5E’s Dungeon Master’s Guide – The Triad is Complete

I’ve waited a long time for this.  We all have, haven’t we?  I finally have, in my hands, the concluding source-book of the Core Three for Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons, the Dungeon Master’s Guide. There is just something altogether right about having the three together at last, part of why I have never been a fan of the staggered release method actually.  Complaints about the timing of the releases are something for “Past Kevin” though.  Right now I’ve got my mitts on all of them, and suddenly 5th Edition is in full swing.  I’ve been awaiting this since I first started toying around with the D&D Next play-test. Everything beyond this shall be considered supplemental, and it almost brings a tear to my eye.  Time to dive in folks!

HOW’S IT LOOK

Hello beautiful! No...I don't mean you Acererak.

Hello beautiful! No…I don’t mean you Acererak.

The Dungeon Master’s Guide is a big book.  At 320 pages it just barely beats out the Player’s Handbook for the second biggest book in the group.  Binding is strong and the pages sturdy.  Every bit as well crafted as its predecessors, and they’ve been just plain strong coffee this time around.  A really nice touch that is only present in the DMG is the addition of a color code in the bottom right corner that represents the different parts of the book.  Purple for Part One, red for Part Two, and Green for Part Three.  The Intro and the appendixes are gray.  Really helps you flip about when looking for something in particular.

I complimented the art in the Player’s Handbook, and even more-so in the Monster Manual, but I never really expected to prefer the Dungeon Master’s Guide over both of them.  I honestly expected the best work in the Monster Manual, it is the book that requires a picture a page.  The DMG has surpassed it, and the PHB though.  There are scenes of truly epic proportions and even the smaller scope additions are well drawn (no weird halfling wedding DJs to be found here).  I especially love the bevy of art found in the Magic Items section.  Really some great looking pieces.

Wandslingin' horse chases anyone?

Wandslingin’ horse chases anyone?

INTRODUCTION AND WORLDS

The first part of the book is an introduction that covers some of the more overreaching goals of the Dungeon Master, the ways to use this book, and a nice little snippet on the different types of players you might encounter at your table.  Honestly there isn’t much here we haven’t seen before but a new DM may learn a thing or two about their role and their player’s styles. (I might also suggest a peek at my two part article on utilizing the Myers Briggs Type Indicator in your game).

In Part One, titled Master of Worlds, we are greeted with the first two chapters that deal with first, the tools one needs to map out their own worlds and campaigns and secondly branching out into the Multiverse.

Chapter one’s details on building your own campaign starts with the big picture and works its way down to the smaller details.  It covers different religion concepts, helps you to map out continents, countries, all the way down to minor settlements.  The religion portion does a great job of introducing religion concepts in the vein of their tropes and even the involvement of deities.  Four whole pages are devoted to religion, great read too.  It gives you ideas on how to work the people of your world and add in factions and then round things out with some details on the magic that flows through. After that it gets into creating a campaign, either set in your homebrew or in Feârun.  This half of the chapter has a lot of useful tables for you to either cherry pick from or randomly roll on giving you a wealth of options for such things as disasters or invading forces.  Throughout it there are a ton of great hints on how to start, run, and then end your campaign.

In Chapter two get’s funky.  It’s just a great resource for campaigns that enter into other planes of existence.  I’ve frankly never spent much time sending my players to such places but I’ve also not seen it laid out this well before.  Perhaps older supplements on the planes did well but I never bought them. I especially like the little snippet on how to handle portals to such places.  It’s nice to see some hard and fast descriptions on how they work.  The list of Planes to utilize is fairly long but my favorite part comes near the end where they discuss the “Known Worlds of the Material Plane”.  Here we find some favorites such as Toril, Oerth, and even my personal favorite Eberron.

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ADVENTURECRAFT

Part Two, Master of Adventures, contains the nitty gritty of creating adventures for your players.  They go over different adventure types, your own & published, creating NPCs, environments to play in, tools for between adventure play, and one of the most sought after portions… treasure!

