Author Archives: Shane

D&D Out of the Abyss Notes Title

D&D Out of the Abyss Notes #51

This Episode: Back on the surface after surviving the vengeful Ilvara’s final move! It’s the end of Out of the Abyss Part 1, unfortunately a bit of a chaotic session due to player behavior, the DM dropping the ball a couple of times, and real life constraints like the darn store’s about to close.  Plus: Rocktopus art! Do gelatinous cubes need air?! Two of Shane’s cats say hi!

This is an ongoing series of Shane’s notes, thoughts and tips for running the D&D adventure Out of the Abyss, which is the tabletop portion of the Rage of Demons story line.

Each video follows the most recent session with his group.

Sword Coast Legends

Let’s Play Sword Coast Legends Story Mode #41

This episode: We keep tracking down the stone for Bryn all over and around Luskan, get attacked by mercenaries in a warehouse even though we politely paid their required bribe, and then get our rears handed to us by a succubus and her knight flunky.

This a let’s play of the single player campaign of Sword Coast Legends.

Set in the lush and vibrant world of the Forgotten Realms, Sword Coast Legends offers an all-new way to enjoy the time-tested magic of playing Dungeons & Dragons as a shared storytelling experience. With a deep narrative developed by a team of long-time industry veterans and a partnership with Wizards of the Coast, the single player campaign of Sword Coast Legends brings the world of Faerûn home like never before.

https://swordcoast.com/

Torment Tides of Numenera thumbnail

Let’s Play Torment: Tides of Numenera #12

This Episode: We help an ancient robot have children and solve the mystery of the Underbelly’s serial killer. It’s all in a day’s work in the Ninth World.

Torment: Tides of Numenera is the thematic successor to Planescape: Torment, one of the most critically acclaimed role-playing games of all time. Immerse yourself in a single-player, isometric, story-driven RPG set in Monte Cook’s Numenera universe. What does one life matter? Find your answer.

shane plays podcast title 3-25-2017

Animator Jeffrey Nodelman (Doug, Beavis & Butthead, Venture Bros., Gotham Girls)! – Radio Show / Podcast Ep. 93

shane plays podcast title 3-25-2017

Podcast for the Shane Plays radio show from 3/25/2017:
Animator Jeffrey Nodelman!

Highlights: Award-winning animator and producer Jeffrey Nodelman of Doug, Beavis & ButtheadThe Venture Bros. and Gotham Girls fame. 

Shane Plays airs on Saturdays at 1:05 PM Central on 96.5 FM The Answer in Little Rock. It can also be heard online at http://965fmtheanswer.com and on the Tune In Radio app and iHeart Radio apps. Call in at 501-823-0965 or tweet @ShanePlays during the show!

Listen to the Shane Plays podcast on iTunes, Google Play Music and Stitcher (and other fine podcast directories) after the live show.

patreon logo in fieldLike what you hear?
Support Shane Plays Radio on Patreon!
https://www.patreon.com/shaneplays

KryptonRadio1Shane Plays is carried on Krypton Radio!
Krypton Radio is SciFi for your Wifi.
http://kryptonradio.com/

Direct MP3 Download:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/shaneplays/Shane_Plays_03-25-17_podcast.mp3
Listen Here via Embed:

SHOW NOTES

NEWS ITEMS

Show Sponsor Troll Lord Games Kickstarter for 7th Printing of C&C PHB
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676918054/castles-and-crusades-players-handbook-7

Kickstarter for Sacred Fire: Psychological RPG about revenge and loyalty
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/poeticstudio/sacred-fire-psychological-rpg-about-revenge-and-lo

Shane’s How to Play GURPS RPG Tutorial video is now out! A year in the making
http://shaneplays.com/how-to-play-gurps-rpg-tutorial/

Shane’s D&D Beyond Beta Phase 1 Review
http://shaneplays.com/dnd-beyond-beta-phase-1-review/

“Plan Escape” – Planescape related viral marketing countdown … most likely Planescape: Torment Enhanced Edition
http://planescape.com/

Legendary Horror Artist Bernie Wrightson Passes Away | Comic Book Resources
http://www.cbr.com/bernie-wrightson-passes-away/

GUEST: JEFFREY NODELMAN

As an award winning illustrator and animator, Jeffrey Nodelman has spent over 20 years in the arts and entertainment industry. With a star on the Walt Disney Television Animation “Walk of Fame” his career includes television and film work at: Walt Disney, Warner Bros, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Miramax, D.C. Comics and Tokyopop. Not one to typically show his personal work outside of family and friends, his last gallery exhibit was a screening of his short film, “The Tree Elves” as a Presidential pick for Earth Day at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Currently, Mr. Nodelman is the Vice President of Marketing and Media for ATA International and lives in Little Rock, AR with his family and rescue dogs.

