Daily Punch 12-12-13 Social Stigma Flaw in DnD Next

Another Flaw in DnD Next


Social Stigma

You grew up far removed from society.  You did well enough with you own family, but now when you’re off by yourself, its a completely a different ballgame.

Penalty: You have a minus -1 penalty to all social checks and any to any check that involve you even tangentially due to your social standing.  This penalty increases to -2 at level 10.



Daily Punch 12-11-13 Over Curious Flaw in DnD Next

More character flaws!


Over Curious

When you were a child, you spent all you time pestering those around you.  Now you can’t stop yourself from asking questions and barging in where your not wanted.

PenaltyYou ask far to many questions and it makes those around you uneasy.  When you join a conversation and start asking too many questions, you take a -1 penalty to this social interaction.  This becomes a -2 at level 5, a -3 at level 10, and a -4 at level 15.



Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Seven Wonders

Game-7 Wonders


Price– ~$50

Set-up/Play/Pick-up– One hour

TL;DR-Sleek, well-crafted, fun game 90%


Basics-In Seven Wonders, you play a different country throughout history.  Each country starts with a different resource and a play mat that shows costs to build wonders.  These wonders give the country either points or abilities.  Each turn, you look at a hand of cards and pick one to play.  The cards are resources, points, military, science, trade, or other options.  You can play the card for its value, use it to build your wonder, or spend it to gain money.  You then hand the remaining cards to your neighbor.  After all players have selected their cards, you reveal and repeat with the new cards you got from your neighbor.  When you have two cards left you select one and throw the other away.  After a round of this, there is a military phase where losers in battles gain negative points while winners gain positive points.  After three total rounds, the points are counted and the winner is determined.


Mechanics-This is where the game really shines.  The rounds go fast with some quick, important choices flying bye.  What strategies really emerge is what to play vs. what to keep vs. what to bury for your wonders/money.    In addition, what makes the game quick is that everything is done with icons and few rules.  The cards have a sleek design that reads quickly.  This game has won world wide awards because, honestly, besides the rules no changes have to happen to play this game across the world.  I could easily sit down in China and play a game with some people who didn’t speak English.  If you know the rules and can see the card icons, you can play. 5/5


Theme-Here is where the game suffers a little bit.  I don’t really feel like ‘Rhodes’ when I play ‘Rhodes’.  I feel like I’m a guy building a place, but not really ‘Rhodes.’  I honestly don’t know what ‘Rhodes’ feels like, but I don’t feel that.  That said, I do feel like I’m building an empire over time.  The different rounds or ages do make this game have a distinctive feel.  I like that feeling.  Also, when you go one in a major direction for points, you change your whole strategy, so that does change what you do thematically.  I like this despite not having a country specific feel. 3/5

Instruction-The rules are short and well-written.  This game is a eurogame despite the cards.  That’s not something you hear often, but it’s true.  The instructions have a lot of ground to cover and it does it well.  Lots of examples really help explain this game well. 5/5


Summary-This is, quite frankly, an amazing game.  It’s fast, fun, and really replayable.  I loved every moment of this game.  I’ve play is several times and even my not so geeky friends love to bust this one out.  Go get this one. 90%

Ludonarrative, 4e DnD, Eberron, and the Forgotten Realms

I’ve been thinking about what I play, and why I play it.  Now I don’t want to join the edition war, but I think what you play is impacted largely by the fiction the surrounds it.  I want to talk today about my love for 3.5 DnD Eberron vs. 4e Eberron and ludonarrative.


I read a lot.  I love audiobooks.  I listen as I walk around my house and clean.  I love print media.  I say up late and read old books while my wife sleeps.  I love my Ipad.  I keep my wife up late as I read next to her.  So when DnD fiction comes out, I go buy it and read it.  I won’t say it up to King’s level, but I’m not looking for that.  I want people to have adventures in worlds that I play in.  I want to read about people in the Forgotten Realms.  I want to see skyships in Eberron.  I want adventures in Dark Sun.  AND, I want the people to, at least tangentially, follow the rules my characters have to follow.  Make no mistake;  I’m not a guy counting fireballs in a fight as I read, but the healing cleric shouldn’t be able to pull off a fireball without some serious ‘splainin’ to do.  And this is why a specific breed of author works well in these books.  You have to follow the rules of the game, and that limits your creativity a lot.  It’s hard work to write.  I’m not even good, and it’s hard.  If you don’t believe me, then I implore you to do NaNoRiMo.  In one month, pound out 50,000 words.  If you can do it, THEN do it while following fake rules.  If you do that, then my hats off to you.

Now here is where rules hurt and help a book set in a world.  I want to introduce something called ludonarrative.  Here is a link explaining it for the video game crowd.  He also goes into why it’s a bad term, but since it’s established I’m going to use it for a bit.  For ludonarrative, it’s how well the story and the rules of the game mess together.  If in a cut scene your character can fly, but when you get to play the game for real, you can’t, than there is a problem.  That’s the basics.  I hit this hard when I played Batman Arkham Asylum on Hard difficulty; in the cut scenes Batman would one-two punch bad guys to the floor, but when I played for real, I might as well have been using cold ramen noodles to beat them down instead of his punches.  In the end, I felt disconnected from the game.

How does this affect my Eberron play experiences?  Well, if you read the fiction of Eberron, its primarily set in a world of 3.5 DnD.  And that’s OK.  However, when you play 4e DnD, the world doesn’t “work” as well.  Now, I’m not saying you can’t ‘make’ it work, but I would read through things in the book like a dual wand wielding wizard (alliteration!) and be amazed.  But when I got to the 4e table, I could use a wand once an encounter and then be sad as a free action.

Why did this happen?  Well, the quickest explanation is in 3.5 magic is broken. (ah I can feel the angry from here!)  It’s almost impossible for a fighter to deal with a 20LvL wizard who can wish his mom away before he was born.  And, that’s OK.  Those kind of crazy things make 3.5 fun.  When I play some 3.5 Eberron, magic’s broken, so crazy wand wizards are a thing.  I feel like I’m playing the ‘real’ Eberron.  The constant nature of magic without balance really helped me feel Eberron and its world.

Does 4e do something right then?  Yes.   Arguably the longest I’ve ever played DnD is Living Forgotten realms.  And it was 4e.  The fiction matched the books, and it worked in reverse.  I loved to read about the realms in the books, and I loved to read about the rules that supported it.  It worked well together, and how well this worked together really made me enjoy my game and books that much more.

In the end, the take home message is I need fiction to match what I’m doing in game.  I’m seeing more of this with the Sundering.  Magic is changing, and it’s changing how players play.  That’s good.   I might not like the ‘how‘, but the end result will be a system that meshes well with the books and books that mesh well with the system.  And, that what any good system needs.

Daily Punch 12-6-13 “Great” or “Holy” Spirit mentor in Shadowrun

I’ve always wanted to play an exorcist in Shadowrun.  I’m Catholic, and I know we’ve got a bad rap in 2075, but we can’t be all bad…can we?  How about a spirit mentor for Roman Catholics who play with magic?


“Great” Spirit

The “Great” Spirit might be the Catholic Holy Ghost or might represent the Great Spirit of Indian folklore.  In either case, this spirit mentor seeks  to help metahumannity survive in the new magical age.  However, this comes with a price-one must follow a code of selflessness.


All:+2 to Assensing checks checks

Magicians: +2 to all checks to banishing checks

Adept: Gain the Astral Perception Power for free


If you act in a way that will harm others who mean no harm to you or allow others to come to harm through inaction, you take a -1 penalty to all dice pools until you atone.  This may require sacrifices or attending a religious service.