Thursday, February 22, 2018

Sometimes I make bad decisions......

Well my  free time will now be cannibalized more than ever.

I grabbed Dynasty Warriors 9.

I now have an open world full map of China, 80 some characters to unlock, Wu, Shu, Wei, Jin and misc stories to play through.
So many buttons to mash!
So much bad voice acting to listen too.
So many insane weapons to wield.
Tens of thousands of warriors to defeat on the battlefield.

Oh how I have missed this franchise its mindless simplicity and utter insanity!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Black Panther

After his introduction in Civil War we waited for Black Panther to get his own film.

Feb 2018 and it is here.

Black Panther.

Fresh off the events of Civil War, T’Challa has returned to Wakanda to be officially crowned king and carry the mantle of The Black Panther. Everything is looking swell for him, until his rule is challenged by an outsider one, Erik “Killmonger” Stevens appears to lay claim to the Wakandan throne. Now toss in some vibranium laced global ramifications if T’Challa loses the throne to him. Add to this a sprinkle of origin story, a tiny bit of love story/family drama and a return of Ulysses Klaue and his sonic arm cannon to pester T’Challa.

Well was it good?


Black Panther is a good movie.

It checks all the Marvel comic book movie boxes.

There is plenty and it is damn fun stuff;  car chases, melee combat scenes ( both crisp and well shot and dark and frantic ), explosions and a big spectacle battle.
This dude hates motor vehicles.
The comedic stuff is  light, but welcome. Without it this film would have been a bit too dour. A lot of this comes from T’Challa’s sister/ princess Shuri as she is both tech genius and quintessential teenage girl. Ulysses Klaue is more amped up than his cameo in Age of Ultron. He has some great moments giving us typical unbalanced and impulsive  villain. Toss in a bit of dry humor from Okoye as the head of Dora Milaje to top off the lighthearted bits of the film.

Never thought I'd be a big supporter of the Man-Ape ever

Comic Book Moxy
First we get Black Panther in a big full movie. Being a staple of the MCU for a bit over 50 years now this guy needed a movie. Thankfully, it was done now with this studio ( and not botched by Sony, Fox, etc. ). We also get to see a lot of Wakanda, the Golden City, and the Great Mound. Then throw in all the vibranium tech to boot. Throw in the Man-Ape ( without the silly ape suit ) M’Baku. His part was unexpectedly awesome. We get the full sonic arm cannon of Klaue. The Dora Milaje did not disappoint. There was also a lot more of CIA agent Everett Ross than I expected. They hit a bit of the spirituality that surrounds the Black Panther with visiting his dead father. There was probably a ton more that I missed since I am not super knowledgeable about Black Panther. Still what they gave me that I knew about was all great stuff!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Monsters: The Mind Flayer

A super intelligent mind power wielding humanoid not-octopi, also known as the Mind Flayer (or Illithid), I am not a fan, but why?

They have a great look. They are a thin frail humanoid with four tentacle octopus-like head and a lamprey mouth. They have these beady (or sometime large bulbous depending on the artwork) colorless eyes. Their skin is purple-grey and slimy. Yet they still wear crazy robes. They have a crazy alien appearance and also a sense of style. I can get behind that.

Their name does sound badass. That is a reason to want to use them, am I right?!

They possess super intelligence. They have all manner of mind powers. They are the Bond villains of the D&D universe. Another bonus to use them, am I right?!

There are multiple variations of the Mind Flayer; Alhoon the Lich version (or Illithilich if you are so inclined), Ulitharid the biggest and best of the group they have 6 tentacles, and the Vampric Illithid another undead version but with vampire abilities. Then there are all their little brain tadpoles, elder brain leaders, aberrations and such. There is a lot of Mind Flayer associated creatures out there. Wait….this is really kind of annoying.

They keep a stable or army of mind controlled thralls. They eat the brains of their victims. Hell, they even do this by latching onto a victim’s head with their face tentacles and then using them to pull out their victim’s brain. That is just so cool and gross!  Once again, just some great stuff here.

Then why are you not using them Ian?

First, is because they used to have all this psionic power crap back when I first started playing. I didn’t have the time, money or want to dive into another manual about psionic powers to use the mind flayer properly. Plus I was and still am a guy who avoids psy powers both as DM and player. I always found it a pain to use them or even want to use them. Without creepy mind powers what is the point of a mind flayer?

They have the Underdark stigmata. The late 90’s, for me, was a world of the Underdark. I read too many Drizzt novels. One gaming group I ran with had a lot of previous Underdark adventures and I was wrapped up in the fallout from that. I got burnt out on the world of the Mind Flayer/ Drow very quickly. Hell, even to this day I rarely use Drow and have still never sent a party into the world of the Underdark. I just have no want to deal with the dark under world of the Mind Flayer and their lairs.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

D&D post game 2-3-18 Part 3

If this is the “little dragon” the goblins spoke of….what is a big dragon?

