to roll some dice bring your best 1st level character and let’s tango. You can find the specific character creation guidelines here as there are some limitations and extra powers that are specific to the campaign or you can use one of the pre-generated characters which I promise I won’t make too full of suck. Don’t worry, if you just want to bring a regular old character I won’t turn you away.