Sunday, September 30, 2012

Shadowland D&D 4th Ed. - Session 25

Our heroes rush back to the Winter Court to deal with Varsaath once and for all... but Varsaath had no plans to go down without a fight. This is the campaign "season" finale.

Players: Arclight, SonikGav and Y Ruler of Time
GM: MechaGM

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Surly Grognards Supplemental Episode - "D&D 4th edition basics"

I'm flying solo this episode as I explain the basics of 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. I cover character creation, combat and a bit about skills.

As always, if you have any comments, feedback, suggestions or questions, feel free to comment below or to email us at:

Friday, September 28, 2012

Everything Must Come to an End Sometime...

Unfortunately, the end is happening for the Shadowland campaign. The next session will be the last one, at least for the foreseeable future.

 Technically, the game will be going on hiatus, but most campaigns do not come back from that.

 Why is this happening? For various reasons, which I won't go into here, Chris and Scott are leaving the game. It's all amicable and there is nothing personal behind it. But with 40% of the PCs leaving, it's just too big a hole to fill mid-stream. So, after talking to Gav, Nik and Liam about it, we're going to wrap up the Varsaath plot and wrap things up there.

 Please do not bother Chris and/or Scott about why they are leaving the game.

 Needless to say, I'm dissapointed that the game is ending now. All campaigns do end though, and most end before things wrap up satisfactorily. This is really no exception. I'm currently trying to come up with a way to send the campaign off in a fun and memorable way, but obviously I can't guarantee that.

 I'm sure many of the people who follow the game will have questions about what I had planned and where I thought things were going to go... I'm probably going to hold off on that for now. This is in the hopes that, in some form, we will resume the campaign in some form or another. (with as much of the original crew as possible) But, as I said earlier, I don't expect it to do so.

 What, if anything, will we be doing after this? I don't know. I'm talking to some of the crew about what they want to do, if anything, after this. But nothing is remotely decided yet. When I have solid information I will post it here.

 I want to thank everyone who watched us have fun playing Dungeons and Dragons every week. Especially everyone who made fan art, wrote fan fiction, updated the wiki and the TvTropes page.

 Special thanks go to Chris, Gav, Liam, Nik and Scott. There would have been no game without you guys and it was an honor and a blast to game with you all. I hope to do so again in some manner in the future. It's been a great ride, hopefully the final session will be a good one.

 Happy Gaming, -Peter Bowman, aka MechaGM

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Surly Grognards - Episode Fifteen "Sandbox vs Directed Campaigns"

This week Eric and I discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Sandbox-style rpg campaigns versus Directed rpg campaigns. We also talk about combining elements from the two styles into one campaign.

If you have any feedback you'd like to share, possible topics you'd like to see explored on the show or questions you'd like us to answer during the show, please feel free to either post them in the comments below or email us at:
This show is recorded on Tuseday nights at 7:00pm EST at:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Shadowland D&D 4th Ed. - Session 24

This week our heroes head to the tower of the lich Khaleed Vexis where they hope to find the last relic they need to deal with Varsaath Everblack. There they find some strange new foes.

Players: Arclight, Final Freek, Rollo T, Sonikgav and Y Ruler of Time.
GM: MechaGM

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

MechaGM's D&D Tutorial Extravaganza!

Okay folks, as I mentioned on my stream the other night, I've been thinking about running a few D&D 4th edition adventures for the viewers. Primarily this is because several people have mentioned that they'd like to get into RPGs but have never played one before. Several other people have played RPGs before but have never played 4th edition D&D and want to try it. Lastly there are those who want to play D&D, or any other RPG for that matter, but can't find anyone to play with.

So, here is what I am going to do. Over the course of the next couple of months, I will run one-shot games on Saturday afternoons on my stream at: I'll post exact dates and times when I have more concrete information on that.

Here is what you need to have in order to play:

1)A desire to play 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons with people you've not met before over the internet. If you've never played before, you must be willing to learn. If you have played before, you must be willing to be patient with those who have not played before.

2)Approximately 5 hours available on an upcoming Saturday afternoon. (eastern time)

3)Skype and a working microphone and, preferably, earphones for your computer. (basically, it helps if your microphone doesn't pick up the audio from the skype call)

4)A copy of the most recent version of MapTool. It's totally free, and can be downloaded from here:

5)A working internet connection.

Here is what you do not need to have in order to play:

1)Any experience with roleplaying.

2)Any experience with 4th ed Dungeons & Dragons.

It will be helpful if you have a copy of one of the following books: “D&D 4th Ed Player's Handbook”, “Heroes of the Fallen Lands” or Heroes of the “Forgotten Kingdoms”. Any other D&D 4th edition books you have will be a plus. If you have a D&D insider subscription, that would also work.

However, if you do not have any of the books and want to play anyways (ie, you want to “try before you buy), this can be accommodated as well. I will provide several pre-generated characters for people who either do not have the books or would rather not take the time to build a character. (or if you just want to try out some character I put together) I will try to provide a variety of characters so that you will get a character you think you will enjoy playing.

