Archive for category Game Night

Saturday Nov. 12 — (inter)National Gaming Day

Saturday Nov. 12 — (inter)National Gaming Day.

Wish I didn’t have to work on Saturday 😦 I’m still suffering from Gaming Withdrawal over here!

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Gaming Withdrawals

I’ve talked about my weekly game night on this blog before. A short time ago it moved from Tuesday nights, where it had been quite comfortably for several years to Friday nights. Long story short with the combination of my work life, specifically closing shifts on Thursday and Saturday nights, and my home life, specifically actually enjoying spending time with my fiancée, Friday game nights just weren’t working for me. So it was with a heavy heart and a much reluctance that I called the regular DM and host, the nucleus of our table, and resigned my seat from the Friday night game. In the process I also let him know that I would come back in a heart beat if it moved back to Tuesday nights, I’ve quite specifically built my life around having Tuesday nights for gaming and have maintained a much more casual miscellaneous game night on Tuesdays since D&D moved to Fridays. Not only would I come back for a Tuesday game, but I would be willing to DM, because I know this man and bribery is often a successful tactic (there’s a reason why Munchkin has so many “Bribe the DM” cards). So they’re still playing Fridays at the moment, but I’m told there is active consideration for a Tuesday night game instead. There were real and valid reasons why the table moved from our successful Tuesday night slot to Fridays, so I get why it’s not an easy decision.

It’s left me thinking a lot about DMing though. The biggest problem being, that while I would be down for running a game, I don’t really want to run a classic D&D (4e) campaign. My preferences basically break down into these options (without much order to preference).

1. Gamma World – I’ve already talked extensively about my desire to run a Gamma World game on this blog so this shouldn’t come as any surprise. And really considering that it uses the existing 4th edition rules set, if I’m not going to run a classic D&D campaign this will be the option that I’m most likely to be able to sell the table on.

2. Dresden Files RPG – Now I’ve been wanting to run this game for a long time, and the people who are consistently present for my current Tuesday night miscellaneous game night might actually be willing to give it a try. Two of them are Dresden Files fans already and have expressed a little interest, and one of them has always been willing to experiment with new systems in the past. The downside is that it’s an entirely new system not at all based on D&D rules, that we would all be learning from scratch. As the GM I’ll be the one expected to know the rules system best (not just the setting). That’s never really been my strong suit at a DM, I’ve always had other people at the table to rely on to help with black-and-white rules decisions. So while I would love to tackle to story side of things, I find the prospect of mastering and helming an entirely foreign game system a bit daunting. Also my regular D&D players would be resistant to an entirely new system not based on D&D.

3. Super Hero RPG – This is probably mostly due to recently diving back into the comic book world. In high school we had a lot of fun with the Heroes Unlimited game system. I doubt I would try to use it again since it would be a foreign system to most of my table and they’re resistant to change. Since then I’ve even discovered a OGL (3.0 D&D) based system that would be much simpler then the Heroes Unlimited engine and more palatable to my regular D&D players since all of them played 3.0/3.5 back in the day. Once again, I think this would only really work with my smaller (and more open-minded) Miscellaneous Game Night group and not the larger D&D table. This and Dresden Files might be my first two choices though if the D&D group stays on Friday nights. The comic book and Dresden Files concepts work much better with a smaller table where attendance might be less reliable than our D&D group. D&D has a hard time working with less than 4 players in my opinion, but Dresden Files RPG and the Super Hero one would work just fine with 2 or 3 players, and throwing the occasional 4th in there when it comes up.

4. Dark Sun – This is basically 4e D&D but in a campaign setting I’ve found really interesting and have wanted to delve into since PAX Prime 2010. I probably have a greater chance of selling this to my D&D table then I do Gamma World. I also find it the least interesting of my options, but I would prefer to do that over a traditional D&D campaign.

Anyways, maybe this is all just gaming withdrawals. I just wasn’t enjoying D&D classic all that much before I left the table, but that also might have been because I was frustrated with the use of my time and wasn’t really willing to be at the table to begin with. Anyways, it all bears some more thought. I think it’s at least bringing up at my next Miscellaneous Tuesday game to see if they want to do something a bit more than just Munchkins, Bang!, and Zombies!!!

hotelnerd signing out

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Things I’m excited about right now…

So there are a number of little things that I’m excited about to different degrees that I wanted to share with you all.

