Archive for the Gaming Culture Category

Bristol Rennaissance Faire 2011

Posted in Gaming Culture with tags , , on July 29, 2011 by boccobsblog

The Bristol Renaissance Faire never disappoints. This year’s trip was one of the best yet (which is saying something since I’ve been attending for the last twenty years). Every year the faire seems to have gained some new shop or attraction that keeps the it vibrant and exciting.

Many of the buildings have been given facelifts and new roofs and the landscaping was the best I’ve ever seen. While I was sitting on a bench resting a hummingbird dressed like a tiny dung-sweep swooped in and drank from a flower inches away from my face.

My friends and I took in a show by Christophe the Insulter where he decimated audience members with filthy verbal abuse that left me laughing and greasy-feeling.

We ate faire food until we were about to burst: BBQ ribs, cheese fritters, turkey legs, Gyros piled with fresh veggies, etc. And we drank enough booze to float a Spanish galleon. (This year the Faire added hard liquor to its many pubs and taverns.)

We marveled at the costumes and the weapons, (and at the bearded old man in a chainmail bikini and purple fairy wings).

All in all it was an amazing day that I highly recommend to anyone in the Midwest. With tickets costing on 17 dollars and parking a mere two bucks, it is much cheaper than a day ay an amusement park.

 From the website:

Where is the Faire?

Just west of I-94 at the Illinois/Wisconsin border, the Faire is open Saturdays and Sundays and Labor Day Monday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., rain or shine, from July 9 through September 5, 2011.

What are the dates and hours?
We are open Saturdays, Sundays, and Labor Day Monday, July 9 through September 5, 2011 from 10:00 am until 7:00 pm.

All photos by Paul P.

 

RenQuest

Posted in Dungeons and Dragons, Gaming Culture, LARP with tags , on July 28, 2011 by boccobsblog

On our trip to the Bristol Renaissance Faire my friends and I tried a role-playing event they offer called Rennquest. What is RenQuest? Well according to their website:

Be among the first to get a glimpse of the latest chapter of RenQuest™, the live action fantasy game many have credited with setting a new standard for multiplayer role-playing events everywhere. Originating at the Bristol Renaissance Faire in summer 2008, RenQuest™ draws upon the unique resources of one of the country’s top Renaissance fairs to create an interactive theatrical experience that provides gamers with an unprecedented opportunity to test both their mental and physical skills, beyond the realm of their computer screens.

After a three-summer struggle to rid the hamlet of Bristol from the threats of the barbaric Draco Disciples and the legacy of the Dragon Bloodtharken, this summer’s RenQuest™ finds new forces of evil emerging, amidst mounting chaos and a prophetic warning to all would-be protectors not to be fooled by unlikely foes.

RenQuest™’s playing field is an entire 30-acre village with 1,200 period performers, artisans and merchants, and a professional production staff, ready to engage patron-players in an evolving adventure of riddles, spells, hunts and other challenges. As players advance through the levels of the live action game, they earn individual player achievement rewards and accumulate points toward the advancement of one of two factions with which they’re aligned.  Some quests last a day; others extend over multiple weekends or the entire Faire season.

Overall the experience was enjoyable. The quest took the better part of the day (though we did stop several times for drinks). It was cool to interact with NPC’s that were in full costume (though some were more “in-character” than others).

The puzzles were challenging and the cast did a great job.

I would highly recommend RenQuest to gamers in the Midwest.

Check them out on their Facebook page, or on the Bristol site.

All photos by Paul P.

Fellowship of the Boobs

Posted in Gaming Culture, Gaming News with tags , , , , , on July 13, 2011 by boccobsblog

pic via the GTT website

Yes you read that correctly. At the Gorilla Tango Theatre in Chicago they are showing The Fellowship of the Boobs a “A nerd-themed burlesque show pays homage to “Lord of the Rings,” World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons and role playing games”.

According to their website:

In the beginning there was the Bosom, and from the Bosom sprang forth the ancestors of the Four Buxom Warriors. In this burlesque send-up of all things Fantasy, we join Bruste Oakentits (a Dwarf), Isdra Silverbosom (an Elf), Pectus Ironchest (an Amazon Warrior) and a mysterious Fourth Companion as they journey over sea, under mountain, and right out of their semi-protective armor. Will there be Epic Battles? You betcha. Wit and Wizardy? In spades. Sassy, Sexy, and Sultry Striptease? Quite possibly more than your Bag of Holding can handle. A great show for anyone who’s ever wondered what that Birch Nymph is hiding under her sexy bark, just how much mischief a Dwarf can get up to inside a Faerie Ring, or really, for anyone that’s ever seen a movie with a dragon in it and happens to like boobs.

