Over The Top Epic Roleplaying

–Why Stop at 20?


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Playmobil Memoir

Hi! Anthony Pryor here, master of the nowhere near frequently updated enough site http://www.anthonypryor.com, and general gaming author guy. I’ve been working in the trenches of the rpg industry for a few decades now, producing material for Battletech, several incarnations of D&D, Talislanta, Song of Ice and Fire, various WotC, Green Ronin and Frog God games products and the like. My own blog is oft-neglected but I’m currently working on some articles about the odd world of fantasy paper wargames and also chewing down my fingernails awaiting the release of my first fictional trilogy by Permuted Press this spring. And here I am talking about utilizing Playmobil figures for RPGs, in a post that may prove far more bittersweet than anticipated, given its very sad real-world ending.

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you

— Ray Bradbury

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An Example of How OTTER Adds Epic-Level Functionality To Non-Epic Spells

I was running my epic campaign the other day, and a player wanted to develop a spell that would allow him to simply touch a corpse, concentrate a little, and be able to see the last few minutes of its life. (Sort of like an “instant replay” kind of thing.)

Well, I informed him that such a spell already existed, in a third party book that I own called “Relics & Rituals.” The spell is known as “Dead Man’s Eyes,” and just as it is, it’s a great little spell. But the player wanted more functionality, so I modified the spell, to allow it to be used by (and therefore, prove useful to) an epic-level caster. At the same time, the spell retains its usefulness to lower level spellcasters as well; I made the spell scalable using caster level and Concentration checks. The better you are at casting spells, the better the spell works.

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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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