Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It Could Happen To You Vs. Sunshine

* = I could go for some 'vegetables' then Ron.

I figured I should blog today, for no other reason than to stick to my once a week schedule. I was trying to think of a theme or an idea to build around and frankly I just have zilch. SO I’m just going to bust out my ‘go to move’ and see where it takes us. Steel thyself for some…


- I’m trying to avoid the saturation of the Boston Marathon Bombing until there is some real information. I have no need to wallow in the minutia of speculation and the looping cycle of footage where people lost their lives. To paraphrase the band TOOL, ‘We Like To Watch Things Die’. It seems to be part of our culture now, and I really want no part of it. It’s a sad event, but there are tons of sad events daily and they don’t get the same type of attention, because they don’t happen ‘here’. Our nationalism is a terrifying thing when it’s in full effect; I only hope that he war drum isn’t the first thing we beat after we find out just who perpetrated this.

- Last night we had a version of beer cheese soup chock full of roasted veggies and potatoes. It was delicious.

- On a lighter note I found some painted versions of four of the BIG BOYS from the Reaper Bones Kickstarter. So as I await my package to arrive, hopefully early in May, let’s take a gander.
First up is Kaladrax. I don’t think the concept art did this one justice. Just look at that tail! This beast is going to be a pain in the ass to base, but I think it’ll be easy to paint. I like the simple paint job that they went with here as it highlights what is a very cool base. I’ll most likely try to emulate that style. This piece is just a thing of beauty; I hope I can do it justice.

Next up is Nethermaul, the other Dracolich. Again, this ‘miniature’ is gigantic, it’s just massive. The paint job on this is beyond words, and WELL beyond my skill level. It is simply amazing. The transitions from red to purple to black in the wounds, the transitions from skin to horn, and those eyes are all just mesmerizing. This one is going to Cassandra to paint, if she’ll take it, as I’m not sure I even want to try and take this piece of art on.

The third miniature that has me crapping my painting pants is the mighty Clockwork Dragon. When it comes to sculpting or inventiveness this is my favorite of the four painted giant pieces. Even in the ‘green’ stage you could tell Reaper had something special going on here, but painted it’s just beautiful. I think that might be at least partially due to the simplicity of the color choices. It comes off as truly mechanical; it isn’t too busy or overly flashy. It has a utilitarian look without feeling ‘plain’. I have an idea for this miniatures use in one of my campaigns, but I’d like to get it painted first.

Last up is the one I’m most excited to actually have in my hands since it was the LAST of the ‘rewards’ revealed during that amazing Kickstarter. It is the mighty Cthulhu! When I first looked at the paint job I have to admit I was a bit stumped, but it has grown on my significantly. I love the pale green skin tone blending into the flesh colored tentacles and wing membranes. Those yellow eyes POP at you in an uncomfortable way, which is good. In its unpainted form I hadn’t noticed the carapace like growths on his feet or hands/claws, I dig that as it is something different in this design. All in all this miniature has a sort of Monsterpocalypse feel to it even though it’s as big as my computer monitor. I know you can’t see me right now, but the thought of having these monsters delivered to my door alone with the plethora of other miniatures in this Kickstarter has my misty eyed.

- Friday is the first Movie-A-Thon we haven’t hosted in over 2 years. Thank you David for taking the reins.

- Last Thursday we had the first meeting of the 3rd D&D Group. The turnout was a bit smaller than anticipated, but it was full of vigor. Mick, Peter, and the new guy Jason really have brought a solid idea to the table; an Evil Campaign built upon the idea of being Underdark Conquistadors. The ‘Evil’ part was theirs, the Conquistadors angle was mine, and then we organically came to the idea of having them trying to conquer the Underdark. It’s a brilliantly simplistic idea that has a TON of mileage. Upon Jason’s brilliant suggestion I am starting to peruse Paizo’s Kingmaker Adventure Path for some ideas on how to add in some of the ‘up keep’ of maintaining a ‘kingdom’. I’m intrigued to see how the relationships between the PC’s shape up as we go along being that they will all be of an alignment that really has no moral compunctions about betrayal and murder. I have over a month to get the first adventure ready and I think I’m starting to already put those wheels in motion.

