D2 – a question for the gamers


d2

D2 –

up   We know it’s coming out. There’s nothing we can do to stop it. Most of us welcome it with open arms and loaded weapons. We’re all looking forward to blowing things up and watching explosions in space along with the lifeless bodies and exploding heads of aliens KA-BOOMING around us.

down Though, there are some people (like myself) who are either on the fence or just are not looking forward to this whatsoever. They think it’s not going to be all that different from the first one and that all that it will be with be a huge universal loot grind to get this better weapon to do this better thing, to get this many more experience points to gain this level, to finally do …WHATEVER.

My question to you is: 

QUESTION: What are your thoughts on this?

Comment below.

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End of Game – a DnD post


The End of the Game

Around two and a half years ago, I started playing a Dungeons and Dragons campaign with a group of friends. It was our second batch of characters since everyone died in the first one. But we got ourselves together and came up with another selection. Most of those characters were solid and there were certain members of the party who came in and drifted out as the story unfolded.

On Friday last week, our came finally came to a close. For the unfamiliar, there are basically two ways a Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) game ends.

1. Everyone lives.

2. Everyone dies.

That’s it. It’s not a game like Monopoly, or Battleship, or Stratego (‘member that one?). It’s a game that just keeps going. You have a very big overarching goal to accomplish. At the very essence of the game, that main goal is either accomplished by everyone’s heart in the party still pumping, or everyone’s heart in the party has stopped and the goal is not accomplished. Now, there may be new characters who join the party and other characters who check out (either because they were killed, or the player is not with the group any longer), but there is a party (a team of characters) who comes to the final chapter in the game ready to stay standing or die. Yes, it’s possible for everyone to die except for one character of the party who, by sheer luck, bribery, or other form of mystical legerdemain, stays alive, but those cases are most unlikely.

Enough of the instructions. I don’t want to tell you how to play DnD here; there are myriad other pages on the Interwebs designed with this purpose. Off with you, if that’s your purpose.

To our Dungeon Master, Andrew,

Thank you for making the story fun, engaging, and as interactive as it was. Thank you for maintaining the tale over such a long period of time, and bringing us together to get away from “the real world” for some time to (as Skell puts it) shanky shank. I hope we were delightfully frustrating and bothersome; after all, as you friends and characters, we’re only doing our job – find your buttons of particularity and PRESS repeatedly.

I cannot believe we played that long.

All – thank you for our adventures murdering, solving puzzles, and being dumb along our path of becoming Kira’s Silver Fist. Looking forward to casting many more fireballs in wooden structures.

-Levi (Faëryn Lumodel, Ranger 15)

Outline and Tumblr


This outline has taken me much longer than the first book. The point is it’s done. I’ve finished the outline for Black Sun and I’m somewhere around 89K into the first draft. What does that mean? It means I’m a whole lot of words into the draft that doesn’t matter.

Well, maybe things aren’t quite that drastic.

The general writerly view of the first draft is that, like Hemingway said, it’s shit. I don’t necessarily concur with these findings. That same group of writers will also likely agree that you have to finish the first draft so as to at least have something to work with. I’m with that group. Yes, the first draft is likely going to be mostly trashed as it goes through the revision process, but it is the clay mould on the spinning wheel (or whatever it is you call that stupid wheel that Swayze and Moore practically humped all over in Ghost). That’s the draft that gets plopped on the wheel. All subsequent drafts are different knives and sculpturing tools used to carve the artwork into the piece – they’re used for the visual. That’s how I see it, anyway.

I did add a nifty little word count off to the side of the blog here for those who visit to see where I am in the process. Also, I’m not sure if you were able to sneak down and see that I just finished Pressfield’s The War of Art, which really asks the artist to truly take a look into themselves and, with blunt honesty, state who they are as a creator. Are they just someone who says they create and don’t, are they an amateur creator, but talk about it like it’s bigger, or are they somewhere else on the spectrum, perhaps someone who talks very little, but does very much?

I hesitate to provide too much here on the work. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. There’s a reason I’m writing this to you now. There’s also a reason you’re reading it. If you feel like you’re a creator, but inside you know that you really haven’t created much, I would suggest giving this book a read. It’s a very short book – one  you could read in a few hours, but the information within (mostly points out aspects of yourself – the reader, very self-introspective that way) is very necessary. It’s stuff we need to hear/read. 

In other more self-aggrandizing ways, I started checking back into my Tumblr account. If you haven’t heard of it, just know that it has cool stuff like this.

 

Very artsy-kind of site. Dangerous too. You can just start scrolling and be there for quite some time if you’r not careful. Check me out and take a look at all-things-Tumblr if you’e up for it.

Lastly, I’m working on Week 24 of Roll Play: Swan Song.

