Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ator, The Fighting Eagle Vs. Bloodsport

* = I'm suffering from DM Confusion currently.

I’m re-reading the Pathfinder Adventure Paths, sort of mining them for ideas while looking at how they build their encounters to help better my games. What I’m finding is there is an awful lot of cool stuff there. The Paizo Crew really has a nice flair for idea, layout, and world building, that being said, there is an awful lot of adventure railroading going on in these things.

As a player I do NOT enjoy being forced into situations, in fact I rage against it. If you push me towards a pre-determined outcome it’s going to end poorly. I’m going to get very inventive and do everything I can to disappoint you. As a DM, I really strive to give players as many options as possible. I want them to tell the story, I’m just there to edit and give minor direction.

When looking at the Second Darkness Adventure Path (*** ½ out of 5), the idea is spectacular.

The take on the elves and their relationship with the Drow is fresh and fun. The overarching plot is suitably world threatening, the characters are somewhat memorable, and some of the encounters especially the ‘Doom Counter’ are inventive, but you’re getting pushed A LOT into situations that seem to only have one avenue for success. There isn’t a lot of opportunity to explore, to move around, and to be inventive. I’m sort of scooting through Legacy Of Fire right now and I’m finding that to be in the same vein unfortunately; great ideas with ‘meh’ execution. I am looking forward to getting to Kingmaker in hopes it will be the change, since it’s technically a ‘Hex Exploration’ style path, in what I’m seeing as the norm unfortunately.

I’ve realized that my DMing of D&D tends towards a classic bent. My last campaign was very basic ‘High Adventure’ and my current, while a bit lower key and darker still would fall into that category in tone. It’s not that I mind that, I enjoy that type of tale. I would like to stretch my wings creatively though. I’d like to run a bit of a ‘weirder’ campaign, something more akin to Clark Ashton Smith. I have the ideas in my melon, but they never seem to translate not to mention it’s sometimes such a struggle just to get folks to the table that to go off in some wild tangent of the strange seems counterproductive. I think if I can start small it might help.

In the current D&D Campaign so far we have ‘The Chosen’ who are sort of Far Realm touched humanoids, ‘The Borni’ who are just random humanoid barbarians, and a huge force of Goblinoids. I like what I’ve done with ‘The Chosen’, I have long term plans for them, and I feel like I don’t want to stack too much crap on them beyond what I have. When it comes to ‘The Borni’ they are blank slate enough, there will be some small surprises but again I don’t feel the need to go overboard there. To just stack ‘neat’ on top of something gets superfluous really quickly. So that leaves me with my Goblinoid Tribes under the current ‘rule’ of Kornok The Cruel. Now good ole’ Kornok is half hobgoblin & half ogre. I have the mini; I’m painting him this week. The plan is to play him smart. He’s a former soldier from the Northern Kingdoms, he’s a military deserter, and so he’s had a lot of training. He’s fashioned a strong force of Hobgoblins, who by birth are usually militarily minded. He’s a strong worshipper of Bane, the god of war. In his fold however are some Bugbears, his heavy soldiers, a Star Pact Warlock with dubious intentions, & a vast horde of different Goblin tribes. It’s already been established that at LEAST one of these tribes worships Torog.

Just as Valner The Wanderer is a zealot of Torog. Both of these groups were after the Mask Of Minos Turgon. Why would goblins massing under the banner of a warlord of Bane make a desperate raid on their eventual target for an item? Why would they engage in a series of skirmishes with fellow worshippers of Torog over the same said item?

Schism. Having this schism there is a perfect place for me to inject that element of ‘weirdness’ I was looking for. I want this Horde to be unwieldy, I want it to have conflict, it’s not a perfect war machine otherwise the end would just be a forgone conclusion. The Torog stuff is there for long-term plot development. This first set of adventures is to get the PC’s established, to get their feet wet, and to have the opportunity to be heroic. While Kornok might have a large force it’s filled with a LOT of cannon fodder. Hopefully as this goes I’ll be able to build not only off this, especially the Mask & Torog Schism thread, while still helping the PC’s build their relationships in Brook’s Glenn which so far have been the star of our session.

I’m finding it’s hard to be a DM, it’s even harder to be a ‘good’ DM. It’s a lot like herding cats. This might be why the last D&D group sort of fell apart. The PC’s had such differing play styles and agendas that we had no strong central voice beyond my own pushing people together. This new group has a few power gamers in it, a few neebies in it, and a couple very strong role players in it. I’m still waiting to see that masterful player step forward and be the ‘force’ in the group.

