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July 29, 1969 (49)
About smerwin29
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WotC freelancer. Looking for gamers willing to play all kinds of RPGs, board games, and card games.
About Me:
I am a freelance writer and game designer for Wizards of the Coast with several 3e, 4e, and D&D Next credits. I am looking for a variety of gamers closer to Fredonia who would be willing to play all sorts of things: established RPGs, board games, card games, mini games, etc. I am also always looking for gamers interested in playtesting or trying new things.
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Fredonia NY 14063
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Acquisitions Inc. Book Officially Announced Thursday, 4th April, 2019 12:50 AM

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Sunday, 16th June, 2019


Friday, 23rd December, 2016

  • 04:09 AM - darjr mentioned smerwin29 in post Have You played In An Official D&D Adventurer's League Event?
    ...: Limits DM creativity severely and doesn't play nice with new ideas. There is no craftsmanship for the individual DM, you just take the plug and play modules and run them and if you step out of line some AL rules lawyer reports you. Kind of like the industrial revolution, in a bad way. This is almost completely wrong. I have often run mods completely off the rails, and for a bit had a player who kinda took it as a challenge to do just that while I was running, in a fun way. In fact the admins have talked about adding story beats to adventures so that DM's know the story points that should be brought to the players attention, somehow, for when it does happen. Granted you CAN run the adventures on a rail but you never have to and in all my time running I've never been 'turned in' for going off of the rails, as far as I know. If I have it was never brought to my attention and it was probably dismissed out right, as it should be. In fact if you want to hear it directly Shawn Merwin @smerwin29 (author of every seasons intro adventure for AL) reiterates it in the Down with D&D podcast http://misdirectedmark.com/dwdd79-getting-into-al-and-clerics/

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Thursday, 4th April, 2019

  • 12:26 AM - Wrathamon quoted smerwin29 in post Acquisitions Inc. Book Officially Announced
    Well, wishes do come true, because it isn't. As was reported in many places, this was something that Penny Arcade worked on and was going to publish on their own. WotC heard about it and asked to see it, then offered to act as the publisher. This was not something that replaced a book WotC was going to do otherwise. This is an extra thing. Ok so this was a DMs Guild product (because you can use the license) but they wanted timeboxed exclusive rights to it on their site so they made a deal with Wotc to publish it instead of doing it on DMs Guild?

Monday, 2nd October, 2017

  • 08:25 PM - rczarnec quoted smerwin29 in post How to Use Hard Cover Adventures in AL League Play
    http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/news/dms-guild-adept-news Thanks. That makes it much easier to spread the news.
  • 05:20 PM - rczarnec quoted smerwin29 in post How to Use Hard Cover Adventures in AL League Play
    Well, the good news is that as of today, all of the Guild Adept adventures, including Return of the Lizard King, as AL legal. For the products that have new rules features like races, classes, and magic items, those rules features are only legal with special campaign documentation. But the adventure parts of them are AL-legal. So have at it! http://www.dmsguild.com/product/220608/Return-of-the-Lizard-King Shawn Has there been some sort of announcement of this that you could link to?

Wednesday, 27th September, 2017


Wednesday, 20th September, 2017

  • 10:14 PM - Pauper quoted smerwin29 in post Mike Mearls is polling about how much you'd pay for him to make you an AL legal custom subclass
    And in addition to this, that extra money others pay to get something exclusive might be--in very real terms--funding the "normal content" that you get to receive/play/consume at the regular price. It's not -- Mearls posited the option as an explicit ExtraLife activity, so anything he'd raise would presumably be donated to charity. I disagree with that argument on principle, but it doesn't apply here, as the money raised by WotC isn't being spent on the campaign. It's in effect just a 'publicity stunt' to try to get bigger donations to the charity. I'd like to think the integrity of the official Organized Play campaign would be worth more than that sort of stunt. -- Pauper

