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Edric O

Dungeons and Dune: Gob's Dungeon

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So... MSN or YIM? I'd prefer MSN, but does YIM have die-rolling functions? I don't remember MSN having any.

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Ok, I guess we're using MSN, since most people seem to prefer it. I don't think it has any dice rolling functions, but I have a dice rolling program on my computer that I can email to you or send via MSN.

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Actually, if ya get MSN plus, you can grab some add-ons that add dice rolling features, or you could roll a dice yourself and just write the output out yourself.

The campaign looks like quite fun, good luck with it :)

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Ok, I will answer people who try to guess who the statues were, but only if they put their answers in hide tags.

Correct!

Wrong...

But the question is, can you play, Nema? :)

Do you mean that you personally can't use YIM, or that there's some feature of it that means my plan wouldn't work? In any case, we could use MSN, or the FED2k chatroom for that matter.

The rules are a bit complicated, but the basic premise is this: You build a character that has certain stats and abilities. Then you play the role of that character (hence the term "role-playing game") in an interactive story. For combat or challenging tasks, you use your character's stats and some dice rolling to determine what happens. It's basically an interactive story where you play the hero and must abide by certain rules (so that you're not too powerful).

Thanks for telling me Edric O, just one thing, what's with the riddle type things?

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Thanks for telling me Edric O, just one thing, what's with the riddle type things?

Err, what about the riddle type things? I mean, yes, some campaigns have riddles and puzzles - in fact mine will probably have them too - but it's usually just a matter of "solve the riddle to get through that door." Very straightforward. It's either that, or using riddles and prophecies to set a mysterious atmosphere. :)

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As much as I'd like to participate, I'm afraid I don't have any rulebooks. I vaguely familiar with the concept of D&D, but have never been able to expand on it, due to no D&D players in my environment.

Loved the riddles though, Edric.

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No rulebooks? Have no fear! I happen to have copies of all the core books in pdf format. IM me for further details. :)

Also, I've filled in my MSN address in my profile now. So let's see, we have the following people interested in this campaign so far:

Nema Fakei

Dragoon Knight

Vanguard

gunner154

Dunenewt (maybe; must learn to play)

It looks like we got ourselves a party!

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Perhaps for my benefit, and to get Timenn and others to play, we could have a few practise sessions before we play the real thing?

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I think in such games, it's harder to be the dungeon master than to be a player character. Players can generally take "bigger is better" to be true, while the DM has to figure all the arithmetic out.

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Right, being the DM is nearly always harder - but then again, you get to control the whole fictional universe, so the job comes with perks. :)

Newt, this whole campaign is supposed to be one big practice session, essentially. Even veteran D&D players will have to get used to the whole play-via-online-chatroom thing. So don't worry about it, I won't make things difficult.

Having said that, I think we should dive straight into character creation, which can be done on the forum.

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Well, if you don't mind me learning along the way, I would like to join in.

Perhaps Dunenewt was referring to just one or two practice combats.

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Are we sticking to 3.5, or an adaptation? Are we going to be using standard D&D classes?

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We are sticking to 3.5, and we will be using standard classes (though if you want to get a more exotic character class from an obscure source book you are welcome to do so; but I will only explain the standard classes for Dunenewt and Timenn's benefit).

Ok, I will now go through the basics of character creation. To create a character, you need to fill out a character sheet - a two-sided form with all your character's stats. I will email pdf copies of the character sheets we'll be using to every player. It's probably best if you print them and fill them out in pencil, then send the information to me in some form (e.g. IM me with a list of the stats, or scan the sheet, or take a high-res picture of it).

Now, for the sake of the newbies, I have to cover some basic concepts that you need to know in order to fill out the various stats on the character sheets:

Race and class

You must choose your race - either human, which is the default, or one of 6 other standard player races, each of whom comes with certain advantages and disadvantages compared to humans. Those 6 other races are: Elf, Half-Elf, Dwarf, Halfling, Gnome and Half-Orc. I'll go over the details about them in another post.

You must also choose your class, which is your character's profession (all of these professions are focused on battle, their differences lying chiefly in their different forms of combat - melee warriors, spellcasters, support troops, that sort of thing). There are 11 standard classes: Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Wizard. I will go over the details about them in another post as well, since you need to know other concepts before I can explain what each class does.

Levels

Your character's power is measured in levels. To advance from one level to the next you need to gain experience points (XP). You gain XP by killing enemies, solving problems, and doing difficult stuff in general. When you gain a new level, several things happen: Your base attack bonus increases (basically meaning that you are better at hitting your target; how much better depends on your class), you gain skill points (see below), and sometimes you get new ability points, feats or spells (again, see below). Your total number of hit points also increases. To determine how many new hitpoints you gain with a new level, you roll a die called the "hit die." Each class has a different hit die - so for example barbarians roll 1d12 while wizards roll 1d4.

