View Profile: Alphastream - D&D, Pathfinder, and RPGs at Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
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About Alphastream

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About Alphastream
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We are running D&D Encounters at Guardian Games every Wednesday
About Me:
Enjoying D&D and many other fine RPGs since 1983. I have had the fortune of being involved in D&D organized play as an author for several campaigns and the admin for the Ashes of Athas Dark Sun campaign. A list of my published works can be found on my blog, Alphastream.org.
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Portland, Oregon
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Follow me on Twitter @Alphastream and read my blog at alphastream.org for D&D and organized play news and insights!
Interested in Dark Sun? The entire 4E Ashes of Athas campaign can be requested for free! PM me or visit Alphastream.org
Support my authoring work on the DMs Guild: http://bit.ly/AlphaDMG

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Monday, 28th May, 2018

  • 04:42 AM - grodog mentioned Alphastream in post Greyhawk Collector's Guide
    The glass (and a beer coaster) was for Tomb of Annihilation (which features Acererak, but is not based in or using Greyhawk), given out at Origins 2017. There are other items as part of this: a green dice bag with the devil face, a devil face cloth patch, a cloth shopping bag with the devil face logo. Similarly, the latest minis set has Acererak in it and the case incentive has the green devil face. All super-cool, but only loosely associated with Greyhawk. Thanks muchly Alphastream! == Echohawk: time to add the 5e book Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes (both standard and limited editions). Also: I found a new t-shirt: an Against the Giants 25th Anniversary shirt, provided as part of the Adventurer's Guild materials. That puts it in the July-Sept 1999 timeframe. There were also some promotional posters issued for the AG at that time too; see https://www.ebay.com/itm/Poster-RPGA-Adventurers-Guild/263715618837?hash=item3d66ad0015:g:S7YAAOSwLVZVyiuC and https://www.ebay.com/itm/Poster-Adventurers-Guild-An-Eye-for-an-Eye-1998-Marvel/263715618776?hash=item3d66acffd8:g:fB0AAOSw3ydVyiw9 and https://www.ebay.com/itm/Poster-Adventurers-Guild-Got-an-Axe-to-Grind-1998-Marvel/352365090533?hash=item520a9896e5:g:SJkAAOSwMmBVyiwh Allan.

Wednesday, 11th January, 2017

  • 06:38 AM - Scrivener of Doom mentioned Alphastream in post Dark Sun economy
    Have you downloaded the Ashes of Athas campaign for 4E? If not, head to Alphastream 's website and use the contact form there to ask for the adventures. I'm downloading them as I type this so have yet to read them but I imagine there are a lot of good ideas in those adventures that are worth stealing.

Saturday, 23rd January, 2016

  • 12:33 PM - GX.Sigma mentioned Alphastream in post DMing in Adventurer's League?
    My question to all of you is, have any of you done that? What was it like?I tried it once (back when it was D&D Encounters), and it wasn't a great experience. Mostly because not all the people who showed up were fun to game with, unfortunately. Are there tons of restrictions that I need to know?Here's the official guide: http://media.wizards.com/2015/downloads/dnd/ALPGv3.pdf Doesn't seem too bad. My idea was to begin with the Starter Set adventure, (which should take them to 4th-5h level,) then move onto Curse of Strahd and once they return to The Realms (hopefully the adventure starts in the Realms,) move into the Tyranny of Dragons storyline (maybe Out of the Abyss.) Adventurer's League wouldn't allow that would they?I think you could do that in Adventurers League. All of WotC's adventures are AL-legal, and I don't think it matters what order you play them in. Don't take my word for it, though. I summon @Alphastream!!!

Sunday, 4th October, 2015

  • 03:43 AM - MerricB mentioned Alphastream in post Lots of players - a lovely problem to have
    ..., as necessary, and later, all the time. And for the next couple of years, the numbers grew. 5:30 pm-7:30 pm each Saturday we'd run the latest of the D&D Encounters adventures. And we'd run other games afterwards. I ran an AD&D game for three years in that 8 pm-11pm slot, and we'd get other games as well - Pathfinder, Rifts... Meanwhile, the popularity of the store was growing. As I mentioned, Wednesday evenings were a problem because the store closed at 7 pm. Well, they started running Magic events on Wednesday evenings, and that kept it open to 11pm each night. Unfortunately, without room for D&D players, but at least there was more gaming occurring. The D&D Next playtest began the rise of real interest in the game again. We started running the playtest adventures with two tables. That grew to three. It helped that Wizards put out some fantastic adventures during the period. Running Vault of the Dracolich - a multi-table adventure (written by three people I really respect - Alphastream being one, Sly Flourish and Scott F. Gray being the others) - with three tables was a brilliant experience. Dead in Thay, which was a multi-table D&D adventure over 12 weeks was likewise incredible. I spent those three months not running a table but being the co-ordinating DM. Actions of one table would affect others and I'd make sure that happened. It had its flaws, but by the end of it, and with the full release of D&D only a couple of weeks away, we finally hit four tables. Then came Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. We had to run five tables. A *lot* of people came in for the premiere of Tyranny of Dragons. And even more for the second session. At 42 participants (5 DMs wrangling 37 players), it's still the highest participation we've had. To be fair, the old store's space really didn't handle that many people that well, so we've lot people since then. But we still regularly run 5 tables every Saturday. And I started running a table of D&D Expeditions in the 8pm slot at irregular ...