Friday, 8th September, 2017

  • 10:29 PM - lkj quoted smerwin29 in post Tomb of Annihilation Is Here - What Do You Think?
    This is correct. The hardcover definitely has tons of great content for DMs who want to run levels 1-4 characters in Port Nyanzaru. My point was that there really isn't an "easy to run adventure" for those lower levels for DMs with limited time to prep. For DMs who have the time and inclination to build their own level 1-4 adventure with the pieces from the book, there is definitely a ton of great material there to do so with. Shawn Perhaps the Guild stuff is supposed to help fill this need for those who want it? http://www.dmsguild.com/product/214058/DDAL0701-A-City-on-the-Edge-5e http://www.dmsguild.com/product/220591/Encounters-in-Port-Nyanzaru http://www.dmsguild.com/product/220567/Beasts-of-the-Jungle-Rot AD
  • 08:56 PM - JesterOC quoted smerwin29 in post Tomb of Annihilation Is Here - What Do You Think?
    This is correct. The hardcover definitely has tons of great content for DMs who want to run levels 1-4 characters in Port Nyanzaru. My point was that there really isn't an "easy to run adventure" for those lower levels for DMs with limited time to prep. For DMs who have the time and inclination to build their own level 1-4 adventure with the pieces from the book, there is definitely a ton of great material there to do so with. ShawnAgreed. Taking a better look at it this lunch, the city does not contain any mini adventures. Their are many personalities, many little things to do, and information to glean, but no in City mini adventures. There are many points of interest throughout the land that have information ranging from a simpler paragraph to a full map with many numbered areas. If I counted correctly there are 14 of those kinds of sites that have maps associated with them. In general these locations seem to be challenging for levels 1 through 6. If you want to run it pure sandbox mode the...

Sunday, 13th August, 2017

  • 07:14 PM - KreeganStonefist quoted smerwin29 in post WotC Names 10 "Adepts" On Their DMs Guild Store
    So what do people who purchase (not just download free/PWYW stuff) products from the DM's Guild want to see from the Guild Adepts? What kind of products would you use that are tied in to a hardcover adventure/gazetteer like we have seen in Storm King's Thunder, for example? Thanks! Well I've just recently purchased a few products written in support of Storm King's Thunder and Princes of the Apocalypse. http://www.dmsguild.com/product/197109/Triboar--a-Storm-Kings-Thunder-DMs-resource http://www.dmsguild.com/product/188656/Triboar-Region-Maps http://www.dmsguild.com/product/200486/Encounters-in-the-Savage-Frontier I'd hope that the Adepts program would produce similar products, things that I can drop into the published campaigns with minimal effort or that expand on and tie together the locations.

Saturday, 12th August, 2017

  • 02:14 AM - Greg Benage quoted smerwin29 in post WotC Names 10 "Adepts" On Their DMs Guild Store
    So what do people who purchase (not just download free/PWYW stuff) products from the DM's Guild want to see from the Guild Adepts? What kind of products would you use that are tied in to a hardcover adventure/gazetteer like we have seen in Storm King's Thunder, for example? Thanks! For my part, "Book of Lairs" or "Side Treks" type products that tie into the campaign. I've bought a couple of these for SKT, which is so far the only published adventure I've run. But I like a slower pace of advancement and it seems likely that the published campaign books aren't going to have enough content for my tastes.

Friday, 11th August, 2017

  • 09:29 PM - Jester David quoted smerwin29 in post WotC Names 10 "Adepts" On Their DMs Guild Store
    So what do people who purchase (not just download free/PWYW stuff) products from the DM's Guild want to see from the Guild Adepts? What kind of products would you use that are tied in to a hardcover adventure/gazetteer like we have seen in Storm King's Thunder, for example? Thanks! I think the *best* product they could make is adventures that go from levels 1-5. And then change the storyline adventures to 5+ rather than having to cram in introductory level stuff. ;) I'm not sure, honestly. Subclasses is one option, but that feels limited. Sidequests, NPCs, monsters, random encounter tables, and expansions of people & places in the adventure are ideas.

