Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gaming Table of the Gods

My pal Peg Leg Jon (don't ask), sent me a link to the below gaming table, which trumps what I'd been sketching out by a loooooong shot.



Features include:
  • A dropped play surface, with a covering to protect games in progress
  • Storage drawers
  • "The Layer Cake" - protective map system
  • A "GM Command Station"
  • Red Bull can holders (OK, they're not explicitly that, but check the images in the link, above...)
  • Dice Bays
  • and more features than you can shake a tube of D20's at...
I'm not worthy!

If only the Man Cave where I do all my gaming wasn't always so damp. I mean...nah, I can't unring that bell...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Canceled my World of Warcraft Subscription

Oh, I know - I'll be back... I always am. But I found it interesting that the choices for canceling a subscription have changed since the last time I dropped off the face of Azeroth. When prompted for my reason, I stated that I was leaving for another game. The secondary choices allowed for a few choices, and while pen-and-paper was primarily driving me away, I selected XBox 360, in hopes that enough votes towards the XBox might eventually lead to an XBox version of World of Warcraft. But here's the rather...I don't know...defensive(?) response that the system gave me after sharing that tidbit:

Interesting. Very interesting. Did you know:
We at Blizzard are extremely proud of the experience available in World of Warcraft and we are sorry to hear that you are leaving for another game. We feel that World of Warcraft incorporates elements from a varying array of games for all different types of players. If there is something you feel is missing from the game, we would love to hear about it! Please, feel free to post your thoughts and suggestions on our forums at! Or, use the provided box to leave your comments. Unlike console games, World of Warcraft affords us a unique development opportunity in that the game we have created is constantly changing. Additions to the game world can drastically alter the game play experience in new and exciting ways! Blizzard actively creates new content to keep the World of Warcraft fresh and full of magic. While we of course regret your departure, we wish you well on your future adventures. However, your past is not lost. We currently have no plans to delete accounts or characters for inactivity, so you are always free to return to the lands of Azeroth and continue your tale in the World of Warcraft!

That sounds a little different from what they've said in the past (it's always been assumed that characters are stored in perpetuity, and having to put up positioning against consoles seems new...). Huh.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Christening of the Man Cave

Major kudos to Josh for helping me assemble the last set of shelving for the garage, so that we could clear enough room to make it into a "man cave." After we got it all together, we finally got a chance to play Rune Quest II. The Obsidian Portal site has my update on the campaign, here. Long and short, we found the new combat rules to run more quickly and smoothly, and the reorganized skill system definitely made play even more fun. The combat maneuvers system made combat more cinematic, and we lucked out enough with our rolls to use 3 maneuvers in one combat - blinding, maxing damage, and calling shots. Combat is still hella deadly, but the nerfing of some weapons damage seems to have gone a little way towards minimizing the "Oh, I hit you - you're crippled or dead," scenarios that we encountered during the last edition. If you have a chance, check out the new system published by Mongoose - it's a great time!

The new Glorantha setting drops in a week or so, so stay tuned for more Rune Quest goodness...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I am a lineman for the county...

Those of you who knew my dad probably knew him either as a police officer or a retiree who proudly managed through a nearly decade long batter with cancer before passing away, last year. Prior to becoming a police officer, though, my father had two other briefly lived careers, one as a cabinetmaker (which helped contribute to a life long enjoyment of carpentry and even competitive woodcarving), and another as a lineman for the Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO). The lineman career is one that I was always aware of - one of our neighbors growing up had worked with my dad during that phase of his life - but the image of him as a tough but compassionate insurer of law and order was more omnipresent in my childhood and adult understanding of him.

Well, while driving back from Virginia through the Appalachia of West Virginia and Pennsylvania, this week, I saw plenty of linemen trimming and removing trees that had been damaged or destroyed during the snow, rain and windstorms that laced the northeast and mid-Atlantic over the past weeks. I also had the privilege of driving along stretches of highway in Pennsylvania that were apparently designed for Amish horse and buggy, not cars and trucks zooming along at 80 mph, clutching the edge of a cliff. Both of these experiences brought to mind dear old dad, who had a terrible fear of heights, but incongruously held a job as a lineman for an electric company. It hadn't occurred to me before - and perhaps this was selfish on my part to not consider it - that he had chosen a job, to provide for his family, that directly provoked one of his deepest fears. Despite that, hardhat in hand, he headed out to work each morning or evening to work on telephone poles repairing lines and transformers. To close out the trifecta, the song "Wichita Lineman" came on the radio while I was rambling back. It's not a tune you hear too often, but it's a classic Jimmy "MacArthur Park" Webb tune that was once described as the first "existential country song." The tale of a lineman who misses his lover may be corny to today's audiences, and indicative of that late 60s/early 70s blue collar country music popularized by Glenn Campbell, Conway Twitty and others, but to me that's representative of the period when my dad worked in that particular discipline, and when not working played country on the radio while woodworking in the yard.

Enjoy the below clip.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mother Nature hates Gaming

So, I don't know if it's because of some sort of objection to her depiction in Earthdawn or Shadowrun campaigns, but Mother Nature decidedly hates gaming. Many of the games I had slated to run both at home and at my friendly neighborhood gaming shop, Timewarp Comics and Games, have had to be canceled due to weather related events in recent months. Certainly, necessity is the mother of invention, and I got to use Google Wave to run a couple of games during snow storms, this season, but it's still disappointing to survive through another hectic week of work with the eye on the prize for some weekend gaming just to have the game squashed by a few of snow. Or an ice storm. Or a flood. The image at the left depicts some snow in the yard about a foot of snowmelt later... Good...times...

Quote of the storm season, "Uh, Tyler, we can't make it up to your place. We've been sitting in traffic for an hour and just got passed by an emergency vehicle that had 'SCUBA Squad' written on the side... We're going home."

Happily, the past couple of days have sniffed at 70 degrees, the sun is out, the basement is slowly drying out, and only a patch of snow and ice remains in the yard. It's gonna be only weeks before some dragons are slain at my picnic table. That is, until hurricane season. ;)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Updated The Destroyer

Sorry for the cross-post, but I wanted to plug that I updated my Obsidian Portal wiki for my RuneQuest campaign that I'm in the midst of re-launching, here:

Also note that to avoid having to cross-post in the future, if you look left on the homepage of Tyler is Gaming..., you'll see a scrape of recent posts from The Destroyer showing up automatically.

Take that, Web 1.0!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Arkham Now

While at the comics shop to pick up some Osprey books for my Father-in-Law for his birthday, last night, I picked up a copy of Arkham Now on a whim. Really brilliant stuff. What if the quintessential Lovecraftian small New England town became victim to a greater evil than dread Cthulhu - yes, you know it - urban sprawl. When the big box shops move in, can the old ones be safe? Well, apparently they can find even greater, still nefarious ways to mess with the haunted city...

I'm just digging into this. And there is a free scenario up on the site. Anybody checked it out, yet? Any thoughts?