The Saving Throw
Spectre Dec. 22, 2005
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And so it begins. . .

Well, I host a column about tabletop gaming, but my luck at actually partaking in this activity hasn't been so good of late. My best friend has been planning his Dungeons and Dragons adventure for weeks now and while he was finally ready to go a couple of weeks ago, the fates have worked to ensure that schedules would not permit the game. It may be as late as New Year's Eve now before I get a chance to game as a player instead of a gamemaster for once. Even this will be under one who is both a mediocre player and mediocre gamemaster, but at this point, I'm ready for almost anything. Right now, I'm willing to say that even when gaming is bad, it is good.

In today's column, Beowulf_VII returns to give us twelve principles for the players after giving us twelve principles of gamemastering last week. Kularian gives us our featured story, telling us how one player's impulsive actions created the ultimate villian. I also give you a tale about my heroic efforts to, eh, get sustained attention from one of my players and the evil joy that came on my success as I tell of one of my proudest moments in the gamemaster's chair.

At any rate, probably due to the holiday season, submissions have been a little thin lately. This is a very good time for you to send your stories in, especially if you would like your story featured. The odds are on your side.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Onto the column!

Gaming Tip of the Week
"There are few things more heinous in the tabletop gaming world than working on the adventure one will be gamemastering the next week while playing a character in another gamemaster's adventure. Tabletop gaming and multitasking do not mix well."
- Nwash

Gaming Hall of Fame
Today's Featured Story: GhostFlesh
Most Creative Gaming Moments submitted by Kularian Arieus

My friends and I have played many a different type of tabletop RPG. I'm usually the Dungeon Master, and for this particular game, I decided that a storyboard type would be one of the better choices. For those who've never done storyboard, it's a unique experience; there are no dice or character sheets. Each player chooses a 'base class' for their character, and it is assumed that they have all relevant abilities in that area, i.e. a fighter can fight, a wizard can cast, etc. But having just finished Final Fantasy V, I wanted to include a job type system, which is made a lot easier with the storyboard.

The game has four characters, of ages 17-21. Erdrick (21) is our standard fighter, who stays mostly in his fighter class to take punishment. Schan (17) bounces around between thief, cleric, and druid, but at this time I believe he was a druid. Onyx (19) had found a Dragoon class, and had pretty much stayed with that one the entire game. Finally, Falidor (19) was a Monk, who occasionally shifted to cleric.

The four lived happily in their town and adventured in the countryside within the limits of their imagination. One day, they stumbled upon spheres that contained the memories of the fallen, and were able to draw information from them on how to cast spells, use a variety of weapons, etc. Soon after, their home was attacked by demons who came from fireballs that rained from the sky. They managed to defeat them, then follow the people of their town, who had fled to a neighboring town. Fortified with their new powers, they continued their journey past this, and begin to make their way to Port Reigh, where they could get passage on a ship to kill the wizard who is attacking their homeland, Zeroth.

What happened
Having come from the previous town with a horse and wagon, the four were doing fine as they travelled. Few walked the roads after hearing about the attack, and it was a quiet ride. Around nightfall, they stop for the night and set up watch. Falidor took first watch, Erdrick second, and Onyx third. On Erdrick's watch, he begins to see a town in the distance, which had just appeared out of nowhere. Confused, he puzzles over it, but doesn't wake up the others. At the end of his watch, he wakes Onyx, who sees the town fading from sight.

The next morning, they awaken, and continue on. When they reach where the town should be, Erdrick speaks up, and Onyx confirms the story about the village. After discussing, they agree to wait until that night, where the town will appear. The day comes and goes, and when night begins, the town slowly appears, along with the noise of a festive party. Exploring the town, they find everyone gathered in the town hall, a wonderful party going on. Confused, the four ask people what is going on, to find out, surprisingly enough, there's a party.

After awhile, they begin to enjoy themselves, and Erdrick begins talking with one of the women. Near two in the morning, the doors burst open and a frail, ill looking man throws open the doors, and proclaims, "You betrayed me! Me! Your Savior!" and strikes the ground with his staff. A huge dome of energy spreads out from it, and when it touches the players, they simply awaken at dawn, when the town had vanished. Now intrigued, they agree to wait it out again, and try again the next night, wondering all the while what was going on.

