The Tale of Maceen, Prophetess of Artifice
lorddreadman

Hey everyone!

Okay, I said I'd put this up, so here's the full story. This is the first place I've written the ending down, so let me know what you think. Be aware that this was just me fooling around in character, so don't expect poetry. I came up with the whole story over the course of about two hours, give or take. Also, you should be aware that the story is being told by Dash, my Half-Orc Fighter, who used to be an Invoker, but now distrusts and even hates the gods. Someone with a different background may have told it differently, but this is how he told it to a young woman who was looking for something to believe in.

I hope you enjoy it!

In another age, there was a beautiful princess who was betrothed to marry a handsome prince. They both desired marriage, for their parents had all died, leaving them to rule their separate kingdoms, and prince and princess isn't nearly as important-sounding as king or queen. The princess was beloved by her people. Though it was also a land without priest or god to protect it, the princess was determined to keep them safe.

One day, terrible news comes to the princess: her beloved prince has been slain. She cries for days, leaning over the side of a well, and letting her tears collect at the bottom. After she has cried for several days, she hears a voice float up from the bottom of the well. It is a voice as warm as fire and has a tone that speaks of redemption just out of reach.


"Maceen," says the voice, for that was her name, "Maceen, why do you cry?"
 
The princess leans over the well and says, "My beloved has died, and I know not where he has gone.
"

Well, the voice has an aura of certainty about it; one that comforts the young girl. "Fear not, priestess, for your beloved is, even now, safe in the realm of his god."

Maceen wiped away her tears and leaned in further, "Why do you call me priestess?"

The voice receded, as if it grew tired, "Because, such you will be." As the voice warm as fire faded, the princess felt the fear in her fade. She began to rejoice, and, over the next week, visited the well each day. "Who are you?" asked Maceen one day.

"I am a god," replied the voice, "and I watch your land, and you."

"May I not speak to you in other places?" Maceen asked.

The voice was silent a moment, considering. "Retrieve the bucket from the well." Maceen reached for the rope, excited, and drew up the bucket. Inside, she found a coin from her beloved's country, bearing his face, no less. From the coin, floated the voice warm as fire, and with a tone that spoke of redemption just out of reach.

"I will always keep it with me," the priestess replied.

"What is that you have there?" came another voice, this one brimming with heat, and a touch of hatred. Behind the princess stood a succubus, a devil of seduction and pure evil.
"Why do you speak to that coin?"

Maceen stood defiantly against the devil. "God is in the coin," she responded, holding it out like a holy symbol.

"A god, eh?" said the devil, rubbing her hands together and smiling excitedly. "My master is a god, and a trapped god might be of use. I will buy it with whatever you wish for."

Well, Maceen didn't fancy herself a fool, so she replied, "Trapped in it? No. It is merely how he speaks to me." No longer excited by the coin, the devil left, cursing the priestess as it did.

The next day, the voice spoke from the coin, "Your people are in danger," it said. "If you will help me retrieve them, they can live in my realm with me." Fearing that the devil might seek to make good on its curse, Maceen gladly turned to the coin.

"How?" she asked. "How might I lead my people to safety in your realm?"

The voice warm as fire then gave its first commandment, "Enlarge the well," it said. "Your people must all be able to enter it at once." The voice began to fade, as it did each day, like an echo down a well, "Enlarge the well."

What would you have done? What could you have done? An angry devil, a mysterious voice, and the lives of your people in the balance!

None can truly fathom the gods. Indeed, many gods, even good gods, demand strange things to work their miracles. ... And not all miracles benefit the worker....

The princess sent a decree throughout the land, calling her people to assist her. She tells of the god who will save them and the devil who will destroy them. She tells of their new work and their desperate plight. And the people come, of course, for they love their princess. They come in droves to assist her, and, before long, the well is far deeper and far wider. Houses that stand in the way are burned, and much of the old castle is torn down to make way for the well. And every day, the voice warm as fire grows a little louder, "Enlarge it further," it says. 'I will take the whole town or none at all.' And the people, fearing the loss of their souls, dig faster, deeper, and harder.

Finally, the day comes that the well is finished. The people go home to rest, for they are weary, and the priestess, alone, is left to stand by the enormous well. "What is that you have there?" asks a voice brimming with hatred and hot as fire. "Why do you dig the well so deep?" asks the succubus.

Maceen turns again, holding the coin out for protection, and says, "God is in the well. We go to join him."

The devil rubs its hands excited and smiles, "The well is deep," it says. "I can come and go to my master with ease. I will buy it from you with anything you wish for."

Maceen, again seeking to be wise, responds, "Down to your master? No. This will only bring us to god." Well, the devil loses excitement again, and curses the girl and her people as it leaves.

The next day, Maceen is worried for her people, who are now a part of the curse. She pulls the coin out and asks, "What am I to do? The devil threatens my people!"

The voice warm as fire considered the problem a moment, then replied, "Build a chain, my prophetess, light and strong, thin and unbreakable, so that none will lose their way when they come down to enter my realm."

The priestess responds with confusion, "Why do you call me prophetess?"

And the voice answers quickly, 'Because such you will become."