Jeffrey’s art show starting March 31, 2017:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1014725595324187/

Jeffrey’s IMDB page: 
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1532547/

Cantrell Gallery:
http://www.cantrellgallery.com/

CARE – Central Arkansas Rescue Effort for Animals
http://www.careforanimals.org/

NEXT WEEK: MIKE MEARLS

mike mearls d&d
D&D lead Mike Mearls joins to discuss the surprising success of 5th Edition and the newest D&D book, Tales from the Yawning Portal.

tales from the yawning portal front cover

Torment Tides of Numenera thumbnail

Let’s Play Torment: Tides of Numenera #11

This Episode: We hang out with the Order of Truth, run into Qorro again (he’s not having a good day), solve a puzzle and get some quest help and leads while learning more than we actually want or need to know about the reproductive habits of various species. Next up: back to the Underbelly.

Torment: Tides of Numenera is the thematic successor to Planescape: Torment, one of the most critically acclaimed role-playing games of all time. Immerse yourself in a single-player, isometric, story-driven RPG set in Monte Cook’s Numenera universe. What does one life matter? Find your answer.

D&D Tales from the Yawning Portal

D&D Tales from the Yawning Portal Review

D&D Tales from the Yawning Portal full cover image

Explore seven deadly dungeons in this adventure supplement for the world’s greatest roleplaying game, the cover says…

Tales From The Yawning Portal is here, and players will be doing anything BUT yawning as they brave the seven classic adventures updated to Fifth Edition with all new artwork contained within the pages of this fearsome anthology.

Check out this video review, or read on below. Either way don’t forget the photo gallery at the end of this post!

Tales from the Counted Numbers

  • Cover Price: $49.95 (Amazon lists it much cheaper but make sure to support your FLGS!)
  • 248 pages
  • 7 Adventures
  • 15 magic items
  • 39 creatures / NPCs
D&D Tales From the Yawning Portal disclaimer

The D&D 5E caption hijinks continue

“You all meet in an inn…”

You don’t have to meet in the classic and cliched inn to begin these adventures, but the book’s introduction has a nice overview of the Yawning Portal inn itself and its very long lived proprietor Durnan, plus plot hooks and patrons from across the D&D multiverse.

D&D Tales from the Yawning Portal title page mug of ale and coins

It’s as old as the game itself…

Longtime D&D players and/or readers will recognize that Durnan and his inn are closely associated with the megadungeon Undermountain and the history of Waterdeep. It seems his history has been slightly updated in TFTYP as in previous incarnations he was presented as a white haired retired adventure of about 70, whereas now he is presented younger and very long lived due to potions he looted from Undermountain.

D&D Tales from the Yawning Portal durnan

Durnan is equally happy to take your gold for a pint of ale or to send you down his well…

The “yawning portal” that is the inn’s namesake is literally a well (which used to be an old wizard’s tower, now sunk) smack dab in the middle of the Yawning Portal’s main room and said well leading to a level of the Undermountain megadungeon. Adventuring parties and thrill seekers can pay Durnan to be lowered into Undermountain and back up again (paid in advance).

Which leads yours truly to speculate: with an entrance into one of the largest and most well known dungeons in D&D history now featured in a D&D 5th Edition product, can a 5th Edition version of Undermountain be far behind? Whether a physical book or a digital product via the DMs Guild, I would be very surprised if we didn’t see something official from D&D regarding Undermountain sooner rather than later.

The Seven Updated Adventures

The adventures receiving a 5E update span 36 years, ranging from 1978’s Tomb of Horrors to  2014’s Dead in Thay and with minor exceptions are essentially the same adventure as the original but 5E ready.

