Pour decisions: wine with video games

Later Levels

Getting Commander Shepherd drunk in every bar in Mass Effect. Using cocktails to manipulate moods in The Red Strings Club. Downing so much beer in Fable that you throw up and earn The Drinking Game achievement. Alcohol has long featured in video games in ways both subtle and over-the-top.

I’m writing this now with a fuzzy head on a Sunday morning, after going to my first wine-tasting event in London with my other-half the previous night. I can’t remember how many varieties we ended up trying but it must have been quite a few – and thankfully we managed to keep a list of those we really enjoyed. Through my alcohol-induced fog, I began thinking which of our chosen bottles would go well with video games so here’s a list of my best pour decisions.

Katie Jones La Gare Old Vine Syrah 2018

A classic big red ripe…

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RPGs have taught me to be a gold miser

Bio Break

Let me start today’s post by asking you a question: How important is in-game money to you in RPGs and MMOs?

Because the answer for me, and I suspect many of you, is “not that much.” At least, money doesn’t matter on a daily basis in current games. Looking back, this used to be a lot different in older RPGs and MMORPGs, where there was only one currency that you kind of needed for everything.

I mean, go back to those older console RPGs and see how a great majority of your gear wasn’t looted but purchased from a vendor. Chrono Trigger gated its gear by offering a better quality vendor when you got to new areas, at which point you’d spend your cash to upgrade your team’s armor and weapons.

MMOs used to be a lot more like this as well. We saw a great example of that this…

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1979 D&D Character Record Sheets

Wayne's Books

1977 (1979) Dungeons & Dragons Character Record Sheets
TSR 9014 … 25 sheets

A fairly rare pad of D&D character sheets arrived in the shop.

As The Acaeum describes it:

1979: Character Record Sheets. Tom Wham artwork on cover. Wizard logo. Copyright still reads “1977”, but “TM Reg App For” has been removed. Versions with blue, yellow, grey, or green covers and pink, orange, grey, or green sheets have been reported (other than colors, they appear identical). One copy has been spotted that is a side-tearing pad, but the vast majority appear to be top-tearing.

This one is side-tearing. All 25 sheets firmly attached, unmarked. Only real issue is some faint spotting on cover.

I haven’t the foggiest idea of the value, so I’m putting the character sheet pad up for auction.

EDIT May 7, 2019: Auction ended at $209.50.

Photos follow:

D&D Character Sheet 1979 green glue sideD&D Character Sheet 1979 green side glued edgepaperD&D Character Sheet 1979 green side glued sheetD&D Character Sheet 1979 green side glued back

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Review: Dungeon Fog

Return of the Dungeon Master

Returning to D&D two and a half years ago, I made a very conscious decision to run my games digitally. A big part of this decision was down to my personal situation – I didn’t yet know anyone to play with – but also because I liked the visual elements that online virtual tabletop play necessitates.

It was clear to me early on that the old-fashioned method of map design wasn’t going to cut it. Pen and graph paper was not going to be an option here. I was going to have to find a map drawing tool.

My requirements with regards to a map drawing tool were fairly simple.

  • Preferably browser based so I could access from multiple different computers, syncing my maps to the cloud.
  • Easy to use. I’m a User Experience professional so I had huge expectations as to how a map drawing tool should work.
  • The…

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DMs Guild Review – Modrons, Mephits & Mayhem!

The Kind GM

Modrons, Mephits & Mayhem! is an adventure for three to five characters of levels 5-8, by Tim Bannock.

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Review: D&D Essentials Kit

Return of the Dungeon Master

If I had to list my favourite D&D adventures of all time, “The Lost Mine of Phandelver” would definitely be up there. It marked my return as a Dungeon Master in 2016 and it’s a tight little sandbox adventure.

With that in mind, the D&D Essentials Kit caught my eye purely on the basis that the included adventure, “Dragon of Icespire Peak” returns to the village of Phandalin and the surrounding area. I was also keen to access the adventure content digitally and with the physical product including a voucher for the D&D Beyond version of the adventure, it made sense to buy the physical box.

Ultimately, nothing in the Essentials kit is particularly “essential” to me these days. I own all of the core rulebooks and supplements. However, compared to the original Starter Set, the Essentials Kit is a huge improvement and contains some interesting items. Included within the…

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Cities in MMORPGs #IntPiPoMo2019


For this first installment of screenshots for the 2019 edition of International Picture Posting Month, I’m going to present some of my favourite city views from various MMORPGs.

Cities are almost always a major hub or quest giver location in MMORPGs, but they can also be so much more. They can be a major setting for gameplay, where earth shattering events take place or major plots unravel.

1) Minas Tirith, Lord of the Rings Online

This city is enormous in scale and complexity – even having two variants based on the progression of the main storyline. It’s iconic, grandious and a great setting for important story action.

2) Corsucant, Star Wars the Old Republic

Of several city-planets, I opted to feature Coruscant as it’s deeply embedded in my time spent in Star Wars the Old Republic. It’s a great and varied set of city zones.

3) New Halas, Everquest 2

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Deities and Demigods: The Extended Ability Scores Tables

Wayne's Books

Back in the day, playing Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, we never used the Deities and Demigods rulebook as a “Monster Manual of gods” (though this apparently happened in other groups). We got way more use out of the extended ability scores tables in the front of the book.

Usually it wasn’t due to characters having inherent ability scores above 18 (though those amazing magic tomes got used more than once), but more often to reference temporary ability boosts from magic items, like Giant Strength potions. It was so fun opening the DDG to find what your over-18 abilities were.

DDG extended tables STR combStrength was fairly simple, being a logical progression of the table in the Player’s Handbook, with no new special abilities. But, wow, talk about being a juggernaut in melee and a threat to doors and gates everywhere!

DDG extended tables INTIntelligence, in addition to boosting magic users in their spellcasting, also conveyed increasing…

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Adventures in Fantasy (1979): A Post-D&D project for Dave Arneson

Wayne's Books

Haven’t had a Adventures in Fantasy box set in the shop in years, so I thought this would be a great time to profile the set.

The set is “Signed!” – which is super exciting until you realize that Richard Snider & Dave Arneson signed almost all of the AiF sets I’ve seen.

Adventures in Fantasy AG box set b AiF set that was in the shop April 2014

Adventures in Fantasy [BOX SET]
1979 … Dave Arneson & Richard Snider … Adventures Unlimited / Excalibre Games / Adventure Games

Sets in the shop (Home page redirect = No Inventory)

The System

Adventures in Fantasy signed typical Set is most commonly found with box lid signed by Richard Snider (creator of the Powers and Perils RPG) and Dave Arneson (co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons)

Many years back DUNGEONS & DRAGONS by Gygax and Arneson first appeared on the gaming scene and a veritable revolution then took place. Soon dozens of supplements…

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The broken promise of the MMO genre

Hardcore Casual

Could you imagine playing the same videogame for a decade?
Ten years, one game?

If this question was asked in the 90s, it would seem silly.
That would be at least two generations of consoles, and PC hardware was
changing so fast back then that it just wouldn’t make sense.

Then in the late 90s Ultima Online came out, and with it the
promise of a virtual world that was always changing, always expanding. UO wasn’t
a game you picked up and played until you beat it, it was a service you signed
up for and lived with. The promise was, in a nutshell, an RPG with a story that
never ended.

Early on in MMO history, the late 90s and into the early 2000s,
this promise was mostly upheld. UO was a virtual world, EQ1 was less so, but
was ever-expanding. Asherons Call and Dark Age of Camelot came…

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