Monthly Archives: January 2012

i had NO idea that when i posted my last post about gaming alone that it was officially my 1 year anniversary as a D&D gamer! and.. its gets spooky.  check this out:   here is a picture of my very first game on 1/29/11 my first game! and heres my last game early this morning i was playing on 1/29/12: 1 year later it was the same EXACT set up.  and totally unintentional.  and exactly 1 year apart.     talk about crazy!  what are the chances, especially when i had no idea until i looked at the created date on that first picture?!

 

here’s to another year of D&D fun … and many more after that!  keep on gaming, my friends!

i dont know about you guys and girls but 9.5 times out of 10, i’m jonesing for a game of D&D.

the problem is, i’ve been sick for the past 5 days with pneumonia and now my girl is getting sick too which means she wont be writing me any quick adventures to get me to shut up.

what’s a gamer to do? well, you can sit on your butt all day ‘trolling the WotC forums which was a first for me until the other day, you can watch movies based on rpgs like Midnight Chronicles (not very good at all, by the way), read your gaming books, draw dungeons, or play by yourself.

ahem…i said BY yourself.

anyway, the Red Box Starter set for 4e came with a link to a solo game PDF download called The Ghost Tower of the Witchlight Fens.   you can find it around with a good old bing search.  the The Ghost Tower of the Witchlight Fens was actually a really fun adventure that i played all by my lonesome and was my very first D&D game EVER when i played it last year when i got my Red Box.

out of desperation i said, hey i’m gonna dust that baby off and play it.  this time i used the minis i got with my Dungeons of Dread Starter set for my character and the NPC (i wont spoil the surprise!).  and since i had all the stuff you needed that came in the Red Box like the adventure itself, the mat, dice, and tokens you see in the pic below, i was set and it didnt cost me a dime!

by the way, The Ghost Tower of the Witchlight Fens is really really fun.  its written quite well and involves everything an adventure should be.  there’s traps, logic, good encounters, major decisions, time management, a decent challenge, a good story, all that good stuff.

playing it again was so fun now that im experienced and i even had a different outcome this go around.  the adventure is done in a “Choose Your Own Adventure” type style where your decisions lead you to flip to a certain page to get the results and you go from there.

i got so inspired playing it again.  i had all sorts of fun rolling dice and reading by myself.  i had my own adrenaline going even!  my girl walked in on my rolling  my d20 with my mat all out exclaiming “YES!” on a good roll.

she laughed at me.

 

The Ghost Tower of the Witchlight Fens solo adventure

 

i finally understand what you 3.5 fans are feeling.  and it sucks.

 

i started playing D&D about a year ago.  my very first experience was with 4th edition of which, i still play and as frequently as i can.  i love 4e, i really do.

now, before you start telling me how much 4e sucks, keep in mind that i have nothing to compare it to.  its the only D&D system i know.   in fact, im very much still learning it and i finally just finished reading the 4e Dungeon Master’s Guide last night.  i’m just happy i’m finally playing D&D.

my group consists of myself, my girl, and my sister.  another sister is still learning and hasn’t become an official member yet.  i also did get my parents to play recently since i got them each an official WotC mini for Christmas but thats another story.  i’ve gamed with a meetup group once and that was amazing once i got over my stage fright.

so here i am, learning the game, i just purchased a couple of real minis the other day, i’m busy converting Ravenloft into 4e and scouting another member for my group when i hear about…. 5th edition.

the news was released earlier this month through The New York Times.  Click here for the article.   And here is the actual news from WotC.

honestly, im not happy.  for a year, i was playing the newest thing and i’ve no where near mastered this system.  heck, i still cant level up properly without help from my character builder program but i’m getting there.  i’m building new characters, learning all the lingo, and now, i found out that i’m going to be obsolete.  just like 3.5 and all the earlier editions of D&D.

im not ready to be obsolete.  im just not.

so what are my options?  well, i can sulk over it like i have been doing and am really good at.  i think i’m a level 5 sulker by now, or i can get my ass on the WotC site and sign up for that playtest i’ve been hearing about.  and as i’m typing this, i did it.

i’m not sure what happens next.  they said that i “have successfully signed up to receive notification from Wizards at a later date about the D&D playtest starting date and further instructions on how you can participate in playtesting.”

now that i did that, i do feel.. a little better.

i think what we fear is change.  the mystery of what will happen to the system we learned, loved, and studied.  not to mention all them money we spent on all the books and accessories.  are we ever ready for our favourite system to change?  i know i’m not.  i don’t like change.  i’m one of those “no news is good news” kind of people.