Perhaps one of my favorite space operas ever. If you’re into table top rpgs, I would definitely check this out. Adam Kobel is one of the finest GMs in the game. 

Much love, my people. Stay classy.

lp

Playing D&D


Some of you out there know that I game. Some of you have just read the first sentence and really aren’t quite sure what that means. Someone who games, in common parlance, is considered to be a gamer. A gamer is a person who games.

Good.

Now, what kind of games does that mean? It probably means video games and some table top games. I play both, but what I was referring to in the above first sentence for this post is D&D – Dungeons and Dragons for the laity.

I have been playing for the past three years (I think) with many of the same guys. Many of you are not up to speed on how the game works, I’ll try and simplify it here. It’s a role-playing game. You make up a characters (there’s a process), then in your adventuring party, you narrate what your character would do in given situations (which may include using his/her voice.

In video games, you control the player with a controller. You press buttons and your character on the screen performs certain actions. In fact, I’ll explain it as I heard a very good game player describe it once: Video games show you what you can do in the game (pressing buttons shows the player what they can do), while DnD shows the player what they can’t do. There are only a few things in DnD that you can’t do in the world. Everything else is fair game.

General gameplay looks like this:

dungeons-and-dragons

There is one person called the DM (Dungeon Master), who is the storyteller/narrator. This person is, for all intents and purposes, “the game.” This person keeps the flow of the game, telling the party where they are, what is going on, and keeps people interacting. The DM basically keeps the gamer from hitting PAUSE. The others are the gamers. They are the ones who are pressing the buttons.

The adventure is not played on a screen, but on a table, and the story is playing out in the minds of each of the players. Players run campaigns, long sessions of adventure running across large portions of the game world. Campaigns (games) can take anywhere between one session and several years, depending on the playing style of the players and their level of strategy and cooperation with their party. It’s all a big game of social dynamics. You can play with people who played before and whom you know very well, or with total strangers. Your game mates can be great to play with or complete dicks. In general you’ll get a hodgepodge of all of these.

One of the big things that DnD needs for long-term play is consistency.

Okay so why am I talking about this?

Because I was hoping to game with my brother this weekend. Didn’t happen, and I’m sad. There were three of us (Me, J, and S) who got together to design a game – a real good game. S gathered some folk from other games and J and I showed up so we could all get together and design out party. Then we had to get to the final questions – is the time going to work for all of us. J and two others conflicted. J bowed out.

Shitty.

No one’s fault, but just a bummer. I know S and I were both looking forward to gaming with you, bro.

So, that was my weekend. Good overall. Went to Costco this afternoon, had an early T-Day meal. Life is good. Bummed I can’t game with Bro, but the gaming must resume. We must game on. He says he’ll come in on some one-shots every now and again, which will be great, and he’s also going to look into getting a game together on R20. I’ll have to see how that works out for him.

The games move along.

Faëryn’s Journal Entry #321 – Waterdeep Convenes


(The following is transcribed from the Elvish dialect of the High Forest)

    This entry will be short. I must recount the events which happened since our return to this city and the current mind state of mine.

capturewaterdeepcouncil

    I remember the strange hammer as it fell upon the marble of the podium in the great and rich halls of the Waterdeep Council Hall. I only focused on it. The sound was a crisp clack upon an otherwise smooth sheen of dull white.  Humans find the strangest uses for cottonwood. There was murmuring from all around me as the chambers emptied. Only the Fist stood there in that hollow hall; I could feel them there, like me, turning and turning, watching all of the visitors there leave, one by one.

    “Well? Yes?” A scrawny man in local robes peeked over the council and the throne of the highest seat thereupon. The light blue and purples of his robe wrinkled with an indication of the perfunctory habit of its donning. His small nose scrunched in a wrinkled clump as he stared.

    Dolan turned with us and addressed the man.

    “Excuse me, friend. We’re not strangers here, but we’ve not spent the most time in ~”

    “Yet, you stand around like elderly rats; can’t you see this is a place of business? We must clean it always. Clean! Clean! Clean!”

    Dolan was about to retort when there came a booming voice.

    “Yorell!” The high seat of the council stepped back into the room, a tall slender staff of fine quality he held in his hand finely robed with several thick layers of silk, which I now know to come from the far reaches of the Sea of Fallen Stars. “You clearly have no idea who you address!” He walked to stand amid the party and stomped his staff has he pronounced, “This is Kira’s Silver Fist, heroes of our time, and perhaps one of the final hopes for the survival and continued sanctity of our home!”

    Yorel’s form lowered in a snivel, and he dropped into a bow at the admonishment of his superior.

    He grumbled his apology and ended with, “your grace.” He then rose and slumped away.

    Foxx grunted as the man departed. I knew he had marked him for a purpose.