Abilities

The most important attributes of your character are his or her abilities. Ability scores are used all the time for just about everything you do. There are 6 abilities: Strength (STR), Dexterity (DEX), Constitution (CON), Wisdom (WIS), Intelligence (INT) and Charisma (CHA).

Strength and Dexterity are self-explanatory.

Constitution measures your ability to take punishment - it affects your hit points and it determines if you can survive poison, disease, various curses and the like. Consider it your main "defence stat."

Wisdom and Intelligence both measure brain power, but there is a difference between them. Intelligence refers to your amount of knowledge, and stuff you can learn from books in general. Wisdom refers to your "common sense" and your ability to use logic. So, for example, the stereotypical absent-minded scientist has high intelligence and low wisdom. A cunning but uneducated street thief has high wisdom and low intelligence.

Charisma measures the impact you have on other people. It is a combination of things like force of personality, eloquent speech and physical attractiveness. Basically, the higher your charisma, the more other people like you.

The average human being has a score of 10 for all ability scores. Every ability score comes with a "modifier." The modifier measurer how far above (or below) average your character is, and therefore the modifer is the thing that gets used all the time to improve (or hurt) your chances of using a certain ability well. The modifier for each ability score is calculated as follows:

Modifier = (Your ability score - 10) / 2

So, for example, if you have a score of 14, the modifier is 2. If you have a score of 15, the modifier is still 2 (they get rounded down). If you have a score of 16, the modifier is 3.

Skills

Skills measure how good you are at doing various non-combat things (and some special combat moves as well, but they are mostly for non-combat purposes). There are many skills - examples include appraise (your ability to judge the value of objects and get good prices from merchants), concentration (vital for spellcasters), hide, move silently (vital for stealth), spot, listen (to detect someone hiding or moving silently), set trap, disable trap, diplomacy, climb, swim, ride... and so on and so forth.

Whenever you attempt to do something that is associated to a certain skill, you roll 1d20, add an ability modifier (for example charisma for diplomacy) and then add your skill points in that particular skill. You gain skill points when you level up (the exact number depends on your class and your intelligence), and you can add them to a certain skill to make your character more adept with that skill.

Say, for example, that you are trying to persuade a judge that you are innocent. You use your diplomacy skill - let's say your 1d20 roll comes out as 12. Then you add your charisma modifier (let's say 3, because your charisma score is 17) and the skill points you've put into diplomacy (let's say 5). Your final diplomacy check is therefore 20. That's pretty good. Whether it's good enough to succeed depends on the judge's own diplomacy check.

*** More to come later ***

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Edric, I have been reading up on some of the basics, including your notes. I think I can manage the character sheet, but I do have a few questions before I decide on a class (which determines the kind of character I will play).

Magic - I understand you must prepare spells before you can cast them. You select the spells you want before resting (choices are bound to a couple of rules). But what effect has resting on the gameplay? Will I see the party leave without me because it takes too long for me to prepare, or is it something easily done between combats?

Spells - It seems that casting spells requires quite some effort, is it worth it? It's my experience from games that spells are usually underpowered (by fear of overpowering them) compared to melee/ranged combat. But is this different?

It all comes to whether it is adviceable for a first time player to pick a Magic user class, or stick to more of a fighter type (which I don't mind btw).

A few practical issues:

How would we deal with the time difference and availability of players? The time zones seem to range from +2 (Edric) to -5 (Vanguard) (Not counting DST)

Must everyone be present in order to be able to play?

How to display stuff like characters sheets and combat grids? We could use the wiki for that, it can easily be edited by all players, and it allows for some formatting. Unless you want to do all the administrative work on your own ofcourse.

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More accurately, Neverwinter Nights was a game that used the DnD system.

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Edric, I have been reading up on some of the basics, including your notes. I think I can manage the character sheet, but I do have a few questions before I decide on a class (which determines the kind of character I will play).

There are three basic ways to use magic in D&D: Wizard style, Cleric style and Sorcerer style.

Wizard style: You must learn and prepare spells (but you have access to a wide variety of powerful spells). The fact that you have to learn spells means that if, for example, you gain the ability to cast 3rd level spells, you do not have instant access to all 3rd level wizard spells. Rather, you have a number of spells you can learn every time you level up, and you can also learn spells from scrolls that you find or buy. The fact that you have to prepare spells means that you have a number of spell slots per day, and at the beginning of each day you must decide which spells to put in those slots. So, for example if you have five slots for 3rd level spells, you can fill them with five different spells from the list of the ones you've learned, and you can then cast each of those spells once that day. Or you can fill all the slots with the same spell and be able to cast it five times that day. Or you can mix and match.