- We finished the latest season of the American version of Being Human the other day on the DVR. I can now say that this version has finally eclipsed the original. Good stuff.

- For the small contingent of folks who read this drivel and share in my love of wrestling, you should check this match out. I was blown away, and I want to hear the thoughts of other fans;

- Saturday was the 2nd D&D Group’s 2nd session and our first casualty. Gleb The Exile, Zack’s mighty Goliath Barbarian fell to a hail of point blank Goblin arrows.
It was a combat heavy night, but with only two Encounters. As the PC’s made their way towards the Library Of Erathis they came to a raging river during a storm with a set of ruins, constructed from parts of the old Darkworld board game, on the other side. After half the party got across a contingent of Goblin snipers and archers started peppering the group. The group didn’t really struggle with this Encounter so much as fell victim to poor rolling. In fact Bobert’s rolling was so bad he spent the entire Encounter floating down the river as a non-combatant. To back up the Goblins I threw some Krenshars at the group as well which slowed Chad’s Avenger down enough to allow my 2nd Level Goblins to hurt the PC’s. I was trying to illustrate that the Goblins on this Isle are not to be trifled with, that at 1st Level you can die. I felt like I had gotten this message across decently after this Encounter. To an extent I was right. So after an extended rest there was decision to remove some found Behemoth eggs from a shelter and cook one. This was a bad idea, and I tried to let them know that without just coming out and saying it. However, I had one PC who was determined and would not be swayed. In the end they simply put the ‘mommaBehemoth on their trail. I may or may not come back to this at some point. I have a miniature, if it can really be called that, which is just BEGGING for some ‘screen time’ with the PC’s. I’m thinking that it may or may not be slowly stalking the PC’s due to the smell of its cooked offspring on them. After narrowly avoiding this encounter they made their way deeper to another ruin. This time to a three story ruin constructed with Terraclips. What the PC’s could gather through the misty rain and fog was that some large ‘birds’ were roosting in the attached tower to the main structure. These were in fact ‘Terror Birds’ or small pterodactyls who were hunting in the clearing. Zack’s character headed into the clearing and drew their attention. The idea behind his coming out was to draw out whoever was in the building. This did not work; I actually rolled the dice and decided to give the Goblins within a 50/50 chance of not being idiots. So they remained hidden and began prepping. Zack attempted to intimidate the ‘Terror Birds’ away, which while it worked initially did not and would not have steered them away from trying to eat him. Once they began moving to the ground level and harassing him the other PC’s began to move to the tree line and beyond. This was a tense few rounds as the group KNEW that there was something or someone(s) inside, but unwilling to commit to a frontal assault or to move around and come at the structure from another angle or just to leave it alone. Remember when I said that I was going to ‘test’ their decision making in last week’s blog? This was the test. Once the arrows started to fly and the battle commenced I was actually really happy with the ideas that the PC’s were coming up with, however their poor dice rolls coupled with mine starting to get good really put them behind the 8-Ball. In the end Zack and Chad made their way, using climbing skills, to get to that third level to deal with a handful of Goblin archers shooting flaming arrows. The problem with a hyper aggressive attack or tactic is it has to work. In Zack’s case his dice rolls betrayed him and the tactic of his partner were not flexible enough to work effectively. So Gleb the Exile died in a hail of fiery arrows, mainly due to the crit I rolled. I think this really took the piss and vinegar out of the group as they almost immediately decided to retreat. The problem was I ambushed the group on the ground with some Goblin cutthroats and severely injured some other members of the party in the scrum. A tactical retreat turned into almost a break and run. I didn’t push the issue or force a pursuit on the PC’s, and Chad was able to use his really high acrobatic skills to get off that building and out of the clearing before getting peppered with shots. I was very intrigued with the post battle conversation about whether to go back and get ‘revenge’. There was a large contingent of the group that was doggedly determined to go back in there and kill or be killed. I was slightly shocked by that, however cooler heads prevailed and the group decided to move on. I hope they realize now that combat doesn’t have to be attacked in a linear fashion, and that simply relying on the idea that I will only have a first level party fight level appropriate monsters is absurd. This is an 8 person party, it is like a small army, and I plan on challenging them that way. In the end they took another rest and are now on the edge of the remains of the Library Of Erathis. Zack is making another PC, and has a LOT of interesting ideas he’s bouncing around any of which would be brilliant. This was me at my most ‘ruthless’ as a DM; the Encounters were hard, I rolled well, and I didn’t pull any punches. Even when getting ‘push back’ from a player regarding the difficulty I stood my ground and reminded them that if it was this easy to just march into the jungle to the Library and just take stuff then why had so many tried and ended up dead? In my mind High Adventure does not mean low risk, in fact the opposite. I’m really intrigued to see how this affects the game going forward.

