Frequently Asked Questions - The Answers

What is DragonSpawn?
     DragonSpawn is a role-playing game system. It is not an on-line game, a play-by-mail game, a MUD, or a MUSH. It is meant to be played by a small group of people gathered in one place, using dice, paper, and your imagination.
     In this game, players take on the role of characters who are faced with some task to accomplish. This task is assigned by the Game Master, who generally controls the flow of the game. The task may be clearly defined, such as the rescue of a prisoner, or it may be vague or almost undefined. The players then role-play their characters to attempt to finish that task.
     Along the way, the characters will encounter many roadblocks to accomplishing their tasks; traps, monsters, and riddles are just some of the obstacles that the Game Master can set before them.
     Although the characters may finish the task set before them, the game is not over. There is no winning or losing in DragonSpawn. The Game Master will simply lay out new tasks for the characters to reach. Each time a goal is achieved, the characters will gain new skills and new abilities in order to face tougher and tougher challenges.
     The only limit is your imagination.
Where do I get it?
     DragonSpawn is freely available to any and all who want it on the Internet at https://dragonspawn.naujok.com, the DragonSpawn home page.
     The game itself is composed of five rulebooks which are available in both Microsoft Word 97 format and in HTML format. The rulebooks are given out free of charge.
How do I play?
     DragonSpawn requires at least two people to play, one to be the Game Master, and one to role-play one or more characters. Each player should have dice and paper.
     The Game Master (GM) will have created a scenario, or campaign for the players. This campaign includes the world that the adventure will occur in, the tasks that the characters need to accomplish, and the obstacles that the character will face.
     To begin, the GM will either provide you with characters to play, or he will have you create your own characters. If you need to create your characters, you will roll dice to generate your ability scores, and then choose skills for your character to learn. You will also pick such esoteric items as the character's name, race, and gender.
     Then the GM will guide you through various situations and conflicts until one of two events occur: you achieve your goal, or all your characters die or are captured. In the case of the second event, this may actually become a new campaign, for the characters to escape their captors.
     For more detail on how to play, please consult the Game Player's Guidebook available on the DragonSpawn page.
Who is Jeff Naujok?
     The short answer: The author of DragonSpawn.
     The long answer: Jeff Naujok is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee system, with a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, with honors. He minored in English with emphasis on creative writing and Arthurian Literature. He is married with two children, and is currently residing in Colorado Springs, Colorado where he is employed by LMI (Formerly Synaptech) as a Technical Principal Architect.
Why isn't xxxx finished?
     The DragonSpawn role-playing game system is being distributed absolutely free of charge. That also means that the author, Jeff Naujok, doesn't receive a penny for writing it. It is solely a labor of love for the author. However, the author also has other responsibilities.
     Since most of these other responsibilities involve earning money, Jeff has little choice but to place DragonSpawn well down on his list of things to do. That's why there are often long draughts of inactivity between updates to the books. At this time, Jeff is hoping to finish some of the rule books before the milenium comes to a close [Yeah, I failed on that one.] That may not sound like an especially ambitious schedule, but it's outpacing several other free games available on the web. For example, the DragonNet game hasn't seen an update since 1996, and it's had over a dozen people working on it.
Where are the rules for...
     Well, if they aren't in the rulebooks, there are one of two possibilites. One - there are no rules for (whatever). Some things just haven't been considered, or are rare enough that rules were decided to be unnecessary for the game books. Detailing every single possible rule is not only a daunting task, it may well be impossible.
     Two - They haven't been written yet. DragonSpawn is an evolving game system. If I come across a rule that needs writing, I try to put it into the game. Because I am still working on the rule books, they can't be considered finished and may still change.
     Finally, if you need a rule, and it's not detailed, feel free to make it up. Write your own. Most likely, if you're reading this question, then you are the GM, and you need an answer. Make it up. Use your head. And if you think the rule you made up is good, send it to me! If I like it, it may become part of the rule-books, and I'll list your name among the credits for the book.
What is a Game Player?
     A Game Player, or just player, is the person who controls the action of a character within the game of DragonSpawn. A player makes decisions about what their character will do in each and every gaming situation. The persona that the player creates for that character provides the depth of the role-playing experience.
     In other words, as a player, you say what you want your character to do, and, when your character is talking, you as the player, are the voice of that character. For example, your character is in a combat situation, and you, as the player, want him to attack the monster he is fighting. Your character is named Zilfin. You, as the player would say, "Zilfin attacks the monster." Then you would roll dice to see if the attack was successful, and how much damage you did to the monster. However, if Zilfin is in a situtation where he must negotiate, you, as the player, would take on Zilfin's persona, and attempt to negotiate as if you were him. Usually, the Game Master will play the oponent in a dialogue. This is the only time in the game where you play out the role of your character.
