Thursday, July 18, 2013

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane Vs. I Saw The Devil

* = Indeed Troy, INDEED!

I was a sicky the last few days with my insides melting into goo and finding interesting ways to be expelled. Believe it or not I re-wrote that first sentence like five times and that’s the least graphic version. I’m pretty sure it all stemmed from really overdoing it last Friday and getting massively dehydrated and overheated, which most likely led to my feeling really rundown Friday night during Bob’s DREAD game.

As I’ve pointed out in a previous blog DREAD is an extremely tough game to run. It requires a huge by in buy the players and a commitment to role playing. As the Game Master you don’t have a ton to work with, and really have to work at not railroading the players due to the time constraints and the one shot nature. Couple that with the fact that Horror is REALLY hard to pull off and you have a game that is not for the weak to run.

I thought that Bob did a damn fine job keeping the a herd of cats in order, as with myself being wiggy, Mick being a first time player, Cordell playing stubborn, Zack being Zack, Christy being her awesome self, and Jamber (John & Amber) getting ready to be BIG IN JAPAN it was not an easy group to run for. I thought the set-up of a ship going to drop off some folks and finding a distressed ship and bringing on the survivors was solid. I really thought we were going to be running around a ship full of dying or infected individuals with no way off. However there was the twist of alien ship showing up and blasting us into oblivion.

Of course we made it off the ship and scrambled to the planet. From there the inhospitable nature of the planet took us from an Alien vibe to a more Jurassic Park tone. I have to say between Zack playing the religious zealot, John playing the disgraced leader, myself playing the way out of his league and scared engineer, Cordell’s cocky pilot, Amber’s very fun space janitor, Christy’s nurse, and Mick’s diplomat with something to hide there were a LOT of personalities to balance.

Picking the pace up, saddling us with a useful, until he tried to kill us, Marine, and forcing us to rush towards the facility was a strong move by Bobert. It really took the breather we all took when we crashed and ramped things back up again. I thought the building exploration, the reveal of the infected thing still living, and the alien hounds’ being in the building was solid, but didn’t have quite the same ‘UMPH’ that the previous two acts did. Honestly I wasn’t a fan of the cliffhanger ending either. I wanted to either die horribly or get off that rock.

All that being said it was a fun night, a really well thought out scenario, and nicely run game. I hope Bobert decides to run more often as I thought he had a nice style which is very different than my own and Zack’s. Who knows perhaps he’ll take a guest stint running one of the two D&D groups he plays in, I think that would be a hoot.

Saturday was D&D 1st Group as we were heading deeper into the Dungeon Of Iskander. I posted some pictures of the big combat situation that went down in the last blog. So I won’t go over that again. I will though touch upon the uncomfortable stuff that went down. Saturday night Bob and I had a bit of an in-game dust up over comments made out of character. I’ve come to realize I’m a specific person.

This happens both in game and out of game. I’ve been trying to get away from it as much as possible, but I tend to ‘take charge’ of things. I don’t tend to do it in a dick way, but I do tend to be a loud enough voice and strong enough personality that I just sort of push my way to the front. I do not mind being second guessed or critiqued for my ideas, I don’t love constructive criticism but I’ll take it, and I like to think that I enjoy thinking and brainstorming in groups rather than being given free reign. I do not enjoy complaining though.

I have this thing at work we’re I’ll ask people who step into my office if they are here to vent or here to complain. If you are here to vent then that means we are brainstorming an idea on how to make it better and I’m cool with that. If you are here to complain I have about ten minutes to give you and then I get bored. So constructive and productive stuff I’m for, things that are divisive and especially on-going not so much.

In game I was very irritated by his character basically calling me a coward when I came back and saved him after our ‘Plan’ sort of came off the rails. Out of game the venting became complaining in my mind, and none to subtly aimed at myself. I got frustrated, which led to me getting fed up so I took the steps I felt were necessary in game. Couple that with my already frazzled state and you get my telling Bob to roll Initiative after the large combat. I lost Initiative, but we never came to in game combat. I think that after a few moments we both took off our asshats and got back to the business at hand which was surviving all of Zack’s dastardly attempts to destroy us. Bob is a very passionate player, I not only like that but I respect and admire it. I too am very passionate about the games I play. Occasionally two folks come to a logger head when their passions lead them to come at a problem from completely diametrically opposed positions. I was happy it resolved the way it did. So to Bob, if you read this, sorry I threatened to kill you in game and that I got frustrated with you out of game I will endeavor to not do that in the future kind sir.

