Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dungeons & Dragons 30 Day Challenge: Day 6 – Favorite Deity

Favorite Deity… man, this is a tough one, because I don’t often play a cleric or other divine classes, and most of the time I’m the DM, so I usually end up playing whatever deity is needed for the story. Plus, there were so many pantheons and mythos available in D&D over the years, including all the ones made up for the various settings as well as the real world mythos that were made available in various incarnations of the Deities and Demigods books.

However, in really thinking about it, I think if it came down to it and I had to pick just one deity that I really liked above all the others, it would be the Raven Queen.

I mean, let’s be honest, she’s a total bad-ass. She went from being the girlfriend of the old God of the Dead only to kick his ass and take his place. Then, she went on to demand the portfolio of winter as payment for her participation in a godly war. She’s fair in her judgments of the dead, manages to be one of the few neutral gods that is actual neutral, and her most hated enemy is Orcus. How cool is that?

Plus, I’m kind of a Neil Gaiman fan, and I love the idea of a death goddess that looks like Death from the Sandman graphic novels.

So, there you have it. Short write up today, but I just didn't have much to say about this one.

Until next time, keep remembering the future!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Dungeons & Dragons 30 Day Challenge, Day 5 – Favorite Set of Dice\Individual Die

This day poses an interesting question… favorite set of dice. Or individual die, if you choose. I’m slightly confused by this… is this the favorite dice I own? Or a favorite die that a particular die manufacture makes?

I’m assuming that it’s a set I own. So, going by that, I have a couple of answers.

For individual dice, I’d have to say it’s my Torg d20. For those that don’t remember, Torg was an RPG created by West End Games back in the ‘90’s, in which Earth was invaded by different realities, who brought their realities and universe rules with them, transforming pieces of Earth into their reality. The die came with the boxed set of the game, and is a red and blue swirl pattern that, I believe, is unique to each die. The colors are important in game, because items that have this blue and red swirl pattern are usually special artifacts. It’s a pretty unique die, and with all the people that I have gamed with over the years, I’m the only one I know that has one. And I just love it.

As for a set of dice, I’m not sure if this counts, because they’re all d10’s, but my favorite set is the Vampire The Masquerade set I bought several years ago. They are also a pretty unique looking, with the green textured color that matches the book covers, including a little splotch of red on one point. The numbers are colored gold, and the 1 on the die is actually a rose, matching the cover of the main rule book. They’re completely awesome looking.

As for dice that I don’t own, this one is easy. Hand’s down, it has to be any die made by Artisan Dice. This guy takes all kinds of woods, from pretty common to very rare, and makes dice sets out of them. They are totally awesome looking, and again, are a pretty unique looking set. I’d own a set, but they cost more than I can currently afford for dice. Worth the cost, I just can’t afford it.

So, there you have it, my favorite dice/individual die.

So, until next time, when I discuss my favorite Deity, keep on remembering the future!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dungeons & Dragons 30 Day Challenge – Day 4: Favorite Gameworld

So, I sat down to write this post and then realized that I didn’t know what my answer was. So, I got up, and started doing whatever chores I could think to do… washed the dishes, got the bed ready for sleeping, forced my son to finish his bath (as opposed to just laying around in the water half-assedly moving lego boats around)… and then I ran out of things to do, so I came back here and still didn’t have an answer. So, I went to my game shelf, hoping that looking at my D&D books would refresh my memory.

I have played or ran so many games set in so many published settings… Mystara, Dark Sun, Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, The World’s Largest Dungeon, and quite a few others that might not count as D&D settings, such as Dragon-Star.

And then, of course, was my home brewed world of Yerth. I had been working on Yerth for about 5 years before I finally ran a campaign set it in. The campaign was based around the idea that the prophesied End Times had finally arrived, and only the party could stop the world from being destroyed. It ran for over a year, and everyone had a great time and loved the setting.

But when I was looking at my books, I remembered one setting that I just loved to pieces, even though most of my players just thought it was too silly. And that setting was…


Yes, D&D in space! I loved it all. Wooden space ships! Crystal Spheres! Traveling to any game world you wanted to, and a few you didn't! It was completely awesome. I even briefly ran a Star Trek themed setting using Spelljammer as the basis and the D&D races as replacement races for Trek ones (elves for Vulcans, drow for Romulans, orcs for Klingons, dwarves for Tellerites, etc..). We didn’t get through to many setting of Spell Trek, but it was fun.

Yes, it’s true the setting got a little silly (I shall ignore all comments about Giant Space Hamsters), but some of that silliness was part of its charm. I mean, where else were you going to find hippo-men with flint lock pistols sailing across a rainbow colored sea of space alongside swashbuckling dwarves and tinker gnomes everywhere.

So, short post today, but there you have it. My favorite Gamworld: Spelljammer.