     Of course, you must follow the rules of the game, as dictated by the Game Master. His (or her) word is final. In addition, you should have a good knowledge of the rules laid out in the Game Player's Guidebook, which is the primary reference material for a player in DragonSpawn.
Where can I get help with...
     The best place to start is with the Game Player's Guidebook. The guide provides you with most all of the knowledge needed to play a character in DragonSpawn.
     The next step in looking for help is to turn to your Game Master. Because they control the game, they will always have final say on a point of rules. They also have access to more information, namely the information in the Game Master's Guidebook.
     Finally, you can always contact the author of DragonSpawn. He's usually more than willing to answer questions from Game Players on any of a variety of topics. He won't guarantee to have the best answer, but it'll be an official answer.
Where are the rest of the Chapters?
     They aren't written yet.
     Now I know that's not the answer you're looking for, but until such time as I get about a month's vacation to just work on DragonSpawn, that's the best I can do. While the Game Player's Guidebook is number one on the list of things to do for DragonSpawn, that still makes it about number twenty on my overall list of things to do.
     Hopefully, at some point, I will have had the time to finish the Game Player's Guidebook. It's a monumental task, but I'm hoping to see the end of it sometime.
Where are all the magic spells?
     There aren't any.
     You heard me right. There aren't any. There are a few commonly known spells which will be detailed in the Game Master's Guidebook. Those spells are designed to be given to low level magi who are just starting out in the world. But most of the spells come from research by the magi. If you want a spell that does a certain thing, research it. That's what the rules for researching spells are there for. It even says, right up front, that uncommon spells are often unique in the world of DragonSpawn.
     There will be a few more spells listed in the Mystic Arcanna guidebook for players, and a large number of spells in the Mystic Arcanna Guidebook for Game Masters.
How do I start a game?
     You find a Game Master.
     Game Master's control the game of DragonSpawn. If you want to start a game, you need at least one Game Master and one player. There can be any number of players with one Game Master, although groups of four to seven players seem to make the best mix.
     The Game Master will prepare a campaign or adventure for your characters, and then you will embark on a game of DragonSpawn.
Where do I get the software?
     There isn't any software. This is not a computer game. This is a real, live, face to face game of human interaction. There are no computers needed to play the game.
     Now, admittedly there are a large number of utilities available for helping both players and Game Masters, and there is nothing that says you can't use a computer with the game, but, to reiterate, no computers are needed.
Where do I get the cards?
     There aren't any. This is not a collectible card game like Magic: The GatheringTM. This game is a role-playing game, which uses conversation and dice rolls to determine the outcome of a situation. Consider it Magic: On Steroids. This game has a plot, and an arc of action, called a campaign, where your character can gain in power, not by collecting more cards, but by gaining more experience.
     The longer you play, the more skilled your character will become. All at no extra charge.
Will it run on my computer?
     Nope. It's not a computer game.
What is a Game Master?
     A Game Master, or GM is the one who creates and conducts the adventure or campaign that the characters embark upon. Game Masters control the game from the same perspective that the narrator of a story controls the story.
     In other words, as the GM, you should see yourself as the lead story teller, and the players are in the role of the characters in the story. You set up the scene, and the characters play out their roles within it.
     Unlike free-form role-playing, there are rules that you enforce within the scenes. Most of the rules deal with things that would normally be random. If a character is trying to walk a rope stretched between two buildings, then the dice will decide whether that character is skilled enough not to fall. You, as the GM will decide what the total of the dice needs to be for the attempt to succeed or fail. That is the role of the GM, the final arbiter of the rules of the game.
Where can I get Help?
     Assuming that you already checked the rules in the Game Master's Guidebook, the next best place to go is other Game Masters. There are several places on the Internet which cater to Game Masters. The Game Master's mailing list (Send a message with the text "subscribe gmast-l" to majordomo@phoenyx.net) is a good place to start.
     Other Game Masters have probably gone through exactly what you are doing right now, and are usually more than willing to help you out.
     Finally, you can always contact the author of DragonSpawn. He's usually more than willing to answer questions from Game Masters on any of a variety of topics. He won't guarantee to have the best answer, but it'll be an official answer.
Where are the rest of the Chapters?
     They aren't written yet.
     Now I know that's not the answer you're looking for, but until such time as I get about a month's vacation to just work on DragonSpawn, that's the best I can do. In fact, the Game Master's Guidebook is dead last on the list of things to do. It garners the least interest of all the rule books on the DragonSpawn web site.
     Hopefully, by the start of 2003, there will be a complete list of all the chapters in the Game Master's Guidebook, with short descriptions of each chapter so that you know what's coming. However, I wouldn't expect a lot of details until the other books are more complete.
