Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Six String Samurai Vs. Wait Until Dark

* = I really miss CHIKARA....
We survived the weekend. We actually gleefully survived the weekend. From Thursday night on it was a race with the Devil to get things done, to have fun, and to stay coherent. I don’t mind being busy, as anyone can tell by the social calendar we keep, but sometimes we find ourselves so booked up that we don’t get a lot of time to do our favorite activity; hanging out with one another. I’m tired, but with a strange, giant, goofy ginger grin on my mug. I couldn’t ask for more than that.

Well I could, but no one wants to listen to that.

So Thursday was 3rd Group D&D, and it went ‘meh’. It was a huge letdown because I had REALLY high hopes. I just didn’t deliver. I hadn’t eaten enough, was hopped up on the caffeine, and we got a bit of a late start. Couple this with a 30 minute break in between to get Spence’s van out of the quagmire that used to be the side road and you have some tough hurdles to overcome. The biggest hurdle though was self-induced. I felt like my plan was too good to fail or at least sputter. My sin was arrogance or maybe hubris, either way it wasn’t good. I still think it is a good idea, in fact I’m going to talk about it here so if you play in one of the other groups and don’t want things spoiled LOOK AWAY! I’m serious, Meta-Plot SPOILERS ahead. You’ve been warned. So as 3rd Group realized the Gods are no longer overtly powerful on the plan. The reasons haven’t been explained, and frankly it doesn’t matter that much. The fact is characters who gain their powers through the Divine source are noticing that their abilities are dwindling rapidly. The pathways between planes are also shutting to the Known World. Something is happening or has happened that has started to cut it off from the rest of the Worlds. Those divine powers and domains are now up for grabs; out with the old Gods, IN with the new. As beings begin to figure out the new status quo there will be a mad dash to find the places of power, items, and divine energy left behind by the Old Gods. Collecting that, absorbing it, etc. would in theory allow someone the ability to ascend to Godhood themselves. This all stems for a crazy dream I had, and upon waking up felt like the game(s) long term would be better served with having a Pantheon that they were invested in rather than one that is in the background that most of them don’t care about. I say most because Zack rocked the Kasbah as Uwain, and I feel like Jericho love(s) him some Pelor, and Karl’s Tharump is a religious zealot, but otherwise the gods that most folks worship seem like a barely cared about burden. SO why not give the players a chance to change that. I’m really curious how this will affect the three games, but it’s a gambit I’m willing to take. I’m eager to see how characters in 1st Group run with this new status quo, or even in 2nd Group once they have to deal with it up close. It leaves all three groups with another avenue to tell stories on an epic scale through. Anywho. SPOILERS OFF.

So it was a Role Play heavy session. Again it wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t good, as I really humped the bed with the introduction to a NPC, Kerian, and was perhaps a bit too heavy handed with another new NPC, Roland The Fair. The threads where there, but there was zero combat and a few of the characters were getting antsy to slay. It was a necessary evil I guess, so now we have a new direction not dependent upon any one character, while still a riff on the whole Underdark Conquistadors. All I can do is try to make it as fun as possible for all the characters, keep building the stories bit by bit, and try and get everyone to buy in 100%. I’d settle for 75%, but I’m easy that way.

I’ve got less than two weeks till the next ‘Bonus’ session. Two weeks to prep their decent into Karazak the nearest Drow city. Two weeks to craft something that has tinges of horror, adventure, Role Playing opportunities, but is ripe with bloody combat. As the ideas are formulating fast and furious for that session I’m already seeing how I can cut and craft from the last session, and hopefully keep taking things in the direction that feels natural while giving the PC’s a lot of options.

Friday, Saturday, and the first part of Sunday we had the Seany Bear & the Maddy Cat. It is a strange thing to care for the children of others. You aren’t their parents, but you are the authority figure. You are attached, but they go home at some point. They could be total spaz show offs or could be much better behaved than you ever would have imagined because the rules are different in your home. As someone who sort of likes their routine, it was anxiety inducing trying to figure out how I was going to handle things with a 7 and 5 year old. Don’t get me wrong I KNOW I’m a rockin’ Uncle. I’m that Uncle that has all the cool stuff, that shows you neat cartoons, has comics to read with you, has LEGO’s and wants to play with them, and wants to hear you tell him stories about dinosaurs and flying. I am that Uncle. However, I also like my stuff to be kept in good shape, to not get broke, and honestly have a stupid, short, ginger temper. I was concerned to say the least.

