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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Keterys' LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, September 17th, 2008
9:11 am
Lowering Monsters Levels (for Fun and Profit)
 I put together some rules for introducing monsters several levels before they normally show up, but keeping them about the same level of toughness. I haven't quite finished the experiment by doing a Normal to Solo upgrade (which would also jump 9 levels), but I've got Normal to Elite (-4 levels) and Elite to Solo (-5 levels). When using these (and when using any monster at all), do keep an eye on the final result and tweak to fit your group.

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Current Mood: tired
Tuesday, September 9th, 2008
8:59 pm
Possible 4E House Rules

4E has been out for a little bit, so here are the major rule changes that have occurred to me. I'm not sure which (if any) of these I'll adopt, but I'll make this post and my players can let me know if they want to adopt any.

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Current Mood: bouncy
Thursday, August 28th, 2008
1:43 pm
Robin Law's Game Style Quiz
I haven't done a stupid quiz in a while, may as well kick one off.

Law's Game Style
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Butt-Kicker

You like a streightforward combat character. After a long day at the office, you want to clobber foes and once more prove your superiority over all who would challenge you.







Method Actor




Power Gamer


Casual Gamer


In other news, I'm playing buckets of 4E and my WoW raiding is floundering a little on Archimonde and Bloodboil. Teron Gorefiend is a ton more fun than I expected, though. Gleemax died. I went to GenCon and need to do a writeup on that. I'm now the VCL for D&D Minis while WotC figures out how else I can help them in a community way. I've started dieting again, I hope to start exercising again this weekend. I'm behind on most side projects due to a fairly concentrated dose of lack of motivation combined with lack of time that I'm not working on other games (especially the online ones I tend to work extra). I blame the day job for most of the demotivation since everything else seems great, but who knows?

Current Mood: blank
Tuesday, July 1st, 2008
2:44 pm
REALLY Low Level Monsters

Some people object to how tough creatures like goblins and kobolds can be at 1st level, or want something that's more of a step between a minion and a full fledged level 1 monster. These rules are for them.

The principle is very simple. Apply the rules for lowering level from the DM's Toolbox (DMG p174) to monsters of 1st or 2nd level until you make them 0th or -1st level. Assign them XP values of 75 and 50 respectively - this is technically a break from the standard xp progression. This is on purpose to compare more easily to the 25 XP Level 1 Minion and because the difference in hit points is a more noteworthy percentage of change than other level changes.

As a reminder, each level you decrease you decrease attacks and defenses by 1. For every 2 levels, you decrease damage by 1. Skills, ability checks, and initiative should be decreased by 1 at -1 level (and 1st if coming from 2nd, etc).

You also decrease hit points by an appropriate amount based on the role. Most 0th level monsters, should be Con Score + Role HP (Between 6 and 10), while -1st level monsters should be just Con Score. Multiply by 2 or 4 for elites or solos, if you choose to actually use them.

0th level monsters will now be referred to as 'Lesser' monsters, while -1st level monsters will be referred to as 'Minor' monsters.

This allows you to create an easier HP and XP progression between level 1 monsters and minions. For example, a Dire Rat is 100 XP and 38 hp, and a Giant Rat is 25 XP and 1 hp. A lesser dire rat is 75 XP and 28 hp, and a minor dire rat is 50 XP and 18 hp.

Let me know what you think. I really think this simple idea would be appreciated by an awful lot of people. To make it easier to grok, examples using Dire Rats, Goblin Blackblades and Warriors, Kobold Slingers and Skirmishers, and Stirges, from the Monster Manual after the cut...



Current Mood: cheerful
Sunday, June 15th, 2008
6:33 pm
Writing for Dragon/Dungeon
I'd like to write for Dragon / Dungeon - it'd be a good challenge and experience, and honestly I'm going to make a bunch of gaming stuff so it'd be far more satisfying if people were actually using it...

The trick is, I'm not really one to 'sell' myself. I look at their submissions process and think 'Make a sales pitch. If we dig your sales pitch, we'll get back to you within the next two months, maybe.'

Bleah. I know why it works that way, but honestly I'd forgoe any commission (at least initially, not like I'm doing this for the money) to just have a real conversation and go 'I've got 1000 ideas, here's a quick list, pick some you like or just give me some things -you want- and I'll pick one or more of them'.