The Gorilla Tango Theatre also hosts, A Nude Hope: a Star Wars themed burlesque, The Boobs of Khan: A Star Trek themed burlesque, and Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario themed burlesque.

I have been meaning to take in some culture…

Much thanks should be piled upon Dan R. for sending this gem our way! May his D20 roll crits for seven generations.

Gorrilla Tango Theatre
1919 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647-4320
773-598-4549
 

Wizards Transforms Indy into Neverwinter

Posted in Dungeons and Dragons, Gaming Culture, Gaming News, Gen Con 2011 with tags , , on July 8, 2011 by boccobsblog

At this year’s Gen Con Wizards of the Coast will be transporting fans to the fabled city of Neverwinter. According to Wizards.com:

This year, Wizards of the Coast is taking Dungeons & Dragons fans back to the iconic, fan-favorite city of Neverwinter with a robust offering of Neverwinter-related products and programs. Gen Con attendees will find themselves fully immersed in the city with hundreds of gaming sessions in the Sagamore Ballroom, a life-sized encounter in the Wizards booth, and the largest Dungeons and Dragons event of the year, D&D Neverwinter Game Day, taking place on Saturday. Fans will also get the chance to experience Neverwinter by participating in the first-ever “mass adventure” happening throughout the show with a chance to earn fun prizes and swag items. A full schedule of seminars and special guests is also planned, including New York Times Best-Selling author R.A. Salvatore.

I’m not sure what a “life-sized encounter” is, but I will be sure to find out and report back live from the con.

We are less than a month away from the 42nd Gen Con!

D&D Monster Mash-up Finalists

Posted in Dungeons and Dragons, Gaming Culture, Gaming News with tags , on July 6, 2011 by boccobsblog

A while back we posted a link to Wizards creature mash-up contest. The following is a list of the final contestants. We hope yours made the list.

Over the next few weeks fans can vote on Wizards.com/dnd and decide which monster wins.

Were-chimera: The result of a mad artificer who studied lycanthropes, this terrible creature morphs into any form it needs to gain advantage against its prey. In combat, it’s been known to change from a dragon (controller) to a lion (skirmisher), to a goat (charging brute), to still other creatures as necessary.

Cannibal cow: Carnivorous pack animals, typically found in lightly settled plains and scrublands. Some say a wizard crossed a bull and a lion in a fit of magical animal husbandry, some say a barbarian tribe held a yurt-raising that went too far. A mane of fur around their necks and a lion’s tail differentiate them from lesser cattle. Their teeth have adapted to ripping and tearing flesh, using their dim intelligence to bring down smaller animals and to herd larger ones. They have been known to raid farms, rustling cattle for their own herds. The wisest and cruelest of them worship the Horned King, Baphomet.

Enfield: A creature with the head of a fox, the feathered breast and foreclaws of an eagle, and the body of a wolf; the enfield possess the subtlety and cunning of the fox, the fortitude, grace and honor of the eagle, and the fierceness and loyalty of the wolf. In Celtic mythology, the enfield protected the fallen bodies of chieftains against desecration by the enemy until the tribesmen of such chiefs could give them proper funerary rites; although it appears in real-world heraldry (such as the coat of arms of the London Borough of Enfield), this hybrid has never before appeared in the game.

Platypotamus: This immense semi-aquatic animal has a beak shaped like an axe-head, a huge flat tail that it uses to propel through the water (or to swamp boats that venture too close), and venomous spurs on its hind legs.

Rust Grub: Also known as Anvilbane Worms, these species of grubs range in size from 1′ to 1″ and secrete an oxidizing enzyme that breaks down most metals into a digestible format. They travel in swarms and have been known to ruin entire mines, not to mention suits of armor.

Grivvin: This foul creature is a combination of hyena and vulture. While it has the wings, tail, and hind feet of a vulture, its head and forelegs are that of a hyena. The grivvin is a carrion eater, loathsome enough that it will even eat the undead. Its wild maniacal laugh is said to be one of the few things that unnerves undead creatures!

