(here are a few of my favorites – full sets over here)

Important thing to note in that last pic is that the bald dude in the red cloak was actually the main bad dude whose plans to steal the crown after the king’s death we first thwarted over a year ago, which led to a whirlwind of retaliation, a civil war, the entire party’s death by having a mountain dropped on us, the thankful intervention of a god in our own favor, and I’m sure many other notably events up until this last image where we faced and defeated him before he was able to summon his own dark master into our world.

What’s curious to me, though, is what we have to expect out of our next couple of games, mainly because I don’t really know what my own character wants to do next. It’s kind of that classic paradox of what do the heroes do once they’ve saved the world, and there’s not an immediate danger for us to rush off to face, so what does my brave Adran Ealoeth do with all of his free time??? It’s something that I guess I haven’t really put a whole lot of thought into because we’ve been traveling in a single direction for so long – his own needs have really been secondary to the task at hand … others have talked of buying a tavern and even lording over a new parcel of land gifted by the throne we were defending, so I guess I need to put my head down again and really start to think about what’s important – other than saving the world and all – to my own character…

new D&D photos!

July 8, 2012 11:50pm
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Playing catch-up yet again – full galleries and session summaries and all of that good stuff on the campaign wiki, and some of my favorite photos that I just finished uploading from these last four sessions below…

D&D Photo Catch-Up

April 18, 2012 11:08pm
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Apparently it’s been a long time since I’ve posted photos from my Friday night D&D campaign.

Trying to get caught up now – here are a few of my favorites below, with the full sets available on our wiki…

Weekend Fun in Pictures

March 18, 2012 10:02pm
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D&D Adventuring Fun! – Despite being a man down, we still managed to get ourselves into a world of trouble wandering around the Shadowfell, but hey, any session that ends with the party still being alive on that plane is actually a pretty good one, am I right?!

Saturday Studios Fun! – Spent the day bumming around Disney with Sara as planned – hit a lot of old favorites, not to mention got two passes at Toy Story Mania, plus we watched Fantasmic, where I apparently got some pretty sweet looking photos of the finale! Looking forward to posting those shortly over on that Disney site of mine…

Puppy Pool Party Fun! – Cleo had one of her brothers over to celebrate their birthday, as you can see quite evidently below with their joyful romps in Cleo’s new pool! And people say that we spoil our puppy…  8)

Good times, good times…

Something I kind of hinted at in a post earlier this week – I’m actually taking a break this weekend!!!  :mrgreen:

It was actually supposed to be a well-deserved break for finishing a project that I abruptly started mid-February, but it’s actually taking a little longer than I had anticipated, as just about everything that I’ve ever done seems to end up doing. Nonetheless, Sara and I have both really been yearning to go over to Disney and we’ve missed out on a couple of other opportunities for financial reasons, so it was time to just bite the bullet and put the work on hold for a weekend.

On top of that, Sunday is actually our puppy’s first birthday, so we’re having some of her doggie friends over for her to play with and it’ll end up being a relaxing day to get other stuff done around the house to boot…

Friday Night – D&D
The continuing adventures of the bi-weekly campaign that I’ve been playing in for the last 8 months now – the anticipation is actually kind of high right now because we just recently had a pretty major turning point in that mysteriously as of our last session we found ourselves on another plane, so tonight’s game should be especially interesting as we try to figure out where in the heck we actually are and even more importantly, how in the world we’re supposed to actually get back home again!

Saturday – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
I honestly can’t even remember the last time we’ve been to this park, which is kind of sad! I know we didn’t end up making it over for the Osborne Lights last year, and it seems like some of the best rides were down when we came before that, so I’m kinda just looking forward to doing everything in the 8 or 9 hours that we’ll be over there tomorrow. The park is open until 10pm with two showings of Fantasmic, so hopefully we won’t have any problems hitting everything in addition to seeing fireworks at the end of the day, too. Should be lots to do – Toy Story Mania (obviously), the new Star Tours, Coaster and Tower, I’d even like to sit down for Indiana Jones … looking forward to a fun day!

