Thursday, March 5, 2009

Goodbye and hello

Another death to comment on this week. Thankfully, it's not a new one, just the anniversary of an old one. One year ago yesterday, on March 4, 2008, E. Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, passed away. All modern role-playing games are due to the example that he created. Even though "Adventures in Oz" is very different from the Dungeons & Dragons game that Gary designed, or as it is played now, it still traces it's roots back to good ol' D&D.

I finally managed to talk my gaming group into trying out "Adventures in Oz". So on Saturday night, we got everybody's character's made and started out a simple scenario. You can read the results of the session over here. (Check out the rest of the site while you're there. Jared could use the traffic.)

A few things of note: Character creation was a small challenge. One player commented that the Child in Oz template had a higher base Wits rating than the Soldier, which makes little sense in any kind of real world context. But once you start accepting that this is Oz, it makes much more sense.

The big challenge was coming up with starting friends for the characters. According to the rules, every character has one friend of their choice on their Friends List. For the Sorcerer, we decided that he wanted to practice magic legally, so we made his friend the Good Witch of the North. Our sand-man has a wind-fairy as a friend. I think our anime-inspired character is still working on a friend. We'll see how that develops.

Instead of the Winged Monkeys, I was originally going to use Nomes. I was thinking that General Guph was trying to conquer Oz by making sure that Ozma was so busy dealing with all sorts of small troubles that his army could invade with little opposition. I scratched that idea after I realized that our last campaign revolved around a plot by an outsider general to conquer the world. Even if it was a different general with a different master plan, I didn't want to get stuck in a rut.

The rules mechanics worked out just fine. Everyone got the hang of how to roll the dice rather quickly. Our sorcerer had little problem casting spells, but that may simply have been because I have the spell-building rules memorized (I did design them, after all). He was quick to use poetry, meaning he wasn't too ready to risk failure. I probably should have mentioned the Terminal Condition rules to him, because now the spaghetti fields will be permanently illuminated.

Nobody has spent any Oz Points, either for bonuses or for plot devices. We'll see how those mechanics work out.

The only real flaw or gap I found in the system is that Oz Points, while helping to drive play, are not the only kind of reward the system should have. I'd like to be able to reward the players for making me laugh without weakening Oz Points.


JCW said...

You didn't ask me to play. Just like at school when I'm always the last one to get picked for dodgeball.



Nathan said...

So if a child grew up to be a soldier, he'd get dumber? :P

Oz RPG said...

I would have invited you, James, but I think the commute out to California every Saturday would wear on you pretty quickly. If there's enough interest, I'll see about doing a play-by-post or play-by-email game for those of you whom I cannot feasibly meet IRL.

Actually, Nathan, both templates share the same Brains rating, so both are equally smart. The difference is that the Child in Oz will generally be much braver. Given how children and soldiers are presented in the stories, this actually works rather well.

JCW said...

Just a follow-up to your previous post about Comet Lulin. It is Lulin and not Lurline.

It is designated C/2007 N3 (Lulin).

This object was initially described as an asteroidal object, when found by Quanzhi Ye (Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China) on three images obtained by Chi-Sheng Lin (Institute of Astronomy, National Central University, Jung-Li, Taiwan) on 2007 July 11.

This is my 81st comet observed and my 24th photographed.

Nathan said...

Is Lulin still visible from the eastern United States at this point?

JCW said...

Yes, Lulin is still visible but fading fast and the Moon plays havoc with visibility. Check out:
Finder charts are available on this site. They are pdf files but very helpful.
Let me know if you see it.

Oz RPG said...

I have no doubt that you know your comets quite well, James. I was simply trying to make an Ozzy joke, as it was Fairy Queen Lurline who enchanted Oz so that it became a fairyland.

JCW said...

Oh, I got the joke. Don't be suprised when Lurline shows up in book 3, along with Queen Erma and her daughters of Light. I wouldn't be suprised if she gained a new daughter, Comet Light.
BTW, Lurline is a mineral found in Comet dust returned from the Stardust probe (NASA) after it encountered Comet Wild 2.

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma

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