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Wed, Feb. 23rd, 2011, 06:30 am
The start of an adventure.

Gwuh, it has been a long time since I've posted here. I still read everything, but my life is dull but chaotic. I feel like I'm abandoning the non-Twitter people by neglecting this social space, so I'll try to get back into the habit of pushing the buttons and saying things.

How cliche the above paragraph, I know. Onto the interesting stuff, then.

I've started a game of D&D! Well, a small one, with the usuals, and it's in addition to another game we're running. It's a short, low-level adventure that goes from first to fifth level, but it's got a lot of excitement in it. We just finished up the character gen and background session, and it went great. We're using fourth edition Dungeons and Dragons, in case you were one of the few people who would wonder as such.

Because it's such a small party, I knew that they were going to need to go without a controller, and that there wouldn't be any overlap. Perhaps I need to make that simpler for those that don't play D&D, or haven't been exposed to fourth edition: the game is balanced on an assumption of 4-5 players, although you can play with less and certainly more. We have three, so some adjustments have to be made. Each player has character that has a class that fits into one of four roles: leader, defender, controller, and striker. The leader is somebody who bolsters and heals the party members, and is stuff like a cleric, shaman, bard, warlord, or something like that. If you know about WoW then you see that as a particularly well-armoured healer. A defender is a tank, somebody that can take a beating and protects less defensive characters by drawing enemy fire and of course doing damage, and it's stuff like the fighter and paladin. The controller is the wizard and druid, somebody that throws down big area effects and changes the field of battle dramatically to help the party. The striker are mobile damage-per-second types that get out there and just spread the love, and that's the classic rogue, ranger, monk, that kind of stuff. The controller is the easiest thing to lose, because I can design the encounters such that they don't dramatically suffer for the loss, and I made sure they had one of each of the other roles. I hate to limit people, but everyone seems happy with the result -- I know I am! This is looking to be a blast.

raiblu had been designing his character for over a week, so he was just finishing up his generation part tonight. The final result, after the backstory generation, Rio Trebina, a chubby kitsune barbarian. Before she finally got a name the concept was tagged "the fatsune", which is damn fun to say. Her backstory lacks highlights that would be especially delightful to you guys, but she looks like a fun character to see played: she's very honest, brash and competitive, particularly with Zek's character.

(The kitsune isn't a race you can find in any of the books. I designed them since I thought they ought to be. Later on, provided somebody gets curious, I can share what I've got. I'm actually kind of proud of it.)

thetakogun got stuck with the leader role, but he made the best of it. He's playing Ginjiro, the tanuki ardent. An ardent is a type of psychic that specializes in emotion control, and they use that power to bolster the powers of their friends and terrify their enemies. Before the start of the campaign, he's using his powers to act as a sort of renaissance-era DJ, which is just awesome.

(Ditto the above with the tanuki. Two custom races out of three players, I know. Trust me, they're good and at least mostly balanced!)

Zek -- as I will call him here! -- is playing a minotaur bodyguard named Damara. She left home young because she estranged from her family by their ludicrous radical politics, which is remarkable for how relatable and domestic that is, and also how unthought-of that would be if we hadn't gone through the background session.

It was a straightforward process, the background session: I take turns, almost like it was turns in combat, only instead it's a section of the character's lives. I start with a simple question to the tune of, "where were you born?" and then follow each resulting stage with "what happened next?" while supplying hooks and background information as we go. The final result is that the characters really fit into the world already, and each player knows a lot about the rest of the player, as well as it being more entertaining than it sounds. It produces lots of useful potential hooks for later, and it pushes the characters in an enriching direction, and sets up the first session rather well because they know who, where and what everyone is right from the start. I recommend the process to everyone that runs tabletop stuff, it really works.

Anyway, somebody did note that between a tanuki, a kitsune, and a minotaur, we have a very furry party. I'd not even noticed until it was pointed out!