Volume 2 Issue 95 – Sage Advice

Intro / Sage Advice 0:00.000
Roll For Initiative Website www.rfipodcast.com
Roll For Initiative Twitter www.twitter.com/rfipodcast
Roll For Initiative Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/RFIpodcast
OSR Gaming Forums www.osrgaming.org
D20 Radio Forums http://www.d20radio.com/forums/
DM Vince’s Blog http://www.theevilgm.com/


Email 1: From David S.
Hey guys! I just wanted to thank you all for doing this podcast! My father got me into D&D when I was around 7 and I’ve been playing ever since. I actually started DM’ing my own campaign with my dad and his original group from the 80s when I was 15! I’m 23 and I still prefer 1st and 2nd ed. basically because that’s what I was raised on. 3rd and 3.5 is alright, but I won’t touch 4th. Anywho, I just wanted to let you guys know that this is one of my favorite podcasts! Keep up the good work!!
Long live the THAC0!!!

Email 2: John Keefe (former Mayfair freelancer)
Hi guys,

My son and I just listened to the podcast concerning Mayfair’s Undead supplement.   It was hilarious, a really great show.   I hope you don’t take it as an insult but I’d say the show is like NPR’s Car Talk only better.

I had my copy of Undead with me to follow along with your discussion.  I really liked the way you trashed the Holy Sword of Griswold with the ketchup squirting idea and I love Dwarf paladins and pig orcs.

We had issues with a bunch of the editing and I can’t find all of the original submission so I don’t know if the Holy Sword of Griswold was written the way it appeared in the module.
I think idea of the sword was that the holy water was supposed to be released from the hilt onto the blade and cause the extra damage  either with a hit or spray when it flew off the weapon when swung.  The uses per day is kind of silly but you would have to reload it.  It should have been two uses until you had to reach into your bag of holding to get more holy water.  With the ketchup thing I get the picture of a plastic hilt that when you squeeze it squirts out out the blade.  I do know there is another description of the sword and it’s powers on page 69.   Everything on that page starting with THE TRAP CLOSES section was not written by us.   The sword described on page 69 is easily worth a 20,000 gold.   Probably a million.  It reminds me of Sauron smiting (not really but close)all his enemies at the start of The Lord of the Rings movie. Our sword was a plot device. If wielded in the final scenario it would be seen and recognized by the dwarf slaves nearby and the charm would be released.   They would then join the adventurers.

I did almost all the names in the booklet.  I hated doing names so who knows if it was based on Clark Griswald.  There is a section in the “real” adventure where the offspring of Nightbay are encountered.
I just want answer some of the questions you brought up.  Bzontra is pronounced Bizontra.  It looks cooler without the i.  More dwarf-like.

Neither myself or Laurel have any military training but we didn’t write the tactics for the undead legions.  I think that was thrown in by Cory Glaberson.  I wanted to flail him with a Bzontra lasher for changing my final encounter scenario.
You’re right about that one-armed Bzontra drawing.   It doesn’t look at all like a dwarf.   Maybe it was originally a drawing of the lead NPC Fallon (he had one arm) and Mayfair said they wanted a Bzontra so the artist changed it.  If it were a dwarf they could have shown it frontally because his gut would have covered his package.  They were such prudes that they changed one of our monsters, a vicious form of ash tree, from Ash-Kicker to Ash Quaker.

Keep up the good work.  I’ll have to tell Laurel to give a listen.

Email 3: From Turko
Hey guys!  I notice that recently you’ve been doing shows about gaming systems contemporary to AD&D, i.e. Dragonquest and Talislanta.  If you’re taking requests, I would really like to hear your take on TSR’s Conan RPG system, retrocloned as ZeFRS.  I really love this system even though I haven’t had much chance to play it, and there is not much info out there about it.

It’d be cool to hear why you guys think it didn’t seem to take off back in the day, and maybe tips on how to do conversions of D&D modules into Conan/ZeFRS.  I’ve tried to do some conversions myself; I don’t have any problems with the monsters/encounters, but I’m not really sure what to do about magic, since there is far more magic in D&D than there is in Conan/ZeFRS.

Any info, tips, help, opinions, or reviews on this awesome system would be greatly appreciated!  Keep up the good work!


