Over The Top Epic Roleplaying

–Why Stop at 20?


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An Example of What I Mean When I Say, “Epic.”

You might be wondering, “how epic will OTTER actually be?”

And to that, I would answer, “how epic is your vision?” Because, if you really think about it, OTTER isn’t about my vision, it’s about yours. I’m just the guy who’s trying to create a framework for you to work within, and to advise you on your journey; but the destination must be one of your own choosing, and of your own design. “High level” is different for everyone, so in the end, only you can determine “how epic” your OTTER campaign will be.

As for me, if you’d like to get a rough idea of the way I see things, I can show you the stats of an NPC in my current epic game: an elder druid named Ellis Kvar. Some of Ellis’ bonuses and powers are already using elements of the game mechanics that will appear in the OTTER system. The final version might differ slightly, because as I write, I am sure that new inspirations will strike, and that I will be tempted to make refinements. But rest assured, epic OTTER NPCs will look a lot like Ellis, perhaps even surpassing him; in my campaign, he’s one of the most powerful quasi-deities alive; in yours, perhaps not. You are the master of your own milieu; the power structure will be what you make it.

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Improving Your RPG Experience Vol. II: Using LEGO Minifigs Instead of Miniatures

This weekend, I took a trip to Wal-Mart, and picked up a medium-sized Adidas duffle bag, and eight Flambeau Tuff-Tainers (tackleboxes,) in an effort to get my LEGO collection under control. You see, I have been ordering LEGO minifig parts from the “Pick-A-Brick” store, and building my own, quasi-custom, D&D-style minifigs, and outfitting them with third-party accessories from Brick Warriors. The result is that you end up with re-configurable miniatures, which are far more durable than their lead-based cousins, and which do not need to be painted, unless you’re just feeling the need to get super-customized. For my purposes, I use standard-sized LEGO minifigs on a 2×2 base. I Krazy Glue the feet (only) of the miniature to the base, which lends the figure greater stability when you’re configuring its accessories. Since I use a Plexiglas tac-map, with a standard Chessex vinyl map beneath it, these 2×2 bases work great, because they are slightly smaller than the 1-inch squares, and they stand perfectly still on the smooth Plexiglas surface. A LEGO minifig which is on a 2×2 base fits nicely into a Flambeau Tuff-Tainer, a single case which costs about $5.00, and will hold 12 figures. Eight of these containers comes to about 40 bucks, and fit nicely into a medium duffle bag, giving you a total of 96 figures that you can easily carry around. (Even fully loaded, the duffle bag is SUPER light.) The Adidas duffle bag that I bought was 30 bucks. So your total investment for storage and portability is around 70 bucks total, which in my mind, is well worth the price.

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OTTER Update One: Preliminary Page Design

Well, after playing around with Microsoft Publisher for several weeks, I have finally gotten the page layout to look somewhat professional. I’m probably going to switch to Adobe InDesign eventually, but at the moment, I don’t have the time to learn a new publishing program, so I decided to make something in Publisher that looks semi-decent, and use it for the rough draft. Now that I have a page layout that doesn’t eat away at me by looking too amateurish, I am free to gather my notes, and begin typing them into the document, thereby bringing the Alpha version of OTTER to life. I’ve written the introduction already, and since it took up a whole page, I decided to export it to Adobe Acrobat, to get an idea of what a printed product will look like. I have included a screen shot of this below; and I hope that you’ll agree with me, in thinking that it looks pretty decent.

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Memoirs, Part One: How I Started Playing Dungeons & Dragons

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’m not completely happy with this version of this post; I think it feels a bit dry and distant. I therefore reserve the right to re-visit it at some future date, to make stylistic and aesthetic revisions. –Christopher A. Altnau, Aug. 23, 2015.

How I Started Playing Dungeons & Dragons

I was introduced to D&D during the Thanksgiving break of my fifth grade year, i.e., late November, 1979. Back then, I didn’t get the chance to really play, in the traditional sense. Under the direction of a slightly older kid from down the street (Bill) I made a character, but was not allowed to name it. Bill told me that D&D was deadly, and that I needed to “get used to dying alot,” before I started playing. We spent two entire afternoons (a Friday and a Saturday) using my “character” to pit fight monsters out of the Monster Manual. For those who are not familiar with the terminology, a pit fight is basically a gladiatorial event, the character vs. a monster, in a large arena, and the fight was always to the death. I put my little first level character up against hell hounds, dragons, giants, demons, ghosts, zombies, and a slew of other creatures. I lost about 98% of these fights in the first round. The remaining 2% either ended in the second round (with my death), or a fear effect compelled me to flee at some point, causing me to forfeit. I had no concept of what a level was, nor did I have a clue that my first level character had no business fighting a dragon or a hell hound, or for that matter, anything over 2 hit die. But I did get used to dying, that was for sure.

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Improving Your RPG Experience Vol. I: Make A Tac-Map!

This post is a copy of a post I made to a Facebook roleplaying group I belong to. The permalink to the original post is HERE. But this post will expand upon it, and offer more photos. This post also partially duplicates a post I made on my other blog, which can be found by clicking right HERE. (I know, I know, I do a lot of cross-posting! Ha ha.)

What exactly is a “Tac-Map”? Well, the term “Tac-Map” is an abbreviation for a “Tactical Map,” which is the military term for the old, analog maps you see (in the old, WW2 movies) that are in the command center, and covered by a sheet of glass, upon which are laid small, plastic figures that the generals are pushing around with long rods, in order to show current troop placement and movements. Sound eerily familiar?

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The Right Dice Make A Difference

There are a lot of dice manufacturing companies out there, and there are many different shapes, styles, and colors of dice to choose from; everyone has their favorite(s), for one reason or another.

My favorite dice are the European style opaques, with their aesthetically pleasing, smooth, rounded (but not too round) corners, high gloss finish, rich, deep colors, and “old school” numeral font. I love the rough, rugged, uneven way that the numerals are stamped; it gives them the feeling of being “hand-made.” And the smooth corners mean that they roll well, and are resistant to chipping.

The European style dice that I own have been in my possession for a long time; 20 years or more. People have often complimented me on them in the past, because of their distinctive look. Here are a few examples:

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