Easter and its effect on the future of my gaming.

Well, yesterday was Easter, and I hope everyone got their fill of family, fun, and candy.
The main thing I got on Easter was a gameday that featured alot of odd flaking by some of the players, which led to the rest of us who had the time to game high and dry, even though we had multiple possible games crop up then fade just as soon.
I'm not going to fault anyone here, because sometimes, things just happen. However, over lunch with Paul yesterday, I hashed out a contingency plan for just this sort of instance.
I had the idea of pregenerating some characters, and then when we ran short on players, to pull them out and play a one-shot adventure with them, but each one shot would be linked into a larger campaign whose ramifications might never come about...if it's only played a few times, then the players might never piece it together.
I decided I'm going to go with this campaign model for those side games...

  • d20 Modern: Dark Matter/Urban Arcana - I Got This Job Through A Temporal Service
Just beyond the normal perceptions of mortal ken lie things that would drive most men mad. You've seen these things, or claim to have, and that has brought the notice of others upon you. Various organizations deal with such matters through different means and each are desperate for recruits. Do you think you can hold up to some of the things you'll see in the field? As shown in the title, this will be a d20 Modern campaign supplemented with Urban Arcana and Dark Matter rules to bring in various paranormal occurances/beings.
Inspired (by that, I mean almost completely ganked) by this post by Jeff Rients.

...and I'm in the process of conceptualizing the characters as I type this. I think I will make one character of each type (Fast, Strong, etc.) and when the game is played, I will hand them out randomly (likely determined by dicing) to decrease the chance of anyone playing the same character twice in a row.
This will serve to keep the game fresher without making it feel like yet another campaign that the players have to invest much in, when they won't always be playing the same character over and over.

More Games I'd Like to Run

Just to let you know, I've appended my list of games I'd like to run with two more. You can find the post here.


A few quick facts about my Khardtha setting and some thoughts.

Here's a few preliminary "facts" about the setting and some thoughts on how to incorporate (if need be) the story into the 4th Edition rules. Please keep in mind that I was 16/17 and pretty much brand new to gaming when I started creation of the world, and all my work on the world is in the original form, which may be kinda trite.

1. Khardtha was created by Khard, who resembled (while living) a mortal planeswalker akin to the kind detailed in Magic: The Gathering.
I don't feel this has to change, but I don't think I'm going to give this information out as freely as in the past. PCs may never learn this fact.

2. The Gods are all ascended mortals and, as a result, are all closely tied to, and very meddlesome in, the Prime Material Plane.
I think I'm going to push the deities away from mortal affairs some, making them seem more lofty and unreachable than in the past, though they will still work behind the scenes and may even make appearances.
In the past, all the Gods had domains on Khardtha, small pockets where their divine might was absolute. With the newer, condensed cosmology and my decision to make the powers more aloof, I think I will move them out to planes that make more sense for them. (e.g., Karthoth, god of death, would now reside in the Shadowfell)

3. The Gods are not all powerful immortals.
I like this, and I'm going to keep it. Khard himself, wasn't an all-powerful overgod, by any means, and the power he bestowed onto those he ascended is far from the all-encompassing power of Corellon Larethian, Moradin, etc.
Every deity is an ascended mortal, and many still act much as they did in their natural life...no matter how petty that may have been. Also, these gods CAN be killed.

4. 100 years ago, a War of the Schools threatened to destroy magic as we know it.
I love this war now! The original idea behind it was to introduce monsters I had hashed together or found in odd products or odd player-created PC races that made no sense in context or weren't in any TSR/WotC book. The war also explained how various really wacky things could be retconned into the game as far as magics, monsters, etc., all the while producing a viable reason why there were specialist wizards and why they dropped certain schools.

5. Psionics came to Khardtha when the Illithids first brought their city-ships into the world's orbit.
I used to ban psionics from my game because I didn't ever take the time to learn the systems for it. When I finally relented, I decided there had to be a reason for it...that reason was the Mind Flayers.
All over the world, large flying objects, resembling giant slabs of polished marble appeared in the sky, cloaked to the perceptions of all the inhabitants of Khardtha. The longer the slabs, the city-ships of the Illithids, stayed in orbit, and the more psionic energy pouring into the atmosphere, the more some people began to feel something was happening. Latent psions, psychic warriors, and soul knives suddenly discovered powerful abilities within themselves.
Whole communities would sometimes come up missing as if everyone just walked away from what they were doing. Even stranger things began to happen, and those latents who began to control their abilities were finally able to see the ships, but everywhere they turned, they were dismissed by folk who couldn't percieve them.
The ships then "landed", phasing deep into the ground and then unleashing their hordes of Duergar, Svirfneblin, etc. War erupted, but not an open one. Still today, brave heroes push back the tide of those who would consume our very intelligence. This gave me a way to introduce the Mind Flayers and all the races associated with them, as well as psionics. I really like the idea, so I might not alter it. This would have happened thousands of years ago.

6. Almost every place detailed has a real-world or other-game counterpart.
I'm definitely going to change this. While it worked for a high school student who also had a job and wasn't too keen on wracking his brain to come up with unique cultures, etc., this doesn't work for the gamer I have become and while I might steal from certain cultures, no doubt, I want as little as possible to be recognizable immediately as something from X or Y.

7. The concepts of law and order are upheld almost everywhere, for the most part, by churches, law officials, and powerful companies of ex-adventurers.
I don't like this anymore. I didn't really like it when I made the rule, but my players complained alot of never having a bit of peace, even in the most well established cities with large forces of town guards. I relented then, to keep my players, but now it just leaves a bitter taste.
One of the first things I thought was cool about 4E was the concept of "Points of Light" that the designers had latched onto for civilization. This feel...this world where an oppressive "darkness" waits just on the edge of a tenuous law held within eyeshot of the settlements, maybe a little further, brings a feel to the game that I have wanted.
Furthermore, I want to incorporate more corruption into civil and ecclesiastic orders, and there really shouldn't be Sir Beatum Uppus, Ftr 15, around to steal the spotlight from the PCs.

8. The big guns: Dinosaurs/Prehistoric Creatures.
Yeah! In my original notes, Khardtha, having been spontaenously created and populated through magic, never suffered an Ice Age or anything and is inhabited by both Wooly Mammoths, etc. and Stegosaurs and their scaly kin. Prehistoric creatures have always been something I have been fascinated with and there was no way I could leave them out. This one's staying.
That's right, Eberron, it was my idea first!