Returning to his lair after a few days of exploring the mountains the white dragon Franerrorth, known in some circles as The Lord of Ice, was looking forward to the meal left for him by his followers. As he passed over the frozen castle he saw a group of figures in his treasure room. These were not dragon men bringing him food or plundered treasure. At this height these looked to be humans and they were ransacking his treasure!

Fanerrorth made a second pass high above the citadel and then dove down to his frozen lair. It had been decades since he had feasted on man flesh. Oh how he hoped there was an elf among them. The only better flesh than man was that of an elf! He slowly descended and prepared to show these interlopers why he was known as the Lord of Ice.


The party had broken one chest from its block of ice. They then turned to the second block. They were so busy that they missed the sound of the dragon alighting behind them on the wall. They however didn’t miss the sound of a deep inhalation of air.

“DRAGON!” someone yelled but it was too late. The beast had unleashed his icy breath weapon. The monk’s preternatural dexterity offered him some protection from the blast. The winter wolf cloak the barbarian had made did the same. However, the bard and rouge were caught directly in the blast. The rouge managed to crawl to safety behind a block of ice. The bard was not as lucky. His body lay still and covered in a thick sheet of ice on the ground. The archeologist had also taken refuge behind the ice blocks and missed the majority of the breath weapon. He ran out and drug the bard back behind the ice. Roaring the dragon dropped down from the wall to assault the monk and barbarian.

The rouge took a minute to chortle down a healing potion he had stashed away and then did his best to sneak up on the dragon. Little did he know the beast saw him and was prepared. As the rouge made his way to the dragon’s flank he drew weapons and prepared to strike. It was then that the dragon lashed out with his tail striking the rouge and knocking him back a good fifteen feet. It appeared stealth would not work against the wyrm.

The bard was revived and also quaffed a healing potion he had procured. He rose and began to bolster the warriors with song and verse.
The archeologist stayed behind cover and cast the only offensive magic he knew. A trio of green bolts of energy struck the dragon, but if it did any real damage he could not tell.

The barbarian and monk kept up their frontal assault on the dragon. They did their best to dodge claw and fang. They knew they had a limited amount of time before the wyrm could and would bring it’s icy death breath to bear once again. The barbarian had worked himself into a frothing rage and rained blow after blow at the beast. The monk in his typical stoic manner, kept up his assault of magic infused punches. His jutsu was strong, but would it be enough to drop the beast?

The dragon’s assault forced the bard to utilize his only healing magic. The archeologist ran forward to cast his one healing spell as well. The dragon was slowly gaining the upper hand by slowly tearing the party to shreds. The rouge was slapped by the dragon’s tail yet again, but managed to keep his footing. The monk was beginning to lose focus as his supernatural Ki powers were fading.

It was then that the dragon reared back and inhaled deeply. The party knew what was about to happen, but had no way to escape in time. They would be hit with another blast of freezing dragon breath. The barbarian knew he had but one chance and, with a cry to his orc god, he the leapt at the dragon’s throat swinging his sword in a wide arc. As the dragon’s head came forward to exhale, the barbarian’s sword cleaved right through the beast’s neck! The dragons’ head lolled to the side, his mouth still agape and then fell to the floor with a mighty thud. Franerrorth, The Lord of Ice, was no more.

(Sidebar - another natural 20 with the vorpal sword the 5th of the night for the barbarian!)

The party took a few moments to catch their breath and celebrate. They had survived by the skin of their teeth once again!

They had earned the frozen treasure!

Friday, February 9, 2018

D&D Post game 2-3-18 Part 2

Frost giant battle!

The barbarian charged the frost giant. The monk rushed the first winter wolf. The rouge followed to help. The barb began to play all manner of inspirational music to bolster the party. The archeologist cast the few magic missile spells he knew at the winter wolves. Two dragonborn guards moved to intercept the monk and rouge. While the other two moved to confront the bard and archeologist.

The frost giant and ½ orc traded blow for blow. It was a modified David and Goliath situation. See this David was a raging barbarian with a giant two handed vorpal sword. This goliath wasn’t going to be taken down by any paltry little rock either!

The monk  and rouge were entangled with giant frost wolves and dragonborn soldiers. The bard and archeologist moved to avoid the oncoming pair of dragonborn guards. The bard stopped and tried to strike the giant blind with magic, but it failed to work. He went back to throwing out inspirational songs to aid the party.

As the rouge and monk were finishing off the remaining winter wolf they moved to intercept the oncoming guards. Thus keeping the bard and archeologist safe from melee combat. The barbarian and frost giant continued to hack away at each other in a brutal battle of attrition.

Just then a few more dragonborn arrived through the Eastern doorway. They had been drawn to the sounds of battle! The monk and rouge moved to engage them, while keeping out of range of the giant’s mighty blows. The archeologist leveled his crossbow and fired off shots at the approaching guards. The bard continued to play music to inspire his friends or to try and hamper their foes.

