#020 DnD Next Chat

This week we discuss recent D&D next articles and polls.  Enjoy listening to us give our take on these subjects and let us know yours by leaving comments or email us at podcast@crimsonbastards.com  Please continue to give us the great reviews and 5-star ratings on iTunes.  Don’t forget to subscribe!

Go to http://www.crimsonbastards.com and check out our swag shop and our Obsidian Portal page.

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The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins from an Adult Fantasy/Sci-Fi Reader’s Perspective

      The world that Suzanne Collins has created in her Hunger Games series consists of a ruthless, totalitarian government that after years of war has established 12 districts that are each subservient to a central capital.  Each of the suppressed districts is responsible for providing specialized resources for the all-powerful capital to enjoy.  And if that’s not enough to make you hate the mysterious tyrant that controls the capital, there is the Hunger Games.   Every year, as a show of the capital’s dominance, there is a competition in which children from each of the districts are selected by lottery to fight each other to the death in order to win food and medical resources for their district.  The action picks up as young Katniss Everdeen from the relatively poor and insignificant district 12 is placed into these Hunger Games.  

     One could go on about how Collins’ premise lacks in originality.  Mad Max anyone?  How about Running Man (gotta love Schwarzenegger)?  Should we even mention 1984 and Orwell?   So, as many hard-core sci-fi/fantasy fans maintain, Ms. Collins lacks originality, but does this shortcoming mark her as a hack?  Well that depends.  After all, we must remember that there is a precedent for every story.  In the fantasy realm, the likes of George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan admittedly draw heavily upon Tolkien, and Tolkien along with all popular fantasy writers draw heavily upon mythology (notably Norse mythology).  As for Science Fiction, even the likes of Asimov and Clarke use mathematics and science as a source for their inspiration. My point being that while some authors are more original than others, all writers are heavily influenced by previous writings and ideas. Continue reading “The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins from an Adult Fantasy/Sci-Fi Reader’s Perspective”

New Paypal Donate Button

Hello out there to everyone in listener/reader land.  Those of you with a sharp eye might notice a new button on the right hand side of the ol’ Crimson Bastards webpage with the word “Donate” written conspicuously upon it.  I know what you’re thinking: Great now these guys are trying to take my money too.  And you’re right!  But we are at least going to offer you something in return for your generosity.  As the text above the button says, we will dedicate a podcast to anyone that donates $10 US currency or more at any given time.  If you can only donate a smaller amount of money than that we completely understand and we’ll probably still acknowledge you in a podcast, you just won’t get the whole thing dedicated to you is all. Continue reading “New Paypal Donate Button”

#012 Legend of Drizzt Board Game

This week the gang breaks out our copy of the Legend of Drizzt Board Game and plays through an adventure.  This was our first time playing one of the Dungeons & Dragons board games and we talk our way through it as we go.  There were a couple of problems such as we didn’t know to share experience among all PCs.  We hope you enjoy this podcast and we will be back to the Depths of Insanity campaign next week.

We highly appreciate any and all 5 star iTunes reviews!  Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss any upcoming shows.

Go to http://www.crimsonbastards.com and check out our swag shop and our Obsidian Portal page.

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Game Review: DC Universe Online for PS3

 

I swore off MMORPGs a while back because I found that they have a tendency to consume my life; plus, at $10 or more per month, they also put a drain on a my bank account. It was usually the emptying of my wallet that gave me the extra little push I needed to stop playing games like EverQuest, Dark Ages of Camelot, Lord of the Rings Online, and World of Warcraft (that is, when I wasn’t play my Dad’s accounts. Hey Dad!). So, you can imagine my dismay when I began to see advertisements online that these games are now, for the most part, free. Much like a heroin-addicted monkey with an eight-ball dangled in front of his face, it was only a matter of time before I gave in to the cravings. So it was, just last week when my wife was out of town, when I noticed that DC Universe Online was free to play through my PlayStation 3, I might as well have been picking up a syringe instead of a game controller. At least we’re getting this nifty review out of my relapse, right?

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Review: Dungeons and Dragons Classics Volume 1

I recently reviewed the first volume of the Forgotten Realms Trade Paperback  reprinting by IDW comics which covers the first eight issues of the original comic.  Today I’m reviewing the first volume of Dungeons & Dragons Classics which contains the first eight issues of that comic which was originally published in the late 1980’s.  This comic series is once again placed in the world of Faerûn and starts before the Forgotten Realms books timeline wise.