This part of the book covers chapters three through seven and every one of them embellishes on portions that enhance an adventure you may run for your group.  You could utilize a new aspect picked from these chapters in every adventure you run and the well won’t go dry for a very long time. I like the details on how to set up encounters and reward characters with experience when completing them, an additional caveat for possibly awarding players experience for just spending a day “adventuring” is interesting as well.  The NPC tools begin with tables reminiscent of the background crafting tools in the PHB.  Nice ways to make an NPC unique if your own concepts have run dry. The middle represents some ideas for NPCs that stick it out with your group, with an interesting optional rule for tracking loyalty, and the chapter ends with yet more tables to craft some excellent villains.  The “Villain’s Scheme” and “Villain’s Methods” tables are enormous!

The next chapter covers adventuring environments.  The environments section does a great job of not only helping you to draw up some solid areas to send your players to but also spends a great deal of time on helping you to know the background of why the place exists in the first place.  I’m a story driven player so I’m always a fan of that.  They explain some run of the mill locals, like the standard dungeon, and even some epic areas of play, like under the ocean itself.  Lastly we get a few pages on a D&D staple, traps.  They are solid in this edition, there are only three difficulty ratings for the players to contend with, Setback, Dangerous, and Deadly.  These ratings do not mince words, deadly means deadly, the idea is your character may die from it.  The sample traps are well fleshed out and they even give ideas for how to consider the level of perception needed to spot them, although in this edition the only way to keep someone from spotting something outright is to ensure it exceeds their Passive Perception somehow.

You’re sticking your hand where!? Just irresponsible..

Moving on we get a chapter that is almost entirely optional, but fun nonetheless.  There are some key things here like helping the DM to link stories together or plant adventuring seeds but a lot of the chapter spends time on side ventures players can tackle.  Some of the tables in this chapter are just tone of fun to read and consider.  Things like rules for sowing rumors, I can easily see my players trying that in my current campaign.  I also really like the ideas put forth for some rules on selling magic items. I did an entire write up on my guesses for how this would be handled and I was right in that selling items would be limited, I like their tables for it.  The quicker you want that item sold, and the rarer the item, the harder it’s going be to land a reputable buyer.

The final piece of Part Two is treasure.  We have seen treasure handled in wildly different ways over the years, as I have written about in the piece mentioned above, and this is, hands down, the best management of such rewards for players I’ve seen, in any edition.  Coins, gems, and art are represented as rewards, and I can see myself using the same tables for magic items to sell the latter two, and then finally we have by far the largest chunk in the book with those, ever desirable, Magic Items.  They are really magical and unique in this edition, and thus suitably difficult to come by.  They are listed as common, uncommon, rare and very rare with a sizable gap between uncommon and rare.  Even some of the more common magical items have a story behind them and certainly anything rare and above.  There are variant rules for dealing with certain items like potions and scrolls, rules for creating them randomly if you wish, and great tables for discerning just what lay in a treasure hoard of a certain level.  I can’t really express how happy I am with Chapter Seven of this book. Folks, it spans 100 pages.  Nearly a third of the book.  Massive deference and respect was given to tangible rewards, and you’ll have no lack of things to pull from.

HONING YOUR RULES AND THE APPENDIXES

The “Role” of your dice is to look awesome apparently.

Chapter Eight is a honing chapter.  You’ve read the Players Handbook but it is here where you might go to really hone the small details of the game so you can be the guide for everyone.  It actually starts out with some helpful hints on table management, veterans are likely to glaze over this but a new DM may wish to get an idea on how to handle a missing player or how to introduce a new PC.  Ability checks are gone over in the minutia, Advantage/Disadvantage is brought up again, and we get a couple of pages on the use of Inspiration.  I think that may be very helpful for those who want to actually use it, I’ve heard of DMs and players having trouble getting used to it and it may be nice to have a few more tips.  Some of these rules probably should have landed in the PHB honestly, such as the excellent picture work on line of sight, and it makes me wonder if perhaps the PHB was shipped a mite earlier than it should of been. Diseases and Poisons are tossed in here and we get a lot of those, well fleshed out as well (though we should be used to that now).  Lastly we get some really interesting variant rules for Madness, here’s an area to grant folks some Inspiration churning effects.  Yeesh!

