A Dungeons and Dragons Documentary

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Wereweasel
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Post by Wereweasel » Thu Dec 07, 2006 11:16 pm

jackattack,

This information will make a notable improvement in the descriptive quality and subtle delivery throughout my game.

And yes, I will follow up on the links as well.

Many thanks.

Steve

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jackattack
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Post by jackattack » Thu Dec 07, 2006 9:20 am

You may find that detailing crypts is a tricky business. My archaeology elective used tombstones as an example of how differing influences occur at differing times -- over a hundred or so years, there were three distinct trends in headstones in America alone. I suspect you will find that time, region, culture, and environment/weather are all factors in how crypts are constructed, decorated, and naturally aged.

What do you mean by dust?

Household dust is comprised of very fine fibers from clothing and carpets and pets, dead skin cells, pollen, and minute particles of biological matter. If your crypt has nothing exposed but stonework, then there will be (at most) a fine layer of dust; if the crypt has lots of tapestries, and bodies lying exposed on stone tablets, then there will probably be quite a lot of dust. If the crypt is hermetically sealed (no insects, plants, molds, or bacteria to speak of) then there won't be a lot of dust; if it is home to a thriving ecosystem, then plenty of dust (and decay, and droppings).

Dust can also be particles of dirt, sand, and stone. If the crypt is well-constructed (no gaps or breaks to the outside, stable structurally and geologically) there won't be much dust; if the crypt has holes to the outside, or settling and tremors causing debris to shake loose from the ceiling, there will be lots of dust. Dry (desert) environments are notorious for dust -- it gets EVERYWHERE! Construction will also be a factor here. The thicker the walls (more layers of stonework) and the fewer seams, the less dust will likely settle. A crypt carved into solid granite will have little dust, a crypt made of sandstone blocks will have more.

For insects and basics of human decay, try:
http://www.kathyreichs.com/entomology.htm
http://users.skynet.be/lilith/english/deathtodust.html
http://members.tripod.com/csi-playingwi ... cience.htm
These were found in a ten-minute search at AskJeeves.

However, I have found that letting the story drive the effects often makes for better play than letting the effects drive the story.

(My starfleet captain died because I couldn't flash-freeze him (for later revival) in the vacuum of space -- heat dispersal is actually very difficult in vacuum, you see, and it was more important to keep things realistic than it was to allow my character to live.)

If you want the body to be perfectly preserved, then put a spell on it. If you want your characters to have to look around to find an item or an inscription, then put a thick layer of dust on everything. If you want to have the players roll saving throws against nausea, make the dead body stink. If you want to foreshadow the giant beetles that live two levels down, populate the first level with lots of regular beetles. If you want the characters to contract a long-dormant disease or other infection, put lots of mold and dust and wet scum all over the crypt. And so on.

One nod to realism I will make, however, is this: mechanical traps in ancient tombs don't reset themselves -- unless somebody comes in to reset them, they go off once and that's it. If you want a trap that goes off every time someone walks by, either stack the traps (multiple instances of the same trap to create "charges") or come up with some reason that the trap resets itself (a tension spring that was wound up before the tomb was sealed, flowing water operating gears that move all of the pieces back into position, whatever).
Favorite Pieces: Chasms, 45 Degree Passages, River & Lava Banks, Ledges, Large Curved Walls, Elevation Arch

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Post by Wereweasel » Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:03 am

THOTH,


Your campaigns sound as if they are full of remarkable details and have a level of authenticity rarely found together -in equal measure.

Admittedly, technical detailing of crypts, ruins and exotic locales is the one area I could truly enhance my DMing most noticably.

With having notable (or formal) exposure to anthopology, might I ask for a bit of advise on reference material?

Essentially I would to know of any useful texts that would provide insight, including minute details of crypts/ruins etc.

For example:

Does dust collect in sealed crypts? When, what type of insects may be found? Decay, how long do skeletal, wood, metal, various provisions and leather/fabric items last in various environs etc.

For me, having a reference point for these questions would be of considerable interest to me and would enhance my games significantly.


BTW,

In addition, if there is reference material of this sort in any edition of the AD&D books (or another gaming system), I would really appreciate a tip on any of those as well.

Thanks.