All new artwork accompanies each adventure and, nostalgia for previous artwork aside, looks great and is in keeping with the fantastic art direction of all of the 5E products to date.

D&D Tales From the Yawning Portal sunless citadel about the original

These sidebars accompany every adventure

Pretty much every level range is represented in TFTYP:

  • The Sunless Citadel: 1st level
  • The Forge of Fury: 3rd level
  • The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan: 5th level
  • White Plume Mountain: 8th level
  • Dead in Thay: 9th – 11th level
  • Against the Giants: 11th level
  • Tomb of Horrors: “Only high level characters stand a chance of coming back alive”

TFTYP is not meant as a campaign, however each adventure represents a certain range of levels so they could be played in succession if a DM wanted to put in a little extra work to connect them. The book’s Introduction even mentions this as a possibility, starting with The Sunless Citadel and wrapping (if they can survive that is, muah ha ha ha!) with the legendary Tomb of Horrors.

I would have liked a quick reference chart for recommended level and party size for each adventure, but the Introduction and each individual adventure have fairly easy to scan summaries for this info.

There’s a good spread of dungeon types as well, from the introductory / classic dungeon crawl of The Sunless Citadel, to the fun house dungeon that makes no sense but provides a great mental challenge of White Plume Mountain, to the killer dungeons of Dead in Thay and the Tomb of Horrors that test your mettle like no other.

It should be noted that these adventures are all dungeon crawls of one type or another as opposed to more narrative or epic storytelling adventures. Some of them are pretty deadly and don’t hold the players’ hands.

D&D Tales From the Yawning Portal sunless citadel fortress level map

Settings

Although 5E has defaulted to the Forgotten Realms as its main setting, each adventure has notes for placing it in various well known settings:

  • Dragonlance
  • Eberron
  • Forgotten Realms
  • Greyhawk

Which is nice.

Other Tidbits

  • There’s a guide to the front cover character art on the inside credits page.
  • Each adventure features a sidebar with information about the original version.
  • Two of D&D co-founder Gary Gygax’s classic adventures made it in: Against the Giants and Tomb of Horrors.
  • Again, it’s a nice surprise to get stat blocks for the magic items and creatures / NPCs. Let’s give it up for the giant crayfish, clawing it’s way back into the spotlight!
D&D Tales From the Yawning Portal tomb of pelota

Tales from the Yawning portal is a ball

Is Tales from the Yawning Portal worth your money?

As usual, I try not to give an up or down binary response to this question given the wide range of tastes and desires of the D&D community. So here we go:

If you love some or all of these old adventures and want a 5E version without doing the conversion yourself, TFTYP is absolutely for you.

If you want some “module” non-campaign type adventures in book form and not a PDF from the DMs Guild, then TFTYP is for you.

If you like a good old fashioned kick down the doors and let’s get to looting dungeon crawl, TFTYP is for you.

If you want brand new content or an epic, campaign level adventure like the previous releases from D&D 5E, TFTYP is not for you.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the photo gallery!

How to Play GURPS

How To Play GURPS (RPG Tutorial)

(direct link to video if you would rather not watch via the embed: https://youtu.be/l7WvCEef-h8)

Learn to play GURPS along with Shane using the All In A Night’s Work solo adventure that GM (and Steve Jackson Games MIB program rep) Tony Dutra has modified for use with GURPS 4th Edition.

We’re also joined by veteran GURPS GM Warren “Mook” Wilson (author of “How to be a GURPS DM”)! If you want to learn to play this fantastic RPG system, need a refresher, or enjoy the schadenfreude of watching me flail around like a noob, this video is for YOU!

Special bonus: Shane blasts a dude’s nads!

Make sure to check out the companion video: How to Create a GURPS Character

This video is was created by me for use with GURPS from Steve Jackson Games to help with learning to play GURPS. This video is not “official” or endorsed by Steve Jackson Games.

