Archive for the ‘gaming’ Category

25 November, 2011

Due to someone getting sick and another someone needing to avoid getting sick, we were unexpectedly at home for Thanksgiving. As my spouse was saddened by our sudden, yet unavoidable, isolation, I decided that the perfect cure for the melancholia was a spirited session of gaming. Thus was the (now) annual tradition born of Munchksgiving! The younger child continued winning a statistically-significantly greater-than-average percent of the time and, surprisingly enough, I even won a game. (As an orc. I wonder if that means anything…)

I heartily recommend Munchksgiving to gamers. If nothing else, it nowhere near as painful as Slapsgiving.


Games with Friends
25 June, 2011

As a Father’s Day gift, my family got me the deluxe edition of Illuminati. I fondly remember playing Illuminati with my cousins. (Could it really have been thirty years ago?!?) Unfortunately, I have not had the time to play yet due to the repercussions of events outside my control. Yet I still really want to play. Whereupon some might suggest that I schlep myself down to the local game store and start a game.

Therein lies the rub. I do not enjoy playing games with those who are not my family and friends. I can enjoy playing sports, which are kinds of games, with strangers, but not games. Role-playing games, board games, card games. You know: games. I assume that part of it is my general mistrust of anyone not in my Circle of Trust. Maybe it is because I know that as a player of games I am revealing myself in my gameplay and I feel uncomfortable revealing myself to strangers. Whatever the reason, I am just uncomfortable gaming with strangers.

Holy Crap, I’m a Paladin
16 January, 2011

In the last couple years I’ve reintroduced myself to Dungeons & Dragons, in particular the 4th edition, after listening to Wil Wheaton and Tycho & Gabe go adventuring. Part of that reintroduction, and part of what I enjoy about RPGs in the first place, is acquiring several tomes of knowledge. One of which, D&D Player’s Strategy Guide, has a quiz on page 15 titled What Class Are You?.

Over the years I have played warriors (including fighters, barbarians, a paladin, and a ranger), rogues (including a fighter/thief/magic user and a bard), priests (including a monk and a druid), and wizards (including mages, sorcerers, and an illusionist). As I have also played a multitude of races and genders, I took the quiz simply out of curiosity. I assumed that I had a good understanding of myself as a role-player and expected no surprises.

I was quite wrong.

The overwhelming winner was paladin, of all classes. Yes, I have played a paladin before, but I’ve also played an elven princess and I’m neither an elf nor a princess. (Well, not much of a princess.) While I self-identify as a good person (and have been called Flanders before) I am more chaotic good than lawful good and was never particularly drawn to the classic, Lawful Stupid interpretation of paladins. To be fair, my paladin, Sir Balin, was both very lawful and very stupid. For example, despite the campaign being on the opposite side of character mutilation from Tunnels & Trolls, Sir Balin managed to lose his right hand to a blade trap whilst trying to loot a magic long sword.

My surprise resulted from weighting being both irreligious and a spirit-of-the-law rather than a letter-of-the-law bloke heavier than my instincts to get between danger and my party and to beat the Scheiße out of those as need it. Case in point: at the end of the championship game, my flag football team of nerds was ahead and running out the clock against the team of jocks when our quarterback, and my roommate, decided to fake taking a knee and run the ball. Their whole team chased him down and encircled him, replete with shouting and shoving. My instinctive response was to charge to his aid. (He swears I bellowed but I beg to differ. I’m surprisingly stealthy.) I broke into the circle and put myself between him and the crazy dude with the cast on his arm. Who promptly smacked me upside the head with said cast. (As an aside, when I didn’t react at all to the blow, let alone drop from it, the crazy dude became a lot less crazy in short order.)

Even though it provided me an opportunity to ham it up with a Dudley Do-Right-style character who sings “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'” as he rides his charger, the classic interpretation of paladin fits me liked borrowed armor. But it turns out that a modern interpretation, a la Mal, fits me like a glove.

Mission. Accomplished.
28 November, 2010

Partly because I felt that the first part of Keep on the Shadowfell did not present the full D&D experience and partly because I enjoy drawing and populating dungeons, I created a dungeon delve for my little blood-thirsty combatants. I made a point to include several traps as I felt that they had not developed the proper level paranoia when crawling around the battle mat. I think after the thief fell in the pit and both the fighter and wizard walked into the spear gauntlet that they will approach empty squares with more caution. The final battle pitted them against a white dragon. After the trouble the party encountered with Irontooth, I was concerned that it was too tough. This time everyone remembered to use their action points and the fighter’s daily power really jacked up the damage, to the tune of almost 150 points of damage in five rounds. They also learned to search for secret rooms, and then to search the secret room, allowing me to have a little fun rewriting the color text for the magic item. All in all, I count this delve a full success.


Big Bang Funny
13 November, 2010

While I have always loved the movies, my movie-watching took a sharp uptick in the 80s, probably due to the triple threat of a job, a car, and a VCR. Like Abed my vernacular grew to include things like “Medic!” from the oodles of Nam war flicks such as Platoon and “I’ll be back.” from Terminator.

I first saw Terminator in the summer of ’85 in the main auditorium of Harvey Mudd. I spent two weeks on campus as part of a program called CAD Camp. In essence it was summer camp for geeks. Like all summer camps it included outings for the campers. Since Mudd is in SoCal, one of those outings was a trip to a Dodger game.

The rented bus had capacity for more than twice the number of us so everyone had a seat of their own. We were sitting sideways, talking across the aisle, when the bus stopped quickly in the rush hour traffic. Buses had no seat belts back then either and a guy in the last seat slid forward off the seat and onto the floor. In a joke that would only kill in a busload of geeks, we heard a plaintive cry from out of sight.


Rules Lawyer
1 November, 2010

When negotiating how much Halloween candy the kids could have, my eldest said, “Halloween has a +2 Sugar bonus.”

One Less Big Bad
24 October, 2010

They danced dangerously close to TPK but they defeated Irontooth. The rogue rolled three natural 1s in her first five rolls, including a critical failure on her Stealth that alerted the kobolds to the party’s presence. Everyone forgot about their action points for the entire encounter. PCs kept going down left and right, not staying up long enough to use their Second Wind. Despite (or perhaps because of) all that, I think they felt quite a bit of accomplishment when they finally triumphed. I found it a bit unsettling, though, when the fighter asked to forcibly remove the eponymous incisor.

Life’s Little Milestones
7 August, 2010

I am now the proud parent of a level 2 wizard and a level 2 fighter.

Primate Assistance
16 May, 2010

Listening to Wil, Gabe, Tycho, and Scott play D&D awakened my inner gamer. After reading some of Wil’s blog entries where he talks about gaming with his son, I wanted to see if my kids would be into it like I was when I was their age. After some googling I found that Wizards of the Coast provide a small game specifically designed to introduce youngsters to D&D. The rules are simple enough that it only takes a single explanation for folks to understand them. But you can definitely see how they were designed to ramp up to 4th edition proper.

The kids were pretty excited before we started playing and took to it like ducks to water. I may have even misted up a bit when I gave them a d20 for the first time. They enjoyed it so much that they insisted on an impromptu game later that day and then another the next day. Now the real fun begins: it’s time to graduate them to Keep on the Shadowfell.

They both took to the game so much that they went off and created their own map and characters. There was a fair amount of powergaming in those characters but I can’t complain when they’re so excited and creative. I love the flavor text for the Daily Power my eldest originated:

Primate Assistance – when it looks like your attack will miss, your faithful monkey companion climbs out of your backpack and nudges your weapon on target – if an attack roll misses, once per day you can reroll the attack.