Saturday, 11 February 2017

The Glory of D&D

Welcome, to a somewhat rambling yet glorious honouring post dedicated to one of the most iconic tabletop games of all time. 

Dungeons and Dragons.

Over the last few years it has regained an incredibly popular following like much of the tabletop scene. Geek and Sundry has helped with its Critical Role series, a weekly show starring voice actors playing Dungeons and Dragons and putting on an entertaining 3-4 hour session. Stranger Things has also placed the game in the public eye after capturing the imaginations of millions on Netflix. Celebrities like Vin Diesel, the late Robin Williams and Kevin Smith also among those being fans.

Its popularity is also strong at our club, the Gwent Reavers. We've gained new members through it, after myself, Gav and Bam started the Mines of Phandelver around a year and a half ago. Its always been something I've personally been interested in, just didn't realise others were too. So we got together and now we have three different sessions run by three different Dungeon Masters going on currently. And thats with a variety of different players too. Some have come to the dark side of tabletop gaming, be it miniature games or board games, some are dedicated to the D20 and the roleplaying aspect. 

So what about Dungeons and Dragons is so captivating? The depth of narrative and background are certainly an aspect that draws people in. There is such a wealth of information out there, be it tips to playing, background to set your adventures in and even guides as to how to create your own world. 

This leads on to being able to create. Like open world videogames you have a lot more ability to do what you want, even more so in tabletop roleplay as it really is just your own imagination that limits you. Not only do your stories get told, but those of the players who create characters that are a huge part of the stories being told. In fact, when dm'ing my own campaign I try to let the players tell the story while guiding them through certain events. You can plan how a certain event will play out, for example how a battle will go with a great beast but the players will always come up with ways that surprise you as a DM and have those events change. Its incredibly fascinating to see how your friends will solve different problems and ace different creatures in battle. 

One other side of D&D that is probably its strongest appeal, is the social side of it. Getting together with your mates to act out these crazy adventures is something you will absolutely love. Running jokes, how you remember certain events and recall those moments is something you have to experience. From deceiving a huge amount of cultists into following us to get out of a Dragon Cult camp, to new interesting ways to pull a kobolds body apart like a christmas cracker its been an absolute joy to partake in the game. 

Being a sufferer of insomnia, creating and adapting stories and guiding players through them has been fantastic. Character development is interesting to watch and hopefully as we play through sessions each player will see their characters grow, and not just through stat building and gaining new skills and feats. Having the characters personalities develop in front of you is incredibly rewarding as a dungeon master. 

Even though many times things you write about and plan for a session may not always happen, its still rewarding to be able to come up with these ideas, even if they never come to light. I've written backgrounds for npc's that the players have hardly talked too, but its helped me to put myself into their shoes better and react and talk more as I feel they should, and hopefully that comes across to the players immersing them even more.

In the future I may share certain ideas about the stories I've created on this blog, things that happen during sessions with other DM's (possibly even their own accounts if I can bribe them with rations and gold) and even ideas for you to use in your adventures.

Dungeons and Dragons, and many other tabletop RPG's are a hugely enjoyable and engrossing thing to do with your mates, whether you play or run the session. Go and try your hand, and have some of the best fun you'll have while rolling dice with your friends.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

The Fractured Imperium

Call the internet plumber for the leaks are out. Roboute Guilliman, the Primarch of the Ultramarines and having been in stasis for thousands of years, is back. With him comes a new Grey Knights (bore) Grand Master and much more excitedly, Cypher.

Cypher looks impressive, and it will be interesting to see where the story lies for these characters. In one of the leaked pictures from White Dwarf, Cypher stands next to both Guilliman and the GKGM even though he was once thought a heretic. The Dark Angels will likely still think this, but my narrative head is beaming with ideas. A couple of other pictures leaked held some very intriguing text. One mentioned that some in the Imperium would be incredibly suspicious that Roboute has been brought from the dead, while the Primarch himself is dismayed at the state of the Imperium. This makes me wonder... will the Imperium split? 

Think about it, not for thousands of years have the Imperium had a figure to look upon as a leader. The High Lords of Terra are mysterious, the Emperor is but a corpse held alive but machinery, who do they look upon? Roboute. However, with the Emperor being revered as a God Guilliman may not agree with many of the Imperiums rules, hence a possible civil war. Depending on rumours with how this Gathering Storm continues we could see the fracture of the Imperium of Man.

Cypher working with Roboute, is he trying to tell the primarch that the emperor needs to be killed to be reborn? Vulkan could be used as evidence and a potential future release down the line. However, due to the many cults and factions many will not allow this and I can see a brutal war breaking out amongst the Imperium. Rumours abound that the Gathering Storm after this third instalment could see Vect return, along with Mortarion in his Daemon Prince form and a new envisioning of Abbadon, which is well needed. Will they perhaps work together to create an even bigger divide of the Imperium, taking advantage of the inner turmoil? Perhaps Cypher even is creating this discord, its always been said he creates a lot of discord and would suit his character. 

The splitting of the Imperium would be huge. Space Marines no longer allying with other factions like the Grey Knights or the Ordo Hereticus, Imperial Guard could be stuck in the middle, Primarchs vs High Lords of Terra. Having the story arc for Warhammer 40,000 move along after so many years is exciting, so many possibly story lines could be closed, expanded and started that this time next year we could be talking about the fringes of the Imperium battling the empires of the Eldar, Tau and Renegades. Perhaps the Tyranids will evolve and become a republic, leading the other races into a new age of prosperity. Yeah, and Jokearo might fly out of my butt.