Monday, December 08, 2014

Awesome trailer time!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Moving forward with Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition

After over three decades with AD&D 2nd edition I have finally decided to complete the switch to a new edition-sort of.

I announced yesterday to my friday night online gaming group that our current 2nd edition game has come to an end and on December 5th we will be converting to 5th Edition. With that announcement I finally end my relationship with 2nd edition. But were still friends, because frankly 2nd edition has yet to meet its match for sheer volume of settings.

the publishers of 5th edition have stated that they intend to avoid inundating their customer base with new books every month as they had in previous editions. Instead, it appears they are taking the "Mr. Coffee" approach to releasing new material- one slow drip at a time. Frankly , when it comes to my hobby, I love being inundated. 

Publish as much as you want. Of course, I'm not going to buy all of it, but I'm a big fan of choice.  And its because of that "slow-drip" approach that I will keep visiting my 2nd edition collections for late night hook ups. Al Qadim, Kara Tur, Ravenloft, Spelljammer, Planescape, Birthright, etc. they are still too sexy to just drop - especially when 5th edition is refusing to put out.

So next month I finally join the 21st century gaming scene, But, you never forget your first love.

Friday, November 07, 2014

You have nothing to fear, but...

I happened to catch this horror series back in 2008. It was a summer replacement show that only lasted one season, but several of the episodes were really good.  I just ran across "The Sacrifice" on You Tube, it was the first episode and my personal favorite. Check it out-

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Using Volo's guides from 2nd edition AD&D for 5th edition

I've read quite a few blogposts about folks using their 2nd edition AD&D Forgotten Realms material as a setting for the new 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons. It makes sense to me given how much old Realms material I have around here.    Many of the folks point to the 1st edition of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting and others advise using the second edition specific setting. Amongst my favorite resources are the Volo Guides.

The Volo guides are like a Fodor’s travel guide for the Forgotten Realms there are five Volo guides to various sections of Toril and one guide dealing “With all things Magical”. The guidebooks are packed full of real places that adventurers frequent in games- taverns, inns, brothels, shops, and places of interest (like haunted keeps and such).  Just about every entry has some kind of hook ripe for development into an adventure.  Before you know it your characters will have a list of favorite places to stay and shops to frequent in between dungeon crawls and tomb robbing.

Volo's guides are also a wonderful way to plan out down time for characters. for instance, if a character in your game needs a suit of plate armor, you can quote a price from the players book and be done with it or you could tell the player that the best plate armor in the sword coast can be found at a shop called The Halls of Hilmer on the street of bells in Waterdeep, thus a desire for plate armor leads the character on a journey to the most fabulous city in the Realms.

I find the information in them much more useful than stat-blocks for Uber-NPC's that I'll never use in my campaign These guidebooks have become the most referenced material I have on the Forgotten Realms. And speaking of stat-blocks, the guides have very little in the way of rules or stats, it's all about the flavor and feel of the establishment or locale, which makes it a smooth transition to 5th edition.

You can find almost all of them at RPGnow (it seems that the guides to the North and Baldur's Gate II have yet to be released).

Volo’s guide to Waterdeep

Volo’s guide to the Sword Coast

Volo’s guide to the Dalelands

Volo’s guide to Cormyr

Volo’s guide to all things Magical

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Icewind Dale Enhanced Edition is coming soon!

I am a huge fan of the enhanced Edition Series of AD&D adventures that are being re-released by Beamdog. My sons and I have had many hours of enjoyment with these games. I'm happy to see Icewind Dale finally getting the "Enhanced" treatment. At the pre-order price of $19.99 you get a lot of game for your dollar.

Check it out at:
The Icewind Dale website

Friday, September 05, 2014

I'm finally home

You are the reason I've been waiting so long
Somebody holds the key
Well, I'm near the end and I just ain't got the time
And I'm wasted and I can't find my way home
                                                                                                                 Steve Winwood

Back in the late 90’s I heard that my favorite game was going to change, really change. Wizards of the Coast (WoTC) bought TSR and began a process to change Dungeons and Dragons in a radical way. They promised the change would be monumental and would make the game that I’d been playing virtually obsolete.

Now I had just moved to Hawaii, working a new job and seeing a beautiful girl who is now my beautiful wife.  So, though I had other things going on in my life, I still kept an occasional eye on my hobby and I watched the coming of the 3rd edition of Dungeons and Dragons. 

The players handbook gave me a disc to help me create my characters, but it didn’t work quite right (I was used to the Core Rules disc and expansion, so I had high hopes, but the 3rd edition software turned out to be garbage).  I bought a few 3rd edition splat books and even helped out with Living Greyhawk for a bit, but I just wasn’t feeling this game anymore.