To make a longer story short, they return to this town for another six nights before they were finally able to solve it. Erdrick, meanwhile, becomes closer and closer to the woman who he had wooed the first night, and with a bit of, "This is Dungeons and Dragons. It isn't real," he ends up seducing her. After rescuing the town, the ghosts that were trapped fade away forever, allowed to leave. Several weeks later, after they had adventured on for three or so more sessions and gone on several more adventures, they arrive in a small village, where everyone was slaughtered. In the center of the town stands a young, pale faced man in his early 20's with a sword strapped to his waist.

He turns to Erdrick, and with a sinister smile, he says, "Hello Father. It's been awhile." Everyone at first is confused, but then realization slowly begins to dawn on them about what had happened. The young man, named Wraith, tells Erdrick that through some strange working of magic, the woman whom Erdrick had seduced was still alive enough to carry his seed, and when the curse was broken, and she was able to go to the land of the dead, she was pregnant. Wraith was then born, a creature that was half human, half spirit.

Now Wraith is a lieutenant in Zeroth's army, able to shift from one plane to the other with only a thought, making him a deadly and capable warrior. The game is still going on, so we will see if Erdrick has enough faith in himself to kill his own son.

How did I get this ghastly (pun intended) idea to have a player simply being silly, and turn it into a powerful enemy? I don't really know. The thought just sort of struck me one day, and I thought it was ingenious. My players are now a little more careful about the off-the-wall things they do, as they never know when it might come back to 'haunt' them. (Ah ha... I'm so clever.)

This Week's New Hall of Fame Entries

Proudest Gaming Moments

   Attention, Please by Nwash

Most Creative Gaming Moments

   GhostFlesh by Kularian Arieus

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

After giving us twelve principles for gamemastering, Beowulf_VII returns to give players twelves principles of their own. 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

Mage: The Awakening
Legacies: The Sublime
Jan. 16, 2005, $26.99

(no image available)
Shadowrun, Fourth Edition
GM Screen
Jan. 16, 2006, $19.99

Vampire: The Requiem
Bloodlines: The Legendary
Jan. 16, 2006, $24.99

Recent Releases

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

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

Tabletop Gaming News
Upper Deck Entertainment to Launch Avatar Trading Card Game in January
Source: Upper Deck Entertainment

Upper Deck Entertainment has announced that they will launch the Avatar Trading Card Game, based on the Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender, in North America in January 2006. This game will be the first to use Upper Deck Entertainment's new Quickstrike game system, which will feature "lightning-fast one-on-one card combat moves." The game will reportedly be compatible with all future releases of the Quickstrike system.

The game will focus mostly on the adventures of Aang, a reluctant hero fighting against the evil Fire Nation in order to restore balance to his world. The game will allow players to execute all the bending moves of the entire cast.

The launch will begin with the availability of Master of Elements Starter Sets containing two 30-card decks, two chamber cards, the game mat, and the rulebook. These will be followed up by Master of Elements Booster Packs containing nine cards and one chamber card.

The series upon which the game is based premiered in February 2005, and is currently the top regularly scheduled program among boys to girls in the age ranges of 2-11 and 6-11.

Pre-order Bonuses Available for Big Eyes, Small Mouth, Third Edition
Source: Guardians of Order

While there does not appear to be a set date for the release of Big Eyes, Small Mouth, Third Edition, the publisher, Guardians of Order, is offering pre-order bonuses for orders placed through their web store. Those ordering the deluxe edition (US$74.95) will get a free PDF version about two months before the official release, a free print copy of Vanilla BESM to give to a friend, and a free PDF copy of both the first and second editions immediately. Those pre-ordering the standard edition (US$39.95) will get the same, except for the copy of Vanilla BESM and they must choose between getting the first or second edition PDF.

And so it ends. . .

In other news, RPGamer's role-playing forum has returned from the dead. It seems like it has already attracted a couple of potential gamemasters, though it also seems they are in need of players. If you might be interested in some online tabletop roleplaying, check it out. This might also be a good way for those of you new to this type of gaming to get your feet wet.

And with that, I'm outta here! See you all next week for another edition of the Saving Throw!

Shawn "It takes the walking dead to get your attention!?" Bruckner

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