Season 3 of Glee

I love the first season of Glee. I was hooked from the very first episode…well OK from this moment onward…

And I won’t lie, while I enjoyed season 2, I didn’t enjoy it as much as season 1. There were some truly great episodes of TV in there, but I discovered two things. While I agree with many aspects of their social agenda, they got a little heavy-handed with it in season 2. Secondly, and last night’s season premier drove this point home for me, their song choices can really turn me off to an episode. I’m not as big a fan of their Broadway songs when they do them.

However, I’m still super excited for season 3 of Glee. Last night’s episode hit a lot of great points for me that felt more like season 1, but it still wasn’t a home run. Was it just me or did it seem like half the episode went by before anyone sang anything? I really think it would have been better if they’d found a way to knock our socks off musically in the first 10-15 minutes.

That all said. I’m a Gleek. I’m still willing to give it a chance every week. Not in small part because of…

Lea Michele

Not everyone loves Lea Michele or her character Rachel Berry, but I’ve been a little smitten with her since the first episode. I’ll admit, her character can be a little annoying, but more often than not I just enjoy her antics. I know it’s her last season, and that’s sad. I think the show can go on without her though.

And oh yea…

Heather Morris

I think Heather Morris is the best thing to come out of Glee. Period. I know I put a “.” there, but it deserved extra emphasis. Her character started out as a back ground cheerleader that they brought in mostly to fill some space in the back ground, because she’s sexy and she can dance. But damn if her character Brittany hasn’t become one of my favorites in the whole show. Her wonderfully moronic little one liners are some of my favorite moments in the series. That and it’s just great to watch her move. Especially in those little cheerleader skirts. Sigh.

Jericho Season 3 Graphic Novel

BOOOM!

Did you watch Jericho when it was on TV? No? Well don’t feel too bad. Not many people did, that’s why it got cancelled. Twice.

That’s a rare honor really. The show was pretty much cancelled after season 1, but it’s one of the few fan driven movements to save a show that actually paid off. We got a 2nd season out of CBS (thank Science it wasn’t on FOX).

I really liked the series, and I don’t think it’s cancellation was due to being a bad show. I think it was a tough premise to sell at the time, too close to 9/11 still, it bummed a lot of people out or scared them. Nuclear blasts destroying most major American cities just hit a little close to home. I think if it had been on a network like SyFy or AMC the series might have survived to grow some real legs though. Alas the series ended on a horrible cliff hanger…or so I thought.

It’s one of the few series I’ve been able to introduce my fiancée to on the sly and have her actually enjoy. She and I don’t always share taste in shows, so I take it as a little challenge to secretly pick something I think she might like when she gives me full control over the TV. I pick something I think will manage to suck her in when she’s not paying attention, with the hope that when the episode ends she looks and me and goes “What happens next?” or “Can we watch another?” Jericho did that to her. Victory!

Anyways, my inspiration to introduce her to the show came from stumbling upon the graphic novel for season 3 of Jericho in a book store not long ago. I hadn’t heard about the series being continued in comic book form, and almost did a little dance in the store when I did. Joss Whedon has used this medium to great success (in my opinion) to continue Buffy, Angel and Firefly in comic book form after their respective series were cancelled. Considering how season 2 ended, I had shoved Jericho into the dark part of my brain where I put TV shows that end with loose ends. I can’t think about them too much without going into some horrible unfulfilled recursive loop. So knowing that I might actually get some resolution is just wonderful.

Tears of the Sun

On that very same trip to the bookstore I discovered S.M. Stirling’s latest book “Tears of the Sun” is out in the Emberverse series. I’m excited about its release, mostly because I’ve read and enjoyed so many of the earlier books in the series that I would feel incomplete if I didn’t read this one. However, I have to say, I was a little bored by the last book “High King of Montival” and so far TotS isn’t shaping up much better. The hero’s in the series are just a little too perfect now. They’ve stopped making mistakes or having flaws, and that’s just disappointing and a little boring. That and S.M. Stirling has developed this horrible habit in his book of having his characters finish sentences and thoughts for one another, over using the phrase “as if he could read’s mind’blah blah blah'” No really, it happens a lot now. He does it especially with characters that are friends or family or close allies to show that the two people really know or understand one another, but he does it all the fucking time and it’s just lazy and stupid. That said, I aggravatingly love the world he’s created for his characters, a world that exists in the rotted out skeleton of our own. I just wish he wasn’t making Mary Sue’s and Larry Stu’s out of every single character, and use the same lame litterary technique to have them all relate to one another. I’ll still read the book. I’ll probably even enjoy parts of it. So there you have it.