Chapter Nine is really interesting.  Titled the “Dungeon Master’s Workshop” it is everything you may need to either add variant rules to your games, advance technology, or even create you own monsters.  We are introduced to concepts like Honor and Sanity or Fear and Horror (useful for anyone wanting to start a Ravenloft game) to really play with the minds of the PCs.  There are variant rules for Resting, the addition of future technology from guns all the way to Sci Fi.  Another interesting variant is the idea of a Plot Point system which appears to be D&D’s answer to some of the storytelling games out there.  With these rules the players can exert a little more control over the state of the game.  Not sure I’ll ever incorporate that, I have other systems that scratch that itch, but it is neat.  The variant options on combat include rules for things like disarming an opponent or bringing back tumble (now just an acrobatics check).  There’s even a morale system, which I seem to recall from some early D&D Next play testing.

wpid-20141127_065222.jpg

Creating/adjusting your own monsters, spells, classes, etc is going to be really fun.  The tables are all very intuitive and there is large two page spread that lists all the current “Monster Features” you can mess with.  One of my favorite aspects of the digital tools back in 4th Edition was the monster builder where things like the monster features were easily interchangeable when you wanted to adjust certain monsters, this looks a lot like that.  I’m excited by the prospects this holds for my own fearsome critters, or even making some iconic higher or lower level creatures match the levels I need them to.  Spells are easy to adjust and there’s a table that gives you a good indication of damage they might put out per level.  Magic items are touched on here as well but the bulk of that work lies back in Part Two.  Finally creating/adjusting character options warrants a few pages and feels pretty all inclusive of what you would need.

The last couple of important pieces to the DMG puzzle are some very useful Appendixes. Appendix A is a random dungeon generator that has so many interesting items among its tables that even if you decide to not randomize you can cherry pick from a lot of options.  heel, there’s a table for d100 “Utensils and Personal Items”. Appendix B will be the most used appendix in the book, it is here where we find the lists of monsters missing from the Monster Manual.  I know why they are here instead of the MM, it’s so you can have both books open at the same time, that does make some good sense.  Especially now that I actually have both books in hand (I still say they should have also included them in the MM but, oh well).  There are two styles here.  The first monster list style is a number of pages detailing monster by environment first, then by Challenge Rating.  The second list is just a straight listing by Challenge Rating, sometimes that’s all you need.  Last we have Appendix C.  At first I thought it fairly useless, as I thought it was only a few sample dungeons but then I noticed that they actually took the time to use some common icons and made sure to use a fair number of different styled maps from dungeons to an overhead view of a boat.  Still the least useful (to me anyway) appendix of the three but really nice anyhow.

THE IMPORTANT QUESTION

So.  Does this book help the Dungeon Master?  Even more important to me, will this book help someone brand new to the game learn to run it for a table of players?  One of the main ideas behind 5th Edition is its emphasis on bringing new players into the fold, that’s part of the mindset behind releasing the free quickstart rules.  I never found those rules all that easy to parse for someone new, and even the Starter Set’s adventure, “The Lost Mine of Phandelver”, wasn’t nearly as simple for a first time DM as they likely intended.  The DMG certainly helps the polished DM and I’d even say the new DM, if their ready to really read the entire mass of this book they’ll come away pretty well polished.  Ready to put out some truly epic adventures!

CONCLUSION

I never intended to write this much.  I wanted to keep things short and sweet like my Monster Manual review, but this book just warranted a deeper dive.  To say I’m impressed would be an understatement, this is my favorite book of the three and I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way about any edition’s DMG.  I don’t know how much the additional time gained from pushing it back helped to get it to this level of quality but whatever assisted I’m glad for it.  Out of curiosity I decided to do a side by side of the 4th Edition DMG and this one, just to note where they aligned and detracted from one another.  The differences could be an article all on their own.  I liked 4th Edition but there is certainly a more palpable feeling of desire for a quality product in this edition.  The books are bigger (320 pages here vs only 221 in 4th) and the font is even noticeably smaller in the 5e books too.  The content mass is just so much larger and all inclusive this time around.

