Month: February 2016

My First Time With D&D

So my board game night people decided to do D&D.  While I know a good deal about D&D rules (from plumbing the depths of old D&D video games for how they all work) and have roleplayed a bit in the past in other venues (just not D&D), this is something I’ve wanted to try for a long time.

Because organizationally it was easiest, I was to be DM for our maiden voyage.

As a reference, we had one person who had played a few campaigns, another two who had played once or twice, and then myself and my wife who had never played.

We decided to play 5th edition, mainly because it was the easiest to find resources for, and most opinions online were very positive (for those who had tried it; many people still stick to 3.5, Pathfinder, and some version of 2E as well, from my understanding).

Anyways, we forged ahead with what more or less amounted to the starter set: pre-generated characters (halfling rogue, high elf wizard, human fighter, dwarf cleric) and the Lost Mines of Phandelver starter campaign.

Sadly, I was not as organized as I would have liked going in; I had intended to cull my resources the night and morning before, but real life decided to make that difficult, so my running of the campaign left a bit to be desired, since I had to stop and look stuff up from time to time instead of having it all prepared.

However, everyone had a blast, and I think I did a good job of DMing as far as keeping things going, and presenting the setting.  No one was confused as to their options, and I felt I played the different NPC characters rather well.  There were already some pretty memorable moments of silliness.

Also, RNGesus decided to pay a visit.  There was a bandit fight that had two critical misses and three critical hits.  One exchange involved the wizard getting 20’d and one-shot by a bandit, then the bandit on the ensuing turn critically missing, which I interpreted as him tripping over the wizard’s corpse and accidentally head-shotting himself with his short-sword.  That was fun, because it let the dead wizard feel at least somewhat useful, in death.

I think we’ll be continuing with this week-to-week, and I can’t wait.  I don’t think DMing is something I always want to do, but I certainly don’t have a problem with it, and I think I’m pretty decent at it.  Just need to get more organized and learn the rules a bit more.

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Baldur’s Gate: Again

I have this strange relationship with the Baldur’s Gate series.  Actually, this applies to the whole Infinity engine family of games; BG, Icewind Dale 1&2, and Planescape Torment.  But we’ll focus on Baldur’s Gate here first.

I got Baldur’s Gate as a random present from one of my mom’s friends wayyyyy back in 1998.  I was immediately hooked; it was only the second game I had ever played that gave me so many choices (the other was Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar for the NES).  It was top-down, which allowed for incredible strategic elements.  It had dialogue choices that meant something.  It had humor, seriousness, epicness.  It had it all.

Baldur’s Gate 2 was just a continuation, but stacking complex high-level spell combat on top of the already wonderful freedom and storytelling.  It also had one of the best villains in video game history, Jon Irenicus, who was voice-acted tremendously by David Warner.

I consider both of those games heavily influential on my gaming tastes.  I consider them both among the best PC games ever made, if not among the best games ever made, regardless of system.

I’ve never beaten either of them.  This is baffling.

I’ve certainly found it harder in recent years to complete games.  I often reach a point where I go “I get it” and put a game down, regardless of where I am.  I never beat Final Fantasy 9, despite getting to the final area.  I did the same with Final Fantasy 13 (though didn’t get quite as far, but I did get to the point where the game opened up).  I’ve done it with a few Ultima games.  And I did it with BG and BG2.

I’m not sure if they’re too long or what, but I have just never finished them.  I certainly got quite far into BG1, but never beat it, nor did any of the expansion content.  I got somewhat far in BG2 in the sidequests, but never advanced the main storyline past breaking into Spellhold, which is barely halfway, I think.

I’m currently trying to do a full playthrough of both, starting a character in BG: Enchanced Edition, play through it all plus the expansion content, then import the character into BG2 and do the same there.  I doubt I’ll make it, if previous attempts inform future actions.

I think it might be the combat.  It can range from mundane to ruthless, and I don’t think I like either.  I feel that my time is wasted with a fight with a few kobolds, but then my time is wasted when staring down a Beholder and six Yuan-Ti mages, which is pretty tough.

Or it might be all the freedom.  I often restart the game multiple times since I can’t decide which class to play.  I’ve found in other games that I can be paralyzed by choice, and end up putting the game down rather than settle on a certain race, class, or playstyle.

I had a startling thought just now.  Maybe I just want to play actual table-top D&D.

Luckily, I’ll be doing that this weekend.  I’ll write on that as well.

 

A Quick Rundown of the Crazy People Running for President

REPUBLICANS

Jeb Bush
jebthug
A man with his pedigree and record cannot be trusted.  Look at that snarl.  He’ll probably steal again!

John Kasich
kasichfruitninja
How can a person so good at Fruit Ninja find any time to govern effectively?  NEXT.

Ben Carson
carsonsqueeze
He might be the most intelligent Republican candidate, but if he can’t hold in a fart without making a face like that, diplomatic trips are going to be a non-starter.

Carly Fiorina
Carly Fiorina
I know that we’ve recently broadened our horizons when concerning who’s able to get into the oval office, but this is way too far.  Say what you want about a woman in the White House, but someone with a giant doppelganger twin?  This is too far.  That might come in handy in diplomacy, but the White House is NOT big enough for a failed businesswoman and her colossal clone!

Marco Rubio
rubiohuh
Old-guard Republicans are in love with him, but he looks more like an extra in a John Hughes movie.  Is this a face you can trust with the nation?  Or is it a face you can trust with helping the main character with a tricky relationship problem?  I think the answer is clear.

Ted Cruz
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) Announces His Run For President At Liberty University
Cruz may be the leading alternative to front-runner Trump, but are we sure we can let this man kill again?  How could we let someone who feeds on the souls of the innocent into the White House?

Rand Paul
randsmoking
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that people with hair that looks like that are either middle managers in retail, or the villain of an Adam Sandler movie.  May as well elect Christopher MacDonald to office.

Donald Trump
trump
Perfect.  You can’t beat the perfection that is Donald Trump…’s hair.  The hair is perfect, and would kill in the general election.  Too bad it’s attached to a despicable human being.

THE DEMOCRATS (thank Jebus there’s a lot less of them)

Hillary Clinton
hillarysecret
The idea of a Hillary presidency has long been a goal of the Democratic party, but honestly, we can’t elect someone to a third term.  Seems unfair.

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders
Aw, grandpa woke up after falling asleep watching Gilligan’s Island reruns.  Can you go get him some hot cocoa and a blanket?  And tell him to stop sleeping on the couch, it’s bad for his back!

Martin O’Malley
marty
Martin O’Malley is a person, who happens to be running for president.  I think he’s real.  Citation needed.