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Buried Treasure – Dungeons & Dragons Endless Quest Books

We’re in the process of changing rooms around in our house.  One of the joys (and pains) of this process is going through every… single… nook… and… cranny.

Now, in doing that, one is bound to find some long-lost items.  These (practically) literally-buried treasures are unearthed after years of being forgotten.  Once you find them, though, the rush of memories is so awesome.

Take, for instance, these beauties, which I uncovered in the back of a bookcase.

D&D Endless Quest Books

D&D Endless Quest Books

These are my incomplete collection of the Endless Quest series, the Dungeons & Dragons version of Choose Your Own Adventure books.  I was a fan of the latter, and when I saw the first book in Toys ‘R’ Us, I snagged it immediately.  I had been playing Dungeons & Dragons for over a year at the time.

I loved Dungeon of Dread, and couldn’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the books in the series.  I missed a few, but I’m happy with the ones I have.  I’m especially happy to have them still.

One thing that confuses me is that I have two copies of Dungeon of Dread.  I have no recollection of buying two, or of receiving a second as a gift.  The first memory I have of it is when my parents gave me a whole box of books from my old room in their house, after I had graduated college.  It was a mystery back then, too.

Have you read any of the Endless Quest books?  Do you still have them?  And, most importantly, would you be willing to, ahem, donate any to round out my collection? :-D

 
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Posted by on Monday, 22 July 2013 in Gaming, Personal

 

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Of My Favorite Characters – Turg-Hath

Reverb Gamers asks:

Describe your all-time favorite character to play. What was it about him/her/it that you enjoyed so much?

Wow – where can I begin?  I have so many “favorite character(s)” that I can’t possibly choose one.  In fact, I may have a follow-up post or six to this.

Let me focus this post on one character that sticks out in my mind: Turg-Hath.  At the time, we were playing 2nd Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, using the Player’s Option: Spells & Magic book.  Andy, our DM, allowed me to use The Complete Book of Humanoids for this character.

Turg-Hath was a goblin shaman who could see and speak with the spirits of the dead.  His life began in a goblin tribe, of course.  From his earliest childhood, he was always an outsider.  The superstitious goblins feared his “visions of the dead,” and, in typical goblin fashion, chose to bully and ostracize him.  The goblin chieftain, however, saw the value in Turg-Hath’s spirit-sight, and protected him just enough to keep him alive.  Then, one vision so angered the chieftain that he banished Turg-Hath from the tribe’s lands.  The fact that the goblin word for “banish” is the same as “narrowly escape death by the enraged chieftain’s spear” never came up in his future conversations.

He managed to avoid his kinsmen’s hunting party for the next two weeks until they finally lost interest and returned home.  Starving and afraid for his life, Turg-Hath wandered for another month.  The spirits around him changed.  No longer did he see only menacing goblinoids, orcs, and giants.  Now, he saw other races that had been mostly unfamiliar to him: humans, halflings, and elves.  The strange humanoid spirits were no less disdainful toward the goblin, but they were not as threatening.  Indeed, some directed him toward a human settlement.

Turg-Hath wandered onto the property of Prescott, a respected elder of the town.  Moved with pity, Prescott took him in and nursed him back to health.  Turg-Hath was confused by the old man’s kindness, for he had never known anyone to show compassion to him.  Intrigued, and out of a sense of indebtedness, he accepted Prescott’s offer to remain with him as his servant.  From Prescott Turg-Hath learned the common tongue, human customs, the ways of “civilized peoples,” and, eventually, the concept of friendship.

Prescott’s standing in the village earned Turg-Hath a modicum of respect, but not acceptance.  Other than Prescott, the humans kept him at arm’s length.  The mayor came to see Turg-Hath as a good soul, and began trusting his advice.

Prescott, unfortunately, fell ill.  Turg-Hath remained at his friend’s side, and used the power of the spirits to ease his pain during his final days.  However, as all mortals do, Prescott lost the battle, and died.  In his grief, Turg-Hath noticed something odd: Prescott was still with him.  Intuition had led Turg-Hath to bind Prescott as his very first spirit guide.

Days turned into weeks, which in turn became a couple of seasons.  While Turg-Hath knew he had a place to live, he was aware that he did not have a home.  The humans never welcomed him into their village, and with Prescott’s death, were becoming more cold toward him.

At the start of the campaign, he was a representative of the mayor of the small human village in which he lived.  The rest of the party came to the village, and were hired by the mayor, who sent his representative with them.  At first, they were not very accepting of him either, especially the female human ranger who just happened to have “goblinoids” as her favored enemy.

What fate will befall Turg-Hath?  Will his new companions ever get past the suspicion that the mayor placed his burden on their backs?  Will he ever find a place where he truly belongs?

And you, dear readers… do you wish to hear more of Turg-Hath’s story?

 
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Posted by on Friday, 6 January 2012 in Gaming

 

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RPG Moments Of Glory – Our Desperate Attack On The Vampiress

This is a story of a battle.  The battle took place in a 2nd Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons campaign.  The party consisted of two player characters: Fred’s paladin, and my wizard; and one non-player character, a cleric.  This was more than a decade ago, so I don’t recall details like our character levels, or the campaign world.  I do believe we were between 6th and 8th level, and were playing in Ravenloft.