    “You’ll forgive our servant, kind members. He’s been with us…,” then he stopped and looked around. “Let’s just say he’s been with us a shade past ‘too long,’ if that makes any sense.”

    Everyone laughed, but I didn’t get it. Common he spoke quickly, saying something about always being in Water Deep. He said we could stay wherever we wanted. He laughed a lot and, I kept my distance. The only laugher I have grown accustomed to is Foxx’s. Kira I have never once heard laugh. She is mostly busy making sounds of bashing. BASH, BASH, BASH, Kira!

…It’s a good sound.

    Perhaps she laughs while she bashes. I cannot say.

    Malcer the Wizard giggles strangely. It’s very odd.

    Dolan seems to be laughing constantly. He prays to his god of the sun (I wonder if my Queen knows of this Lathander). Then he simply begins to walk around with a strange smile, as though he sees morning daisies around my ears or cackling hyenas dancing in a drugged frenzy. I cannot tell. Even when I look away and look back, he’s smiling in a very strange. But, without him, our party is lost.

    Never have I known a group of beings so different who have grown so fond of one another. Each of them, their strangeness I have grown accustomed to, and in the time our differences have spent together, they have become an odd part of the great sylvan destiny Mother Meliekki has bestowed upon me.

tavern1a

    The party returned to our inn at Waterdeep. Malcer and Kira trotted up the steep grey staircase and returned to their rooms for some sleep. Dragonborn, it seems, require as much as the humans. Dolan, Foxx, and I remained below. In many ways, humans and elves share concepts of ceremony. I recall very fondly the names of local heroes of the Grandfather Tree; when they were lionized in our home, their names were etched in homes and halls, and in all areas of service, places were held specifically for them. As soon as we walked into the Inn, there were whispers; the raucous atmosphere dimmed, and two barmaids gestured to a table in the back which, like in my culture, held our party’s name reserved. Just after we sat, the conversation level rose in the common room, and a team of small minstrels began playing to the crowd. I recognized only one instrument which humans share with elves. The others were purely human.

    “We depart tomorrow,” Foxx said, keeping his tongue only in elvish, “after breakfast.” He turned back and called to the bar for a round of ale. The bartender nodded and began the order.

    “Not all of us,” I said. “You will do better as a party without me. Hunting Wizards of Thay…” I shivered.         “Chills. May the Good Queen harbor you in your travels.”

    Foxx and Dolan considered my words.

    “What will you do?” asked Dolan. “I ask as I feel similarly.” Still that smile he shone on me, as the sun of morning shines on Meliekki’s fields of life. I looked at him briefely, then turned away.

    “Home,” I said. “Home to the High Forest.” I sniffed at the froth of the large mugs set down at our table, then dunked my head fully in the refreshing foam. “AAAHHH!”

    “You got a little something…right there,” he said, and started laughing. Dolan joined in, laughing through his freaky Lathander smile. I didn’t get it – their humor is unfunny, and age-causing. With a look of contempt, I took another sip of the beverage (I must admit, the liquids made in the world of man are greater by far than what we have in the land of the copper elves.

    “May I join you, then?” Asked Dolan.

    “You would want to come to my home?”

    “I cannot have our ranger on the wild road on her own,” he said.

    “That’s her home, idiot,” Foxx chimed in. “She knows it better than you do. By the way, here’s all the gold from your back pocket.” He dropped a heavy bag on the table center and smiled. “Mage hand.”

    “So you’ve finally figured out how to use it? Good. It’s only taken a year.”

    Malcer and Kira joined us and asked for two more mugs of ale.

    I looked at Dolan. “Foxx’s roguish ways may hurt your heart, but he is right. It is my home, and I would likely be quite safe on the road there. But,”

    “I’d otherwise be simply here praising the glory of Lathander. He tells me it’s always good to be in the company of friends. Let’s say it would be better for me.”

    “What’s this?” Kira asked.

    “Faëryn’s heading home while we track the Wizards,” Foxx related. “Dolan’s going with her.”

    “Fine!” Malcer shot out, seemingly unnerved. “We don’t need you!” The table stopped to stare at him. He met each of their gazes. “Okay, okay, that’s not true, you little freakish elf. We do need you. I just don’t like splitting up the party.”

    I nodded and scooped some of the foam from my mug and placed it on the table in front of him – an elven gesture of giving. “It will only be for a short time, my skittish wizard friend. Besides, it will be better when tracking the Wizards that you all have Malcer to burn things down unnecessarily.”

    “Fireball!” Malcer screamed slamming his staff to the ground.

    The music snapped in the air and the minstrels dropped to the ground, tossing their instruments into the crowd. Everyone dropped from their chairs and ducked under their tables.

    We all watched and I nodded in satisfaction. “Exactly.”