The following day can't come soon enough before the priestess has sent out another decree. She tells of the curse moving onto their heads, and the chain that will tie them together for safety. She orders that the swords, shields, and armors of their land be gathered to form the chain. Then, for one final measure, she throws in the coin as well. As the links are formed, she hears the voice that is warm as fire and has a tone that speaks of redemption just out of reach coming from the chain. "Stronger," it says. "Lighter," it beacons. "For I will take the whole town, or none at all." And, when the priestess tells the people this, they work ever faster, for the fear of their souls.

At last, the chain is finished, and it stretches from one end of the town to the other, thin as twine, and strong as astral diamonds. The people go to rest after their hard work, and the priestess is left alone with the chain.

"What is that you have there?" comes the expected voice of the succubus. "Why do you take such time to build an enormous chain?"

Well, the prophetess turns to the devil and responds, "God is in the chain, and with it we will surely reach him."

In excitement, the devil rubs her hands together and smiles, "With such a chain, I could bring many souls to my master," she cackles. "I will buy it from you with whatever you wish for."

Maceen thinks to herself, I am no fool, and she responds, "Binding souls? No. This chain can only bind the living." Well, the devil is frustrated by this, worse than ever before and she curses the prophetess, her people, and even the soul of her beloved prince before fleeing back to the darkness.

Her beloved, who she thought was safe, now under a curse! Why, had anything so horrible happened to a princess before? I think not! What could she do but follow the voice warm as fire in the chain? But the voice warm as fire had a plan for that too ....

Agonized by worry over her beloved, Maceen cried to the chain, "What am I to do? My beloved is sure to suffer under the curse of this devil!"

But the voice warm as fire was clever above all and quickly knew what to do, "My realm is safe; you must bring him here."

"How?" asked the Prophetess, leaning over the enlarged well, sobbing down into the darkness.

"Sculpt idols bearing his image and hang them upon the chain. Stone and precious metals will call him to my domain." The voice faded away, but, this time, Maceen could not sleep. She ran to her people, calling them together. Easily, they flew out of bed, tired, but trusting the prophetess. She told them of the plight of her former beloved, of the devilry that would surely destroy him. And, of course, they went to work right away, caring little for the darkness, for working in the well had prepared them. They worked through the next day as well, ignoring the heat of the sun, for the chain's forge had prepared them. And all the while, the prophetess heard a chorus of voices from the idols, warm as fire and with a tone that spoke of redemption just out of reach. "More stone," it warned. "More jewels," it reminded. "More precious metals," it threatened. "For I will take the whole town or none at all!"

And the people began to hear the voices too, quiet at first, but growing. In fear, they worked faster and faster until they had worked for six days without rest, and the idols lay forged to the massive chain. Too tired to return to their tents, the people lay down together next to well and slept, leaving Maceen the only one awake.

"The well is deep," said a voice, and Maceen turned, expecting the devil. She saw nothing. "The chain is strong," the voice continued, and Maceen realized it was coming from all around her. "The idols are perfect," the voice rumbled from the idols, the chain, and the well. It was warm as fire and had a tone that spoke of redemption just out of reach, and Maceen smiled. "The whole town is ready, my goddess. Tomorrow, you must journey down the well to my realm."

"Why do you call me goddess," asked Maceen, smiling broadly. But, if there was an answer, Maceen never heard it, for she saw something in the evening mist. The figure of a man. It was her beloved! She stood and moved toward him, but each step she took forward, he took backward, hiding his face in the mist.

"You must be patient," the voice crooned, "you will see him more clearly tomorrow." Suddenly weary, Maceen fell beside her people and slept as if she had not slept in months.

On the morrow, Maceen awoke her people before the sun rose, and, locking themselves to the massive chain, they lowered each other into the well and began to climb down. Somehow, the well had grown deeper and, by the time the sun's rays hit the well, Maceen's people could only see their glimmer in the distance.

They climbed all day until they reached the stone bottom, wet with the tears of their princess. It was dark and hot, but the people feared neither, for the voice had prepared them. Ahead they heard a voice warm as fire and with a tone that spoke of redemption just out of reach, and, recognizing it, they followed.

As Maceen followed her people through the caverns, she saw the form of her beloved behind her in the dark. Oh! It was torture to see him, but she was unable to leave the chain or her people, so she decided to be patient, still.

They came, at last, to a vast chamber where the voice seemed to come from all directions. To their horror, the people found that they could see in this darkness ... and that it was not what they expected.

A horned figure sat on a thone of coins and chains, and smiled. Maceen, fearing she had went the wrong way, called to her beloved, "Turn back, my love! Turn back!" But he did not turn back. He followed and walked past her to the figure in the chair, and leaned against it.

The figure in the chair spoke with a voice warm as fire and with a tone that spoke of redemption just out of reach, "Well done, Maceen." The figure stroked her beloved and, as she watched, he became the succubus, smiling with demonic glee.

Grasped with fear, Maceen gasped, "You said you were a god."

"I am," said the voice. "And now that I have bought your land and you, you will give me everything I wish for."

Maceen and her people tried to run, but the idols were too heavy. They tried to scatter, but the chain was too strong. They tried to escape, but the well was too deep.

That, however, was long ago, in another age and far away. The land is still there, though. So, if you should ever find yourself in a village burned by its own people, one where the castle is stripped away to make space for an enormous well, do not taste the water. It may be brimming with clear liquid, but know that it is only filled with tears.

There is, however, one thing you must do. Listen. Listen, but do not heed, and you may hear voices. Hundreds of voices warm as fire and with a tone that speaks of redemption just out of reach.