Until next time, when I discuss my favorite Game World, keep on remembering the future!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Dungeons & Dragons 30 Day Challenge: Day 3 – Favorite Playable Class

So, yesterday turned out to be way busier than I had expected (busy in a good way, though), and It didn't occur to me that I never got in a blog post yesterday until half way through today. And now here it is tonight, and I still haven’t done today’s post. So, I have a few moments now, and thought I’d get it down.

Continuing on with our D&D 30 day challenge, today I will attempt to figure out which of all the playable classes that have existed in this game is my favorite. And believe me, there are a LOT of classes to choose from. Beyond the old standards of Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, Rogue, there’s the odd classes ranging from the ones from TSR’s Unearthed Arcana like the Thief Acrobat and the Cavalier, to the plethora of classes released for 3rd edition, including the Psionicist, the Warlock and the Favored Soul, never mind the mind-mindbogglingly large array of prestige classes, to the ever growing list of classes in 4th edition that include the new takes on old classes like the Shaman and the Artificer to its more original classes like the Warlord. It’s kind of hard to narrow it down to just one.

So, I've decided to talk about my favorite class from each edition. Bear with me, there are far fewer of those than overall classes.

A quick note here to state that I am playing the D&D Next Playtest, but I won’t talk about character classes for that one because A) they’re not complete and B) for now, they’re the old stand by classes of Fighter, Cleric, Rogue and Wizard (and a few others).

1st edition: I was going to say Bard, due to the fact that it wasn't a base class like these young whippersnappers have today, but a class you had to work hard to get into, and even then it wasn't a guarantee. In 1st edition, when someone said they were a Bard, he was a bad-ass, and you knew it. However, as cool as that was, the truth of the matter is, my favorite class to play back in the day was the Thief. I never went in for the thief sub-classes like assassin or thief-acrobat, just a straight up thief. My favorite character from when I played back then was a half-elf thief. I decided that if I were going to play a half-breed with a class called thief, I was going to play it up. So he was the bastard son of a whore and some random elf dude, who grew up poor learning to thieve on the streets. I had no idea at the time just how cliche that really was, but he was a total blast to play.

2nd edition: I never really played 2nd edition much. I was so used to 1st ed, I had a hard time adjusting to it all being streamlined like it was. Still, a friend ran a 2nd edition game once, and I had a good time in it. But, given that there really wasn't a huge difference between 1st and 2nd edition, I would still say thief. Being able to unlock the cage you’re trapped in by using straw from the floor rocks.

3rd edition: This one gets a little tricky. As I noted above, there are a whole bunch of “core” classes for this edition, not only released by Wizards, but also by third party publishers. In addition, there are all the prestige classes, to make things more interesting. That said, I think I’m going to have to go with the sorcerer. This is mostly for flavor, I love the idea of a spell caster who gets his ability from having dragon blood in his family history. My favorite all time character was a half-orc sorcerer, who took a prestige lass that bound a demon to him as his skin. Creepy as hell, and he made the rest of the party nervous, but he was a complete blast to play!

4th edition: Here’s where we enter the territory of the most bitter battles of the Edition Wars. I know that there are a LOT of people out there that just HATE 4th edition with the passion of a 1000 burning suns. I, however, am a part of the even larger group of people that happened to enjoy 4th edition. I played as a PC in a few games and ran a campaign for over a year before it finally broke up due to a lot of changes happening in my life at the time. And one of the reasons I love this edition is because of the introduction of class “roles.” You could now make a party that did not NEED to include specific classes to survive. You just needed to included one of each of the four roles, and you were good. And my favorite class from this edition? Warlord, hands down. I love the idea of a fighter that’s also a leader and a healer. His healing powers are a little wonky from a flavor standpoint, but it worked out great mechanically, and he was one of the most unique and fun classes to play. And combine a Warlord with a Rogue on the battle field, and watch out! The enemy doesn't stand a chance.

And so, there you have it. My favorite classes from each edition of D&D.
So, until next time, when I discuss my favorite Game World, keep on remembering the future!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dungeons & Dragons 30 Day Challenge, Day 2: Favorite Playable Race

What is my favorite playable race? Hmmm… that’s a tough one to answer. It really depends on the type of character I’m making. I tend to like to play characters that mix odd race-class combinations. I’ve made everything from Halfling fighters in 1st edition to gnome barbarians in 3rd edition, including one of my favorite characters, a half-orc sorcerer, whom I’ll discuss more in the Favorite Character post. I’ve only DMed in 4th edition, I haven’t actually played in as a player yet, so as far as the new races there goes, I rather liked the Goliath.