It’s been a ride getting here and I’m so glad to have the core three.  I’m looking forward to the smaller scale release schedule planned for 5th Edition, and I can only hope I continue to see the level of quality presented thus far in everything they put out.  I have my quibbles with a few things Wizards has done lately, namely the handling of Dungeonscape, but the production quality of their books has been stellar.  I can’t wait for more.  Thanks for reading folks!  If you feel I glossed over a part you want more on hit me up in the comments, the book is huge so I know I missed some stuff.

-Melvs

“It’s not like Kevin’s going to throw something at us we can’t handle.”

I had a player in my Wednesday night game say the phrase above.  All jokes about taunting/daring the DM aside, I was surprised to hear him say it.  First, some background on the game itself.  The PCs had stumbled upon an ancient elven tomb only recently unearthed in the Faded Forest, a Brelish woodland in the Eberron Campaign setting.  They had been seeking the sheriff of a nearby town to ask questions of him regarding another matter only to hear he had traipsed into the forest with some men, in search of two missing children.  The children had discovered the burial site first, fleeing some giant spiders, and thus everyone else had followed their trail as well.  I’d been wanting a reason to give the guys a nice little dungeon crawl and their search for the sheriff provided the perfect impetus.

Did you know that female Ettercaps can be intelligent enough to gain class levels?

Did you know that female Ettercaps can be intelligent enough to gain class levels?

The dungeon itself was some fine craft on my part.  An environment controlled by two rival monster groups, the first being some Troglodytes and the second being some giant spiders led by a female Ettercap who, after discovering the entrance, had decided to move from her earlier forest canopy home into the fortified crypt.  There were lots of clues that the two forces had been warring with each other throughout the crawl.  The children had actually been captured by the spiders (thank goodness as they actually wait to eat their food) and the sheriff, with his men from Mistmarsh, had almost been defeated by the Troglodytes.  They’d been forced into a side room.  Enter the players who had become a rescue party whether they knew it or not.

When I approached the creation of the dungeon I wanted to be certain there were reasonable explanations for everything found there.  In order to do this for the Troglodytes I imagined a scenario where some tunneling creature had opened an entrance from the Upperdark into one of the far burial chambers, a long tunnel of an entrance.  The Troglodytes had stumbled upon this tunnel and decided to make the crypt home, not realizing how truly close to the surface they were.  The players did discover this downward sloping route but even during their discussion about whether to venture further the above quote wasn’t yet uttered.

Well, there were giant spiders "guarding" the tomb as well.

Well, there were giant spiders “guarding” the tomb as well.

What caused my player to say such a thing was when they had discovered a burial chamber of a great Elven Lord and lying in the grasp of a statue behind the Elf’s tomb was a staff that was obviously magical in nature.  They were debating whether to just grab it or whether to not risk it as something may come to life or some trap might activate.  I had neither planned as the obstacle to overcome was actually in the prior room where four animated suits of armor had been the guards of the tomb, only allowing those who knew the passphrase to move beyond without a fight.  I was actually very pleased when the group decided not to fight them initially and puzzled out the passphrase somewhere else in the Dungeon, returning to collect their prize.

All in all the reason I was surprised to hear him say “It’s not like Kevin’s going to throw something at us we can’t handle” was because there were a few potential encounters within this dungeon that could have proven difficult to impossible to handle.  The first was the room of animated statues.  This would have been a very difficult fight.  These were guardians of a powerful magical item and someone of great import’s tomb.  This fight was winnable but the rolls would have had to go their way.  Solving the puzzle was by far the safest route, and they should certainly be glad they did.  The other two factors involved that entrance to the Upperdark of the Underdark.  First there were some Gas Spores about the entrance and, if they’d been messed with, would have possibly outright killed everyone in range of the blast and successive chain reaction, and secondly if they had descended much further into the tunnel itself.  It was obviously off the beaten path for the night’s adventure, they had important tasks to handle, but there was an allure.  Where does this go?  Treasure perhaps?  They are nowhere near high enough level to make much of a journey down there but hey ““It’s not like Kevin’s going to throw something at us we can’t handle”.

