Back to basics? Monday, May 30 2011 

As I write this I am running my hot water in a locked bathroom to make a faux sauna. I am less than twelve hours from weighing in. Not for a fight or a wrestling match but for a weight loss contest at work. During the last twenty weeks I’ve lost twenty pounds and could stand to lose probably twenty more. I feel really good about my weight loss this period. All I did was add in daily exercise and making healthier choices with my food and beverage choices. As of last weigh in I had a 1.2 % advantage over my closest competition.

Why am I trying to cut weight like a fighter because of weigh ins? I guess it’s the competitive animal in me. I want to know that if I lose it’s because I got beat, not because I left any “weight” on the table so to speak. This attitude served me well while playing sports and all manner of competitive games.

This conversation was helped spawned by the 4e at will chat from Friday night.
What do I mean with back to basics? I recently started looking at Pathfinder and 3.x and remembered all the cool combat maneuvers we use to have. Now in 4e all we have is at wills and a melee basic attack mainly used for opportunity actions. Which we rarely see use of nowadays or at least in my campaign and various sessions of Encounters.  With the essentials release we see martial characters stripped of combat options now. All they can do is swing a sword with no cool additional effects. The encounter and daily powers represented a cool martial maneuver. Now I know wizards is going to say you can still sunder, disarms, trip as given by the discretion of the DM. Well how about you just give us rules for these options and make it simple for everyone

What if initially we did not get at-wills and were left with encounters, dailies, utilities. And not only melee basic attacks but the old combat manuevers much like pathfinder? I am sure every little mage fan boy just cried a little. Let everyone perform the maneuvers and such and if you want to have a better disarm take feats to allow such a thing. Or just leave the at wills as is and give actual possibility to manuevers for all.

I do understand the streamlined design of 4e and I do like it. Maybe giving back some complexity to the game will help with the audience you lost and are losing with the new direction. A little faith should be put into your customers in how smart they can be. There is no reason not to give out “advanced” options for us players who want it. Games use to have the simple rules and then added in advanced features to enhance it. No reason not to do the same thing here.

I have about five minutes left in this sauna so I will give a short review of The Hangover 2. The short answer is if you liked the first then you will like the second. And if you hated the first then ignore this because it’s more of the same. It will throw in your typical Thailand and Bangkok jokes so be prepared. Leave your brain at home and have a good time

It’s been a while Sunday, May 22 2011 

Like the title said it has been a long time since I have posted anything to this blog.  The real world has  back  over much of my life.  Fortunately the big project at work has been taken care of and now I can get back to other things that I enjoy more.  After  losing both my main machine and backup I lost a lot of work.  However, the only way to get back to it is just that start writing again.  So, this is my initial run of starting my writing back up.

My personal game has reached its one year anniversary.  I’m pretty happy with how its all turned out.  We will be approaching paragon tier very soon.  A couple of players have figured out their paths so that is going to help with the path of the campaign.  The next place I believe they will go is the Underdark or to the Shadowfell which I am fortunate Gloomwrought came out.

I finished up running the Encounters season of March of the Phantom Brigade.  It went really well for the most part.  I unfortunately had 4 TPKs for the season, which no other DM has done on now at the store.  The players seemed to be okay with that has they began to use better tactics throughout.   I will say that running 8 players in 4e just sucks as a DM.  It might be just as bad a player with that much time between turns.   Plus its hard to scale the encounter on the fly just right sometimes especially with all the insubstantial running around.

We got tired of the essentials characters so we will be playing anything goes for Evard’s.  The first couple of weeks have been interesting.  Hopefully they will continue this path and we will not see the frustration we saw with the insubstantial last season.  This has given me an opportunity to play around with the themes that WOTC has released recently.   So far I’ve only tried the Order of the adept for the extra aoe.  I’ll definitly will try more over the time.  I’m not so sure of the long term additions themes will bring and may not know for a while. 

 Upcoming posts will  give my theme for vampire and shade which is what I think all of us wanted to see.    

You may follow me at Saintdave22 on twitter.

Random Musings on a day off Monday, Feb 21 2011 

My wife is at the dentist and I’ve done my morning routine of knee exercises so I have time to put into the blog.  The problem is what to write about?  So, instead of having a topic I decided just to throw things that were coming to mind.

First, Dragon Age 2 will give us a demo tomorrow, 2-22.  This should give us a little bit of satisfaction while we starve for the real thing that comes out in March.  After playing the first rather recently I’m very excited to continue my time in the Dragon Age universe.

Second, I came across the new trailer for Game of Thrones on HBO, found here .  This looks to be coming along well.  Now if Martin would get off his duff and finish the books and not pull a Jordan on us.  I’m very excited to see the world come to life on-screen.  I wonder if Vegas has a prop bet on him finishing his book before he dies or not.

Finally, I’m looking forward to the Conquest of Nerath Boardgame.  This is supposed to played much like Risk from the information we have.  I would like to know more about it before I preorder it.  I mean $50 for a board game is nice chunk of change and would like to see a little bit more of the pieces or gameplay before plunking it down.  However, if I wait the preorder price goes up to $75 which might be hard pill to swallow if its not a good game.  So if anyone runs across something about it please toss it my way.

I have encounters to run in a few days and feel that I might be killing my players this week.  TPK because people refuse to use tactics are justified in this setting.  I’m not fudging dice rolls to make people feel good.  If these people want to do the extreme hard-core delves they need to learn now what to do because I’m pretty sure these will be WAY harder.