Email 4: From Benjamin W
First let me start out by saying that your guys are awesome. I liked jayson, but Will is a perfect replacement.
Anyway I just finished listening to issue 91,and someone wrote in about a black dragon egg.This is funny because a party I was in once  captured a red dragon egg and ended up cooking and eating it!
You were also talking about how WOTC was thinking about putting up their books in electronic format. I am an avid Magic the gathering player and love WOTC for that, but when it  comes to D&D I could care less about their piracy problem.

Thanks for entertaining me!

Email 5: From Tim
Thanks for covering my pig headed orc question with such enthusiasm!  I just listened to your Talislanta show.  I played the poo out of this game back in the day and still have my 1st edition book.

I think it’s strangeness is off putting, but for me that was also the appeal.  The combat goes faster than dnd and is very deadly.  So much so that I found myself putting an extra point into my Speed characteristic during character creation, because you really want to run away from a lot of the monsters.  If you guys decided to look at it further I would recommend looking at the world guide (also on the talislanta website).  The setting is unique!

I would say to anyone looking for a good rpg that is not a cookie cutter fantasy game Talislanta is your game.  And it’s free at Talislanta.com.

You guys do an awesome job, keep it up!

Email 6: From Greg B.
Thanks for the great show, I really enjoy listening. I’m sure you are aware of the UA reprints announcements by now, what do you think? I think its cool and the most logical way for Wizards to go, as the UA was optional rules for people.
My main question to you fine folks is, if my character casts protection from evil, will that prevent golems from entering the area?
Thanks for the show!

Email 7: From Dan The Man
Hey guys. I love 1e! I was curious as to why you all use d6 Initiative instead of d10, it makes it so much easier to run combat when you add in spell times and weapon speeds.

Email 8: From Rick W.
Hi guys. I recently came across the three core books of 1E in my Dad’s old box in the basement. I was very excited to see my father played and I had no idea. I always secretly played 3.5E and didnt say anything. Recently I told my Dad of my gaming and he was happy to see I found his old book. We quickly dove into the system as he has been teaching me the fun of old school gaming. I can’t tell you how exciting the game really is! I actually am concerned for my character dying!
Anyhow, I was doing some research about Greyhawk, can any of you tell me about the timeline? I see various postings of people playing in 576 CY or 536CY, what does that mean?


Email 9: From ImpStrike
I recently have bought Lego Heroica for my son as a tool to teach him how to get into gaming. He and I played the heck out of it, and now we’ve moved onto me setting it up and having him walk through it as a dungeon, and I describe various sounds and things happening. I think this is working as he is quickly learning 1E rules at the young age of 9. I  wanted to hear your thoughts on the game and what you think about it as a teaching tool?

E-mail 10: From Bill
I have a question about your thoughts on dual wielding with multiple attacks and hurled weapons.
1. Do you allow dual wielding to double the number of attacks, or to add only one attack (would a dual wielding character who has 2 att/round have 4 attacks each round or just 3)?
2. Do you allow dual wielding hurled weapons, so that you could throw darts with both hands and get six attacks per round?
3. How about throwing darts with the offhand and attacking with a melee with the right hand?
4. What strength bonuses to damage do you allow?

Thanks in advance, love the podcast!

  • Bill

E-Mail 11 from Dungeontoonist Jeff

Vincent Florio: Dear Vince, Nick, Matt, and Will …
First off, I want to thank you. I landed on your podcast about a month ago during a pretty depressing time. I was feeling terribly uninspired, creatively. I couldn’t draw. I couldn’t write. And the interests that I’d enjoyed all my life – most notably role-playing games and comic books – seemed to be changing in ways that seemed at odds with their original themes and intent. I tried not to see myself as an obstinate curmudgeon – having been a Dungeonmaster since 1983 at age 14, I have always kept my hand in, so to speak – but the fact remains that new materials don’t seem to encourage creative expression or invention.

Finding your podcast introduced a field of possibility I really didn’t know existed. As a result, I’m back to writing and drawing. And I sincerely appreciate what you’re doing to keep the heart of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons alive, as well as the inspiration I’m sure this podcast has given to a new generation of role-players who are perhaps just beginning to realize their own imaginative capabilities.

I’m just slightly behind on the podcasts the moment, as I’ve been trying to listen to them all in order. Six more to go. This is getting to be a long email, but hey – I’m a 44-year-old guy with no group at the moment, so when I get a chance to talk about my favorite subject, I go for it. Don’t get me wrong. My wife patiently indulges my rants on the perils of d20. My cat wisely doesn’t interrupt when I attempt to calculate the hit points of my irritating neighbors. And, Dude, if I have to listen to my teenage daughters talk about boys and nail polish, they’re gonna have to hear my thoughts on ghoul-attack preparedness training. They’re in high school. It could come in handy.