The monk and rouge made quick work of the dragon men who had just arrived. They turned and ran to aid the barbarian against the giant, but it wasn’t necessary. The frost giant and barbarian were both bleeding from several wounds, but they continued to swig away at one another. The frost giant seeing his followers were all dead knew he had little time left. He needed to drop this ½ orc and then he could dispatch his companions. He raised his mighty ice axe and delivered a pair of devastating blows poised to cut the ½ orc in two. The barbarian say this and shifted at the last moment. The strikes missed him and left the giant’s flank exposed. Letting out a bellowing roar the barbarian drove his sword deep into the giant’s side. He then turned the blade and slashed up as far and fast as he could. The giant twisted with the cut and the sword came rushing out, along with  a torrent of blood. The giant stumbled two steps to the side and then came crashed to the floor.

The barbarian walked over to the giant’s face and began to remove one of his softball sized eyes. After a few moments, he devoured the giant eyeball to honor Gruumsh , little did he know Gruumsh was watching and passed a blessing of strength upon his ½ orc follower. ( I randomly roll for divine intervention in moments like this usually a 5% chance- I upped it to 15% since he faced and killed the giant all by himself- I roll 6% and so gave the barbarian an extra D4 damage to all his attacks for the next 24 hours ).

The rouge was then all about climbing up to grab the Heir Stone. It was the quick intervention of the archeologist that stopped him. The rouge did not notice the various lines of runes wrapping around the pillar. Not to mention the runic circle surrounding the pillar. These magical runes looked to be protective and destructive. It would take some time and manipulation to remove these magical guards and wards. The Heir Stone was secure and had been for a few centuries it could wait a while longer.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

D&D post game 2-3-18 Part 1

The rouge, barbarian, monk and adventuring archeologist were poised to make their way up to the citadel of Thunderdelve Mountain. Then they heard the braying of a donkey from the trail behind them. Slowly approaching was their bard. It seems he had been busy doing some performance and missed the steam carriage. He had spent the last week trying to catchup to the party. The now five man party made their way through a small valley and up toward the citadel.

As they advanced, they saw two white dragonborn guards patrolling the main gate. The rouge was going to sneak up to dispatch one or both guards. The monk was voting for direct assault. It was then that the two guards walked back into citadel through the giant and slightly open main doors. The party advanced and the barbarian hatched a plan.

He stomped right through the gate and held out his water skin now full of snowberry wine. He held it up and proclaimed “Drinks!”

The two dragonborn guards were just inside the gates and warming themselves by a small fire. One guard stood and reached for the water skin. The second guard slapped his hand away and barked at his companion in their dragon language. They both grabbed their spears and attacked! Well it was a short and uneventful battle as the barbarian and monk dispatched the two guards quickly.

The party took stock of their location. They were in a wide and long hallway. Several doors lined both sides as well as a pair of giant metal doors at the end. A pair of hallways also broke off to either side of the main hall as well. There was no main consensus and their archeologist, Lukas, didn’t have a map of this place. So….they began to open doors.

The barbarian opened the first door he saw and found a small guard room and within was another door, which was suddenly thrown open. Two more dragonborn guards rushed toward him. Meanwhile, the rouge opened the door opposite and found four sleeping dragonborn. He slowly snuck into the room and promptly stumbled and knocked over a trio of spears. This awoke the sleeping dragonborn and leapt up to arm themselves. Hooray! Battles on two fronts!

Well short battle on two fronts as the barbarian’s vorpal sword claimed its first head of the night. The monk, rouge and bard began to cut their way through the four dragonborn in the opposite room. Sure the barbarian came over to join the fray, and need to as the battle was complete mess of people just missing everyone. (SIDEBAR- as the game started most player hit rolls were garbage and a lot of misses)

Two rooms cleared and now they discussion of what to do next. They discussed what they were looking for and Lukas told them of a gem with magical properties called the “heir Stone.” It was supposed to have all manner of magical properties or enchantments upon it. This is what he was looking to find, if he ever found this citadel. He knew it should be located in a giant central hall where the fancy banquets, event and meeting were said to be held. Well they now they had a what, but needed to find the where. They chose to take the first hallway to the left and begin looking.

More doors!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Monster review: Ogre

The first and ( personally favorite ) of the big dumb monsters for players to battle, the ogre!

I love these guys!

Now they are supposedly related to giants. I think they are their smaller dumber 2nd or 3rd cousins. Then again at one time they were said to be related to trolls. Whatever their lineage, they are just such a great monster.

First off there is nothing better than a big dumb monster for players to fight. They stand between 9 and 10 feet tall. They weigh 600 plus pounds. They can take a beating and deliver one right back at you! They can fill various parts in a game ; the quinticential brute, they can be made elites, and they can be foot soldiers for even worse creatures. Even better is their singular ease of use. They are a point a click monster that takes no thought to run, meaning no tactics besides “HULK SMASH!”

They come in various varieties. There is the smaller ½ ogre. The semantics behind their creation/ gestational cycle is mind boggling. The merrow and aquatic ogre for those who enjoy the nautical theme games. There is even the dreaded ogre magi or oni. A Japanese inspired ogre with innate magical abilities. Multiple flavors of the same beast to fit various niches. I’m not going to delve into their other versions though. This is just about the standard and always classic ogre.

Never liked this look for the ogre. Way to beastman-ish