Friday, January 29, 2010

Monthly Poll: Favorite 1st Ed Character Class

With a whopping 18%, we have a tie for January's Monthly Poll.
You picked 'em and the winners are:
*Drum Roll*
Ranger and Magic-User

Everyone be sure to vote in February's Monthly Poll: Favorite "old school" D&D artist

DM's Corner: Gaming Music

I'm not sure if I'm in the majority or the minority is doing this, but I like to use accessories other than just the standards: Module, Rulebooks, Paper, Dice and Pencils.

While I'm running an adventure, I like to have my handy-dandy Laptop of Holding by my side. Stuffed inside this miscellaneous magic item I keep all sorts of gaming-related music that I play depending on the situation. While in town I like to play a more whimsical, upbeat music to give the impression of safety and security as will as the diversity of the streets and the people walking around. When in a dungeon I like something a little more sinister and brooding to put them on edge and when combat breaks out it has to be high energy, blood pumping songs to get the players energized for the fight. Here are some of the albums I like to use:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

DM's Corner - Adventures in Downtime

So what does a party do during the down time in adventures?

Do they sit around on the ground armed for random encounters while the wizard sleeps to regain spells?
Do they just make a camp fire and set up watch for the night?
or do they even have down time? Traveling day after day to the ominous sound of the gods rolling random encounter dice?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Comic Strip Tuesday

Episode 3 finds Saren the Cleric, Valerius the Fighter and Grimslade the Magic-User descending deeper into the dungeon in search of their companion Indel the Elf who clumsily fell through a trap door. Suddenly a band of goblins appear and attack, but Grinslade is too fast and casts a simple Sleep Spell on them.

Meanwhile, Indel enters room to find huge Red Dragon staring directly at him.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Battlemats: Bane of the Imagination?

I've been lurking other blogs for a while now, and all the talk about "Old-School" D&D, Grognards and B/X Editions has me thinking. I can't remember how to do combat without a battlemat anymore!

I clearly remember running combat in the good old days, before the invention of battlemats and 3rd edition rules, and there was hardly ever a question about tactics or distances or positioning. But ever since 3rd edition rules came out people, including myself, have come to rely on battlemats more and more. And with that dependancy, I believe, has come the downfall of imagination.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Film Review: Avatar

I went to see Avatar 3D.

Any of you out there that wear glasses like I do know what a pain in the ass it seems like to wear glasses OVER glasses. Well, let me tell you, it's exactly the pain in the ass you're imagining. I had to sort of balance them on my nose and lean my head back a little so they wouldn't slide off. And then my field of view was narrowed because the frames were sitting away from my face which blocked my vision some. It was sorta like in a movie when a character is looking through binoculars and the camera shows their view, you get the image of two circles side by side and everything outside of that is black.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dark Tower Flash Game

One of the Frothy Friar's patrons pointed me in the direction of this interesting little web site.

It's a flash version of the Dark Tower, as seen in the Flashback Thursday post this week. I have no idea how to play, but it seems like it would be a lot of fun if I did.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Flashback Thursday

Here's a little commercial from the electronic board game The Dark Tower with legendary actor Orson Wells. I never had Dark Tower. I always saw it in the Sears catalog around Christmas time, but there were other, more important things to ask the Star Wars Hoth playset from Kenner and a Boba Fett action figure!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ROLE playing or role PLAYING

I have yet to play 4th Ed. I've glanced at the rules in passing but haven't given them a good look and I don't think I ever will. It's not that I'm an "old schooler" and rebelling against those darn kids and their new-fangled gamin'. It's that the entire rule system seems to pigeon-hole everyone into even more specific roles than even the original class system did.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gygax Memorial Fund

Just picked this up over at The Old Guy's RPG Blog.

An auction is being held at this year's Gen Con of some of E. Gary Gygax's personal belongings to help fund a memorial in Lake Geneva, Wi.

I've been gaming since '79 and have never been to a Gen Con before, it's hard to make the trip from California to Wisconsin, but this is almost enough to make the trip for.

Here's a link to the Gygax Memorial Fund.

Funny, but the drawing of the proposed memorial looks exactly like something that would appear in an old school D&D module.

"You enter a clearing in the woods. The sound of a trickling stream can be heard to the south. Dominating the center of this grove is a bronze statue. It appears to be a small castle with the bust of a wizened old sage perched at its center. Roll of initiative"

It would almost be appropriate to put a poison dart trap on the head for anyone that "investigates the statue"

Comic Strip Tuesday

In episode 2 the Green Slime drips from the ceiling and falls on Indel and melts Valerius' sword down to the hilt. Grimslade unleashes a burst of fire to force the slime back. Out of no where comes a cleric named Saren. How did she find them and did they know she was around? Seems suspicious to me.

Saren heals Indel and from a chest Valerius discovers a magic sword. Indel looks for secret doors but instead finds a trap door by falling through it. Does he seem more like a liability to anyone else?

The rest of the party knows they have to go deeper into the dungeon to rescue him.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Movie Review: The Book of Eli

My wife is an avid scrapbooker and when she gets together with her friends, I take that opportunity to go see movie that she wouldn't like such as anything sci-fi, fantasy, war or otherwise interesting to a gamer. So this weekend she had a scrapbook get-together and I headed down to the local theater to watch The Book of Eli.

Let me start off by saying, I love anything post-apocalyptic! Movies, TV shows, books, games, audio books...anything that involves the world ending in a big flash and surviving afterward, I'm in! So having said that, I had high hopes for this one. I had been looking forward to it since I saw the first trailers a few weeks ago, so when I found out I had some free time I jumped at the chance to go eat over-priced food substitute and leave my shoes stuck to a soda covered floor.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thieves: Expert Treasure Finder or Treasure Removal Service

Ever been on one of those adventures that just don't seem as profitable as you think they should have been, but the party thief comes out more bloated than when he went in?

Does the title "Thief" imply and influence a player too much? Just because he's called 'thief' doesn't necessarily mean that he has to steal everything that isn't nailed down, even from the party itself. Granted, the player is entitled to play his thief in any way he wishes and it is up to the party to deal justice if he is caught pilfering baubles from their pockets, but does it undermine the cohesion of the party of they are constantly suspicious of one of their own members?

Comic Strip Tuesday

First appearing in comic books in August of 1981

In our first issue, our valiant party is exploring the ruins of Zenofus Castle. The elf, Indel uses his infravision to inspect the corridor ahead before moving forward in front of the fighter, Valerius and the magic-user Grimslade. Look Out! A shambling mound attacks, but Grimslade quickly throws a Hold Monster charm on it which illuminates green slime attached to the ceiling.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Fighters: Armor Plated Battle-Turtle or Run n' Gun Stab-Monkey

Throughout my history with Dungeons & Dragons, I've always dreamed of making a fighter that wasn't reliant on layer upon layer of the thickest armor I could beg, borrow or steal just to survive, and in turn, help my party survive.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Clerics: First Aid Kit or Second Line Fighter

Clerics: The old school bane of any party of players.

We've all experienced it in our younger days. It's the first night of the adventure and it's time for everyone to make characters. Everyone shouts out what they will be playing so everyone else knows what's been chosen. Suddenly, the door bell rings and Steve walks in, late as usual. Everyone in the room, including Steve knows what's just happened. Last man in gets stuck playing the cleric.