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Adventure Game Industry Market Research Summary

posted Tuesday, February 28th 2006 by Jonathan Drain
Links and ResourcesNews, Reviews & Culture

Two links for you today – old, but still very relevant if you’re interested in the RPG industry.

Firstly, Ryan Dancey’s Adventure Game Industry Market Research Summary gives an interesting summary of a Wizards of the Coast customer survey performed in 1999.

Secondly, Sean K Reynolds’ Breakdown of RPG Players is an insightful analysis of this summary, complete with a colourful graph. You might know Sean K Reynolds best for his work on the third edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting.

Magagumo’s Vitality/Wound House Rules and Suggestions

posted Thursday, February 23rd 2006 by Jonathan Drain
Game DesignThird Edition

After my article on Wounds and Vitality, a fellow by the name of Magagumo asked me to post his house rules for the system here. This is the first article on the site that someone other than myself has written – be warned, it’s even longer than my own typical writing!

Given recent discussions of the Vitality/Wound system on several threads I’ve decided, on request, to present the following list of house rules and caveats that I and my friends have developed during our use of the Vitality/Wound system, as presented in Unearthed Arcana. All information provided here is biased by my own personal experiences, and yours may vary, but I hope each concept will help to enhance your experience with this inventive alternate to the D&D Core rules.

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Bag of Holding House Rule

posted Friday, February 17th 2006 by Jonathan Drain
Dungeon Mastering AdviceGame DesignThird Edition

I’ve instituted the following simple house rule into all of my games to solve tricky situations wherein players attempt to place a Bag of Holding inside a Portable Hole another Bag of Holding.

If the player attempts to place a Bag of Holding into another Bag of Holding, the two simply repel each other like magnets, making it impossible to do so – or at least exceedingly difficult (DC 30 Strength check). The same goes for placing one Portable Hole inside another, or for any combination of Bags of Holding, Portable Holes or any similar items.

I typically eliminate the Portable Hole from my games entirely, since it is a silly item. I also allow Bags of Holding to be carried into the extradimensional space created by a rope trick spell, and rule that when a Bag of Holding is split open its entire contents spill out as opposed to being lost. This actually saved a character’s life who managed to keep a wagon in his bag, which he hid behind to prevent a drow lich from having line-of-sight to cast disintegrate on him.

Vitality and Wounds System in Eberron

posted Friday, February 10th 2006 by Jonathan Drain
Dungeon Mastering AdviceGame DesignThird Edition

Those of you who have read Unearthed Arcana may already be familiar with the Vitality and Wound Points System, a variant hit points system which is now freely available online. If you’re running a game in Eberron, you’d be hard pressed to find a hit point system better suited to your game. Read on to find out why.

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The Hypertext D20 SRD

posted Monday, February 6th 2006 by Jonathan Drain
Links and ResourcesNews, Reviews & Culture

The Hypertext D20 System Reference Documents is an excellent resource if you’re not already familiar with it. It presents the System Reference Documents in a convenient, easy-to-read, hyperlinked format. This includes all of the D&D core rules minus any Wizards of the Coast closed content – the character creation rules, for example, and a few of the monsters. While the SRDs are not a complete replacement for the core rulebooks (it lacks the advice given in the Dungeon Master’s Guide), it is excellent for quickly looking up rules, monsters, spells, magic items and the like.

As a bonus, the site comes with various extras, including the more or less complete Epic rules (Epic Level Handbook), Psionics rules (Expanded Psionics Handbook), Divine rules (Deities & Demigods) and Variant rules (Unearthed Arcana) and extras such as character record sheets. The variant rules alone are an excellent read for any DM. This page is highly recommended, and absolutely invaluable if you run D&D online or use a computer when running D&D.

The Invisible Dungeon

posted Friday, February 3rd 2006 by Jonathan Drain
Dungeon Mastering AdviceGame Design

Previous editions of Dungeons & Dragons were characterized by vast dungeons full of ridiculously lethal traps, equally lethal monsters and often a complete lack of common sense when it came to monster placement and dungeon design. Nowadays in third edition we DMs no longer need to set our adventures in catacombs and underground lairs, and players are just as likely to find themselves exploring cities and wilderness. However, you may be surprised to learn that even when you’re braving the arctic or riding over a city on a hippogriff’s back, odds are you’re still in a dungeon. When is a dungeon, not a dungeon? When it’s an invisible dungeon. Read on and I’ll explain.

Note to players: This article is categorized as DMs Only. Do not read this article unless you are a DM, otherwise you it may spoil the fun for you if your DM chooses to use it.

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