Thursday, 1st October, 2015

  • 06:15 PM - Echohawk mentioned Alphastream in post Monster ENCyclopedia: Galeb Duhr
    The Mystaran Monstrous Compendium's claim that Geonids may be related to Galeb Duhr is very dubious. I agree; I found the link to geonids very unconvincing. I'm not sold on the relationship to the faerie phiz either, but the possibility seemed worth a mention. I'm guessing that the reason why their treasure in 3e was limited to gems and potions was because they had treasure types Qx3, which has always been gems only, and X, which was "any 2 potions" in 2e. Well spotted -- that's got to be the reason. What about the name? It does have a celtic vibe, was it just made up or have some basis in something? As far as I know, it was just made up. There is a Twitter conversation between STvWinter, Alphastream and DreadGazeebo implying that the galeb duhr might be an anagram of something, but I didn't find anything to support that. Also, Dragon #61 disagrees with Steve Winter about Harold Johnson being the creator of the galeb duhr. I wonder if Mike Price is on Twitter?

Tuesday, 24th March, 2015

  • 10:34 PM - jodyjohnson mentioned Alphastream in post Sage Advice: The Rules of Spellcasting
    The subsequent Twitter exchange: https://twitter.com/JeremyECrawford/status/580147816669917186 Jeremy Crawford JeremyECrawford Follow Alphastream I hope groups use the rule only if they like the texture it gives spellcasting. If it gets in the way of the action, change it. 6:23 PM - 23 Mar 2015 Jeremy Crawford&#8207 JeremyECrawford∑22h22 hours ago pedr Components mostly reinforce the in-world feel of classic D&D spellcasting: exotic, esoteric, and sometimes inconvenient. Pete Griffith&#8207 pedr∑22h22 hours ago JeremyECrawford That makes sense. It's a good set of rules for that, even if it creates some odd complexities in play Jeremy Crawford&#8207 JeremyECrawford∑22h22 hours ago Munchkinen It's, indeed, mostly for players. Many use V, S, M as a tool for describing the weird in and outs of spells.

Tuesday, 11th February, 2014


Friday, 2nd August, 2013


Wednesday, 24th April, 2013


Friday, 19th April, 2013


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Monday, 28th May, 2018

  • 04:42 AM - grodog quoted Alphastream in post Greyhawk Collector's Guide
    The glass (and a beer coaster) was for Tomb of Annihilation (which features Acererak, but is not based in or using Greyhawk), given out at Origins 2017. There are other items as part of this: a green dice bag with the devil face, a devil face cloth patch, a cloth shopping bag with the devil face logo. Similarly, the latest minis set has Acererak in it and the case incentive has the green devil face. All super-cool, but only loosely associated with Greyhawk. Thanks muchly Alphastream! == Echohawk: time to add the 5e book Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes (both standard and limited editions). Also: I found a new t-shirt: an Against the Giants 25th Anniversary shirt, provided as part of the Adventurer's Guild materials. That puts it in the July-Sept 1999 timeframe. There were also some promotional posters issued for the AG at that time too; see https://www.ebay.com/itm/Poster-RPGA-Adventurers-Guild/263715618837?hash=item3d66ad0015:g:S7YAAOSwLVZVyiuC and https://www.ebay.com/itm/Poster-Adventurers-Guild-An-Eye-for-an-Eye-1998-Marvel/263715618776?hash=item3d66acffd8:g:fB0AAOSw3ydVyiw9 and https://www.ebay.com/itm/Poster-Adventurers-Guild-Got-an-Axe-to-Grind-1998-Marvel/352365090533?hash=item520a9896e5:g:SJkAAOSwMmBVyiwh Allan.