So yeah...I'm way sleepy, and this stuff just was coming out. The last point isn't even a big one, but it kicks ass.
More on all this Khardtha/4E garbage to come!

The Odyssey Ever Continues: R.I.P. Arthur C. Clarke

Best known, likely, for 2001: A Space Odyssey, Clarke's work spans far more than just that screenplay and has been influential for years to many other sci-fi and fantasy authors, as well, I assume, as a multitude of gamers.

If you wanna include an homage to the man and his work, you could run a game on a vessel similar to the Odyssey or even throw in a nod by including a communications satellite, which he claimed was his idea, though he never pursued the patent and someone beat him to the punch.


Enter...The Well of Despair!

Paul, today, picked up DM chores with an old homebrew dungeon of his called The Well of Despair.
Here's a little backstory on the Well...shortly after I started playing under Paul, he whipped out a dungeon that he had been working on and sent us down into the thing. Nobody made it out alive. Skip through the years to the present day and I'm playing in the dungeon for the 8th time.

Normally, I would think people might get a little bored with this, but not me. You see....I've never had a character survive a Well campaign, and neither have any of my friends. This leaves so many questions unanswered as to what is really happening down there in that death trap, and I love it. I was way eager for this.

With our freshly minted 3rd level characters, the usual Sunday subjects (minus Dusty) rode into a sleepy little town on the fringes of our nation's lands. There, we find that they are hosting a great celebration and though we are looking for employment (having just been knighted, my character is eager to prove himself worthy of his status as knight-errant), we happily join in the festivities.

All this was soured, however, when we learned that this celebration wasn't just to give thanks for harvest...it was announced, to our horror, that one of the first people we met, a comely lass by the name of Marlynn, was sacrificing herself to honor a pact the village had made with would-be coquerors 2 centuries ago that promised them peace if they would simply give one virginal maid a year at a place called the Well, which is a 2 day ride from town.

It quickly became apparent that the council had grown tired of this agreement and have been seeking adventurers who have no formal ties to the city government to delve into the Well and gather information on who or what controls it and how to remove the town from the pact they had made. Since we were the "new guys" in town, we were quickly sought out and given many a gift (quite similar to bribes, really) to "help us on the way" if we were to go. Being mostly Lawful and Good, the party was appalled at the truth behind the apparent sacrifices and were more than willing to go, leaving our second day in town with much haste.

On the road during the day-long trip there, we were ambushed by a small group of goblins, whom we dispatched with no great trouble, though Kenny dropped. After finishing that fight and getting everyone back on their feet, we made our way to the location of the Well to discover that a sizable settlement had grown up around it. We all said short curses to the council of our departure point when a short recon showed us that the whole place was inhabited by nothing but goblins. Fearing the worst, but unwavering, Ricky Joe and I rode down into the village to speak with them, if we could, because we HAD to make it to the Well.

To our surprise, these goblins were not only helpful and kind, they were also grateful that we had rid the road of the goblin bandits plaguing the trade road between their town and the one from whence we had ridden. After acquiring some good from these good souls and waiting out a night or two in rest and preparation, we lowered into the Well...

...and our worst fears were soon to be realized. Ricky Joe's halfling was the first down and as he tread the water at the bottom of the area we descended into, a crocodile roughly the size of a horse bobbed up from under the water and attacked our small friend. I rushed down to help, followed quickly by Kenny and Josh M's characters, but also found myself facing another of the beasts. Things did not go well. Within moments, Ricky's character had died to drowning when his body finally shut down from being croco-chew-toy. Another couple of breaths and I was on the brink of suffering the same fate, but Josh jumped in and was able to save me right in the nick of time by killing the one that had begun to try drowning me. Kenny got me to safety while Josh tried, in vain, to save our poor halfling comrade.

Once the fight was done, Paul called the session and we discussed how much fun we had. Me, especially. This makes only the 3rd time I have made it past this encounter. Crocodiles in water are tough! I can't wait to move further in and (hopefully) discover things within that I have never seen before.

It's interesting to note that this version of the Well is the "official" version. Before, the site was sometimes in the town itself or otherwise protected in extreme ways that, themselves, caused death or maiming. I hope the game keeps up so that I can report more as I encounter it.

?? (? Warlock 3) - Kenny
?? (Halfling Rogue 3|Deceased) - Ricky Joe
?? (Dwarf Fighter 3) - Josh M.
Sir Jaden Ambrosius, Knight-Errant of the Order of the Wing (Human Fighter 2/Knight 1) - [Yeah, reused name. I was upset that Paul called Red Hand after just one session, so I reconcepted the character without the dragon slaying stuff]

Next week: The Drow War continues! Also coming soon, I'll be discussing my homebrew setting, Khardtha, and my preparations for its 4E makeover.

Gaming Worlds Collide!

Well...today it was stated officially...
Kenny, The Game Shop's owner, announced to the game group that he is hoping to sell out to Tony, the Bald Man of Bald Man Games, within the next week.
While this news kinda sucks, it won't change anything in a detrimental way. At least, not from what I can tell.
A couple of points sell me to the idea:
1, Centralized location. While the two shops weren't far from each other, it would be nice to have a consistent gaming venue.
2, Combining of customer base. Right now, it seems fractured, with some people only going to TGS and some going only to BMG, with a few of us who hop to either with our gaming habits. Having all the gamers under one roof might actually increase the chances of getting people in on games. That's always a good thing.

Good stuff, really. Thing is...I have one HUGE problem with it.
Subpar + subpar does not = great. I can't really put it any more plain than that.
Product selection is really poor in both shops and neither owner seems to be too interested in looking into new stuff or even games that others have recommended or asked for, not to mention that neither are really the most outgoing of salesmen.
Maybe it's my own dreams of opening a game shop clouding up my thoughts on it, but I really feel that management and product output just is so lackluster and if I could ever get my own go at a game shop off the ground, I think I wouldn't have any problem in pulling in a wider customer base than is present and I would definitely have more sales.
Might sound conceited, but it's no less true.
Just my two cents. *shrugs*

Wednesday Game at Bald Man

Is there some unwritten law that D&D should be played on Wednesdays? Every group I have ever been a part of has met on Hump Day at one point. Crazy stuff...

So on my 2nd visit to Bald Man, I got in on some D&D with my pal Paul (DMing), Tony (the owner of Bald Man), some dudes named Chris and Steve. Henry and Carl are supposed to play, too, but the former had to leave due to a nagging significant other, the latter opted out for church.