Imagine my shock when really those two were crazy little angels all weekend. Sure there were hiccups, but that is to be expected, overall though it went swimmingly. Cassandra and I sort of split time ‘entertaining’, getting meals, baths, etc. done. We kept our ‘house rules’ in place, were firm and fair, and yet tried to make it one of those fun times they will always remember. The question was asked after they left whether this made me want kids more or less. The answer is the same. There were things that were FAR easier than I thought they would be to deal with, but there were a few nagging things that bothered me a bit. And they bothered me more because they actually were pretty selfish little things.

The sleep thing was the main culprit there. I already struggle to sleep, but getting up with two little people who are already running at a million miles an hour while I am trying to get my poop in a group was tough. Doing it while Cassandra was sleeping was rougher. However I just kept in mind that she was going to be handling things I was not, so it made it far easier. I’m normally a bear to deal with; when I am sleep deprived I become far worse.

Surprisingly though it never really came into play. I never hit that critical mass of grumpiness. I think it more worries me for the long nights of crying babies or for kids that will not sleep. It was a taste of something that I will have to find a way to deal with. I think that is beauty of something like last weekend, or when we had the Mason Man for a weekend, it is a test run at being a parent. It’s that moment of looking in the mirror after cleaning up food or pee or blood and saying, “Do I really want to do this?” The wonderful thing is the answer is still yes.

Sunday those damn Wheeler Boyz and a gaggle of their peeps along with El Bobert-O came over and we all watched Summer Slam together. It was a blast. I’ve watched RAW with Dave and James a couple of times now and had fun, but a room full of folks all laughing, joking, and groaning about was taking place was a great time. The show was ok with three exceptions; Del Rio Vs. Christian, Punk Vs. Lesnar, & Bryan Vs. Cena. Those three matches MADE it worthwhile.
Del Rio and Christian had a great pace to their encounter and sold like champs. You actually thought that this might be the night Del Rio dropped the strap. Alas Dave Wheeler’s hopes and dreams were CRUSHED when Del Rio got Captain Charisma to tap out. Christian is criminally underrated and I do hope that he gets one more title run before he hangs up the boots. Punk and Lesnar was simply perfect. It was twenty minutes or so of those two throwing the kitchen sink at one another. Lesnar looked like an unbeatable monster, and Punk was the scrappy, almost crazy brawler. The mark in me hoped Punk would win the match, but the part of me that gets the business and loves it saw this for what it was, Chapter 1 in at least a 2 part tale. We won’t see Lesnar for a while, maybe not till ‘Mania, but when we do it’ll be Lesnar Vs. Punk II and it will be amazing. I think everyone in my house was actively rooting against John Cena, as was over 50% of the arena. Most of us knew that he had a legit elbow issue and would be dropping the title, the real question was how. Would it be a clean loss, would it be by tap out, or would we get HHH inspired shenanigans? Well to my surprise he lost clean, and to a fantastic running knee strike no less, and we all cheered as the Bearded Wonder FINALLY was crowned champ. And then we all began to realize that the swerve was on. HHH never left the ring, the celebration went on a bit too long, and then Randy “I suck the air out of a room when I enter” Orton came down to cash in his Money In The Bank title shot. HHH dropped Bryan with a pedigree, and we had a new champ in Orton. If this was just a way to put the belt on Orton and Heel turn HHH then it is terrible. HOWEVER if this is the start of Austin Vs. McMahon II with Daniel Bryan as Steve Austin than I am in. The problem is after last night’s RAW I already have concerns. HHH is dominating the mic time, Bryan was booked weak in my opinion, and just why the hell are the Shield Trips’ little goon squad? I’m giving them two weeks to get it sorted, because last night sort of killed the momentum for me. Overall I can’t see watching a PPV again without the presence of at least Dave, James, James’ beard, El Bobert-O, and Cassandra. It was a great night.

So there wasn’t a miniatures preview this week, but over at Plastic Crypt they had some pics from GenCon let’s take a gander shall we? Let’s dive into the Legends Of Golarion!
First up is a CRAZY looking giant Demon or Devil, I’m not overly rote on the Paizo versions of the Blood War participants, but this thing looks fantastic. I love the pose with all four blades, the two arms in front sort of protecting that gaping maw of teeth, and the looming presence of this Large miniature. It just looks great. This is a MUST BUY for me. Beside that beauty is some type of Mothman. I like the pose, the paintjob is sort of bland, but DAMN those wings look great. I have no idea how I would use this miniature, and would most likely pass on it, but I do really like the red translucent wings, they just pop. So even though it has some good things going for it, I’d PASS.