- Jared Glenn


Making The Segment Of Your Dreams!
lorddreadman

If you haven't listened to the end of Episode 19 (The Big One) yet, then let me fill you in. We're starting a brand new contest sponsered by Norse Drake over on the d20 Radio Forums! The prizes are bountiful and generous, and they are listed below:

GRAND PRIZE:
One copy of the Player's Handbook 3

SECOND AND THIRD PLACE:
One copy of either The Explorer or The Jester

So, I hear you. You're wondering, how can I win this awesome prize, Jared? Well, that's precisely the point of this post. It's actually fairly simple. Until March 19th (let's say 11:59 PM) we'll be accepting segments for the end of each show, just as normal. The difference now is that  each time you send in a segment that we can play at the end of the show (unplayable segments don't qualify, obviously) you will be entered into a drawing that will take place on March 20th's show! That is, if you send in a segment for this week's show  and then send in another next week, that will put your name into the drawing twice. The real trick here is to be consistant with your entries, so that, when March 20th rolls around, you have your name in the proverbial "hat" four times.

As far as segments go, keep the language clean, the sound clear, and the content decent, and you'll do fine. Of course, we can't play really long segments at the end of the show, so keep it 3 - 4 minutes. Believe me, it'll take a lot of stress off of you, and it allows for more room for other segments at the end of the show!

Now then, you're probably thinking that segments are beyond you. Perhaps you can't think up ideas yourself? Not a problem! I have here a list of segment ideas, as they were read in Episode 5 "We Are The Listener." Enjoy!

Discussions of the deeper psycological meaning of D&D ... or just D&D trivia.

Prank Calls from the Dark Side

The weekly really, really stupid power.

Proof that famous writers in history played D&D.

News from the Nentir Vale.

Abolethic Poetry.

Arts and crafts with GM Chris.

An unflattering mashup of the previous show.

Office gossip at WotC Weekly

Polyhedral Parody Pop Music

Rituals that make dice lucky

60 second Character Concepts

200 Things Better than the Seeker

Epic Fail of the Week

How to tell your character that he isn't real

How to tell your children that Santa isn't real

How to tell Santa that his character isn't real

The Ritual of the Week

D&D variants of Murphy's Law

The power source of the week.

Epic Words: Kill your opponents in three easy words

Fragments from the Grimm… Brothers

How to fake out your players!

30 second campaigns

Tips for playing races ... like Half Orcs

Tips for playing classes ... like Half Elves

Tips for playing alignments ... like Halflings

Make Up For Your Lack of Character Concept With a Really Great Name

How to sound epic when you're actually not

You and your dice. Sharing your life together.

Better die rolling through feng shui

Killing NPCs that cause problems to your story in particularly gruesome ways

 How to play in character without making the other players hate you

Win Friends and Influence Others Through the Selective Use of Charm and Disintegration Spells

 You had to be there: Jokes from my game

 Subverting the DM through Roleplaying

 Knocking a Gelatinous Cube Prone: Explaining the Rules in Game

 Etiquette for the Noob

 Love letters the hosts of The Power Source

 So ... you're a new DM?

How to appear like a total geek in public

 Adventuring in Azeroth: Playing 4E the way it was meant to be played

Compensating for Your Size: For Halflings

Or Goliaths

Or Morbidly Obese Dwarves

Or Fat Elves

Or Fat Elvis

Increasing your Charisma through intoxication

How to follow orders from fellow PCs

The Truth about God: Getting to know your DM

DM Strangelove: How I learned to stop stacking dice and love the screen

Bad Choices: Make your game fun!!!

Hybrid Classes: 99% of Wood Elves approve

Breaking it off: How to kick someone out of the group.

Tips, trick, and inside information for how to remember meaningless NPCs

Leading Players By the Nose: Not just for Minotaurs

How to kill your game

Monty Python Quotes Not from Holy Grail

How to keep wenches out of your game

D&D Anonymous: The first step is admitting you have a problem

Cure Your Paladin’s Messiah Complex


As an aside, we've received e-mails for the show requesting segments about explaining rules to new players and DMs and also about Rituals (using them and their function in general), so you might consider that tact.

Anyways, I'm really looking forward to the segments you're cooking up! Since the show is recorded (generally) on Saturday morning, you would be well advised to get them to me by Friday ... it's just better that way. :)

Thanks again for all the help we get here on the show! This show is great because of the listeners, and I'm glad to have all of you onboard!

Jared Glenn
Host of The Power Source
www.powersourcepodcast.com

Building Characters
lorddreadman

So, I'm one of those odd D&D players. Old fashioned, a bit, without dismissing things just because they're new. On the other hand, neither am I beholden to anything for the simple fact that it is new. For instance, I was as frustrated as anyone else when 4E was announced. I mean, I owned every 3rd Edition book in print, and I was starting to feel like my collection was complete ... and then 4E. The idea of starting from scratch annoyed me to no end.

Well, that's not entirely true. It did end. Actually it ended pretty quick after seeing some of the philosophies in 4th Edition design. The idea of adventuring days that could go on much longer, and the eventual place that monster design ended up sold me on the concept right away. The way that characters suddenly all felt more different, yet more similar. They all operated in a simple way, yet the implementation was diverse. I felt for the first time that my character could be truely unique.

On the other hand, being unique had a price tag. Many of the classes were, necessarily, more complex than their 3E counterparts. As a result, really knowing your character became much more important. Luckily, the process of making a character usually allowed you to understand the class pretty well before playing it. And here's another thing that ended rather quickly.