My character was minding his own business when he was magically whisked into a room with no exits. A grainy looking projection of an older man appeared and welcomed me to a school of wizardry and stated that an assembly would be held soon (a date my knowledge told me was long past) and then faded. A door then opened leading out into a ruined hall with goblin bodies and wrecked furniture strewn about.

Investigating rooms leading off the hall, I encountered a few minor traps and found a cache of magically preserved food, but nothing else of interest. I then proceeded down the hall to find hastily erected barricades with holes large enough to move through along with more dead goblins and then a T intersection with large, magically protected double doors before me.

I quickly made it past the wards of the door and peered in to find a large audience chamber that I surmised to be the assembly hall. When I was investigating this, I was spotted by a couple of people (the other characters) and through negotiations followed by more exploration then more negotiations, we reached an agreement and I was allowed to camp with them while they rested after battling goblins.

When we arose, we left the area we had holed up in and then made it out to find another barricade blocking our way down the hall where there was none before. Once we pulled it down, we were ambushed with crossbow fire from gobbos. With quick thinking and a few illusions courtesy of yours truly, we were able to trick the goblins and defeat them piecemeal, leaving one prisoner alive, who I then bribed with money and gear pilfered from goblin corpses to lead us to his tribe.

We spoke with them some and established some fruitful deals that leaned in favor of us which would take us down into the basements of the school and face to face with stronger, more warlike tribes, but also give us an opportunity to extract some greater treasures. Amidst this talk and resting, I was able to enter an area the goblins had been unsuccessful in accessing and there we found many treasures that were sure to aid the growth of our wealth.

That's where we left off, due to time constraints...it was basically us just lining our pockets and avoiding fight after fight. You see, we're all a bunch of amoral jerks, and if it benefits us, we take the deal. I kept saying "our" when speaking of being rich, but I actually ended up with the lion's share. You see, I'm the only one able to pick locks, etc., so I was able to stuff things into my pack before the others moved in to see plenty of times.

I love being a swindly bastard. Sometimes it's nice to not have to be good.

The party has this...

Ferrel Muttor (Half-Elf Sorceror 2) - Chris
Choldram Sohes (Human Cleric 2 of Nerull [He pretends Heironeous]) - Tony
Arthas (Human Fighter 2) - Steve
Orestes (Human Rogue 2) - Carl
Nastrond Esyllo (Sun Elf Beguiler 2) - Me


A list of games I might run in the future...in no real order

Here's a list of games I have compiled that could come in after The Drow War or any time, really. I'm gonna try to direct my players over here to see if anyone is interested in anything in particular. If you don't play in my games, feel free to comment, anyway. Any and all feedback is a plus!
  • D&D 4th Edition - Khardtha (My Homebrew Setting) (1st - ?)
Lately, I've poured hours into reading everything I can about 4E. Most I like, some I don't, but as I've stated before, D&D is my true gaming love, and I have to give it a shot. Something else I've been looking over is the campaign world I have been working on since I was 17 (I'll be 27 next month). The setting is huge (I even have a 24" x 33" hand-drawn world map), but largely undefined except for a few small areas where 2nd Edition games took place among me and my high school gaming group.
Since I had already been thinking about revitalizing the setting, 4E gives me a perfect opportunity to do so without skewing anything that has come before (as most of those old games didn't delve into much that was deeper than killing things and taking their stuff. In any case, I think it would be a great fit, and it makes me want to post more about the setting so that I can brainstorm the 4E stuff and the setting itself...the latter both from a 4E perspective and what has come before.

  • Savage Worlds - The Savage West
This one has been a fairly recent idea, so I've not got much more than premise and system. I'd like it to be an open-ended campaign where any Wild West cliche is welcome. If the players wanted to be witty cardsharps or grizzled lawmen out for revenge, either would work. I want a fun game with plenty of flying lead! I'll come back to this once I think of anything more.

  • d20 Modern - Transformers
Here's a game I have thought about for a really long time. Transformers is, without any doubt, my favorite cartoon of all time, and what better way to enjoy it than combining with my favorite hobby. Staying true to the original cartoon and not so much the movie, I picture small skirmishes between the factions broken up by dramatic events and interaction with humans/keeping existence secret, etc. It might even feature a cool cross-over like G.I.Joe! (See next game for a different spin on that)
This post on Gleemax gave me the mechanical impetus to think about this more seriously.

  • D&D 3.5 - Eberron: Rise of the Emerald COBRA! (Level Varies)
This idea is actually one spawned by my friend Zack back when we were gaming together. Basically, it's G.I.Joe meets D&D in Eberron. Using Breland or Aundair as the political backing (or even a league of various nations, making it international), the characters are a part of an elite strike force that is sent out on various missions (one-shots or otherwise) to thwart the plots of those who would oppress or otherwise destroy the values of the Five Nations. The Emerald Claw makes too perfect a group to not be the ever-so-evil COBRA!
The players would likely be asked to make character trees, so that they can pick and choose which heroes they would rather take part of certain missions.

  • Star Wars - At What Price, The Empire? (1st - ?)
You know, I have no clue why I put that campaign name up, but it came to me as I was typing out "Star Wars" and I decided to keep it. The Rebellion Era would likely be the backdrop of this campaign, and that title needs to be thought upon more so that I can come up with something with meaning that the campaign would mirror.
I really haven't thought this out at all, this much is true, but I love Star Wars and I would love a game that might actually last more than a few sessions, like my previous tries of the game (Both WEG and WOTC).

  • D&D 3.5 - Forgotten Realms: Weave Asunder! (1st - 20th)
With this campaign, I'll be running the 3-part mega-adventure released in 2007 for Forgotten Realms. Other than the player's handout I'll give, there won't be any special rules and characters can be made with a lot of leeway to class and race. Monstrous PCs might be a bit much, but pretty much any humanoid flies. If the players plan to run a Drow, Orc, or any other 'monstrous' types, they'll have to take into mind that there will be prejudices against their characters...which could lead to unexpected deadly encounters.
Starting characters can have up to +3 ECL. No Evil alignments.

