Wednesday, October 7, 2009, 4:13 PM
It's been a long couple of weeks. I'm finally back into form after returning from a great trip to the UK for Game Day. Fanboy 3 was a fantastic store, London's an awesome town, and the countryside in England is amazing. All in all, an amazing trip.
Wotc_Huscarl (aka Steve Winter) just posted a blog about owlbears and other hybrid animals, and he mentions there that there's an ongoing debate on our team about hybrid monsters and how cool (or not) they are. Before he could out me as the owlbear hater, I did it myself. That's right, I hate owlbears. And apparently I'm the only one.
To be perfectly honest, I don't hold disdain only for the owlbear, but for all hybrid monsters. I can't stand 'em*. Any of 'em. Why's that? Because I think they're lazy. I just don't think it's all that tough to take two monsters, cut them in half, and Dr. Frankenstein them back together in different combos. It's just not very imaginative, in my opinion. I'll be the first to admit that I wished I could like owlbears and other hybrids. God knows I'd get a lot less crap around the office from all the owlbear lovers.
But you know the worst part about the owlbear? It's not even built from two scary monsters. Sure, a bear is scary. If I saw a bear in real life, I'd run, or play dead, or climb a tree. Or get eaten. I mean, they're big, 1,000-pound (give or take) killing machines. But not owls. Nooooo. Sure, they're predators, but not of people. (Although the folks in this story might beg to differ.) All you get with an owlbear is a bear that now lacks teeth, can spin its head around, and barfs up owlbear pellets (okay, that part might actually be kind of cool).
At least owlbears aren't the worst of the hybrid lot. They worse ones are those composed of two non-predator, puffcake animals. I might as well build a hybrid from my Boston terrier. Yeah, that would be scary.
Yeah, there's a monster that will lick you to death.
The worst of the worst are the human-animal hybrids. Bullywugs? Yuck. Ibixians? Even worse. What are they gonna do? Eat your recycling?
*I make an exception for mythological hybrids. Chimeras kick ass, as does a medusa. But they have the weight of history and loads of great mythology surrounding them, so they get a pass. Maybe if the owlbear is around in another 2,000 years, I'll give it a second look. Maybe.
Saturday, September 19, 2009, 9:54 AM
I just wrapped up my presentation and Q&A at Fanboy 3 in Manchester, England. What fun! I gave an informal version of Bill's Gen Con presentation. I may have spent a little extra time up-selling D&D Insider. Not that I needed to bother, really, since the vast majority of folks here today are subscribers. I saw lots of excitement for all our upcoming releases, but Dark Sun, Dungeon Tiles, and the upcoming new race books all received high interest.
I also heard a bunch of good ideas from the gamers here. (By the way, not that I'm surprised, but UK gamers and US gamers--no difference at all. You could swap seats for a month with any one of these folks, and you'd be right at home.)
Fanboy 3 has a tremendous LFR presence. There are regular pick-up games four or five nights a week here. I think that's phenomenal. I need to round up with Chris Tulach when I get home and figure out how we can better support LFR in Dungeon here and elsewhere.
I've got a number of photos I'll be passing along for posting. In the mean time, a game of Three Dragon Ante is starting up, and there's a seat with my name on it. They're playing all night and all tomorrow here at Fanboy 3. That's about 36 hours of D&D, for those keeping track. And Fanboy 3 is providing snacks all day, and breakfast in the morning. Awesome. Thanks to everyone at the store who made me feel welcome. I can't wait to get back here!
Thursday, September 17, 2009, 4:22 PM
I'm about to head to the airport to catch a flight for Game Day in Manchester. I'm really, really stoked. I've never been to Europe, sadly, so this will be a first on many levels. I'll be attending Game Day at Fanboy 3. Then I'll be bopping around London and parts unknown for a few days before heading back here. If you'll be in the area, stop by Fanboy 3 and say hi!
I've been so busy getting stuff wrapped up before I leave I've been lax here. I'll be sending Bart and the rest of the folks some updates from Game Day in Manchester, hopefully with some photos.
Off to the airport!
Thursday, September 3, 2009, 1:48 PM
So I had to learn some of the new community site lingo yesterday, which is why I ended up having three of the same blog post. Turns out if you set your entry status to friends, it won't appear in your blog list, but will appear in your activity box. To make it show up for real, you have to set the entry status to public. Noted.
Also noted: Mike Mearls has an interesting blog. He talks about rules and stuff. Good times. I think he probably designs D&D in his sleep. That's gotta be weird.
We had our weekly Io'mandra session last week. We still can't seem to get off this damn flying citadel. Nothing much of substance happened, other than that I learned a lot more about my character. I'll have to update my Deimos entry on Chris's Io'mandra page here soon. DMing lesson of the day that I learned from Chris:
Keep the plots coming. Actually, I've learned this in the past, since Chris has done this in all three of the campaigns I've played in that he's run. But he's really adept at continuing to introduce new plots, new stories, new villains, all the time. We wrap up about one loose plot thread for each ten that Chris introduces. It gives us the genuine feeling that we're in a living, breathing world. Stuff is happening all around us, all the time.
This is something we've tried to introduce in Scales of War. The world is bigger and more complex than any one group can ever deal with. I find that concept immersive and overwhelming, all at the same time.
So we learned a bunch more names last night, more places to add to our "must visit next" list, which now includes:
- A series of dragon mini-hoards from a dragon we killed, like three levels ago. We know where all these hoards are, we just haven't collected yet. (Like it will be that easy.)
- Anchordown, a city that's actually a floating collection of ships, kind of like China Mieville's Armada, a city from his book The Scar. There are, like, a dozen people we want to talk to there.
- The emperor's sunken ship.
- The ship we sunk that we need to salvage. We owned that ship in the face. Now we want their cargo.
- Io'Halidor, the hidden underwater city. This is my character's next stop. Maybe.
And there are many, many more. See what I mean about introducing more options?
Monday, August 31, 2009, 9:38 AM
This is just a quick note that September will be the first month we'll be making a hard division between player content (in Dragon) and DM content (in Dungeon). The reason this note is quick? Because this post is actually test of the emergency blogging system! Test! Test! But really, I'm having blog issues, so I'm testing things out. I'll have more information on the new approach soon.
Monday, August 31, 2009, 9:11 AM
Dictionary.com defines ridiculous as: causing or worthy of ridicule or derision; absurd; preposterous; laughable.
Common parlance would also define ridiculous as: beyond description; baffling; amazing; jaw dropping.
Last Wednesday's session falls neatly into both categories.
In the course of the night, our level 14 group:
- Watched our ship get destroyed by a vortex of water 1,000 feet tall, generated by a flying/sailing/submersible, multi-limbed fortress the size of a village.
- Traveled back in time to prevent the destruction of said ship.
- Got to meet our past character selves, in an attempt to double up our strength to take on the controller of the citadel (cause, you know, if you can travel through time for a fight, you might as well bring reinforcements).
- In attempting the above, caused the citadel's controller to go batdung crazy and crash the flying citadel in some mad suicide attempt.
- Take 500 points of damage -- each -- from the crash of said citadel. Suicide attempt successful. Sheesh.
- Died (see above).
- Realized we'd been TPKed twice. Simultaneously.
- Got pulled out of time due to a favor a guy owed a guy who owed us a solid.
- Got reinserted back into the timestream just before all the shenanigans above transpired.
Time spent playing D&D last night? 4 hours. Time elapsed in actual campaign time? -1 hour. Campaign progress made? Zero.
Oh, and pithy one-liners delivered at or near moments of certain doom? I'd guess at least a half dozen.