I don't mean to be a sad sack. I'm not a pessimistic person, but can I say, without fear of reprisal, that I really dislike the Character Builder? Let's, for a moment, put the quirky programming, microscopic text, and restrictive boundaries aside. Frankly, that doesn't bother me too much. Nor should it. This is the best piece of character building technology that has been put out ... I think ever. Even despite all the annoying problems with it. Then again, I think that's why I dislike it so much.

I'm a player about as often as I'm a DM in D&D nowadays, though it wasn't always so. Therefore, I came to this opinion through both sides of the screen. I've found that nothing makes so aweful a player as using a character that was built via the character builder. They, invariably, don't know their powers. They play slower. They ask the DM to "back up" and let them do something they forgot. They usually fail to do any roleplaying, and they often lack any ability to think of their abilities in terms of the game world, favoring gamespeak almost exclusively.

This isn't an opinion that I came to last night. This has been nagging at me for months, perhaps a year, even. Let me postulate a few reasons that I think the Character Builder does harm to your game.

First, it's fast. It is obscenely easy to build a character with this thing. Only have 5 minutes? That's about what you need for a 1st level character, if you kind of know what you want to do. Combine this with the way that 4E is so well designed, with reletively few poor powers and almost no way to create a "bad" character, and you find the true problem. You really don't need to know your character to build one nowadays.

Second, the technical aspect, with the computer juggling numbers for you and presenting all your options as neat little buttons, makes it more difficult to grasp the story you're creating. 

Third, the Character Builder presents only options you qualify for. To me, this discourages working toward goals and creating a plan for advancement.

Finally, and I know this is a technical issue, but the way that feats, powers, and class features are presented makes rules checks at the table FAR more abundant than character sheets that have been written out.

Now, I know that this isn't hard and fast. I know that some players break the mold. However, in my experience, these things are, sadly, true. I'm no exception. When I use the Character Builder, my characters are more shallow, my turns last longer, and I spend more time looking up rules. It's true of every player I've been around. When you make your character by hand, you know your character. When you don't, you don't.

I think it comes down to a question. Would you rather make a character quickly, or have rounds and battles and scenes at your table move quicker?

For me, the answer is simple.

Jared
Host of The Power Source
www.powersourcepodcast.com

The Jester
lorddreadman

Okay, so I have here an answer that I gave to a forum thread over on the Paizo community site. People were discussing the Jester, my new class that just came out this last week, and began to ask for a description of its abilities and how it was designed. I think I did a pretty good job explaining, and ... well, there's no reason to reinvent it, so here it is:

I noticed that you wanted a brief overview of the class and, frankly, I'm glad to give it.

First off, Crimson Jester is talking about a 3rd Edition Jester and, while the 4E Jester is influenced by this past, the 4E Jester is quite different indeed.

For fluff, I didn't want a rehash of any of the arcane classes. That is, I didn't want the Jester's power to be in-born, studied, given via patron, or based on innate talent, like the other arcane classes. In the end, it came to focus on why a Jester would feel the need to act like a fool. I decided that Jesters keep their powers secret because their power is a resource available to anyone: a henge. A henge is a place where ley lines cross, but do not form a fey crossing as normal. Therefore, arcane energies pool there, bending natural law in strange and beautiful ways. Jesters are those who tap into this power, and then, for their own reasons, keep that power a secret by pretending that they don't know where their power comes from.

As far as mechanics go, the main mechanic that you'll want to try out is Jests. Every daily power for the Jester (Attack and Utility) has a rather normal attack and effect, but then grants you the use of a Jest. A Jest is an attack power that a Jester can use as a Minor Action. They have a number of rules to keep them in check, but they are also At-Will and can be used until the end of the encounter. In general, they don't deal damage, however (because the Jester is a Controller, not a Striker). Their effects usually keep enemies slowed, slid, or generally confused. In other words, the Jester doesn't tend to use a lot of burst and blast attacks because she prefers more precision with more attacks.

The main promise of the class is that you should be using your Minor Action every round, even at early levels. Your overall effectiveness on the battlefield is the same as a Wizard, but you are a bit better at precision control while being a bit worse at minion management. The class provides several ways to accomplish this, which keeps you busy with planning even when it isn't your turn.

I believe that this class should be simple enough for a new player to grasp (indeed, playtests show that it is), but it really does sing in the hands of someone who really knows the rules. In other words, this is kind of the "Shaman" of my classes (in that WotC considers the Shaman to be their most difficult class to master, even if not by much).

Finally, for those of your who love your implement as much as I do, I just want to say one thing: Decks. Jesters can wield Decks ... and it's awesome. Just sayin'. :)

Anyways, I'm glad to hear your feedback. If you want to leave it here, that's great, but sending it to me directly at powersourcepodcast@gmail.com would be even better. And speaking of the Podcast, if you like 4E (which I'm guessing you do if you're reading this), give us a listen at www.powersourcepodcast.com .