I think I need to work on not being quite as aggressive as a player. Tone down my instinct to ‘take charge’, perhaps play characters who are less of a part of my personality turned way up, and be less of a lead from the front type. I think I might have found a way to do this in my Zack’s D&D Next Birthday sessions. I’m either going to play a very lazy, out of shape, and dullard Fighter. Think Steve Reeves as Hercules except chubbier and even more inclined to be lazy. Or I’m going with a sort of shady, hedonistic, snake oil salesman Priest. Neither is a leader, in fact both need to be led, nor are they characters who have a strong sense of ‘honor’. This will most likely put me in a position where I’m much more morally flexible in game.

Even with that little issue I thought the game went rather well. Zack’s ability to craft a fun, difficult, and challenging combat Encounter really put mine to shame. I’ve got a lot to learn when it comes to that. I thought the last Encounter in the ‘Safe Haven’ was VERY revealing about the Party as a whole as only my character came away as being ‘Good’. Perhaps it says a lot about Jericho’s place in this group, or about the group itself. Either way it set up the end run towards Cordell & Bobert’s evil doppelgangers. My only slight issue thus far with handing over the reins would be the desire to have a bit more Role Playing with NPC’s. The thing is in this mad rush of a ‘D&D Die Hard’ movie there aren’t any NPC’s to interact with. They are all shambling corpses, or defiled by the Far Realm, or evil clones of the Party. If Zack runs another arc, which it sounds like he might, I hope he stretches the Role Play muscle the way he has flexed his combat Encounter muscle, because having run for him I KNOW that muscle is mega-strong and I’d like to see where his imagination would take us.

If nothing else maybe I can convince him to co-run for a stint. I really want to pick his brain on how he builds those nasty Encounters that while deadly don’t feel like he is actively trying to kill us. I have yet to master that skill and it can be very vexing. Not to mention I really want to know where he would like to see the Syd & Uwain arcs end since they are his creations after all. I think in the end I just want to spend some time under his learning tree. If Dark Dave and I were still buddies this is where I would tell him to insert sexual innuendo, but…

You know I wasn’t going to talk about that whole thing, and I’m not going to talk about the past, but I have to admit that taking things and people out of your life is difficult. I’ve become exceedingly good at it for whatever reason. Maybe I should be the ‘Minus Man’. I just delete or subtract people from my life so efficiently. I haven’t spoken to my Sister since December, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I speak to my Mother only when there is an emergency or a holiday. I’d love to talk to my Grandma more, but she inevitably brings up my Father and I just can’t handle it. I break down, and it leaves me feeling bitter. I speak with Brother every few weeks, mainly to talk to my Nephew. We don’t really talk about anything and conversations are never longer than ten minutes. So that in a nutshell is how I’ve subtracted myself from my own flesh and blood.

When I’ve made close relationships in the past I’ve treated folks like family, because I have and had such a small connection with my own. The fallout from Dave and I’s parting of ways has been a slow, agonizing ‘burn’. As much as what happened sucks, as much as it is crappy that it affects who we hang out with and when, and as difficult as it is for both of us to try and deal with our feelings to me it pales in comparison to losing the person. I am not going to go into the negative, because it’s been done to death. All I can say is this I do miss my friend to play games with, to listen to music with, to watch The League with, to scream at Vikings games with, etc. I do miss that. And at times I miss it terribly.

Oh well, thus is life.

I’m not sure where that last burst even came from. I think I’m just overtired, getting over being sick, and for whatever reason feeling that profound ‘a part and yet apart’ thing I go through. Maybe it’s just the gawd awful heat beating me down. Who knows? The even better question is who cares? I know you don’t, nor should you, so let’s get onto something more interesting.