  • D&D Basic/Expert - Swordin' Some Orcs! (1st - 14th)
You read that right...Basic D&D. The game where Elf and Dwarf were classes. This could be a fun romp through the playground of the gamers that came before us, with a campaign that will take you through haunted forests and into the bowels of the very Earth you tread upon! Levels cap at 14th, when mere mortals have attained powers akin to the Gods!
I just typed that out of my ass, but I'm pretty sure Expert capped at 14th. I could be way off. I have the Basic rulebook, but lately I have been thinking about looking into BASIC Fantasy, which is kinda the same thing from what I understand.

  • D&D 3.5 - Homebrew: Escalations of Power (1st - ?)
A flashy "kitchen sink" type "sandbox" game. Pretty much anything is included, but you better bring your game face, because I'm not going to pull punches. Knowing when to run and when to talk will be key assets to your characters, but be sure you stock plenty of cans of WhupAss­­®. For this game, I thought it would be cool to use a different campaign model: Each 1st level character is made from the PHB (NOT THE SRD). With each level gained, each particular player can choose a book from those at hand. That player then has access to feats, skill uses, spells, etc. from that particular book. No other player does unless they choose the book. The DM has access to ALL books chosen, the DMG, MM1-5, MCFR, and FF. If/when a character dies, that player, if wishing to make a new character, will give up 2 books from their list (but never the PHB) and make his/her character with those resources left. The new character's advancement can gain new books, as usual.

  • D&D 2nd Edition - Mystara: The Land of Karameikos (1st - ?)
Another chance at a nostalgic romp through the playgrounds of older editions. A High Fantasy game with plenty of heroism and fame in grand fashion. Some of this game will be run with published adventures, but most will be on the fly kickassery. We'll be using the Kingdom of Karameikos supplement for Mystara and all Core and Character Option books as well as available race and class handbooks.

  • Vampire - New Orleans is a Dying Whore
Welcome to the Big Easy, where life goes at whatever speed you take it at. The nights in this city are electric and see literally millions of visitors each year. The perils for humans is little known, for walking among them are the Children of the Night, thirsty for the life that pulses in them. I'm undecided as yet if I wish to use The Masquerade or The Requiem (both have their strong points.) In either case, PCs will be starting out at whatever is normal for beginning Generation/Blood Potency. I've decided I want the game set pre-Katrina, to capture the energy of the city better. The name of the campaign comes from a Down song, which inspired the whole idea.

  • D&D 3.5 - Homebrew: 年長者神! (1st - ?)
Dispatched by a local Daimyo to assist with protection and transfer of an archaeological find, the PCs soon discover something is amiss and will be flung into the midst of something deeper than anyone could possibly imagine. This game will have an Oriental feel and so classes and perhaps some races will be restricted. Use of several variant mechanics will also be incorporated for flavor.

  • d20/Iron Heroes - Sword & Sorcery (1st - ?)
To me, Iron Heroes embodies the idea of front-loaded "rockstar" gaming. With the skill stunts, feat tricks and token mechanics, your character can truly achieve amazing things. The implied setting in the game reminded me much of Conan, John Carter, Kull, and even Turok....stories with amazing men and women who use simply the power of their sword arm and their wits to survive in some of the harshest of situations. Sorcery in this game is a dark, dark menace...one which threatens to consume the world. Being one of the few heroes of the world, it's up to you to decide what, if anything, you will do to shape the future of your homelands.

  • D&D 3.5 - Forgotten Realms: Expedition to Undermountain (1st - 10th)
Exactly what the tagline says, I will be running the super-adventure Expedition to Undermountain within the campaign setting it first appeared in. Dungeon-crawly goodness at its best! If you like some good hack n slash with a dash of story, then this mini-campaign will suit your tastes. No rules will be used other than the handout I give for all my games.
Starting characters can begin with up to +2 ECL.

  • Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game - Midtown Madness!
Create your own hero to rub shoulders and butt heads with the rest of the Marvel Universe. Each session will be chock full of comic book banter and throwdowns. High-action hijinks will ensue! Characters will start out on the Low power scale and advance with time.
No villains, but anti-heroes welcome. This will be a TEAM book, not a bunch of solo stories.
Also, don't look to meet and befriend all your favorite heroes, and if someone shows up from a different company, don't be surprised at that, either. Comics don't have to make sense, they just have to be enjoyable!

  • D&D 3.5 - Homebrew: Salvation Within (1st - ?)
Salvatus is a peaceful realm, surrounded with the pristine beauty of nature that cradles the untroubled villages and cities. However, there are secrets buried under the surface of this world, and only the foolish pursue them. This is a fantasy horror game that will incorporate a homebrewed variant of the Sanity rules. Humans and nonmagic-users only. They aren't all that's available, it's just a unique and story-driven system to attain them.

  • d20/Iron Heroes - Dark Sun Heroes (1st - ?)
Combining the gritty yet zany options and classes from Iron Heroes with the also-gritty D&D world of Dark Sun is a perfect fit. The characters will be forced to survive the predations of Templars, Sorceror-Kings, slavers and more all the while trying to survive in the barren wastelands of Athas under the harsh glare of a red sun. Though only humans are used in Iron Heroes, I will be modifying the usual PC races to allow a broad range of character options. The Iron Heroes rules are balanced toward D&D, so all 3.x D&D feats are acceptable, as well as many other character options. Race and class selection will be slightly different, as per Iron Heroes and Dark Sun flavor.

  • D&D 3.5 - Ravenloft: Mists of a Clouded Mind (3rd - ?)
Things are changing within the realms. With each passing day, events become weirder and weirder, as if something isn't quite right, but it's impossible to place. Will the PCs be able to uncover the secrets behind whatever is going on? Will it be too late if they do? Is there even anything going on? If the PCs are canny and can survive the horrors of the Demiplane of Dread, then perhaps they will find out. Character options will be limited to Ravenloft races/classes to uphold flavor. Playing an evil character in Ravenloft defeats the purpose of some of the flavor and mechanics, so no evil characters will be allowed.

  • d20 Modern: Dark Matter/Urban Arcana - I Got This Job Through A Temporal Service
Just beyond the normal perceptions of mortal ken lie things that would drive most men mad. You've seen these things, or claim to have, and that has brought the notice of others upon you. Various organizations deal with such matters through different means and each are desperate for recruits. Do you think you can hold up to some of the things you'll see in the field? As shown in the title, this will be a d20 Modern campaign supplemented with Urban Arcana and Dark Matter rules to bring in various paranormal occurances/beings.
Inspired (by that, I mean almost completely ganked) by this post by Jeff Rients.

