Epic D&D….

So for those of you with power out there on the East Coast, here’s something that might take your minds off things for half an hour or so.

For the rest of you, it will provide a welcome break from political ads.

Last year at Confusion, Peter V. Brett had the brilliant idea that since a bunch of fantasy authors were all getting together in one place, and since we all played D&D back in the day, we should get together, and, well, be huge *HUGE* geeks for an afternoon.

And when I say “we,” what I really mean is Peter V. Brett, Joe Abercrombie, Myke Cole, Scott Lynch, Elizabeth BearSaladin Ahmed, Jay Lake, and Jim C. Hines. And me.

So we rocked it old school. We busted out the AD&D rules, rolled up some second level characters, and played Keep on the Borderlands.

All I can say is that I’m glad that someone rolled a camera on the event. Myke Cole and Saladin Ahmed acted as Co-GM’s and did a brilliant job of herding the sackful of cats guiding me and my fellow authors through the game.

Since then, we’ve had all the footage edited down and tidied up by my friend Erin. Here’s what we ended up with. The cinematography isn’t anything special, but the video itself really turned out amazingly funny. If you’ve ever role played, or if you have any interest in seeing authors descend to the pits of geekery, you should really take a look….

The fact that we finally got this video up and running gave me the inspiration for this month’s Storyboard, where we’re going to talk about Storytelling in RPG’s. (That’s foreshadowing, BTW.)

Some of the other authors have done their own write-ups of this event, and I don’t have much to add to this except to say that every single thing they say in there is absolutely true.

Brent Weeks

Myke Cole

Joe Abercrombie

More soon,


This entry was posted in gaming, geeking out, the craft of writing, The Story Board, videos. By Pat26 Responses


  1. Effie
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

    If only you’d played RD&D…
    you’ve got just the right axe for that.

  2. pinta_vodki
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

    btw, have you been on Wheaton’s Tabletop show on Geek & Sundry? Would be fun, I suppose. Or they won’t invite you? =)

    • Liam
      Posted November 3, 2012 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

      I believe Pat’s on the other side of the country from where they film, so that might make it a little more difficult for guest appearances.

  3. Posted November 1, 2012 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

    I would like to add that I totally cast both Magic Missle and Sleep during our dungeon trawl. Taking out five goblins all my myself and impressing my manservant Chauncy to no small degree.

    • SMantzoros
      Posted November 1, 2012 at 9:38 PM | Permalink

      The first time I played DND I neglected to learn Magic Missile so I would put someone in a dungeon to sleep, and then miss my hit roll. It was disastrous.

  4. Piccadilly
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

    Sounds fun :)
    But… how does the game work?^^ I’m really interested but I’m afraid of the long description of the game I might encounter, so if somebody has some spare minutes to explain it to me here… :3

    • SMantzoros
      Posted November 1, 2012 at 9:37 PM | Permalink

      I’m not entirely sure what version of DND they’re playing, but you essentially create your character in terms of race, affiliation, allegiance, class, skills, etc. Then the person behind the huge folder (the DM or dungeon master) guides you and everyone else through an adventure. You make decisions, and your decisions influence the path the story takes. You end up rolling a lot to check different things like if you hit an enemy or successfully cast a spell. It’s an extremely fun game, especially when you get a group of awesome people. You should definitely give it a shot if you’ve never tried it before.

      • IvoryDoom
        Posted November 2, 2012 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

        He’s playing AD&D

        Advanced Dungeons and Dragons…its as freakin’ old school as it gets. I’ve never even played it.

        I came into D&D and 3.0 so thats what I play, a version of 3.0/.5

        Basically, its playing imagination for grown ups. You roll the dice to see if you hit, or manage to accomplish something. (Thus avoiding the argument of, I killed you…No, You missed…blah blah, see 3rd grade for a reminder LOL)

    • ASamuelson
      Posted November 2, 2012 at 2:47 PM | Permalink

      They were playing AD&D. Also known as v1.0 or “original”. It was developed quite awhile ago (I played 20-30 years ago). Parts were really well constructed and other parts were a real mess, which led to several major revisions over the years. I never played anything other then AD&D, so I can’t comment on the newer versions in any detail. I did look at a recent version of D&D, I think v4.0? Anyway, not one thing looked the same and I panicked, but maybe I’m getting old.

      You’ll need a good group of friends who can show up to play for several hours to make it really fun. Six of us play every other week a game called HackMaster that is very similar in feel to AD&D. But the game mechanics have been simplified in ways that make it really enjoyable.

      • spaceLem
        Posted November 3, 2012 at 4:51 AM | Permalink

        Original D&D was released in 1974 (known just as D&D back then, but now also known as OD&D or Oe). While badly edited, and (in my opinion) difficult to follow unless you were familiar with the Chainmail ruleset, it was a very freeform game, with loosely defined rules and an encouragement for the GM to make things up as they went along.

