Ego Check: Tracy Hurley of Sarah Darkmagic

One of the blogs that assisted me during the early stages of forming an identity as a Dungeon Master was Sarah Darkmagic. The author’s description of her process of taking on the DM role and its many challenges was inspiring. The site also featured a number of Downloadable Delves that I was able to easily insert into my campaign, which saved me a great deal of time and stress while preparing sessions for my players.

Once I started my interviews, I had targeted the writer of Sarah Darkmagic, Tracy Hurley, as a subject for an interview. Over the past few months, Tracy was kind enough to share some time with me to discuss a variety of topics. For those of you who are familiar with her writing, she expresses herself intelligently and passionately. Her talents have taken her from blogging on her own site to writing a column for Wizards of the Coast. Below, she discusses a variety of topics including her first steps into roleplaying games and her views on sexism in the RPG industry.

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There And Back Again: Traveling to Middle Earth

I just spent two weeks in New Zealand.

That is a sentence I never thought would be factual. Since watching The Lord of the Rings many making-of documentaries, I’ve always wanted to travel to New Zealand to visit the wondrous locations used to re-create Middle Earth.

Thankfully, my wife is also a huge nerd and would be more excited to meet Richard Taylor than Orlando Bloom. We decided years ago to save up both vacation time and money to make the trip a reality. And this month, we set forth on our journey. I realize this is not a travel blog, and it is not my intention to update everyone on any future comings and goings – excluding GenCon, of course! But the trip invigorated my inner geek because I spent two weeks trekking through a living, breathing fantasy-like landscape. Knowing how fortunate I was to spend an extended period of time in this magical country, I wanted to share my experience with those interested enough to read about the trip. And to encourage everyone with every fiber of my being to travel to New Zealand. Especially if you are a nerd. Do it at some point in your life! I know it is expensive; it’s worth every dollar.

Below, I provide some reactions to the trip and describe how my journey to New Zealand inspired me as a roleplaying gamer.

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No Assembly Required – Durgauthbalavoar, Ghost Dragon

My monthly monster-building column, No Assembly Required, has once again returned to This Is My Game as the site has been taken over by Randall Walker and Tracy Barnett. They are eager to maintain and improve the site, so I am excited they will be hosting the No Assembly Required series moving forward!

The column, No Assembly Required, features a monster that can be inserted into a Dungeon & Dragons 4th Edition campaign. Each monster in the series includes comprehensive information including Origin, Lore, Combat Tactics, Power Descriptions and Stat Block. Visit This Is My Game to review this month’s monster, Durgauthbalavoar, Ghost Dragon. Durgauthbalavoar is an Epic-Tier monster who should provide the foundation for a dynamic combat encounter for any group of adventurers.

The mechanics for the dragon were inspired by my frustration of having too many combat encounters turn into static slugfests where enemies and players rush to one spot in a room and then trade blows until one group dies. Durgauthbalavoar is surrounded by various Auras – some that effect PCs nearby, and some that effect PCs far away – in addition to a teleportation power that will shift the flow of battle.

As always, the fantastic artwork is provided by Grant Gould. Visit This is My Game for the full description of Durgauthbalavoar, the spirit of an evil dragon slain long ago only to return to terrorize the lands once again! Please post any questions or comments about the monster here or at This Is My Game, and come back next month for another ready-to-use monster.