Virtual and physical rpg gaming

GamingSF

Recently we had that rare opportunity to sit down and do some tabletop roleplaying in person. Such events vary greatly in frequency but, with my longest running D&D (3.5) campaign that started back in 2006, it’s never that frequent. 2018 proved to be the year we have made more of virtual tabletop gaming. We’ve grown pretty accustomed to playing D&D and now Starfinder via Fantasy Grounds.

This has the odd side-effect that playing Starfinder in person requires all the equipment of virtual gaming but in the same room. The campaign, the character sheets and even the manual are all digital products either in Fantasy Grounds or PDF form. Such a setup is ideal for virtual tabletop gaming of course, but for in-room sessions there is something missing. I’m not so far removed from the older standard way of playing after all. As a friend commented during this most recent play…

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Most anticipated video games of 2018!!

Music Cars & Fashion

1. SUPER SMASH BROS. ULTIMATE

Nintendo Switch Switch owners have been hyped about the prospect of a new Super Smash Bros. this year, and Nintendo took off the wraps at E3 – and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate looks like it will absolutely live up to its billing. Ultimate is a new entry in the series, but it also feels like a best-of compilation: it’ll feature every single fighter seen in the franchise to date, including past guest and DLC characters, along with newcomers like the Splatoon squid-kids and Ridley from Metroid. It’ll support GameCube controllers and bring back the extra 8-player mode, as well. Ultimate Smash? Yeah, we’d say so.

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2. Gris

This might be the most beautiful game we’ve seen all year. Gris is an indie platformer about the titular character, a young girl who is recovering from a traumatic event. Her emotional growth is manifested in the game design…

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Notable Trailers from The Game Awards

Doochy D Reviews

The Game Awards have come and gone and while there weren’t any real surprises when it came to the awardees, there were a number of announcements that will keep people excited moving into the new year.

Here are a few that stood out:

Mortal Kombat 11

(Credit to Izuniy)

Hell yes! This was a bloody, brutal, and badass trailer that didn’t reveal anything in terms of actual gameplay, but at least Mortal Kombat is making a return. The sheer amount of graphic carnage being shown is not for the squeamish as both combatants are stabbed, electrocuted, immolated, and dismembered. Raiden and Scorpion can take some serious damage because it took a long while before either got put down for good. A worldwide gameplay premier will drop January 17, with a release date slated for April 23.

The Outer Worlds

(Credit to Izuniy)

A Sci-Fi open-world RPG from the original creators…

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Planning to Fail: An Alternate d20 System

Power Word Skill

Failure. We fear it. We hate when it happens to us. It drives us to do better, to be better, to learn from our mistakes. Aristotle was the first western thinker to analyze dramatic theory and defined tragedy and comedy, but core to both expressive modes of narrative is the idea of failure. In a tragedy a protagonist is brought low by the extent of their failures. In comedy we laugh as we experience the protagonist’s story as a series of errors, mishaps, and misunderstandings. Failure drives them both, what is different is a matter of tone and perspective. A character who always gets what they want and nothing bad ever happens to them is both boring and totally unrelatable to us as human beings. So why should our D&D heroes succeed ad nauseam or constantly roll 2’s all night?

I love D&D and the d20 system, but sometimes I…

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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – Nintendo Switch

two beard gaming

It’s finally here folks! The most pre-ordered game in both Switch and Smash history has landed for us all to join the fight. And a game of Ultimate status deserves an Ultimate review, so let’s dive straight in and see whether this game get’s the overall score most of you will be predicting it gets, or whether it surprises us and has shortcomings we didn’t expect.