        It is quite different to Advanced D&D, which was released in 1977 (known as AD&D, or 1e). AD&D was the amalgamation of OD&D and the various additions that appeared such as the Greyhawk supplement, and thus contained a lot more material. It was designed for tournament play, where it was important that everyone was playing the same game, and was therefore much more restrictive and defined.

        Basic D&D was developed in parallel to AD&D, and kept more of the freeform style of OD&D. Basic D&D had four different versions, including the famous Red Box D&D.

        All this came to an end when TSR were taken over by Wizards of the Coast in 1997, who started developing the 3rd edition, but dropped the word “Advanced”, and left the Basic line.

  5. leaf101
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 4:02 PM | Permalink

    I hope that if Wil does another season of TableTop he will do some actual D & D

    • Liam
      Posted November 3, 2012 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

      D&D is a litte long for their format, though. I don’t know how much D&D you could really fit into half an hour.

      Wizards does occasionally do promotional games with people playing D&D, though. The guys from Penny Arcade have done a bunch, and the guys from Robot Chicken did one too. Both are very entertaining (as well as a couple hours long).

  6. LadyBunns
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 10:20 PM | Permalink

    Mr. Brett rolls as poorly as I do :P

  7. BG_Josh
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 11:16 PM | Permalink

    DnD (even 4th edition) is something of an antique in the world of roleplaying games. It reminds me of the time Mr Burns tried to catch the 7:15 autogyro to Siam.

    If you are interested in roleplaying games you should check out the game “Mouseguard.” Based on the comics of the same name.

  8. tanis0
    Posted November 2, 2012 at 9:35 AM | Permalink

    So when you say, “(That’s foreshadowing, BTW.),” in reference to this month’s Storyboard, is this a hint that the Four Corners Hero System rulebook is in the works? :)

  9. deltaflip
    Posted November 2, 2012 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

    Hey, Pat, do you know when you’re doing your next Q&A?

  10. Robo
    Posted November 2, 2012 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

    Dude, SO jealous of that game. All I have to do is write a best selling novel to get invited right?

    Also, what are your thoughts on the Star Wars/Disney buyout. Happy or bummed?

  11. IvoryDoom
    Posted November 2, 2012 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

    Sweet, I’ll have to watch this over the weekend. How’s your campaign setting comeing along BTW?

    I actually almost anticipate such a thing more than your next novel LOL.
    I’m willing to switch to HERO System for that!

    Though I guess, you might not want to publish it until DOS comes out…might give some things away.

    Well, Stoked for the next Storyboard, that will be really awesome, since I’m actually just getting reading to start my own Epic Campaign with my group. (Which I’d been refraining from until we got out characters a little higher level) So, coincedentally, this works perfect for me. YAY! I’ve always wanted to question you about your own GMing tactics so I squeed with giddiness at reading this.

  12. Carla
    Posted November 2, 2012 at 2:15 PM | Permalink

    I love how you just throw this out there so casually…

    “Hey everybody, just wanted you to know I spent the afternoon with god, we were messing with some ant hills trying to decide how to smite them. It was a good time. I’ve got a video of it”

    You have just taken one of my geeky-ist dreams and shoved it in my face without so much as a neener-neener-neener.

  13. ASamuelson
    Posted November 2, 2012 at 2:39 PM | Permalink

    Ah this brings back many fond memories. Keep on the Borderlands was my first module as a kid. Critical hit with 1/2 a cougar is priceless. If you have a reunion game maybe you could amp up all of the characters and try Tomb of Horrors. That one still gives me nightmares *shudder*. Thanks for sharing Pat.

    BTW, if you haven’t checked it out I highly recommend HackMaster as a gaming system. We started playing HM some time ago and it’s really a well balanced fantasy RPG with an old school AD&D feel to it. Basic has been out awhile and they recently released their version of Players Handbook and Monster Manual. DMG is coming soon. Highly recommended!

    • IvoryDoom
      Posted November 5, 2012 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

      Yah, when he said Natural 20 with the cougar throwing, I seriously burst out laughing. Perfect. Timing. LOL. Still makes me giggle a bit.

      Those moments you just dont anticipate as GM. :D

  14. gfs
    Posted November 2, 2012 at 3:44 PM | Permalink

    I had read Brent Weeks’s description of this game, and since then I eagerly wanted to watch a recording of it. So glad to finally have the chance to watch it!

  15. imperialscum
    Posted November 5, 2012 at 5:13 PM | Permalink

    The thought of THACO just sent shivers down my spine. Just awesome!

  16. DWheelz
    Posted November 6, 2012 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

    Thank you for this. Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

  17. Dazbogdan
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 1:55 PM | Permalink

    So we are trying to start a podcast about the KKC http://www.reddit.com/r/KingkillerChronicle/comments/12t5tu/update_on_the_podvideocast_about_the_the_four/ . Join us in the thread if this is something you would like to see.

  18. Just Fred
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

    This is hilarious! And I mean that in a good way as it reminds me of old times. I started playing D&D in 1977 when I was a kid and it was responsible for bad grades and good times well into college. I still have my circa 1979 Monster Manual, AD&D rulebooks and dice laying around here someplace… Thanks for the time travel!

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