Sunday, 31st December, 2017

  • 07:59 PM - NobleK quoted Alphastream in post Learn about D&D organized play options
    Are any of the stores open to the idea? I find that most stores, once I point out the benefits, are interested. Benefits include WPN status (which helps with Magic the Gathering events and being able to offer official D&D books before Amazon) and creating a community. Sometimes a store has very little space and feel the loss of 1-2 tables would hurt them. In that case, I've suggested a coupon system where everyone pays to play (some small amount) but receives a coupon for store credit. Other stores have different methods (pay to play unless you buy something, pay but the money goes to DM credit, etc.).That is honestly something I'd have to investigate; I can look into it when I go to change this dice bag I want to change early next week. It's just too small....

Thursday, 28th December, 2017

  • 04:30 PM - NobleK quoted Alphastream in post Learn about D&D organized play options
    I've at times traveled for work somewhere where games were not being run. I tried a few approaches, all of which eventually led to success: 1. MeetUp Meetup.com is popular in the US as a way to find rpgs. A quick search landed at least one game within 50 miles, but I only looked quickly. Sometimes if a game is too far away, I contact them to see if they have heard of anything closer. Sometimes a country uses something different, from old Yahoo groups to G+ communities. Try a few different places and whenever you find something that doesn't quite fit, ask and see if they have ideas. 2. Stores I contact any gaming stores, hobby shops, schools/universities, or libraries in the area. They might be running games or know someone who is. If not, they might be open to my running a game there. Some stores have a "games wanted" board where you can advertise a game (or that you are looking for one). I've seen people place adds in college papers. 3. Online Online gaming services, such as Roll20, ...

Monday, 13th March, 2017

  • 02:33 AM - FitzTheRuke quoted Alphastream in post Running Vault of the Dracolich: Tips?
    It should run pretty well as written, using the D&D Next monster stats (even with 5E PCs). If you use new MM stats, you will need to compare them to the adventure to ensure the monster did not change drastically (many monsters changed features and thus CR, so the new versions could be much stronger or weaker and would need adjustment/encounter balance). For that reason, I would just use the D&D Next stats. If you haven't downloaded the file in a while, check DriveThru for the latest version, where they added the playtest packet with the monster stats. Or, if you have the printed version, you may have to hunt online for those stats - or purchase any D&D Next adventure that includes the stats, such as some of the last Encounters seasons that supported 5E. The adventure does have rules for two tables, so you should be covered there. Thanks! I looked up the Next stats I ran it with the first time and compared them to the MM version. You're right, it's probably best to just use the playtest Monsters....

Thursday, 9th February, 2017

  • 11:10 PM - Motorskills quoted Alphastream in post Winter Fantasy Roll Call
    I ran it twice and really enjoyed it. There are some very nice story elements and I dig a "dungeon" that is genuinely interesting to explore. We had many laughs and some exciting moments as well. I'm really pleased that it was fun to run, and clearly fun to play. I also enjoyed both tables, I just felt that the story structure was amiss. Maybe it is just the failed author in me, over-thinking things. :D I loved the Seven Stones. I loved initial "obsidian floor", and the whole entry scenario. I thought the BBEG was a fun fight...but I hated that it was THAT particular creature, didn't sit well with me. I didn't like that the adventure simultaneously wanted you to respect the Temple...and yet expected(?) you to loot it at the same time. The histories were great....but didn't seem to link to specific story objectives, at least not to begin with. I perhaps would have grokked it more if "Seven Stones" had sent us there to 'loot' the place. "Rescue X, Y, and Z from the Temple for me, and in re...

Sunday, 18th December, 2016


Tuesday, 13th December, 2016

  • 07:42 PM - Motorskills quoted Alphastream in post Winter Fantasy Roll Call
    It will be posted here when they make player registration available. DM Registration and the list of events can be seen at that site. I highly recommend this convention. I'll be there! Yeah, last year was my first, and I had a blast. (Although it turns out I'm way too old for this :):):):), five days of modules turned my brain to absolute mush!) I thought Baldman Games did a great job overall, although hopefully they will make optimal use of the space this year. (There was unused space in the hall, while the module tables were so close together it made conversation very hard.)

