The Saving Throw
Temporal Paradox Dec. 15, 2005
Time to roll your saving throw!

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And so it begins. . .

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the third edition of the Saving Throw!

Today, I have three hall of fame stories and the very first guide for your perusal! The Wyldflame returns to describe an in-game fight that came just a little too close to becoming a real world fight, Jerry Swain tells us about his first adventure, and I regale you with a tale about the Jedi Knight who managed to create the very legend he was named after.

Meanwhile, Beowulf_VII gives us twelve pieces of advice to help make us better gamemasters, and, in so doing, he claims the honor of being the first to submit a guide to the Saving Throw. For that, I think you've earned a tilde, Beowulf_VII. Just let me sneak over to the Q&A part of the site and find Matt's box of tildes so I can...ahem...borrow one for you.


Now that's a prize. That's no ordinary tilde; that's a bold, italic tilde! I wonder if he was saving that for something special. matter. Anyway, the honor of being the first to submit a fan adventure or review is still up for grabs, however. I'm sure our resident slime won't mind me, borrowing...two more of his tildes, after all.

Wondering why the first submitter to the hall of fame didn't get a tilde? Well, in short, that would be because I contributed the first story to the hall of fame, and it would be wrong to present myself with a tilde. Well, maybe not...perhaps I should have grabbed one for myself while I was over there. Ah, sense worrying about it now.

In other news, I updated the Submissions Guidelines page yesterday to head off some potential problems. For those of you who have already read the page, don't worry. I'll give you a short description of what has been added at the end of the column.

But that's enough of that! The column awaits!

Gaming Tip of the Week
"What happens in the game should stay in the game. A fight between characters should never become a fight between players."
- Nwash

Gaming Hall of Fame
Today's Featured Story: Frenzy in the Pack
Most Dramatic Gaming Moments submitted by The Wyldflame

   My group and I have been playing Werewolf: The Apocalypse from White Wolf Publishing for the last dozen years or so. In this game you take the role of the Garou (werewolves), who work in packs fighting a losing battle to perserve Gaia (the Earth) from the "hell bent on destroying everything" entity known as the Wyrm.

What you need to know
   D.N.A. is a human corporation aware of the werewolf "disease." Legitimately working for what they believe is the greater good of humanity, they were taking great lengths to cure the lycanthropy "disease" known to them as GLS. An unknown informant sent our pack to investigate this virtually unknown company. We were prepared to find something dirty, but instead found much worse. There were cages with young potential Garou locked up and obviously experimented on. There was also a Crinos (complete werewolf form) Garou on an operating table, deep into autopsy. In a fit of rage, the pack has slaughtered everyone in the complex, save one doctor. The doctor's arm was just severed by an enraged Sekhmet, who then used his gaia-given powers to seal up the wound. Renoa Kest, Rune Alterone, Rahn-Runs-Like-Legless-Dogs and Sekhmet-Rain-Maker were present. Sekhmet was barely keeping his rage in check.

The Story
   "please...please d...don't kill me...please I...I have a wife and famil..."

The scientist reeked of blood, sweat and, urine. His pleas for mercy were borderline hysterical. The technicians at this facility have taken a chemical compound which makes them immune to the normally mind-shattering effects of seeing a Garou in his full Crinos warform. It, however, did not save him from the horror of facing four enraged Garou.

"Shut up!" Sekhmet growled more than yelled as he paced back and forth with a fire burning deep in his eyes. Rune stood to the side of the human, holding his .45 to the temple of the jittering man. Rahn and Renoa stared in a mix between horror and disgust at the truth of what has been going on in the name of "bettering humanity."

"How many have you tortured and killed for your precious science?"

Sekhmet stormed over to the man. The heat of his rage could be felt by all those around him. "You are going to tell me everything...everything...that you know about my people...everything that you've done. Every moment you hold the information from me, I will add an hour to your torture! Do you understand me?"

Never before had Sekhmet's rage been so violent. His body was shaking and teeth were gritted at the outrage of it all. They had tortured his people, tried to invent a process to destroy his people, and took steps to ensure that these children would never reach their destiny. This was genocide.