How to Create A GURPS Character companion video (recommended if you are new to GURPS!):

Link to the “Tony the Mook” GURPS character sheet used in this video:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1mEpzsHQnCvbkFElgcgTsKxO993IZNXW-jW1McM4tCUQ/edit?usp=sharing

Link to the blank character sheet created by Tony Dutra:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1JZKDbuzEo8wzLFsKHj0tqrTxwhXtjc3OkGVefBSa8Dk/edit#gid=0

Tony Dutra: 5378MiB@gmail.com

Tony’s YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOMt7M0ztz4RC9js4bHXnkw
(Tony asked me to add its subject matter and language suitable is for adults)

Mook’s How to be a GURPS GMhttp://www.sjgames.com/gurps/books/howtobeagurpsgm/

Mook’s RPG site: http://www.themook.net/rpg/

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GURPS:
The Generic Universal RolePlaying System, or GURPS, is a tabletop role-playing game system designed to allow for play in any game setting. It was created by Steve Jackson Games and first published in 1986 at a time when most such systems were story- or genre-specific.

D&D Out of the Abyss Notes Title

D&D Out of the Abyss Notes #50

This Episode: The last stand of the Pudding King as the Battle of Blingdenstone finishes! What happens if a gelatinous cube engulfs… another gelatinous cube?! The ins and outs of green slime. Taking damage at 0 hit points. Glabagool turns a major corner. Rocktopus submissions!

This is an ongoing series of Shane’s notes, thoughts and tips for running the D&D adventure Out of the Abyss, which is the tabletop portion of the Rage of Demons story line.

Each video follows the most recent session with his group.

shane plays podcast title 3-18-2017

Spy DNA RPG With Shy Snake Games! – Radio Show / Podcast Ep. 92

shane plays podcast title 3-18-2017

Podcast for the Shane Plays radio show from 3/18/2017:
Spy DNA RPG with Shy Snake Games!

Highlights: Geek news; Husband and wife team Jason Sams and Alex Maier of Shy Snake Games join to talk about Spy DNA, their unique computer RPG.

Shane Plays airs on Saturdays at 1:05 PM Central on 96.5 FM The Answer in Little Rock. It can also be heard online at http://965fmtheanswer.com and on the Tune In Radio app and iHeart Radio apps. Call in at 501-823-0965 or tweet @ShanePlays during the show!

Listen to the Shane Plays podcast on iTunes, Google Play Music and Stitcher (and other fine podcast directories) after the live show.

patreon logo in fieldLike what you hear?
Support Shane Plays Radio on Patreon!
https://www.patreon.com/shaneplays

KryptonRadio1Shane Plays is carried on Krypton Radio!
Krypton Radio is SciFi for your Wifi.
http://kryptonradio.com/

Direct MP3 Download:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/shaneplays/Shane_Plays_3-18-17_podcast.mp3
Listen Here via Embed:

SHOW NOTES

NEWS ITEMS 

Wizards of the Coast is releasing an official app to support your D&D campaign | The Verge
http://www.theverge.com/2017/3/12/14899974/wizards-of-the-coast-dungeons-and-dragons-beyond-cursed-rpg-gaming

Kingsway: and RPG set in your Windows 95 desktop (from Hell) | Geek & Sundry
http://geekandsundry.com/kingsway-an-rpg-set-in-your-windows-95-desktop-from-hell/

The first few hours of Mass Effect: Andromeda are… well they aren’t good | Rock Paper Shotgun
https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2017/03/14/mass-effect-andromeda-review-opening-hours/

We have mixed feelings about the first few hours of Mass Effect: Andromeda | PC Gamer
http://www.pcgamer.com/we-have-mixed-feelings-about-the-first-few-hours-of-mass-effect-andromeda/

Mass Effect Andromeda’s animations have already reduced it to a laughing stock | VG247.com
https://www.vg247.com/2017/03/16/mass-effect-andromedas-animations-have-already-reduced-it-to-a-laughing-stock/

GUEST: SHY SNAKE GAMES

spy dna logo

Husband and wife team Jason Sams and Alex Maier of Shy Snake Games join to talk about Spy DNA, their unique computer RPG, and indie game dev in general!

Spy DNA is a tactical squad RPG that combines turn-based game mechanics with realistic combat simulation. The game plays about 70 years in the future, and the player controls a squad of genetically-enhanced superspies with unique talents.

Spy DNA on Steam Greenlight
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=876434355

Shy Snake Games
http://www.shysnake.com/