Sunday – Cleo’s 1st Birthday Party
I can’t believe that we’ve had this puppy for almost a year already! I say almost because I guess technically we didn’t really get her until  6 or 8 weeks or something, but it’s still crazy to think that there was a time before that when she wasn’t a part of our family because she’s very much loved and feels right at home with us. For me, it’s especially neat to see the personality that she’s developed over the last 12 months … granted, sometimes a bit obnoxious (but who isn’t?!), but also very eager and curious, protective and sometimes sensitive, and generally at least what I’d like to consider overall pretty happy, too. Plus, for the most part she’s completely stopped peeing and pooping in the house, so if that’s not cause for a celebration, then I don’t know what is…  😀

Order of the $1.25 MILLION Stick

February 21, 2012 6:40pm
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Amazed.

Envious.

Astonished.

I could go on, but you’re smart people so I think you probably get the point. The huge Order of the Stick Reprint Drive ended earlier today and it looks like Rich Burlew should have no problems whatsoever getting every last one of his out of print books back on shelves again, not to mention all sorts of other goodies that clearly he was just pulling out of his ass every time he heard that everyone had blown yet another one of his goals justly out of the water!

$1,254,120 from a total of 14,952 backers in 30 days.

An average of about $84/backer, $1,742/hour.

To have that kind of a dedicated readership would be, well, see previously mentioned words above. It was almost amusement in itself to watch the “community discussions” that took place in the comments sections on Kickstarter because these weren’t just people offering up a singular donation for a set prize. There was bartering for reward levels and one-upping each other and bets on how long it would take to crack $X, almost like an RPG being played out by the masses to collectively score Rich as many points as possible! At every turn when I would check, my internal dialogue would be, “Well, they’ll get to $X, but it’ll probably taper off soon and $Y is just way too much money…” and then the next day, $Y was in the rear view mirror and they were bearing down on $Z off on the horizon…

Good god, that’s A LOT of money!

Of course, as Dave Kellett pointed out interestingly enough on Twitter, we mustn’t forget that the entire $1.25 million is all taxable income, so Rich can probably plan on giving a healthy $400,000 at least back to the government in taxes. But still, talk about a problem to have! Hopefully he thought about that long before he started the actual drive, though, and took his full shipping and taxes and etc… into account to ensure that he can still make a profit. I’m sure that he would’ve had to, to be honest with you – how else could anyone even realistically do business without knowing what their true profit margins at the end of the day actually look like?

More so, though, I sincerely hope that he has a good handle on exactly how he’s going to fulfill almost 15,000 rewards because I can speak from experience that the quickest way to sour someone’s opinion is to take their money and then subsequently take forever to actually give you the thing that they promised you for your donation. I had it happen to me with another webcomic artist on Kickstarter a year or two ago – I helped to pre-pay his next book printing and then the guy took an entire year to actually ship my copy out, all the while he was selling other copies in his store and heavily promoting them on Facebook. It rubbed me the wrong way so bad that when it finally came I didn’t even care to look in it and I almost never read the strip online anymore because my mind goes back to how I wanted to help support the guy and he took advantage.

But hopefully that won’t happen with this one, though!

I have done other Kickstarter drives since and all of the rest have been exactly as promised, so I can wish Rich nothing but the best as he now attempts to tackle the undoubtedly overwhelming task of actually living up to being able to raise over a million dollars for his creative works! At a glance, the guy’s got something like 25,000 books to ship out, 9 new stories to write including 3 custom ones based on reader requests, just scads of other swag to send out as well, not to mention having grabbed the title of most successful creative Kickstarter of all-time, I’m sure a few people will want to interview him, too!

Again, though, what an awesome problem to have…  :mrgreen:

A Foreign Perspective on a Civil War…

February 10, 2012 5:48pm
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(note: this post is kind of a continuation of some rambling that I did a few days ago about internal conflicts that I’m currently working through with my D&D character…)

Sometimes I wonder exactly what perspective my character would have in looking in on another people’s civil war.

