Friday, April 10, 2009


I finally have the opportunity to do something I've always wanted to: play Dungeons and Dragons. My friends and I have been playing somewhat complicated board games (Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Battlestar Galactica) for much of our college careers and I've brought up the possibility of playing Dungeons and Dragons a number of times, to somewhat favorable responses. Last week I finally decided to pull the trigger and buy the books for DnD 4th edition.

I decided that it would be best for me to be the Dungeon Master (DM) for our first adventure/campaign, since I have a decent grasp on the rules already. If you don't know, the DM is the person who sets up the dungeons and adventure for the players to face and also controls all the enemies and NPCs they will encounter. Essentially, the DM is the author of the story that the players are participating in.

It's also going to be my responsibility to teach everyone how to play, as no one (as far as I know) has played DnD before and almost no one has played a tabletop RPG before. I'm somewhat struggling with how to simultaneously teach seven people the game at once. My current plan is to pregenerate a character in each of the 8 classes and then allow my friends to pick them how they see fit. I'll then run them through a quick dungeon that should serve to introduce them to the way the game works. After that initial session I'll have them create characters for them to use for the rest of the campaign. They should be far more informed about the decisions they are making if they've seen how the game works.

The first adventure I'm running is a module from Wizards of the Coast called Keep on the Shadowfell. I think a pregenerated module will be better for us all, how to play and how to DM. Hopefully we can get through that, because I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to create my own adventures for my friends to play through.

The freedom and ease of creating an adventure in DnD makes my imagination the only limit on what I can make. I've always dabbled in making levels for games, but I've never had the time (or talent) to learn map editing programs and make anything better than a couple square rooms. In DnD the only things I need are some pencils, graph paper, and a few rule books. It's no trouble to create a lava filled cavern or a magical floating city.

Some of the things I look forward to incorporating in future campaigns:

-Vertical dungeons involving lots of climbing
-A city-wide siege
-A dungeon with rooms only connected by teleportation spells
-Adventures to other planes

I already (without even reading the rule books yet) have an idea of how all of these things can be accomplished. I'm excited.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Well I was totally going to hold off on buying anymore games until school started. But noooooo, Braid just had to come out and turn into a critical darling. How could I resist a game that effectively sounds like this year's Portal? I'm only human.

But after this I'm totally done until Rock Band 2. Except for Bionic Commando: Rearmed next week... and a few more Rock Band songs. I have a problem.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Soul Calibur IV

So yeah. I was originally going to wait until I got back to school to buy SCIV. A night of boredom made me cave in this conviction. I've really been enjoying it and I just hope that people at school will still be willing to play me in it despite my extra month of practice.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

2 Months Later

Well it's been an eventful summer. I went to Italy for a month, that was fun. But that's not what I'm here to write about. Here come some random musings of the last month or so.
I've been playing a hell of a lot Rock Band, or more specifically, the Best of The Who pack for Rock because it is totally amazing. Baba O'reilly is my favorite track in a music game ever. I've yet to find an instrument part in a song that was not fun to play. And the drums are incredible and ridiculous because they are all (with the exception of one song) Keith Moon drum parts. That man was crazy.
Thinking about drums reminds me of the second best news that came out of the fairly disappointing E3 2008. (And no, this isn't about Wii Music's ridiculous drum thing.) Rock Band's drums are totally going to work in Guitar Hero: World Tour. This single announcement pretty flipped me from not intending to buy GH at all to now somewhat anticipating it. This was such a shocking announcement from Activision considering some of their actions regarding guitar compatibility between GH3 and Rock Band. At one point, Activision actually blocked Harmonix from releasing a patch that would let the PS3 version of Rock Band use the Guitar Hero 3 guitar. God forbid something they sell become more useful. But all that has changed in this shiny new era of everyone's instruments and games being friendly to each other. Yay.
Now I said that was the second best news. The best thing was the only truly surprising thing announced at E3, Final Fantasy XIII coming to 360. This announcement has removed any need for me to buy a Playstation 3 anytime. FFXIII and MGS4 were really the only games I felt I had to play that were exclusive to PS3 and thankfully I got to play MGS4 anyway when I borrowed my brother's PS3 for the weekend. So yeah, that saves me $400.
And to wrap up, Geometry Wars 2 just came out today. And it's really really fun even though I totally suck at it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

World Bore

So this is the first video of Guitar Hero: World Tour in action that I've seen. If you don't know, World Tour is Guitar Hero's blatant ripoff of Rock Band. But now the drums have five pads! Great, now I'll need a second set of plastic drums taking up space.

Besides all that, the worst damn part of this video is the fact that they show the game screen for all of 30 seconds through two songs. After that we get 5 minutes of the players looking incredibly unengaged. Tony Hawk looks especially bored. Show us the game screen! We know what it looks like when people play Guitar Hero.

Thursday, May 22, 2008



So I finally picked up the second and third games in the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series. This was mainly caused by my need to have some new game to play with my DS when I go to Italy at the end of the month. I finished the first one at some point last year and I've always meant to continue with the series, because it really is quite enjoyable. I started Justice For All yesterday and got through the quick introduction case pretty easily. The Phoenix Wright games are, at their heart, a member of a genre you don't see much of these days. They are essentially a series of old school point and click adventure games. The "puzzles" come into play during the trial when you need to figure out the contradictions in a witnesses' testimony and then figure out just what piece of evidence exposes their lie. It's actually quite satisfying, especially once the game stops holding your hand. For some reason, I really enjoyed figuring out that there's no way the victim could've written the murderer's name on the ground with his right hand when he had just been bought a left handed baseball glove. Clearly there was foul play afoot.

I also really enjoy the pure insanity of the legal system in the game. Lawyer's shout at each other, the judge is generally clueless, and witnesses lie constantly with little to no repercussions. I wish real courtrooms were like this. I don't even mind that all the cases essentially follow the same pattern: someone gets murdered, and someone is falsely accused. You, as the defense attorney, will not only prove your client innocent but also figure out who the real murderer is because they just happened to be one of the witnesses that eventually will get called in the trial. Even though the cases grow in complexity this is what is eventually going to happen. If they ever deviate from this formula in some case or other I'll be greatly surprised and delighted.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Worth it?

So one of the new Rock Band tracks this week is Hier Kommt Alex by Die Toten Hosen. Some astute Guitar Hero fans will recognize this as one of the bonus songs available in Guitar Hero 3 and pretty much anyone will be able to tell from the title that this isn't a song that originated in an english speaking area. All the lyrics in this song are in German, and I honestly need to consider whether it is worth two dollars just to enjoy myself and others totally failing at singing a song in german.

This YouTube clip shows just how difficult it could be.