Doctor Who
Doctor Who has had an amazing season! It’s almost over now, but hot damn it has been a fun ride. The 11th Doctor Era has really come into its own with a truly distinctive flair of story telling. Not only is the cast and characters totally different, but the visual style and writing is totally unique from earlier seasons. Every episode is an amazing rollercoaster ride. This week’s The God Complex was a masterful work, it certainly didn’t hurt that the story took place in a twisted hotel. With a room to terrify anyone and everyone, but what was in the Doctor’s room!?! What really earned the Doctor a spot in this entry is after this season, I’m dying to see what the finale has to hold for us.

Miscellaneous Game Night
My D&D Game night has moved to Fridays for a variety of scheduling reasons, but several of the table members still had Tuesdays free. So we’re starting a fresh tradition of having a non-D&D miscellaneous game night, where we get together and play nerdy games. The two newest games for our group being “Munchkin” and “Zombies!!”. Both games are original, unique, and totally nerdy. I highly recommend either of them. In fact as I write this, I realize I should probably add a page to this blog for nerdy games I recommend.

Munchkin is a card game great for any D&D player that doesn’t mind poking fun and their own beloved game. It takes the D&D power gaming extremism to ridiculous and hilarious heights. The tag line for the game is “Kill the Monster, Steal the Treasure, Stab Your Buddy in the Back.” and that pretty much describes the game in a nut shell. I picked up the basic set of Munchkin a few weeks ago, and we’ve only played a couple of hands, but at this point I’ve picked up just about every expansion of Munchkin, and might do the same for the spin-off series. It was just that much fun. I know this isn’t a new game. I know it’s been out there for a long time now. But it’s new to our table, and I’m sure there are other groups out there that haven’t ventured into its shallow depths yet. It’s a great game for your D&D table to play at the beginning of the night while you’re waiting for people to arrive, or a great game to play at the end of the night when you’re just looking to wrap things up. We’ve only gotten 3 people playing at once so far, but I’m looking forward to getting a much bigger table. The box says a maximum of 6, but now that I’ve added the expansions to the base set, I don’t see why that needs to hold true.

Zombies!! is another game that’s been out there for a while, but that I’ve just recently discovered and our table already loves. It’s a hybrid card/board game. You’re playing a group of human survivors in a city over run by zombies. You’re on the run, desperately searching for supplies and the elusive helipad where a rescue chopper awaits. The game works off of two very distinct decks of cards, the Map cards which each player draws each turn and lays down. This forms your board for your human survivors to move on and the map of the city you’re stuck in. This way, every time you play the map is randomly generated. I think it fairly represents the desperate sprint through a city for survival, where with all the monsters, horror, and adrenaline you don’t really know where everything is, even though it could be a city you know well. The other deck of cards are special action cards that let you get bonuses of various sorts, and sometimes screw with other players in the race to the helipad. We’ve only played with the basic set so far. I’ve purchased the first expansion, but we haven’t incorporated it yet. To be honest, my only complaint about the game, is they could do a better job of spelling out the rules for us. Even as regular table top gamers, it’s taken some work to really figure out the mechanics of the game so that we know we’re playing right. Often this has required us to go online and check for errata or the game’s FAQ. I guess you could call that the learning curve, and I just wish the rules were a little bit more clear from the get go. Other than that we love the game and I think I’ll probably invest in the other expansions of Zombies and maybe even into the two spin offs, Humans!! and Martians!!.

Anyway, this wraps up this post for the day. I probably could have broken it into several smaller posts, I know there are several disparate topics here, but that’s not really my style to split stuff up. It just makes my search engine results way more confusing for people….

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My Cafe Press Shop

So I had almost forgotten that over a year ago I set up a Cafe Press Shop with some Nerd shirt designs I had thought up. OK so I had totally forgotten until I got an email this morning informing that my shop had sold something. For the first time. EVER. That was kinda cool. Cafe Press was super fun to use, a great way to express your creativity and sometimes earn a couple dollars, but I never really got around to setting up all the SEO and meta-data type stuff so that the shop would really work well. That was of course before I had this blog. I figure I should at least link the two together now. And maybe I’ll get around to it, because really, if I could get some shirts to sell, it might be a fun little chunk of change. I’m not schilling for my readers to go buy stuff to “support this blog”, I don’t think I’ve earned that quite yet. However, if you like nerdy shirts (mostly D&D related) then you might find something you like, in which case the shirts are there if you want one. I think I also set them up as buttons and bumper stickers and stuff, so there are a couple of options at different price points.