but i cant stop the game from evolving.  maybe it wont be as different as i’m thinking.  maybe 4e will just be improved without confusing the living hell out of me.  i really REALLY don’t want to be confused.  i don’t want to have to relearn a whole entire new system.

but, i guess, at least i can participate in the building process and see it before it gets released.

gamers, i think the best thing for us to do is to do this playtest and that way we can at least put in our feedback.  after all, no one will hear our voices if we do not speak.

this is our game, after all.

dice.  they have to be my favourite part of playing D&D.  i mean just look at them, with all those sides and numbers.  oo, total nerdgasm!  i was so excited that my Red Box Starter Set came with a set of 6 polyhedral dice so that i could start rolling them bones right away.

this is a pictures of my gaming group’s dice.  my original dice are the ones on the right and i love them.  the black with white numbers.  they came with the 4e Red Box.  i actually much prefer the d10 of that set opposed to the chessex dice.  it actually says 10 instead of 0.  i never got why they put 0 instead of a 10 on their dice, its just not that climatic when you roll a crit with your d10 and it comes up as 0 and i should know; my fighters use d10 for their damage rolls.  yeah, we rock the greatsword.

Polyhedral Dice

my newest set is the red/black volcano speckled dice with silver numbers.  my girl  got them for me for Christmas.  i actually really like them.  don’t they just scream Ravenloft to you?  By the way, I will be running Ravenloft in 4e very soon!  ill post about that soon so check back with us!

my girl owns the pink and black gemini set and my sister owns the purple translucent ones.  i have to admit, i do game on a budget but you just gotta have the actual chessex dice.  they aren’t too expensive, around 10 bucks or so.

also, a word of advice on purchasing dice:  its always a smart move to buy them in person if possible.  you never know what they will come out looking like when you order online.  ive seen genimi sets that were really bad looking and some that are brilliant.   but the gamble can be fun as well.  ;)

 

I think my game nights look a lot different from the game nights I had in the US.  Normally, we all stopped off at individual fast food stores and got something, then gobbled it down once we arrived at the Dungeon Master’s house.  That changed quite a lot when I moved to the Netherlands.  Now, I can’t say if EVERYONE does this, but this is what every gaming group I’ve been part of does…someone cooks dinner.

Yes, that’s actually cooking.  No pizza, hamburgers, or other fast food junk food, but real food.  In my Saturday night games, since we play at 1 location, we all take turns taking over the DM’s kitchen.  In my every other Friday games, we descend upon a host that cooks.  We bring the snack food and drinks.  The every other Sunday games are my domain.  I cook, they give me money.  But with all 3 games, it’s real food.  Yum.

So what do I normally cook to fill gamer bellies? I’m rather fond of Mexican.  So it’s normally some bastard child between actual Mexican, Tex Mex, and Dutch Mexican (due to the fact that I improvise with local ingredients greatly).

Here’s a Chili recipe, which wasn’t really meant for a real Dutch pallet (they like their food over boiled and a little bland from my experience):

Note: Amount of ingrediants can vary widely since I use the “a little of this and a little of that” method

- 2 pounds ground beef (I like using a leaner variety)
- 3  links pepper salami (actual salami that’s rolled in black pepper)
- 3 cans kidney beans (400g each)
- 3-4 cans/boxes of diced tomatoes (the ones I use is about 250g per box)
- 1-2 yellow onions
- tin of tomato paste (they have a cayan pepper  tomato paste here, tasty)
- 3-6 stalks celery
- 2-4 sweet peppers (choose your color)
- 4-6 hot peppers depending on how nuclear you want it (I use a variety from the local “toko” which is a thai/chinese food store.  Oh, I usually throw a few whole ones in as well.)
-  1-4 beef or chicken bouillon cubes (the amount depends on how salty you want it)
- Chili powder (to taste, usually about 3 tablespoons or 1/4 cup is good)
- Garlic (to taste, everyone I feed loves garlic so usually an entire head ends up in my chili)
- Worcestershire sauce (to taste, again, I go a little overboard.  Usually about 1-2 tablespoons will do….a half bottle ends up in mine)
- Oregano (to taste, about 1 tablespoon dried or a few tablespoons fresh)
- Cumin (to taste, I’m not sure how much ends up in mine, but it’s a lot.  Most recipes I see call for about 1 tablespoon)
- Hot pepper sauce (to taste, no really…it depends on what you’re using)
- Basil (to taste, dried is pretty strong so around 1-2tsp is good)
- Salt (to taste, for me it depends on how many bouillon cubes I use or the salami I put in.  This adds salt as well.)
- Black pepper (to taste, but since I use pepper salami I usually skip this)
- White sugar (1-2tsp, helps balance out the acidity)

I brown the ground beef, get rid of the fat, and then dump it into my slow cooker.  I then chop up everything else, and throw it in my slow cooker.  I set it on low, for about 8-9 hours.  Within hours you’ll have a heavenly smell and start seeing the oils rise to the top from the peppers and salami.

