Day 30 – Best Playing/DMing experience
My best DMing experience was the first session of a Ptolus game I ran back in D&D 3.5. I think it might have been my first Ptolus game after we finished up The World’s Largest Dungeon. I was fully prepared, everything hit on all cylinders and players complimented me after the game. It happened to also be the most number of players I had at once at that particular table. I don’t remember a lot of the details now (it was 9 years ago, after all), but I remember the PCs went into Ptolus’s sewers looking for some lost kids or something like that.
My best playing experience probably happened at Gen Con. When I attended primarily as an attendee (I go now as an exhibitor on Author’s Alley) and Monte Cook’s OK — Your Turn message board community was thriving, we used to coordinate a bunch of off-grid games. It was like a mini convention within the convention. We played a lot of Monte Cook’s Arcana Evolved. One particular member of that board, Varianor, used to run faen (AE’s version of elves, but more faerie like, including a pixie-expy)-themed games. They were fast-paced, wacky fun.
Day 29 – Most frequently rolled # on a d20
Really? People keep track of crap like that? I don’t. I have no idea.
Day 28 – PCs you have sworn off playing
There aren’t any. I’ve never created a character that suffered so badly that he or she’s been ruined forever for me. There’s a general type of character I don’t think I’m particularly good at playing, though, and I would reluctant to try again, though I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’ve sworn off playing them: diplomats. I’m not good at thinking quickly on my feet and improvising plausible, persuasive dialog. I played a diplomat character (Baniss Mulk) in the last Star Wars game I played in and I was horrible at it. I much preferred my cocky pilot (Kelko Gen; sadly, he died when we tried to be heroes instead of self-serving mercenaries and the dice turned against us).
Day 27 – Favorite Curse or Cursed Item
I usually don’t do much with cursed items; most of them are designed to make a player’s life miserable by messing with her character and most players find that to be the opposite of fun. Still, in a game that doesn’t take itself seriously, some of the sillier items can be amusing, though most of them are problematic when looking back. I think the best items are ones that are not explicitly cursed, but come with drawbacks that seem like their cursed, like Evil Intelligent Talking Swords that try to force characters into heinous acts, or artifacts like the Hand of Vecna. The attached video is a good example of how such an artifact can act like a curse for an entire party, without being explicitly cursed… just replace “Vecna” with “Vectra” and if you’ve read Knights of the Dinner Table for years, you’ve already seen this story. 😀
Day 26 – Favorite Mundane Item
A hammer and pitons is an often-overlooked set of items. Not a lot of people think their adventurers will be climbing sheer rock cliffs. While that’s true, the pitons can be used to secure a rope for climbing down into a pit, or wedging a door shut. Hammers are useful for all sorts of things, not the least of which is hammering a stake into the shriveled, black heart of the pesky local vampire.
Day 25 – Favorite Magic Item
This one changes with each edition. In the AD&D days, it was an item called the Slate of Identification. I know identifying magic items was part of the mystery of the game, but in my experience, it only served to obfuscate bog-down the game at best or reinforce that DM vs. Player mentality at worse. I often gave this out just to skip that part and get back to the adventure. Flaming swords are always cool, or any weapon you want to put an effect like that one.
One item always stands out though, one I often threaten to pull out, but have only done so twice. The first time I used it, it wrecked the campaign. The second time, I did it deliberately to end the campaign (which it did). Of course, I refer to the Deck of Many Things. It’s a magical card deck from which characters can draw a pre-specified number of cards. Some cards grant wishes, gold, or power. Others summon Death to attack you or magically imprison you, or worse, send your soul to another dimension, leaving your still-breathing shell behind, unable to do anything.
Day 24 – Favorite Spell
It’s a doozy. One I’ve never personally been able to use in a game: meteor swarm. Something just appeals to me about playing a high-level wizard and obliterating your opponent with an attack that literally calls down asteroids from space to bombard them. It’s so badass.
Day 23 – Least Favorite Monster Overall
A swarm of anything. I hated them as a player because, at low levels, they seemed almost impossible to deal with wihout hurting yourself, and as a GM, they just caused more work for me with all the tracking and the player frustration. I just don’t like monsters that are frustrating rather than challenging. They’re like that itch you can’t scratch.