Anyways, here’s the link: Kaos Wizard’s Swag

I’ll probably make a separate “Page” for it on the main blog too, just so it’s easy to reference back to.

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Well hello Monday. We meet at last…

Mondays are my Fridays. I think I mentioned that before. Meaning I have the next 2 days off after I finally get off work tonight. Other managers had vacation requests to cover, so I ended up having a 6 day work week this week, and it’s dragging on me a little. Meaning I’m looking forward to my afternoon of video game playing tomorrow even more. And of course, finishing Ghost Story. I breezed through the first 50% over my last weekend, but I just don’t get much of a chance to read during the week. I’ve got about 25% left though, and I’ve stopped shaking with anticipation as I try to read which really speeds up the process. The book hasn’t gotten any less intense, I’ve just settled in for the ride finally.

D&D night is also this Tuesday which since I don’t play weekly anymore, just every other week, I look forward to tremendously. Our gaming group is actually large enough that we had to break into two separate groups on alternating weeks, and over half the time our main DM is the DM for both tables. And he don’t double dip into the writing, he does entirely separate campaigns for both nights, although he does recycle old campaigns periodically. Which is kind of fun even for those of us that haven’t been in the group the whole time and played those games before. It’s kinda cool to know that the campaign he’s running has a history and a past to it, and that the story has been essentially drafted and redrafted multiple times, refining and improving it each time.

The last few days at work have been pretty smooth all things told. After Friday everything just seems like a cakewalk. And today brought unforeseen but possibly very awesome career considerations my way. I don’t want to jinx anything by posting in more detail then that, because it is still in a very speculative and hypothetical sphere, but if nothing else I’m taking what has come up as a tremendous compliment.

I’m most of the way through the audiobook for Clash of Kings, the sequel to Game of Thrones. I’ve enjoyed it over all. The world that Martin has created is just so rich and thorough, and world building is a particular aspect that I’ve always enjoyed when trying to write fantasy, sci-fi, and D&D campaigns myself. However, I feel a little more disconnected from this book then the first, and I’m not entirely sure why. Part of it could certainly be, that I don’t have the TV series playing in the back of my mind as I listen. I don’t think that’s entirely it, the story just seems more disjointed. The author switches character perspective every chapter generally because the story is so vast and taking place in so many different places around the world. The cast of characters has grown, the scope of the story has grown, and as a result much more time goes by between each character’s POV and the continuation of the their part of the story. That process makes it so that I can’t get attached to any particular character and slows down what little action there is. I’m not saying it’s a bad book, but I don’t know if I would have the patience to get through it if I was actually reading each page, and not having it read to me as I drive. And all that said, after the amazing job they did with the first season of the show, I can very much see how this book will translate perfectly into the medium, so long as HBO gives them the budget to produce it as faithfully as the first. I love that the development and continual improvement of CGI has made it possible for such shows to exist. And that HBO can throw boobs around on TV willy-nilly.

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Gamma World Campaign Plans

So last Tuesday was my every other week D&D game night, which I’ve already posted about earlier. During the session I got the table to agree to give Gamma World a try for my next campaign. Generally we just play in the traditional D&D High Fantasy setting, but Gamma World is a complete change, it’s a Science Fiction/Fantasy type world set after a massive global apocalypse has struck the Earth. Now the world is known as Gamma Terra.

Gamma World

So I’ve decided to set my campaign in the blasted and flooded remains of San Francisco, since I’ve lived there and we’re close enough that my players will all have a good idea of the surrounding area as a baseline. Thanks to the apocalypse that has torn apart the world, I’ll get to play with it in all sorts of interesting ways. For starters, I’m going to play with global sea levels, which might actually turn San Francisco in an island. This Map is a lot of fun to play with to get an idea of what raising sea levels could do to the immediate area.

