Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Undead in DragonQuest

Undead are a staple of fantasy RPG adventures and DragonQuest includes the usual suspects.  However, undead in DragonQuest can be a challenge to GM as described in the rules.  In particular, a number of the Greater Undead (Night-Gaunts, Spectres, Wights, and Wraiths) are described as "waxing and waning", "half of this world and half of another plane" or "vary in substantiality in direct proportion to the time of day".  Does this mean that their physical attributes should also vary?  For Spectres, this is specifically stated as true but for the others it is unknown.  The rules suggest that most Greater Undead are Adepts.  Do their Ranks with spells also vary?  Again, except for Spectres, unknown.  No game mechanics for playing out this variability are given in the rules.  Sadly while providing a somewhat different take on undead from other RPGs the DragonQuest designers left a lot of questions unanswered.
Because of some discussion on the Yahoo! DragonQuest groups, and a couple of recent adventures targeted at DragonQuest that featured or included undead, I decided to review again what is and is not there in the DragonQuest rules concerning the undead.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Usable Maps

Recently there was a blog post on the Monsters and Manuals blog about what makes a map useful or not and Cecil posted his own thoughts on it on his own Sword Peddler blog.  This prompted me to gather some of my thoughts about what makes a map usable (in contrast to useful as applied in the blog posts) in Virtual Tabletop programs.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

DragonQuest House Rules

I'm guessing that every DragonQuest GM out there has at least a couple house rules for their DragonQuest campaign and I'm no different.  Whether they are subtle changes to rules, different interpretations of DragonQuest's sometimes vaguely-worded rules or new skills, spells, weapons and colleges, every campaign has its own rules.  This is, of course, true for pretty much any RPG system out there but the collapse of SPI and the disinterest of TSR meant that DragonQuest hasn't really grown and evolved since its release.  Any changes or development for DragonQuest has been left to fans of the system through house rules.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Vision and Light in DragonQuest, Part 2

This post is a follow up to the September 2016 post about Vision and Light in DragonQuest.  I've gathered together all of my various thoughts and notes of how I run vision and lighting in DragonQuest into a few documents that are part of my house rules.  This post includes a link to the document describing the changes and additions I've made to the various magic talents and spells that create light or provide some type of vision.

Friday, April 28, 2017

MapTool Campaign File v2 for DragonQuest

A nearly month-long RV trip and other issues have kept me too busy to get any new blog posts out but I did manage to get a basic user guide written for the MapTool campaign file that I use for running DragonQuest.  Version 2 of the campaign file includes a number of new macros and a lot of updates to the previous ones.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Mapping with Master Hexes

Hex grids have been used for mapping in gaming since the 2nd edition of Gettysburg by Avalon Hill in 1961.  DragonQuest, published by a company known for its war games, uses the hex grid for tactical and campaign mapping though it wasn't the first RPG to do so.  This post is going to focus on the use of what I'm calling Master Hexes for mapping and isn't specific to DragonQuest.  This concept has been around since the very early days of the Judges Guild (Campaign Hexagon Sub-System) and maybe longer. I'm making no claim on having come up with anything particularly original here.  The inspiration for this post came from several blog posts that I came across recently.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Geography of the Frontiers of Alusia

The Frontiers of Alusia is a campaign setting released by SPI for use with DragonQuest or other fantasy RPGs.  I've used the Frontiers of Alusia (FoA) as a campaign base for DragonQuest off and on since its release in 1981.  The included 22"x34" map has the quality you would expect from the preeminent war game publisher of time.  The accompanying Travel Guide provided basic descriptions of the various named areas and features of FoA and included a basic history of the region plus hints about neighboring areas.  There are ruins, abandoned cities, impassable mountain ranges, deep dark forests, haunted battlegrounds, primitive cannibals and barbarian tribes.  Plenty of adventure hooks and room for GMs to put their own stamp on it.  It's a real shame that further expansions for either the Frontiers or Alusia as whole were never produced.
In the cover sheet Frontiers of Alusia is described as "a thinly settled, semi-explored wilderness."  In keeping with that there are only two settled areas within the Frontiers of Alusia: the Barony of Carzala and the Brastor Holding.  They cover about 4% of the total area.  If you've read any of my previous blog posts then you know that I like to dig into the numbers and I collected a few for the Frontiers of Alusia.