The end result should be hot.  Now, since I usually make this ahead of time, what I really like doing is throwing it in the freezer then thawing it before eating it.  That really ramps up the nuclear level.  They don’t call me the evil DM for nothing.

Serve warmed, topped with cheddar and tortilla chips!

So this is just one dish I’ve frozen and will be taking with us to Conception tonight.  Yea, I’m looking forward to seeing the Brit’s face when he digs into it this year.  However, I’m about to go and make some corn bread, to help slacken the heat a bit.

Well, we’re getting close to zero hour.  Literally, our ferry leaves from Dunkerk, France at 6am Wed morning to move us towards Dover, UK and our goal of Conception!

So, one of my cottage mates, Dave, will be bringing his Nerf armory.

 So I suppose the only valid question at this point is, who’s bringing the vodka?

being a new gamer, i missed out on experiencing the awesomeness of actual brick and mortar game stores filled with miniatures, gaming books, meet ups, cards, and all that delicious nerdy heaven.  granted, there are some stores hanging on here and there but, from what i’ve heard, they are almost nonexistent.

most of what i have to game with i have purchased from online stores.  be it amazon, ebay, reaper, and the like, at least they have what you are looking for, well, most of the time.  the downside to ordering online is the cost of shipping which can really be hiked up to ridiculous amounts and, of course, the wait.

oh the wait!  i am like a kid on Christmas with the waiting, i want my stuff and i want it now!  you have to wait for your order to be processed, you have to wait for it to be shipped, and the shipping wait, oh just kill me now!

well, i feel compelled to hold up a particular online store up  for a very good transaction i had over the weekend.  i ordered an opened set of the WotC Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Dungeons of Dread Starter kit that comes with 2 battle mats, 5 awesome minis, (a dwarf in some killer armor, a sexy female elf, a human fighter for my new level 1 character, a young green dragon, and a yuan-ti) a d20, and some little rulebooks.

first off, these things are expensive since WotC stopped making minis (god knows why) and things are becoming rare.   i was able to purchase just the minis alone for under 10 bucks with shipping.  and, AND, they even threw in 2 extra minis for me without even telling me.  nice detail in these minis, by the way.

i also have no idea how they got it across like 6 states in 2 days right to my mail box.  they threw in an extra elf with a different paint job which i loved and an extra yuan-ti!  and its not like these things are getting any more common.

so thanks, Noble Knight Games, for a great online transaction!  this gamer really appreciates you going that extra mile!

i’m not rich.  i admit it.  i work hard for my money but just don’t have a lot of it.  like drumming (which i do), gaming can get expensive.  there are books, and lots of them:  monster manuals, dm guides, multiple players handbooks, books on settings, battle mats, dice, markers, oh my poor paycheck!

but does gaming really have to cost us an arm and a leg?  nah.  just use your imagination, get inspired from other peoples idea, buy some oven bake polymer clay, and turn on the toaster oven!

here is a bunch of props that my sister and i made with that polymer clay.  click it to expand it ;)

as you can see, for the small price of about 1-2 dollars per block of clay, we were able to make a ton of little things for our dungeons.  treasure chests, stones and blocks, coffins, tables of various looks, a campfire, jars, potions, gold pieces, skulls and bones, dressers, and my favourite, the torches.  also take note of the little black round thing at the bottom with a token in it.  that expands the size of the monster to bigger size than 1 square!  good idea, huh?  oh, and there are my zombies that i got out of those 25 cent machines and glued some clay bases onto and gave em a coat of paint too.

for the paint, i used cheap acrylic craft paint that comes in those little plastic tubs thinking it wouldn’t work well but it actually worked rather well on this type of clay and dries in seconds much to my surprise.

im also working on some “3-d dungeon tiles” which are actually cardboard.  these little details can help make your game just that much more fun and it really doesn’t have to cost you all your GP.

how about you guys and girls?  do you have any little props too?