Now I want to do lots of other things. Like the Giant’s baseball stadium might become a bloody gladiatorial arena. Market Street might become the new harbor/docks area. I’ll get to people the city with all sorts of interesting and twisted mutated lifeforms. Massive living plant creatures in Golden Gate Park that hate Meat Bags? I’m picturing a somewhat benevolent dictator that rules the city either from a palace inside the city (maybe convert Civic Center and City Hall?) or from Alcatraz (which might be under water ruling it out) or from Yerba Buena Island, I’m not sure about the details on him yet, but I think his wife might be a giant arachnoid creature a consummate schemer and plotter. I’m thinking I might make Angel Island either the home to some crazy mad scientist, or a penal colony, or both. The Golden Gate Bridge will likely become just two tall towers in the opening of the bay. Maybe inhabited by a tribe of gargoyle like creatures? I think the Muni and BART tunnels will have to possess some sort of dangerous threat in their depths, and maybe from the collision of the worlds, and construction since the Big Mistake, there have been more tunnels dug. Maybe some sort of Frog/Mole hybrid creatures in the depths of the city? Maybe they would be some sort of slave underclass. There could be an Over Town and an Under Town that way. There’ll be some sort of city guard, or enforcers for the ruler of the city, but I’m not sure how I want to twist them, some sort of Zombies or other undead? Also I think the city and area will be somewhat feudal in nature, there will be the ruler (essentially a king) and then an aristocracy of some kind with Lords and Counts and Dukes, Knights, and whatnot, and then a merchant class and peasant class and likely some sort of servant/slave class too, but I haven’t picked a system I want to bastardize or mimic. It’ll kind of be up to the players how much they want to embrace or this system. The nobility will likely have small holdings outside the city core in the surrounding area, a Count of Oakland (gotta give it a Gamma name though) and the Duke of Marrrin and the Duchess of Sand Bruknow. I think you get the idea…. Or maybe you don’t…I’m not sure I do yet.

The potential is really limitless with this setting.

I’m picturing the starting point of my campaign, and I keeping coming back to the first scene being in a bar. That’s a tried and true classic starting point for many RPG Campaigns. But I’ll give it the Gamma World twist. I’ve already pictured much of it, it’s called the Loose Screw, and it’s a brothel/strip club owned and staffed by robots, androids, cyborgs, and other artificial intelligent lifeforms, but open to all. And it’s possible that the campaign won’t start here, but I think it will have to be a location that comes up at the very least in the campaign. I like the idea of starting here though, it keeps popping up in my head.

I need to sit down with a map of San Francisco, probably in Photoshop and really define the boundaries of the remaining city, and what is just dilapidated ruins and wild zone. I’m picturing a massive wall around the main city core built of rubble and debris from the rest of the city. I think there’ll be a fairly high level of Omega Tech (futuristic gadgets) within the city itself.

Anyways, I just wanted to put all these ideas down somewhere for once. Maybe putting them out there will let new ones generate. Also, I’d love to hear suggestions on other tweaks and twists that can be made to the iconic city. Especially from anyone that has maybe already made their own conversion of San Francisco into a Gamma World setting.

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Game Night and Gamma World

Don't split the party! Hold the fraking hall way!

Game night last night! First one in like a month, so this was very eagerly awaited. The picture above was snapped as things started to get…hairy. Cleared the room of minions only to have three Worgs mounted by goblins come down the hall way. That’s the Avenger out in front and we soon discovered (after my Warlord came to back him up) that the Worgs could shift 8 and through occupied squares….audible sigh…NEVER SPLIT THE GOD DAMN PARTY!

Our DM had to work late so we spent the first part of the night playing Zombie Dice and then Bang! It also gave me time to prime the pump a little on running a Gamma World campaign. Everyone was pretty much willing to give it a try. So I’ll just start writing a campaign to start in a couple months. YaaaY! New stuff!

On a side note, we recently replaced our piece of gradually warping plexi glass covering the gridded matt we play on with a piece of glass originally destined for a sliding glass door. I think it was a great improvement, except for the fact that dice sound very annoying and loud when rolled on actual glass. What sort of supplies do you all use for your game tables? I’d love a digital game table system, but they haven’t been perfected yet, though the demo I saw at PAX made me a little tumescent at the time, and they’re still ungoddly expensive! And the internet is surprisingly unhelpful at finding information about what I saw there. #GoogleFail

However, I now want The Vizier very much…. And this was a great homebrew job Now I just need a couple spare thousand dollars to throw at such an extravagances and a room worth putting such a table in. Our set up really isn’t that bad, in fact it’s better then anything my friends and I had before we started playing with this group, and it’s better then many game tables likely have. But still….it’s always nice to dream.

Anyways, it’s time to go off and start being productive for the day. I have a pile of laundry, a car that needs an oil change, that god damn barbecue regulator to finally replace, and probably a couple of other things I’ve forgotten. Then back to work tomorrow!

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