... And that was it. I'll be talking about the Jester more on The Power Source tomorrow, but I felt like this was a nice start. It really is a fun class (speaking as one who has played all the builds and had a blast), and, if you would like a closer look, check it out here. I really don't think you'll be disappointed. But then, it's me talking. =D

Until next time!
Jared Glenn
Host of The Power Source
www.powersourcepodcast.com



Solo Games!
lorddreadman
Okay, so you're sitting around on a night when you shouldn't just be sitting around. Say, Friday or Saturday night. I'm wondering, what do you do? Up until this last week, I imagine that my answer would be similar to yours: I'd play World of Warcraft to pass the time. Frankly, I wouldn't blame you. It's an awesome game.

On the other hand, you might be where I am right now. That is, bored of WoW. If you suffer from gamer fatigue for your favorite console game, allow me to ease your burden by suggesting that you try out a solo D&D game!

First off, if you're a DDI subscriber, this advice will be FAR more helpful than if you're not. Why? Well, the fact of the matter is that characters for 4E are complex; perhaps more complex than in any previous edition. In short, in order to play even the simplest 4E game, you're going to need a completed character sheet. Now aside from saving money and trees, it's simply faster to use the Character Builder and play while next to your computer, rather than printing each sheet up. That's just how things are.

Personally, I'm lucky enough to have a really nice wet-erase battle mat. This makes playing in any sphere a snap. Of course, more than any other form of D&D, playing solo makes it really simple to simply use graph paper and mark where you and the monsters are in the room. Kind of theatre of the mind, if you will.

Now, if you haven't tried it out yet, Dragon 382 has a fantastic Solo Adventure (an article I hope to see sequels for) called Dark Awakenings. It functions like a choose your own adventure book with combat encounters built in. I've already played it twice, and I'm pretty sure I'll end up trying it again.

Once you've tried this a few times, I'd understand if you were bored of the adventure, so I'll go ahead and up the ante for you. Want a REAL challenge? No ... I mean a really hard one. Try making up five characters and running them through an appropriate delve in the Dungeon Delve supplement. Now, you don't have to take my advice here, but may I suggest low heroic tier for this? Trust me, things are complex enough at first level with five PCs and several monsters. If, later, you want to try higher levels, be my guest. Heck, do 30th level the first time, if you want to. ... Just let me know how it went. I could always use a laugh. :)

Now, if you want to keep the complexity down, I have one more suggestion for you, friends. Don't attempt to run a single character against single monsters. Even the Dragon Solo Adventure gave you a companion character (thus, your character was never truly solo). Either construct a companion character (from the rules in the Dungeon Master's Guide 2), or (my preferred method) make two PCs and run them both. This is where the Character Builder is really handy, since you have have several sheets open at the same time.

Why two characters? Again, I'll need your trust on this, but a single character against a single monster starts to get boring. ... Yes, minions too.

The benefit of two characters in a "solo" adventure is mainly flexibility. You can use an elite monster, several varieties of minions, and even cool mixes of regular monsters. The fact of the matter is that 4E is kind of a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Lurkers beat controllers. Controllers beat minions. Minions beat defenders. Defenders beat skirmishers. And so on. By creating two characters, you can mix up the monsters you use with fun and interesting effects.

Well, that's about all I wanted to touch on this time! I hope to share a few of my solo experiences here soon, but I have a game of "A Penny For My Thoughts" to get ready for now. Good luck storming the castle ... all ... by ... yourself ....

Jared
Host of The Power Source
www.powersourcepodcast.com

The Deal With Scott
lorddreadman
Let's talk, Gamer Nation.

Frankly, I didn't want to talk about this; mostly because I'm not in the habit of flinging mud at people who I had, at one time, considered a friend. I regret that hate continues to be thrown at me, and I was content to let it happen to spare Scott any indignity, but as time goes on and people pressure me for information (and as Scott seems to actually believe what he has written regarding me) I've finally decided to be forthright with you, as a community. I'll be honest, but I'm not going to throw insults at Scott.

Let me tell you why I started this Podcast, The Power Source. First of all, I love D&D! Like many nerds, I was unpopular in High School (in most crowds), and the game cultivated my imagination and let me visit whatever locals I wanted to. In short, much of the person I am today is due to this game we all love, and I wanted to meet more people who enjoy the game as much as I do. Forums are nice, but things are often misunderstood in such an environment, and I prefer to talk things out.

Second, I enjoy Podcasts. Ever since I first heard the D&D Podcast with David Noonan's cool stories, I wanted more. I began to construct my favorite parts of Podcasts, and wished that some guy would actually do it. Indeed, I came up with the name of the show, its shtick, and several segment titles over a year ago, as I waited and hoped that somebody else would do it. I'm not a rich guy, and I knew I couldn't afford it. In the end, though, nobody made the show I wanted to hear. But I knew of the d20 Radio Network, so I decided I would stand up and contribute rather than sit back and wait. I really thought it was nice for people like Chris and Dave to give back to everyone listening, and I guess I finally realized that I needed to do some of that too. It took me two years to do it, but I finally did.

Luckily, I'd just sold my car and paid off a lot of debt. Honestly, I didn't really have the money, but I figured out every cost, worked hard, and then ... you know ... racked up a lot of money on my credit card. I'm not interested in talking about costs; that's not the important thing. The thing I'm trying to put across is that I'm not some rich guy fueling an ego trip. I'm a 24 year old substitute teacher who is working to get back into college, but who also wants to connect with other gamers.

When everything was set up, I put out a call on the WotC forums for a co-host. I'd always wanted the show to feature two regular hosts with guest hosts appearing each week. However, I was intent on putting up a show regardless of who wrote in.