Where are the Magic Items?
     Magic Items are listed in the Game Master's Guide to Mystic Arcana.
What's in the Catalog?
     Monsters. Creatures of myth and legend, creatures I made up after a bad nightmare. Nasty guys. The guys who are out to get you. In short, Dangerous Creatures.
     In other words, if you are a player, these are the guys that the Game Master is going to put in your way. If you're powerful enough, cunning enough, or just plain lucky enough, you'll eliminate the monster and take one step closer to your goal. If not, you're in deep trouble.
     If you're the Game Master, then these are your friends, your little minions, used to stand in front of the characters to see if you can take them down a notch or two. Of course, as GM you should realize that with this beastiary, you can pretty much eliminate the characters in a heartbeat. The goal of the GM is to strike a balance where the monsters are an even match for the characters, neither too weak, nor too strong.
Where are the rest of the monsters?
     I'm working on it. It takes a long time to write up the monsters, and if you've been reading earlier FAQ items, you know that time is one commodity which I am very, very short on.
     If there's a particular monster you'd like to see, and it's not copyrighted by some other corporation, feel free to submit it to the new Monster of the Month competition. Look for it on the main menu.
     It is my earnest hope that I will have a catalog of about 200 creatures when I close the book. Considering my current schedule, a date around mid 2004 is probably when that will happen.
What about the...
     If it's a classical mythological monster, I'm working on it. If it's not, and it's not copyrighted, you have two choices. Go to the comments page and write me a request for the monster, or, create the monster yourself and submit it to the Monster of the Month competition.
     Otherwise, wait for the Catalog of Dangerous Creatures II.
Can I play a Dragon Character?
     Ask your GM, not me.
     All of the creatures in the catalog are listed in the same terms of attributes as a player character. If your GM likes to experiment, and doesn't mind critters as powerful as dragons running around under player control, then the answer is yes.
     If the GM says no, then that's the answer.
What is Mystic Arcanna?
     Mystic Arcanna is a rather obscure term for "old magic." In the DragonSpawn usage, it's a guidebook devoted to nothing but magic. In fact, it's two guidebooks, one for the player, and one for the Game Master.
     The player's version contains information on specialty magic and magecraft skills. It also includes a section on how to write a good description of a spell for research. It has another section on the steps a player must take to manufacture magical items.
     The Game Master's version contains everything in the player's version along with a listing of common magical items which have appeared on Kroth, the DragonSpawn home world, as well as further information on spell research and magic item creation. In addition, it contains a list of some of the more powerful magic spells so that the GM doesn't need to create new spells for every NPC.
     Both of these books are to be completed sometime in 2004, at least at the current rate of work. Of course, schedules are always subject to change. I mean who knows, I may win the lottery, in which case it'll get finished much sooner.
Why are there two books?
     One for players, one for Game Masters. This is because the Game Master needs some additional information about how to adjudicate spell research and other magic related items that the player does not need.
Do I need to download them both?
     If you are a player, then download the player's version. If you are a GM, then download the GM's version. The Game Master's Guide to Mystic Arcanna contains all the information that is in the player's guide as well as the Game Master's information.
Where are the rest of the Chapters?
     They aren't written yet.
     Now I know that's not the answer you're looking for, but until such time as I get about a month's vacation to just work on DragonSpawn, that's the best I can do. In addition, the Mystic Arcanna guidebooks are third on my list of things to do (judging by the number of hits each page receives). Therefore, given my current schedule, I wouldn't expect them to be finished for quite a while yet.
     Hopefully, by the middle of 1999, I will have had the time to finish the Mystic Arcanna Guidebooks. It's a monumental task, but I'm hoping to see the end of it sometime around then.
Who is Jerrad Telivan?
     Jerrad is an adventurer in the world of Kroth, the original campaign world of DragonSpawn. Jerrad is somewhat unique in that he kept a journal of all of his travels in the world of Kroth, and we are priviliged enough to be able to translate and print parts of it on the web site to provide an insight, that would otherwise be unavailble, into the workings of Kroth.
     However, Jerrad's journals are extensive and are all written in Epsilch, the common language of the Great Kingdom, thus it takes us a while to translate and format the entries into English and provide them to you. Thus, there will be a new journal about once a month.
What are the Footnotes?
     Jerrad is a native of Kroth, and so some of the terms he uses will be unfamiliar, and Jerrad (at least in his early journals) is somewhat naive. So, where the editor can add extra information to what's in the journal, that information appears in the footnotes.

DragonSpawn is Copyright © 1996 - 2022, by Jeffrey R. Naujok. All rights reserved.