Archive for Gaming

Penny Arcade and D&D

Posted in D&D 4e Content, Gaming News with tags , , , , , , , on August 20, 2010 by boccobsblog

I have been a fan of Penny Arcade for many years now, but in the last year or so since Gabe started playing D&D, the site has gotten even better. It all started when Wizards of the Coast asked the creators of Penny Arcade to play-test fourth edition and record the session for a podcast that would be released via the D&D website and available from Itunes.

The podcast was a huge success and the guys have since done two additional “seasons”. The second series of podcasts added Wil Wheaton to the cast (whose character gets killed live on the air), and the third is set in Athas as the guys test Darksun with Tycho as the DM.

I find it so unbelievable that Gabe has never played D&D before, he has posted some of his quests on the site and they are nothing short of amazing.

If you like Penny Arcade, then you will greatly enjoy listening to the podcasts, and even if you don’t know what PA is, you’ll enjoy listening to some very funny guys play D&D and crack jokes as they go.

-Andy

The Podcasts

Penny Arcade’s site

Gabe’s D&D Page

Gabe’s D&D Twitter

The Grand Masquerade

Posted in Gaming News with tags , , , , on August 18, 2010 by boccobsblog

After 19 years of making some of the most impressive horror genre role-playing games on the market, White Wolf is throwing a massive convention in New Orleans at the Roosevelt Hotel. The con will showcase all of the World of Darkness games, as well as WW card games. There will be offsite parties at The Succubus Club as well as a ball at the Blue Room. For more information, visit the the convention’s main page: here.

-Andy

Are you being cheated out of your critical hits?

Posted in D&D 3.5 e Content, D&D 4e Content, Gaming News, Product Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2010 by boccobsblog

That’s what the people at Game Science claim. Their founder, Louis Zocchi, says that because modern dice companies roll their dice in rock tumblers and use sub-standard plastics to make their dice, that they are not as statistically accurate as his dice are.

I tested several of the dice I purchased this year at Gen Con and I have to admit, Zocchi’s claims appear to be true (as “proved” by my very non-scientific test). I tested dice in groups of three to reduce the amount of time I spent rolling dice.

Results: Out of 150 rolls (tested 3 times), the Game Science dice rolled 15 20’s, while his competitors (three other large dice companies) only yielded 8 20’s.

I have conducted other similar tests for the unbelieving  gamers in my groups and come up with similar results.  Granted that a much larger data set would be needed to come to any firm decision, but the dice seem to yield more 20’s.

Has anyone else out there done any testing of their own? If so tell us about it.

-Andy

Letters from Whitechapel

Posted in board game, Product Review with tags , , , , , , , on August 13, 2010 by boccobsblog

At Gen Con, we got a chance to demo several new and exciting games. One of them was a thrilling detective game, Letters from Whitechapel. The game is set in London in 1888 during the killing spree of Jack the Ripper. One character controls Jack while the others play constables trying to arrest him.

How does it work? The game board (a period map of Whitechapel) is covered in more than one hundred numbered circles, and each of these circles is a possible hiding place for Jack. The players go in turn moving about the board investigating the numbered scenes, while Jack moves about the board unseen (the players have visible game pieces, but Jack denotes his movements on a notepad and has no game piece).  The detectives must use strategy and a fair bit of luck as they work together to catch Jack before the fifteenth night, after which he escapes and wins the game.

What I really liked about the game is the amount of detail the designer put into it. The game board looks like an actual period map, and the five murders happen at the historically accurate place on the map. Each of the detective cards (used to determine who leads the investigation each turn) denotes an actual picture of a Scotland Yard detective that worked the case.

The detail that truly impressed me was that on the third “night” of the game, Jack kills two of his five victims. This detail closely follows the actual events of September 30, 1888, when The Ripper killed Liz Stride (but was interrupted), and then killed Catherine Eddowes in the same night. When I saw that detail, it was clear to me that the designers had done their homework on the Ripper murders.

My only complaint, and it is a small one, was that the game pieces that represent the detectives were a bit lame. I would give the game a four out of five.

The game requires 2-6 players, and takes about 90 minutes to complete. It is available from the Nexus Games website.

-Andy

Highlights of Gen Con Indy 2010

Posted in D&D 3.5 e Content, D&D 4e Content, Gaming News, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2010 by boccobsblog

Well, Gen Con Indy is over. As always, it was an amazing experience. Where else in the world can you see 28,000 gamers in one place? Where else can you have a deep conversation about kobold battle tactics with a 45-year-old man in a homemade Pikachu costume and have no one judge you? The rest of the world could learn a lot about diversity and tolerance at Gen Con.

