Whilst sitting in the audience Dustin created a Google Docs document live as the action unfolded.
There’s more info available on @geeksdreamgirl’s latest live blog where you can scroll back and catch up on all the info as it happened, with updates from Critical Hits, Matt James, and the WotC brand team @Wizards_DnD.
From all of us that couldn’t be there, thanks to all those that were and kept us updated!
If you haven’t seen iPlay4e.com and you do play 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons then you must go and check out their latest offerings.
iPlay4e allows you to store as many characters as you’ll need, you simply upload the .dnd4e file that is saved by the DDI Character Builder. If you’re not using Character Builder then why not! Check that out as well!
I use iPlay4e during a game, both as a player and as a Dungeon Master. As DM I can have multiple characters open and keep and eye on all the PCs in my game. No longer do I have to ask, “What’s your AC” or “What’s your passive perception”. Often I can easily find information quicker than the players themselves and answer their own questions.
It can link into the DDI Compendium so that you can bring up full descriptions of powers, something that’s not printed on the Character Builder power cards, this is very useful as a DM for helping describe the effects of an exploit or spell.
iPlay4e can also save changes and keep track of a number of things, such as current hit points, encounter and daily powers used, and more. This helps me keep a track on my players as DM and as a player helps me not forget what’s be used and what has not.
So check out the latest at http://labs.iplay4e.com.
Okay, as everyone enjoyed the last video, and I didn’t mind the sound of my own voice too much, here’s another.
This time here’s a quick example of how I create modern plans with Flash and Illustrator.
If you’ve enjoyed this video then let me know in the comments and I’ll do more. Please forgive the spelling in the title, and let me know what you think of the new Buccaneer’s Guild “sting”.
(This is an article that I recently wrote for Obsidian Portal.)
Should I use music in my game?
Can you imagine watching your favorite movies without a soundtrack? Film directors use music to control audience expectation and trigger emotional responses. As a GM, you too can make use of these techniques at your gaming table.
How do I add music and sound effects to my game?
The simplest plan is to put an album on to play. Slip in a CD, get your iPod out, and press play. I once ran a Sci-Fi campaign with just two soundtrack albums: The Matrix and Ghost in the Shell.
Keep the volume low and the music acts as a backdrop. During battles and other exciting moments pump up the volume and select a more upbeat track. At little more volume can wake up your players, make them fight a little to be heard, and raise their heart rates!
Take it further by using playlists, on your iPod or laptop. Playlists can be much longer than a album and less repetitive. Set up playlists for various situations, and leave them to run through on repeat. As the mood of the game changes, simply switch to another playlist.
To add sound effects such as explosions, spells, or battle sounds you could explore soundboards. Soundboards are simple online flash applications that trigger different sounds at the click of a button. A search online will turn up soundboards with effects that interest you.
For the deepest experience, there are applications available for GMs that combine music and sound effects. The best are RPG Soundmixerand Softrope, they both allow you to build complex soundscapes from small loops of sound. These combine into larger, less repetitive combinations. If you want complete control over sound effects and music at your table then both applications are worth exploring further.
What music can I play?
Find a movie or game that matches the genre of your current RPG and buy the soundtrack. You can often lift soundtracks from a computer game’s install. Baldur’s Gate and all of its sequels, for example, are a great source of background music.
When selecting music, try to avoid anything too distracting. Usually it is best to stick to instrumental tracks, as vocals can be very off-putting. There are exceptions, the last time I used a vocal track was to add atmosphere to a seedy retro jazz bar on a backwater space station.
It is well worth choosing a theme tune for your campaign, it helps focus the player’s attention. Play your theme tune after the players have had their weekly catch up and it unconsciously signals that it is time to start. Signature themes also work well for your reoccurring villains.
One final tip: Keep your finger near the volume control. Volume is a key tool for reacting to your table. Read the table carefully and lower the volume when you can see it is detracting from the experience, then raise it again as the players are reacting positively and having fun!
Sorry for the lack of posting recently, Christmas has been a busy time with little access to the internet. Now in January it’s the run up to the biggest education show in the UK, so that will be keeping me extra busy, not to mention the effect the snow is having on the number of hours I’ll be able to spend in the office.
So apologies readers, I’ll be back to regular posting some time the week after next.