The Obsidian Spire
THE OBSIDIAN SPIRE
The Obsidian Spire…legendary tower of the darkest evil to walk Creation in recorded history. Many believe it to be a myth. Those who know better wish it were a myth. The spire is home to the Entropy Lord, Necreus, who led the Army of Darkness against the world in a campaign of conquest and destruction over 1000 years ago. At the peak of the war, Necreus did battle with Sola, the leader of the Army of Light, and won. Necreus then took Sola to his Obsidian Spire, presumably to kill her, but soon after a great shockwave burst from the spire. This shockwave ended the war, but no one ever learned what happened to Necreus or Sola. Only the Obsidian Spire remained; black, silent, and ominous. Sealed to the outside world…perhaps waiting for another time…
CAMPAIGN NEWS AND DM MUSINGS
12/05/11: Wrapping up the Heroic Tier…again: Since I started running 4th edition D&D games, I’ve run three full 1st-10th level campaigns (after I complete the current one this month) and a couple of smaller campaigns. I think I have the Heroic Tier down. I’ve really wanted to get into the Paragon and Epic tiers for a while now, mostly so I can throw some cool miniatures down on the table, like all of the dragons, giants, elementals, demons, and other bad-assery that I have collecting dust. The problem always seems to be that my campaigns seem to lose gas after 10th level for whatever reasons and I end up starting a new campaign at 1st level. Well, I think I’m done with the Heroic Tier for now. My next D&D campaign will be Paragon Tier starting at 11th level. I’m giving everyone the option of rolling up new 11th level characters or taking any of their Heroic Tier characters that they’ve played in any of my other campaigns and using them. Not sure when this will be starting up, but probably in the Feb/Mar timeframe. I will be running a game or two of D20 Modern first.
11/08/11: Back in the game. Okay, ever since I set up the Wyrd Encounters site and started planning that campaign, I kinda stopped working on this campaign. The truth is, I’ve noticed a drop in attendance and, to me, that equates to a drop in interest. If my players aren’t interested, then I lose interest. There are a few reasons for this, having mostly to do with life getting in the way of gaming for several players and I think that missing a few games in a row disconnects one from the story and their characters. I get that. Playing once a month doesn’t help either. So, yeah, waning interest and a new and different game on the horizon has been distracting. However, I’m committed to finishing the Heroic Tier of this campaign before jumping into something new, so now I’m putting away the D20 Modern books, pulling out the 4E books and getting my mind back in the game. There’s a crazy gnoll warlord trying to bring a demon lord into the world and a uber-powerful vampire lord trying to get an evil artifact to his master, who wants to conquer the world. So, those of you who show up will have your work cut out for you. These last two games are gonna KICK ASS!
10/09/11: D&D 5th Edition? I read a lot of D&D forums and lately the buzz is that WotC is working on either a 5th edition of D&D or are making some changes to the current edition without releasing a new edition – possibly just evolving the current edition without releasing a whole new one. I don’t relish the thought of a new edition so soon after the last one came out (it’s only been 3 years), but I do have some thoughts about what I would like to see in a new edition. For the most part, I think the system works fine at the Heroic Tier, but it seems to start getting out of control in the Paragon & Epic because of all the powers, feats, and magic items accumulated. I recently created some Epic level characters in the Character Builder and one of them had 11 pages! That’s nuts. I believe a character sheet should be no more than 2 pages with all the info you need to play. If I were king of WotC, I would make D&D a 10 level system, and have 3 versions; one Heroic, one Paragon and one Epic version. Each version would be levels 1-10 and self-contained, so that if you only wanted to run Epic campaigns, you buy the Epic version. Your character starts at Epic level 1 but would be vastly more powerful than a 1st level Heroic or Paragon character. Keeping the system confined to 10 levels allows for character growth without getting out of control. Separating the tiers into their own games allows players to choose which version they want to game in. If they want to start at Heroic and work up through Epic, they can, but if they just want to jump right to Paragon or Epic, they can do that too. I would LOVE this, so if any of you have any connections to the powers that be, tell them I have a golden nugget for them to chew on.
09/27/11: I dig physics. Although I didn’t take any classes in school, I’ve grown a great appreciation for it since. I love the idea that there are laws that make things work in the universe and that we’re figuring them out. So the physics geek in me wants to apply that same logic to the fantasy world. I know that’s kinda silly, considering we’re talking about swords and sorcery here, but since the D&D game is a rules-based system, it has to have laws for the way things work. So, I’ve asked my good buddie Mordenkainen the archmage of Greyhawk to help us understand the physics of fantasy.
09/26/11 – Monte Cook is back! One of my favorite game designers has rejoined Wizards of the Coast. This guy wrote the 3rd Edition DMG and then left WotC to start his own company, where he created a series of 3rd edition supplements that were mostly better than official D&D 3rd Edition stuff. This guy wrote the Book of Vile Darkness and all of the awesome evil that was in it. Now that he’s back with WotC, he’s going to be “tinkering” with D&D. There’s speculation that this signals the start of the 5th Edition development, but I’m not so sure. Whatever he comes up with, I will probably like, as there has not been much that he has produced that I haven’t liked/bought.
