Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Time to switch sides of the DM screen

In our gaming group we have a main regular game, and here and there we run alternates when we do not have a quorum for the main game.  So for the past four years I have been in the main game DM seat.  I enjoy both sides of the screen, but it has been quite a while since I was consistently on the other side and I am quite looking forward to being back among the adventuring masses.

I like to think being a DM improves my playing, and being a player improves my DMing.  Though we are 'playing' the same game, and doing it all together, it is quite a different experience behind the screen.  On the DM side I don't seek to win, but rather to put on a interesting, challenging and entertaining experience.  There is a new thread on ENWorld where the OP as an aside raises again the (g)notion the DM loses when the players win.  Balderdash!  I did not post in response because everything I wanted to say sounded like thread crapping and the OP is welcome to his opinion.

Now back on the player side, I am released - I can strive to win.  Of course, I will do it within the confines of the character I have created and have consideration for my fellow players.  Instead of focusing of all the game elements, I will focus on what my character wants.  Instead of creating multiple paths for the players to follow, my character will select a path.  Instead of wondering what the players will do to my carefully crafted adventure, my character will be doing unspeakable things to the DM's carefully crafted adventure.  Instead of calculating XP, I will be planning character responses to things I imagine the DM will throw at us.  Yes, my character will kill things and take their stuff.  Oh, and given he is a good cleric, he will save various and sundry good leaning beings and tithe heavily to the church.

All the while my characters fame and wealth grows, a small but growing itch will start again to get back on the other side of the screen.  Hopefully for quite a while that itch can be soothed by running the alternate adventure nights, because I have much killing and taking to catch up on.

The dice never lie.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Western Game Shoot Out

We couldn't get a quorum for our regular D&D game, so instead my son ran a one shot (pun intended) western using Sidewinder Recoiled with a few mods.  The outing was based on the movie, "The Quick and the Dead".  We rolled up characters (being a d20 game it always takes longer than we expect - so many fun choices) and off we went.  We had no idea in advance what the adventure was, so our characters were not optimized for the adventure.

Like any good western there was a bar room brawl, gun fights in the street, and the big shoot out finale which included a bad guy getting shot dead and falling off the roof.  Two of the characters entered the gun fight contest, because, what the heck, it was the adventure.  Surprisingly, my character, the River City Kid, made it all the way to the final round to go up against the mayor (who looked strangely like Gene Hackman).  The mayor changes the rules 15 minutes before the duel (which would indicate certain death for the Kid), and my character decides not to follow his rules any more and all hell breaks loose.  Fortunately for the Kid, the other characters come to his aid, risking their lives for cinematic glory.  A number of memorable moments by all characters, many of the perfect western classic type lines.  In the final scene the dead mayor's Peacemaker is slammed on the bar by the Kid who says to the saloon keeper, "I believe you have my two thousand dollars."  Great fun overall.

I don't hesitate to recommend Sidewinder Recoiled as a fine d20 western implementation.  It is really easy to run if you already know d20, and has some nice elements to make it western specific.

The only thing we didn't do was head them off at the pass.  Maybe next time.  The dice never lie.
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