Alan Moore

    “What?” Malcer said. “I didn’t even do anything. It’s just a word. I just…” He stood and yelled across the room. “IT’S JUST A WORD!”

    “Umm, we should leave,” Foxx said.

    As we tiptoed over the frightened bodies of the patrons, I motioned to the barkeep to put our drinks on the wizard’s tab.

    That was the conclusion of our first day in Waterdeep.

Summer Reads


Not sure if I’ve ever really come down to it and said, “Yes, this book (these books) is going to be read this summer.” I did just check my Goodreads list and found that I actually do read during the summer – cool. So, I thought I’d toss out a little bit about what I’m reading now and what I’m planning to read this summer.

What I’m reading now –

Armada, by Ernest Cline.

armadaIf you know me, you know I’m into all-things video gamey. After going through Ready Player One, I was hooked on digital/video game fiction (Before I go on, if you are into video games, you MUST read Ready Player One). Okay, back at it.

I’m currently reading Armada, by the same author – Ernest Cline. Talked with my brother and he said he looked it up and it’s basically just like The Last Star Fighter
, which I wasn’t sure of at all. I haven’t read it. Here’s the thing with me and reviews – I don’t really read them. I will read them every once in a while, but mostly, as cliché as it may sound, I read books based on their covers. Yep. This one just looked cool and it had to do with video games, and it was written by Cline, so that’s what I’m doing. I am currently about 80 pages in (somewhere around Chapter 5) and It’s great.

This Summer

Just a Geek, by Wil Wheaton.

whetonI have no idea about this book other than it was written by Wesley Crusher. I like Wheaton; don’t know what it is. He did read the audiobook for RPO (above) which I listened to for the first time (which, by the way, I thought was very well done). He is now the host of several different things going on regarding geek culture. He’s on the Geek and Sundry channel often. He was (and still is, I think) the host of Table Top – a show about table-top gaming. I also watched a great role-playing game that he hosted called Titansgrave. I didn’t really get into Star Trek as a kid, but I do remember young Crusher. I watched Stand By Me as well, but didn’t realize it was WW until much later. Who knows. It will be good to have a look at the book and see what Mr. Wheaton has to say.

2. One Piece – Vol. 42.

I believe the most up-to-date volume is 78 and the adventure with Luffy and crew abord the Merry-Go is fascinating. Can’t wait for this to continue.

And that’s where I am.

What are you reading?

Game It – gaming professionally


 

game

‘Cuz it’s a thing, apparently. It’s a thing that has taken the entire world by storm – this whole playing video games for a living, to support yourself, and your family, and your dog (for those of you who don’t consider your dogs your family …. ‘cause you’re dicks).

But, the deal is that it’s huge – massive. It’s bigger than huge. It’s something that sells out Madison Square Garden more quickly than a professional sports team, the Knicks, say. It’s incredible.

It just shows what kind of world it’s becoming technologically, or more precisely, digitally.

Part of me is all for it. Part of me says, “Yes, woo hoo! I love games!” But the other part of me is saying something like, “Wait, what’s going on here? Why is it that everyone’s playing video games for hours and hours at a time?” Now, that last bit is hard for me to say since, if all the planets were aligned, I can totally see myself doing something like that. I love games – always have, but it’s a bit crazy that we have something like video game competitions. But is it, though?

There are sports competitions – basketball, baseball, football, soccer, etc. There are chess championships, Magic competitions, board game competitions. Are we really all that far away from video game competitions? We’re a competitive bunch and we crave entertainment. What’s so wrong about that? Now, yes, there are the cases of the kids who play 40+ hours straight at Internet cafés in different corners of the world, but hey, we all make choices. For instance, I love Gummy Bears. But I don’t eat 30 pounds of them at a given serving. Why? Because it’s fucking 30 pounds of gummy bears!

Remember that radio competition where that one girl drank herself to death just because she wanted to win the prize? (well, even if you don’t remember, here it is.) It’s the old adage, too much of a good thing, you know?

It’s about putting in the time at what you enjoy, doing what you love. It’s about having fun with life. Yes. Get up and walk around every once in a while. Go outside, take a walk, relax, work out, take care of yourself. But, if it’s not hindering your life in any way, and you want to do it, go for it.

I’m all for it – the whole professional video game thing. It helps fuel a great number of different people’s interests. It helps professionals stay motivated and do better than what they have done. It helps those of us who are curious out there in the world. It helps just bring out attention to something new, give a different idea an audition on our mental stages. It brings about online channels such as Twitch – a space for staying updated on the games you love and watching others tackle the same platform.

The deal is that it’s real and let it be known that I stand by this aspect of global technological advancement. There are some other sides on which I’m not all that keen, but this one I’ll take.

So, hey, if you’re into it, game it.