If you are building your own character, we will be starting at level 1. You can use any class or race from the following books: “Player's Handbook 1”, “Player's Handbook 2”, “Heroes of the Fallen Lands” and “Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms”. Backgrounds and Themes will not be used. This is because not everyone will have access to the material they are found in. If you want to use a class or race that is not in one of the listed books, feel free to ask me. Odds are I will say “Yes” unless it is particularly wonky or unsuitable for the adventure I eventually write up. (note: some of the pre-generated characters may well be from a book not listed above) You will get 100 gold pieces to spend on mundane equipment.

So, how do you sign up for this? It's simple, really. Send me an email titled “Mecha's D&D Tutorial”, and in the body of the email let me know your experience level with D&D 4th ed and/or RPGs in general. Also, let me know what D&D 4th edition resources you have at your disposal. It would also be helpful if you could tell me what sort of character you would prefer to play. (Defender, Leader, Striker or Controller) Lastly, let me know if you have any particular Saturday afternoons (eastern time) that you cannot make it. If you have a preference for playing with players who are as, more or less experienced than you are, feel free to mention this as well.

Send such emails to my hotmail account. (which is listed at the top of the blog page)

I expect that the adventure itself will take about 4 hours, tops, once we get started, but I also expect that there will be a period of around an hour where I will be explaining things to the newer players. So, you will need to commit about 5 hours to this if you do sign up for it.

I will try my very best to get as many people into games as possible. I will try to make well-rounded parties by character roles, and will try and get appropriate mixes of experience in each game. If I get flooded with too much interest, I may have to go with a first-come-first serve policy, but I reserve the right to mix things up as I see fit.

Also, I will be streaming the sessions and will record them and upload them to blip and this blog. If you are uncomfortable with that, please let me know. (if enough people are interested, and are uncomfortable with being on the stream/recorded, I will try to make a group of such people and run the game off the stream)

Hopefully, you will all have fun, and who knows... maybe some of you will end up deciding to put your own D&D groups together and playing your own games! :)

I think that is all for now. I'll post more details as I think of them.

Take care, and happy gaming!

-Peter Bowman, aka MechaGM

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

People have been asking how they can support what I'm doing here...

So I've been getting a surprising number of people who've been asking how they can support my D&D games and/or The Surly Grognards... and I've always said I do this for fun, not for money. Also, I've always felt uncomfortable with the topic. But, having had enough people ask (and still being the process of looking for actual work), I decided to accept tips.

So, what I've done is up at the top of the blog page, I've included my paypal email. If you really want to, and can afford to, you can send money to my paypal account at that email address. If you do, please mark the money as a gift... because that is exactly what it is.

Also, I want to reiterate, if you do want to send me money, please be ABSOLUTELY sure that you can afford the money. Believe me, I can understand wanting to support someone who is providing you entertainment when you're low on cash. And, honestly, in that situation I'd really rather you just enjoy the content, and maybe click on a few ads here on the blog... or re-watch the videos a few times so that I get more ad revenue from blip.

If you do decide to gift me some cash, I'll try to think of some way to thank you on stream. I'll try and think of something that will work in with what I do on my stream.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone who tunes into my stream and everyone who comes by here to watch the recordings of Grognards and the D&D games. You all make what I've been doing so much more fun and worth doing.

Thank you all... you guys rock!

That's it for now. Be happy, be safe and have fun!

Happy gaming,

-Peter Bowman, aka MechaGM

The Surly Grognards - Episode Fourteen: "How to Kill a PC"

This week Eric and I discuss player character deaths in RPGs. We focus mostly on how we feel they should happen, and how to handle the ramifications of them in game.

If you have any suggestions (including potential show topics), feedback or questions you'd like answered during the show, feel free to put them in the comments below or email them to us at:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Change of Schedule for Surly Grognards

Heya all, Due to a change in people's scheduling, I've had to shuffle around some things. Starting this week, "The Surly Grognards" will be on Tuesday nights at 7pm est on my stream at: . Obviously, I will still be recording the show and posting the blip embed here. As always, if you have any questions, suggestions or feedback, feel free to put them in the comments below, or email us at: Thanks for listening to the show, and I hope we continue to entertain you and occasionally provide you with useful and/or helpful information! -Peter Bowman, aka "MechaGM"

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Surly Grognards: Episode Thirteen - RPGs on a Budget

This week Eric and I discuss ways to save money and still have fun playing tabletop games.

Links mentioned during the show:
Ars Magica 4th Edition:
RISUS, The Anything RPG:
Baen Free Library:

As usual, if you have any suggestions, comments, feeback or questions you'd like answered on the show, feel free to comment here or email us at:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Shadowland D&D 4th Ed. - Session 23

The party confronts Kiel Ralhausen again, see something unexpected and are captured by the Eastgate City Watch

Players: Arclight, Final Freek, Rollo T, SonikGav and Y Ruler of Time
GM: MechaGM

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Surly Grognards: Episode Twelve - Combining RPG Genres

This week Eric and I discuss combinations of RGP Genres.

As always, if you have any comments, feedback or questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below or email us at

Shadowland D&D 4th Ed. - Session 22

This session our heroes finally get the Scepter of Sehanine, but there are... complications.

Players: Arclight, Final Freek, Rollo T, SonikGav and Y Ruler of Time
GM: MechaGM