I don’t bring this all up as a manner of admonishing the player who said this though.  While it rankled at the time it ultimately caused a moment of introspection regarding the games I’d run for him and others in the past.  I came to the realisation, and on some level I guess I knew this already, that I really could have earned such a reputation in the past.  Most games I’ve run, up until the last few years, were very survivable.  I’ve almost never allowed a situation to arise that would result in the loss of a party of players and thus… our story.

You see, I am a very story driven player of Tabletop RPGs.  Whether I am running the game, or playing a character, it’s what drives my manner of play.  In the past, Hell even the recent past, I have been the outright opposite of a “Killer DM”.  I’ve certainly let players die before but have only allowed one TPK in my entire run as a DM, and that was in a very recent game of 5th Edition.  He had every right to make the assertion that they would be safe venturing downward, all the games he’d been in had always had that safety net.

In conclusion I’m writing this to highlight a few points.  I hadn’t realized it but my methods had changed somewhere along the line, I began writing things in an effort to be more precise in why they would be facing a certain challenge and I had even allowed for obstacles to either be mortally dangerous or impossible to surpass.  I think I’ve become a better DM for it and I think it may surprise some of my players how their chances at surviving this storyline may take a bit more caution than they’ve needed to possess in the past.  They aren’t completely safe anymore, and they need to know that.

So... New Philosophy

So… New Philosophy

-Melvs

Combating System Bloat in D&D 5e

Many may have already been exposed to this excellent Q&A between The Israeli RPG website pundak.co.il and WotC Lead Designer Mike Mearls but I wanted to weigh in on some of the more interesting revealed nuggets.  Namely the fact that WotC appears to have realized the error of its ways regarding system bloat.  In layman’s terms this is an issue of presenting way too many new system rules over a relatively short amount of time resulting in a quickly bloated system.  This may also cause a number of watered down supplements to be released either before being fine tuned, or where they weren’t even a good idea in the first place, in an effort to match a frenetic “once a month” release schedule.  It seems the main focus of this Q&A quickly turned into one promising a slower, more thoughtful, release schedule with specific goals in mind.  I can’t truly relay how much I love this idea.

One of this initial questions asked about WotC’s thought process behind releasing more Archtypes etc.

MEARLS: We really want to take it easy with adding new mechanics to the game. Each new option increases the chance that something broken or confusing will enter the game. Our plan is to add things only if the game really needs them, like an option that makes sense for a setting or that fits a role within a specific campaign. The playtest showed us that most players and DMs don’t want hundreds of pages of new content each month, but instead a much more deliberate, careful release schedule.

There it is in direct language, exactly what I had assumed would be happening with the releases but it is nice to see it “on paper”.  The last question also nods to a slower release schedule and the promise of further story-lines with the quality of their launch two-parter “Tyranny of Dragons”.

MEARLS: We’re looking at two storylines a year. Right now, we have plans laid down for stories up through 2018.

All the way through 2018 eh, I’m down for that!  Maybe I’ll have my core group start playing these releases.

Another topic that caught a lot of traffic was the Monster Manual.  I really liked some of the questions asked here, especially the one that calls into question the reason for most creatures in the book to be listed with CR’s of 8 or less.  Mearls’ answer spoke to another item I’m digging about 5e, the fact that lower CR creatures can still provide a challenge to higher level players.

MEARLS: CR trends much lower in this edition that past ones. Part of bounded accuracy is the idea that lower level monsters remain a threat to powerful characters by appearing in greater numbers. That means that providing more monsters at lower CRs makes the book overall more useful for DMs.

