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.

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Darym campaign- Entering Tomb of Horrors Sunday, Jan 23 2011 

The characters worked out what the next step was and that was to figure out how Durac made people forget about him.  After leaving they were greeted by an old man who said if they answered a riddle he would answer three questions.  After answering a relatively easy riddle they got some answers from the man.  Who ended up actually being a 5′ tall grey rat man or Skaven. This shocked has these were creatures of myth.  He explained that they had tipped the scales when things got too far out of balance.  Showing the drow the secret tunnels to the dwarven stronghold.  Putting the whisper in a kings ear to unite a kingdom or planting the seeds of deceit in a in a general.

After learning that two more spells will be cast one on the shadow plane and the other on the fey kingdom they head out for the fey bridge.  Using the knowledge [[:elphaba | Elphaba]] had passed to [[:crispis | Crispis]] of where they lived they made the journey to the rainbow bridge.  Upon coming upon a beautiful summer glade in winter(?) they were greeted by  [[:boromeer-rageshadow | Boromeer Rageshadow]].  He at first did not wish to allow them passage but relented eventually.  The keep was on high alert due to the instability in human kingdoms.  After verbal jabs back and forth he took them to see Whirlwands Moonshadow.

The cousin of Elphaba who was once Durac’s traveling companion.  The learned that he had broke the nose of Durac as well as ran away and allowed him to get capture.  For this Durac waited and caught him and tortured him some 50 years later.  He had been branded with the symbol of the griffon.  He was a broken man speaking in broken language throughout the conversation.  They got the names of the first traveling companions of Durac as well as one of the generals, Acerak.

Jumping on the lead they asked Rageshadow to take them to Acerak and he said that he had died.  Not believing him Rageshadow took him to one of the mages that was their at his death.  The mage claimed that he had help trap Acerak in a tomb over two hundred years ago and that he was quite dead.  The group wanted to see this “tomb” for themselves.  So he transported them there.

The group found themselves in a cave with light leading up and a dark hallway with several frescoes painted on the wall, on the ground itself.  After navigating some pittraps they entered the fresco of a four armed demon.  After entering the chamber found behind the door they were greeted with the taunting of Acerak and four armed gargoyle.  After a very long battle the group moved on and found a room of three chests.  When they opened the first one a giant dual scimitar wielding skeleton attacked them after finally dispatching it the part is laying bloody and exhausted.

This campaign may also be found at http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/darym-return-of-durac/adventure-log

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.

Everything old is new again Saturday, Jan 15 2011 

I hae seen many people discussing the different announcements by WOTC on their D&D property.  Maybe it is Hasbro not understanding the RPG model and trying to get the same ROI that MTG has brought them.  When WOTC originally bought D&D we heard all the doom and gloom about how they would ruin it.  We got D&D 3.e and it was in my opinion a good edition.  When 4e came out we heard how everything was going to ruin the game.  And with the announcements of killing the miniature line and the addition of the D&D randomized booster pack cards wil ruin the game.

Honestly the only thing that can ruin your game is yourself or the group your in.  A good GM can make a break a campaign.  A good group that works together will overcome the shortcomings.  Look at all the OD&D groups.  How many people stayed with 3.5?  Pathfinder took hold because it saw the hole left with 3.5 to 4e and fixed them. 

When the Chainmail line came out in early 2002(?) many of us took it up as our side game from 40k and WHFB.  Unfortunately they gave it about a year to take hold and swapped to the plastics.  This made some people happy and some of us not so much.  We enjoyed D&D miniatures that showed classed we were playing in a metal form that we could paint.  The prepainted items that came up just were not for us.  Now D&D minis is gone for good minus the special sets.  I am sure players will find a new outlet for miniatures.  Sure tokens are alright but I think most of us like seeing 3d monster on the grid.