Luckily, several people were interested. They were all fantastic people, but one of them was particularly fun to talk to. Of course, I'm speaking of Scott. We had interesting conversations and I was sure we could work something out. I want to be clear on one thing, however. I was clear from the start that, while on the show, we would be host and co-host, partners in bringing news, rumors, and advice to our listeners, but, off the air, in order for things to run smoothly, things needed to be run differently. In short, while there may be many cooks in the kitchen, one person needs to own the restaurant. We agreed that this was reasonable, and proceeded.

In the course of our discussions (we had two before the show aired), we decided to stick to my plans for the show, by and large. Scott was adamant that the show include a review section where we would tell people what books were worth buying, which is something I had originally planned for Divine News. Thus, Emerging From The Shadows was born. He also chose the name "On The In-Psion" for our D&D Insider section of the show, though he was, at first, tentative about reviewing that content. He also rewrote the show's slogan. I thought that they were similar enough and, thus, didn't care that he wanted to change it, but he really disliked "Bringing Epic To All Levels Of Play," and I wanted to help him feel invested in the show.

However, when I suggested the patterns for Martial Practices and Primal Worlds, he was against both. We squabbled over that for quite a bit, if I remember right, before I had to insist that it was important to me that the show include plenty of listener feedback and contributions. Of course, in the end it was included, but that hesitation has come back to haunt me ever since.

Scott and I had a great time on the show. I'll never say differently, because that's absolutely true. He was entertaining and fun to listen to (even if he was a pain to edit :) ), but, as time went on, I began to be concerned about his attitude toward the show. He consistently said that the show was perfect. That we were better than The Instance. That we were the best show in d20 Radio. While I enjoy some mock posturing, and I played along at first, it eventually became clear that he really believed that we had no room for improvement. Obviously, I took this lightly and continued, thinking that he was just high on "internet fame." In short, he'd grow out of it.

This came to fruition when I began to tell him that it was time to start bringing in Guest Hosts. This was met with stiff resistance. It took a lot of convincing to get Scott to allow Dustin on the show; indeed, much of his attitude toward the show was beginning to forget that I had stated the ultimate direction and destiny of the show, and I planned on sticking to it. Even when I suggested bringing some of his friends onto the Cast, he was resistant. Oddly, he was even against my interview on the DM Hotline. It was beginning to become clear that he was not interested in sharing The Power Source with anyone.

Let me stress, this never came out in the show. Our references to "bloody" preshows, however, are just barely an exaggeration. Over time, Scott became more and more pushy on how the show ought to be run. He would often refer to the show as a "business," as if the show itself were an asset, and listeners were consumers. This bothered me, of course, but Scott is an accountant, and that sort of language will happen, so I thought little of it.

At one point he even insisted that we read a rude letter on the show, but not respond to it as a way of mocking the writer. I was against this, but Scott was insistent and he ended up reading it. I seem to recall that we had less people write in the following week.

While it seems strange that that this went on in retrospect, I think I was just intent on keeping the show going. I didn't want to have to tell my family that I had wasted money on a Podcast that wouldn't be happening anymore. Thus, I stuck with it for two months.

Now we come up to the weeks before he left the Cast. I was certain that, with the proper incentive, he would come around. I simply wanted to make the show I had planned on, but I wanted my co-host to enjoy it too.

As I mention people by name, please remain civil. These people do not deserve any hate directed at them, as it has been directed at me. If you have strong feelings over the events I'm about to share, please direct them at me. These are all people I respect, and, while they might have been involved, the decision to let Scott go was mine, and mine alone.

I contacted Dave Noonan on his blog shortly before Thanksgiving weekend, inviting him to appear on the show. At the same time, Scott was beginning to put together a "Contributors" part of the site. I saw this as a great step forward, and I was happy to hear him suggest it. He asked Ryven (our contributor of the Aberrant Rules segment) to provide a short bio for the site. When I left for California that day, he had just sent it in. Ryven is, of course, a Podcaster himself and he included some information on his beliefs, as they are the subject of his Podcast. I was impressed at how well Scott replied to this, accepting the bio and encouraging Ryven to include it. I left for Thanksgiving a happy man.

When I arrived in California, I was surprised to find an e-mail from Scott. He was ecstatic! Dave Noonan had responded, and Scott appeared glad that I had contacted Dave. Of course, I was thrilled too. I hoped this would allow us to move into Guest Hosts for the show. As such, I mentioned that I would like to invite Dave onto the show. Scott immediately responded that he was okay with it.

Scott had already written to Dave before letting me know, but he had left out a few things: show times, recording schedule, ect. As such, I wrote to Dave as well and thanked him for responding and gave him that information.

What happened next was beyond the realm of belief, if you would have asked me. Scott wrote back to me a short time later, but it was not the Scott I had known up until then. He railed me for writing the last e-mail to Dave, claiming that I had done so without his permission. He claimed that we had decided nothing together, and told me that my unilateral decisions were out of order.

Surprised at his reaction, I tried to appeal to him. I reminded him that he had begun work on the contributors page with Ryven without my "permission." I reminded him that he had contacted Dave via e-mail without letting me know. I told him that this was okay because I trusted him.

He came back with another surprise. He described the situation with Ryven as a "disaster," and told me that I would need to contact him and tell him that we wouldn't be including information on his religious beliefs on the site. I told him that they were only mentioned and I was fine with it, but he seemed dissatisfied with my answer.