A great Q&A all told, you should really check it out in full, but back to the main topic now.  System Bloat was a huge issue in 3.X and to a lesser extent 4e.  Now, I’m not saying the monthly production of source books didn’t weigh on 4e, but at least with that edition there was a well balanced rule system to keep things, for all intents and purposes, “even” despite excess additions to the system.  In 3.X what you ended up having were outright overpowered additions (like the friggan Monkey Grip feat) or entire source books that felt almost utterly useless (ahem…Complete Mage).  Honestly I wonder if Pathfinder has run into any of this issue, but I’ve never paid much attention to their stuff as 10+ years of the 3.X rule system has, for the time being, been enough.

The design team at WotC continues to impress with this edition.  Enough so that my reviews and commentary are starting to sound rather like a broken record.  I hope they stick to this measured release model and continue to hand us quality, story driven, supplements.  If they intend this to be the “last edition of D&D”, or at least a long lived edition, they’ll certainly need to!

-Melvs

Magic Item Economy in 5e D&D

+XMagicItems

I’ve mentioned before that I liked 4th Edition D&D on the whole but one thing that always bugged me was the handling of Magic Items.  They were wholesale, something players expected (and needed) from the moment they started playing.  It took away from the “magic” of a Magic Item.  There was no real mystery surrounding a +1 flaming longsword anymore because it had to be something widely available for players to keep up with the scaling of level.  Magic Items were integral to the leveling process.  I’m not going to pretend that 3.X didn’t do this on some level as well, just certainly not to the extent of 4th.  Well in 5th we’ve taken a severe back-step (not a bad thing) to the days when finding some Gauntlets of Ogre Power changed your character’s life!  You’ve discovered an artifact of great power, few people have seen such things!  I’ve always loved this approach and am thrilled to see this edition embracing it where the last edition nearly forced me to water down such treasures.

I envy those who are starting to play Dungeons and Dragons with this edition, they’ve no baggage from previous editions, and I’ve seen such baggage take hold in a far more prevalent manner in this specific area.  My players were a bit dumbfounded to discover that even a +1 Dagger found in my current Eberron game represented something special in the eyes of a shopkeeper, they barely knew how to price the thing and, at least this small shop, had no where near the funds to buy such a thing off them.  It is really going to take a while to get used to Magic Items being special again.  Not to mention the fact that certain items require their user to be attuned to them now & you’re limited to only three Magic Items like that.

Flaming Longsword

I carried a +2 Flaming Longsword for 12 levels and 2 years back in a buddy’s 3.5 game. Good times.

My players did make a good point about Eberron in general being a very “magic friendly” setting so their wondering aloud why a mere +1 Dagger would garner so much attention struck me as honest criticism.  It made me start to wonder where to draw the line in such a setting, and I include Fearûn in my assessment of “magic friendly” domains.  It would make sense for items like basic scrolls, potions, and other magical baubles to be widely available in large cities, and to a lesser extent Hamlets, but when you get to Magical Weapons, Armor, and other equipment you’ll need to really sit down and think about whether or not to have a certain threshold of such things available for sale (though per the rules the answer is “nowhere”).

Personally I’ll likely make up some rules for +1 Items and things of that nature to be purchasable in a few locations and allow for the sale of such things there as well.  It’ll cost to buy them though, and selling won’t be all that lucrative.  Beyond that I am perfectly happy to allow the players to dig in and really seek out an item they may wish to acquire, it may even cost them a quest or two.  They could always make the trip to Sharn, my favorite Eberron city, and troll the many walkways for a shopkeeper that can help them out.  I’m certain I could include an adventure or two there.

Nothing makes something more desirable than scarcity and I plan to make Magic Items pretty scarce.  Hell, if I run a Ravenloft game they may never even see a Magic Item unless they put the work in!  Players and DM’s are going to have to get creative with gold management, as the players may find they have more milling about now than before, but I’m sure it will result in some interesting twists in gameplay.  Bottom line, I love the direction taken here, as I have with many 5e choices, and can’t wait to finally see that list of Magic Items in all its glory in the Dungeon Master’s Guide!  I certainly love the taste we got recently.