The thing is, I’m not sure if maybe I’m putting more insight into it than my character might be wont to, but I guess I’ve tried to err on the side of caution with the interpretation that just because a particular village happens to be in lands controlled by The Duke Who Went Crazy doesn’t necessarily mean that all of its villagers buy-in to that side of the war, and that ultimately they still owe their allegiance to the rightful king of the land.

It gets even another step more complicated when I add that although my instinctual rule of thumb would be that anyone in uniform who has taken up arms can safely be considered an enemy combatant, in that last post I gave a prime example of conflict in looking at the grumbling guards because maybe they just didn’t like guarding a seemingly empty keep, or maybe they were having conflictions themselves over which side they actually wanted to be on.

Now try to look at this from the perspective of a character who’s not really used to being around people’s who have anywhere near this range of political depth. If someone attacks you or tries to harm your land, they’re your enemy and you have every justification to retaliate with any force necessary. He’s just not from a world where people plot against each other like this and some may find themselves casualties of war both directly and indirectly without ever even choosing a side. For Adran, he wants to give people the benefit of the doubt right up until they wave a sword menacingly in his face, even if that delay may have cost him a strategic advantage in missing the first strike.

I don’t know – maybe it’s ok that he has that reservation when faced with something foreign because in a way I sort of think it speaks something about his character. Sure, it means that there’s a little added liability due to this personality nuance and it doesn’t really make him the most ideal soldier, but at the same time, nobody’s perfect and part of the fun of playing a long-term campaign is being able to play characters that have a little more depth to them and explore these kinds of backgrounds that make a PC who he is from session to session. Besides, I didn’t really create him with the intent of him being a militia-type soldier anyways, and it’s not like he doesn’t also have strengths that someone of an army nature might be lacking in place of a more disciplined fighting style, either.

I guess the takeaway here should be that while I maybe shouldn’t be so quick to second guess myself altogether, there’s still a great benefit to come from re-assessing past decisions from time to time, even if just to explore and reaffirm the reasonings behind why I made them in the first place so that hopefully I can do a better job of role playing them out at the table so that the rest of the party gets a better idea of where my character is coming from as well! :mrgreen:

It’s almost hard to believe that I’ve been playing my current campaign character for 7 months already. We’re actually just about at the threshold where we’ll pass the length at which our previous campaign ran, and so at this point it’s kind of interesting to look back and see what kind of growing the character has done over that time, not to mention review if there are new sections of his back story that deserve a little more attention…

The latter actually came up in a discussion after our game Friday night, somewhat out of frustration that another player had about understanding my characters motives, particularly with regards to combat. It raised a lot of good questions that I think I’ve just been avoiding for the last couple of months – in a nutshell, how is my character adapting to this new world that he’s currently exploring?

Specifically, Adran is a hunter who grew up in a fairly small and isolated tribal society, sheltered from all of the political conflict of “the civilized world.” He eventually left his homeland to act as a short-term guide for one of the tribe’s visitors and ended up in the middle of a ginormous political conflict in which men were trying to decide their next king after their current one died, which afterwards erupted into a downright civil war! A lot of our adventuring since has been doing favors for the new king as he tries to save his country from war – we escorted his daughter safely to another town, went and found his son to notify him of his father’s ascent to the throne, and as of this last session we just finished tracking down the rogue duke who had started this whole thing and (attempted) to bring him to justice.

Anyways, so the actual internal conflict that I’ve been going back and forth on with my character lately has really been how he feels about this civil war that he finds himself wrapped up in, and with the main story line (presumably) now coming to a close, I think his actions over the next few sessions are really going to help refine his role as an adventurer, but I want to make sure that I don’t completely hobble the party while I’m at it! You see, I guess when it comes down to it I’m having a hard time seeing him proactively attacking other humanoid creatures. I don’t necessarily have any problems with animals because I can see him hunting those, and most that we would fight would be attacking us in the first place anyways; as for other people who resemble him, though, it’s one thing for him to strike back with a vengeance when the other guy struck first and his actions are thus in self defense, but what about when the tables have turned and we’re the ones with the opportunity to strike first???