Next up is a shot of that creepy worm thing we saw in last week’s preview along with a Large winged gorilla. Yeah that’s right your eyes haven’t deceived you, that is a winged gorilla, and it looks glorious. First off that thing is GIGANTIC, look at the wingspan. Secondly, I like the pose and especially the face. My only real complaint is the lack of color changes in the fur, skin, and feathers. It leaves this miniature with a huge almost monotone color palate. I’m still not sold on the giant worm thingee, but that flying Gorilla is a MUST BUY for me.

This one is a shot of type of Demon or Devil who is just massive. I’m seeing a theme here. I’m not sure if it is supposed to be a Pit Fiend or a Balor or something else. From what I can see of this miniature I like it, I’m not sure if I need another giant Devil or Demon type though. I’m not sure I like the four eyes either, I’m not even sure why, but for some reason they don’t appeal to me. I like the color of the armor, and even though it is skull heavy, but not Games Workshop level, it still just is leaving me feeling it is a bit flat. I can’t tell if that flaming weapon is a club, or a whip, or a sword, but it does look solid. Not to mention I have a sneaking suspicion that this thing is going to cost an arm and a leg. I don’t know, I need a better shot of this one, but based on this shot it is a PASS for me.

Here is a group shot for scale with the two Goblins and the Monk who we’ve already seen. It gives you an idea though just how massive those two Devils &/or Demons actually are. AND it appears that flaming weapon is a whip, and a mighty cool looking one at that.

Here we see two new ones and the Iconic Gnome from last week. These two Orcs honestly don’t blow me away. They aren’t bad, at all in fact, but nothing about them jumps out at me. I guess I do like the subtle differences in skin tone between the two of them, which is really cool. But I already have so many Orcs, and so many more to paint that unless I can get a better look at them, one that reveals some type of detail or facet of them I’m missing they just look like PASSes to me.

Looking at that bad boy in the back of this shot is making me rethink my previous evaluation. In the front we get a shot of the King who was in the first preview and then three more miniatures. I believe the cloaked miniature is some type of Chelaxian. In Golarion there is a country built upon contracts with Devils, and I believe this handsome guy is a representative. I’m guessing some type of cleric. He looks pretty great. I like the stance, the armor, and the cloak. This is a simple and effective miniature. The other two new guys are both Hellknights I think. This picture doesn’t do either a whole lot of justice. I can’t figure out what is going on with the one on the left, and the one of the right seems a bit cluttered with a lack of differentiation because of that monochrome paint scheme. I’m reserving judgment on these two, but that Cleric like buy is a MUST BUY.

We’ve seen the Queen and that nice looking Green Dragon before, but these Serpentfolk, Yuan-Ti to us D&D guys, are wonderful additions. Three very stylized miniatures fitting three distinct roles. The far left looks to be some type of Fighter or Ranger, the middle one seems to be a Caster of some type I’m guessing Wizard, and the last of these get of Yig looks to be a Cleric. I have a decent amount of Yuan-Ti, but could use a few more and these guys would be PERFECT! All three of these Serpentfolk are a MUST BUY!

Remember that Giant flying Gorilla we saw earlier? Well I have a sneaking suspicion that the guy on the left is his boss. Holy Gorilla Grodd, Batman, is that one AMAZING miniature. Just look at his face, there is some serious rage expressed there. It is just a great sculpt. I have just the place for that guy in 2nd Group. He just looks perfect. I have no doubt he’ll be a Large Rare and most likely a bit of a fiscal pain in the keister to procure, but that is one miniature that I must have. Oh and the Genie still looks sweet as well. These both are MUST BUYs.

Here we have the Efreeti in the plastic flesh right in front of a picture of himself, which is sort of cool. You can compare the source visual material with the end product. The paint work in the sword is wonderful and gives it a true sense of flame movement. It does slightly feel like it needs another light wash though to bring out some more of the impressive details in the sculpt. We also get another shot at the Genie, which again just looks wonderful, and the Serpentfolk Fighter gives you a sheer sense of scope and scale of the two Djinn. All three are homeruns, and MUST BUYs.

We get a look here at the third Orc in the set so far, and again he leaves me feeling the same as the others. I just don’t feel that he is that impressive. The pose, the sculpt, and the paint all leave him feeling sort of doughy and plain. I guess I just want more if I’m going to buy new Orcs. In the middle is the hairless Bugbear from an earlier preview, so nothing new there, besides seeing his sheer size. On the far right is really cool looking Kobold. I wish we could get a better look at its face, but I am familiar with the artwork that this miniature is based on and I love it. Painting tiny guys is TOUGH, so I’m willing to cut a bit of slack on these smaller miniatures. However I want high quality if I’m going to lay my cold hard cash on it. I’m reserving judgment on this one till I get a better look at it, but I do LOVE(s) me some Kobolds.

