D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 11 Recap

In exploring Old Owl Well the party runs afoul of a giant horde of zombies, and a necromancer from Talus’ past.

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Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9:30pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

 

A horde of zombie approaches – roll for initiative!

My players are nothing if not methodical. After dealing with Agatha at Conyberry at the end of last week’s session, they traveled South toward Old Owl Well to clean up their quest log. They had learned that the area has been seen crawling with undead, and were tasked with discovering what was going on.

Old Owl Well, like several of the mini-locations in “The Lost Mine of Phandelver,” doesn’t have an official printed battlemap. Thankfully the campaign is popular enough that I was able to find one online and incorporate it into what turned into one of our longest, and more interesting combat encounters. Continue reading “D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 11 Recap”

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Secret Warriors: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1

It’s Marvel’s version of GI Joe as Nick Fury fights back with his own super-powered team of spys and soldiers.

With Marvel’s popular and successful foray into films with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve finally decided to get back into comics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men and other superheroes but haven’t really kept up since the 90s. Thus begins my grand catching-up of the last ten years of Marvel comics, events and stories.

Thanks in large part to trade paperbacks and the digital convenience of Marvel Unlimited I can make relatively quick progress, and I’ll write down my Final Thoughts for each collection here on my blog. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

Secret Warriors vol 1Writers: Brian Michael Bendis, Jonathan Hickman

Artists: Stefano Casselli, Alessandro Vitti, Gianluca Gugliotta, Ed McGuiness

Issues: Secret Warriors (2008) #1-16, Dark Reign: The List – Secret Warriors #1

 

It’s GI Joe, Marvel style!

Nick Fury had been written out of comics for a number of years around the era I started reading (2004-05). He’d been operating in the shadows, occasionally popping up to help other people like Spider-Woman and Winter Soldier. He finally resurfaces in triumphant fashion with his own superteam in the middle of 2008’s Secret Invasion, immediately kicking skrull ass.

Following the Secret Invasion and the new regime change that puts Norman Osborn in charge, Nick Fury’s team received its own official series called Secret Warriors. The roster of mostly original characters benefits from Brian Michael Bendis’ grandiose serialized writing style and plot development, but the actual team remains frustratingly underdeveloped. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Secret Warriors: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1”

D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 10 Recap

The party battles a dragon and survives, then travels across the Neverwinter Wood to speak with an Elvish banshee.

d&d

Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9:30pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

Dragon fight!

Our adventure, “The Lost Mine of Phandelver,” includes a rather powerful, and optional, foe – a young green dragon. Even a young dragon is a nearly insurmountable obstacle for a party of 3rd or 4th level heroes. I think that Wizards of the Coast felt compelled to include at least one dragon in their starter adventure, possibly as an example that some foes might just be too strong to tackle.

My players were not overly fond of having a super powerful enemy on the board, however. Since they’d left the cultists in Thundertree alive I devised a role-playing scene between the cultists, dragon, and players to try and make the encounter a bit more interesting (the adventure gives me nothing for the dragon other than a name).

To add some tense flavoring I had the cultists and dragon speak draconic, which only the party’s dragonborn could understand. I whispered the translations to him, and I grew worried that I was leaving everyone else out. They said they enjoyed the tension and were constantly “waiting for the bomb to drop.”

Kalinaar the paladin had his own speech alongside Favric, the cultist leader. The cultists had acted friendly and waved the PCs into the dragon’s tower, only to offer them as further reward to the dragon in exchange for his allegiance. I had both Favric and Kalinaar roll Persuasion checks, and Favric won. The cultists fled the building and the dragon attacked the PCs, starting with his devastating acid breath. Continue reading “D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 10 Recap”

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Uncanny X-Men: The Complete Collection, Vol. 2

The X-Men go to war with Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers, and the fate of mutantkind leads to a creation of yet another new home.

With Marvel’s popular and successful foray into films with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve finally decided to get back into comics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men and other superheroes but haven’t really kept up since the 90s. Thus begins my grand catching-up of the last ten years of Marvel comics, events and stories.

