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Too Busy to Blog…and that’s a good thing!

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After the flurry of excitement that was WittCon IX, I took a couple of days off from writing and blogging to recoup, and to just enjoy my time with my gamer friends from Ohio that I hadn’t seen in over a year. Well, a few days easily turns into a few weeks, it seems, and Triple Crit has been on the backburner while I attend to the myriad of other things on my plate.

And boy, is that plate piled high.

Dungeons & Dragons Online

To try and bridge the Long Distance Relationship gap (which is now, thankfully, over–until August, anyway) Eric and I picked up DDO, which I had originally shunned because, like most people, I went along with the thinking that Free to Play games are unequivocally garbage-y. After much nagging, I gave in, and holy shit was I wrong.

I really do feel like it’s a change of pace from all the WoW clones out there (cough SWTOR cough cough), given that it’s very much a party-based dungeon delving game. You actually need to pay attention to party composition, strategically approach traps and big groups of mobs, and lay out your skill set nicely in order to find and unlock the optional parts of the dungeons. We got up to level 4 together with just hirelings to get us through Korthos Island and the Harbor, but in order to tackle anything else, we really do need other players with us. Luckily, two more of our friends are down to play this summer, and I’m certain it will be a blast to play the warrior, mage, rogue, and cleric together.

Did I mention that the upcoming summer expansion is to be Underdark themed?

Speaking of Underdark…

I was checking something on the D&D website recently and stumbled upon the Rise of the Underdark promo site before most sites had picked it up, and squeed myself with joy. As a dedicated Blood Elf role-player back in my WoW days, it’s a joy to be able to play the race that inspired it all: the deliciously treacherous and flawed at their core Drow. I’ve always been fascinated by the infamous dark elves in light of the bad rap they’ve gotten under the “Do’Urden effect,” but the good archetype has never appealed to me so much as the bad. (That’s because, according to Eric, I’m a “mean-ass, old bag.” I prefer the term “Demon Queen.”) If my DM allows it, when I begin to play the new Encounters seasons in two weeks I hope to roll a Drow Blackguard, modeled somewhat on the Handmaidens, or Daughters of Yochlol. That, hopefully, will give me a plausible reason for being on the party’s side, but really, why wouldn’t one Drow killing other Drow make sense?

I had also picked up War of the Spider Queen Vol I: Dissolution some time ago on Paperbackswap.com, and took advantage of the occasion to finally read it. While it’s not the best book I’ve read by any stretch, it’s entertaining, and a great primer on Drow culture and politics. I’m still unsure whether I’m going to buy the second one for my Kindle, because I’m not riveted enough to squeeze it into my budget, but also because I have a million other books on my to-read list that I already own (such as The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin, a favorite author of mine).

At least I’m finally up-to-date with the A Song of Ice and Fire books, so getting to sit back and watch the second book unfold on HBO (and answer all my friends’ questions about the characters) has been a treat. If only my watch party had been like these guys’.

A Second Darkness

As homage to the WotC event running, I’ve decided to go with the Second Darkness Adventure Path to sate my players’ Pathfinder appetite, which has finally grown strong enough to warrant us buying the core books. Admittedly, I would be much more hesitant to buy them if I had already purchased a bunch of the 3.5 books, but with only the 4e materials on my shelf, I felt like I’m getting the better of the 3.x games. (4e is a totally different system and game, in my view, but nevertheless fun to play and run when I’m not burned out on it.)

My Pathfinder Campaign

Instead of creating a campaign site on Obsidian Portal, as I had done for Marrakesh, I discovered a nifty tool offered (for free!) by the guys over at d20pfsrd.com: My Pathfinder Campaign, a template for use at Google Sites. I love the fact that it integrates with my calendar, gmail, and everything else Google my friends and I already use, but it’s also pretty powerful in its own right. You can check out my Second Darkness Campaign Site (still a work in progress until sessions actually start), to see how a group might take advantage of the template for actual play. In time I hope to do a full review on the template, which is absolutely phenomenal.

And Now for Something Completely Different

In honor of Cinco de Mayo–and my kick-butt enchiladas with lime cilantro rice–I decided to spice things up a little bit compared to our usual Elder Scrolls Savage Worlds game and re-introduce the group to Deadlands. With a cast of The Magnificent Seven (and That Other Guy), plenty of props, Western movie soundtracks, and Night Horrors, we had a blast of a time that deserves its own separate write up in the future. I’ll be offering the PDF of the pre-generated characters soon, though I’m not sure if the adventure itself is really so innovative as to be worth writing up, but perhaps a one-sheet would do. Really, this is a character-driven adventure, and you can take these amigo’s and pretty much drop them anywhere to have a great time with them. They’ve got just enough diversity and intra-part conflict to each shine in their own way and keep things on the edge, much like a certain other movie that just came out recently that kicked serious butt, which ironically I saw immediately after playing this session.

A Necessary Diversion

I’m not entirely sure how I have time for all this (in addition to the occasional exploit as Traxex in the Dota 2 beta), but I think a little insanity is necessary given my full time job as a floor and wall specialist (which is at least a break from the monotonous babysitting that was the front end, but still aggravating in its own way), in addition to the internship that will soon be taking up another ten hours of my week until August. After the summer I’ll be back in school for my final semester, and with any luck come December I’ll be graduated and gainfully employed shortly thereafter. At that time, I fully intend to disappear from the gaming radar to concentrate on my studies, but until then, I intend to fully enjoy the summer as much as I can.

Somehow, amid all that, I still want to try to run a series of one-shots set in the Blackbird Universe. Now, who has a Time-Turner I can borrow?

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