Thursday, 5th May, 2016

  • 07:03 AM - Inxanity quoted smerwin29 in post What's up with GenCon?
    http://baldmangames.com/2016/04/baldman-games-announces-new-dd-adventurers-league-exclusive-content/ Start there, and let us know if you have more questions. Thanks! Shawn Any kind of ETA on when these will be hitting DMs Guild?

Monday, 2nd May, 2016

  • 10:33 PM - Pauper quoted smerwin29 in post What's up with GenCon?
    Counting the D&D Experience content for Gen Con, there is going to be AT LEAST 78 hours of AL-playable content at Gen Con. Even if you don't want to or cannot do the DDXP events, there is AT LEAST 46 hours of AL content. And I would guess there might be more added as the schedule shakes out between now and this summer. I hope so. Last year there were 50 specific AL events, which adds up to 200 hours of AL content available. And that doesn't count the 'D&D Experience' VIP events or the Season 3 Epic. Granted, it will be in a dedicated space, with much less extraneous con noise, which is a plus. But yeah, this doesn't feel like a huge effort to bring AL to the masses at GenCon -- it feels like 'this is the best we can do, given that people aren't being compensated for their time and don't feel appreciated enough to make the trip on their own dime'. I will let others talk about why certain things AREN'T at Gen Con. That's honestly why I started the thread. I'm still going, and I'm still l...

Tuesday, 15th March, 2016

  • 08:12 PM - Cascade quoted smerwin29 in post Racism and DDAL4-1 [Spoilers]
    As the AL admins have said here and elsewhere, another look will be taken at the text to make it clearer for the DMs presenting the story: we want them to portray Sybil, Hricu, Rilynin, Kehkim, and Papa as "real people" (in the fantasy sense), scared and flawed and misunderstood and fighting for their survival in the terrible world that is descending upon them. I find this incredibly divisive. A fantasy author (and publisher) has to defend the actions of a set of fictional characters and how they are portrayed because a PC culture takes offense. Somehow these characters simply can't be bad because they're protected by some real world proxy? last time I checked - D&D is still FICTION

Monday, 1st February, 2016

  • 11:16 PM - Pauper quoted smerwin29 in post AL VS LFR of 4th and why I'm so disappointed
    Here's your answer, Arlen, already given: Right now it is not unreasonable to say, "How come I can't mix content from the SCAG and EE Player's Guides?" I mean, it's just two sources, right? Well, it turns out there are many reasons. When polled in past campaigns about what made them stop DMing or would make them stop DMing, most DMs said it was rules bloat and broken PC combinations that made the game not fun for nost just DMs, but for other players at the table as well. WotC has already stated that each rules supplement released would be balanced only against itself and against the core rules--not against other supplements. To alleviate DM fatigue on the thing they said fatigued them most, the admins went with WtoC's recommendation: use all the rules, just don't mix them. So why, one might ask, don't the admins just rule on things individually to rule out just the broken stuff? Because down that path lies madness. That was done in Living Greyhawk, and it created new documentation and cou...

Friday, 20th March, 2015

  • 05:41 AM - Riley37 quoted smerwin29 in post Learn about D&D organized play options
    When I wrote the adventure, I did think about "backstory" for many of the less consequential NPCs. The question I then have to answer for myself is this: does it add or detract from the adventure to add that backstory, with the understanding that the adventure is supposed to facilitate the DMing prepping it with little time and running it in an hour or less. Could I have named and given backstories for all of the prisoners? Yep, easily. Would it make enough of a difference to player enjoyment when weighed against the time and the prep limitations? Probably not. I'd say you made the best available choice, given (a) high priority on DM being able to "plug and play", including DMs who are just getting started via AL/EX; and (b) DMs being free to run the stories in any order, with no control over what other AL DMs are doing at other AL tables, including possibly another table at the same game store or otherwise under the same roof. "Wait, Mr. NPC Fulano is acting as if we're meeting for the fi...