Now in the Marvel SAGA group I’ve got three very strong players who dominate play, who push the direction forward, and yet work very well as an ensemble. Now the problem with that is what we ran into last supposed session. When one of the stars is off the marquee at the last minute it blows the plot out of the water and leaves me unable to DM on the fly.

I think that’s the key frustration. Back in the day of playing in college I was the guy who just did EVERYTHING off the top of his head. I never had a long-term plot, it just evolved as it went, and I made the most of what I had. I’ve since become a meticulous planner and plotter, to a degree too meticulous, to married to my ideas, and unable to just be off the cuff in my old fashion. I need to find a balance, just like my groups. I should be able to just dive right in with a devil may care attitude, but at the same time I should make plans long term and have them be the goal to strive for, but not the measure of success.

I think overall I might start up a second group; I’m not sure what game, but maybe one where I can be experimental. I know I have tapped a lot of PC resources to their hilt. So that means no Mighty Mike, most likely no Dave, and have of course any of the ‘out of towners’. I’m going to have to find a new small group of players. A group that is willing to play once a month and try something a tad different. That might be the group to try a West End Star Wars game, or a short term Zombie Apocalypse game, or maybe an Expedition To The Barrier Peaks themed game a go. It’s something to ponder.

Lots to ponder…


- I’d be interested, if I can find a copy, of running the D20 WWE Roleplaying Game once or twice since I’ve heard it’s pretty damn fun. Not to mention with the death of the Macho Man I have a nostalgic hankering for some wrestling. I’m not sure why.
- Cassandra, thanks for an amazing afternoon and evening yesterday I think we both needed that to recharge our batteries.
- The backyard HAS to be mowed today. I have NO interest in doing it. That being said, I have to. Usually I look at the clock as a countdown to freedom; today I’m looking at as a countdown to discomfort.
- I’d punch babies for a Hot Italian Beef sandwich right now.
- Why do you read this blog? I’m actually curious.
- I’m not sure how I feel about the new ‘Monk-hawk’ do. It lacks the obnoxiousness of the ‘Hawk, but it’s so damn bizarre it’s sort of endearing. I guess it really doesn’t matter since in June it’ll be all gone anyways.

Back to reality I suppose. Oh and today’s lyrics are just for you David

“Right about now, NWA court is in full effect.
Judge Dre presiding in the case of NWA versus the police department.
Prosecuting attorneys are MC Ren, Ice Cube, and Eazy mother fucking E.
Order, order, order. Ice Cube, take the mother-fucking stand.
Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth
And nothing but the truth so help your black ass?

You're goddamn right!

Why don't you tell everybody what the fuck you gotta say?

Fuck the police
Comin’ straight from the underground
Young nigga got it bad cause I'm brown
And not the other color so police think
They have the authority to kill a minority
Fuck that shit, cause I ain't the one
For a punk mother fucker with a badge and a gun
To be beatin’ on, and throw in jail
We could go toe to toe in the middle of a cell
Fuckin’ with me cause I'm a teenager
With a little bit of gold and a pager
Searching my car, looking for the product
Thinking every nigga is selling narcotics
You'd rather see me in the pen
Then me and Lorenzo rolling in the Benzo
Beat the police outta shape
And when I'm finished, bring the yellow tape
To tape off the scene of the slaughter
Still can't swallow bread and water
I don't know if they fags or what
Search a nigga down and grabbing his nuts
And on the other hand, without a gun they can't get none
But don't let it be a black and a white one
Cause they slam ya down to the street top
Black police showing out for the white cop
Ice Cube will swarm
On any mother fucker in a blue uniform
Just cause I'm from the CPT, punk police are afraid of me
A young nigga on a war path
And when I'm finished, it's gonna be a bloodbath
Of cops, dying in LA
Yo Dre, I got something to say

Fuck the police
Fuck the police
Fuck the police
Fuck the police

Example of scene one:
Pull your goddamn ass over right now

Ah shit, what the fuck you pulling me over for?