  • D&D 3.5 - Homebrew: A Crisis of Faith
A tide is washing over the lands, crashing against the status quo. Will the old and the new be able to hold a balance or will the tide wash away all that the world knows? War rages. Newcomers from distant places fight on both sides aided or hindered by older powers and the nations caught up in the conflict. The PCs will be the lynchpin in this struggle. The races in this campaign will not necessarily be limited, just a little different. Unsure as of yet what options/restrictions will be put into place.

  • D&D 3.5 - Dark Sun: The Affairs of Dragons (1st-?)
I've always been fascinated with Dark Sun, and most of my players haven't even heard of the setting, so I thought I would present it as one of the D&D options available. I already have it up as an Iron Heroes option, but that requires learning new mechanics and might not be as appealing. With this one, I want to immerse the players in the politics and survival-of-the-fittest mentality that makes up a huge part of the setting, while introducing the unique flora and fauna of Athas. This game will use the 3.x D&D books supplemented with Athas.org releases and converted 2nd edition material. As Dark Sun is unique in its approach to D&D, many classes, races and character options may be disallowed or changed to better fit the flavor of the setting.

  • Scion - Titanic Ultimatum
For millenia, the titans have slept, but new events have forced the Gods to action. In this, they will need to awaken their scions, their hidden children and blessed, to curb the rising threat of the titanspawn and their world-destroying parents. With the aid of their birthrights, these heroes must put forth all they have to decide the fate of the world itself. This game will start off with the rules presented in Scion: Hero, and will continue perhaps indefinitely on into Demigod and God.

  • D&D 3.5 - Forgotten Realms 2: Legacies of the Past (13th-40ish)
This one would be a continuation of a game I was running when the old game group split up. Paul would be the only remaining member of the troupe, so I decided to set the starting level for everyone else equal to his character's level. In this one, the PCs must decipher an ancient prophecy to find "Eight Great Evils" that threaten the world and put an end to them using ancient weapons designed thousands of years ago for this purpose.

  • Warhammer 40k Roleplay/Dark Heresy - Chaos Rising
Ever since most of us at Bald Man Games got the Warhammer bug, we've been discussing playing the MMOs, and trying out different versions of the minis game, but then, after David got the Eisenhorn omnibus we began to talk about Dark Heresy as an option. Since I started reading Eisenhorn, I've been wanting to either play in or run a game in this setting. Not really sure the direction I would go with this one yet, but I love the setting now that I'm getting more into the fluff. I've even had a non-RPer say they were interested in playing if it got going, so there's even more incentive.

So yeah...that's it, pretty much. There might be some inconsistencies like me saying "your pcs," etc. I was originally intending to hand this out to my players and have them rank the games from most interesting to least.
I might still do that. I dunno.
Remember...feedback r gud!


My first gaming love...or, how Michael Jordan got me into gaming.

Probably much to the surprise of anyone reading this, my first tabletop gaming love was Magic: The Gathering. I'm not into Magic right now; my playing of that game goes in cycles now, much as the sets themselves do. I sold my collection for the 4th time now 2 years ago and have just borrowed decks since.

You see...when I was 15, I had no gaming friends. I had heard about D&D, Vampire, etc., but hadn't ever looked into them further than flipping through the books looking at artwork. I was into basketball cards then, and regularly went to a local card and comic shop. One day while there, I traded a Michael Jordan card for my very first pack of Magic. After that, Jester's Cap got me into the game.

And not because I liked and understood the card and utilized it to seal win after win. No, simply because after I ripped open that pack of Ice Age and Mark, the owner of the shop, asked to look at my cards, he immediately offered to trade me 2 starter decks and 2 boosters for trade for that one card. I jumped on it. I was able to trade two more cards for another booster, then gladly made my way home with a huge stack of really cool art cards!

Then I sat down and read the rules after sorting the cards by color. With what I had, I made two crazily incoherent 4-5 color decks and tried to recruit my friends into playing. Some of them bit and I started buying more cards and we'd all play with those.

When I was 16, I got my first true, taxed employment at a restaurant, and not much after, a guy named Paul hired on. We soon became fast friends and learned that we shared a like of Magic. He got me into different sets and helped my understanding of the rules and deck mechanics.

If it weren't for randomly getting Magic cards then meeting Paul, I probably would never have gotten into gaming. I played my first D&D game at his place after having been invited over for some Magic games...another game hooked me and I've had a friend for years due to them.

So you see....while D&D is my true gaming love, Magic was my first. We stay in touch, and who knows...we might spark up our relationship again sometime in the future. Don't worry, though...D&D doesn't mind.

R Also Swashbuckler....10 years ago. O.o

Your Score: The Swashbuckler

You scored 56% flamboyance, 63% honor, and 57% urbanity!

You are a swashbuckler, quick of wit and quicker of blade. A defender of the weak and a force for justice, you nevertheless enjoy the finer things in life -- a glass of wine, a gorgeous cloak, and the company of the opposite sex.

Link: The 2nd Edition AD&D Warrior Kit Test written by thealmightyajax

Things The Drow War has taught me...

This last session has really driven home some things that I guess I never knew or didn't really want to find out about roleplayers (or those I play with, anyway.)

First, it's really, really hard to structure a tribe (of anything, really) that works independently of the PCs. Maybe, and most likely, it's something I don't really want to bother with, but it seems like I'm the one who has to come up with everything this tribe is doing/will do and not much input comes to me from the player who has control of the tribe.
I'd like to feature them, since it was something I saw as a unique part of the game that happened by sheer luck and took everyone by surprise. I guess I could work on that...see what happens.

Secondly, that murder really freaked some people's shit. I had players who were visibly upset or angry that this kid died in the game. Maybe it's the fact that it's a child, but I wonder if it's not more. I wonder if any scene of murder, if not committed by the PCs, is jarring, especially if outside of true combat.
I might look to more mature themes to evoke different reactions to see what works, or will be accepted, and what won't. It'll be a fine line to walk, as I don't want it to be trite or push any of my players away.
I really liked the reactions that got. It seemed so real. The party is good aligned, for the most part, as are the players. Generally good people, who are fairly generous overall...and then they wanted blood. Eye for an eye...or more, even. 10 lives for 1. They wanted all of these people to pay.
It was one of those moments where truly good roleplaying came to the surface and hardly anything had to be spoken. It stayed intense til we ended, because there was this pall...this weight of a life on the shoulders of these guys who are just now making it into their adventuring careers.

