Archive for August, 2013

Fan Expo 2013

I was able to attend Fan Expo in Toronto this past weekend after taking the previous year off, having shot my wad so to speak at the San Diego Comic-Con. I only attended the one day on Friday but I was pretty much there all day with the exception of lunch and a quick pint with Mrs. Middle-Aged DM. I had been hesitant about attending due to the line-ups to get in that have been ever increasing over the past couple of years, as more and more people are getting their geek- on.  That’s one of the reasons I choose Friday and also so I didn’t need to cancel any patients on Saturday.  If you are someone who attends yearly or are thinking about going next year I cannot recommend pre-ordering your tickets and paying the extra 20 dollars to have them shipped to your home enough. This seemed to avoid the brunt of the time spent in lines, as when I pre-ordered in the past most of my time was spent waiting to get in then waiting to get your bracelet. I showed up about an hour before the doors opened with my shinny wristband affixed and was directed to a very short line (it reminded of that scene from Wayne’s World where Mike Myers and Dana Carvey walk around flashing their back stage passes) that would grant me immediate access when the doors opened.

I spent most of my time wandering the hall and throwing wads of my money at people. There were a lot of good deals with some vendors giving 50 to 60 percent off on back issues. I did attend the DC adventure time panel but found it a little meh and mostly just advertising some upcoming projects with no real spoilery information. The highlight of the panel was getting to wait in line with people cosplaying  Batman’s rogues gallery.  I did stop by the Comic Geek  Speak booth and chatted with a few of the cast . I wanted to let them know how much I appreciate their podcast as it helps ease the misery of my commute. They were all super nice and very approachable. I talked to Jamie D, Pants, and Murd. I even commiserated with Jamie D around his recent rant about Marvel and DC’s never ending grand events of little substance and bringing out the worst of the early 90’s that led to an implosion of the medium.  I didn’t even celebrity stalk this year as they moved the autograph area out of the main hall and I would have had to, you know , put a little effort into it, and if there is one thing I am it is a minimal effort stalker, especially if the potential for a hair sniff is low.

I did have a gaming related encounter as I passed the rooms hosting the RPG events.  A very sweet and earnest young man hailed me down attempting to garner interest in the D&D Next and Pathfinder games they were offering. He asked me if I had heard of the Pathfinder game, which made me smile and say “hmm a little bit”.  You’d think being a psychologist I would have better communication skills or sense of social interaction as this prompted him to start explaining the game to me. So, hopefully gently, I laughed and told him and his partner that I happen to write this stupid gaming blog. I toyed with the idea of jumping into a game while I was there but my temperament skews to introvert so with all the stimuli and mass of people I was feeling a little depleted and worn.

My main mission at the con was to complete my Geoff Johns Flash run. I was able to snag the 2 issues that have eluded me for so long fairly easily and for not a lot of money given the discounts. I was also focused on picking up some 1st series Doctor Strange as I am slowing acquiring the 15 or so issues in that run.  I was pleased to re-acquire Amazing Spiderman #229 after having sold it almost 25 years ago for beer money. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and punch my younger self right in the crotch. I held off on re-acquiring Secret Wars #8, also sold for beer money as it is a little pricey and I can only tolerate making so much amends for my youthful stupidity, and upon reflection, apparent problem drinking.

Here’s a snapshot  of my lack of impulse control:



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I am introducing a new segment here called “State of the Gaming”. Basically these posts will cover, in a rambling beatnikish incoherent style, what I am playing or thinking of playing and will be done on a haphazard and infrequent manor. I know what you’re thinking, “how is this any different than what you usually do”. Well, all I have to say to that is…touché sir.

I am currently playing in the first module of Chris Perkins’ 4th Edition update of the classic AD&D G-series “Against the Giant’s”. The module is a pretty good rendition of the original and I am prepping to run the second adventure (although this one focuses on the stone giants who were left pout of the original series).  It looks like we are going to complete the adventure without taking an extended rest or having a character drop below zero hit points. I don’t think we are overly optimized (no radiant mafia bull shit) but are definitely well put together pc’s. So this has spurred a bit of a debate as to whether it is too easy or not enough challenge and should we gimp our characters. I personally don’t have an issue with it because I enjoy feeling like a big man in my fantasy life; it’s kind of why I play these things in the first place. I don’t find the lack of challenge boring at all; there are still plenty of interesting tactical decisions and dick jokes to be made. Looking at the encounter design it seems like this is the way the game was probably meant to be played, with their trying to move away from the 5 minute workday in all. In most of our home games whether it’s me or one of the other DM’s I play with you could never go this long without an extended rest.  That’s because we usually over level encounters, despite players probably not caring about a lack of challenge, as a reaction to feeling impotent in the face of their pownage. I am also playing in a 4th edition D&D superhero mash up game as Clint “Hawk Guy” Martin. I modeled him after Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye title (which is probably one of the best comic books out there these days). Mechanically he is a hybrid bow ranger/monk. You can also check out my fighter Carl Laggerbelly, a sword and board fighter that makes a living by building auto-erotic asphyxiation contraptions, who I am playing in the Giants game.

I finally finished reading the DC adventures rule book and I am feeling a little hesitant about running it. The game itself is a very crunchy d20 based system.  I am having a little trouble with the lack of hit points or their equivalence in the system. If you haven’t read the system, basically all attack outcomes are conditions based, whether that’s Superman punching you in the breadbasket or Zatanna turning you into a frog. It shakes out like this, when you attack someone you roll against the appropriate defense (will, parry, toughness etc..). If you hit then then they make a saving throw against the attack to determine the effect. If they succeed then usually nothing happens and if they fail a condition is applied based on the attack power and degree you failed the saving throw by. This seems a little cumbersome to me and I am leery about keeping track of multiple conditions and their effects at the table (it is one of my least favorite aspects of D&D 4th Edition). I kind of prefer things to be a little more straight forward like in Hero System with their Stun, Endurance, and Body to keep track of damage and effects in combat.  I am still trying to decide how to approach running the system and whether I will make a small location and populate it with some different factions or download the free introductory adventure from Green Ronin Publishing. If I know anything about myself, I will probably end up choosing the option that is most painful and punishing to me. Any suggestions?

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