Displacer Cube: It’s rumored that a gelatinous cube once fed exclusively in displacer beasts, and absorbed something of their qualities. Already difficult to spot, the displacer cube’s actual location may be shifted somewhere else entirely. It attacks with gelatinous tentacles that reach out and inflict acidic damage. It’s noted that while displacer cubes are not necessarily interested in absorbing adventurers, they can nonetheless be very territorial.

Mantiplacer: The wizard Bubanta is known by many wealthy patrons who seek his services as a breeder of rare beasts for mounts and guardians. One such beast is the mantiplacer, a creature comprised of the aspects of the sadistic manticore and the predatory displacer beast. With the head of a man (albeit with catlike features), the body of the beast retains its six legs and panther form and can reach a full fifteen feet in length at adulthood. Its claws and poisonous bite are formidable weapons, but the mantiplacer also possesses two tails endowed with long spikes that can be hurled with great accuracy; furthermore, the beast can strike with its spiked tentacles or buffet foes with its bat-like wings—pushing them away to a preferable distance.

Abolithids: The foul results of a mind flayer experiment on ceremorphosis using an aboleth host. Unfortunately for the inquisitive mind flayers, the abolithids had the combined psionic power of both races as well as their pride and greed, and they quickly enslaved their creators. They largely ignore the humanoid races, as the abolithids’ size and power make eating such tiny, dull brains impractical; instead, they feast on the brains of aboleths and dragons, and let the their enslaved servants do what they want with the humanoid vermin.

Intellect Tyrant: Intellect devourers do not breed in the conventional sense. Rather, new larvae spawn from the brain tissue of creatures killed by other intellect devourers. Never does this occur with more terrifying results than when the host creature is a beholder. These hybrids appear as large intellect devourers, but with atrophied limbs and the beholder’s ability to hover; although they lack eye stalks, a visible aura of psionic tendrils surrounds them, used to cast the creature’s mind-controlling abilities. They are the ultimate puppet masters.

Ruxie: This fey creature combines the worst traits of a pixie and a rust monster. It appears as a tiny feral humanoid with a double set of gossamer wings, a malevolent glare in its eye, and an oversized mustache ending in twirling prehensile whiskers, usually a ruddy brown color. Able to fly quickly, turn invisible, and create powerful illusions, its most feared power may be that any ferrous metal touched by the whiskers is instantly reduced to a pile of rust.

Stirgethid: Seemingly a cross between a stirge and illithid, they are very similar in size and appearance to a stirge but with tentacles surrounding a lamprey-like mouth instead of a proboscis. The stirgethid attacks in a similar manner as a stirge; however its diet includes the brains of its victims—wrapping its tentacles around its victim’s head and latching on.

Elder Brain in a Jar: The great necromantic generals of the drow armies are said to have captured and enslaved an elder brain, keeping it in a state of near death in a magically animated jar of viscous fluid. The fluid preserves the brain and suppresses its will, making it subject to the control of the drow. Its psionic powers, however, are unparalleled.

The Displacer Dragon: A silent, vengeful specter, this dragon is known to stalk from the darkness, disappearing and reappearing from one shadow to the next. Midnight black, with glowing, golden eyes, the displacer dragon does not have scales but instead a velvet skin, with four large tentacles extending from its shoulders and ending in the spiked pads of displacer beasts.

Gray Matter: This odd creature—easily one of the most intelligent oozes—resembles a throbbing mass of brain matter. Seeking out the dark corners of humanoid settlements, it waits patiently for a suitable victim to take over with its psionic powers, a portion of itself entering the victim’s body and taking control; this new puppet is sent back into its community to lure more victims. After several days in a host body, the original mind is consumed. The victim will be abandoned, expelling a fully grown gray matter. In this way, an entire community might be consumed and outgrown in a matter of weeks.

The Legendary Medusa Hydra: This scaly, four-legged beast resembles a multi-headed hydra (with the hydra’s regenerative and multiplicative powers)—yet each head is that of a medusa, with a petrifying gaze.

You can read the complete article here

Put Down the Dew and Try Some Blood

Posted in Gaming Culture, Product Review with tags , , , , , on July 4, 2011 by boccobsblog

pic from examiner.com

Are you still drinking Mountain Dew as your gaming beverage of choice? Step up your game fool!