Now we have these cards that being added to the game.  I doubt my players will pick them up and use.  In Encounters they are your “rent” for playing in the game.  I do not think its a bad idea for LGS to make money off this service.  I know some of the players at the LGS I play at buy their stuff off the internet and do not support the store.  8 cards for $4 is a bit steep though.  The pricepoint should be less since last I remember MTG is 15 cards for 4?  Maybe the cards are of a higher quality?  But I doubt that.  I hope that they have some negatives to them as well but since they are more buff cards I doubt it.  Makes the DM have a monster deck to help even odds out.  So, the best thing is to have your home group talk it out and decide if cards are good for you or to spend on something else.

Now those who play in the RPGA living realms and complain that you have to buy several cards to build correct decks to compete with the power level increase that may happen.  I feel bad for you.  But since there is no roleplay and most of the encounters can only be overcome via combat in those games your probably have to make some investment.  Well your their target for this.  Just talk it out amongs your group to figure things out.  Maybe invest in a box with several people and get cards that work for your build.  Or do not use them at all.

Return to Fellcrest Monday, Jan 10 2011 

The heroes cleared out the slavers without any problem.  They found a ledger with several symbols in it that correlated to certain races being bought and sold.  Another had the payout to several bounty hunters as well that they recognized.  When they went into the cells they were greeted by Castri, who they let out and sent on his way.

They went up the other tunnel which they figured out was the dragons escape route.  When they got to the top they meet by an ice troll calling himself Niq the Quik.  The fight was quickly over and they checked out the view at the top of the mountain.  On one side was tents of a skorne party the heroes had no intention of crashing and the other contained the lights Silverton.

Getting back Silverton lead to a nice rest for the heroes.  This was short lived when the blacksmith banged at their door seeking help.  When they made it to Darren the necromancers place they saw several gnolls assaulting the farm.   The gnolls were trying to get the necromancers child and when the leader of the gnolls saw the party, the voice of Orcus cursed them for meddling again. After saving Darren’s wife and baby the heroes tried to talk Darren into leaving his farm.  Which in the end he acquiesced and left for Fellcrest to start a new life.

Rolling into Fellcrest the group was puzzeled that no history existed for Durac and no person they talked to remembered him.  Roland and Crispis found their friend Alex Stormheart all in shining plate as newly initated Paladin of Everyn. Finally, they went to a church of the Raven Queen were they ran into Razvahn.  He met them at the Red Velvet Inn were he told them that the church was monitoring him very closely as he was an outworlder and one of the few shadar-kai walking the world of Darym.

Clash of the titan Tuesday, Oct 5 2010 

In the latest installment our heroes slaughtered the last of the orcs finding the other pieces to bind stonefang. They went back to the ritual area and went to put the Titan back in his place. They meet up with one of the shadowed clan dwarves and got right into the action. Just as the dwarves had places the rib Stonefang threw a boulder and smashed them. This was to let the players know it was serious business.

They went right to it, by getting all the pieces bonded immediately. Stonefang wiffed his first round immediately. It was then a race to finish Stonefang and luckily only Roland got taken out but not dead. Well and a couple of summoned animals got killed too bit they don’t really count 🙂  The heroes quickly finished the ceremony with the last dwarf and put Stonefang to rest for a bit.

They then struck back out to Tilverdale to meet up with Thoren and let them know they had succeeded.  Flinka was happy to know they had found her sisters medallion communicator and gave them as a gift to the heroes.  After a brief respite they got  Thoren and his companions back to the pass and checked in on Shadowfell Keep.  They meet up with Lord Maxwell and saw the renovations that had taken place.  They got a bad feeling from Larak who is one of the advisors as well as ran into Ninnaran who happens to be a scout for Lord Maxwell.

This leads the heroes with several things to deal with and options to move on to.  And what exactly happened to Elfaba?

User error Thursday, Sep 9 2010 

I think  with technology as it is today everyone has fallen prey to this. everything to remotes not working because dead batteries to screen savers not coming on because you turn your monitor off before they come on in power settings. We see this in gaming as well. Some of it just happens and some of it is blatant.

The idea is to always play perfectly and make no mistakes. If you can go back and say I made all the correct decisions with the information I had then you can not fault yourself for losing. Playing perfectly means you doing all the right things even those that hinder you when you play. For instance remembering to take damage when you cut for fury, tap a painland, retrieve an encounter power via a feat. No one is perfect and errors will occur but with two or more people there to police inadvertent actions can be caught.

