Category Archives: April, 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge

Slower Signups by RPG Bloggers to this Year’s A to Z Challenge

For last year’s A to Z Challenge I made a group of links of RPG bloggers that signed up for the 2014 A to Z Challenge. There were a lot of them, twenty-one by my count.

So far, there are nine RPG bloggers, counting me, signed up for the 2015 challenge. Will there be a slew of last minute sign ups, or will the trickle until the deadline be it?

I can see that this is not for everyone.

I find it a good way to get the creative juices flowing as it forces you to think. Coming up with a coherent theme even more of a challenge. As with the rest of my blogging, I use it to share my ideas, and to gather and organize ideas for my campaign(s).

Players don’t always appreciate or get to see all the details. Blogging helps to get the ideas out there and to distill them to the bare essentials needed for presentation in actual play.

Also four years of college note taking and three years of grad school note taking ruined my handwriting. If I’m not careful when I write, even I can’t read it. I used to get A’s in penmanship. So typing makes it easier for me to go back and read what I wrote.  :/

April, 2014 A to Z

Well, I made it. Doing 26 posts is not too hard. The hardest part was coming up with a topic for each letter of the alphabet. I did not have a them, other than RPGs for this blog and genealogy for my genealogy blog.

I scheduled each letter ahead of time, so if I did not have a topic, I could add it when I got to it.

I had my RPG blog done well before the end of April. My genealogy blog I had a couple I let slip up on me and I did them that day.

I should have kept a backlog in my scheduled postings, but I did not. Now to build up a buffer to tide me over for the days I am busy.

Day 26 Z is for Zombie

April 30, 2014
April 30, 2014

In D&D, zombies are slow, lumbering undead. They are created by evil magic users from the corpses of the dead. They are so slow that they attack last every round. A good cleric has a chance to turn them and make them leave the cleric and his party alone for a time. A high enough level cleric will turn them to dust instead of turning them away. An evil cleric has a chance to take over the zombies and command them. This holds true for all types of undead.

Unlike recent movies and TV shows, a wound from a zombie does not turn you into a zombie when you die. One could make the case that a corpse attacking you gives you a chance of catching a disease. They are also not brain eaters. They are merely undead used as guards and cannon fodder by the bad guys.

Day 25 Y is for Yelling

April 29, 2014
April 29, 2014

Yelling and screaming in a dungeon is a good way to attract the unwanted attention of monsters.

Yelling and screaming while role playing is a good way to attract the attention of your parents or your non role playing spouse, or your neighbors if the windows are open in nice weather.

Yelling and screaming can be a sign of imminent danger for the characters in the dungeon, but is often a sign of a good time in the course of role playing.

Sometimes there is roaring with laughter, yelling at a poor roll, grieving at the loss of a favorite character or NPC.

If it involves a disagreement in real life among players or DM, then the DM needs to step in and straighten it out.

The whole point of RPGs is to have fun while playing your preferred version of make-believe with rules.

May all your yelling be part of role playing and a sign of a good time!

Day 24 X is for Xorn

April 28, 2014
April 28, 2014

There are not a lot of X words in D&D that come to mind. There is a monster in the Monster Manual called a Xorn. It looks like living rock with three arms and three legs and a mouth on top of its head. It can move through rock and seeks out metal to eat. The same metals adventurers prize, copper, silver, gold, etc. They are very tough and hard to fight. They are of average intelligence, so you can reason/bribe them to leave you alone with the right amount of gold for them to eat.

I have never ran into one as a player or used one as a DM.

Day 23 W is for War

April 26, 2014
April 26, 2014

War is a common theme in fantasy and science fiction. In the realm of RPG’s there are various ways that wars play into things.

  • Wars as a part of the back story/history of the current situation in the campaign. This can be just a quick mention, or be more elaborate depending on the GM.
  • Wars as part of rumors and news of faraway places the players may not or will never go.
  • Wars as part of infighting between bad guys. The players may or may not learn of this. If they do learn of it, they may choose to stay out of it, or get involved to make sure the least bad one wins; and then go after the now weakened bad guy.
  • Wars as something the players are involved in. This can take several forms:
    • The players elect to join in and help the side they favor.
    • The players have stirred up the bad guys to the point of war.
      • This can happen in a way that the players may not know it is coming, and not be available to help.
    • The players have caused some sort of diplomatic incident and started a war.
      • Again, the players may not know about this, or they may find themselves in deep trouble if they can’t avert it.
    • The players decide to go off to where there is a war or fighting they have heard about and get involved on the side of the “good guys”.
      • The “good guys” may or may not really be “good guys”. This can make for interesting role playing.


Day 22 V is for Vorpal Blade

April 25, 2014
April 25, 2014

The term Vorpal Blade is from a line in the poem Jabberwocky from the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland sequel, Through the Looking Glass.

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

Vorpal is a nonsense word, but from the context of the poem, it is understood to be a blade capable of decapitation.

It entered the world of D&D meaning a magic sword with an increased tendency to decapitate one’s opponent, or to severe a limb.

Day 21 U is for Unicorns

April 24, 2014
April 24, 2014

Unicorns in D&D are the classic image of unicorns in literature, a horse with a single horn sprouting from its forehead.

Like mythology, in D&D they are magical creatures that are nearly impossible to catch.

Human and elven maids of pure heart can tame them and use them for steeds.

Some have combined the winged horses, pegasi, and unicorns, to come up with flying unicorns. What do you call them, unipegs, pegicorns, or just flying unicorns?

Day 20 T is for Treasure

April 23, 2014
April 23, 2014

Treasure, gold, silver, gems, jewels, and magic are the goal of the hearty adventurers who dare risk entering a dungeon or other place rumored to have treasure.

One can even find treasure maps in the treasure hoards one finds. These maps lead the way to further adventure.

Treasure can be just a few coins off a slain orc, or a hoard of a dragon.

Adventurers have quite the time because once they get the treasure, they may still have to survive to get to the exit to the dungeon, much like the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Sometimes rival adventurers may let your party risk all the danger, only to take what you have brought forth.

Day 19 S is for Sandbox

April 22, 2014
April 22, 2014

A sandbox in RPG terms is generally a starting area or setting where the adventurers can go in whatever direction they choose and find adventure. As they expand their explorations the DM/GM adds to the fringes of the sandbox.

The simplest example is a town for a home base/safe place to rest, recuperate, sell off loot, and restock for the next adventure. The town is in the middle of a certain amount of terrain, usually what the players could travel in a day or two.

This limits the scope of what the DM has to prepare in advance, yet allows the players to decide what they will do.

This is the opposite of a railroad, where the DM does not give the players a choice in what they do and where they go. This tends to be GM’s that have designed an elaborate scenario and want all their cool work to be seen and appreciated by the players.

The DM of a sandbox style of play will have dungeons and treasures that the players may never find. This is not a bad thing as the DM will have a larger stock of material for the future, or if multiple groups of players are running around the same general area.