The player who brought up the concern explained it as – “You’re a hunter – the only difference is, humans are your prey now…” but I’m just having a hard time wrapping my head around that, especially considering that I designed their tribal society with the idea that they specifically split off from another race of elves due to seeing them get caught up in interracial and cultural disputes … and then now that he’s come to visit this land as an adventurer, it’s almost like he’s just confirming every reason that his people had for leaving in the first place! Of course, I don’t want to just stop playing the character because the storyline “goes against his core values,” but it does mean that it’s probably time that I take a step back and give some thought to how these events over the last 6-8 months of adventuring around the world may have altered some of his original direction from when he first left his homeland at the beginning of the year…

Mind you, I don’t really have the answer yet, but here are some of the questions I’ve managed to come up with that are probably worth addressing:

  • What are Adran’s thoughts on the civil war? Especially considering that despite not wanting to get caught up in the troubles of society, he does feel some allegiance to the royal family after sacrificing his own life to save the king’s daughter and doesn’t necessarily question the side that he’s chosen.
  • Does he now have a slightly bigger picture of the world after having traveled to many corners of the continent in the name of what he decided to be “good”?
  • What does he want to do as far as adventuring is concerned once the party’s current task has been resolved?
  • Can his reluctance to draw his spear on someone who hasn’t directly threatened him first be summed up as a conflict between his instincts as a hunter and his naivety with societies outside of his own?

I think that last one is the key, with the supplemental question of “Can/will he eventually adapt enough to grow beyond that conflict … or do I even want him to?” I can really see this one both ways because sure, from a strategic standpoint when we enter combat, it only makes sense to take whatever hits you can just as a hunter would advantageously advance on his prey. But at the same time, I also have a tendency in campaign games to want to explore avenues that aren’t typically viable in a module setting like LFR … in this case, avoiding combat altogether rather than just going in guns blazing because my character carries a big stick! 🙂

For what it’s worth, I do enjoy the simple fact that I even have to think about this kind of thing just because it’s an interesting level of depth that normally you never even tread close to in playing LFR, so it’s neat not only to have to determine where exactly your character stands on the proactive/reactive scale of combat, but also even to consider that this type of thing is going to change throughout the character’s life as he grows and evolves. Maybe at one point he takes some words of his companions to heart and more formally aligns himself with the king’s forces to stand against evil, or he could even become more ingrained in his raised ways of thinking by affirming that he only attacks others when he (or someone nearby) feels in danger himself.

Also, just for context’s sake – I should probably mention that this whole thing came about from our advancing on a once-friendly keep that had been taken over by the enemy. Only a few guards were present, and upon overhearing during a shift change two grumbling about not liking the job, I made the suggestion that possibly we could pass with minimal confrontation. Granted, I also misunderstood what was apparently a key hint about why this keep in particular was important to the enemy, but regardless, this post was mostly about that isolated element and in general just wondering if maybe I’m a bit too interested in trying to avoid combat when I’m playing the striker… 😮

I’ve been meaning to write this post since I saw Dave Kellett’s tweet last night, and each time I go to start typing their take keeps getting bigger and bigger! It wouldn’t surprise me at all if I have to go back and update the title from $317k to $320k by the time I’m actually ready to push the Publish button…

What’s interesting about this is that I’ve technically heard of Order of the Stick before and I’m sure I’ve read random strips when my D&D buddies pass links around, but I guess I just never knew it was that big of a strip until I saw this Kickstarter campaign raising funds to do reprints of some of his older books.

It’s kinda sad that it took just a shockingly impressive fundraiser like that to prove to me that I should give it a look, but after perusing through his catalog of print compilations, I really think I want to pick up a couple of them once they’re available again because they really look like a lot of time went into them. Sure, some are a little pricey at $30 a piece, but then again, those ones are also full color and almost 300 pages long!