I’ve seen the rising of “simple mistakes” in competitive play recently. Now I do not know if it’s the rise of new players or people trying to play the system. I have seen cases of both recently. The best defense for this is not to allow any take backs in competitive play, no exceptions. I watched a player try this ploy in a tournament recently. They “forgot” to place focus during convenient times. After watching this happen in two different rounds I got wise to the situation. In my game my opponent did not allocate focus on the third turn after being perfect for two turns. I said no after he started moving his second jack to allowing him to add focus. Lots of whining from my opponent about how unfair it was and it ruined his game.  The easy answer is do not ask or give takebacks.

Footbal season is starting today and I’m sure makes lots of guys happy and wives miserable.  I’m just glad its back!

Labor day and D&D Thursday, Sep 2 2010 

I’m taking a nice four day weekend this week for many reasons. The main being it’s time for a nice break from work, get random errands done that are hard to do during the week, and to relax a little. I’ve been teasing third book of the fire and ice series and loving it. So I can take my car to get a checkup and read a book

Encounters this week was fun but very frustrating to me. We had two new guys which is great but lost two of other guys to school. I was lit up by chain immobilized by the gith. Not a pleasant place for a marauding ranger. Also unfortunately burned through all my surges because the new guys did not want to waste encounter powers. It’s fine they are new and it happens. The good news is I did take over 50 damage and revived a dying ally (thank you curious knack). So I am assured to make the magical sixty mark but will be pretty useless the next two encounters with thirteen hit points and no surges. This should pose an interesting challenge

Okay just found out that the immobilization was an encounter power and the dm made a mistake throwing it every round. Well that bites a bit but what can you do ? Everyone makes mistakes I know I have as the game master. Maybe I’ll catch some luck next week.  Heck I use to have affect wrong in 4e for while and unless it hit.  Something I learned from playing encounters actually.

A player of mine bought some gaming paper for me and I plan to bust some of it out this weekend. There are a couple of encounters that wizards did not supply maps for. So let’s use my present right? Everyone has raved about it so it should be excellent for what I need. I bet there is way to print up my own single sheets at home. That would probably work better for the places I am using this week.

Writing this blog has given me the itch to go back to the book I am working on. I need to read it and fix the obvious errors and hopefully get back to the flow. I feel this blog has given me an outlet to get unblocked.

I did a little jaunt on a podcast so those of you wanting to hear my voice take a listen.  I will also plug their podcast which is listed on the side of my blog, ZERO FORTITUDE.  Here is a link and go ahead and give me pointers about my wirting or my radio skills.

Encounters fun Thursday, Aug 26 2010 

We had an influx of four players this week for encounters. Which was great as we two full tAbles. The bad thing is this group stayed together and we got another defender at our table. So three defenders a ranger and controller wizard leads to small issues. Thankfully the ranger damage was consistent this week.

The gazer dazing everyone was brutal. Then the swarms getting near to use their auras was nasty. The panther hanging out was fun addition as well. Picturing my ranger running out of brush screaming “big cat. Big cat” as he killed the dinosaur as he went past

Hopefully these people will stay and be there for next season as well. Playing with different people gives different perspectives. I used distracting shot the ranger third level encounter which attacks before an attack and increases defenses. This got some ohhh and ahhs. The funny thing is this is a power straight from the players handbook

I also received my tomb of horrors for dm rewards and I am grateful for it. I also got the explanation that rewards would only be for public events from now on. I thought the dm program was a good idea but maybe they are promoting lgs support. Which is well and good except for those without an lgs. I know I would like to get the encounters adventures and run them at home. I guess it’s just one of those things we will have to see how it pans out. Maybe they felt the shipping costs was prohibitive who knows.

This weekend I have another fantasy draft and the week after we return to the D&D game. After that it is a return to the red box. Which I think many people are itching to see. Now if we could get themes earlier 🙂

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.

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