Oh well, but that's not the way it works. So, I decided to sit down and write down some ideas this evening, so here's my quick brainstorm:


Current Mood: blank
Wednesday, June 11th, 2008
2:44 am
4e Brutes, Part 2a
I decided to read two books, play some Age of Conan, and D&D twice this weekend... and start putting together a third game. And I'm also just really websurfy instead of focused lately.

So, only 21 brutes (of the 64) to offer. I suspect I'll bump the dwarf up a level and I'm a bit iffy on the hydra - it's just a bit out there... but I wanted a hydra for Red Hand of Doom and to satisfy the 'hydra's boring' crowd.

Which puts me at something like 1/6 done with prepping playtest mobs. At which point I get to start the hard part.
Oh boy.

Current Mood: anxious
Saturday, June 7th, 2008
10:53 pm
4E Brutes
And brutes are melee types - high damage, lower chance to hit, lots of hp, lower armor - the inverse of the soldier. These are your more typical D&D monsters (giants, orcs, etc) so I ended up with a bit more of them. So now the Brute index - bit beefier at 64 monsters (after the cut)

Current Mood: determined
Friday, June 6th, 2008
11:50 pm
4E Artillery, Part 2
I've thrown together some stats for the 27 artillery monsters (and 2 minions they can summon), if anyone wants to look them over. I'm holding off on putting the pics with them cause I was hoping for a definitely legal option instead of a possibly legal option... so I apologize that they're in a bit of a vacuum at the moment. I'll work on that later.

Also, I have pics of all the stat blocks up on Picasa.

Step 1, of many. Check.

Oh, and if anyone wants to make 4E stat blocks like the one I use, feel free to use this MS Word Template. You don't need to use the color key I used for recharge/encounter/trigger powers... but you clearly should, cause I want it to become popular enough that  some publisher(s) adapts it and I'll have my mark _somehow_ ;)
Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008
2:24 pm
Windy Sprites and Runestone Bowling
Taking a break, so decided to be silly:

Wind sprites have a hierarchy of sorts. The weakest and most pleasant are Breeze sprites. Gale sprites are quick to anger and lash out, but will just as quickly aid a friend. Tempest sprites are the most powerful wind sprites and their anger is legendary. They like no one, not even other tempest sprites, and can be positively murderous to anyone that offends them. Breeze sprites like being out in the rain just fine, but they still have a saying, "If you can hear the thunder coming, run for shelter!"

Also, the Runestone Bowling league is seeking new members. Each member is required to bring 1 gold piece every week, and a keg of ale once a month!

Not every monster pushes people around, but it's a nice option in 4e for creating a more active battle, so there's 2 possible examples.

P.S. I apologize for people who are anti-4e, but I'll probably be chatting about it a lot for a while.

Current Mood: amused
Monday, June 2nd, 2008
2:49 pm
4E Monsters: Artillery

Artillery is such an odd term to see over and over in fantasy. Makes me think some of how wizards and such replicated artillery in the wargames that D&D grew out of. In 4e, artillery is the monster role for ranged attackers that tend to be high damage and low toughness.

Today's update is my current list of artillery monsters for the grab bag.

Lvl Name
2   Pyreskull Caretaker
3   Serpentfolk Archer
4   Hobgoblin Dragon Shaman
5   Gale Sprite
6   Flameborn Pyromancer
6   Young Volcano Dragon (Solo)
7   Corpse Cavalry Archer
7   Orc Blood Magus
8   Dragonbow
8   Ice Demon
9   Myrdoc Watcher (Elite)
10 Runestone Hurler
11 Flare Caster (Solo)
12 Axemate Flinger
13 Zehirswarmed Shooter (Elite)
14 Adult Volcano Dragon (Solo)
16 Ice Giant Frostmage
17 Volcanic Trickster
18 Suncrystal Drake (Elite)
19 Blaze Igniter (Elite)
Elder Volcano Dragon (Solo)
21 Frostvale Warder
22 Frostvale Captain
23 Burning Destroyer (Elite)
24 Human Archmage (Elite)
26 Agony Mind
28 Ancient Volcano Dragon (Solo)

Some levels may shift around as needed to support encounter groups. Some of those are not what I'd call finished (when I went to post the list I saw a couple gaps I could address).

