I Don’t Play In Your Game!

Dragon74leftfaceYesterday’s post was a bit maudlin. Okay, perhaps a lot maudlin. But that’s occasionally the way it goes when you look back on something you really enjoyed.

Now it’s time to move on. Skimming through the reviews, I did notice a fair number addressed how well the product fit into the reviewer’s game. Now some of these were complementary, others less so. But whether those reviews were positive or negative, they do highlight something I thought everyone knew:

Your game is your game.

What I mean by this is, due to the (relative) open nature of this little game of ours, the game you run/play in is unique. As a result, to expect any product, especially an unofficial supplement, to fit your game is clearly unrealistic. More to the point:

  • Expect to make modifications to anything you purchase, perhaps even major (however you want to define a term like that) changes.
  • Also remember the reverse: the more specific a particular product is, the more likely your need to make changes and the greater those changes are likely to be.

I tried to keep these two things in mind when I wrote any product, and certainly the Dozens. The goal was to create a product whose contents could, both mechanically and flavorly (is that a word? I don’t think that’s a word) be plugged into any game with only minimal changes.

Taking such an approach will, of course, ensure the product will not match your game. But it wouldn’t have matched your game anyway because I don’t play in your game.

Happy gaming,

Michael Hammes

Things Never Die On The Internet

DozenMasterworkWeaponssmallHaving completed my posts of A Dozen Masterwork Weapons, I was struck by a twinge of nostalgia. So I did what we do in the internet age: I punched some keys and waited to see what came up. Lo and behold, the old sales page still exists!

Okay, the old sales page doesn’t really exist, but what does exist are the old reviews. Turns out that particular product had exactly a dozen reviews . . . at least on that website. And the great majority of the reviewers were pretty happy, though there was one disgruntled individual. Now while you never want to see someone unhappy with your product, the fact is you can’t please all the people all the time.

In any case, having spotted this, I spent quite a bit of time looking over more of the old Ronin Arts reviews (over 1,200!) and products. Good times, good times . . .

Happy gaming,

Michael Hammes



Sisters of Mercy Dagger

DozenMasterworkWeaponssmallAlright. Here it is. The last entry from 2004’s A Dozen Masterwork Weapons for this Dozens Monday. Fortunately, after a couple of “meh” entries, I finished strong with this one. Not only does the Sisters of Mercy Dagger entry have poison (always a fave), but there’s a lot of flavor and corresponding implied role-playing material for a cabal of assassins. And who doesn’t like that?

Speaking of assassins, I would like to invite anyone who hasn’t done so to read up on the actual Assassins (the Hashishin), even if it is just the Wikipedia entry. In the words of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, I believe you will find it instructive.

And while there is of course an Assassin prestige class, I prefer the general definition of the term assassin: a murderer of an important person in a surprise attack for political or religious reasons. In other words, anyone (or in the parlance of our game, any class) can be an assassin, not just those who have ranks in the so-named prestige class. This opens up membership in the Sisters to a broader range of classes, which is much more realistic given the actual needs of self-sustaining organizations (something I’ve mentioned about Thieves’ Guilds before).
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Dealing With The Identify Spell

DecorativeSometimes you have to go whither your steps lead you. It was yesterday I bemoaned the fact that, per the RAW, magical items in our little game aren’t terribly mysterious thanks to the identify spell. This little bit of magic allows you to discover ” . . . all magic properties of a single magic item, including how to activate those functions (if appropriate), and how many charges are left (if any)”.

So, assuming you have access to identify, and, frankly, given how prevalent magic items are assumed to be per the RAW it’d be silly if one didn’t have access to the spell in some fashion, there’s absolutely no mystery, no wonder to magic items in the game.  Contrast that with how difficult it was for Gandalf to discover Bilbo’s ring was actually “The One Ring” and what effect that had.

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Where’s The Magic?


In yesterday’s post I briefly touched on the idea of finding a “diamond in the rough” or an “Ugly Duckling” – a valuable item not easily recognizable as such. In the real world, being able to separate the wheat from the chaff is how a lot of people make their living. Think of used cars, antiques, gems and jewelry, houses, livestock, racing horses, stocks, pawn shops, etc. I mean, the list goes on and on.

To be successful at this requires expertise. In many cases, a considerable amount of expertise, one acquired over years, or even a lifetime. And yet, when it comes to the most valuable items in our little game, you need no expertise at all – just identify.

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Orc Morningstar

DozenMasterworkWeaponssmallIt turned out to be a really busy Halloween week, and I didn’t even dress up! I did learn something valuable, however, and that is that much of my favorite chocolate candy from my youth just doesn’t taste as good anymore. *Sigh* the problems with getting older . . .  Anyway, here’s this week’s Dozens Monday post.

This post features the penultimate entry of A Dozen Masterwork Weapons, so only one more and we’ll move on to the next Dozen in publication order: A Dozen Holidays and Festivals. Which somehow seems apropo as we’ve entered the most festive time of the year.

In looking over the entry I was clearly going for the “diamond in the rough” or “Ugly Duckling” feel with the idea that a valuable weapon, and by extension any other item, could be disguised simply by the ravages of use, time, and neglect. It’s the same concept as buying some dusty piece of furniture at a yard sale and, upon cleaning it, discovering the piece is actually a valuable antique. Only in this case you plan to bludgeon people to death with it.
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Gandalf: Crossbowman

ArbalestIn yesterday’s post I rambled on a bit about crossbows and how no one in any of my campaigns had ever used one, preferring long- and shortbows instead. So I decided to engage in a bit of digging in *gasp* wikipedia about the crossbow and it’s rather an interesting subject, really. And, no, I’m not going to sweat the accuracy of wikipedia when I’m looking for inspiration for a game where imaginary people summon demons and chuck fireballs.

In any case, some of the information I already knew but much I did not and I believe I found some nuggets useful for our little game. But I’ll look into that later.

For today, let’s take a look at which classes might make use of a crossbow, and by that I mean, which classes are limited to crossbows/simple weapons by their weapon proficiencies as the crossbow is a simple ranged weapon:

  • Cleric
  • Monk
  • Sorcerers
  • Wizards

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