08/27/11 – The Times the Are A Changin’: Well, daughter is a sophomore now and school is underway along with all the stuff that goes with it. My wife’s birthday is in September. The calendar is full of life’s activities and lot leaving a lot of room for gaming time. Jason’s got a baby on the way, Mark’s got his busy season hitting him at work. I’m sure the rest of you have real life stuff going on too, so we’ll have to play it by ear for gaming over the next few weeks. I would like to have a session in September if at all possible, but not quite sure what date that will be. I know it won’t be the weekend of the 17th. Beyond that, we’ll have to see. Fall gaming is always a challenge, but as with previous years, we’ll find a way to make it work.
08/17/11 – Campaign inspiration: If I had to characterize my current campaign, I’d say that it’s Lord of the Rings meets Elric of Melnibone meets Galactus. Paragon Tier will be more LotR while Epic will be more Elric/Galactus. If you want a good idea of what I have planned, read Stormbringer.
08/09/11 – The Boss: I’m not out to kill the characters…REALLY. However, I’m not out to save them either. I’m here to create challenging encounters that progress the plot of the campaign and give the characters opportunities to become heroes through their actions. In order to do that, I have to do what I feel is best to ensure encounters are memorable and challenging. That is tough with the 4th Edition system because the characters have so many ways of nerfing their opponents and it gets worse as they progress in levels. It is very possible for a Boss to be Stunned, Blinded, Prone, Immobilized, Weakened, & Marked, in the first round of a combat. That’s like Han, Leah, Chewabacca, Lando and R2 opening the door, finding Darth Vader inside, rolling initiative and before he can act, Vader finds himself on his ass, unable to see, the wind knocked out of him and if he tries to strike anyone other than Chewabacca, he gets immediately punished. It really takes the fun out of the encounter. So, knowing what my players are capable of doing, I take steps to ensure my Boss opponents can stand up to their worse and come back swinging. But I don’t do that so I can “win”, I do it so that Vader is the badass he is supposed to be. In the end, I know Vader will lose, but until then, he seems unstoppable. With that in mind, my Boss encounters follow a few house rules. Check out the Wiki tab and the House Rules link to get some details on what my Boss house rules are so that next time you hear me say, “This is a Boss encounter”, you’ll know that you’re about to meet a formitable opponent.
07/22/11 – LOST: Not sure how many of you watched the TV show called Lost, but I watched it from the first season through to the end. I thought it was a decent show, though it probably dragged on a season or two longer than it needed to and I wasn’t completely satisfied with the resolution of some plot points they’d built up. The reason I’m mentioning this is because Lost did something very interesting during the course of its run and that was to reveal bits about each character’s past in the form of flashbacks. Rather than dump everything about every character on the viewer at once or in real time, various pertinent plot points were shown over the course of time in this manner, usually as things developed that pertained to a particular episode or story arc. I’m going to start doing this somewhat with your characters. Those of you who have provided me with background information; I will be using that as my starting point. Those of you that didn’t, well I have pretty much a clean slate to work from so watch out! I already started doing this with a couple of you, but you will all eventually be hit by a character development email from me, so be on the lookout. These flashbacks will be posted on the Character tab of Obsidian Portal and will have some bearing on the current or future events in the campaign, so it would be in your best interest to read it and reference it again when you get clues that tie into your character’s backstory. I’m not going to bring it up to you in game unless you ask me about it specifically, so if you miss a clue that will be on you.
07/16/11 – Harry Potter & D&D: No, I don’t plan on doing a Harry Potter campaign. However, after watching Pt 2 of the Deathly Hallows, I was very motivated to get back into adventure and campaign design. The whole Harry Potter series is actually a D&D campaign that stretches over 7 years in story-time. The main characters, Harry, Ron and Hermione, start off at 1st level (probably even 0 level if D&D still had such a thing) and progress a little after each book/year. You can see their power progress nicely and by the end of the series, they are taking on Voldemort’s goon squad and the Dark Lord himself. Rowling’s handling of characters is amazing and masterful. You care about the characters, even though sometimes they seem a bit dense (Voldemort literally had to mess up the Minstry of Magic’s sanctum for them to admit that maybe he’s back). Personally, I’d consider this to be a Heroic Tier adventure, with the Deathly Hallows ending at 10th level. If I were Rowling and were tempted to go further with the series, the next logical step is Paragon & Epic Tiers, of course. This is where we learn that Voldemort’s tampering into the Dark Arts awakened things beyond the veil of the world even worse than him. The next phase of Harry’s adventures would take the trio into the Abyss to challenge Orcus himself! Maybe I’ll send her an email with the idea…