So yeah...I suppose I could summarize that as "Good games just happen." Nothing prepared us for Ricky gaining control of a tribe of hobgoblins, and nobody really expected the kid to die, but those things did happen and they have brought about opportunities for good roleplaying and character development...and this is a book campaign.

Needless to say, I'm having fun.

PC roll, because someone just might care...

Fidious Gray (Starborn Human Ranger 2) - Kenny
Jaymes (Starborn Human Fighter 2) - Ricky Joe
Therass of the Screaming Arrow (Starborn Catfolk Scout 1) - Dusty
Veit Granetfist (Starborn Shield Dwarf Barbarian 2) - Josh M.
Ya-ro (Starborn Aasimar Cleric 1 of Old Heakun) - Paul

The Drow War, Session 2

So...this one became awkward.
Despite losing an hour of sleep, everyone arrived fairly early and was ready to go quickly.
Jeremy informed us via text that he wouldn't be able to play since his work schedule changed and Josh D. didn't show, though he said Sundays are tough for him.

Picking up right where we left off, and no sooner than Jaymes picked up the sword of Starkweather John, than a woman came running into the courtyard...hysterically screaming and begging Father Bronson to aid in looking for her two sons, which had been sent to collect berries for breakfast, but hadn't returned some hours later.

The PCs were quick to volunteer and the lady, desperate in her want to find her boys, accepted this and quickly led them to where she had told them to go. Fidious was quick to locate some tracks of adults leading into and out of the area, with scuffs from smaller feet and finally no smaller footprints. Guessing the boys had been carried, they made haste in following the tracks, which seemed to lead to the dried up gold mines on the outside of Bronce.

Once inside the mines, the PCs first encountered a humanoid cat of black fur who happened to share a patch of silvery blue fur that looked much like the birthmark of Viet and who had no recollection of how he came to this place. The PCs who had banded together already gave him a quick rundown of what they know/think they know about themselves and that they thought he was one of them, since the circumstances were similar. Still, a wary eye was kept on the newcomer til he proved himself by fighting alongside the others.

Moving further within the mines, the PCs navigated their ways deep into the caverns (actually avoiding some hazards by sheer luck of choice) and quickly dealing with what resistance they did encounter, which came in the form of a different band of hobgoblins that were later identified as the Talks-with-Fists tribe. The group also encountered a ghost, which seemed to want restful death and made no hostile motions toward the characters.

Coming upon an elevator mechanism, the PCs made the choice to keep 2 of their number (both fighters) up top to work the machine while the remaining 3 went below into the deeper chambers. Water was spilling over the side of the elevator shaft due to rain that had started as the PCs approached the mines and when the small group made it to the bottom, they found themselves in corridors filling with water.

An encounter with some hobgoblin sentries told the PCs that they were on the right path, and soon enough, they found themselves entering the living space of the small tribe. Taking stock of the situation, the group stood in horror when they saw only one of the boys and the other, younger one, in the arms of a hobgoblin with a blade stuck up to his throat. The hobgoblin chief demanded 2000gp from the people of Bronce after rebuking initial attempts at diplomacy made by the PCs, who then decided to act in hostility toward the tribe and try to incapacitate or kill the goblinoids before harm came to the child.

At the first sign of hostile intent, the hobgoblin chief rammed his sword through the throat of the boy, killing him instantly. This visibly affected my players. Each then had vested interest in seeing this vile creature suffer the same fate. Ya-ro cast Cause Fear, making him drop the child and run down the caverns, giving him an opportunity to flee the scene, while his cronies bought him time and engaged the PCs in a fight. They were dispatched fairly quickly.

Ya-ro and the cat man made haste in pursuit while Fidious and Jaymes (who had made his way down by climbing then falling a short way) stood guard over the noncombatant hobgoblins and debated the fate of said things...Fidious wanting them to die, Jaymes stating they were innocent by virtue of avoiding the fight.

The cat and Ya-ro came to a dead end, with the feline warrior (yes, I forgot his name, ok! I'll look in a minute) finding a small, water-filled passage and quickly risking himself by going alone to scout the area beyond, if he could make it....beyond he found a natural chamber with one lone occupant...the other missing boy! This one alive, but scared to his wit's end by seeing a giant walking/talking cat after being captive of the hobgoblins.

While this was happening, the hobgoblin chief made his move against Ya-ro after slipping out from a small passage where he had been hiding. The noises of metal clashing against metal brought Fidious running and after a few heated rounds of combat, Ya-ro crushed the hip of the baddie, ending his life.

Shortly after, when cat and child and all were making their way back to the elevator, water pressure against a back wall caused the wall to break, spilling some PCs out down the shaft and into a huge worked chamber. The PCs decided they would check this area out later and took stock of their surroundings, while gathering the corpse of the child (which sent the other kid off the deep end) and finding another body which had apparently been dead for a while with a badge of office showing him to be a tax collector from the main settlement on Chillhame.
The PCs gathered the corpses and made their way out of the area to tend to burials of the dead, etc.

Jaymes took the surviving hobgoblins to the Great Wolf (formerly Split-Ear) tribe, having decided that they would serve a somewhat better judge than embittered townsfolk who had just lost a child to the machinations of such creatures. There, he learned that one of the leaders he had appointed had been assassinated for going against the word of the agreement made between the tribe and the PCs and had tried to take power all for himself. Other than this, things were going as well as could be expected with an unsupervised tribe left to themselves.

After spending the night in Bronce...and facing the ire of some of the townsfolk because of the death of the child, the PCs set off to explore that last chamber they had found to greater extent. One villager and a mule were hired for the job of working the elevator for the PCs, but this was of no consequence, as after finding a scroll detailing plans of invasion on the surface by some underground force and huge, sealed stone doors carved to depict the same thing, they discovered a passage leading to the surface, in which a lone duergar warrior was hid and made a stand to try to prevent the PCs from escaping the tunnels.

The group had just made it to the end of the passage and had all rolled Spot checks when I called the session.
They'll learn what it is they saw or didn't see next week.

Oh, Josh D...if you read this, I plugged your game.

Next week: I wrap up Chapter 1, then Paul starts The Well of Despair! (which I've been in 7 times and died every single time. It's winsauce)


I R Sorceror! You can too!

So Jeff posted this test over at Ye Olde Gameblog, and I'm a sucker for them.

