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December 02, 2020
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Episode 60 - Critical Strike

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Short Cut to Remote Gaming Forum (29 Aug 2020)

Since remote gaming has now become a significant part of how we play board games, we have added a short cut to this forum in the menu on the left.

D&D’s Descent into Avernus Puts You on the Highway to Hell - Review

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01 Nov 2019 18:37 #303054 by Michael Barnes
As a longtime D&D player (since 1983), I grew up...

Going down, party time
My friends are gonna be there too

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02 Nov 2019 11:55 #303055 by jason10mm
Excellent write-up. It kinda boggles my mind that we are getting such high value accessories to DnD, these massive intricate props and the like. I'm pretty sure I never ran a game back in the day without having to proxy about 50% of the stuff (or let the minis dictate what monsters were present) but now you can deck out entire tables of stuff just like a minis wargame.

I'm still amazed that 5e hasn't rolled out Dragonlance yet. They keep hitting Forgotten Realms in general and the Sword Coast in particular while digging into TSRs past but DL remains absent. I have my theories given the current direction WOTC is going with the game (heavily emphasizing diversity and player choice instead of a fixed set of PCs tied into a railroad story) but it would still be nice as there were some boss modules for that campaign I'd like to see return.

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05 Nov 2019 09:30 #303128 by Michael Barnes
I’m actually trying to wean one of my groups off of heavy prop/mini presentation. I sort of spoiled them on their first couple of sessions with big setups, but it’s gotten to where the stress on me to provide them each game is too much! For our Avernus adventure, I wound up just drawing the Infernal War Machine they were in for a big Fury Road homage and it worked fine. I’ve nudged them more towards a hybrid of loose tactical and theater of the mind.

Interestingly, the two adventure compilation books (Yawning Portal and Saltmarsh) include references to Dragonlance by way of advisement as to where to set the modules in those settings. But other than that...I don’t know if it’ll ever come back.

Eberron is next, I never played anything there.
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05 Nov 2019 10:47 #303133 by Shellhead
I backed myself into a corner with my last big D&D campaign, Ptolus. I found a website where a talented pro had prepared extensive miniature scale maps for all the adventures and many key locations in the Ptolus campaign. I was working for a company that was slowly going out of business at the time, and printed a copier paper box full of color miniature maps for the campaign, along with token sheets for roughly 1400 monsters and npcs. I mounted the mini token printouts on wooden nickels, which my players quickly accepted as a valid alternative to painted minis. The players loved exploring the maps (which I only revealed gradually, depending on the party light sources and line of sight) so much that the party would sometimes spread out too much, leaving some of them vulnerable to the next encounter.

Since wrapping up that campaign in 2016, I have only run a few one-shot Call of Cthulhu adventures, and I over-prepped for them with copious handouts, miniature scale maps, and tokens. I know Call of Cthulhu works just fine with theatre-of-the-mind DMing, but I feel like my players will now be disappointed if my level of presentation drops too far below the Ptolus standard.

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06 Nov 2019 20:51 #303486 by san il defanso
This one might be a little too dark for my churchy group, but the Baldur's Gate setting is pretty appealing. And the Mad Max influence as well, natch.

I feel like the more I play 5e, the more I appreciate its willingness to function in realms of both detailed tactical settings and theater-of-the-mind. I feel like I've been able to slip easily between the two, depending on the situation, and that might not be the precise intention behind the design, but it's certainly been an upside. Considering how much 5e has tried to please everyone at once, it remains a very versatile system, and I think that's probably why it has had so much success. You can be really precise if that's your bag, but you can just as easily be a lot more loosey-goosey with it. (I am the latter.)
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