Lately we’ve talked a lot about ways to increase the immersion factor at the game table. Handouts, props, music, and even incense can all be used to deepen your gaming experience, but what about the refreshments you serve at your game table? The following is a list of interesting drinks that are sure to get a grin from your gamers.

Pirate themed game:

RootJack

The world’s only pirate energy drink. According to their website:

RootJack’s a tasty Root Beer with a hint of Orange flavor and Vanilla, Guarana to liven yer step, and a full daily dose of Vitamin C to keep scurvy in check.

I sampled this at last year’s Gen Con and it was very good.

Maybe you’re running gothic horror:

Tru Blood

Inspired by the hit HBO series, True Blood, this drink is a “uniquely carbonated, slightly tart, lightly sweet blood orange drink” (Trubeverage.com).

Blood Energy Potion

I saw this drink hanging in the cooler at my local game store and I knew I had to work it into a post. They are packaged to look like an IV bag and according to their website:

Blood Energy Potion has the same colour, consistency, and texture as real blood, but tastes like fruit punch. It also contains the same nutrients as real blood, including iron, protein, and electrolytes.

They also have a

Zombie Blood Energy Drink

Zombie Blood Caffeinated Energy Potion is loaded with iron, protein, electrolytes, and other fancy things to have the same nutrients and consistency of real blood. Throw in some lime flavoring and greenness, and you have the recipe for realistic Zombie Blood! Of course, we did make sure this blood is filtered so you won’t be getting any mutagens or viruses or anything else that might turn you into the walking dead. All you’ll get is energy, great taste, and stares from passers by.

Classic. I love how the website makes sure to note that their product is, “Not an actual biohazard”.

This company also makes energy drink shots shaped like health potions, and mana potions (blue), but as they are shots and not drinks, I didn’t list them.

Limited Edition Dungeons & Dragons Spellcasting Soda

Jones Soda made a run of soda with iconic D&D monsters and races on them. You can serve your players Illithid Brain Juice, Sneak Attack, Potion of Healing, Dwarven Drought, Eldritch Blast, or my favorite, Bigby’s Crushing Thirst Destroyer.

Maybe you want something stronger?

Wychwood Brewery

The people at Wychwood make several beers with a fantastical theme like, Hobogolin, Goblin King, Wychcraft, and Scarecrow. I am not a big beer drinker, but I have had the Hobogoblin and it was amazing. Even if you don’t drink, be sure to click the link and check out their website; it is by far the most creative website I’ve ever seen for a product.

Why I Love DDO

Posted in D&D 3.5, D&D 3.5 e Content, Dungeons and Dragons, Gaming Culture, Product Review, Video Games with tags , on June 27, 2011 by boccobsblog

 The Dungeon Master. The narration helps me immerse myself in the game world. (This may seem like a small detail, but it adds a lot to my enjoyment of the game).

Repeatable Quests. I can replay any quest as many times as I like and still get XP and loot.

Variable Difficulty. Quests have five levels of difficulty to choose from: casual, normal, hard, elite, and epic. (Note you have to unlock the last three. If you beat hard, you unlock elite, etc.) This makes leveling easy and adds new life to old quests.

Hirelings. Are you a caster without a tank? No healer in the party? You can just spend a few coins and get a hireling of nearly any class/race combo.The hireling stays with you for the entire dungeon. (I pay one fifteen gold and hire a cleric and the two of us can easily complete dungeons on the hard setting)

Puzzles. For those that tire of hack and slash, DDO includes many challenging puzzles into some quests. (I tried some out this weekend and was greatly impressed)

It’s D20 system. DDO uses 3.5 mechanics (modified slightly for video game use of course). I like the familiarity and ease this brings. It also makes character creation a snap.

It’s Free. DDO is completely free to download and play. Granted there are options not available to the free account players (namely the Favored Soul class, and some races: drow, half orcs, and warforged). Also, free accounts can only have two characters. Wizards makes their money through the DDO Store, in which you can spend money to get points which can be used to buy several things (items, classes, races rare adventures, hirelings, etc).

DDO is certainly worth a try. I am enjoying it greatly.

Try DDO for free

DDO concept art from Wizards.com