- I must grill this Saturday, I must.

- Another week another set of Pathfinder Skull & Shackles previews!
First up is the Bloodbug, also known to most D&D folks as a Stirge. I had plans last Saturday to use a Stirge swarm against the 2nd D&D Group and while I have 5 of them I could always use more. This one suffers from the same problem the two DDM versions do, it’s SO small that it doesn’t take detail well. It is also so small that to give it any detail in the sculpt is next to impossible. The thing is it isn’t a bad miniature, in fact it is a handy one to have, but it just isn’t that impressive either. I would have preferred a Medium or even Large miniature in the form of a swarm. This one just leaves me a bit cold. So unless I can get the little bugger on the cheap this one is a PASS for me.
Next up is Vine Choker. I don’t think the picture here does this piece much justice, as this line has a history of exceeding your expectations in hand. I have a small amount of various Chokers from the DDM line, and I really do like them as adversaries for PC’s, so much so they may or may not be showing up soon in a few Campaigns, that being said is this a miniature I need? I’m not blown away with the sculpt or the paintjob, the pose doesn’t do that much for me, and it really is a niche monster at best. So surprise, surprise this one is also a PASS for me.
The third mini in this bunch is really the saving grace, it’s Rosie Cuswell. Now Rosie is a Halfling Bard of some type or another, and having seen the art that the miniature is based off of it is a PERFECT representation. And I mean c’mon her name is Rosie Cuswell that’s just full of Piratey awesome. This is a perfect NPC or PC miniature even with its static pose. The paint job is decent and gets the details across well. The best part for me anyways is that this fits perfectly for Cassandra’s character in the 2nd D&D Group. So by default this one becomes a MUST BUY.
Last but not least is another Halfling piece, the alchemist Eel. I want to like this miniature since it’s something we haven’t seen before, it’s another Halfling, and the pose is VERY dynamic. However I don’t. Maybe it’s the pieces pumpkin pie Spock haircut, maybe it’s the armor which looks strange to me, or maybe it’s the pose matched with that stoic weird face, whatever it is I just don’t care for it, at all. Much like the Bloodbug and the Vine Choker this one is only going to find its way into my collection if it is SUPER cheap. So as you can most likely guess this one is a PASS for me.

- I’ve been listening heavily to the Sex Nerd Sandra Podcast on the Nerdist Network. It is really interesting.

- That seizure feeling has me in its grip today, I’m almost typing with my eyes shut. It’s led me to make some place that pays me adjustments, but more than anything it has led me to have to cancel an ‘Event’ tonight. What’s the worst is I don’t want to. I don’t want to let that person down, and I know I am. I’m afraid that person feels the same way. I feel miserable, but letting folks down has me feeling even worse. How do you explain to folks that you can feel that you are going to lose control of your body at any moment? How do I accurately explain that it feels like someone is driving an old piece of rusty brass through my eye with a hammer slowly? How can I make that person understand that every time I feel this way it scares the shit out of me? I can’t and it is awful. Worse it makes me feel like an awful Friend and person.

That’s all I can stand today.

* = My brain feels like this today if everyone in the photo suddenly woke up and realized they were naked on top of strangers...

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