I Swing the Vorpal Spork of Irony like some Hyperborean Usurper through the Hordes of the Unwashed.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Scary Monster Saturday Update: The Morkoth

Recently heard on my blog: "So you got killed by something that looks like a transvestite octopus"
That, was very funny. But, thanks to a re-imagining by Eli Arndt I think that we can now say that the Morkoth is now someone you wouldn't like to meet in a dark cavern.
artwork by Eli Arndt

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monster Chronicles: The Nightmare

Deep in the verdant grasses of the midnight plain we awaited the attack. Mighty and fell beasts circled silently and swiftly our position. Although there was no moonlight we could clearly see the monsters fiery eyes and flaming manes. "I don't suppose anyone has a carrot or a sugar cube? quipped our Bard. As if on cue they turned inward to meet our hastily prepared defense....

Recently I was asked to review the Open Design Monster Chronicles: The Nightmare.
According to the Kobold Quarterly website the Monster Chronicles is a project designed to flesh out little known monsters and some forgotten gems. A worthy endeavour indeed. Unfortunately I think they chose the wrong monster to kick off the series. The Nightmare, while certainly not a beast to trifle with, is not likely to inspire fear in the hearts of an experienced party. As with all Open Design products the writing and art is top notch. I'm looking forward to what they come up with next, especially if they can lasso writers like Ed Greenwood and Rob McCreary. On the whole, I would have been disappointed if I would have spent $2.95 for this 8 page PDF. (I received a copy for free for review) Add a map or two and some stats for different levels, and perhaps a sample encounter. Otherwise I think that a buck might be more in line.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Scary Monster Saturday

If necessity is the Mother of invention then spite is the Mother of the Tooth Golem.

This is what happened. After a 4th ed. encounter my players were looting orcs or hobgoblins or something. For some reason while I was trying to add some local color I let slip that the baddies had a few teeth in thier pouches. I'm not sure why, doesn't matter. A few of the players pocketed the teeth or attempted to glean to what creatures the teeth belonged. While others, with blatant disregard for the Gods of Roleplaying, threw the teeth away. That kind of made me mad. I'm not sure why, doesn't matter. So from then on, just about every baddie they faced had some teeth in their pouch. It became a game within a game. I give teeth, certain players keep them and certain players throw them away. At first, I didn't know how I was going to exact my revenge. But over the months a devious plan fomented in my puny DM brain. I tweaked the stats for a chain golem [hat tip Wotcs' Monster Builder] and made it so that if you threw teeth into one of it's many maws it would leave you alone but if you had no teeth you were doomed. I did pull up short of a partial party kill, but I hope I made my point.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dark Tower or Dork Tower

OK, this game was so cool when I was a kid. Flashing lights, rotating innards and that annoying music. But now, it's been relegated to scrap pile of history with the hula hoop and Lincoln Logs. If you're feeling nostalgic like I was, play it for an hour or two. Or at least until your teenagers start making fun of you.
Here is a link to a Dark Tower flash game that plays like the real thing. Or at least the way I remembered anyway. BTW, the movie Kick-Ass Kicked Ass.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Scary Monster Saturday

Some time around 1980 a Barbarian named Aagar climbed into an 150ft long Chambered Nautilus and met his untimely death.
Ever since that day his bane has been one of my favorite Monster's to hate. It's Called the Morkoth or the Morlock. If that wasn't enough he was refered to as the "Wraith of the Deep".
Alas, it's been roundly ignored by mainstream nerdia since then. No D&D miniature and no 4th ed. Monster Manual.
I think that this a glaring oversite, 'cause this guy is nasty!
Basically the Morkoth lures you into his lair, hyponotizes you, then starts munching on your extremities while you are still alive. Not a good way to go. If anyone has ever seen a Pewter of this guy you have to let me know. 'Til then I will be lobbying Wotc for this guys' inclusion in MM3.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Kobold Quarterly Spring Issue III

Recently I was asked to review the Spring Issue of Kobold Quarterly. The following is the last part of that review.

  • Hmmm, an article about sex and romance in RPG’s... The article is well written and deals with the subject in an adult manner. Which is more than I can say about most Role Players. Only recently have I played RPG’s with Ladies. So I never really had to worry about. Recently I've had a character that’s been romantically involved, it does factor in the story, but shouldn’t distract from having a good time killin’ shit.
  • Next is an article about "Destined" magic items. At first I thought I would never use this. I changed my mind. Basically, you get a Magic Weapon when you’re at lower level, and it evolves and grows with your character. Most of the time you throw away that +2 halberd when you find that +4 vorpal pictchfork. Interesting article.
  • The next two articles are about Dragon Age, a RPG based on a cool looking video game. I’ll be honest with you, my kids won’t let me near the PlayStation. Maybe one of these days I’ll try it, and I will let you know.
  • Last is a nifty underwater adventure seed. I like the idea and the map. I might use this to kick off my Sword and Sorcery/Cthulhu Mythos TPK. Oops, I meant adventure.

