Tuesday, December 28, 2010

D&D Log: 2010 Recap

There was no D&D session this past Sunday due to the holiday season, and that means that the next D&D session will take place in 2011. I was feeling the itch to talk about D&D, so I wanted to see what people were curious to hear about. @jbevan70 on Twitter suggested that I talk about the last year of our D&D campaign and talk about our favorite moments, but after he mentioned that I realized that it actually has been just about a year since we started playing this campaign. I sat back and thought about how far we’ve come, and it’s honestly pretty incredible. I never expected to have thousands of fans who contribute views, discussion, and fanart to our campaign when I suggested getting a D&D group together with Jason early in the year.

The first session we played it was seven us on a Skype call awkwardly trying to roleplay, and now a year later it’s nine of us on a Skype call awkwardly trying to roleplay in front of a crowd of fans making rape jokes and shouting “RAM IT!” It’s beautiful, isn’t it? I’m still stunned that so many people enjoy us playing the game, and that even more started playing D&D because of our stream. I was actually at one point going to try to contact Wizards of the Coast to tell them about that, and maybe I should consider doing that again. I doubt anything would come of it, but it’s certainly worth telling them that that thousands of viewers weekly watch a campaign set around their game. We might not be Penny Arcade, but hey, I still think it’s impressive.

So the topic of this article was to look back on the last year and recollect what we’ve done in throughout seventeen sessions, twelve characters, five levels, and one crazy campaign. There’s a lot of great memories but some of my favorites include Jonn asking if we’re on fire, Grae’s epic kill steal, Viktor decapitating Lord Esgalion, the insane throne room battle, and the one kinky night we all spent stripped, gagged, and bound in the elf camp (i.e. the Sexiest Session Ever). I’m still stunned there’s no fanart about that last one. But really, there are so many memories and I’m actually more curious to find out what you guys think about the last year of our campaign.

What have you guys loved? What have you hated? Do you have a favorite character? What about a favorite session or encounter? I’m very curious to see what the fans think about everything because I’ll be honest the campaign’s success is mostly because you guys. You guys have made this simple Sunday pastime into an event and a spectacle, and for that I thank you.

I also want to give very special to thanks to anyone out there who has drawn fanart for the campaign because honestly, that stuff is astounding to me. We’ve got some amazing artists in our community, and it means a lot that you guys put so much work into your fanart for our characters or our sessions. I’ll be honest when I say I’ve had entire days that were complete shit turned around because of an awesome piece of fanart. I try to give credit to the artists whenever I can, but I still feel it’s not enough. If you’ve ever drawn a picture of Juliet and you don’t see it in the gallery here then send an e-mail to ChrisLarios@ChannelAwesome.com with a link to the image, a link to your gallery, and a name for the credit. I want to make sure everyone gets their proper respect, and this is the absolute least I can do at this point.

Well let’s finish wrapping up a year of outrageous gaming with a great group, a fantastic DM, and the best fans in the world. There’s been a lot of fun, a few awkward moments (Lord Vane I’s death anyone?), and a lot of great discussion. You can probably tell by now, but I absolutely love talking about the D&D campaign, and if you feel like asking me anything from my thoughts on a particular character or session to something silly like what is Juliet’s favorite basketball team then send a question over to my FormSpring. Also if you’re particularly fond of the D&D campaign, check out the wiki and the TVTropes page and maybe edit some stuff in. Regardless of what you guys do, I just hope that you return next year when Team Dethklok returns to derp their way through another adventure; this time with Pascoe the Gentleman Bear!

See you guys for the next D&D recap in 2011! Until next time, Namaste!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

D&D Log: Session 17

Oh snap, it’s a D&D recap! Shit is going down people! I repeat, shit is going down! Now I know I always say this recap will be short and they always wind up being long, but this time it –should- be short because I missed much of the session when a friend of college stopped by. By the time I entered the campaign our big demon encounter was over. Actually when I first got home I asked Jason if anything important had happened and he responded “no, not really”. Then I immediately here Spoony say “you look over to see Juliet burned husk slumped in the corner”. Commence freaking out.

