I am introducing a new segment here called “State of the Gaming”. Basically these posts will cover, in a rambling beatnikish incoherent style, what I am playing or thinking of playing and will be done on a haphazard and infrequent manor. I know what you’re thinking, “how is this any different than what you usually do”. Well, all I have to say to that is…touché sir.
I am currently playing in the first module of Chris Perkins’ 4th Edition update of the classic AD&D G-series “Against the Giant’s”. The module is a pretty good rendition of the original and I am prepping to run the second adventure (although this one focuses on the stone giants who were left pout of the original series). It looks like we are going to complete the adventure without taking an extended rest or having a character drop below zero hit points. I don’t think we are overly optimized (no radiant mafia bull shit) but are definitely well put together pc’s. So this has spurred a bit of a debate as to whether it is too easy or not enough challenge and should we gimp our characters. I personally don’t have an issue with it because I enjoy feeling like a big man in my fantasy life; it’s kind of why I play these things in the first place. I don’t find the lack of challenge boring at all; there are still plenty of interesting tactical decisions and dick jokes to be made. Looking at the encounter design it seems like this is the way the game was probably meant to be played, with their trying to move away from the 5 minute workday in all. In most of our home games whether it’s me or one of the other DM’s I play with you could never go this long without an extended rest. That’s because we usually over level encounters, despite players probably not caring about a lack of challenge, as a reaction to feeling impotent in the face of their pownage. I am also playing in a 4th edition D&D superhero mash up game as Clint “Hawk Guy” Martin. I modeled him after Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye title (which is probably one of the best comic books out there these days). Mechanically he is a hybrid bow ranger/monk. You can also check out my fighter Carl Laggerbelly, a sword and board fighter that makes a living by building auto-erotic asphyxiation contraptions, who I am playing in the Giants game.
I finally finished reading the DC adventures rule book and I am feeling a little hesitant about running it. The game itself is a very crunchy d20 based system. I am having a little trouble with the lack of hit points or their equivalence in the system. If you haven’t read the system, basically all attack outcomes are conditions based, whether that’s Superman punching you in the breadbasket or Zatanna turning you into a frog. It shakes out like this, when you attack someone you roll against the appropriate defense (will, parry, toughness etc..). If you hit then then they make a saving throw against the attack to determine the effect. If they succeed then usually nothing happens and if they fail a condition is applied based on the attack power and degree you failed the saving throw by. This seems a little cumbersome to me and I am leery about keeping track of multiple conditions and their effects at the table (it is one of my least favorite aspects of D&D 4th Edition). I kind of prefer things to be a little more straight forward like in Hero System with their Stun, Endurance, and Body to keep track of damage and effects in combat. I am still trying to decide how to approach running the system and whether I will make a small location and populate it with some different factions or download the free introductory adventure from Green Ronin Publishing. If I know anything about myself, I will probably end up choosing the option that is most painful and punishing to me. Any suggestions?