Sunday, July 31, 2011

"Eat Chocolate! Level up!"

I played Old School Hack last night, with Risus Monkey, a few of his regular players, and Gaptooth, and it was pretty great. I have a good idea I'm going to use this one myself sometime: the awesome point system gives me pretty much exactly what I want out of a one-shot, and the character creation system... oh, man, the character creation system. Only one character in the party can be of any class at a time, and all the information for a class can be contained on a single page, so class selection is literally a matter of just throwing down all the class options the GM wants to make available down on the table and letting the players go through them and take them as they call dibs. I decided to play a Swashbuckler, and my goal was to rescue a princess -- any princess, I didn't really care who.

Risus Monkey is a great DM, his player's are extremely entertaining, and Gaptooth, in addition to running the most memorable goblin PC I've ever seen (he was convinced he was Link, and ended up on a leash for most of the evening), is an excellent artist. If he doesn't upload the picture(s) he drew of his character soon, go whack him until he does. The whole thing was pretty much perfectly in line with what I want out of a one-shot. Fast, goofy, fun.

More importantly, it was one of the few times I've had the opportunity to play with a DM who really knew his stuff. The vast majority of the DMs I've played with have been very new, and very young -- often people I'd gotten into the game myself. The handful of times I've played with who had played for a few years before I met them (in real life) it's been similarly disappointing -- either their play style clashed dramatically with mine, or they just weren't very good. RPG blogging has, in fact, been my only reliable system for finding good DMs: DMs who are as serious about the game as I am, and at it long enough to get good.

I'm not exaggerating (much) when I say that this was the most fun I've had in a single night of gaming in the last couple of years. The game I played at GenCon with Roger the GS of Roles, Rules, and Rolls was great, and I ran a few decent one-shots during college, but it's been a while since I did a one-shot that was kind of a party at the same time and where everyone was pretty much on the same page, game-wise. Been a player in that kind of a one-shot, never.

It's really reminded me that I need to play these dang things more -- in person, with live people who know what they're doing. Some other members of my high school group who have moved back to the area have been talking about running "something," but I'm really not convinced at this point that anything's going to happen -- it's one of those everyone-says-"we should run a game"-but-no-one-makes-it-happen things. Hopefully I'll be able to meet up with this new crew on a regular-ish basis, but otherwise I may need to start trolling the local game stores (Or maybe Google Plus? That's how I got this invite in the first place.) for games to join.

And now, quotes:

"Let's see if he can beat the whore's indifference."

"Hair creme probably looks like a healing potion to him."

"Red thing that appears to be Swiss! You said you would come with us?"

"Hey! Where's my rope?"
"Hey! Where's my lamp?"
"Hey! Where's my hair creme?"

"Every two weeks I am dipped in caramel, and then it's ripped off!"

"Gaptooth, the ogre proctologist."
"The only ogre proctologist."

"I'm invisible to horses!"

"This is how we roll."
"Poorly. Haltingly. And with a lot of innuendo."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I make no statements as to their appropriateness re: The Hobbit film adaptation. I don't really care. But if I were to run a "standard fantasy"-type campaign right now dwarves would absolutely look like this:

And this:

No one can stop me.

Monday, July 11, 2011

FNM & Gamestore Review

As part of my post-college real world social networking initiative, I dropped by my FLGS on Friday. (Game Parlor in Chantilly, if you're close enough to care.) They were playing Friday Night Magic, (their website lies) although apparently they don't always, and I picked up a foil Jace's Ingenuity by coming in 4th in a big messy EDH game -- played with a borrowed deck, since Game Parlor can't manage to keep the new Commander decks in stock, and I haven't had the time, inclination, or cards to put together one of my own. (Even if I do a home brew, I'll likely want one of the new decks for utility cards like Sol Ring, and just at the moment all my legendary critters are single color, which is okay but not optimal given the otherwise limited size of my card pool.)

I'm not entirely sure I'll be back. At least for a while. The staff was great -- friendly, helpful, enthusiastic even about games they didn't play themselves. The other players... well. They weren't bad guys. They weren't particularly unfriendly. But they were all guys, and I've played long enough in groups that had at the very least a significant minority of women that I'm not used to or particularly interested in being "the only girl at the table." I'm not quite good enough yet at Magic to deal with the problem through overwhelming mastery of the game at hand, which is my usual strategy, although I was several times able to take advantage of the not-nearly-enough-attention the rest of the group was paying me. ("Man, this deck usually runs way more cards than this." "Yeah, mine too." ::quietly sits at the end of the table with 8 cards in hand and a ton of discard effects in my graveyard::)

More importantly, they're not really on the same wavelength with me Magic-wise. Any group that plays big free-for-all games with Urza's Saga rares and seriously suggests signing up for a Worldwake draft and dropping out just to get the cards instead of, y'know, playing draft just isn't going to hold my attention for long. Bird Stomp is currently tuned for two-player Standard, and while getting to run it in said big free-for-all game before the actual "tournament" started was enlightening in the sense that it reminded me I desperately need to bring a set of d6s when I'm running something that has that many fiddly little bonuses, but the complexity of the social and play dynamics made it impossible for me to separate out play style and skill from the overall performance of the deck itself.

On the other hand, Elder Dragon Highlander, otherwise known as Commander, is damn fun. I think I'm going to push my playgroup (Dangerfox and my little brother at the moment, though I'm hopeful of adding a few more to the crew presently.) to adopt it, since I suspect the friends of mine who lack an interest in even low-level tournament-style play will have a lot more fun with its big creatures and big effects, and I've heard tell that once you have the basic shell of an EDH deck together, there's a lot less upkeep involved in keeping it "competitive," which would be a plus.

Still, I can play EDH on my own. That's not much of an argument in favor of the Game Parlor as my away-from-the-kitchen-table Magic destination. The place I went out to in May has a group that's somewhat more serious without being overbearing about it, and the store itself has a better selection of product to boot. They run Standard tournaments and my favorite format, and they've got a lot more players, which means more women. It's significantly further away, but I'm perfectly happy to drive the extra fifteen minutes once or twice a month if it means that I leave the store actually excited about Magic, instead of thinking, "Yeah, I guess that was fun?"