Slaying a few mindless kobolds is one thing, but D&D violence can assume much more imaginative and sinister forms. Take an example, from my own history of D&D campaigning: my character (Shamir, a 3200-year-old Chaotic Evil character) was, along with his party members, attempting to locate a map within a local inn. When the innkeeper refused to reveal the map’s whereabouts, Shamir began cutting off the innkeeper’s fingers, then hit the innkeeper’s wife, and then, when it was revealed that the map was actually hidden inside a different inn, he burned the inn down for good measure. (He later forced an orc to hold a crystal that induced uncontrollable psychic agony and vomiting.) Why did Shamir, or rather, I do it? Because it felt like the right thing to do at that moment.
So I’ve been reading up on hexcrawling and pointcrawling and dungeon and adventure design in anticipation of running an Iron Falcon game. I’ve looked at random generation, including online generators, of which there are many very nice ones. I’ve looked up the various bloggers out there who are mapping, and even looked at some tutorials about doing my own maps. Sadly I have very little artistic talent, and I can’t even begin to compare myself to some of the talent out there. To sum up, I felt defeated.
Here’s a fun idea: A digital book about the development of a game that’s also a platform for that game’s release. Game…book… ception? Nathan Meunier, author of This Book Is A Dungeon [This Dungeon Is A Book] describes his new project as “a multi-format creative experiment that merges the worlds of game design, interactive fiction, indie authorship, and self-publishing together in one crazy project.”
Meunier took just over a month to teach himself Twine, and made a dungeon-crawling game he says mixes the interactive fiction elements of Twine with pixel art and the features of a traditional RPG game (try a free demo of the game). Along the way, he documented the process in a book he plans to release on Kindle with the game itself inside.
Fantasy Grounds, one of the leading virtual tabletop platforms, now offers officially licensed Dungeons & Dragons content from Wizards of the Coast. Available through Steam, the software can allow players to virtually recreate the 5th edition D&D tabletop experience complete with dice rolling, 2D maps and a play experience completely controlled by a dungeon master.
DnD had officially arrived in Japan just a year earlier, in 1985. Before then, the table-top role playing game had been the sole preserve of the most dedicated otaku, who would import rulebooks from America and then go about translating them (and all this in the days before Amazon and Google Translate). The arrival of an official Japanese translation in 1985 finally opened up DnD to the masses, although even this version had some local quirks (memorably, ‘leather armour’ ended up being translated as ‘reggae armour’, and ‘platinum pieces’ became ‘plutonium pieces’).