Steve

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Post by THOTH » Sat Dec 02, 2006 6:00 pm

Steve/Wereweasel - I agree/hear ya. And I always try to simplify where possible - though I've done a spell excursion (not yet complete - though I often use it in part - to test it out) that shares a great deal (in certain aspects of the practicle approach to casting spells) with the Ars Magica magic system. I call it my true magic system and I wanted it to reflect as much as possible how magic is - more or less - actually supposed to work. I didn't so much intend it that it would be like Ars magic - and its not exactly at all the same - but does share many chracteristics. I have been very influenced in my time by the Earthsea books (true names/summoning/elemental magic etc), I'm a huge Moorcock fan - so Elric and summoning magic and invoking powerful gods/demons etc is pervasive in my system, I'm also a big fan of Tim Powers and have incorporated some aspects of his approach to magic. And I'd be curious if anyone is familiar with a set of 3 books writtn by a fellow called Lyndon Hardy? Master of Five Magics, Riddle of the 7 realms and Secret of the Sixth Magic. These books contain a fantasitc approach to magic and meta-magic that I just love (and have more-or-less incorporated aspects of). I'm also a big fan of shamanistic stuff - though I can't say I've fully (yet) incorporated such into the mainstream part of my game (though I do have shamanastic type chraracters & NPCs) Many people have described my (world) campaign as something akin to Indiana Jones - where the players are off searching for lost spells and hidden magic in various faerie, infernal and magical realms or sifting through the remains of destroyed civilizations looking for items and/or rare elements or herbs or such that they need for certain powerful spells and rituals. I also rely heavily on my background in history and anthropology and have crafted a number of (human/humanoid) races/civilizations that have very distinct magic systems (& unique character classes) and I'm still working quite a bit on fleshing these out. I even have quite a history of wars, colonizations, blendings and exiles etc. Perhaps one day I'll quit my day job and write some books!

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Post by Kradlo » Fri Dec 01, 2006 7:10 pm

I'm one of the old guard that's been playing D&D since 1977. Actually, I started in '76 with Tunnels & Trolls, then called the "poor man's D&D," because D&D was three booklets for $10, while Tunnels & Trolls was one booklet for $3.

Personally, I feel that the current edition is substantially better than previous ones. They've done a great deal to make the game move and play the way I prefer. The designers actually listened to players and playtesters, and the game has evolved well. If I find a rule here or there with which I disagree, I'm free to house rule otherwise for my campaign, as can any good GM.

I won't denigrate anyone for their preferences to previous editions - to each their own. But this is the edition I prefer. I have my big brushed steel D20 (which I got for Iron Heroes), and love to let it roll - in a Chaosium dice corral, so it doesn't roll overy my carefully painted minis.

Whatever you like play, have fun doing it. That's what really counts, after all.
Make Mine Master Maze!

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Post by jkratzer » Fri Dec 01, 2006 2:44 pm

Guys;

I gotta admit, when I DM a game, I mostly run with 'What's fun?' rather than rigidly adhere to any ONE set of rules. I USUALLY run with 3E, because that's what I started with and am most familiar with, but if AD&D, or even 1E sneaks in, oh, well...
Of course, there are the non-D&D goodies that crop up under D20OGL, such as DragonStar and D20 Modern. Also, ADB has the new Prime Directive sets out, and someone else has Babylon5 stuff coming around in D20, and Ad Astra has threatened us with Honor Harrington Universerse stuff, which is one of my VERY FAVORITE fictional universes. Plus, Eric Flint has his 1632 universe, which is EXTREMELY susceptible to D20 interpretation.

Okay, I admit it; I'm a pretty ECLECTIC gamer. So shoot me - but YOU figure out what you're going to shoot me with!

See ya!

Jim

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Post by Bossman » Fri Dec 01, 2006 1:48 pm

Hits to Kill

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Post by Harneloot » Fri Dec 01, 2006 10:07 am

And i thought i was an old-school grognard...

What is HTK?

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Post by Wereweasel » Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:38 pm

THOTH,

It sounds as if our approach to running a game and the results are almost identical.

My DMing goal is always to ensure a creative, enjoyable, challenging, intriguing and "sensible" scenario.

Any redundancies that essentially detract from these goals were "weeded-out" in my style years ago. An added bonus of this strategy is that things like "party initiative rolls" can now be dealt with on an individual, as needed basis.

By applying creative interperetation of many aspects of the games I run, (including character history and spell range/AOE) I empower my players to contribute more to the game and to take greater risks at the same time.

I have tried the later edition and although I stopped using it after a test run, I do believe they are very well-suited for those who prefer a more "structured" style of gameplay. I'll leave it at that.

BTW, my expanded, custom character sheets still have H.T.K: on them. Does anyone else use that, or am I the only die-hard/relic left in that regard.

Steve

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Post by Celtchief » Thu Nov 30, 2006 7:19 pm

Heya Jim!

Use away! I think it's mostly the product of my cold, but let errr rip!

My sister runs a Star Trek game everyonce in a while... and we use the new CODA game. It's pretty cool... don't get hit by a phaser though!

Robert

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