Current Mood: working
Saturday, May 24th, 2008
3:14 pm
Gencon Games
So, due to legal difficulties around GenCon's bankruptcy, WotC and the RPGA delayed putting their events on the schedule until an entire month after the other events went up for sale.

So I partially filled my schedule up with other events:
Iron Heroes RPG (supposedly run by Adam Windsor, the current caretaker of Iron Heroes)
Serenity RPG (as in, Firefly/Serenity)
Mutants and Masterminds RPG (being used for a wirefu-ish martial arts game)
Changeling LARP
7th Sea LARP
Starcraft Board Game
Last Night on Earth Board Game
Arkham Horror Board Game

Anyhow, a month later, there's 9 D&D 4E Events up. 1 is the D&D Championship, which I'd cheerfully play with a team, but I won't touch solo I suspect. The other 8 are Living Forgotten Realms events. I've been a little iffy on the RPGA ever since 3e started and they dropped all of their support for 'Classic' modules and the 'Living' modules were really hit and miss for certain criteria (making sense, presenting a fair challenge, supporting fun RP)

Still, I love getting in on things on the ground floor, and I think I can safely say that 4E is going to be my system of choice for the next while, so seeing how some other people play it, getting a little more experience... good things to do. Also, I suspect I'll end up playing more down the road through the online D&D game table, when that goes live.

So I'm considering dropping some events to replace with 4E ones. Top of the list are all 3 board games. Truth of the matter is that I signed up for board games because I _never_ get to play them with the gaming folks I know. I'd like to try the board games in question, especially LNOE, but maybe I'll just buy it outright instead. I've been drooling over getting it ever since I read Merric Blackman's review of it. If I own it, maybe I can convince people to try it, and if I can just find a couple board games people are really into, maybe I can play more.

Next up for consideration are both LARPs. LARPs are really hit or miss for me. Sometimes I get into it and can have great roleplay moments. Other times I just find people get ridiculous, there's not enough _really_ going on because there's a couple people running it and 50 people milling about chatting, or their mechanics are crazy. On top of the crazy list is mind's eye theater last time I played, so Changeling would probably be the first to get the axe. 7th Sea one actually sounds like it has a plot, so I'd not mind keeping it, but we'll see.

That brings me to Iron Heroes. I've tried the system out... and honestly I don't think I'll ever run it again and I'm sure none of the folks around here will run it. It's a bit too complicated and I'm kinda burnt out on the 3.x-ish style mechanics that it has at its core. That said, it's run by the guy currently writing IH stuff, who I gotta assume runs a kickass game. And I did like a lot of the IH stuff... enough that a quote of mine made it into the wiki, anyhow. So, we'll see.

I suspect a lot will have to do with whether I end up playing much with other people. Living games with strangers are just very, very different from living ones with friends. More so even than the other random games I've signed up for, where at least I'll have no investment in the character I'm playing.

Current Mood: calm
Monday, May 19th, 2008
12:32 am
Filling space on the page
So, I'm trying to have things be at least moderately appealing and professional looking in this 4E monster pdf I'm working on and I've got some questions about filling up page space in it.

Let's say I put together a couple monsters and I've got a bunch of extra space on the page.

Like so:
Bloodblade Knight (18 Brute) and Bloodblade Lord (21 Brute)

I figure it'll get some more flavor text, but there's clearly enough room there for something else major so I wanted to think on it some first.

For example, I could include:
a special 'boss' one (high level elite probably)
a sidebar with commentary
more encounter groups
details on the ritual to make them
an adventure idea

So, the question mostly becomes, what would people prefer?

As a comparison where I  didn't really hit the problem: Myrdoc Watcher (Level 9 Elite Artillery) and Myrdoc Oracle (23 Elite Controller Leader)

Though if there's some obvious problem with that, I'd love to know too.

Current Mood: curious
Wednesday, May 14th, 2008
2:42 am
Predicting the World I Die In
A friend of mine asked for a prediction of what the world would be like in fifty years, so I wrote up the following:

Let's be honest, that's a lot like thinking about what the world will be like when you die.