He complained that I was treating him like a Jr. Partner on the show, and told me that this business belonged to both of us. Again, I was surprised. I reminded him that we were not partners off the show, but that he was a consultant on the direction of the show, not the decision maker. In his next several responses, it became clear that Scott had blocked out the initial conversation entirely. He claimed that we were business partners again, and again.

At this point, he began to threaten me. He claimed that, if he went, The Power Source would go with him. He threatened legal action. He claimed to have contributed half of the concepts, materials, and work, which was, of course, ridiculous.

I want to be clear that I still wanted this to work, but I knew that it never would unless we understood how the show ran. I know you might not quite understand my desire here, but remember that bands are lost every day because one member leaves. Someone needs to have the final say. It just makes sense, and it allows shows to grow and progress.

Among the strange things in that conversation was his odd move to attempt to manipulate me. He began complimenting me, as if telling me to concede because I'm just that kind of guy. Among his many compliments, which I have to say were laced with condescension, he referred to me as "the next Mike Mearls." It really worried me that he believed that he could get what he wanted by stroking my ego. I decided to give the situation some thought, and we let the conversation lie at a truce.

At this point, I was truly worried that all my work would be for nothing. My Thanksgiving was spent worried and pacing, while my family talked in the other room. I knew something had to give. At last, it occurred to me to ask another Podcaster for an opinion: Scott Johnson. I knew that he had lost a co-host early in the history of The Instance, so I thought he might be able to help me.

I wrote to him. Honestly, I only had a shadow of belief that he would respond, but respond he did. While his situation with Andrew was different, he talked through the situation with me, advising me on what to do. He gave me a lot of really good advice, and when we were done talking, it was obvious that I had to let Scott Rehm go from the show. He reminded me that while a great restaurant may have many cooks in its kitchen, there still needs to be a manager. I was terribly upset by this realization, despite the completely unfair depiction of me being heartless over this matter, but I knew what had to be done.

When I returned from California, I called Scott Rehm on Skype and let him go from the show. He was, understandably, upset. I'm sure many of you have already read his statement on how upset he was, so I won't remind you. If he perceived the situation as unprofessional, I apologize. I am not in the habit of "firing" people. I didn't want to fire anybody. In the end, though, it was the right decision.

I understand those of you who say that the show lost something. I also believe it did, but I do not believe that Scott Rehm is the only man capable of filling that position. I understand those of you who dislike or even hate me. The information out there was heavily skewed in the direction of hating me. Indeed, I was happy to allow Scott to vent; I understood that his situation would hurt, and I didn't want to hurt him more. The reason I bring this out now is because it hasn't let up, and it needs to stop. We're all adults here, and I believe most people would have acted as I did in this situation.

I went through a lot for you, my friends, but I refused to allow The Power Source to become a second job with Scott Rehm as my boss. Especially after all the work and effort I put into making it a reality. This Podcast exists because I enjoy it, not because I'm making money on it. I'm not. I want to contribute to this community in a positive way, and I insist on making the community itself a part of it.

Surely, this sort of desire is not worthy of hatred. I had hoped to be friends with you, and I will continue to produce The Power Source because I still want that. Indeed, I had tried to salvage my friendship with Scott even as I told him that we needed to part ways, but he is adamant about hating me. Again, I understand, but I wish we could have stayed friends; indeed, I'm still friends with many old employers, even ones that let me go.

I want to end this off by stating that I still like Scott. He is a good friend (if he chooses to be yours). He is reliable. He is smart. He is funny. I, however, chose not to keep him as a boss, and, for that, I have received hatred from Scott himself and from many people I considered friends. I regret this reaction, but, allow me to be clear, I do not, nor have I ever, even once, regretted my decision. It was the right thing to do, and I'm happier today because of it.

Thank you to those who continue to support the show. Frankly, I don't know how you managed to keep liking me with that lack of information, but I do know that I appreciate it. Your participation means the world to me BECAUSE that's what the show was ALWAYS about. It's hard to say it straight in the show, but this show is really about you, and I intend to keep it that way.

I hope you can forgive me for keeping this to myself. I'm not a spiteful person, but I'm not dishonest either. I hope you can see that, and respect that I only write this after months of ignorant (at my fault, mind you) remarks concerning the situation.

To those of you who listen to The Power Source: The show will continue, so don't worry about that. I plan on getting another co-host soon, and I hope to continue bringing on Guest Hosts even then. Good gaming everyone, and you know how to contact me, if you wish.

Thanks for your time, and I'll be back later this week with Episode 15. :)

Jared
Host of The Power Source
www.powersourcepodcast.com

The POWA Line!
lorddreadman
First of all, if you're actually reading this, it's pretty likely that you listen to The Power Source, so that's what I'll be assuming!

Welcome out to my blog, Gamer Nation! This thing has been around for a while, but, once again, I'm trying to buckle down and put my thoughts out for you to see! Then, you know, you can comment on them. As long as people comment on this blog (positively, I hope), it'll stay fresh.

Anyways, I wanted to put out the word that The Power Source has finally set up a telephone number for you to call, ask questions, and leave bumpers! Of course, segments are best done through your computer still, but if you must use the phone number, you must.

Anyways, go ahead and give us a call at The POWA Line!