The first story arc is contained in issues one through four serves to bring the entire party of adventurers together and introduce the main heroes of the comic, but is also serves as the back story for Priam Agrivar, whom you might remember from the Forgotten Realms comic.  Without giving too many spoilers, the history of Priam alluded to within the other comic series is fleshed out in more detail here and we see the adventure which leads him to cliff diving for fun at the beginning of the other comic series.  The other members of the party include iconic race/class combinations such as an Elven wizard named Cybriana from Shadowdale and a female human fighter named Vajra Valmeyjar.  However the other two members of the group introduced in this first story are a bit more quirky than what you might see in a comic based on a newer edition of Dungeons and Dragons.  The first is Timoth Eyesbright, a male centaur fighter and Onyx the Invincible, a dwarven fighter/thief that specializes in throwing darts.  These two characters serve to bring about some interesting situations and inject humor into the story in a way that is reminiscent of 1st edition games and as such they truly add to the overall comic. Continue reading “Review: Dungeons and Dragons Classics Volume 1”

Review: Abolethic Sovereignty Trilogy

The transition from third edition to fourth edition D&D consisted of many changes in the game. For Forgotten Realms the change in editions also heralded changes in the world of Faerûn mostly in the form of the Spellplague.  The story told in the three books of the Abolethic Sovereignty follows a group of adventurers several years after the Spellplague has washed through the land, changing magic and generally disrupting the world.  Raidon Kane is a half-elf monk who spends most of his life hunting aberrations.  As the story begins he is heading home to his daughter after an adventure hunting and fighting these strange creatures when the Spellplague bursts forth and turns his life on its head.

Raidon awakens about ten years later to find Faerûn much changed and that his former life, including his daughter, has been lost.  There is truly no rest for the weary however as Kane soon finds himself embroiled in a fight against those who would awaken the Abolethic Sovereignty and unleash the horrors of the Far Realm upon not only the Forgotten Realms, but all worlds. Continue reading “Review: Abolethic Sovereignty Trilogy”

Dungeons & Dragons Virtual Table: A DM’s Perspective

It can be hard to keep a gaming group together over the years as people get different jobs, move and have differing schedules.  As a result, gamers have been looking for ways to play online for many years.  Our group has tried several times to use different technologies to allow us to play with varying degrees of success.  Over the last couple of years we have mostly used Map Tool and Skype which works fairly well.  Once all of the information is entered into the application play for the players is fairly easy.  Each player can move their token around the map, use their abilities and manage hit points and conditions.

The real problem I had as a DM using MapTool was the sheer volume of time and work required by me just to run a single session.  In order to play a single three-hour session I would sometimes require as much as four hours of prep time in MapTool importing characters, setting up weapons/armor/items, drawing out the map and importing monsters and NPCs.  Add to that the amount of time I would need to spend just preparing the adventure and it would normally take me five hours to get a session ready, longer if there were multiple encounters that session.  As a result I eventually burned out on all of the prep work and we took a hiatus from playing.

Recently we decided to give the new Virtual Table from Wizards of the Coast a shot since it has been in beta now for about a year and (we hoped) should now be fairly mature and easy to use. Continue reading “Dungeons & Dragons Virtual Table: A DM’s Perspective”

Locke & Key Volume 1

I’ve been eyeing Locke & Key for months now on the IDW app on my iPad.  The cover art looks interesting and the blurbs sound like something I would like but I’ve mostly just stuck to reading the new Dungeons & Dragons comic available every month.  The town where the main characters of the comic lived is named Lovecraft though and I could only stand not reading this comic for so long.  Over the weekend I found myself buying Volume 1, which contains the first six issues of this comic and was originally released in paper form back in 2008.

I went into the reading with zero preconceptions about what kind of book I was reading.  All I really knew was that there was a tenuous Lovecraft connection and that’s basically what pulled me in.  All six issues are well put together, the characters are three dimensional and the story draws you in from the first page.  The art in these books is amazing, if a bit more gory than I had expected and compliments the writing superbly.  Speaking of the writing, this is where this volume really shines.  The story of the Locke family is interesting and believable even while completely unbelievable things are happening all around them.  I keep wanting to call each issue an episode because it feels more like watching a television show or a movie than reading a comic book.  I was so entranced that I read the entire volume in one setting and overall I was very pleased with the experience and the ending of the arc in the sixth issue. Continue reading “Locke & Key Volume 1”

Cthulhu Dice

It was only a matter of time before I bought this game, and looking back on it now I can see that as clearly as any doomed man looking back at the choices that led him into the clutches of the dead Cthulhu after stumbling upon R’lyeh. For me the path is as simple as it is convoluted: I am a big fan of Lovecraft and all things Lovecraftian, and I love to play Munchkin. Combined, those two components make buying Cthulhu Dice from SJ Games pretty much a given.

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