It was another week so we got another set of Skull & Shackles miniature previews!
First up is the Common Medium Pirate Sailor. This is the first miniature in quite some time to come out of the Wizkids/Paizo team-up where it looks like a ‘Common’. The paint job is pretty bland and really makes the face look sort of fat. The pose is ok, nothing dynamic though, and the rest of the paint job just doesn’t do a whole lot for me. It isn’t a bad miniature, don’t think that, it’s just that they’ve set the bar SO high for themselves that I think when they fall flat you can really see it. It does fill the theme though, and it is a decent representation of a Pirate, I mean it does have a tri-corn hat. The thing is as much as I’m ‘hating’ on this mini it is still a MUST BUY for me. The 2nd Group needs as many Pirate types as it can get. Who knows perhaps it’ll look far better in hand.  One can hope.
Next up is the Wererat which I think is a Medium Common. I HOPE it is a Common, because I would want about 5 of these bad boys. Looking at it the pose is solid, with some movement to it. The paint is decent, it doesn’t blow you away, but it stays somewhat in line with the Dire Rat from the first set. I think the big thing is that this is a niche miniature that doesn’t have a lot of representation in the pre-painted miniature world. There was a DDM version that was a pain to find and isn’t all that great to look at. Of course there is the Warhammer Fantasy Battle version, but you have to paint those, which I am doing currently. This left us with a huge hole to fill. We needed these little bastards, because let’s face it who doesn’t want to kill a horde of slimy Wererats? So you need them in masse, and now I can have that. This is a MUST BUY for that reason and that reason alone.
Last but not least this week is the Paeta, who looks like an old school Arana. She, I think, is a Large Rare. This miniature would be a super SWEET stand in for Lolth as seen in the old D&D Cartoon! I like this miniature, but after getting my Bones shipment and no longer needing a Lolth representative I have NO Earthly idea what I would do with it. The miniature has a really good look; the pose is passive but cool. The paint job is fantastic which only serves to make the Pirate Sailor look that much drabber, especially the face that is a damn finely done face. It has a hint of menace, but isn’t grotesque so it has a nice juxtaposition to that disturbing body. This is a PASS for me unless I can find it super cheap, which is a shame because it’s a damn fine mini.

So since were in the Miniature’s Corner portion of my ramblings that no one reads I decided to give you gander at what Dungeon Crawl Miniatures has been working on post successful Kickstarter! Their next small release set is the Forest Of Tears, and looks to keep up their standard of affordable, needed, and well done pre-paints!
First up is the Head On A Pike! I’m not sure how many folks were screaming out for this particular thing in pre-painted plastic, but damn if they aren’t cool. I mean c’mon you have three head swaps! The Human head would work perfectly as markers to Orc or Gnoll territory or perhaps a morally ambiguous warlord’s decaying keep. The Orc head fits the same needs, but for my homebrew world would also be perfect as a marker of Borni territory, or used by cannibal Pig Faced Orcs as a message to their ‘non-pure blood’ brethren. And the skull, well it’s a skull on a pike, what’s not to love? Not a damn thing that’s what. These are going to be a MUST BUY for me.

The other new preview I wanted to make you aware of is the flowing Green Slime. I love the translucent plastic. I also really like the flow to it as well; it feels like its surging up to engulf you. The only thing that I don’t much care for is the skull floating in it. I think scale wise the skull is a bit big, and I’m just not a fan of it being there. The miniature works just fine without it. I do want to point out that this mini fills a HUGE gap in our collections. Beyond the DDM Ochre Jelly, and the Pathfinder Grey Ooze the pre-painted world has been vastly devoid of Jellies, Oozes, and Puddings. I’m going to need at least one of these, at least, so this is a MUST BUY for me. Juiblex has been displeased! Luckily Dungeon Crawl Miniatures has done an amazing job of effectively filling in these gaps, and this is no different. Go support these guys as they deserve your money and attention.