Our foe was a vampiress, who had previously charmed the paladin and tricked him into drinking a goblet of her blood.  Time was against him, and he would transform into a vampire under her command the next night with the rise of the full moon.  His only hope was her immediate destruction that evening in her lair.  If we failed, he would forever lose his soul to the darkness.

We knew the location of her lair.  We fought our way through her defenses, and entered her sanctuary.  The lid of her sarcophagus slid to the side, and she emerged.  Words were exchanged, hollow promises made, but we stood firm and attacked, desperate to save our friend.

The battle turned against us from the start.  My wizard’s spells were ineffective against her magic resistance and saving throws.  The cleric’s undead turning was shrugged off with a derisive laugh.  The paladin’s divine powers and sword blows turned aside like a thrown pillow.

The cleric fell first, his faith stronger than his body.  The cursed paladin fell in the same round, valiantly fighting to the end.  In 2nd edition, you could go as low as -10 hit points and still live, and both hung onto life.  That left my wizard as the final party member to stand against her, desperately fighting for his friend.

His spells exhausted, he was brought down to 1 hit point.  He dropped his dagger, ineffective in the battle so far.

“I want to draw my wooden stake,” I told Andy, the DM.

“OK, you draw your stake,” he replied nonchalantly.

“We have called shots, right?”

Skeptically, he raised an eyebrow and answered, “Yeah, but you know there’s a huge penalty for that.”

“I know, but desperate times and all that, right?”

“OK, call it, then, Mark.”

“I charge her, raising the wooden stake in both hands above my head, and aim straight for her heart!”  Andy wasn’t the only one skeptical at that moment.  I was sure a TPK was on the way, and Fred shook his head in resignation.

Andy checked his charts (remember, this WAS 2nd Ed), smirked at me, shrugged, and said, “Well, you don’t really have a chance, Mark.  The only way can succeed is if you roll a natural 20.  Anything less, and she grabs you and crushes you like an insect.”

I took a deep breath, “OK.  I still do it.”

Fred spoke up, “Mark, if you run, you could live, then return with backup.”

“I know, but then you’d be lost, and fighting with her.  I’m not going to let that happen as long as I live.”

Andy said, “OK… roll.”

I screamed at the top of my lungs, “To the grave for your final rest, you unholy whore!

Andy and Fred jumped back a little in surprise.

I stood, shook my d20 in my hand, and nervously let it drop to the table.

It rolled along for a foot.

It swerved to the left.

It spun for a second.

It stopped.

We looked at the die, then each other, then back to the die.

The number looked back at us…

20

 
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Posted by on Monday, 2 January 2012 in Gaming

 

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Thinking Aloud – Samurai Jack As An RPG Setting

I recently received a treat from Netflix: Disc 1 of Season 1 of Samurai Jack. I had watched it intermittently while it was on Cartoon Network and enjoyed it immensely.  While I watched the original episodes, it occurred to me that the world of Samurai Jack would be a wonderful setting for a role-playing game.

It covers so many genres.  To name but a few:

  • Fantasy From the katana-wielding Jack to the demon Aku, as well as all the magic present throughout the series, this world is rich in the fantastic.  Add to it the honor of Samurai Jack, to the obviously-evil minions of Aku, and there is a strong fantasy element here.
  • Sci-Fi It is mentioned in the series that Aku has ruled Earth for “thousands of years.”  If his reign started not too long after Samurai Jack’s battle in Episode 1, when samurai were prevalent, then he would have come to power anywhere from the 10th to the 19th century.  That’s nearly a 1000 year span.  Nevertheless, it is roughly the time of feudal Japan.  So the show occurs in our alternate future, in at least the 30th century.  This gives technology plenty of time to evolve beyond the present day.  Indeed, the show features laser weapons, space travel, and even extraterrestrial species.
  • Steampunk More than a few episodes have featured robotic cowboys, clockwork beings, and steam-infused automatons.  There are also plenty of multi-level technologies present in the same place.  All of these are hallmarks of steampunk in one form or the other.
  • Post-Apocalyptic The evils of Aku have caused untold devastation to the world and its inhabitants.  Add to that the other-worldly species that have become dominant, and you have a ruined, or at least an unrecognizable, Earth.

Given the multi-genre aspect of the setting, the system has to be capable of handling this.  What would work for this?  Again, to name but a few, from my admittedly-limited knowledge:

  • GURPS The king of generic, genre-spanning RPGs, it can handle these sorts of settings with ease.  The question is, then, can it capture the feel of the setting? It is a very mechanical, realistic system, which may be a point against it.
  • FATE Spirit of the Century, built on FATE, is an awesome system for a pulp-style game.  I love the over-the-top feeling it encourages, which definitely fits with Samurai Jack.
  • FUDGE The foundation of FATE, FUDGE can work superbly here.
  • 4E Amethyst Yes, it’s built on 4E Dungeons & Dragons, but it beautifully mixes the fantasy of D&D and the futuristic technology of a sci-fi setting.
  • 4E Gamma World This works very well for the post-apocalyptic/sci-fi feel of Samurai Jack

I know I’m missing a heck of a lot of possible systems in this list.  Do you have any suggestions for a Samurai Jack RPG?

 
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Posted by on Tuesday, 27 December 2011 in Gaming

 

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