Thanks in large part to trade paperbacks and the digital convenience of Marvel Unlimited I can make relatively quick progress, and I’ll write down my Final Thoughts for each collection here on my blog. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

uncanny x-men complete collction vol 2Writer: Matt Fraction

Artists: Yanick Paquette, Greg Land, Terry Dodson, Marc Silvestri, Luke Ross, Alan Davis

Issues: Uncanny X-Men (1963) #512-519, Dark Avengers (2009) #7-8, Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men Utopia One-Shot, Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men Exodus One-Shot*

*I also included relevant tie-ins X-Men Legacy #226-227 and X-Men: Nation X #1-4

 

“Hello again. My name is Scott Summers and I’ve been an X-Man since I was fifteen. And like everyone else here, I’ve been a mutant all my life.”

I was originally going to open with “It was a time of upheaval for our beloved mutants,” but honestly it’s always a damn time of upheaval. From House of M to Emperor Vulcan and the Shi’ar Empire to Messiah Complex, the X-Men have barely had a chance to tell more character-focused, one-off stories before being whisked away to the next major event.

If you can’t already tell from the cavalcade of artists and issues included in this collected volume, this is yet another major event. To Marvel’s credit, most of these events do change the status quo of X-Men and mutants quite a bit, from destroying Xavier’s school to moving the X-Men West to San Francisco.

The Complete Collection Volume 2 covers the Dark Reign era – circa 2009. The X-Men are involved in a growing escalation of anti-mutant hatred in the not-so-progressive city of San Francisco, eventually clashing with Norman Osborn and the Dark Avengers. A new Dark X-Men team is temporarily created by Emma Frost, and Scott shows off his Wartime Consigliere skills when he creates yet another new home for mutantkind by dredging up a surprising location. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Uncanny X-Men: The Complete Collection, Vol. 2”

Live Segment on Good Morning Texas: Fun Family Board Games to Play This Holiday Season

Watch the video of my live segment on great family board games from Good Morning Texas!

Good Morning Texas, board games cropped

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post I got to to go on the local ABC affiliate here in Dallas this morning and talk about some of my favorite recommended board games for families.

Click the link below to watch my full 5 minute segment! Big thanks to my awesome sister who’s a PR machine – follow her cooking and gardening page at The Rose Table.

http://www.wfaa.com/videos/entertainment/television/programs/good-morning-texas/2015/11/20/76114486/

Good Morning Texas, backstage

Talking Board Games Live on Good Morning Texas

From Ticket to Ride to Catan I talk about the best board games to jump into the hobby with and introduce to friends and family.

For all my fellow DFW, North Texas people, I’ll be appearing on Good Morning Texas (WFAA-ABC) on Friday, November 19 to talk about board games! Specifically great gateway or introductory games to play with the family this holiday season.

For a full list of my top ten board games to get you started in the hobby, check out my published article on Playboy.com (Safe for work).

Below is a list of the games I’m bringing with me to talk about live on air. Continue reading “Talking Board Games Live on Good Morning Texas”

Will Yo-Kai Watch Be the Next Pokémon? [Pixelkin]

The semi-recent mega Japanese franchise finally hits US Shores. I explain both the localized anime and new Nintendo 3DS game.

Read the full article at Pixelkin

yo-kai watch

In the fall of 1998, Pokémon hit U.S. shores. The Japanese mega-hit descended on the West with a multi-pronged media approach. Eager kids and teens were bombarded with the anime TV show, Gameboy games, and an endless parade of toys and full-length films. This massive approach turned into a huge success, and Pokémon remains one of the most beloved and popular children’s franchises. Ask anyone (kid or otherwise) to identify the now iconic electric yellow mouse who’s become a staple at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and they will definitely know who he is.

Now we are poised on the precipice of an eerily similar situation. Yo-Kai Watch has been out for two years in Japan. It’s already spawned several 3DS games, a popular anime TV show, manga (Japanese comics), a feature film, and numerous toys and merchandise, including the watch.

Yo-Kai Watch just began airing on Disney X-D in the U.S. several weeks ago. The first game was released on November 6 for the 3DS. If Pokémon is any indication, Yo-Kai Watch could prove an equally big hit in in the U.S., despite having its roots in Japanese folklore.

Read the full article at Pixelkin