Cleric style: You must prepare spells but you don't have to learn them (and you have access to less powerful spells than a wizard). The cleric style is actually used not only by the cleric, but also by the druid and two classes with minor magical ability (paladin and ranger). You must prepare spells like a wizard, but you don't have to learn them. Once you gain access to 3rd level spells, you can prepare and use any 3rd level spell you want. You don't have to learn them one by one as you level up or find scrolls.

Sorcerer style: You must learn spells but you don't have to prepare them (and you have access to the same list of spells as the wizard). Like wizards, sorcerers must learn their spells when they level up (but only when they level up - unlike wizards, sorcerers can't learn from scrolls). This means that the variety of spells you can cast as a sorcerer is very limited compared to a wizard or cleric. But, in exchange, you don't have to prepare your spells in advance. If you have five slots for 3rd level spells, you can decide right in the middle of combat how you are going to use those slots and what spells you are going to cast. This is called "spontaneous casting." Bards also use the same system.

Magic - I understand you must prepare spells before you can cast them. You select the spells you want before resting (choices are bound to a couple of rules). But what effect has resting on the gameplay? Will I see the party leave without me because it takes too long for me to prepare, or is it something easily done between combats?

Well, resting is usually done between sessions. So if you are a wizard or cleric (or druid or paladin or ranger) you basically pick your spells at the beginning of the session.

On the other hand, the party can also agree to stop somewhere in the middle of a session and camp for the night, which would let you recharge your spells. But it's not something you can do casually between battles.

Note for those who played Neverwinter Nights: That game did let you rest casually between battles, but most spells were also underpowered compared to pen & paper, and it was designed so that a single spellcaster could stand on his own (whereas in pen & paper a low-level wizard or sorceror doesn't really stand a chance without companions).

Spells - It seems that casting spells requires quite some effort, is it worth it? It's my experience from games that spells are usually underpowered (by fear of overpowering them) compared to melee/ranged combat. But is this different?

It all comes to whether it is adviceable for a first time player to pick a Magic user class, or stick to more of a fighter type (which I don't mind btw).

Actually, most D&D spells are quite powerful. The main limitation is that you can cast relatively few of them in a day.

I would not recommend a major spellcasting class (wizard, sorcerer, cleric or druid) for a beginner, because casting spells requires all sorts of rules that you don't have to worry about otherwise. A minor spellcasting class (paladin, ranger or bard) might be fine, though. Paladins and rangers in particular have very weak magical abilities and you can easily play one without ever using your spells at all.

A few practical issues:

How would we deal with the time difference and availability of players? The time zones seem to range from +2 (Edric) to -5 (Vanguard) (Not counting DST)

I can stay up late... Though the biggest problem will not be accomodating Vanguard, but  accomodating gunner, who is all the way in Singapore.

Must everyone be present in order to be able to play?

A majority of the party must be present. It's okay if one or two people are missing (though they will be missing out on the fun, the treasure and the XP).

How to display stuff like characters sheets and combat grids? We could use the wiki for that, it can easily be edited by all players, and it allows for some formatting. Unless you want to do all the administrative work on your own ofcourse.

Well, I'm going to have you fill out character sheets and tell me what you wrote so I can make copies for myself. As for combat grids, that's a bit tricky - I suggested using some drawing feature in MSN to handle that (though re-drawing a grid every time would be a pain - maybe we could do without one altogether and just use approximate distances).

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I thought PnP doesn't have a combat grid? I don't remember the presence of any "movement points" like Warhammer measuring distances.

Eh, since the timing is being a big issue for my side, I could easily pull out. But aren't you in Romania? I'm just 5 hours ahead of you.

Unless you're somewhere else.

Well, I'm quite familiar with spellcasting in Neverwinter Nights, though I don't know how qualified a spellcaster I would be based on that in this game.

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You don't really need combat grids as such, it can all be controlled by description, although the DM would need detailed maps/grids and to keep of party placement for combat rounds.

Low level magic users are extremely weak in D&D and generally protected by the rest of the party but they are generally needed to provide the intellect for the group.

what format do you generally use for character creation edric0 as there are several variants?

Do you do the straight forward 3 6s dice and then pick which attribute it attached too or do you do the set throw and allow adjustment or the 4 6s dice lose the lowest number no adjustment etc

How you create the character stats often effects what your going to play both race and class wise.

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