Tuesday, 16th February, 2016

  • 07:30 PM - Steve_MND quoted Alphastream in post Winter Fantasy 2016 and D&D AL
    Challenge level is similar. When campaigns have tried to escalate challenge and keep up with strong tables, they still fall short. Worse, they create an arms race. And, consistently, the strongest tables cry foul when they get TPKed. An arms race is very hurtful to a campaign, turning new players away. New players are the lifeline of any campaign and as vital as the dedicated players who help bring them in. My recommendation to any author is this: don't ever compete with strong tables and never try to design for the current metagame. This is true of any campaign, and in fact, of most any multi-player game, whether it be tabletop RPG, online MMO, or TCG. More than one of those has met its slow inevitable downfall by catering to the extremes of the bell curve, one end or the other.

Saturday, 13th February, 2016

  • 02:22 PM - skerritthegreen quoted Alphastream in post Winter Fantasy 2016 and D&D AL
    If as a player you want a challenge (I do), talk to your DM and request that. Give them the free reign to create the challenge that will surprise you This is probably the best suggestion yet! I know I have requested the same of BI DMs in multiple campaigns. if the DM isn't comfortable with that If your DM is comfortable with it and you know the players, another thing you can do is each take an encounter buff it up. One of my favorite PFS interactives was to have roughly six rounds each taking about an hour (with some time between for story and tabulation). The experienced table of friends I was at finished round 1 in 5 minutes and were sad to learn we now had a 55 minute break, and that the DM felt that was likely the most challenging fight we had just finished (only two characters got to act). So we asked him to beef it up and he said he wasn't good at that but was open to letting us do it. So we each took an encounter and penciled in what would actually challenge our level of pla...

Thursday, 11th February, 2016

  • 09:37 PM - RulesJD quoted Alphastream in post Winter Fantasy 2016 and D&D AL
    Usually when a table does that, it is enjoying doing so. There are some abilities (and especially spells) that absolutely neuter an encounter. If your encounter routine is: 1) Roll initiative 2) Banish the biggest monster or cast Hypnotic Pattern Then, yeah, sure, every encounter is easy. There is no practical way for an author to write an encounter within XP budgets but then have it still be difficult when the characters remove the biggest threat or cause every foe to do nothing for several rounds. I played several tables at Winter Fantasy that did that, though they were clearly enjoying the experience. I personally had the greatest fun at tables that didn't do that. We could see what the author really intended and have some thrilling combats with some very cool monsters. No right or wrong way to play, but the use of such abilities does have a huge impact that an author can't easily overcome. Now, you can have it both ways if your DM is comfortable and you want to use all your powers and...

Monday, 8th February, 2016

  • 08:06 PM - Motorskills quoted Alphastream in post Winter Fantasy 2016 and D&D AL
    That's a great story. I know the player in question (she's awesome) and when she told me the story I was super-happy to hear that these kinds of great moments are still being facilitated by the design. I had a great time at our T3 table. I was asked to leave my group to join another table so it had enough people, and you never know how that will end up - the table was great! We had a lot of fun and did very well even though our party was far from optimal. Our DM was excellent and I liked the encounter design. The only downside we had was that the dragon never even showed up at our table! But, we could at least see that our accomplishments were impacting the battle and we enjoyed seeing the dragon visit other tables and the effect that had. Indeed. Our DM was great, the coordinator for Salt Lake City IIRC. Our PCs didn't know that a vampire's Charm lasts for ages, so of course we untied her after the first visit ended. Big mistake. :D (The player inquestion was sat next to me, and yes...
  • 07:51 PM - Pauper quoted Alphastream in post why no Warforged
    Has this post really gone this far with no one asking for warforged to become legal in 4E play? That reminds me -- are warforged legal in LFR? -- Pauper
  • 06:19 PM - Z. H. Darkstar quoted Alphastream in post why no Warforged
    Has this post really gone this far with no one asking for warforged to become legal in 4E play? I assume you meant 5e and not 4e, as 4e OP did have them as a legal race. As for why the thread has stopped asking for Warforged as a legal race, it's simply because there is no official 5e Warforged yet. Once one exists, the questions will resume. Instead, I've slightly turned the conversation to a related tangent: How are we likely to see Eberron be included in the 5e multiverse, and how can it be included into AL without the carte blanche seen in 4e LFR? As an innate Lore Bard who didn't dump Int, it's kind of what I do around here. I will usually stop myself when the tangent borders on thread derailment, but I find that asking relevant tangents tends to allow discussions to approach the original topic from a different perspective. The primary assumption that I've based my posts around is that AL is going to be the only official OP campaign, and thus any published materials regarding the ...
  • 05:56 PM - skerritthegreen quoted Alphastream in post DM rewards for running Adventurer's League - what are your thoughts?
    I had a fantastic Winter Fantasy. The two things I heard as I played at a variety of tables were 1) Big conventions should provide magic item certificates for all adventures and not just premieres, and 2) DM Rewards should be greater. I would say those topics came up at more than 1/3rd of my tables! The Admins have plans in the works to address both of those requests.