(559) 949 - POWA
OR (if you prefer)
(559) 949 - 7692

This is a great way to send in bumpers, questions, and comments so we can play them on the phone! I realize that having decent sound equipment on your computer can be tough for you guys out there, and I want everyone to be able to participate! Of course, you can still send us questions, comments, segments, and bumpers at powersourcepodcast@gmail.com . And you can give us a 5 Star Review on iTunes as well, if you already know it all (and if you do, why aren't you doing a segment?).

Thanks to those who continue to participate! This show is awesome, and that's because of you!

Jared
Host of The Power Source
www.powersourcepodcast.com

The Power Source
lorddreadman
You know, if I got around to writing here once in a while, this might be a pretty good blog. Then again ....

So you're wondering, what is he writing about today, and why? Well, as you've likely guessed, I'm one of those who loves the 4th Edition of D&D ... that's kind of what I blog about, after all. Well, now I've started Podcasting about it! Indeed, this post is pretty late to the party, as it turns out, since the Cast started about two months ago now. On the bright side, it is going strong and getting bigger every day!

So, I won't bother telling you all about it (mostly because that's what the website is for); instead, I'll give you the link, and let you get to the site! www.powersourcepodcast.com

One of the biggest parts of the show is our listener participation segment, Martial Practices, where we answer listener questions and comments. We also like to call out people who give us five star reviews on iTunes, and we almost always play segments that people send us ... and we always play the bumpers they send us. In order to do all that, you can contact Scott (my intrepid co-host) and I at powersourcepodcast@gmail.com . Send us your comments, questions, segments, and bumpers there, and we'll put them on the show!

Give us a listen, and tell us what you think! Remember, The Power Source is powered by you, so let's make this happen!

Jared
Host of The Power Source
www.powersourcepodcast.com

A Copper For My Will Save
lorddreadman

So, the other day I had the change to play "A Penny For My Thoughts," and I have to say that it was amazing! None of us at the table were an R. A. Salvatore, but the mechanics of the game managed to produce a fantastic story! Or, rather, stories.

The basic idea of the game is that you are a group of amnesiacs who are trying to recall their past lives. Through the use of a powerful drug you are able to "hear" each other's thoughts and guide them to their true past. The instructions in the book are given in character (as it were) so that your characters are assumed to have access to the same rules. It's really quite ingenious and gives a fantastic way for players to immerse themselves in the stories they are telling. I was impressed. I'd never played a game quite like it before, though I am anxious to try out another similar story telling game called Polaris (yes, I know the premise is entirely different).

The truly amazing facet of this game is that you end up with four complete and intriguing stories in just three hours! That's the whole game! Obviously, for more long-lasting stories, D&D reigns supreme, but I found these stories to be more satisfying than nearly any other game I've ever played. That was surprising, but welcome.

I hope, as I move forward in writing supplements for 4E and as I DM, I will be able to incorporate the lessons I picked up on while playing Penny. Anyone who enjoys role playing games (and especially DMs and developers) would benefit from playing this once or twice (or every day). Mr. Tevis, excellent work!

Until next time!
Jared Glenn

The Explorer!
lorddreadman

Welcome back ... perhaps more to myself than to you. I was on a bit of a roll a few months ago, but writing a book can draw a man away from his blog. That, of course, is what has happened.

Anyways, the time has come at last! My first publication, The Explorer, has finally hit the cyber shelves! This class is built to give that gritty and knowledgeable feel to a Martial class in the form of that Power Source's first Controller. Personally, when WotC announced that they would not be making a Martial Controller because it didn't fit their idea of either Martial or Controllers, I took that as a challenge.

Ever since I fully grasped what a Controller is in 4E, I found it easy to think about Indiana Jones in that light. He habitually takes multiple bad guys on, more depending on their failures than his own successes. He is daring, but mortal. Above all, he's not above throwing dirt in someone's eyes or pushing that same guy off a cliff.

I built the Explorer to paint that sort of a character into 4E. The Explorer is a versatile warrior who can stand his own in melee, but has tricks to allow him to fire at range whenever necessary, allowing him to neutralize distant threats the way Controllers must. Just as with Dr. Jones, the Explorer is tricky in combat, using terrain to her benefit and the benefit of her allies. Depending on your choice of build, your options are large and varied. The book, as it stands now, offers THREE builds with complete options for each. This book was in playtesting for (I felt) an eternity because of the massive amounts of options that needed to be analyzed. It's a relief to finally be able to discuss them candidly.

Last night, I was playing my Explorer class again. This particular adventure has only been going for two weeks, but what weeks they have been! He's a Githzarai (yeah, the new version) named Cormyr Johnson ... yes, the reference was entirely intentional. In truth, at first I wanted to be more styled in another direction, but, when I thought about it, I decided that I hadn't tested if the class could make someone feel like Indiana Jones. Well, I have good news for Indie fans: it worked perfectly. I've done crazy swinging-from-my-bullwhip stuff. I've turned tripped up monsters that try to charge. And, in a couple levels, I'm taking a daily that lets me punch someone out. By the way, did I mention we're searching for lost artifacts? Yeah, we are.

I'm not one to tell you to just believe me. Go try it! I promise, for the fun I've had with the class, the price tag is worth it. Heck! I pay that much to WoW each month, and don't have the kind of consistent fun I've had these past few weeks.

http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=63901&filters=0_0_0_31813

Well, the path to adventure waits for you! Grab your pack, your whip, and your anti-venom. It's gonna be a bumpy ride!

Jared

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