Things to do Monday, Jan 31 2011 

I know most people do resolutions and such at the start of a year.  I’ve finally been able to sit down and think what I want/need to do this year.  Of course the wife and friends will always add and subtract from things we need to do.  I’m sure many of your lists will reflect mine or maybe you will have an idea for me or something will jog for you to try.

  1.  Write more
  2.  Run D&D 4e with my friends and keep it fun
  3.  Take my turn as DM of Essentials
  4.  Lose weight
  5.  Sell off miniatures and games not using
  6. Attend a gaming convention
  7. Read more

These are mainly simple goals but with the hustle and bustle of life sometimes we forget things we wanted to do and just lose sight.  One reason gym memberships swell in January and their use declines significantly by March.  I’ve already started writing more as I need to write if I ever want to finish the book I started writing.  Now I have no delusions that it will make me a best selling author but I just want to finish it.  Sort of like training for a marathon and running it. 

I will be running March of the Phantom Brigade at my local store for next season.  I know I DM at home but the other players who could run it have run the past two seasons.  Yes, I lose my chance to stretch out and play but its only fair to take my turn behind the screen.  Next season we might be able to get a new player behind the screen.

Talk about it (Encounters and other things) Thursday, Jan 20 2011 

The second session of the last week Encounter played out last night.  It went almost flawlessly with minimum damage to us and very quick.  We were in and out in under an hour with our party of a mage, a slayer, a hexblade, paladin, and my warpriest (change over from rogue to help out).  Honestly, our mage used their blasts effectively and the catapult finished the house.  This was a great for our table over the last few weeks where the paladin and slayer were refusing to get into melee and causing the team to have several problems.  I really like this last section of Keep of the Borderlands and may take some of the “encounters” and incorporate into my personal game.

Looking at some of the items from WOTC it looks like next seasons Encounters a player starts at level 1 no matter what week they come in.  I understand their thought on this but this could cause some problems with people seeing all these higher level folks and being forced into a level 1 guy.  I know they want to make it easier on new players but lets give them a little credit and the people around to help them figure it out.  I do like that experience will actually be tracked this season but I preferred the free level up.

In September they are also offering a “tournament” level Encounters programs for the hardcore.  I like this but think it might put off the casual player.  Of course its not for them and its okay but I can tell you how many times I’ve heard Friday Night Magic horror stories about over competitive players.  One thing that would be nice is if WOTC put these “hard core” encounters available to everyone so we can take a crack at it by our home players who might have to work on those Encounter days.  I just do not want to see people frustrated that they get steam rolled in the hard core adventure.

As far as on the pop culture scene it looks like we got our villain and actors for the next Batman movie.  I’m happy with Hathaway as Selina Kyle and know she will do fine.  I keep hearing to watch HAVOC for an excellent performance by her.  Now, I just finished Bronson that features Tom Hardy who will be playing Bane.  Bane is one of my favorite villains in the Dark Knights rogues gallery and I remember getting sucked back into the  comic world during the “BREAKING OF THE BAT”.  Now, Hardy can act but I just pictured someone bigger as Bane.  Brock Lesnar is about the right size or even Cain Velasquez would even fill the latin requirement.

For those who read this drop me an idea for some topics you would like to see and I’ll get on it.

Week of stuff Saturday, Aug 14 2010 

This has been a crazy week for me with work as well as my wife.  This morning things have slowed down enough for me to post and get my thoughts out.  The post will be one of those mixed bags of everything just kinda vomited up.  Sorry about the image there just did not know of a better way to describe it in this early morning.

I am glad for the age we live in so we can have live updates and quick responses.  I was very glad of all the Gen Con and Comic Con coverage I have received over the last few weeks through various blogs.  Its people showing you what is there almost immediately and we do not have to wait 2-3 months in magazine what exactly happened.  We have learned about the cool Odin’s throne room, infinity gauntlet, Lords of Madness, gator warlocks, etc.  This is a pretty nice day and age of course there can be too much information has everyone wants to be “FIRST!” but right now I feel the good far outweighs the bad. 

Scott Pilgrim was a fun ride that my wife and I both enjoyed.  The easiest way to describe it is a romantic comedy video game adventure.  So, it has something for everyone.  It was definitely a very fun romp through the universe of Scott Pilgrim. 

My own game has started Orcs of Stonefang Pass.  I have to say the monsters have been putting a hurt on my players.  The two part earthquake encounter was fun for everyone and was causing a little be of havoc.  I like different ways of doing fights as it adds a little something to the story.  Plus, I can use it later as well and twist it on my players.  This reminds me to make an update to my campaign page as well http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/darym-return-of-durac.  I just got my Dark Sun module to run the game day adventure at my store.  I hope I do alright I mainly said I would do it to give our DM’s from our Encounters program a break.  So, I’ll need to get acquainted with it shortly.

Hordes/Warmachine!!  The Skorne book came out and I really like it for the most part.  I do not see anything really over the top good in the theme forces but maybe we will see something in actual play.  And after going through my Legion cards I think I really can thank PP for nerfing both Skorne and Legion.  I did not expect it with the play test but it actually did happen.  Its a very sad day to see unfortunately that the knee jerk reaction went this far across the bar.  After having conversation with a few in house PP guys last year and hearing “Legion players do not know how to play and when MK II comes its going to be a rude awakening”.  Maybe but I think it went a bit far overall.  Balance is what I think everyone wanted and its just sort of sad to see the pendulum go a little too far.

Finally, football season is upon us and that also means fantasy football time.  I love fantasy football as it makes me more interested in all the games and helps me to appreciate more teams out there.  It also practices a little bit of strategy as well and I think the more different types of games you play it helps you all around.