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Badge registration opens up tomorrow for GenCon. As I was kicking myself last year for not going, you can be sure I won't make the same mistake this year. It looks to be a small group of us, just four in total, but I'm sure it will still be a total blast. Assuming I survive registration.

Strangely enough, GenCon isn't the only gaming convention on my mind right now. It's not even really in the fore-front of my thoughts, though badge registration is tomorrow, and hotel registration is Tuesday. OK, maybe now it is. But I'm also juggling planning time now for two other conventions.

I decided a while back that I'd like to check out a local convention, and recently pre-reged for Total Con. Actually, I only registered for Saturday, as I'm not sure what to expect from this convention and it's so close, it'll be easy to just swing by for the day. Nobody has mentioned wanting to go with me either, so I suppose just going for a day is probably enough. I'm really hoping to get into one of the AD&D games being run by Frank Mentzer. That would be awesome.

And of course, there's HelgaCon. I actually just sent off the check for the rental -- I'm using the same place we used last year. Still a bit concerned that I haven't seen as many positive responses as I did last year, but hopefully as the event gets closer more folks will come out of the woodwork.

What I really need to do is get some games prepped to run at these things. I promised Dan Proctor I'd run a Labyrinth Lord game at GenCon (I was planning on doing so anyway), and Jenn will be incredibly sad if I don't run a Warhammer game at HelgaCon. I'm thinking of running a game featuring an all skaven party for that. I have to run at least two games at HelgaCon, so I'll probably want to run another D&D game for the second. If I was clever, I'd try and run the same game for both that and for GenCon.

Man, you would think with all this work still to do for these conventions I wouldn't be sitting here wishing it wasn't all still so far away.
January 23rd, 2010 - 09:31 pm | Comments (0) | PERMALINK

Stealth in D&D
In the past, the separation of the thief skills Hide in Shadows and Move Silently has always annoyed me. Why should I have two different skills for sneaking up on someone? Must I roll both, in order to determine if my target first can see me, and second can hear me? I much preferred systems that rolled these skills into a single stealth mechanic.

However, if you look carefully, most descriptions of Hide in Shadows specifically mention that the thief must remain motionless to hide in such a way. I think this is the give-away of the real difference between these two skills. It's not auditory vs. visual, but rather moving vs. stationary.

Hide in Shadows, I believe, is meant to allow the thief to take up a hidden position, even though his target may eventually look directly at said position. It is the mechanic for the lay-in-wait ambush. The thief hides himself, waits for his target to come by, and then jumps out at him (or simply lets him pass before moving on to other business.)

Move Silently, on the other hand, is for when the target is already unaware of the thief, and the thief wishes to get closer to the target while still remaining undetected. This is the skill for your stalking horse manuevres. Or if you're already hidden in the shadows, and that pesky target refuses to come anywhere near you. The thief waits for the target's back to be turned, or distracts him by having a friendly fighter type engage him in combat, then sneaks up behind him and attacks.

These thoughts came to me after a recent session where the thief player twice tried the classic stalking horse maneuvre on an enemy that was already engaged with one of the other party members. In both cases I decided it would take a round for the thief to position himself advantageously such that he could jump out at the target on the following round. I'm not sure if I was gonig to require a Hide in Shadows roll, as in both cases the target was dead by the next round.

In future, I think I will rule such cases like this: The thief must make a Move Silently roll followed by an attack roll. If both succeed, he is allowed to use the backstab mechanic on his target. If the Move Silently fails, then the target notices the thief too late for the thief to course correct, and the attack is treated as a standard attack. In either case, the thief is now considered in melee combat with the target (presuming the target is still alive), and no more backstabbing can be attempted.
January 15th, 2010 - 08:00 am | Comments (2) | PERMALINK

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