Before we start can we just take a moment to appreciate the sheer amount of content that has been crammed onto the cartridge. Seventy eight fighters, over one hundred stages, fifty five Pokemon, fifty nine assist fighters, over nine hundred songs on the soundtrack (145 of which are completely new and total over ten hours of music), an entirely new single player mode, eight player battles, four player online battles, numerous modes and unlockables, a total of (wait for it) 1297 Spirits to collect…

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Old Cruik Hollow

Dyson's Dodecahedron

The limestone caves of Old Cruik Hollow are at the head of a box canyon and show the signs of decades of use by various groups over the ages. Stairs have been cut into the floor of the cave on the left leading into the upper caves. Sections of the caves have been closed off with wooden walls and doorways – and a small tomb was cut into the looping cave and then more recently converted into a storage space.

Old Cruik Hollow Old Cruik Hollow

These days the upper caves are home to a small group of bandits, exiles and outlaws from the nearby town. Their leader, Ola Zeldade, escaped town when they began growing scales as they are actually at least one quarter naga, and are in the midst of the slow transformation into a more naga-like form.

Old Cruik Hollow (no walls) Old Cruik Hollow (no walls)

The lower caves have two old statues of manifestations…

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Adventure Review: The Hourglass by Damen Bolton

Misanthropester

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One of my favorite tropes in television is amnesia. It requires nothing more than commitment to the premise and allows for actors (and, therefore, players) to break out of their comfort zones and/or experiment with new personas. Perhaps one of the best examples of this is the episode ‘Tabula Rasa‘ from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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The amnesia trope is also a perfect fit for a bottle episode. Sometimes a campaign needs a bottle episode, a break from the main storyline(s) allowing players to roleplay anew or just really dig in with one particular issue, trait, idea, or spell/weapon. It act as a sort of palate cleanser. Sometimes what might be a minor detail or find becomes something really cool or useful later, which is always a welcome development.

Damen Bolton’s The Hourglass is an amnesia adventure that not only provides ample room for roleplay but also…

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Holiday gaming expectations

GamingSF

Work has gone a little crazy in the run up to Christmas, though at least I will be off for nearly two weeks. We’ll be spending the holidays with family as normal so actually I probably won’t have a huge amount of free time for online gaming. If anything it’s more likely we’ll get some Starfinder / Dungeons & Dragons sessions squeezed in in-between the various family get-togethers that are planned.

There’s also the imminent arrival of patch 8.1 in World of Warcraft next week, a content dump that will offer some kind of new quest-content weekly through this same period. I’ve not yet stepped foot in the current tier’s raid, so the big new item of the new raid isn’t aimed at me as a player.

Otherwise I plan on playing some more Lord of the Rings Online as well, but am well aware that time to play a…

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Hanging up the Fifth Edition Delves

Dyson's Dodecahedron

Amid a crush of deadlines and other work, I made some changes recently to reduce my stress levels. Among them was cancelling my Fifth Edition Delves line of adventures. While I enjoyed both titles released in the line, and had additional titles in progress at the time, the reality is that the line wasn’t making enough money for me to be able to assign it a dedicated project manager.

With my current schedule of commissioned cartography and my Patreon work, I can’t dedicate the time needed to growing a line like this – and the line isn’t profitable enough to pay someone else to handle it for me.

The line grossed a total of just under $2,500 since launch (almost evenly split between the two adventures – although Kiel did edge out Zzarchov ever so slightly), which is fine for a hobby product, but not sustainable mixed in with my…

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DDO: Screaming idol baby

Bio Break

I know he’s SUPPOSED to be intimidating, but this idol kind of looks like a baby throwing a tantrum if you take the horns coming out of his chin for arms and legs. Maybe it was an ancient god that would throw a fit until he got his own way, I don’t know.

Delara’s Tomb was up for our DDO group run last week, and it went rather smoothly save for one of our party members getting a face full of trap and dying instantly. It’s scary how fast your health can plummet in this game if you’re not careful.

Wait a minute, guys… what am I supposed to do in the fire? Stand in it?

Our group is slightly unconventional in that we don’t have any frontline fighters or tanks. We’re one Sorcerer, two Warlocks, one Artificer, one Rogue, and me, the Druid. So there’s a degree of squishy…

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