October 31, 2010

Chaos on Halloween

My oldest daughter, Chaos, is going as Astrid from "How to Train Your Dragon" for Halloween.  The best part?  Her favorite part of her costume is the battle axe. Suffice it to say, I am one very proud Dungeoneering Dad.

October 29, 2010

Lazy Friday Fantasy Metal Post (Halloween Edition): Fastway - Trick or Treat

Ok, so the "fantasy" element here is suspect, but I do still feel a D&D connection.  This song is from an old 80s horror flick called "Trick or Treat" about a kid resurrecting his metal hero, Sammi Curr, by playing a record backwards (check out the trailer here).  Of course, Sammi comes back all evil-like and starts the killin’.  This film came out at the height of the "Metal is Evil" era which overlaps with the "D&D is Evil" era, so there you have my tenuous connection.  These two manias are always connected in my mind and  Classic D&D will always have a metal vibe to me. The movie features cameos by Gene Simmons and Ozzy. This was back when Ozzy really was seen as a Prince of Darkness and not some stuttering clown and, in a brilliant move, he was cast as an evangelist preaching against the evils of metal music (see his scenes here).

Now, full disclosure, I have never seen this movie. I was chicken shit little kid when it came out (too young to see it in the theatres, not that my wimpy butt would have gone anyhow).  However, my brother did have the soundtrack (completely by Fastway) on cassette and I listened to it all the time.  The movie is not on Netflix yet, so I still haven't seen it.  It definitely looks like a "so bad, it's good" kind of movie.

Anyhow, without further ado, here is the rocking title track.

October 22, 2010

Down in the Dungeon at Monster Brains

Monster Brains has posted some awesome art from the 1981 picture book, Down in the Dungeon, by Don Greer and Rob Stern. Check it out at the blog or the Flickr site.

Here is my favorite from the set, The Trap Door:

Also, check out these excellent maps:


My Contributions to the Too Many T-Shirts Project

Dave the Knave is still going strong with his Too Many T-Shirts project.  He was starting to run low a while back, so I shared a few shirts to help him out (I’m the “Dan” he mentions from time to time).  He wore most of these back in September (yes, this post is long overdue).  You can find the project at its official web site: link or at Flickr: link

Here are some of the gaming-related ones:

This one was given to me by Han Scharler for GenCon 2006 (he wrote about it here: link)

Ok, this one isn’t mine, but it’s too cool not to share.  It’s a “Roots” t-shirt designed by Wil Wheaton for J!NX.  Dave wore it to one of our Rappan Athuk sessions (on a side-note, updates on those forthcoming).

GenCon ‘97…

…and GenCon '98

Back in the day, TSR put out some nice t-shirts at one point.  I always loved the cover for the “Death’s Ride” module, so I couldn’t pass this one up.
Dave-death's ride

October 20, 2010

15 Games in 15 minutes Meme

Ok, my turn for this meme. The rules for the uninitiated: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen games you've played that will always stick with you. List the first 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.

In no particular order apart from how they popped into my head.

Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D through 3.5)

Castles & Crusades (was tempted to include this above, but kept it separate due to the SIEGE mechanic)

The Classic Dungeon




Magic: The Gathering

Call of Cthulhu

Gamma World (4th edition of GW, not the current one based on D&D 4e which I have not played)

Arhkam Horror

Ambush Alley (made me realize there is such a thing as a rules-light war game)

Battle Tech

War Gods

Nite Life (and old RPG with vampires and werewolves)

Battle Masters (the old miniatures board game)

October 13, 2010

20-Sided Rhymes

Hipster, please! has posted a free, downloadable album called 20-Sided RhymesDave the Knave did the sweet-ass album art (he also did the art for Hipster-Free Singles Club Vol. 1).
There are a lot of great tracks.  I’m still working my way through them all, but “Random Encounter in the Cereal Aisle” and “Roll the Dice” are my favorites so far.
Front Cover:
Back Cover:

October 12, 2010

Really Cheap Tact-Tiles Substitute

dry eraseA while back I talked about Tact-Tiles, both the kinds you can buy and do-it-yourself ways to make them.  For my Lazy Homemade Tact-Tiles #2 idea, I suggested buying a very cheap dry erase kit from LTD Commodities. Well, it no longer appears to be available at LTD, but I did pick up a set myself before they pulled it.  I poked around a bit and, man, the kit is hard to find now, but I did find one set on eBay here: link.  So, obviously, right out of the gate, this option now has one strike against it.  I figured I’d go ahead and post my thoughts on this kit as a gaming tool anyhow.  Hopefully someone out there has better Google-Fu than I do and can locate a retailer if they’re interested.

Here is what you get:

The panels are paper-thin, but they are basically big stickers after all.

Each panel is 12 inch x 12 inch and you get 8 panels total.  That is a pretty good sized gaming area.

I put the panels down on my gaming table and they covered a large chunk.

I doodled a bit of a dungeon on them and they worked fairly well.  Understandably, I had to hold down the panel so it wouldn’t move, but it wasn’t a problem.

So here is the skinny:
  • If you want a grid, you’ve got some work to do. I know from personal experience,
    there really is no way to permanently mark this kind of surface apart from scoring it.  These panels are going to turn into confetti if you score them.  One possibility would be to mount the panels onto sections of poster board and then score them.
  • A quick note regarding a grid, keep in mind games like D&D 3.5 and 4e work on a one-inch grid, so you can really just use a tape measure without much trouble (well, I’m assuming that is true for 4e. I haven’t played it).  Savage Worlds operates on this grid too and, despite the emphasis on a battle map in the Savage Worlds rule book, the official demo I played at Origins used a tape measure.
  • The panels stay in place reasonably well. I bumped the table a bit to test this and the panels more or less stayed in place.  I’m guessing inadvertent bumps by players might be more problematic. Having not played with the interlocking Tact-Tiles, I’m not sure how much of an advantage they offer.
  • The panels were covered with a clear film that came off.  I initially wasn’t certain if this was suppose to happen. I’m still not sure, but the panels were still erasable after I removed the film (although shadowing did increase noticeably).
The Verdict
  • You get what you pay for. These panels aren’t as snazzy as the original Tact-Tiles or the current Battlegraph Boards.  However, if you can find a set, this kit is a hell of a lot cheaper, especially if you consider the amount of playing surface you get.  You get 8 panels for a 2 foot by 4 foot playing area. In comparison, the Battlegraph Boards are $7.00 per 12 inch piece and a set of Tact-Tiles will run you several hundred dollars on eBay (no joke, check the ENWorld forums).
  • If nothing else, these panels would be handy for those times combat spills off your regular battle mat.
Since I am fine with my homemade battle mat, I didn’t keep the kit for myself.  I hung it up in two sections in our kitchen, thinking it would be fun for my daughters.  They really liked it, but, whoa boy, was it a bad idea.  My girls are six and three and, well, their marker control is still rather suspect.  Suffice it to say, they didn’t always stay on the dry erase area.  Word to the wise, dry erase markers don’t wash off non-dry erase walls…  our kitchen is a bit more colorful now.  I certainly do not recommend the kit for its intended purpose unless you have a wall you probably be ok with your kids drawing on to begin with.

October 8, 2010

My Kind of Friday Night…

  Two growlers of Yuengling in the mini-fridge.   My motley crew chomping at the bit to roll  dice.  New sections of Rappan Athuk to explore.  It’s my kind of Friday night.


October 4, 2010

A Winner is Me!

a_winner_is_you So I was perusing my Google Reader today and saw I’ve won a copy of Rite Publishing’s Book of Monster Templates (in PDF and print, no less).  Many thanks to Troll in the Corner and Rite Publishing.

October 1, 2010

Lazy Friday Fantasy Metal Post: Attacker - Battle of Helm's Deep

This is a pretty sweet fan-made video including a bunch of clips from Ralph Baski's Lord Of The Rings movie.  I particularly like 3:24 or so where it looks like Frodo is getting down to the metal music.

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