Thursday, November 29, 2012

Comic - Standards


Let's start with the obvious disclaimer: I think chaimail bikinis are silly. They're a silly cliche that was ridiculous and sexist when D&D was created in the mid-70s and just as ridiculous when Red Sonja first appeared in comics (at roughly the same time). Now, almost forty years later, it's hilariously inappropriate. Depictions of women in the game isn't getting any better, and might even be getting worse.

But that's not what this is about. This is about the dungeon punk aesthetic of D&D and gaming. It was fine for one campaign setting (Eberron) but seems less suited to the game as a whole. But much of the art of D&D (and a little bit of Pathfinder) has embraced an over-the-top look to armour and weapons.

Some of this is Wayne Reynold's ascendency to the go-to art style for both games. Some of it is the desire to push away from adherence to realism and historical armour to a more stylized and fantastic design. But it always reminds me a little of '90s comic books where all the character designs got a little more needlessly complicated with leg pouches, chains, spikes, and overly large guns.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Comic - Movie Night


The third D&D movie (The Book of Vile Darkness) made its big d├ębut on SyFy this past weekend. I believe it airs again later this week for those who missed it. Although the actual world premier was in England where it went straight to DVD and is found in the movie section of fine supermarkets all over that great nation.

I've seen it and it's not horrible. Far, far better than the trailer would suggest.
The special effects are TV quality and better than other movie-of-the-week fare and the costumes and sets are more than adequate. There are some bad bits yes, but there are some good bits. Some humour, a genuine creepy scene, and some nice use of magic items. It's arguably the best in the series. It's near-quality might actually be detrimental as it's not so bad that it's enjoyable from a cheese or MS3K standpoint.

Really, my advice is go into it blind and avoid the trailer if you haven't already seen it (or don't re-watch the trailer until after the movie). And if you can find a drinking game and some friends to suffer with you... that might help.
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Change your bookmarks and keep reading (but I'll continue to post here as well for the first month or so)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Comic - Sneak Attack



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Ah the flumph.
Such an odd monster. The ultimate underdog of monsters. You have to wonder what the creator of the flumph was thinking. If they really thought it was an A-list monster or were just trying to make a quota.

They're especially odd as the flumph is a lawful good race. They're weird floating jellyfish that blind you and impale you with belly spikes... but they're nice. Or, more accurately, not evil. There's nothing saying that can't be dicks. Most paladin's I've seen at the table have been pretty large bastards despite fulfilling the requirements of being totally honest and completely fearless or something.

Which makes me wonder. What are they planning?

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Change your bookmarks and keep reading (but I'll continue to post here as well for the first month or so)


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Comic - Sparkles


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Sparkly vampires never made much sense to me. It isn't just the doomed romance bad boy element of the story. That makes sense. Messy and somewhat tragic love triangles have been around since the time of dreaming during midsummer nights in faerie forests. 

What gets me is the hook behind so much of the story. Keeping the existence of vampires a secret and preserving what amounts to a renamed masquerade. Except... because the lore is so different, no would would recognise them. If people in a sparkly vampire world saw a sparkly vampire their first thought wouldn't be "hey, there's a vampire" or "omigod, it's an undead monster, kill it." 

I imagine the actual reaction to seeing a sparkly vampire might actually be a little more angelic in nature. Any remotely intelligent sparkly vampire would use that to their advantage. "I descended from above but lack the vitality to remain in your world... without help."
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Change your bookmarks and keep reading (but I'll continue to post here as well for the first month or so)


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Comic - Family Values



I try not to edition war too much. Emphasis on the "too". I have my preferences but have been rolling dice long enough to know that if the group is good the system is largely irrelevant to the fun. I've had a great time with Palladium. Not just fifteen years ago back in High School (I was young and didn't know better), but also in the last five years.Admittedly, there are limits. And sometimes the tension points of the game system with steer the narrative in certain directions to avoid the flaws of that system. But fun can still be had. If my current players came to me as a group and said that they wanted to switch editions or try a new game I'd probably go along with it because, at the end of the day, I just want to spend time playing imagination games with friends. 

Still, I spend a lot of time on forums, if only to get ideas for future strips. And the tension on the message boards can get pretty bad. The past five years have been pretty nasty and divisive for the fanbase. It's the oilphant in the room, the subject WotC is fairly quiet on. 

It always strikes me as a little like the Republican/ Democrat split in the States. Only if the disagreements were limited to the voters and the two Parties regularly golfed together and exchanged members.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Comic - Bacon?


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So you're waving around a long four-foot length of metal with a grip that just *might* be wrapped in a thin layer of leather mostly to prevent slippage. And then magically the aforementioned big chunk o' metal just starts on fire.
That just raises questions.

If the sword is cauterizing the wounds it inflicts, is it less effective than a non-flaming sword? Do you need to get a special sheathe for a flaming sword? Is it still hot after you turn it off? What if the wind is blowing towards you? Can you parry effectively with a flaming sword or is the blade softer? If the entire blade is fire, can it parry at all?
I can think of less scary cursed swords.

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Comic - Reflavoured


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One of the things 4e did that I'm really, really hoping 5e does not was "hold back" content. Classes and races were kept behind the curtain for a year until the second Player's Handbook and Name monsters were  not released until the third Monster Manual. From a business perspective it makes sense. The later books have a more important feel and seem less tacked-on content. But being able to play the character you want is the difference between buying and playing the game and sticking with an older edition.

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Change your bookmarks and keep reading (but I'll continue to post here as well for the first month or so)



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Comic - Might


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I like that giants in D&D Next have a more restrained strength compared to 3rd Edition, where their numbers went up and up. But 5th Edition are getting a little close to a problem we ran into in 4th Edition.

Because stats were based on level, giants often didn't have that much more strength than their medium-sized opponents. A frost giant was rocking an impressive 23 strength, but a human fighter three levels lower would be giving him a pinkbelly with his 24 strength. A hill giant (level 13) had a pathetic 21 strength, likely matched by the 4th level human fighter. In both 4th Edition and Next, carrying capacity is simplified for easy math, it's your Strength x10. However because of the difference in scaling,  a large-sized creature weighs 2x2x2 times a medium-sized one while a huge-sized creature is 3x3x3 times heavier. According to the 3.5e SRD a storm giant weighs 12,000 pounds while the cloud giant weighs 5,000. They'll be struggling to life their own body weight.

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Change your bookmarks and keep reading (but I'll continue to post here as well for the first month or so)



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Comic - Fracturing Fairy Tales



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In preparation for NaNoWriMo I've been reading a lot of fairy tales. The original Grimm ones from a book gifted to me when I was one year old. I couldn't help but wonder how many D&D players would solve similar problems faced by those in a fairy tale:Evil queen wants you to take a princess out to the woods and kill her? I know one queen who's going through the looking glass, if you know what I mean. An entire kingdom fast asleep due to a magic spell? Time for some looting. No door into the tower save some long flowing hair? That's why there's stoneshape or rope and pitons. The example of cracking a fae over the head with a spinning wheel to hunt for his ID and learn his hidden true name is one option, but it might come after cold iron related torture. Or divination spells. But those might be a back-up because you don't want to burn a valuable fireball just so you can scry

We're an odd, misanthropic bunch.