No, it seems that since I was absent for the encounter I was instead the victim of a Sneak Attack from Darstine who has become completely controlled by Morgana which is one of the few times Darstine has remembered to use Sneak Attack. So yeah, I basically got instant KO’d for this encounter, and then afterwards I was used as a hostage so that Morgana could get away in Darstine’s body (even if Lord Vane did use the Ring of Ram to send her flying). Kind of a shame that Juliet was pretty much used as a damsel in distress this encounter, but it does work as fuel for a rather large change in her character, but I’ll get into that later.

Anyway, following Morgana’s escape we made chase only to find that Morgana has pretty much left a field of destruction in her wake. She cut Amendread in half and nearly killed Alice, but it was clear that she had already gone back to the future to take out the Witch Queen, so it was up to Dethklok to chase after her. We returned to our time, and already we could see the effects of Morgana in our world. Tamier’s army was devastated, and those that did not choose to worship Morgana were killed. Grae managed to find a half dead Tamier, and asked, quite bluntly: “Hey Tammy. Why so dead?” I do love Grae.

The session pretty much ended there as next time our party debated on whether we should chase after Morgana, or let Morgana and the Witch Queen duke it out and try take out the winner by gathering an army from Sarmanath. Considering the holidays and MAGFest coming up it’s actually very likely we won’t be able to get a session of the campaign together for a little bit, I figure we can use this time to plan. So what do you guys think we should do?

In addition I should explain here that Juliet is going to be undergoing a character change. She’s still going to be a Druid, but she’s switching to the Essentials Druid, the Sentinel. That means a lot of changes—the most major being that I will now become a Leader as opposed to a Controller, though from what I’ve seen I won’t be really healing beyond the two Healing Words I have. More so I’ll be buffing defenses, and mixing it up in melee. Yes, while Juliet is still a spell caster (and thus prone to gagging should we get captured again which just feels inevitable at this point), she’s actually going to become a front line combatant now. I am trying to justify this change as Juliet realizing that she needs to take a more active role in improving herself. When she found herself completely helpless and used as a hostage she realized her limitations, and after that attack she could no longer hear Pidgeotto’s spirit. Thus she’s going to become a warrior for nature in the truest sense.

As for the bear that will now follow her around and can telepathically communicate with her… um… yep. He’ll just be there. Yeah, the Essential Druid gets an animal companion right off the bat which is one of the big reasons I wanted to change, but I can’t really justify him in any way. Same with why I won’t be able to Wildshape. I could say that I no longer need the ability to turn into an animal now that I’m embracing the animal within, but most of the time I just turned into a salmon and slapped people, so whatever. Yeah, I’m excited for this change, but I do have one hang up: a name for my bear companion.

As a Druid of Summer, I get a Bear Companion who stays with me forever (unlike Pidgeotto it can be killed, but like Pidgeotto it’s really just more of an annoyance), so I need a name. I’ve got quite a lot of names, so I want to see which one you guys like the best. Here are the suggestions:

- Pokemon: Considering my past animal bud was Pidgeotto, there is the possibility of keeping the streak going. As a bear I could call him Ursaring, but that’s about the only bear pokemon I can really think of.
- LOST: I have a LOST theme going with most my characters, so I could keep it up with this summon. Maybe call him Hurley? Or just call him the Polar Bear from LOST?
- New York Giants: I do like naming characters after cool last names, so I could always name my companion after a Giants player. Maybe Osi? Snee? How about Ahmad? My leading favorite? Name him after New York Giants Bear Pascoe. He’s already got Bear in his name!
- Punny Name: I could make his name a pun, and I have heard some good ones. My leading favorites are Bear Arthur (Bea Arthur) and Captain Bearbossa (Captain Barbossa).

It’s a tough choice I know, but let me know your input. We probably won’t be able to play for a while, so take your time. Also, do people like the character change in Juliet? I am trying to slowly let her character come out more and more, though I haven’t had the change to have her talk about her backstory. Was planning to mention it in the tower, but we never rested it until we reached Amendread. I kinda feel like revealing her backstory now, but I should probably keep that hidden until I can reveal it in-character. What do you guys think?

Until next time, Namaste!

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Swift Kick to the Nuts: My Life as a Giants Fan

In my short time as a Giants fan I’ve seen some heartbreaking losses, some crushing loses, and some embarrassing loses. Though I will state for the record that the worst loss I’ve seen as a fan was back in ’09 when the Giants got completely dominated by the Eagles at home in the playoffs, Sunday’s 38 – 31 meltdown is a very close second. In a game with playoff implications abound and first place of the NFC East on the line, this was a huge game already. Then add that this was a Giants home game against our most hated rival who has a five game winning streak over us. As a Giants fan we needed this win, but more than that we wanted to make a statement.

