Monday, June 14, 2010

D&D: Campaign Info, Tools, and First Impressions

My Dungeons & Dragons group had our first session last Wednesday, and I must say that I was very impressed. It was insanely fun and our Dungeon Master did a wonderful job of keeping things interesting and running smoothly. In the beginning of our session, it took me a while to understand what was going on and how things worked. It’s one thing to read the handbook, but it’s another thing to actually play.

New Player Tip: Pay special attention to Chapter 9: Combat in the Player’s Handbook. During game-play, you’ll spend a good portion, if not most, of your time in combat. I would even suggest rereading the chapter two or three times.

New Player Tip: Familiarize yourself with your character’s skills, feats, and powers. Make sure to know these inside and out. Print out your Character Sheet to help you keep track of stuff. Everything really important that pertains to your character and combat is on that sheet.

As I mentioned a few posts back, I’m playing online with some World of Warcraft guild members. I know I’m missing out on the “true” D&D atmosphere with rolling dice, Mountain Dew, and pizza as seen below, but the group and I still have lots of fun thanks to a few online tools. The group meets every Wednesday night and our party consists of:
Turok – Dragonborn Cleric (Me)
Quatre – Human Druid
Erdan – Half-Elf Sorcerer
Wergild – Gnoll Fighter
Alantin – Changeling Warlock

I took notes during the session of what happened during play, and I plan to write them up for you to read. I intend to write it up in a story style though to help me work on my writing skill and to also spice it up a bit more so that it’s more enjoyable to read.

Since this is a table top game and we’re playing online, we use what’s referred to as a Virtual Table Top. The videos in the link below can explain it better than I can, and it’s always better to show rather than tell, so here you go:

For our campaign, we don’t use a lot of the automatic stat tracking that can be used in Maptool. We still mark and keep track of our own stats on paper/monitor since that’s part of the fun of the game. We mainly just use Maptool for a visual map, token movement, and dice rolling in the chat function. Maptool is free, and you can download it here:
Maptool Video Tutorials:

From what I hear, there are other free to use, or even subscription, application programs that you can use to host and play on, but this is what our Dungeon Master wanted us to use, and we like it.

Since we’re primarily a World of Warcraft guild, our guild owns a Ventrilo server which we use to communicate for raids and such. We just make a passworded channel on the server for our D&D need and to keep wanderers from disturbing play. Ventrilo is free to use, and you can download it here:

You can either host the server on your computer for free or pay a monthly fee to have a reliable company to host it. An alternative is Teamspeak which is pretty much the same thing or Skype.

Character Builder
This is an application program directly from Wizards of the Coast, who own the Dungeons & Dragons franchise. It pretty much walks you through character creation, and helps you manage your character through play. For our campaign, this is what our Dungeon Masters uses to keep track of our character progression and stats. The other players and I just simply e-mail the save file to the Dungeon Master and he does what he needs with it.
There is a demo of the program, which you can download here:

To level your character passed level 3 however, you’ll either have to subscribe to Dungeons & Dragons Insider, or know someone who is a subscriber and they can provide you with an update to grant you full access.
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WIP Automarine Test

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What Optimus Prime would look like as a Space Marine... wow my highlighting sucks >.<