The scientist's whimpers and cries only fueled Sekhmet's anger. He looked to Rahn, barely able to keep his human skin as he shouted, "Rahn, cut his ear off!"

A moment passed before Rahn's reply.


The room fell silent. Sekhmet stopped mid-pace, turning to Rahn.

"What...did you say?"

"No. That's enough, Sekhmet. He doesn't know anything, and if he does, he's in no position to talk anymore. Cutting him up any more isn't going to solve anything."

As if instantly, Sekhmet stood before Rhan, chest to chest, eye to eye.

"I'm your alpha, I gave you an order. You will do as I say, or by Gaia herself I will put you down!"

"I said no!" Rahn replied, almost on the brink of rage.

Sekhmet's rage influenced Rahn, so his body also began shaking. They stared each other down for what seemed like hours, neither body moving. Both were walking a delicate line, using sheer willpower to avoid entering the mindless killing rage known as Frenzy.

Their heartbeats were like cannonfire. The silence is broken by a roar as Rhan's body instantly shifted, contorting to the massive crinos form. With lightning quick reflexes, Rahn swiped at Sekhmet's chest. Sekhmet's body shifted to match Rahn. The two figures collided, blood and fur flying as their mindless rages urged them to kill each other. Rune and Renoa were aghast. They rushed to the corpses of the facillities security crew, taking the tranquilizer guns from the bodies. They took aim and fired shot upon shot into their two berserker friends.

All goes black.

The mood of that night went from business as usual to deathly silent. Rahn's player and I were really in each others' faces. Tense wasn't the word for the rest of that night. Our storyteller and rest of the players were walking on eggshells trying to avoid what was promising to be a full on brawl. Eyes were glued to us until the end of the chapter. Then we looked at each other in awe of what just happened. Everything in that story built to that scene which not a one of us would have seen coming in a million years. Games have come and gone since then, but if you were to ask them, to this day the others will swear that Rahn and I were really about to beat the crap out of each other.

This Week's New Hall of Fame Entries

Most Dramatic Gaming Moments

   Fire and Dreams by Jerry Swain
   Frenzy in the Pack by The Wyldflame

Most Ridiculous Gaming Moments

   What's in a Name? by Nwash

This Week's Guides
Twelve Principles of Good Gamemastering
submitted by Andrew M. Moravec (aka Beowulf_VII)

These twelve principles for gamemasters can help to improve the experience for the players and help gamemasters create better, more memorable adventures. Read more...

This Week's Fan Adventures

Want to be the first to submit a fan adventure to The Saving Throw? Read more...

This Week's Fan Reviews

Want to be the first to submit a fan review? Read more...

Upcoming Releases

Dungeons and Dragons, 3.5 edition
Spell Compendium
Dec. 25, 2005, $39.95


Recent Releases

Pendragon, 5th Edition
Dec. 12, 2005, $34.99

World of Darkness: Chicago
Dec. 12, 2005, $39.99

Tabletop Gaming News
Top 100 E-Book Sales from DriveThruRPG
Source: DriveThruRPG

DriveThruRPG, a seller of tabletop RPG e-books, recently published their list of the top 100 products of 2005. The top product on the list is a variant player's handbook, Iron Heroes, followed by another, Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved. Both products are based on the d20 system.

The player's handbook for Shadowrun, Fourth Edition, released this October, is the fourth product on this list; ironically, the older third edition is #34. White Wolf Publishing is very well represented with the following core rulebooks on the list: Mage: The Awakening (#8), World of Darkness Rulebook (#10), Werewolf: The Forsaken (#11), Vampire: The Requiem (#17), Exalted (#29), Vampire: The Masquerade (revised edition) (#36), and Mage: The Ascension (revised edition) (#46).

Other notable products on this list, excluding expansions, include World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game (#20), Amber (#38), Serenity Role Playing Game (#42), Earthdawn Player's Compendium (#67), King Arthur Pendragon, Fourth Edition (#93), and Army of Darkness Corebook (#99).