I think, though, that if I were forced to choose one playable race out of all the available races in all the editions available to me, I would have to go with Halfling. The wee folk tend to get over looked a lot, unless you’re planning on playing a rogue, which I think is a shame. Not as much as gnomes, true, but still, they do get looked over for any class other than rogue. But Halflings offer so much potential, in terms of role playing, that it’s far too munchkiney to just pick it for one class because it’s best at it for me. I love Halflings in other roles, because no one expects it. DMs don’t often know how to deal with a Halfling monk, and it really screws with the minds of your fellow players when you make the Halfling a cleric. And a Halfling fighter is just great. Getting right up there in combat, short sword and shield at the ready.  They just offer so much great fun for the odd class combinations. 
He will, he will, rock you!

I love to imagine all the role-playing opportunities I could have with a Halfling bard, singing the song of his long wandering people, having traveled the world for long before becoming an adventurer, his bardic lore is represented by stories and fables told by his people. He’s basically a gypsy with a lute. How can you not love a character like that?

And, so, there you have it. My favorite playable race. Halflings. I guess that was an awful lot to go through just to get to that one answer... still, this is a blog, and a simple "My favorite race is..." just wouldn't have done.

I’ll see you all again tomorrow for a discussion of my favorite playable class. Until then, keep on remembering the future!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dungeons & Dragons 30 Day Challenge, Day 1: How I Got Started

How did I get started? Wow, that’s a question shrouded in the mists of history. I’m not sure I can remember all the details.

This thing right here started it all.
I had to have been about 8. My brother had been playing Dungeons & Dragons for a little while at this point, using the now classic original Red Box that my father had bought him. And all I can remember was that big dragon on the cover, and being told that it was like playing a game of the Hobbit, only we get to be the characters and decide on what happens. And with that description, I knew I wanted to play.

I can’t remember who the DM in that first game was, my dad or my brother, but it was my dad that convinced my brother to let me play. I remember being in a small group, I think of friends of mine at the time from school. We rolled up characters, which was a cool experience. Remember, we knew nothing of min/maxing or race/class combo’s. Races weren't even an option, really, Elf and Dwarf were classes. What we did know was that we could make up our own fantasy heroes, characters that novels would be written about, and that would maybe show up in a Rankin/Bass animated movie.

I made up a dwarf, because I loved the idea of a burly, stocky warrior with a massive battle axe. I can’t remember what I called him, but I remember that many goblins were slain by his axe that first adventure. I also don’t recall there being much of an actual story in that first game. We entered an underground complex, fought monsters and took their loot. I do remember that this dwarf of mine died in a blaze of glory taking on some large creature, like an ogre or something similar.

Over the years, my dad was the DM for many of the adventures that my friends and I would play through, and eventually, I started DMing on my own, because my dad wasn't always available, because I wanted to tell the stories, and because I had the rule books. I've since gone on to play other games over time, but I always seem to come back to good old Dungeons & Dragons. Not for nostalgia’s sake. But because it’s a good game, and always a lot of fun.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Dungeons & Dragons 30 Day Challenge

So, I've realized the past few days that I've totally neglected my blog. I thought that I should remedy that, but couldn't figure out what to talk about. Then, I saw this on a friend's website.

I though this sounded fun, and figured that, if nothing else, it would get me writing a blog post every day for a month. Hopefully, by the end, I'll be in the habit of writing every day again, and will keep things up. I guess we'll see.

In the mean time, starting tomorrow (or later today, if work permits), I'll be doing this. Should be a blast, and I hope you all enjoy it.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Daddy, I’m Bored, a true story of me and my son

This is a true story, that happened to me this morning.

I’m getting ready to leave for work, putting on my shoes, when I look over at my kid eating his breakfast with this forlorn look on his face.

“What’s wrong, kiddo?” I ask.

“I’m bored,” he said.

I laughed, but he looked at me with all the seriousness that an 8 year old can.

“So, go do something,” I said.

“What?” he asked.

I thought for a moment. Then, I responded with this.

“Go in your room and get a figure. Put it on the bookshelf behind you, and say it’s a Prince that’s been captured and locked in a tower. Get another figure and put it next to him. That’s the evil villain that’s captured the prince. Then, get some other toys in your room, and make them the heroes that have to rescue the prince.”

He giggled.

“They have to travel all the way from your room, across the living room, into the dining room and up the bookshelf to face the villain and rescue the prince. Along the way they have to face many dangers.”

“Like what?” he asks.

“Monsters and traps,” I answer. “The haunted couch. The giant cat that guards the door.”

He giggled again, but this time he got up. He went to the cat to look at her staring out the door at the birds outside, and smiled. I smiled back at him.

“Get some of your stuffed animals and placed them around the house,” I said. “Those are the monsters that the heroes have to battle on the way to the bookshelf.”

Then, we went into his room, and I look around. I found a lego knock-off figure that looked something like an astronaut. I picked him up, and held it up to him.