Man, I wrote more than I intended, but isn’t that what this lame excuse for a blog is? Just me babblin’ on and on uselessly? I think it is, so let’s wrap it up with some…


- One week till training camp. Oh NFL I’ve missed you.
- I’m plowing through R.A. Salvatore’s ‘Spine Of The World’. Dang it is sad to see just how far Wulfgar has fallen and why. I’ve always liked him more than Drizzt as a character so to see him getting ‘Game Of Throned’ sort of sucks. However at the same time it is making him a fascinating character. Interesting read.
- Kre-O’s, Hasbro’s LEGO knock off, are starting a D&D line. That noise you just heard was my squealing like a 13 year old girl at a Beiber concert.
- Venture Brothers has blown my socks off this season, and last episode was no different. It makes me want to watch a spin-off starring Ghost Robot revolving around his ‘dating life’.
- Most of my Bones are based, all that don’t need to be bent back into their correct shape that is. The vast majority of those are primed. I also am waiting for some mega bases so I can base some of the larger dragons and such. I’ve been painting at a moderate pace trying to finish up all the stuff that I had partially painted. So this week I’ve ‘silver backed’ the Giant Ape Lady Christy painted for me, I knocked out some Pirate types with some epic pants, a few Redcap Goblins, a few more soldiers to add to my Black & Yellow Knight’s retinue, and a few Drow. I think I’ve most likely gotten 13 miniatures or so to the stage where we need to paint their bases black, Cassandra needs to add eyes, and then we can DIP them. Not bad for three days or so. I’m eager though to start dipping into my Bones and knock some of those out. I’m just enjoying painting again, which means I need to host another CHIKARA & Mini Painting Friday Night in the next month or so.
- We’ll know more about the fate of Chikara in two days. I wait with baited breath.
- While painting I’ve been watching New Japan Dominion 2013. I have to say Prince Devitt as a heel is FANTASTIC! The Bullet Club is great, and his line about being a ‘Real Rock N’ Roller’ with that heavy Scottish accent is tremendous. That match with Tanahasi was awe-inspiring. Even better is his inevitable collision with Okada who is the current reining IWGP Heavyweight Champion. So we’ll get Heel Vs. Heel/Champion Vs. Champion at some point and I couldn’t be happier.
- Brock Lesnar Vs. CM Punk? Daniel Bryan Vs. John Cena? The Shield Vs. Mark Henry? The Wyatt Family Vs. ANYONE? Oh WWE you have my undivided attention now.
- Speaking of wrestling a week from tomorrow is our monthly Friday Night SMACKDOWN! We have two new shows set-up, one being James & his beard’s show, whose name escapes me currently. I have to say I am SUPER intrigued by James’ roster as it is chock full of NXT talent. The other new show is the C-Fish’s WCW which is also equally fantastic. I set it up, so I’m going to going to tell you it rules. In fact it has some frightening similarities to WCW during the Monday Night Wars.  With Shamus, Ryback, & Kofi Kingston in the roles of Goldberg, DDP, & Sting. Booker T’s Nation Of Domination being the N.W.O., the cruiserweights being HEAVILY represented, and The Outsiders, plus X-Pac, being the Four Horsemen. Or maybe I’m reading WAY too much into it. Anyways, we’ll kick off with Dave’s PPV, and from there have to figure out how Cordell & James’ shows will figure into the four PPVs a month schedule. I’m hoping we’ll get through the whole month in that night! Either way I’m pumped.
- I want to grill, but it’s just too damn hot.

With that I think I’m done.

“The wolves are at your door dressed like sheep
Trying hard to hide the blood, to hide the blood from the crowd

They are trying to sell slavery as a dream to chase
Driven by fear consumer wars
No way to see their hoax

They are listening
They are watching
They wanna know what we do
They are faking our freedom
Hoping we believe it's true

The world is full of snakes whispering in your ear
A stream of seducing words from a cloven tongue

They are trying to sell slavery as a dream to chase
Driven by fear consumer wars
No way to see their hoax

Fences at the border dividing the world in two
Have-nots feed the have-lots obeying the market rules

The rats are spreading plague, no stopping the disease
Their rotten dirty bite infecting the whole world

They are trying to sell slavery as a dream to chase
Driven by fear consumer wars
No way to see their hoax”

    * = That's for you L.C.

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