Here are some of the highlights:

 

 

Costumes 

The attendants of this year’s Gen Con did not disappoint. There were some amazing costumes and everyone I saw was very patient, allowing themselves to be photographed again and again.

Free Demos 

There were more games at GC than you could ever hope to try in four days. We tried some great new games and we will be sure to give each of them a full review in the weeks to come.

The Vendors 

You have to admire people who are willing to spend four days dressed as a luchador, or a pirate, or wear a chicken on their head in hopes of moving their product.

Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton

This was the only part of the con that was a bit sour for me. I had hoped to meet the cast of The Guild, but the line was very long, so I walked up to the rope and took a few pictures. Shortly after I started snapping shots, security approached me and asked that I, “please put my pants back on and step away from the crew”. Well as you can imagine I was outraged, so I pulled my boffer sword and started to kick ass all the while screaming that Wil Wheaton had stolen my prized Degu. Any who…things got a bit intense and I was tazed several times and asked to leave. I didn’t let it ruin my day.

 Wizards of the Coast Displays

WotC had some amazing displays outside the Sagamon Ballroom, where they unveiled both the 4th edition incarnation of Darksun and the Castle Ravenloft Board game. There was a huge 3D red dragon representation of the Essential D&D Starter set that drop on September 7th. Also, there was a life-sized (can there be a life-sized version of a make-believe creature?) Beholder. It stood well over 12 feet tall. It was awesome.

 The World of Darkness Lounge 

White Wolf had an excellent longue set up in the center of the con. The lounge, fully staffed by vampires, offered a bar, live music and an opulent seating area decorated with gothic-style furniture.

All in all it was a great con. There is much more to say and I could go on forever posting pictures, but then I’d wouldn’t get any gaming done. If you attended the con I hope you had as good a time as I did, and if you didn’t get a chance to go, I hope to see you there next year. Enjoy these pictures.

-Andy 

 

 

 

 

 

Felicia Day.

Buy my game or I’ll body slam you!

20 free 3.5e monsters

Posted in D&D 3.5e DM Content with tags , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2010 by boccobsblog

Do you want some new monsters but don’t want to pay for additional monster manuals? Well the following are monsters from the D&D 3.5 archive and posted here for use in your game.

Alkilith (Tanar’ri), Myrmyxicus (Tanar’ri),Fey Touched Template  (Fiend Folio)

Effigy, Gravorg, Mountain Giant (MM II)

Ambush Drake, Boneclaw, Dracotaur, Grisgol, Summoning Ooze, Wood Woad  (MM III)

Black Rock Triskelion, Defacer, Dwarf Ancestor, Bluespawn Godslayer (MM IV)

Arcadian Avenger, Dragons of the Great Game, Verdant Reaver  (MM V)

Shunned (Drow of the Underdark)

The 3.5 archives are full of valuable information and though it is more difficult to find since 4th edition, it is still there if you’re willing to hunt around for it.

-Andy

Tired of the base classes? Here’s 34 other options

Posted in D&D 3.5 e Content, D&D 3.5e DM Content with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2010 by boccobsblog

Are you ready for a new challenge? Are you ready to step away from the base classes in the Player’s Handbook? Well many gamers don’t realize that there are several 20-level classes available to 3.5 players. The following is a list of 34, 20-level classes from the D&D 3.5 canon listed by the book they are found in.

Complete Adventurer

Ninja- stealthy assassin with ki powers

Scout- focuses on stealth and movement

Spellthief- a mage/thief that steals spells from other casters

Complete Arcane

Warlock- dark caster with unlimited eldritch blasts

Warmage- armored spellcaster

Wu Jen- elemental caster with unique spells

Complete Divine

Favored Soul- spontaneous divine caster (think divine sorcerer)