“This is the Prince,” I said.

He picked up his stuffed Yoda doll.

“And this is the evil Yoda that has captured him,” he said.

We walked out to the dining room and put the prince in a corner of the bookshelf, and he placed the Yoda doll next to him. Then we went back to his room, and I grabbed two teddy bears that were on the floor. I brought them out into the living room and put them on the green lazy-boy chair.

“These are the two dire bears that live on the Green Mountain and guard the weapon the heroes need to defeat the evil Yoda.”

“You mean, the Golden Lightsaber?” he said.

“Yes, the Golden Lightsaber.”

Then, he picked up two clothes hangers and hooked them together. He pointed to the white blanked that was on top of the chair.

“On top of the Green Mountain was the White Hills, where the hook trap is.”

“Fantastic,” I said.

Sadly, that was when I noticed the time, and realized I had to leave.

“I gotta go, kiddo,” I said. “But you keep going. And when I pick you up from camp today, I want to hear the story of the heroes that rescued the Prince.”

“Okay,” he said, as he carefully put the hook trap on top of the White Hills.

I left the house with a good feeling in my heart, and the promise of a good story at the end of my day. I don’t think it gets much better than that.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Life and This Weekend

So, I had a good time this weekend, and I figured, since I hadn’t blogged about anything at all in several months now, I figured I would talk about this.

Right now, work is pretty stressful. I work in the flower industry, so as its Valentine’s Day time (yes, that’s right, it’s that time) this is one of the two busiest times of the year for us (the other being Mother’s Day). Add to this normal amount of stress just from things being three times as busy, I’ve been given a new job to perform, one that is very complex and that I just didn’t have the time to perfect doing before the peak period hit.  So, like I said, I’m pretty stressed out.

So, I was looking forward to a good weekend. And boy, did I get it.

First, I went to Games Bowl, an RPG/board/card/video game event hosted by Gam3rCon. They put on several small Games Days throughout the year, and they are just a ton of fun. Games Bowl was a kind of Super-Bowl party for game geeks, and it was scheduled for two days. I only went for one, but man, I had a total blast! I didn’t get into any RPG’s while I was there, as most of them were pretty main stream games (I tend to want to use one shot games at events like this to play something I might not otherwise play), but I did play a ton of cool card and board games.

First up was a game called Poo. It’s a card game where everyone is monkeys flinging poo at each other. Juvenile, simple, and a ton of fun. It was easy to learn, and played out in about twenty minutes, and everyone that played laughed, smiled and cheered as the game went on. This is one I’m going to look into buying to play with my wife and son.

Next, we played a board game called Tsuro. I’d played it before, but it was still a blast again. Another simple, quick game, but still, a lot of fun.

Then I had a little bit of a break as I tried to hunt down some quarters to pay the meter. When I got back, I joined into what was the biggest game I played that day… Cards Against Humanity.

If you know nothing about this game, just know that it is an adult, dark, twisted version of Apples to Apples. It’s wrong, and yet you can’t help but laugh your ass off as you play. We were all in tears, and I think we played for about an hour after I jumped in, and I joined the game already in progress. So much fun that I’ve decided I need to own it.

After leaving Cards Against Humanity, I played a game called Sentinels of the Multiverse, a kickstarter funded super-hero card game. I rather liked it, the mechanics of it gave the fell of playing a super-hero RPG more than a card game, but it was all focused on combat. It featured a cooperative play, in which everyone was members of a super-group that fought against a bad guy and tried to defeat him. It also featured an environment deck that threw twists into the combat, and I really liked how that played out. I didn’t have time to stick around and finish, which was too bad, because I was having a good time playing that. But the time on my parking meter was up, I was out of quarters, and it was time for dinner with my family.

But, there’s more!

Because as if all that great gaming wasn't enough, later that night, my wife and I went to learn something called Contra Dance. It’s kind of like Irish square dancing. Only, of course, it’s not square dancing. It’s similar, it’s obvious the two are related, but this is an older dance, and, in my opinion, a lot more fun. We learned the basics of how it worked, and just before each dance, learned the moves from the caller. Then, we danced, and mostly spent the first half of each dance trying to remember the moves and get them right.

It was a total blast dancing this way, and the best part was, I got to dance with my wife, which is not something I do often. She’s a far better dancer than I am, and honestly, I don’t often enjoy dancing. But Contra Dance? That was some good fun. So much fun, I think the wife and I are going to go back on Valentine’s Day weekend.

Sunday was also a good day, where housework was done and then time was spent watching some TV. I’ve been watching the Avengers cartoon on Netflix, which I think will be the subject of my next blog post.

All in all, a good weekend was had by me, which is a good thing, because today was super stressful at work. But at least I went into it relaxed.