Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Stuff and Things

The whole family went over to my sister Jenn's house on Saturday. My nephew Cameron and Elizabeth watched videos and played with toys while Amy ran to the mall for some shopping. Jenn invited some friend over so that the lot of us could play some German games. This was a new bunch I hadn't met before and guess what? They didn't suck! Maybe it was just the fact that they were honest-to-Grodd gamers that helps. Jason and Andre are apparently Magic: The Gathering goons. Anyway, we played some Bohnanza and Carcassonne. Everyone seemed to have a good time. I would play with these folks again.

I'm seriously considering daytripping to GenCon this year. Basically, my idea is to get up at o'dark thirty the Thursday of the big event, haul ass to Indy, hit the exhibitors' booths for the coolest new gamejunk (and free swag), and get back to Shampoo-Banana by Friday in the wee hours. Maybe I can work in playing a game somewhere in that plan, maybe not. Anybody else think this idea doesn't suck? I really want to go to the darn thing before they leave Indy, but I don't want to spend 60 bucks for a weekend badge and cover the costs of a hotel room.

Monday night was gaming with the grognards. We played El Grande, Union Pacific, and Bohnanza. I managed to tie for first in El Grande, but my Union Pacific game needs more work. That's a nice way of saying I came in dead last. I think I did somewhat better with my stock plays, but my train placement needs a lot of work. I got some lousy draws for track cards, but I can't blame my performance on that. A good gamesman makes due with the material available.

Yesterday I got my first issue of The Crusader, the new gaming rag from Troll Lord Games. On a lark I decided to try a subscription. This first issue is pretty fluffy, but the Troll Lords are promising more crunchy gaming goodness in the future. Speaking of the Troll Lords, I think I'm going to try organizing a Castles & Crusades one-shot before I jump into a full-length campaign.

Speaking of one-shots, I'm going to start to put together a group to try out a first level RPGA module. I've got a line on a DM and at least one other player. I need two to four more people at the table to make this a go. And I also need to decide if I'm going to take the plunge as far as getting some 3.5 books go. I always feel kinda weird when I don't at least own copies of the latest version of the Big Game, like I've lost connection with the mainstream of the hobby. Living Greyhawk is a way to plug myself back into the bigger hobby community. I know that sounds kinda ridiculous, considering that I participate in aty least one convention a year, run two campaigns, and have more gaming friends than I can keep track of, but I just feel alienated if I'm not at least trying to follow good ol' D&D.

That being said, I can't say I'm thrilled by the idea of purchasing the 3.5 corebooks when my 3.0 books are in decent shape and the 3.5 SRD is available for free. Still, it seems kinda dumb to play Dungeons & Dragons and not own at least a PHB. I guess I just believe that a good player buys their own damn copy of the rules. The MM and DMG are less critical, but what if I need to look up the stats for a magic item or a summoned animal? Clearly, just having a PHB would leave me short. Meanwhile, the Complete line of books look like a lot of fun, but it seems kinda stupid to own a Complete book and not the core PHB. (Well, I already own the 3.5 Unearthed Arcana, but I consider that a very special case.) Ignoring Complete Divine, that 6 books priced ~$20 apiece at Amazon. I guess a hundred and twenty bucks isn't a lot to drop on a hobby nowadays, but it sure seems like a lot to me.

There are a couple of other items I'd also like to get if I went the Living Greyhawk route. I thought about getting the D&D Miniatures Handbook for the Marshal core class and some feats that are considered street legal in LG, but an astute RPGnetter pointed me to the Wizards page giving the lowdown on the Marshal. Looks like a neat class. I could totally see using this class to build a Superman/Captain America style good guy with Marshal 2/Fighter 2/Paladin 3 as the set-up. Other secondary items include the Power Gamer's 3.5 Warrior Strategy Guide and the forthcoming D&D For Dummies. Don't laugh at that last one, but I could use some help with the new version of D&D. I'm not too proud to admit it. Finally, a whole buttload of Greyhawk regional feats were published last year in a couple of issues of Dragon, numbers 315 and 319, IIRC. Most of the material presented in those articles has been greenlit for Living Greyhawk.

Now admittedly, I could participate in the LG stuff armed with nothing more than an SRD printout. (After all, a good gamesman makes due with the material at hand.) But it seems to me that if you are going to invest time and effort in running your PC through the dangers of LG while simultaneously exposing yourself to the RPGA, then you owe it to yourself to get it right the first time. I'd hate to get into a LG character only to discover that I made a mistake 3 levels before because I didn't have all the books. Maybe that's obsessive, I dunno. Maybe the whole is just a grand self-deception designed to justify jumping into buying a big pile of shiny hardback D&D books.