Welcome to Tabletop Weekly

September 15th, 2021

Hello and Welcome to Tabletop Weekly, where we talk Dungeons, Dragons, and RPG Development. My name is John the DM and before you go off and explore my site, I’d like to tell you a little bit about me.

Like previously said, my name is John. I’m a tabletop game master and developer for my tabletop RPG system King’s Quest. I have been a game master since 2019, running full blown, non-profit, campaigns using my work-in-progress system. Unfortunately, I am only familiar with a handful of tabletop games, however, the whole purpose of this site is to share with you my discoveries as I learn more about the world of tabletop games, as well as my struggles and triumphs of DMing, and the progress on developing my system.

King’s Quest: Lore #1

October 22nd, 2021

King’s Quest isn’t just a fun tabletop game, it has deep lore surrounding the world it was made for. In the world of Ithalreach, there is lore spanning hundreds of thousands of years. These stories and ideas were created by myself, as well as other volunteering writers. These are some of those stories.

Today, I will be going over the Asarian Empire, a powerful empire, which inhabits the continent of Emberossa. The Asarian Empire is a vast, spanning over four city-states across Emberossa. These city-states are Aegious, Absolious, Theya, and finally the capital city of Asaria. Each of these cities are run by a king, who answers only to the Asarian Emperor and the Asarian Council.

Find out more with the buttons below!

Many campaigns have taken place within the region of Emberossa, so there have been many interactions between players and the Asarian Empire. Some have been good, some not so much…

One interaction sees a party going to court to defend a character known as Jutro Azolotta, against the Asarian Empire after he was captured and sentenced to life in jail for the terrorism caused by his previous kin against the Asarian Empire. The party argued that Jutro’s actions do not represent his past lineage. The Empire agreed and instead of sentencing his life to jail, his sentence was changed to a death sentence  as an act of mercy and he was hung publicly as an example, the words “Crossing Asaria once is to cross Asaria twice.” engraved into his chest. The saddest part being that he was the last of his family, or at least that is what the Asarian Empire thinks…

Another story shows the generosity of the Asarian Empire. In the present timeline, in another region known as Omnialice, there was a three hundred year-long war between the four major kingdoms of the region that had recently ended. The Asarian Empire has been sending aid to towns and cities that have refugees who have lost their households or land from the war. They also send funding to clinics in Emberossa in towns that are not owned by the Asarian Empire. Towns that qualify for this are usually the native Shou’Tay people, who usually live peacefully with the Asarians, at the cost of being lightly regulated by them. 

This has been my lore dive for the Asarian Empire, I hope you’ve enjoyed it! Next week I plan to talk about Immersive Sound and of course the bloodlines and canonic races within King’s Quest.

Session Rundown #1

October 15th, 2021

Every Thursday night, me and four of my friends gather to play King’s Quest, with myself as the dungeon master. These nights are always a good time and because of that I decided to make a new segment as part of my weekly blog where I ‘ll be sharing stories, struggles, and points of interests that come up within my on-going campaign using the King’s Quest system.

Our first session we will be discussing is NOT the first session of the campaign, and if you are confused on what a session or a campaign is, then let me explain. A campaign is an overarching story, sometimes pre-made or homebrewed by your dungeon master (like I do), that has a main objective for players to complete or acheive. A better way to look at it is by comparing a campaign to a TV show’s overarching plot and sessions are like episodes within this TV show. A campaign can last as long as the dungeon master wants, whether that is a few months or a few years. A session on the other hand, can be anywhere between 4-12 hours long, I personally like to keep mine in the 5-6 hour range as I do not have time to write session notes for 12 hours, nor do I have the time to host sessions that long. If you are confused by any of this, feel free to leave a comment on this post and I will try to answer questions to the best of my ability.

This session took place on the 7th of October, 2021. I started the session off as I normally do. I give a brief summary of last session’s plot and mention the in-world date and time. This allows for players to get properly connected with the campaign and world. I also like to open with a flashback of one of the characters, not something I do every session but as often as I need too. During my flashbacks, there is minimal gameplay as the flashback itself is more used as a tool to encourage players to interact with each other during sessions. These, spoiler-free and highly vague, flashbacks are said out-loud to every player so curiosity often arises from players and they will be more likely to get in character and ask another character about their past. These do not need to go on forever and often only ever take 5-15 minutes of the session’s total run time. These can make for great fillers for someone who is running longer sessions.

Continuing on with discussing the session, our heroes start off at a tavern where they spend much of the beginning of the session. I pre-planned several activities and interactions to make the tavern feel lively and as intractable as possible. This was a lot of fun for my players as they had not yet been in a position to visit a tavern due to the character’s mostly being on the move. The players favorite activity was an unofficial arm-wrestling contest going on in the back corner of the tavern. One of the character’s Drusilla, who I would describe as a magical, witchy, business woman, came up with a risky plan that would allow the winner of the event to gain double the winnings. She did this by going around the tavern and asking patrons to donate to the prize pool. She then had the party’s strongest member, named Yhorm, participate in the competition. He was required to win a single arm-wrestling match against three other opponents in order to win the prize pool. Yhorm’s first opponent he completely crushed by rolling higher than his opponent. Against Yhorm’s second opponent, he failed, but after Yhorm gave himself advantage to Strength using his racial feature, he was also able to out-roll his second opponent. Yhorm’s final opponent was close to a tie, however, Yhorm was lucky once more and managed to also out roll the final opponent despite the opponent having a higher strength modifier than him. The party, thanks to this victory, gained enough money to upgrade their gear and to take on the next half of the session.