I really enjoyed reading each of these articles. A word of advice, read stuff about games you don’t play you might just learn something.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Kobold Quarterly Spring Issue II

Recently I was asked to review the Spring Issue of Kobold Quarterly. This is Part Two of that review.

  • The "Thrill of the Unknown" is a very good article by Monte Cook about fear and how to keep your players in suspense and on the edge of their seats. I love the smell of fear around my table. That’s how I knlow you’re doing it right.
  • Next is the King of the Monsters Contest Winner called “Spark”. As an electrician, it certainly got my attention. Basically it’s elemental that jumps into you, and makes you do bad stuff. The Math is Pathfinder, but could work for 3.5. I probably wouldn't make this guy my boss fight though.
  • The next one is a PC Bloodline called the “Scions of Shadow” to me this was the most interesting article. Basically your progenitors make nice with the Shadows and the whole family pays the price. Like it! This is mostly for magic users, or as I call them, 'Marshmallows'. I would like to see a Shadow Hammer for my Fighter.
  • The last article for this part is called Gamblers Magic: Wonderous Items of Chance. It details 4th ed. Magical items of a gambling natue. I like the Demon Dice. I won’t spoil it, but they are nasty.

Just a pet peeve here, but when you go to the trouble of introducing new magic items, give us a card we can cut out and give to our players. As a DM my time and patience are limited (this goes for you too Wotc). And, as a player, it would make things much better if we got a card instead of transcribing and looking stuff up.

Kobold Quaterly Spring Issue

Recently I was asked to review the Spring Issue of Kobold Quarterly. It’s nearly 70 pages long and has 14 articles, not to mention the editorials, regular features and letters to the editor and such. I will endeavour to give each author their due and in the interest of brevity, which I’m told is the “Soul of Wit” I will break my review into three parts.
  • Cover and Interior art are above average. If I was scanning magazines in a store I might pass this one by. It’s very green and has dancing faeries and such. But you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. I also would have liked to have seen some more art in Shoggoth article.
  • Ecology of the Shoggoth: I’m a big Cthulhu fan, and I’ve been itching to mix the Mythos into my sword and sworcery stuff. While the article is listed under the Pathfinder category, a minimum of tweeking it would fit into any system. Like it.
  • Lovecraftian Gods: Same as above, well written and fun. Who doesn’t want to stick a Cult of Nyarlathotep under a tavern in the Realms.
  • The Arquebusier: this is a gun toting base class for Pathfinder. Honestly I was a little confused by the title. But it was well written, and the math makes sense. I can see myself playing a Dwarf pirate with a Blunderbuss at some point.
  • Alternate Objective: capture the flag. This one made me think. Not every encounter needs to be a “Bug Hunt”. The problem is getting your players to believe it. This idea would work well with two opposing adventuring parties.

To be continued.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Clash of the Titans is Totally D&D!

Just got back from watching Clash of the Titans (3D). Wow. First of all, it was my first 3D movie, loved it, wasn't too in-your-face either. The movie itself was very good. It was similar to the first, but different in a good way. I won't spoil it for you.
Now when I say it was totally D&D what I should say is D&D is totally Greek mythology or Beowulf or Dante's Inferno. Protagonist vs their environment vs Monsters. Let's not forget beautiful maidens and vengeful and petty gods. The only thing that would make it better would be Dwarves. Come to think of it, aren't they getting ready to start filming the Hobbit......

FLGS Closing

I suppose it's just a sad sign of the economic times, but the local gaming store is closing this month. Since my return to gaming 18 months ago it has been my hangout and refuge. The people I've met have there have become my good friends, and I've played games that I never would have been exposed to otherwise. Inside it geekly confines I have re-found my Dungeon Master MoJo and have been inspired to write this blog and an adventure setting. I have experienced many hours of 4th edition fun and frustration, and have eaten way too much Pizza. And after thirty years I've even learned to love painting Mini's. Mark and Jen, and even Robin...Thank You and Good Luck.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Halfling Insult Bard

....needs your help. I went ahead and did it folks. I'm actually playing a character that isn't a Dwarf, and I'm loving it.
It was a running joke at the "Store" that I only play Dwarf fighters with green skin. Which was true (I'll tackle the green thing later). So for the D&D Encounters I decided to do something different. A Halfling Bard with a Tuba was my first choice. Upon reflection I thought a Halfling Comic Bard might be cool, of course my favorite comic is Don Rickles. So the Halfling Insult Bard was born, his name: Rickles, of course.
Here is where the Help is required. I need material. I've found that Yo' momma jokes are lost on most monsters who don't know who there mothers are. Also, I stopped making up dirty limericks almost 30yrs ago, so I'm a little rusty. Any submissions with a D&D flavor would be greatly appreciated.