And we did. For the first thirty minutes of the game the Giants completely dominated the Eagles 24 – 3. The only Eagles points came off a Giants turnover in their own territory, and the Giants defense held Michael Vick and the #1 Offense (now calling itself the “Greatest Show of Turf Part II”) to a field goal. NFL MVP candidate Michael Vick was getting completely shut down and hit so hard that on a few plays his legs actually gave out on him. This was becoming a massacre. The Giants defense was flying around and making plays, and the “elite” Eagles receivers were being shut down by two corners that no one outside of the NFC East could even name. This was the game we needed, and going into halftime I started licking my lips at the thought of clinching the #2 seed with a Bears loss.

However it’s strange… for as excited as we should have been, I feel like we all knew what was going to happen. When FOX returned to the Pre-Game crew, everyone began handling special props to Michael Strahan, but Stray was very reserved and said football takes a full sixty minutes. He didn’t gloat or get cute. My dad called me and when I told him the score he got ecstatic and said I should probably call me Uncle (a huge Eagles fan), and start rubbing it in now, but I hesitantly declined. It’s as if collectively Giants fans knew that if any team could screw up this sort of lead it was going to be the Giants, and if any team could find a way to pop this high it was going to be the god damn Eagles.

What followed in the second half was everything I hate about the New York Giants. While I love our smash mouth running game and our overwhelming pass rush, I absolutely hate our defense when we take the lead in a game. I don’t know why it is we do this, but for some reason when we take the lead in a game we stop playing intense defense and we play this blasé no thrills coverage that gets beat. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I’m trying to recall if this ever happened under Spags, but I remember seeing it with Sheridan, and I’m seeing it way too often with Fewell. The moment we take the lead we stop seeing blitzes, and we take away the defense that put us in this position. At this point Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas had completely shut down the Eagle’s receivers single-handedly, yet once we took the lead Perry Fewell gave them extra help and thus allowed Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy to beat us with the run. Most irritating of all is that I went to high school with McCoy, so every time he gains yards on the Giants it’s like twisting a knife in my heart.

But there’s perhaps no better way to describe the Jekyll and Hyde complex the Giants have then to look at third year receiver Mario Manningham. At certain points he’s absolutely brilliant; making bobbling circus catch for a huge gain, or making yards out of nothing by making a defender miss. But then he’ll do something so mind numbingly stupid that I’m taken aback by how absolutely idiotic it is. Like when he tries to run a reverse across the football field just so he can get a few extra yards and winds up costing us a first down, or to be more relevant, fumbling the ball as he falls out of bounds simply due to careless carrying. That fumble changed the game’s momentum quickly, and not enough can be said about how much of a bonehead play this was. I don’t understand why Manningham dropped that ball other than admitting that Manningham might be gifted with amazing physical talents but also cursed with a baffling level of stupidity. It’s like he’s DeSean Jackson, except without the impressive numbers to help you justify why he takes his helmet off when he leaves the field.

Tom Quinn is a terrible Special Teams coach and two meltdowns on special teams cost us this game. The DeSean Jackson punt return was a mess, but I’ll be honest when I say that an electric player can’t be stopped. He may be an idiot, but DeSean Jackson is a damn good player and he had the talent to beat us. No, I’m far angrier about that onside kick mistake. There comes a point in football where you have to know the situation and the team you’re playing. Time is ticking down and our opponent is still down two scores. Given the situation you’d have to expect an onside kick, but more than that IT’S ANDY-FREAKING-REID AND THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES!!! Come on! They couldn’t telegraph this play anymore even if they held up an enormous neon sign and hired Bruce Springsteen to show up and sing a song about it. Seriously, what possible reason could Quinn have had to doubt that Reid would call for an onside kick?! More than that, why didn’t Tom Coughlin start strangling him for giving up a play like that!?

This was supposed to be a statement game for the Giants, and they made a statement alright: We don’t really like winning.

Actually wait, can that bumbling sound the Three Stooges make count as a statement? I think that describes this game perfectly.