This second half of the session occurs when the party discovers a local dwarf’s coal mine had been infested with Draugrs due to the miners accidentally digging into cursed catacombs. Our heroes faced waves of low-level undead before stumbling across the catacombs the undead had been coming from. The group’s only magic user, Drusilla, spent several turns performing an exorcism to rid the catacombs of the corrupt magic that kept the undead walking. Meanwhile, the rest of the party defended her as waves of undead swarmed them. In the end they were able to succeed and rid the mine of the dangerous undead.

This is where the session ends, with Drusilla being voted MVP by the party due to her usefulness in driving out the corrupt magic in the catacombs, how Drusilla’s player interacted as her, and to allowing the party to win double the earnings in the arm-wrestling competition. I got the feeling by the end of the session that this one was definitely one of their favorites and I hope to continue to make future sessions of this quality and level of fun.

I hope that you, the viewer, learned something from this post. Next week will be a shorter post talking about some lore within King’s Quest. On Halloween week, I plan to post twice, talking a little about immersive sound and a little on King’s Quests’ canonic races.

King’s Quest: Aspects

October 14th, 2021

The core functions of King’s Quest are vague and unknown. I wouldn’t say any one function really defines the system. I like to believe that fundamentally, all the mechanics work together to make my system what it is. I hope to eventually talk about every function King’s Quest has to offer, but today I choose one to talk about a part of King’s Quest that I think you, the viewer, could consider a major function. That function is Aspects.

Let me explain… In 5e D&D as well as Pathfinder (another Tabletop RPG) you have what are known as characteristics or attributes. This is your Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, so on and so forth. When you begin creating characters in these systems you roll for each of these stats (also like in King’s Quest.) These stats are known as ability scores, you use these scores to determine what modifiers will get added to your rolls when you go to make any sort of skill check. For example, in 5e, rolling to attack is made using your strength ability score. However, I disagree with this. Swinging a sword around does require some strength, yes, but more so skill. Not only did I disagree with how some stats are used in 5e, but I also had a mechanical conflict that prevented me from just using the stat mechanics from 5th edition. Since King’s Quest, like mentioned before, doesn’t have a class system but still has magic, there needed to be a way for players to still use magic. These problems are why I decided to make my own version of the stat system and not just rip one from the other tabletop RPGs.

In King’s Quest, your stats are Strength, Endurance, Agility, Charisma, Perception, Intelligence, and Wisdom. These are known in the King’s Quest system as the main Aspects. There are also Side Aspects, these are Willpower, Melee, and Ballistics. This makes a total of 10 Aspects for a player to roll scores for. These aspects affect almost every part of your character in some way, they also fix prior problems I had mentioned with 5th editions stat system. In King’s Quest, rolling for an attack is done through either Melee, Ballistics, or if you are a magic user, then you’d use Willpower. Perception was also included as an Aspect in King’s Quest, even though in 5e it is done through your character’s Wisdom attribute which represents experience. I felt, while a character can have good vision and awareness because of experience, a character can also have good perception solely based on their race as well. My excuse is that eagles have really good vision, not because they know what to look for through experience, but just because they are gifted with an analytical brain and good eyesight.

Aspects are a crucial part of King’s Quest, they define the strengths and weaknesses of your character. This is why, I believe you could consider Aspects, a major function of King’s Quest.

Learn more about King’s Quest Aspects here: Aspect & Scores 5.0

Next post will be a little different. I plan to introduce everyone to the on-going campaign I am running, giving you the rundown on the session, characters, DM advice, and a little on how I create campaigns.

King’s Quest: History & Concept

October 1st, 2021

Escaping reality to be or do whatever you want is what I believe is the basis for all RPGs. It’s the reason I became so fascinated with Dungeons and Dragons. You can be a dashing fighter or a wise wizard. However as I played 5th edition of dungeons and dragons, I was still confined by the limitations of vanilla D&D. When I played more often than not I wasn’t the only rogue in the party. Oftentimes me and this other rogue had almost identical abilities, similar stats, and weapons. Bad luck with rolling stats had made me the least useful of the rogues. Important tasks like sneaking into a dangerous area were often given away to the rogue with the highest sneak stat, this was never me. I wanted to stick out, while still playing what I wanted too, a rogue. I didn’t need to be the only sneaky assassin on the team. I just wanted a moment to shine. I wasn’t the only one who felt this way either, many of my friends shared the same feeling towards D&D. That is why, in 2019, I started development on a tabletop system that could do just that.

Art created by Ace Van Schijndel, a member of the King’s Quest community.

This system, was known at first as the Concordia System, however it was later changed to King’s Quest. King’s Quest could solve the problems I had with my favorite game. This new homebrewed system would retain all the parts I enjoyed about D&D but allow players to customize their characters on a whole new level. The one main change is the removal of what I felt was a restrictive class system. Sure, in D&D, you can get variants in the class system that eventually let my rogue differ from the other, but I feel that often doesn’t help too much if you start at level one. In King’s Quest, there are no classes, instead you start off with Talents. These are unique abilities that you as a player (and with the close guidance of the DM to avoid them becoming OP) would make up. Having abilities that are solely unique to your character makes you feel like you feel special in a group of other rogue-like characters. In my system the entire party could play as a rogue-like character but because of Talents and other customizable things you can do during character creation in King’s Quest , each of these characters will play completely different.

In later posts, I will take a deeper look at other core functions of my system, such as how magic works, how character’s level up, and even talk about the parts of my system that need a little touch up.