Cause I feel like it, Just sit your ass on the curb and shut the fuck up

Man, fuck this shit

Alright smartass, I'm taking your black ass to jail
M. C. Ren, will you please give your testimony to the jury about this fucked up

Fuck the police and Ren said it with authority
Because the niggaz on the street is a majority.
A gang, is with whoever I'm stepping
And the mother fucking weapon
Is kept in a stash box, for the so-called law
Wishing Ren was a nigga that they never saw
Lights start flashing behind me
But they're scared of a nigga so they mace me to blind me
But that shit don't work, I just laugh
Because it gives ‘em a hint not to step in my path
To the police I'm saying fuck you punk
Reading my rights and shit, it's all junk
Pulling out a silly club, so you stand
With a fake assed badge and a gun in your hand
But take off the gun so you can see what's up
And we'll go at it punk, I'm’a fuck you up
Make ya think I'm a kick your ass
But drop your gat, and Ren's gonna blast
I'm sneaky as fuck when it comes to crime
But I'm a smoke ‘em now, and not next time
Smoke any mother fucker that sweats me
Or any ass hole that threatens me
I'm a sniper with a hell of a scope
Takin’ out a cop or two, they can't cope with me
The mother fucking villain that's mad
With potential to get bad as fuck
So I'm a turn it around
Put in my clip, yo, and this is the sound [Bang, Bang]
Ya, something like that, but it all depends on the size of the gat
Taking out a police would make my day
But a nigga like Ren don't give a fuck to say

Fuck the police
Fuck the police
Fuck the police
Fuck the police

Yo, man, what you need?

Police, open now. We have a warrant for Eazy-E's arrest
Get down and put your hands up where I can see ‘em
Just shut the fuck up and get your mutha-fuckin’ ass on the floor [Huh]
Yo Eazy-E, why don't you step up to the stand
And tell the jury how you feel about this bullshit

I'm tired of the mother fucking jacking
Sweating my gang while I'm chilling in the shacking
Shining the light in my face, and for what
Maybe it's because I kick so much butt
I kick ass, or maybe cause I blast
On a stupid assed nigga when I'm playing with the trigger
Of any Uzi or an AK Cause the police always got something stupid to say
They put up my picture with silence
Cause my identity by itself causes violence
The E with the criminal behavior”
Yeah, I'm a gangsta, but still I got flavor
Without a gun and a badge, what do ya got?
A sucker in a uniform waiting to get shot,
By me, or another nigga.
And with a gat it don't matter if he's smarter or bigger

Size don't mean shit, he's from the old school, fool

And as you all know, E's here to rule
Whenever I'm rolling, keep looking in the mirror
And there's no cue, yo, so I can hear a
Dumb mother fucker with a gun
And if I'm rolling off the 8, he'll be the one
That I take out, and then get away
And while I'm driving off laughing
This is what I'll say

Fuck the police
Fuck the police
Fuck the police
Fuck the police

The verdict
The jury has found you guilty of being a redneck,
White bread, chicken shit mother fucker
Wait, that's a lie. That's a goddamn lie
I want justice! I want justice!
Fuck you, you black motherfucker

Fuck the police
Fuck the police
Fuck the police”

* = RUN!


  1. No Benjamin, THANK YOU!! The batteries do feel recharged!

    We could spike you 'hawk with some gel, atleast until the front grows out a little more. We need to figure out some other options for the front for the next 'hawk you grow. I'm a fan.

    I read the blog for entertainment, information and a glimpse into your brain. It can be very enlightening at times.

    P.S. I can mow the backyard tonight (if it's not raining). For some crazy reason I like mowing this year!

  2. C.,
    - Me too!
    - I'm glad your a fan, but once it get's shaved off I might hold off on the 'Hawk for awhile. I don't want to overplay my hair hand.
    - Interesting.

    P.S. You are an F'N SAINT! My chest and left hip thank you, and I promise to make it up to you.

  3. I read to see my name on the internet. That and you are the most creative person I know, your mind doesn't turn off. You're also a very good writer. You are able to articulate your thoughts into words in a way that I envy. THAT is why I check your blog every day. BOOM!

  4. Ant,
    Nice. It's good to feel famous on the Internet(s). Now as far as most creative, you do realize you know my wife, your wife, our mother-in-law, your mom, your brother, Dark Dave, J.B., I could go & on here...
    As for my mind, sometimes I wish I could get the voices in my head to stop screaming at me at the top of their lungs all the time, but the reality is if I did that I'd be far more boring. When it comes to the writing, I do a'ight. Although all this flattery will get you everywhere. It's funny because it's easier a lot of times to write about my feelings and easier for me to talk about my ideas. The blog is just sort of this happy mish-mash of stream of consciousness where I cease to care about anything besides the words on the screen. So if what comes out is even readable I'm excited. To think that someone thinks its good is high praise indeed.
    By the by, I think you're very articulate and have a way with words when you choose to as well.
    Indeed my friend, INDEED! BAM~!