Tuesday, December 21, 2010

D&D 3.5 game 1

Ahhh..... that warm comfortable feeling of a game you haven't played in years, like sliding into a nice warm bath (with a bottle of Malbec, and {Canada's sexist D&D player} Mandy Morbid), or playing a sport your competent at with a team at your level against drunken toddlers.

Played the first session of the new D&D campaign tonight, went far better than any of us were expecting. Sure we didn't get into a fight but that is due to the PCs having brains, reconning the enemy and setting up an excellent ambush. Two dice into our next game, the trap is sprung and orcs are getting stabbed in pairs if not dozens.

In my last few gaming groups I have been blessed to be surrounded by motivated, intelligent and courteous gamers, and although only one of 4 PCs has even played a paper and dice RPG before, we seem to be off to a good start. Lots of high level tactical thinking, character intraspection and a heaping portion of desire to game right off the bat.

Needless to say I am more than a little stoked.

And you wouldn't believe the kinds of characters these guys came up with. A Svirfneblin Rogue, Air Genasi Wizard/Fighter, a human Wizard with designs on Techsmith and/or Mystic Theurge, and get this...... a Minotaur Monk, talk about left field characters with obvious depth. Sure we are starting with an ECL +3 Svirfneblin, an ECL +2 Minotaur, an ECL +1 Genasi and a 4th level Mage so game balance could be an issue, but in my brief experience in D&D (all the way back to the red box) I have found that it is far easier to just throw increasingly meaner monsters at an over powered party than tinker with the tender sweet breads of game mechanics. That being said I have to keep a nervous eye on a certain Svifneblin with 7 hit points. Game changing disadvantages make characters, never break them. Been there, loved it.

How on earth does a 30 year old man continuously spell Svirfneblin right and never get experience right once? Sigh, I think spellcheck is my DM.

Also starting a gaming group on the first Lunar Eclipse on a winter Solstice in almost 400 years of almost make me feel like a devout Heathen. Normally D&D won't turn you into a Satanist, but starting tonight....?....it might already be too late.....

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ignorant movie reviews, Hobby Synergy and further excuses?

Our world gets smaller everyday, interconnections between people and things seemingly far apart are revealed to us almost daily now. This fascinating quirk of human experience seems to exist on all scales, and yesterday a film did so for me. The dice of girlfriend/boyfriend movie selection fell as 6s right at my feet and I raised them victoriously and selected "Centurion", it seemed perfect, it was about the failed Roman conquest of Scotland, and it had Dominic West from the Wire in it !!!! Not only was I entertained, but I realised that this film overlapped into my hobby world in two ways.

Obviously I am a historical wargamer who prefers the ancient setting, but aside from that most of my hobby time of late has been spent planning a new D&D campaign. That's where this movie really shines. The historical accuracy of this film wasn't at all a motivating factor in my renting it, but I was actually surprised by how well this film did within its budget. They didn't just give a passing notice to the right hats and armour, they also had them hanging their swords and Pugios the right way, and don't worry you get to see them use both. In all honesty I get the feeling that this movie changed around an expensive table in a meeting somewhere, and there were aspects that seemed to be out of key with the quality of the cast. However the cast was astounding, Pilums in the air for Liam Cunningham as Brick, he played the part of a blooded veteran soldier to the narrow hilt of a Pompeii Gladius, his apology mid-film alone was leveling. I look forward to seeing him stab other people in future films.

Aside from the historical shopping list of cost vs realism this film was an ideal example of a well run D&D campaign. No really, bear with me. Apart from any use of magic and fantastical beasts this movie was a well tuned gaming group 2 years and 8 or so levels in. The brutal trek back from enemy lines was perfect in tone and pacing, Les Stroud would be proud. It's far too rare now to see a violent movie that attempts tension without relying solely on startling you. It's not the type of movie that is going to change film, but it doesn't embarrass itself, and remains a very satisfying action movie. You just may have to consider its gore, as the frequent and well fought swordplay often lead to realistic results.

Good movie, expect a HUGE increase in D&D posts from here on in, as well as the usual FoG craptacularism. But I can't really post D&D related home brewed content until I drop the first adventure on my hapless friends. (Que maniacal villain laugh)