D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 11 Recap

Our heroes finally get a chance to spend their hard-earned loot in Red Larch before taking the Cairn Road to Womford.

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Recorded every Sunday night, uploaded on Mondays. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse” 

We typically have our Dungeons & Dragons sessions filled with dungeon crawling and combat. But even the most video game-like D&D groups occasionally need a session to sell all their phat lootz.

With the heroes wanting to personally escrot the prisoners from the Sacred Stone Monastery to Red Larch, I decided it was a good time to provide them with ample options to spend their accumulated wealth.

D&D 5E solved the power-struggle quite elegantly with the Proficiency Bonus. The side effect is that magic items are no longer needed quite as much, and end up being more rare than ever before. Heroes still gain hundreds of gold after only a few sessions, however.

If you have a group that’s not particularly interested in the more esoteric role-playing side of RPGs, such as building castles or engaging in politics, it’s difficult to create a proper money sink. My personal solution was to allow them to purchase a few select magic items from their local Harper agent (Endrith Vallivoe), as well as potions of healing, greater healing, and even their own horses. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 11 Recap”

News Writing for Pixelkin

I’ve officially been brought on to help out with news posts for Pixelkin. You can find the links in a new subpage here on my blog.

Good news everyone!

I’ve officially been brought on to help out with news posts for Pixelkin, a site that easily represents a good 75% of my freelance work. I’ll be starting out with one news article per day. I’m still cranking out my usual reviews, previews, interviews, etc!

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Note that I won’t be sharing every single news post here on my blog. Instead I’ve built a News subpage under my Published Work section to keep an updated archive of my posts.

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 10 Recap

The party finished clearing out the Sacred Stone Monastery using might, magic, and a little trickery.

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Recorded every Sunday night, uploaded on Mondays. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse” 

A live DM can enhance a dungeon-crawling experience above a typical video game offering. The obvious example is a dungeon as a living ecosystem rather than a static area, waiting for the players to stumble into room-by-room.

In this week’s session our party cleaved a bloody path through the remainder of the Sacred Stone Monastery. They traveled West past the original entrance and worked a large circle through the kitchens, shrine, and courtyard in the North.

Last week they were quite proficient at stealthily ambushing the monks. This time when a wandering monk rounded a corner, Kalinaar charged him heedlessly, right in front of the barracks. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 10 Recap”

Image Comics Final Thoughts – Rat Queens, Vol. 2

More action, more sex, more cursing – Rat Queens Volume 2 is a worthy follow-up to one of of my favorite comic series.

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.

Of course, occasionally I may even explore comics outside of Marvel if they come highly recommended or simply peak my interest. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

Rat Queens Vol 2Writer: Kurtis J. Weibe

Artist: Roc Upchurch, Stjepan Sejic

Issues: Rat Queens #6-10

 

I heaped a lot of praise onto Rat Queen‘s debut. The mixture of modern language and characters in a D&D-style fantasy world is sublime. An adventuring group of women with varying backgrounds, goals, dreams, and vices. While the plot is a little more simplistic, Volume 2 does a fantastic job giving us more of everything we wanted out of a follow-up.

Volume 2 is titled The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth. It picks up directly after the drunken party our heroines Hannah, Violet, Betty, and Dee threw after their latest victory that saved their town of Palisade. Continue reading “Image Comics Final Thoughts – Rat Queens, Vol. 2”

Stories: The Path of Destinies Review [Pixelkin]

The neat time-loop story-telling is a lot of fun, but the repetitive combat and limited gameplay doesn’t quite keep up.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

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In the 2014 sci-fi action film Edge of Tomorrow, Tom Cruise gains a power that lets him restart a day after his death. Each “run” he learns something new about the war against the aliens. Stories: The Path of Destinies features this same neat idea. The intersecting story works well, but repetitive levels and limited content prevent Stories from becoming truly memorable.

The world of Stories: The Path of Destinies takes place in a fantasy land of flying air ships and talking animals. You play as Reynardo, a charismatic swash-buckling fox. The mad emperor’s armies are bearing down on the rebel base. It’s up to Reynardo to make the right decisions to save everyone.

The story is told through a magic book you find during the prologue. After each of the relatively quick levels you’re given an important decision to make. Save a friend or find a weapon? Sacrifice the general’s daughter or appeal to your past relationship? It’s the video game equivalent of a Choose Your Own Adventure novel.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 9 Recap

Returning to the ground floor of the Sacred Stone Monastery our heroes meet a friendly lich, hordes of monk cultists, and the Abbess of Stone herself.

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Recorded every Sunday night, uploaded on Mondays. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse” 

The unexpected can make for some supremely fun and memorable moments in tabletop role-playing. It’s a two-way street. Players often do things that will take me completely by surprise, and part of the DM’s skillbook is how to react to that. Sometimes though, I can throw a fun monkey wrench at my players and watch events unfold exactly as planned – like Renwick the friendly lich.

This week my players had finished mopping up the Sacred Stone Monastery basement, and were intrigued about a well guarded door in the crypt. Having fought the zombie guards and survived the Cloudkill glyph, they prepared for a tough battle. They opened the door and were surprised to find stairs that lead back up to the monastery.

Inside was a lich. Renwick is a few centuries old and has a neat backstory involving the creation of the paladin order that Kalinaar once ascribed too – the Knights of Samular. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 9 Recap”

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Avengers Academy, Vol. 1-2

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!

Avengers Academy Vol 1Writer: Christos Gage

Artists: Mike McKone, Sean Chen, Tom Raney

Issues: Avengers Academy (2010) #1-13

 

A Young Adult series starring the next generation of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes has been done before, as recently as Avengers: The Initiative. While the Initiative series was mired in large events like World War Hulk and Secret Invasion, Avengers Academy is given ample time to breathe and grow during Marvel’s post-Siege Heroic Age. The result is one of the best YA, coming of age stories in Marvel comics.

Avengers Academy stars half a dozen wide-eyed, super-powered teenagers, all of whom naturally developed gifts and were starting to get molded by Norman Osborn during his Dark Reign. When Osborn went down, these kids were identified as high risk, and the most likely to someday become super villains – a fun plot twist the kids themselves find out in the first issue.

Thus Hank Pym starts the Avengers Academy. It’s obviously analogous to the X-Men’s own School for Gifted Youngsters – particularly the excellent New X-Men comic that ran from 2004 to 2008. The X-Men’s school has been shut down since the 2008 event Messiah Complex, however. I’m glad to see Avengers Academy pick up the “young kids with powers” story, and do so incredibly well with it. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Avengers Academy, Vol. 1-2”