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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Radio Active #19: Month of Hell, Baby Nuke 2.0, DMG II

by Ken Newquist / November 9, 2005

Radio Active returns from its unintended, computer-crashing hiatus with great news: I'm going to be a dad again! Since I'm still recovering from a variety of technical issues, this podcast doesn't include the usual Sites of Note and Book Review sections, but does feature a review of Wizards of the Coast's D&D source book, Dungeon Masters Guide II.

Getting the Podcast

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Show Notes

  • Robotech Theme Song
  • The Month of Hell
    • Crashing Computers: The Apple hard drive dies; Vaio has its own
      crashing issues.
    • So spent most of the last month dealing with computer issues.
  • "Finding Serenity" book winner: Kevin Smith from Albany, NY
    • Baby Nuke 2.0
      • Good news: I'm going to be a dad again!: Sue's due June 10.
    • Gandalf Movie Quote: "Wizards are never late..."
  • Game Review: Dungeon Masters Guide II
    • by Jesse Decker, David Noonan, Chris Thomasson, James Jacobs,
      Robin D. Laws
    • 288 pages
    • Wizards of the Coast
    • Buy it from Amazon
    • Early reviews I read of this book tended to dismiss it as an
      overly fluffy, newbie-oriented book. While it does dedicate its
      chapters (and 36 pages) organizing and running a campaign this
      information isn't soley for new game masters. Personally, I've
      found value in this and other books that discuss the theory of
      DMing, and advocate different approaches. I think most of us tend
      not to think too deeply about what we do, and these early
      chapters offer a chance for reflection.
    • Also, even old dogs can learn new tricks -- I liked the little
      tips, like how to draw better terrain on battle maps.
    • A good deal of the book is focused on world building, and this is
      where I found it to be most useful.
      • Archtypal locations (flooding dungeon, sky battle)
      • Special encounters (the chase/mobs)
      • New encounter tables
      • Guild rules
      • Apprentice rules
      • Abstract city law rules (great for resolving crimes simply).
      • Establishments (inns, taverns, 100 instant NPC agendas)
      • All this stuff is great for me as I run my Dark City urban
        fantasy campaign.
    • NPCs
      • Rules on gaining contacts, hirelings and unique abilities, as
        well as "complex" generic NPCs that can be used as the basis
        for villains/opponents/whatever in your campaign.
    • Magic items
      • One of my complaints about 3.5 magic items is that they tend
        to be so generic -
        • the "Magic Items" section offers ways to
          change that:
          • signature traits (minor effects like a blade always being
            sheethed in mist when drawn, or having animated etchings
            that have no effect on game play, but look cool)
          • bonded items: complete a ritual, and empower your
            personal weapon with additional abilities even if you
            aren't a wizard.
          • Magical locations: which endow characters with certain
            magical abilities (like treasure) but are tied to a
            location. Ccool, but needed better rules for creating
            more.
  • Contacting Nuketown