Thursday, 17th July, 2014

  • 06:09 AM - Agamon quoted smerwin29 in post 5E Podcasts?
    Misdirected Mark is going to spin off a bi-weekly podcast dedicated solely to 5e D&D. I expect that they will have the first episode out in a couple weeks. I was a guest on the regular MM podcast a few weeks ago, and we spent most of the show talking D&D: http://misdirectedmark.com/mmp-116-dd-cometh/. And just a few minutes after posting this, I see the new podcast went live: http://misdirectedmark.com/dwdd-1-dragons-tiers-and-diversity/ I was just going to post about this here. Looking forward to checking it out!

Tuesday, 24th June, 2014

  • 08:46 PM - Alphastream quoted smerwin29 in post Learn about D&D organized play options
    Yeah, and how cool would it be if Wizards somehow found a way to support fan-run OP campaigns. Like on set it, oh, I don't know, Dark Sun? Now if only there was an experienced OP content designer with experience in running an OP campaign in that setting already . . . hmmmm. That sounds really cool. I want to play in that campaign, and for you to run it for me! ;-) In all seriousness, I think gamers are better off with Wizards running one primary campaign and from time to time sprinkling in a smaller and shorter-running side campaign that is fairly different. Other RPGs can then offer additional different experiences. Running or even overseeing a handful of campaigns is, I think, too much and ends up with mixed quality and confusion for players. While I did really like what we did with Ashes across three years, I also could see gamers benefiting from a side campaign that runs for just one calendar year. For example, a 2015-only Eberron campaign with deep story, 9 adventures total releasing...

Wednesday, 18th June, 2014

  • 01:44 PM - Liane the Wayfarer quoted smerwin29 in post Learn about D&D organized play options
    The different tiers of the D&D Adventurers League (AL) correspond to different experiences. Although there are 3 named tiers (Encounters, Expeditions, and Epics), WotC really should have given a name to a 4th tier that revolves around home play. Maybe call it "Campaigns?" This is the home play experience at the root of D&D. If I might suggest: "D&D Engagements" in keeping with the "D&D E" style. And the whole thing is the "D&D Experience." Looking forward to your contributions to D&D Encounters in the future! Against the Cult of Chaos is still talked about at our store!

Tuesday, 17th June, 2014

  • 10:30 PM - VenomousFiligree quoted smerwin29 in post Public Play
    WotC OP Manager Chris Tulach said pretty much what you put in bold in my statement: as long as you are playing in a public place and go through WotC's event management system (I cannot remember the exact words he used there), then you get the Expedition adventures and run them in that public place. If you do it through a game store, that benefits you (you get those perks) and the game store (they gain or maintain their Wizards Play Network status). I cannot say this is the official policy. I can only say what I heard at the seminar. And the WotC D&D AL Community Manager is saying 'We're looking into it' [that you can get Expeditions if you're not associated with a WPN store], so it would still appear to be up in the air....
  • 09:38 PM - sidonunspa quoted smerwin29 in post Learn about D&D organized play options
    They didn't abandon it, but they changed it because they realized what an all-consuming monster it was.... as someone who was on the inside and the outside I can see what you mean.. BUT, it inspired more play then any campaign before or after it, it inspired players and volunteers alike, people ran conventions and even drove out of state to play adventures.... all of it created a huge community of players who loved the game and loved the products which supported it. to get numbers and excitement like that it takes work... the new program will never reach the same level of fevered play LG did, which will be reflected in conventions and in game days. Pathfinder captures some of that, but when it comes to story, they suck... a cohesive story takes a LOT of work.. trust me, I helped craft the epic 5 year Arcanis story arc... LG was lighting in a bottle... they could re-create that if they wanted to.. but look at Adventurers League and how they are limiting home play, I j...


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