Magic items DMG

-Melvs

P.S. I’d love to hear if you have any specific plans for handling a Magic Item Economy in your game!  Drop me a line below or on Twitter.

 

Of Dreams and Magic: Live Your Dreams & Battle the Doubt!

ODAM LOGO

Of Dreams and Magic (ODAM) is a new entry into the world of Tabletop Role-Playing Games currently being funded via Kickstarter.  Players take on the form of “Anima” or individuals who have come to the realization that our real world is not what it appears to be and in a “Matrix-Like” gesture have shrugged off the yolk of the “Doubt”.  An Anima becomes a representation of whatever magic they called upon within their dreams when they realize they have power over the Doubt, capable of using this magic in the real world as well.  The Doubt is an oppressive enemy force that acts as a layer of mundane between the people of our world and the magic they should rightfully be able to grasp.

ODAM Girl_Dreaming

The artwork looks top notch.

I’m a fan of the concepts this RPG puts forth.  There is nothing limiting here, the Dreamweaver (title for the GM & love note for you Gary Wright fans out there!…anyone? Eh? No? Ok, moving on then.) has the option of presenting adventures either in the real world or even in the dream world.  Thus you’re limited only by your imagination for what kind of adventure players go forth on.  Then there are the options for the players as any pretty much anything they want to run with.  They choose one of four Archetypes for their Anima that represent various fiction tropes.  Thus a player can play a superhero, maybe a dwarven berserker, a futuristic super soldier, or even something out of the realm of nightmares.  Again there is an emphasis of letting go of anything restrictive when it comes to who you are in game or where you can take those individuals.  Not to forget that the Doubt represents a malign form of this same principle so the Dreamweaver can form whatever villain they wish out of it.

Seeing all the above might make some feel that everything is just fast and loose here, you may find yourself wondering what kind of a system can support something so open ended.  I think they nailed it honestly.  I was a bit surprised to discover a pretty unique, yet robust system utilizing Attributes and skills by rolling two 10 sided die, considered over/under die, and figuring out a number based off the sum of The Over Die – The Under Die + The Appropriate Ability Score (chosen by Dreamweaver) to get the Ability test Result.  To get further into the nitty gritty of the system the authors are actually providing a pretty comprehensive playtest packet in pdf form that explains a bit about the game itself and does a good job of explaining the Gameplay Rules most of all.  You can download it on their website HERE.

ODAM ANIMA

With 19 days to go, ODAM is currently 30% funded.  They sit at just over $3,000 of their $10,000 fund point and I would certainly like to see this project fund completely.  One thing I note that may be a hindrance lies with the fact that the cheapest someone can get a Hardcover copy of the final book is at the $70 pledge level.  Typically the “hardcover level” comes into play at the $50, or cheaper, level with the noted exceptions of the Monte Cook Games fare Numenera and The Strange.  It is important to note that the final book will be a 300 page, all inclusive, and fully illustrated hulk so at least you’ll be getting a sizable piece of work.  Honestly I’m happy to see someone taking the step to really put their necks out there, wanting a quality item.  You’ll also get printed copies of every stretch goal at that point as well.  You can get a Softcover for as cheap as $40, and a pdf of the system starting at $15.

Here’s their project video.  If it is any indication of the art direction, I’m in.

 

I’ll be putting some money towards this myself and I urge others to do the same.  I find it really intriguing and hope to one day hold a copy of the book in my hands.  Then I can force the Vagabond Gamers into my own nightmare realms!  Errr… I mean… let them live out there dreams.

-Melvs

P.S. Check out their site to join in on a game run by the team themselves!  It looks likes they will be running weekly games for the foreseeable future to introduce people to ODAM.  I like that kind of community outreach!

Kickstarter Details: Link to the Kickstarter

  • ODAM Publishing
  • Goal: $10,000
  • My Backer Level: Pledge $15 – Digital Anima – You will receive a full color PDF version of Of Dreams and Magic, along with digital versions of all stretch goals.