Shugenja- elemental divine caster

Spirit Shaman- spiritual nature healer

Complete Psionic

Ardent- versatile manifester

Divine Mind- divine manifester

Lurk- psionic assassin

Complete Warrior

Hexblade- blends curses and swordplay

Samurai- honor bound warrior

Swashbuckler- fighter that focuses on speed and skill

Dragon Magic

Dragonfire Adept- Draconic caster with breath weapon, similar to Dragon Shaman

Dungeonscape

Factoum- a true jack of all trades

Heroes of Horror

Archivist-erudite divine caster that exploits monsters through knowledge

Dread Necromancer-master of undeath on the road to lichdom

Magic of Incarnum

Incarnate- caster that embodies his alignment

Soulborn- blends incarnum and martial combat

Totemist- calls on the souls of nature

Miniatures Handbook

Healer- a specialist in curative magic

Marshal- a born leader and commander

Player’s Handbook II

Beguiler-master of lies and deception

Duskblade-fighter mage class without multiclassing

Dragon Shaman-dragon worshiper with a breath weapon

Knight- mounted warrior

Tome of Battle- The Book of Nine Swords

Crusader- holy warriors

Swordsage-blade wizards

Warblade-master of martial combat

Tome of Magic

Binder- summons powerful beings and bargains with them for power

Shadowcaster-masters of the power of darkness

Truenamer- uses the power of Truespeak

While Wizard’s may no longer be publishing books for the 3.5 edition, there is enough existing content out there to keep us gaming for several hundred lifetimes. (Classes from the Player’s Handbook and Expanded Psionics Handbook were not listed.)

Did I forgot any canonical 20-level classes? If so, post them in the comments section.

Amazing resource for Call of Cthulhu players

Posted in The Crafty DM with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2010 by boccobsblog

Propnomicon is an amazing resource for Call of Cthulhu players, and any gamer that likes to use props in their game. Along with several articles related to CoC gaming, Propnomicon has an impressive list of Mythos-related websites displayed on its main page. CoC gamers, LARPers, or any gamers that use props to enhance their role-playing experience will find something useful on this site.

Two web shows every gamer should watch

Posted in D&D 3.5 e Content, D&D 4e Content, Gaming News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2010 by boccobsblog

The Guild

The Guild, follows the exploits of a group of online gamers deeply entrenched in WoW-parody MMO. The show’s spot-on depictions of online gamers and hilarious scripts have made the Knights of Good an overnight web sensation. Fans of Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, will recognize the show’s star and head writer, Felicia Day, along with Effinfunny.com creator, Sandeep Parikh. The Guild has just started its fourth season (and can be seen here).

The Knights of Good

Legends of Neil

If you’re like me, then you have often wondered what would happen if you got drunk, and auto-erotically asphyxiated yourself with a Nintendo controller all while playing the original Legend of Zelda. Well, my hung over, sticky palmed friends wait no more, because Legends of Neil takes on such deep philosophical issues in the funniest, adult-themed Zelda parody show about an alcoholic gas station attendant on the web. The Legends of Neil can be found (for free) in its entirety on Effinfunny.com, or by pressing this link.

Both The Guild, and Legends of Neil are completely hilarious, completely free and a great way to spend an hour of your boring workday.

Two handouts that should make your life easier

Posted in D&D 3.5 e Content, D&D 3.5e DM Content, D&D 4e Content, The Crafty DM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2010 by boccobsblog

GM screens can be useful tools. They are covered in somewhat useful information, and you can use them to shield your rolls and your miniatures. That said, there are some things that a GM’s screen doesn’t cover. Have you ever been in a game where this happens? :

DM: The blacksmith, a grimy dwarf with a long scar on his face, smiles as he hands you the newly forged sword.

Player: Cool, what’s his name?

DM: Um… (looking around the room), Table…Tablemen…yeah…his name is Tablemen.

Player: Did you just look at the table and name him Tablemen?

DM: Um…roll initiative.

Sound familiar? How about this one?

DM: With a flourish of your sword, you slay the last orc in chamber. What would you like to do?

Player: We search the orcs and the chamber for treasure.

DM: Um… (scrambles for a DMG)…you find something, I’ll roll it later.

Player: But, we could find something that would be useful in the rest of the dungeon.

DM: Fine. (Game comes to a halt for the next ten minutes and any momentum is lost)

These are scenarios that I have encountered multiple times, both as a player and as a GM. In an attempt to prevent scenes like these from happening in the future I have created two handouts that should help. The first is a sheet of names for each of the standard fantasy races(26 names per gender, per race). The second is a list of treasure in order of challenge rating (three entries per CR, 1st-20th).

These handouts aren’t meant to be used during the planning phase of your adventure (you would go through the treasure and names quickly), instead reserve them for those instances when your players ask you the name of an NPC you didn’t deem important enough to warrant a name, and for those time when your players wander into an encounter you didn’t expect (and therefore didn’t roll treasure for).

I hope you find them useful. Print them out, paper clip them inside your GM screen, and never be caught off guard again.

Names

Treasure

-Andy