At least, assuming we haven't conquered aging by then. Methusaleh's Children, we're coming for you!

I predict that computer technology will continue to increase at a rapid rate. Thusly, the future will have the possibility for extremely fast processing, realistic graphics, data transfer, etc. I'm dubious if we'll be at the 'jacking into a cyberworld' stage, but from a gaming perspective I do think that we'll have lifelike virtual reality games with builtin voice support that allows effective voice masking.

So a fat sixty year old man will be able to roleplay a six year old winged female pixie and really pull it off, visually and audibly. Cool _and_ scary.

We'll have flying cars, but they'll be a lot more like planes than cars and it'll be nothing like Back to the Future 2.

We'll probably have robots, but I'm not sure they'll have developed beyond the first two critical tasks assigned to them - dangerous industry work, and the, uhh, recreational exercise field.

Medical advances in money-worthy pursuits will have made astounding leaps. Third world countries will still suffer from some forms of plague and/or STD (even if not the same ones as today), but the affluent will have full access to genetic engineering, grown organ replacement, regenerated cells, etc. And with mastered cosmetic surgery so that it never even looks like anything bad happened.

I think that we'll have actual living in space, through some sort of actual space station, lunar setup, or a fledgling Mars project. It'll probably mostly be driven by the eccentric rich thinking space is cool, rather than governments, so I'm not sure it'll be good for more than tourism and a few research applications. Certainly, we'll still have no protection from a planetary death problem.

On that angle, I predict that somewhere in the world, both a nuclear terrorist attack and a biological terrorist attack will have occurred. I think it will have scared people senseless and I shudder to think about what panic induced effects will occur, but I suspect that with weapons technology advancing sufficiently that a properly funded terrorist can spread a viable doomsday plague with a packet of lozenges and an asthma inhaler that things will get positively crazy for group travel.

Personally, I plan on sticking to my flying car, and never going to an actual airport again. Also, I'll move to the boonies (perhaps inside a mountain) where my entertainment rigs will allow me to never exercise and just spend my years as a drooling mess.

Thankfully, advanced medicine and my exercise robot should keep me in fighting trim.

Current Mood: quixotic
2:30 am
Last update 323 weeks ago
It almost seems a shame to break a streak that good.

I started using livejournal again, so I could check up on a couple of friends I had lost track of, and subscribe to a few gaming journals.

If I'm checking on it to read other people's stuff, I may as well post a few things myself, then go back to saying nothing.

Let's see... updates of note. I'm still working at Akamai, and I've wrangled every promotion I can think of stomaching, including one that I made up in order to give them a way to give me more money and less busy work. It's going okay, but I suspect I won't last beyond early next year.

I'm eagerly awaiting D&D 4E. Eagerly enough that I've written up many dozens of monsters and plan to release a pdf collection of over 200 sometime next month. I'm hoping that wotc will host it on gleemax or DDI, but I bet there's some legal reason they can't yet.

I'm actually a volunteer community lead for WotC, probably in charge of Gleemax Games, Blogs, and the Digital Games Forums. Probably because it's actually in flux this week (you do 3 month stints). So, that's like the free board games that you can play there at www.gleemaxgames.com, and will include the D&D Game Table some day, in theory. Hopefully some other good stuff. It's a decent gig and I actually really like the wotc folks I talk to regularly, and I get some product out of it - they're allowed and encouraged to send their VCLs up to $600 in product each year. Not more than that, though, because then you have to register it for tax purposes.

Yay rules.

Current Mood: contemplative
Wednesday, March 6th, 2002
2:46 am
... this one is a bit more serious. Odd.


-- Click Here To Take The Test --

2:44 am
I've decided that having a live journal as a place to store these is not so bad.

At least it seems to be what other people do, and this way I'm doing more of them. Or something.

Remy LeBeau
I'm Remy LeBeau
What X-Men Character are You?
Tuesday, February 26th, 2002
1:04 am
I Am A: True Neutral Half-Elf Bard Ranger

True Neutral characters are very rare. They believe that balance is the most important thing, and will not side with any other force. They will do whatever is necessary to preserve that balance, even if it means switching allegiances suddenly.

