Friday, December 14, 2012

Thoughts After Seeing the Hobbit

Last night I went with my gaming group to see a midnight showing of The Hobbit. This is not a movie review however, and as ridiculous as it should be for any fan of Greyhawk to not know the plot of the Hobbit, I don't consider anything in this post a spoiler. This is mainly some thoughts I had after the movie concerning how I run my Greyhawk campaigns. We all know Gygax put all the same tropes in D&D that Tolkien uses in his stories so let's move on to what stuff I've been lacking in my games...

Dwarves: As strange as it sounds, my campaigns hardly ever feature the dwarven (dwur) race. Sure, an occasional player will make a dwarf fighter or something, but no effort is ever made to explore their culture or history in Greyhawk as scarce as it may be. This is all my fault and until I saw this movie in its full cinematic glory, I never realized how diverse and interesting dwarves could be. You can't get the same feel for dwarves watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy even with Gimli and Moria thrown in. I'm sure my friends picked up some ideas as well.

Warg Riders: I use goblins and orcs sure, I use dire wolves and so on, but I've been neglecting the combination for a long time. Somehow a giant snarling wolf makes a plain old goblin seem more intimidating. I'll remember them for future reference if my players are ever in the Pomarj or Iuz.

Glowing Magic Blades: I can't remember the last time I heard mention or read about magic blades in D&D glowing in the dark (or in Bilbo's case near orcs). I want to say this was standard for blades (daggers mainly) back in 1e/2e yet I've played 3.5 Edition for so long I really don't remember anymore.

Mountains: Half the danger of the Hobbit is all the rugged terrain they have to cross and the Misty Mountains is a good example. The Fellowship of the Ring also had a tough time with this place, as well as the mountains of Gondor and Mordor. Lately I've been running sea based campaigns and before that was years of adventure paths that were mainly centered around Greyhawk City, Riftcanyon or various megadungeons. It's been so long I've forgotten how fun it can be making characters cross a mountain range such as the Hellfurnaces, Yatils or the Corusks. I used to commonly set things in these ranges. I need to get back to them.

That's all for now until part two The Desolation of Smaug premiers on December 13. 2013, then The Hobbit: There and Back Again on July 18, 2014. Yes guys I was right, the last two movies are half a year apart. ;)


Joseph Bloch said...

"Most swords (and all daggers) of magical nature shed light when drawn from their scabbard..." DMG, p. 165

"Light source, Radius of Illumination, Burning time
Magic Dagger, 10', infinite
Magic Short Sword, 15', infinite
Magic Long Sword, 20', infinite" PH, p. 102

mortellan said...

Thanks Joseph! So they never "shut off" unless they're sheathed eh? Sounds about right.

Valkaun_Dain said...

I remember that being the norm too, but we haven't made reference to that in many years.

I was really impressed by the Dwarven city. The Dwarven diaspora also piqued my interest. People without a place to call home. Wanderers. It could play well with a scenario where they decide to put down roots inside anothers lands. Think of the Dwarves as Vandals or Visigoths.

Mike: I'll lay waste to piles of wargs AND their riders. Bring it.

Anonymous said...

I add a couple of worgs to the gobin tribe in the Keep on the Borderlands and always plan an encounter where a band of goblins with a couple worg-riders chase the PCs to the tower ruins at the Cave of the Unknown where they have to make a stand, Conan the Barbarian style. :)

I loved the musical quality of the dwarves in the movie. Gives me a good idea of the dwarves of Dumadan - how dwarves could sound as a clan of bards.