As a brief aside, I can’t tell you how inspiring to me it is as a fellow independent creator to randomly come across stories like this of new people who I’ve never even heard of being wildly successful at creating their art for a living…

So a couple of sessions ago in the campaign that I play, my character bought a horse … a very fast horse!  Although technically his base speed is the same as a regular horse (speed 10), he’s got a considerably higher Dex and some other cool abilities that help to bump it up a bit, and the DM helped to add some flavor as well by continuing the theme in his own world of them being a special elven breed of horses known for their agility and swiftness.

I got a kick out of it because it gave my character something special that not everyone else had, and it also gives me another angle to further develop him as well because being one with nature and the outdoors, I can easily see him building a strong bond with this noble steed that grants him the power of speed that few creatures can match.

But then I got to thinking – just how fast actually is this mighty riding horse???

Speaking in terms of combat rounds, and assuming I don’t actually have to attack and instead am focusing on just clearing as much ground as physically possible…

The horse’s base speed is 10.
Running adds +2.
His Swift Steed minor encounter power gives him +4 to speed until the end of his next turn.
I also picked up some Horse’s Breath, a consumable magic oat bag of sorts, which grants him an extra move action this turn.
So his total run speed is 16, and on an action point he can take a total of 3 moves in one turn, for a grand total of speed 48 for a single turn in combat!

If you do the math, that works out to about 27 mph here in the real world, which is apparently actually pretty close to the ball for how fast real horses run … but instead of dwelling on that downer of a note, it seemed like it would be more fun to compare my new ride to something a bit more fearful in this fantasy realm of ours…

You know, like a red dragon!

Looking at the stats of an adult red dragon (level 15), it gets a little tricky because they have a fly speed of 8 but also an overland flight speed of 12. For the purposes of this comparison, we ended up settling on the regular fly speed with the idea of one trying to outrun the other. If it was a simple, long distance race, the dragon would still win by having that soaring speed to eventually bump up to, but at least in theory he would no longer be a threat to those of us back down on the ground from that altitude!

Anyways, following the same logic for big red as we did for my horse, his total flying run speed is 10, which means on an action point he’s still only moving speed 30 for that single turn … however, one thing to keep in mind is that dragons have 2 action points, and so instead we need to look at it over multiple turns to get a true picture of who comes out ahead:

  • Round One – riding horse, speed 48; red dragon, speed 30
  • Round Two – riding horse, speed 32 (total – 80 squares); red dragon, speed 30 (total – 60 squares)
  • Round Three – riding horse, speed 24 (total – 104 squares); red dragon, speed 20 (total – 80 squares)
  • Round Four – riding horse, speed 24 (total 128); red dragon, speed 20 (total 100 squares)
  • Round Five – riding horse, speed 24 (total 152); red dragon, speed 20 (total 120 squares)
  • (at round 3 and above once we’ve both spent our action points, etc…, at a steady double run each the horse will continue to outpace the dragon by a net gain of +4 squares per turn…)

Now it’s probably worth emphasizing just how vital that initial burst of speed is in this particular game of cat and mouse because while my horse may have the leg up on the dragon by 4 squares at our normal, double-run speeds, lest we not forget that his breath weapon is a close blast 5 (not to mention a stunning fear effect that’s also close burst 5), so in the event that we’re not the first ones out the gate or I don’t have an action point to spend, we’re pretty much boned, but in a dead ground to air race across an area that keeps him from hitting that overland speed, my horse can EASILY outrun an adult red dragon!

Of course, go figure … the campaign that I play this character in doesn’t really have much for dragons anymore, save for one ancient, gold dragon that lives in some mountain somewhere and hasn’t been seen for years, but just knowing that I could outrun one if we’re scouting through the woods and come across something that we really find ourselves regretting – I think that’s still pretty cool, if you ask me! 🙂

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