Wednesday, 3rd February, 2016

  • 04:52 AM - Motorskills quoted Alphastream in post Winter Fantasy 2016 and D&D AL
    Dave is probably pretty busy right now (setting up, etc.), but usually they have a great team and a few extra judges who can help with tickets and finding a table. I myself didn't land a ticket I wanted for slot 1, so I'll also be going to the ticket area and swapping a ticket or waiting to see what becomes available. Stay flexible, as sometimes the first slot has fewer judges who can judge a particular adventure. Thanks Alpha, might see you there! What time do the doors typically open?

Sunday, 4th October, 2015

  • 06:27 AM - Landifarne quoted Alphastream in post Is the OSR Dead?
    The claim about market is just wrong - there isn't enough market size there to be the underpinning for an edition's goals. As to influence, fair enough. The article's claims are not supported. Completely agree with this. How many people are running Old School games in the US...20,000? Multiply that by two or three and you get the player base. How many copies of 5E have sold?

Saturday, 26th September, 2015

  • 08:21 PM - RadioKen quoted Alphastream in post DM rewards for running Adventurer's League - what are your thoughts?
    I was brand new in Virginia with no gamer friends and I traveled too often to have a normal once-per-week campaign. Organized play saved my gaming life and I made incredible friendships. Despite moving to the other side of the country I still meet up with my old organized play friends every year at Gen Con and we talk and e-mail all the time. They are friends for life. And, here on the west coast I now have a whole new set of friends thanks to organized play. Then there is the community I've met online, the community of friends from judging at conventions, the people I have met through writing for organized play... the benefits have been amazing and lasting for me. As a coordinator I've been very happy to see players who come to my Public Play games start organizing home games together. I haven't had time to join many of these myself (one monthly game that fell apart about eight months after I joined), but I seem to have helped facilitate a lot of contacts there. I think the opportunity to see ...

Thursday, 24th September, 2015

  • 05:55 AM - Kor quoted Alphastream in post Icons of the Realms Set 3: Rage of Demons
    In addition, they used to provide 4 out of 6 Ultra-Rares in a case. That number is now 2 out of 5. So you have to buy 1 more Ultra-Rare and 5 more rares than in the previous 2 sets! Sadly the frequency is worse than that. A case will get you 1 or 2 ultra-rares. I encourage all people unhappy with this case distribution model to write Wizards of the Coast, and tell them so. (As I have also done.) Unlike WizKids, WotC does have a customer service department, and based on the reply I received, they do provide the feedback to the appropriate people who need to know.

Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015

  • 02:00 AM - dd.stevenson quoted Alphastream in post Is the OSR Dead?
    Are those the quotes you are all talking about? Geez. Those, and the AMA, are the only mearls quotes on the subject of OSR influence that I'm aware of, and this is a thread that wouldn't be harmed by a few solid citations. To be crystal clear, that was my first post in this thread and I don't know what other posters were referring to. When 5E was being created, they drew from the same well. Because, duh, they looked at their own game's past. Do you have any particular reason why I (or anyone) should agree with you on that? Because, I look at who they were consulting with, and the fact that mearls says they looked at older editions of D&D "for OSR stuff", and what mearls was posting to OSR blogs during that period, and I look at the feel of the resulting game, and I can't see a single reason in the world to believe that the OSR didn't influence their view on D&D's past. The article claims there is a direct influence and claims 5E was a reaction to, somehow, OSR's market. Those claims ar...

Wednesday, 16th September, 2015

  • 05:32 AM - dd.stevenson quoted Alphastream in post Is the OSR Dead?
    I disagree strongly with the ... idea that it [the OSR] influenced 5E in any significant way. Do you consider your opinion to be at odds with this Mearls interview from last year? Do you feel the OSR Movement influenced you in a way as you designed this new edition? I donít really think it was a direct influence as in thatís what people are doing with that, so letís follow that [OSR Movement]. I think itís more, from my own experience, I think a lot of the Old School Gaming has arisen in a very similar way to how Indie RPGs arose. Because Indie RPGs are like we have an RPG rules and a setting, and your setting is about this and that, but your mechanics arenít backing that up. So Iíll make up an example, because I donít want to name a game that some people might really be into. So letís take a cyberpunk game, and itís all about the tension between humanity and technology, and you can have a lot of fun writing about it, but then your game mechanics are like a generic system. So on one hand you ...


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