Back to my point. The recent podcast about resurrection and reincarnation reminded me of a player I once had whose characters tended to die a lot. Seriously, it wasn’t my fault. I’m not that kind of DM. But you can only save a guy so much. And this guy (I don’t want to say his name, but I will tell you that it rhymes … exactly … with “Carl”) was about ready to give up after he lost his tenth character in a two-month span of playing.

Rather than lose a player, I created a class for him, based upon the abundance of self-styled mediums of the 1980’s. Maybe you’ll remember those. Anyway, I can’t recall how we executed things like hit points, levels, abilities, etc. All I remember is that we called the class “Channeler”. On occasion, the character, who was only a marginally competent fighter, was able to “channel” the spirits of deceased characters for brief periods, maybe 1-6 turns. He retained his appearance, but in other respects acquired not only the abilities of the spirits (including two magic-users and a thief) but their personalities as well. It lent to some interesting role-playing. If I ever find my notes on it, I’ll share them. Or if anyone desperate enough for a hook wants to give it a whirl, maybe they’ll have ideas of their own.

Thanks for everything, you guys.

Keep those podcasts coming

  • Dungeontoonist Jeff

Email 12 from GM Vargr
Greetings Roll for Initiative Hosts, from GM Vargr.

First, a word of thanks.

I first started listening to your sister podcasts (if I may use the term) “Save or Die” and “Thac0’s Hammer” and was in a Labyrinth Lord/Basic D&D trend at the time. Then I found out that some of the hosts of those shows also did a podcast dedicated to AD&D1e.

It was listening to “Roll for Initiative” that inspired me to check out OSRIC, and thanks to that I am now playing in several AD&D1e PbPs and running one of my own using the classic TSR module UK5 Eye of the Serpent.

The first edition of the Advanced game has become my favorite version and i only lament not having become acquainted with it earlier. Everything seems to click into place, the balance between options and simplicity is ideal for me, as is the malleability of the system.

As an added bonus the folks I am playing with online, AD&D1e and 2nd Ed gamers, seem to not only be a head above the chaff compared to what I have come to expect from PbPs, they are also easy to find and entice to join a game. At first being afraid of not acquiring sufficient players to run the module, I ended up having to make a waiting list. Since then I have been having fun as a player and getting good praise and commentary from my own players. So thank you again for being the catalyst that got me back into medieval fantasy role-playing.

Now ready yourselves; I rate you at 4 out of 5 stars with a downward trend that could lead you to 3.5 stars. Do not (gasp!), I shall explain. The show could use a divergent voice, a good devil’s advocate if you will. A host that will counter the pre-assumptions of the current ones and make the debate on AD&D issues not be limited to an artificially small field. In my perception, the disagreements between the hosts are minute compared to the grander issues and wide frame of opinions that inflame the AD&D forums and threads throughout the interwebs. Oftentimes I wish I could be there to interject a “What about X, or Y or Z?”, to introduce something to the debate that apparently hasn’t even crossed the hosts’ minds as they usually are in the same wave, so to speak.

On more than one occasion, now that I have listened to a fair number of episodes, I could predict with accuracy what a host’s take on a given matter would be before listening to it, and knew beforehand that unorthodox takes on the issues at hand will not even be considered. Sometimes listening to a feature feels like donning an old show, like reading a 20 year old gaming magazine article. And like the later it tends to be inconclusive and bring little novelty.

As for the downward trend, lately there has been a worrying trend of spending entire episodes talking about other games. Mentioning other systems is fine by me, but dedicating whole episodes to DragonQuest or Talislanta when there are so few AD&D1e podcasts to go around seems to me like a waste of recording time.

Where you will find no negative criticism from my part is in the entertainment value of the podcast. 5 solid, glowing, golden stars on that sub-category. In fact, if you are willing to do it, I would beseech you to bring back the Arnold jokes and “GET TO THE CHOPPA!!!” once in awhile. Those are the most hilarious things I have ever heard on a gaming podcast. My all-time favorite episode was number 65 – Barbarians. I found myself listening to selected potions of it over and over again and laughing until tears were forming in my eyes. The “Kender Barbarians” bit still cracks me up to this day.

So keep up the good work, maintain the strength of the show and hope you improve on its not-so-excellent parts. Either way I’ll keep on listening.

In friendship,

GM Vargr



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