Thursday, September 22, 2016

D&D 5e: Storm King's Thunder - Quick Critiques

TLDR Summary: Storm King's Thunder has a lot to like within its covers, but also has some glaring adventure design issues that will annoy you and require some extra DM modification.

Introduction


If you've been living under a rock (or just don't pay attention to social media much), you might not know that Storm King's Thunder is the latest adventure path for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.

In previous adventures, the PCs have had to deal with Dragons, Demons, Drow, Elementals, and Undead. This iteration, it's time for the Giants.

This isn't technically a full review. I've only read through the first few chapters, and this is more of a first impressions post. This is not a "buy or don't buy" review article, but just some [very subjective] observations of mine. I may follow up with a more thorough review once I've read through the whole book and start running it for my group.

SPOILERS AHEAD

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

D&D Neverwinter PS4

So, this is a fun thing that happened.

A couple weeks back, I entered a little contest by sharing a Tweet and FB message from the Neverwinter MMO team. The prize was a PS4 with a really sweet Tiamat skin.

Oddly enough, I actually won one of the PS4's they were giving away. This was really cool, but what made it even more fun was a small token on the part of the Neverwinter team.

Inside the box, was the PS4, a D&D sticker, and a hand-written, hand-aged note. Basically, they wrote a nice letter and used what I assume to be the "tea bag aging" process to stain the note and make it look like old parchment. While this was just a small gesture, it really added something extra special to the whole prize package.

Table top gamers have been known to scoff at MMO players from time to time, but this was a small reminder to me that no matter the media format in which one enjoys the Dungeons & Dragons game, we all love the fantasy genre and have a deep-rooted passion for D&D.

Before our kids, my wife and I played Neverwinter on the PC when we had time to spare. After kids, that time is even more sparse, but I look forward to returning to the game with the new PS4.

Thanks to the Neverwinter team for pouring their passion into the D&D genre. The note was an awesome touch.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Hero Forge Miniatures: Grey Plastic back in Beta

Hero Forge rendering of my Gnome Druid
Just a quick FYI for anyone waiting to buy. I received a note from the friends at Hero Forge Miniatures, that they have re-opened their beta period for the new "Gray Plastic" material.

As I noted in my last review, the Gray Plastic is much more durable than the Ultra Detail material, has better detail and is just a superior product in every way.

[ Read the full review of the Gray Plastic here ]

On a tragic side note, I did manage to break the arm on my gnome. This was in no way the fault of the material, but just through own stupidity while I was packing for Origins this year. A typical metal miniature would have suffered the same fate. #dndproblems

If you are thinking about a gift, keep in mind there may be a 4 to 6 week fulfillment based on demand. So, if you are in the market for a custom miniature, now is the time to order... and you may want to hurry because this is bound to be a popular selection!

Gray Plastic (left) beats the detail, paintability and durability of Ultra Detail by a wide margin.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Missing Gen Con

In a prior post, I mentioned that I will probably not do another Gen Con for many years, preferring smaller, more local cons (with Origins being one of the better "large" cons at 15,000 attendees). Between lodging, transportation, long lines, massive crowds and severely limited number of seats in the games I'd like to play, Gen Con just isn't as attractive.

And yet...


Seeing all the social media posts and the pre-game excitement... I really want to be there.

There are few other times and places where you can rub elbows with the designers themselves. Many of them do attend Origins, or other small cons that are regional to their homes, but you can count on just about anybody who is anybody to be at Gen Con.

And one has to admit the there is a certain energy of having over 65,000 table top gamers all in one place. There's just nothing else like that feeling of being amongst a community of people who all share a common love of games.

And I'm bummed that I'm missing out on that. This is my tribe. These are my people.


D&D Red Box display at Gen Con 2010 

Larry Elmore helped shape the direction of fantasy artwork during the AD&D era.

Playing X-wing with a great group of gamers. Ran into the fellow in black at Origins this year, too!

D&D Epics


13th Age

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Gamma World: Quest for Peace - 6th Grade FanFic

Preface


I'm a bit of a pack rat... So when I moved last year, I tried to reduce (not entirely successfully) some of the detritus I've gathered over the many years. But there was one thing (among many) I could not throw out. I came across a story I had written around 5th or 6th grade (circa 1981 or 1982) based on the many games of Gamma World my pre-teen friends and I played. Gamma World was our go-to game after D&D... and sometimes before it. My memories of the games are a little vague after 35 years but clearly the game made a distinct impression on the nascent writer in me.

This story was originally written for an English Composition class at a Catholic school in Maryland. Written today, it would likely generate a call to a student counselor, a local clergy, and possibly "the authorities." Keep in mind that (to my knowledge), I have not turned out to the a psychopath and my teacher must have seen some promise in my writing as I received a 4.5 out of 5 with a "Nice Job!" note instead of a "Please have your parents call me..." (and I have the pics to prove it -- http://imgur.com/gallery/hmj5P). 

With all that in mind, I present to you, in its reproduced original text, the grammatically uncorrected 6th grade work entitled "Quest for Peace" (you will see the irony in that title shortly). (c) 1982 - 2016.

PS -- I hope Jim Ward gets a kick out of this. He was an inspiration for the 12 year old gamers everywhere.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Royals board game (Origins Preview)

It's good to make friends in high placed.
As I noted in my Origins Post Game Report, my wife and I were able to try out a few pre-release titles, including Royals from Arcane Wonders, an area control game with a card mechanic. Royals supports 2 to 5 players.

Royals is scheduled for official release in August at Gen Con 2016, but they had a few hundred pre-release copies for sale at Origins (and is available for pre-order at Amazon).

Monday, July 11, 2016

Raging Owlbear - 2016 Ennie Nominee

This was a nice feather in my beak to hear about last week...

Raging Owlbear was nominated for an "Ennie" (vote for me) in the Best Blog category by the eminently gracious and delightfully charismatic (I must say) EnWorld judges. This would be all true, I'm certain, if I had ever met them.

This would be even more impressive if there were more than 5 submissions to the category, but alas, they do not report on those submissions (or rather, they do list submissions, but it's hard to easily tell the category from the list)... There appears to be at least 5 blogs, so I beat at least 1 person out... So suck it!  (just kidding).

Vote for me here -- select "1".

I have to say the submission list is quite a treat to browse. I mean, check out AdventureScents.com.

Wow. Talk about a niche product. But, holy f@#%... They have SIXTY different little potpourri packs to simulate your adventure locations. The are the freakin' Glade Plug-Ins of table top gaming.

I honestly don't what to think about that. Is there really a market for sixty different RPG-based scented packets? Your guess is as good as mine, but best of luck to them! I might just have to buy one now out of sheer curiosity.

Anyway, if you've ever read and enjoyed my blog, please vote for me. Even if you didn't enjoy it, vote anyway. It don't cost nuthin'.

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