Monday, December 26, 2016

Using MapTool with DragonQuest

If the reason you aren't playing DragonQuest currently is that your gaming group has become geographically scattered then you might consider using a Virtual Tabletop (VTT) program like the free MapTool from the folks at  VTTs allow you to connect with other players via the internet and have a shared virtual table top through your computer.  Even for face-to-face gaming sessions VTTs can be a great gaming tool.  MapTool is the VTT I have used for years now and is what I'm going to talk about.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Using Inspiration Pad Pro v3 with DragonQuest

Tables for generating random loot, encounters, names, dungeons, weather and everything else can be found on the net and as part of the rules for different game systems.  Some are generic and can be used for any game system while many are specific to various iterations of Dungeons & Dragons or related d20 variants.  Inspiration Pad Pro is a free Windows program (and Android app) from NBOS Software allows you to easily create your own tables or generators to match how things work in your game world and the game system you use.  I love it and have created a few tables that I use for generating NPCs for my DragonQuest campaigns.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Gnome and Half-Ogre Player Character Races for DragonQuest

I decided to add the Gnome and Half-Ogre as player character races for my campaigns for different reasons.  For Gnomes it is mostly just as a whim.  I mean, who doesn't like Gnomes?  They are like happy Dwarves.  Half-ogres came about as a way to have a more practical Giant race for PCs.  As found in the DragonQuest rules, only the Stone Giant at 10' is even remotely reasonable as a character that might accompany adventuring parties into buildings, dungeons or even towns.  Look at poor Wun Wun from Game of Thrones.  No sleeping inside next to a cozy fire for him.
First the Gnomes...

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Shape-changers and the Moon in DragonQuest

DragonQuest includes as one of its character races, shape-changers.  Races other than Human must be rolled for per the rules and the player gets up to three chances at three separate races.  Shape-Changers are the least likely race to get as it requires rolling a 4 or less on a D100 roll. So shape-changers comprise less than 4% of the player-character population which presumably is only a tiny fraction of the whole population.  Scarcer than hen's teeth in other words.

According to the rules:
[6.9] A shape-changer is a separate genetic strain of human, with the ability to change into the form of a particular animal.
These are not humans cursed with Lycanthropy but are instead some kind of human offshoot with the ability to change into a specific animal form.  In DragonQuest, the character may have either Wolf, Tiger, Bear or Boar as their animal form and this is determined randomly.

Though not Lycanthropes (i.e. were-animals) they are sensitive to the phases of the moon.  The rules have this to say:
A shape-changer may remain in animal form for one-quarter of the night times the phase of the moon; thus, during the full moon the shape-changer could remain in animal form all night.  A shape-changer may remain in animal form for one hour times the quarter of the moon during the day.  A shape-changer may make one set of transformations times the quarter of the moon.
Unfortunately these statements reflect common misconceptions about the phases of the moon and what the terms 1st quarter and last quarter actually mean.  Full moon is not the 4th quarter but instead falls in between 1st and last quarters.  The term quarter does not refer to the amount of the moon illuminated but how far through the moons orbit around the earth it has progressed.

Farmer's Almanac has a lovely graphic that shows the phases and their names.

From Farmer's Almanac website.
Here is a chart I threw together that can be used to determine how many times and for how long a shape-changer may assume animal form

Moon Phase % of Night Day Hours Changes
New Moon 25% 1 1
Waxing Crescent
50% 2 2
First Quarter Moon
75% 3 3
Waxing Gibbous
100% 4 4
Full Moon
Waning Gibbous
75% 3 3
Last Quarter Moon
50% 2 2
Waning Crescent
25% 1 1

From a visual standpoint the moon appears full to the human eye for three days but as the rules split the changes up by quarters that means that the full moon period, for purposes of number of changes and length of changes, lasts for one quarter of the moons cycle or 7.38 days here on Earth.  Not an easy number to work with.  Of course the moon (or moons) on your world can have whatever period you desire.  Using a lunar cycle of 28 days would give you a nice tidy 7 days per quarter.  Even 30 isn't bad as you can put 7 days each on the New Moon and Full Moon phases and then 8 days each on the First and Last Quarters.  Or vice-versa.

The important thing is to pick some method of determining when these Lunar events take place within your game world calendar so that Lunar aspected characters as well as Shape-changers and Astrologers have a consistent system to work with.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Colleges from Arcane Wisdom

The unpublished Arcane Wisdom (until TSR's 3rd edition of DragonQuest) included three additional colleges for DragonQuest:  Lesser Summonings, Rune Magics and Shaping Magics.  The first two colleges provide the adventuring adept with some alternatives while Shaping Magics provides a means for NPC and PC adepts to create magic items ranging from the mundane to very powerful artifacts.  Though true for pretty much all magic colleges the DragonQuest GM should familiarize himself with these colleges before introducing them to his campaign.

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Entities Colleges of DragonQuest

This post looks at the three Colleges found in The Entities branch:  Necromantic Conjurations, Black Magics and Greater Summonings.  When you need your traditional fantasy bad guys, Adepts from these colleges fit the bill.  While other colleges can be used for evil purposes, these Colleges are all touched by the Powers of Darkness to a lesser or greater extent.

In the 3rd edition of DragonQuest released by TSR they pulled both Black Magics and Greater Summonings.  I don't really hold it against TSR as there was considerably more public scrutiny on their products than on those released by SPI or any other publisher.  I consider it more important that they finally released the Arcane Wisdom colleges in the 3rd edition as this made them more available to the DragonQuest fans.  Anyone who really cared about Black Magics or Greater Summonings already had a previous edition with the missing colleges.

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Elemental Colleges of DragonQuest


From Magic System Designer's Notes:

These adepts use mana to penetrate their respective elemental planes releasing power stored there and altering their element on this plane.

The DragonQuest rules don't comment on this but many of the spells in these colleges create a quantity - usually temporarily - of their respective elements.  I've always assumed that in most cases the spell is actually pulling those elements from the elemental planes into the Adept's own plane.  At the end of the spells duration the conjured material returns back to original plane.

For me the Elemental Colleges, except for Fire Magics, have never felt particularly "elemental".  I expect them to focus more on the manipulation of the elements than on interacting with what fauna might inhabit that element.

There are some inconsistencies between the Colleges as well.  Air, Water and Fire have Binding as a General Knowledge ritual and Summon/Control of Elementals as a Special Knowledge ritual.  Earth however has Binding as a Special Knowledge ritual and Summon/Control as a Special Knowledge spell that is ranked for the Summon and Control aspects separately.  Air has Resistance to Cold which grants Magic Resistance to Cold spells but reduces damage from Fire spells.  Fire has Fire Resistance which grants Magic Resistance to Fire spells and reduces damage from Fire spells not Cold.

On to the Colleges...