My D&D group had its first session of the year yesterday. The DM added another dimension to our campaign: sound effects and music. It was really cool! He got a hold of this program that manages music and sound effects for table-top role-playing games. He apparently spent ages working on the sound for the campaign, and the results were awesome. That right there is a committment to delivering a good gaming experience. Wow.
Background music played for travel through certain areas. Last night, we were tracking mysterious creatures through a creepy forest, and appropriate music played. When we entered combat, we had different, faster background music. As we traveled, fought, and spoke to NPCs, he played a variety of sound effects. For example, we visited a work site for a lighting rail. Here, the DM played sounds that one might hear at such a place: hammers against stone and general worker bustle and noise. During specific combat events, such as when one of us hit an enemy, another sound effect would play: steel against wood, bashing against another creature, grunts of pain, death screams, etc. Sound effects were mapped to the keyboard, so he would simply press a key when an event warranted a sound effect.
My character also didn’t get hurt! No Orcs falling from trees, no temples collapsing after encounters with diabolical extra-planar creatures, no poisoned traps, etc. For the first time in the campaign, she used her Sneak Attack ability (combined with Point Blank Shot). The way Kourui has developed, she became melee-shy early on. Subsequent events only served to increase her fear of close combat and general risk-taking. However, recent sessions haven’t been too bad for her, so her confidence is increasing.
During the break, one of the players logged on to the D&D Online: Stormreach beta. After watching him complete a short quest, and after listening to the DM’s critiques of the game, I don’t think I will be playing this. The artwork isn’t too inspiring or especially beautiful. I did like use of the Voice of the DM in the game, because it added a little descriptive depth to play.
One of the things that put me off is the fact that the only city you have access to is Stormreach. All adventures begin and end in Stormreach. I don’t know if that will change for the final release, but I haven’t read anything about additional cities. The story is exactly the same no matter what Classes you choose to replay the game with. The PvE story of Guild Wars is like this, except with GW, there is no monthly fee, you get a deep PvP system, you can solo most of the time, you travel to a variety of different countries and locations, and GW is much much prettier.
I’ll already be paying monthly fees for WOW, so that is another factor in my decision. Speaking of WOW, I didn’t get to play this weekend. Somehow the download of the 1.9 patch got corrupted. I used Blizzard’s repair utility, but that did not work. So I need to reinstall the game tonight. Plus, I was super busy with D&D, Guild Wars (I’m not addicted, honest.), and other stuff.