Saturday, November 29, 2014

Right in the Heals II: 5th Edition DMG Update

As longtime readers of the Chainsword will know, so far I've been really liking the new 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons rules from the Player's Handbook (PHB) for the most part, but with some caveats. I take issue with the 5e PHB's coddling approach to Healing. I won't re-hash it all here, but suffice it to say that has far too generous healing to actually allow truly noteworthy battles to occur at the gaming table, because death is almost never going to be a threat to the players.  They can always just take a 'long rest' (overnight) and be at full hit points the next morning.

Just sleep it off, Boromir.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Black Friday Dungeons

Normally I avoid other people like the plague. Other people have things you don't want: Responsibilities, questions, germs, morals, opinions. I prefer just staying inside with my can of Easy Cheese and my 100% Ancient Aliens Netflix queue and let other people stop around under the burning sky orb. This goes double for those places where other people tend to congregate: the DMV, "Downtown," Grocery Stores, Malls. Yes, even with the advent of the internet, Malls still survive, and they still seethe with endless masses of humanity. And the dreaded worst day of all one could be at one of these Malls, be they 'West Gate-' or 'Strip-', is on Black Friday. They call it Black Friday because if you dare go out into the world on Black Friday, the sheer amount of forced human interaction will make it seem as if the very sun has been blotted out into an unholy eclipse, and will crush you under and endless parade of Ugg boots and flat-brimmed hats with the stickers still on them.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tron 2.0 on Steam!

It finally happened! An excellent old-school PC game (a game you've likely never heard of) just got released on Steam and is now playable on all computers. This is one of my favorite PC games of all time, and I group it on my mental PC gaming mantle alongside Baulder's Gate, Thief, and Fallout. It is the only first-person action RPG that actually brings the Grid to life. That game is Tron 2.0.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dark Dungeons: The Movie

Had movie night last night and watched the D&D-is-Satanic 1980's-Parody movie "Dark Dungeons" with a couple of buds. Its a brought-to-life adaptation of the old Jack Chick anti-RPG pamphlets handed out by concerned Churchgoers back in the 1980s. You know, the ones that promised you eternal damnation in hell if you dared to roll up an elven cleric under the watchful gaze of Jesus (who evidently hates Gamers, but loves Jocks). It was made by the crew who made "The Gamers: Dorkness Rising" via Kickstarter, so you know they take a firmly tongue-in-cheek approach to it.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Tyrion Lannistoraptor

I just dropped in to share with you this book cover for an upcoming novel. I saw it and couldn't help but be intrigued...

Rarely does a book cover align with my interests with such laser precision. I mean, is there a Knight? Check. Is there a Velociraptor? Check. (or maybe thats a Utahraptor? Not sure. Its pretty big though. Would need to see the ankle-talons.)

It even has a quote by George R.R. Martin:
-"It's like a cross between Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones."

What more does one need? (Other than maybe a flying saucer in there too.)

Available July 2015.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Riddles are a staple of D&D and RPGs, and can often add that much-needed thinking-time to an otherwise combat-heavy adventure. However, I find that there's a particular type of riddle I prefer as a DM and player, and that's a riddle that has a physical effect. That is to say, its all good fun to ask Hobbit-style riddles that require the right answer and then you move on. Sure, that's okay. But its got a whole other vibe to the game when the riddle is only half the puzzle, and the other half is using the riddle's answer to solve the puzzle.

Let me give you some examples.

First, here's a common "Just an answer" riddle one could use in a game:

You come to a dark river in the underground labyrinth. Inscribed on the shore is a message:

If I have it, I want to share it. 
If I share it, I no longer have it. 
What is it?

(Answer after the jump)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

GameHole Con 2014! - Shadows Over Eternia pics

Just got back from the last day of GameHole Con and have been up way too late for too many nights for an old man like me. Its Sunday afternoon which means its time to put the books and minis away and get things ready for the work week, but I figured I'd throw up a few pics from my game of Shadows Over Eternia: He-Man vs. the Cthulhu Mythos that I ran on Friday. It went incredibly well, thanks to some great players and plenty of Zip-fizz in my water bottle. And for me this game was only the beginning of an awesome weekend, because after running this I got to speak with the real Elminster in a game run by Ed Greenwood himself, died horribly in the Tower of Akbaba run by Luke Gygax, and even won one of the two open spots to play the Dungeon Bastard's World's Worst Dungeon Crawl!

Simply put, I can't wait for next year.

Beastman's jungle ambush!

Skeletor killed Beastman's pet T-rex, Evil-Lyn re-animated it, and then had it devour Beastman.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Digital Talisman

As any modern board-gamer knows, boardgame cleanup can be a real pain in the ass. When you were a kid the most complex cleanup boardgame you likely owned was Monopoly, and that cleanup was no problem because no one wants to play that game anyway. But for the advanced gamers out there, for the 8-year olds who saw "For ages 12 and Up" on the side of the box and were undismayed, there was a boardgame of epic fun that you could play with your more studious friends. This is a great game, with tons of expansions available, and was my first foray into a boardgame with lots of cleanup. That boardgame was Talisman.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

GameHole Con II is less than a week away!

That's right! It snuck up on all of us, but the second annual GameHole Con is just around the corner. This Friday, November 7th, the best public games convention in Madison will be back! I have a group of friends coming down to Wisconsin from around the U.S. for it, because the opportunity to meet and play games with some of the TSR alumni is just too good to pass up.

As previously mentioned, I'll be running my He-Man vs. the Cthulhu Mythos game (3.5e): Shadows Over Eternia at 10am on Friday morning. There are still a couple tickets left in the 6-person game, so come on down and help Man-at-Arms blast Deep Ones with his Eternian Freeze Ray. Yes its a Friday so one has to take Friday off to play a game on the first day of GameHole Con, but will people at work really miss you that much on just another Friday? Miss you more than the amount you'll kick yourself for missing the chance to meet Ernie Gygax, The Dungeon Bastard, or the creator of the Forgotten Realms himself: Ed Greenwood?

Ed Greenwood says that those TPS reports can wait until Monday.
Game On!