Here's my results:

I Am A: Lawful Neutral Human Sorcerer (4th Level)

Ability Scores:







Lawful Neutral A lawful neutral character acts as law, tradition, or a personal code directs him. Order and organization are paramount to him. He may believe in personal order and live by a code or standard, or he may believe in order for all and favor a strong, organized government. Lawful neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you are reliable and honorable without being a zealot. However, lawful neutral can be a dangerous alignment because it seeks to eliminate all freedom, choice, and diversity in society.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

Yeah...first time I've ever gotten that result. Pretty interesting stuff. First time I've been Lawful Neutral on a test, too...or Human, for that matter. I guess that just reflects how we change as we age, maybe.
Funny how my stats are so high (and my Dex is higher than Str, lol...don't really see that as true). I guess it depends on how strongly you go with some options. I'm um...pretty confident in myself, though, so that might skew things.


Onto something different!

So, as you know (if you read this damn thing), I ran session 1 of The Drow War on Sunday and had a fairly good time.

We played from around noon to about 4pm because Paul had to go and I wasn't going to run the game with just 3 PCs. Normally, I suppose, that wouldn't have been a problem. Immediately, though, everyone begins to complain that they "wished the game hadn't had to stop" or they "didn't see why we didn't make it further" or we "could have made it alot further if play hadn't been stopped."

Now, in a way, some of what was said (there was more than that, but you know..) seemed flattering in that they wish the game could have kept going. That's a good thing, definitely, when you have 3 people who haven't ever played under you saying things like that.

What isn't so good is that one of the players said he had taken a vacation day from work the next day because he assumed we would play late, etc. That's cool and all, but some of what else was said hinted that he strongly disagreed with the fact that I called the game due to someone leaving. I left it simply at "I'm not going to run it with just 3 people, because it's a tough adventure."

The comments stopped at that, as everyone seemed to have accepted it, but it bothers me that such a deal would be made of it that it's like I'm just being a jerk to everyone because one person left, when I'm being the nicest I can be in helping to ensure that no PCs died due to the cleric not being around.

I dunno...not a big deal, really...but something that I've been thinking about. Kinda funny.

That twisting feeling in your gut...

Today, Dungeons & Dragons, and the tabletop gaming world in general, lost one of its greats.
E. Gary Gygax passed away today at the age of 69.

Being 26, I didn't grow up or get my start with Gygax's stuff in a way that most gamers did. My first encounter with his work was through the very awesome adventure Keep on the Borderlands, but my greatest exposure wasn't a game book...it was his "Up On A Soapbox" articles in Dragon magazine, which featured his look into not just D&D, but the players and DMs who enjoy it and their interaction with each other and the hobby as it evolved.
I knew who he was before all that, of course...the guys who got me into gaming were much older than me and had played all earlier versions (I came in during AD&D 2nd Edition) and through them, I became familiar with the older products, acquired some of them, then set off on my own much later to learn more about the origins of what is and has always been my favorite rpg as well as branching out to see what else has been done out there.
In this way, I feel I honor Gary's memory, by learning of the games that he helped to develop and inspire. I'm sure he would rather like that.
I'm sure he would also like for everyone to not dwell on the bad and try to have had a swell GM's Day.


The Drow War, Session 1

And we're off...kinda.
I showed up 15 minutes past when I said I would to an almost empty flgs. Paul and Kenny were sorting through M:tG cards (which I need to post about sometime) and discussing their characters for the campaign.
That meant that two of the six players who had "signed up (I set a group size limit because Paul's group on Red Hand was insanely huge)" were already there, with word that Ricky Joe was on his way. Sadly, Jeremy got called into work and Josh D. and Dusty were no-shows, so that took us down to 3. We recruited the other Josh, who set about making a character, and shortly after we started.

The game kicked off with the way all games should...those two words that get a player's attention better than anything (other than "Hey, boobs!," I mean)... "Roll init." The guys went a quick couple of rounds against 4 goblins, which dispersed into inky smoke when dispatched...then I flashed back to their arrival at the Tump.

The place is a small island whose only feature is a circle of standing stones..to which the players had somehow been whisked to. The standing stones feature markings which the PCs realized correlated with the various constellations of the night sky and had strange similarities to their birthmarks.

Having learned some about each other and themselves (with some help of a mysterious lady speaking into their minds), they decided to travel off the small island and to the larger landmass, which Kenny's PC recognized as the island "Nation" of Chillhame. They immediately spotted civilization here and made haste to make it to the small town of Bronce.

Once in Bronce, they spoke with many townsfolk, including the local priest, Father Tobais, and the Headman of the town, a man by the name of Goodchild. Through the excellent use of diplomacy (and coin) they learn some of the legend of the ancient hero Starkweather John, and set out to to his tomb to begin their search for his sword...a goal which had been tasked to them by a mysterious voice at the Tump.

At the tomb, the PCs took some time to clear off the moss that had overgrown the thing and were able to read a prophetic poem which the characters surmised somehow was linked to them, since the mysterious voice of the Tump called them "Stars" and the inscription on the tomb said that "Stars" would again be on the world.

Having found nothing in the tomb, they took stock of the surroundings and found that a somewhat large battle had been fought at the edge of the woods. Being PCs, they didn't let this slide and curiosity had them traipsing into the woods and what I thought was their certain doom...a hobgoblin camp numbering a score (with about a dozen of them combatants).

Always the clever player, Paul states that his cleric is stopping far outside the edge of the settlement (right outside the perimeter of traps, I might add) and hails the village. This brings all the warriors of the village out to see what is afoot...at which point things begin to turn grim. Josh's dwarf hurled insults toward the hobgoblins at first, but when the others scolded him, he quieted some, letting Paul's and Ricky Joe's characters try to weasel through a deal to keep the party alive which ultimately culminated (somehow) into....a fight to the death between Ricky Joe's fighter and Split Ear, the chief of this particular tribe, for the leadership of the tribe.

The whole table was a bit quiet as I drew off the map for the contest area and placed my minis, then asked the players to place theirs and called for initiative from Ricky. He won init. Jaymes, Ricky's fighter) crept forward cautiously and swung mightily at the chief, only to swing too wide as the more experienced warrior side-stepped his blow, then came back with a lunge, which was rapidly deflected. The battle was intense with a flurry of parrys from both combatants that kept each other unmarred by the edge of steel. But then, as suddenly as it had started, an open spot in the hobgoblin's defenses was spotted and Jaymes swung a hard arc onto the creature's head...cleaving his skull and killing him instantly with a crit from them there charts I posted before.