A couple of years later I come to find out I’ve been trying to play the wrong game. I should be playing the 3.5 edition of Dungeons and Dragons. That 3rd edition crap was, for lack of a better word, crap.  So now according to WoTC, in order to play 3rd edition the way it was meant to be played I needed to buy all new 3.5 edition books and my 3.0 books could be used for kindling or to level out the work bench in the garage.

That was when I said goodbye to Dungeons and Dragons.

I looked at my three bookcases full of 1st and 2nd edition AD&D materials and resigned myself to make do with what I have.  I never looked back…

One of my secret reasons for having kids is to have my own ready-made D&D group, as my boys came of age I began ushering them into the mysteries.  However, my 2nd Edition AD&D campaign held little interest for them, we also tried Castles and Crusades but they didn't  care much for that either, and I have to admit I was just going through the motions as well.  In 2012 I heard from friends about a game called Pathfinder- so we played Pathfinder. We played in a Pathfinder Society Campaign all through the summer of 2013 and while it was a little too much bookkeeping for me, my boys loved it.  I’ve heard people refer to Pathfinder as D&D 3.75 which I suppose makes sense. And while it was rather heavy at times, there were things that I admired about the system. But it wasn’t my D&D.

This summer I heard the rumblings of the next great edition of D&D. Holding fast to my AD&D Core Rules Expansion discs I flatly stated that I had no intention of spending another penny on a WoTC product. I had weathered the storm that was 4th edition quite well thank you and I figured this too shall pass.  And I’d still be out there today if it wasn’t for the fact that WoTC did something inconceivable – they gave a free PDF of the core rules to everyone who wanted one.  I can say no to many temptations but “free” is a tough one to turn down.

So I downloaded the free PDF, then I read the PDF, then I printed up the PDF. I was gobsmacked. This new 5th Edition was wonderful. There’s just enough “old” for my Grognard sensibilities to be satisfied, and plenty of “New” for the Geek in me to revel in.  Of course its not perfect, but neither was my D&D. I never needed it to be perfect. I just wanted it to be fun.
 I’ve heard folks say that there is quite a bit from 3rd and 4th edition in it, I have to take their word for that, I wouldn’t know. What I do know is that it’s been close to 12 years for me wandering around looking for some “Old School re-hash” or “Indy darling” to give me the feeling of being on the cutting edge of a game that I loved so much.  I can finally stop looking and come home to D&D.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Finally...Knights of Badassdom!

Its finally out tomorrow through On Demand Digital.

'nuff said.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Rolling 20!

Back in the fall of last year I started a 2nd Edition AD&D campaign using roll20 and Google Hangouts.
Tomorrow we will be playing our 16th weekly session. I’m really enjoying the group of players that have joined. Everyone plays nicely and we all seem to get along.   My players stretch from coast to coast on the map and down to Brazil.

I’ve stretched my Roll20 legs and have participated in several other games and I’m in the midst of a playtest of The Lost World of Hador for Dicey Tales.

I’ve found the online play using Roll20 just as satisfying as face to face play, with the added bonus of not having to clean up after the game is over!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Dragon Magazine sweet spot: issues #251-#273

I've been gaming since 1978 and started buying Dragon Magazine from issue #48, but even though I bought Dragon regularly, the issues from the mid 200’s to the end of the magazine were usually purchased and put in the pile of “to be read”. 

At the time my pursuits were elsewhere (like trying to convince my not-yet-wife to go out with me), so the pile languished and at some point was boxed up.  I have the Dragon archive discs so I had the first 250 issues covered and have referred to them often. I continued to buy dragon out of habit, even though I wasn’t a fan of any of the later editions (my heart belongs to 2nd edition).

So the other day I was cleaning the garage and I ran across a box with issues #251- #280. And I discover that the majority of them are from the 2nd edition days (issue #274 was the first 3rd edition issue), which meant I had over a year’s worth of 2nd edition dragon magazines that I had never gotten around to reading! 

It couldn't have come at a better time, as my online 2nd ed. campaign is in full-swing. So now I’m having a great time, perusing my forgotten treasures.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Musketeers on BBC

The BBC is running a brand new series called The Musketeers. The first episode was Sunday night I believe. I gave it a couple of days to hit the torrent sites and downloaded it this morning. I enjoyed the premier episode. They take a few liberties with the original story, but nothing too off the wall (no flying airships, or any of that crap).  The fight scenes are done nicely, and I like the actors they've chosen for the Musketeers. I'll be following this one. For those of you willing to wait, it's due to hit BBC America this spring.