Half-Elves are a cross between a human and an elf. They are smaller, like their elven ancestors, but have a much shorter lifespan. They are sometimes looked down upon as half-breeds, but this is rare. They have both the curious drive of humans and the patience of elves.

Primary Class:
Bards are the entertainers. They sing, dance, and play instruments to make other people happy, and, frequently, make money. They also tend to dabble in magic a bit.

Secondary Class:
Rangers are the defenders of nature and the elements. They are in tune with the Earth, and work to keep it safe and healthy.

Find out What D&D Character Are You?, courtesy ofNeppyMan (e-mail)

Their results are quite interesting, actually...
Like I've got points in NG, CG, TN, and CN
And negatives in LG, LE, NE, CE

Detailed Results:

Lawful Good ----- (-1)
Neutral Good ---- XXXX (4)
Chaotic Good ---- XXX (3)
Lawful Neutral -- (0)
True Neutral ---- XXXXXX (6)
Chaotic Neutral - XX (2)
Lawful Evil ----- (-5)
Neutral Evil ---- (-2)
Chaotic Evil ---- (-4)

Human ---- XX (2)
Half-Elf - XXXX (4)
Elf ------ XX (2)
Halfling - (-3)
Dwarf ---- (0)

Fighter - XX (2)
Ranger -- XXX (3)
Paladin - (-5)
Cleric -- (-6)
Mage ---- (-2)
Druid --- (-3)
Thief --- (-2)
Bard ---- XXXXXX (6)
Tuesday, January 15th, 2002
2:10 am
Oh, hey, noticed in one of the recent updates that I said I was starting up that more RP heavy d&d game...

It's going well, and there's another session today. Almost offed half the party last week.
Actually, party almost did that to themselves, pretty much stunned me.

But anyhow, The trish, mike, tanis core for RP didn't work out cause, hey, tanis, what do you know... but trish, mike, and beka is working out pretty well. With both tanis and fabio being too wildcard to expect to show up I tried to get another person and got jason.

The thing is he's acting pretty weird the last couple months. That or maybe he acted pretty weird when I knew him before, but he's not RPing much at all even the easy things, and he's acting odd when he plays DAoC too... though I think that might be a separate weirdness (some people disconnect when not seeing people face to face)

Oh well, what can you do?

So everyone's a level higher in Speaker and all the fights are harder too... wonder how they'll do. I'm especially wondering about a couple of areas where if they don't play things well there could definitely be some death going on. But that's why I gave 'em luck points, so they could have more reason to RP and a fair faith that their character was less likely to die.

Whee, rambling while at work.
2:05 am
Hmm, lotr who are you test. Apparently I'm frodo

Umm. Okay :)

Ever want to do A B C D, but don't want to do C & D cause they're slowing you down from doing A & B, but you still want to do A B C & D, and oh, butterfly?

Yeah, life feels like that.

I got bored the other day and generally whined about crap at Michael Grubb (bypassing Virginia). Felt better afterwards. Not necessarily that the noc was going to get fixed cause I was having too much trouble nailing down exactly what the problem was in concrete terms (and I didn't feel like just going 'dude, your wife and colleen are bad news. Ditch 'em and get someone better')... OTOH he seemed very supportive of concept of me eventually getting a job that was A) more technical (ie, I'm friggin bored lately) and B) during day instead of night

Been 3 years during 3rd shift, time to be able to go into work with my girlfriend who works at the same place I do, I think.
Tuesday, November 20th, 2001
1:56 am
Hmm, it's been a while.

Saw some meteors the other day. Over 250 of 'em to be exact. It was kinda cold, tho, so didn't watch for very long. Was nifty.

Did that internet addict test:

I am pretty addicted, but there is hope. I think I'm just well connected to the internet and technology, but it's really a start of a drug-like addiction. I must act now! Unplug this computer!

Take the INTERNET-ADDICT Test at Fuali.com!

Beka and I talked about budgeting our money... that went decently.

Now we just need to see if it works.

Oh, and do the budgeting time. That one will be a bitch.

I'm starting up another d&d game soon, though it will be a shorter running one. Promises to be a fair amount of RP in it, though, with a core of Trish, Tanis, and Mike. Sure hope everyone shows up for all the sessions.

Maybe I'll update this every now and then for a month or so, then forget again.
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