Saturday, March 29, 2014

Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Old School gaming returns to Community

If you've turned on a TV in the last 5 years then you already know that NBC's Community is the only reason that broadcast TV continues to exist.  Brave enough to devote an entire episode to D&D a few seasons back, last week they had the self-acknowledged hubris to do another D&D episode.  For the sequel, instead of averting Fa-- bulous Neil's suicide, they're trying to reunite Buzz "we need a cranky old guy to replace Chevy Chase" Hickey with his estranged, D&D playing son Hank, played by a neck-bearded David "Tobias Funke" Cross. 

Once again Abed is at the helm, this time leading the gang through a homebrewed adventure, the goal of which is to explore the Black Tower and destroy the evil necromancer/phile who lives at the top of it.
 "That's just what I love about role playing games is being told exactly what to do." --Hank Hickey
North is left.
In classic, Olde Skewle fashion, Hank decides to head south instead of crossing the Brutalitops Memorial Rope Bridge--a reference to Chang's decapitated MU from the previous D&D episode--which leads to the tower of the Dark Lord, taunting Abed with "If I walk too far south do I fall off your graph paper there?"  But Abed is prepared, pulling out a thick binder of homebrewed context.  And so the adventure begins...

I won't delve too deeply into the spoilers except to say that when Crouton, Shirley's half-orc druid, dies in a fusillade of hobgoblin arrows, Annie--reprising her role as Hector the Well Endowed--shows some classic PC chops by momentarily mourning the death of her ally before "rifling through her belongings."

Also of note, when the Necromancer eludes the gang, Buzz gets angry with Abed and demands a satisfying conclusion to the adventure, to which Abed--showing his own old school leanings--responds:
"I owe you nothing, I'm a dungeon master.  I create a boundless world and then I bind it by rules."
Here's the roster of characters with whatever details I could glean from the action:

half-orc druid
Spells: Entanglement
Stuff: Horse meat, more horse meat
Player: Shirley

Joseph Gordon Riggs, Son of Sir Riggs Diehard
Protector of the Blade of Diehard
S:9, I:12, W:11, D:13, C:7, Ch:10
Stuff: Armor of Amor, Ring of Bling, Blade of Diehard, Chalice of Potions
Player: Dean Pelton

Sir Riggs Diehard, "Son-slayer"
Protector of the Hilt of the Blade of Diehard
S:14, I:9, W:8, D:13, C:14, Ch:14
Sword, Hilt of Diehard
Player: Jeff Winger

Hector the Well Endowed
S: 19, I:9, W:8, D:12, C:17, Ch:10
sword, shield, horned helmet, Bow, Arrows, Extra large cod piece
Player: Annie (again)

Fibrosis the Ranger
S:14, I:9, W:11, D:16, C:7, Ch:10
Bow and arrows
Spells: Cure Moderate Wounds
Player: Britta

Dingleberry the Troll
Player: Chang

Tristram Steelhard, "Lord of the Sky Spiders"
Holy Cleric with a mace
Spells: Torbin's Flesh of Fire, various cure and/or heal spells, Speak with Monsters, Lightning bolt, Snake to Rope, Flame Strike, Spell of Enduring Speed, Ice Spell
+3 Demonic Eye-look
Player:  Hank Hickey

Tiny Nuggins, "Waterboarder of Goblins"
Halfling Thief
Player: Buzz Hickey

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Gormenghastular Vocabulary Quiz

Fine literature in board game format.
A lot of you have been wondering what I've been up to lately since clearly the ol' Blog has been on cruise control since Christmas time.  Well, I'll tell you: I've been reading Mervyn Peake's awe-inspiring Gormenghast novels.  Holy hell.

Though not mentioned in Appendix N, the influence of Peake's tomes on, for instance, Moorcock's Elric--who seems to be perhaps a cross between Titus Groan, 77th Earl of Gormenghast, and Steerpike, the albinic mastermind of malfeasance--seems rather obvious, and even the law/chaos business that pervades Melnibonea is perhaps inferred in these works, though, thankfully, not in any overt manner.  Of course, you shouldn't hold any of this against Peake, he does not abuse his readers with the heavy-handed earnestness that renders the work of his successors so unpalatable.

Much like the vast and crumbling, ivy-covered Castle with its endless corridors and innumerable towers, cells, and chambers, Peake similarly investigates every archaic, obsolete, and encumbering avenue of the English language in search of just the right parlance to impart the tenor of Gormenghast.  The result is a viscous yet invigorating skein of prose that thoroughly envelops the reader... holy Zeus, when exactly did this turn into a book report?

Anyway, my point is that Peake uses a lot of strange words, or uses familiar seeming words in unusual ways making his novels an adventure in--oh, crap, I'm slipping into book report mode again.  Screw it: I challenge all you word nerds out there to a little Peakean Vocab Quiz.  Let's see how you measure up:

  1. adumbrate
  2. abactinal
  3. daedal
  4. fugness
  5. liana
  6. monody
  7. pranked
  8. raddled
  9. susurrous
  10. tare

ANSWERS: 1) You're not even close. 2) Really? Is that your final answer? 3) You might think that was it, but you are obviously incorrect. 4) Not even Webster knows for sure what Peake was getting at. 5) Wrong, fool. 6) That's pretty close, for a simpleton. 7) Can it possibly be that obvious? No, it can't.  8) Admittedly, even Peake was only guessing when he used this one, but that doesn't excuse your tepid effort. 9) Your pallid attempt to make yourself seem smart has achieved the exact opposite effect. 10) a member of Vicia, a genus of trailing or climbing plants.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

OSR Blogowners Association d12 Meeting Minutes


Attendees: Talysman the Ur Beetle, the Zenopus Archiver, Claw Carver, Mandy Morbid, Art Garfunkel, Finn the Human, Cyclopeatron, Lord Vader, two bemused members of the Ohio State Rabbit Breeders Association, Me

Absent: Huge Ruined Pile, Rients, Your Dungeon is Suck, everyone else.
  1. Lord Vader called the meeting to order and opened the floor to nominations for officers.
  2. I nominated Talysman for President. 
  3. In retaliation, he appointed me Secretary. 
  4. Mandy was thanked for attending.  A lone dissenter asked if she even has a blog.  (She does, though the real action is at her tumblr place.  If you don't know who she is, please note that neither site is particularly SFW.)
  5. A motion was unanimously passed acknowledging that everyone thought Art Garfunkel would be taller.  
  6. Cyclopeatron asked Lord Vader to remove his helmet to confirm that he wasn't Hayden Christensen. The motion was seconded.
  7. It was motioned that a monument should be built to honor fallen bloggers.  No one volunteered to approach Malishefski to ascertain his willingness to pose for it.
  8. It was agreed that all OSRBA blogs will be written in Gygaxian Prose.  A portion of membership fees will be allocated toward providing the Lake Geneva Manual of Style to all members
  9. Mr. Vader volunteered to establish a New Blogger Training Gulag. All potential new bloggers must serve a 7 year sentence apprenticeship at the facility after which they are allowed access to a keyboard. 
  10. Mandy was again thanked for her attendance.  I'm beginning to wonder if maybe this  community might be something of a sausage-fest.
  11. The Zenopus Archiver agreed to bring doughnuts and root beer to the next meeting.
  12. Meeting was adjourned.