New Shadowrun Adventures Available for Free Download
Source: Shadowrun

Three new adventures for Shadowrun, Third Edition, are available for download from the SRM Downloads page on the official site. The three newest adventures, added Dec. 9, are entitled Harvest Time, The Gambler, and A Walk in the Park - "Blood Ties."

Fourth edition adventures are slated to begin in the summer of 2006.

Battle Pencils Gaining in Popularity in Japan
Source: The Revecess Blog

Batoen, or Battle Pencils, are catching on in Japan due to strict rules regarding games brought to school. No cards are permitted aside from specific school-sanctioned cultural cards. This essentially rules out the popular collectible card games.

Batoen tends to slip under the radar, however, as most teachers aren't aware of them. The pencils are of the typical hexagonal type, which means they can be rolled in a manner similar to six-sided dice. The pencils usually represent a monster from Dragon Quest, and an effect is listed on the sides of the pencil. Such effects might be a miss or inflicting 50 points of damage on all enemies.

The game gets more complicated with the addition of equipment, magical items, and pets which come in the form of caps put on the end of the pencil. Games are fast-paced, usually lasting no more than a minute or two.

This unique new tabletop game has not yet crossed over to the US, and are currently only available in the Asian market. This blog entry has more specifics on how the games are played and even has translations of some of the effects.

And so it ends. . .

And with that, the Saving Throw once again comes to an end. May all your saving throws be successful, unless you're the gamemaster, in which case may they all fail!

As to changes to the submission guidelines, I first explain a little bit about when you'll hear from me when you submit. In short, no news is usually good news; it usually means I've accepted your submission and you'll see it in the Saving Throw soon. But if there's a problem, I'll send you a reply, usually with a question or a request for certain changes.

Secondly, if you want to send me multiple submissions at once, that's great. If it's not too much trouble, though, please send each submission in a separate email, especially if you're sending submissions in the body of your email. Even if you use attachments, one submission per email is still preferred. For attachments, please use a text format.

Thirdly, it looks like some of you may be becoming regular contributors. That's great; I'm happy to keep accepting your submissions. However, you need to be careful with your hall of fame submissions; each hall of fame story needs to be able to stand on its own. Please don't assume that readers have read your previous stories or that they will read them in any particular order. Each hall of fame story needs to have all the necessary details within for the story to be appreciated by itself without referencing a previous story.

Finally, with hall of fame stories, please write them so that readers who haven't played tabletop games will be able to comprehend and enjoy them. You don't need to explain rules in minute detail; you're not teaching them how to play the game. Just make sure that you explain any jargon you use that a non-player might not understand and include enough background material for someone who hasn't played that particular game before. One of the goals of the hall of fame is to encourage interest in tabletop gaming among those who have never played them before, and that will be hard to do if they can't understand these stories. So far, I don't think this hasn't been a problem, but I realized I forgot to include this in the submission guidelines.

In other matters, no one offered their opinion on whether the hall of fame should include collectible card game stories. My concern with these is that the complex rules of these games may make it difficult for the stories to be understood except by fellow players, even if they are well written. For now, I will leave it open; you may submit CCG stories for the hall of fame, but you might find me more likely to ask for further explanation on these. Try to avoid heavy use of game jargon and terminology where you can with these, and where you must use game-specific terms, try to explain them.

That wraps it up for this week. See you next week, when I roll up another Saving Throw!

Shawn "Lost in Time" Bruckner

Columns That Came Before
Dec. 8, 2005
Dec. 1, 2005
The Annoucement

In This Column
Today's Hall of Fame Stories
This Week's Guides
Upcoming Releases
Recent Releases
Tabletop Gaming News

Gaming Hall of Fame
Funniest Gaming Moments
Proudest Gaming Moments
Most Dramatic Gaming Moments
Most Creative Gaming Moments
Most Ridiculous Gaming Moments
Luckiest Gaming Moments
Unluckiest Gaming Moments
Embarrassing Gaming Moments

For Gamemasters

Fan Adventures
coming soon...

Fan Reviews
coming soon...
Review Scoring

Sending me stuff
Submission Guildines

The other stuff
Tabletop Gaming Primer
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