As you can imagine, this left things in an awkward state. Not only for the NPCs and PCs, but for me, as well. What was going to happen? Well...I had really been playing up the lawful aspect of the hobbos, so when it came down to it, I just decided that they would honor the agreement made between Jaymes and Split Ear. With the help of some coin and doling out of important positions, little fuss was made, overall and they agreed to do as they were asked for a period of 5 days, in which Ricky will (I assume) know what the heck he's gonna do with a tribe of not so savory characters under the leadership of his LG fighter.

Going back to town after this (with some of the tribe's loot), the PCs decided to get some rest and then begin the sword-search at dawn. This eventually led them back to the church, since it was...in the heyday of Bronce, at least...the most magnificent structure there. With some extensive searches, they finally found what they were looking for...a stone slab in the courtyard of the church shifted and the PCs pulled the stone away.

The session ended with Jaymes reaching down and claiming the gleaming greatsword which lie underneath...the sword of Starkweather John.

I didn't mention many characters by name, because I had forgotten them and was too lazy to cross the room to retrieve my the sheets. Having done so, here you go:
Jaymes (Starborn Human Fighter 1) - Ricky Joe
Fidious Gray (Starborn Human Ranger 1) - Kenny
Veit Granetfist (Starborn Shield Dwarf Barbarian 1) - Josh M.
Ya-ro (Starborn Aasimar Cleric 1 of Old Heakun) - Paul

Next Sunday... I'm set to run again, as Paul is giving up Red Hand, I guess. We'll see!


I'm trying to wrap my brain around it now...

So, I was checking out the very cool RPG Blog and came across this.

Yes, those are 4th Edition characters and yes, they pretty much kick ass.
While this is a neat gem to come across, it's also caused me no amount of frustration in trying to figure out how some things work.

I'll give some examples...
Numero Uno: How the hell are hit points calculated? One of the first things I did was check for familiar components...hit points, ability scores, skills, weapon attacks, etc.. All of these things seem to have their place, and in the case of ability scores, I was glad to see that the modifiers stay the same as 3.x, but uh...the hit point numbers just don't add up.
I'm going to assume that, like the new Star Wars system, they give you 3 starting hit die...I'm also going to assume that your Con bonus applies to all of them and that they are maxed out. How, then, does the character on image 1 have that total? I also went so far as to assume that Warlocks get a d6 hit die. Given my assumptions, Ms. Duskmeadow would have (3d6 hit die, maxed)18+(Con mod x 3)9=27 hit points. Where does the extra point come from?
Numero Duo: As mentioned by my fellow blogger, it appears that Eladrins/High Elves/whatever can teleport short distances, I would assume much akin to dimension door. Looking further, I find that the aforementioned Ms. Duskmeadow, being a Warlock with her powers tied to the fey, can also perform a short teleport action.
Now, normally, this would be very cool to me, and it is...as a player. As a DM, I'm picturing everyone in my games playing something that can teleport in some way and totally dispatching my attempts at NPC battlefield advantage, or popping in to flank and sneak attack their foes.
While true, it is once per encounter, I can see it becoming problematic easily, and it makes me wonder how you rule on those in out of combat situations. That would make a great escape tool from say...a dungeon cell.
It just seems...and it pains me to call anything such a thing...broken.
Numero Threeo: Heh, I was checking to see if you were paying attention to the lame numbering.
And onto this point... does changing how "saves" work to the current system really save anyone any trouble? I was under the impression that it would reduce rolling, but as almost every spell and power requires a roll against a specific Defense, then what's the point? You're still rolling a save, it's just backwards. Also, I don't see how it's easier to keep track of the defense bonus as opposed to save modifiers, because I'm assuming things will modify them, too.
Oh, and some effects have "(save ends)" notations. So there still are saves, they just happen in later rounds, not when you use the desired effect. These "saves" Are simple 10 or higher rolls..55% chance of success. I'll likely make it straight up 50-50 because according to the blurb on them, they can still be modified.
That's kinda frustrating and a little lame, to boot.
On the flip side of that, it does keep the rolling in the hands of the person whose turn it is (for the most part), and if there's anything a pen n paper rpger likes more than anything else in the whole freaking world, it's rolling dice. This could also free up the wearer of the Viking Hat on player's turns so that he's not bogged down with rolling for his guys AND deciding how to respond to everyone's actions.
Interesting stuff. I'll have to see it in action to give a yay or nay, though.
Numba fo: I noticed that the Halfling Paladin shown on picture 3 weilds a short sword that deals d6. I'm guessing they're taking away weapon sizes for some reason and giving a base "this does x" to weapons. I could be really wrong here, but I'm not seeing how this could benefit the game in any way if they did that.
Maybe they're going back to S and M characters having the same weapon damage. I'm pretty ok with that possibility, as I played earlier versions of the game in which it was standard and it's not going to shake me to go along with that.
Number 5: Action points as part of normal gameplay. Isn't it enough that your Eladrin can teleport, your halfling gets extra AC when close to larger people and you have At Will powers?
It's not that I hate the things, I really don't (though some of my players really hate that I don't allow them in most games I run). It's just that if everything is getting a power boost in 4E, why do you really need action points? Are there really gonna be that many times when you just need that one extra edge to pull through? With the way of things as I have read and understand them, I'm gonna have to go with "No."
I might be a total jerk and pull these from my game. I guess I really don't like action points, after all.
Digit 6: Insanely high damage. Now, I know it's supposed to be beefed up some and all, but should anything at first level really deal 3d8 damage? Maybe if it was a death throes type thing, but even as a once per day ability, that just seems...well, fucked.
That's exactly what it seems.
That almost kills, and most certainly bloodies and almost drops every PC I saw. I can't imagine how giving the PCs such powers is a good thing, even if the baddies have similar things. I really doubt they do.
Se7en: Wow...um. Yeah, alot of what makes characters powerful has been restricted greatly. In a way, I don't like that at all. My cleric used up Turn Undead early...sucks to be me. I wanna cast Sleep more than once...sucks to be me. Spells and powers like Turn Undead should be more readily available, I think.
Magic Missle is now an at will power that does 2d4+Int mod, from the looks of it. You also have to roll to hit with it. I don't so much like that, either...but I do like that they balanced the chance of miss with higher damage. Sucks if your foe is immune to force effects.
It is cool, though, that your cantrips seem to be persistent. I likey that stoof right there.