Our last Wizkids/Paizo preview is ALL Kobold baby! It looks like from left to right we have some type of Caster, then the infamous Kobold King, a Fighter with a spear, and then possibly a Ranger. They all look ok, but again being Small doesn’t allow the details to really shine, especially in a picture. I’m a Kobold fiend though and unless these turn out to be absolute bollox I’m inclined to think that I’ll be dropping some coin on bolstering my Kobold forces significantly with this set.

Did you think we were done? WE AREN’T! Here is one of two shots at the cool re-paints Dungeon Crawl Miniatures is doing on one of their releases. Here we see Zombified versions of the Lady, the Beggar, and the Child. I love all of them. The way they have splattered and worn the fluid on the clothes, and given the skin that disgusting skin pallor are just fantastic. I’m a big fan of this company, and these guys only serve to solidify my stance.

Here’s another shot of the DCM repaints, although a different batch, and the Con Exclusive Paizo Goblin. This time we get the Lady as a ghost, which is WAY cool. It is really amazing what you can do with a simply paint change. And the Beggar is now a Vampire. This is another great re-purposed miniature with a paint job that just pops out at you. Congrats DCM, you’ve got me wanting to buy these from you as well.

Our final two pics are from Mage Knight, another fantasy miniature game from Wizkids. In fact Mage Knight was my miniature gaming gateway drug. It led to Heroclix and from there to everything else. The game eventually died off. Wizkids is trying to bring it back, and I’m intrigued to see what they’ve come up with. This first shot is pretty unimpressive, which is surprising considering what you see above for their Pathfinder releases. Honestly out of these six only the back three hold any appeal to me.

The final picture from GenCon and the 2nd Mage Knight shot has some of the same pieces in it, but we also see a pretty cool looking Werewolf and some sort of invisible guy with armor on. Just to be clear that invisible guy sort of rocks. The Werewolf looks cool, but I already have enough similar miniatures that look better. Overall a lot of cool miniatures from GenCon, I hope that Mage Knight steps up and gives us something worth checking out, but this initial preview doesn’t give me much hope.

Wow, I really beat you over the head there with preview. Let’s wrap this up with some…


- I broke down and pre-ordered WWE 2K14 after seeing the 30 Years Of Wrestlemania roster. If the Ben from grade school had that game with Chris Cason back in the day we’d both have never left our homes. Amazing stuff.

- Friday is our next Friday Night SMACKDOWN. James and his mighty beard will be out of town doing awesome stuff, so we will have to soldier on without him. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens as it sounds as if El Bobert-O has his CAW, Cheshire, done and ready to rock!

- Listening to the Common Man talk about anything that isn’t a joke is painful. His football analysis is just terrible.

- I picked up some of the Skull & Shackles miniatures I wanted off E-bay and they are pretty dang awesome. Couple that with our growing fleet of ships for D&D and 2nd Group has some neat options in front of it. Now if I can just be done with E-bay for a while, because some of the folks you have to deal with are just awful.

- Lebron is an idiot.

- I have got to really figure out the Podcast thing soon. I’m really thinking that I need to do one about Wrestling if for no other reason than to give James and El Bobert-O a place to be HI-larious.

- My SUPERBOWL PICK BOUND TO BE WRONG this year is Bengals Vs. 49ers. I don’t even know why.

- What happened to our awesome weather? This 90 degree B.S. sucks! Hopefully tomorrow we’ll get some rain, my lawn desperately needs it.

I know I had other things to blab about, but this thing is too long as is.

“Fix the mental, as if that changes anything
Your heart is cured now, you're normal once again
One confession, you thought that's all it took
But redemption, doesn't let you off the hook

One of us
Can't erase the past to change who he would be
One of us
On a whim would act, then look for sympathy
Not from me

Hear me say...

One more
Chance to believe in
That you can even the score
One more
Place at the table
Always room for one more
Room for one more

Thing evil, is that just your normal gig
Fueled by hatred, happy as a stuffed pig
You're so lonely, everyone around you reeks
Of indifference, thriving in their apathy

Your schism, my distress
Your failure is my success
Squeezed out, kept me down
What goes around comes around
I can wait you out
Patience is my virtue
Call it payback, call it proper grounds
What goes around always comes around, always comes around”

* = Holy CRAP! Reaper you have my attention once again!

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