The PHB2 Druid – Nature’s Schizophrenic

gmadjudicationYeah, I know, it’s a weird title.

Preamble: a group of us bloggers, through Ed Healy, got sent a bunch of promotional copies of the PHB2 (release date: March 17).

Now we’re writing about them, as bloggers tend to do.

We decided to split up the book among the group of us, with each of us taking one class and running with it, at least for our initial articles.  (Afterwards, we are free to write anything we want.)

Since one of our players (Roberta) is currently playing a Druid, I jumped on that one.  After our game on Sunday, we sat down and hammered out a level 5 druid for our game.

(To head off any questions: the picture at the right has nothing to do with the 4e druid.  They don’t get animal companions.  But it was an awesome picture from an image search on wild shape.  So there.)

I’ll walk you through what we did, and answer some frequent questions along the way.

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I have a PHB2 and you don’t!

beer_barbarianYeah, that’s right.

The PHB2, which isn’t being released for 13 more days, is sitting right here on my desk.

…or chair.  Whatever.  My desk is a mess and can’t hold it.

The point being, I have a PHB2.  And you, kind readers, do not.

How did this come to be?  Why, through the good Ed Healy, of the Atomic Array podcast, of course.  A group of us from the RPG Bloggers network are splitting up some parts of the book and will be posting all about it over the next little while.

By the way, CAB is a member of the RPG Bloggers network.

Actually, I’m a founding member.  And the resident tech/server guy.  And we’ve been a member since August 2008.

What?  I just never got around to talking about it until now.  Great place, lots of great bloggers.  Lots of great rpg content flows through that site every day.


The articles are slated to start going up around March 13th.

Personally, we’ll be tackling the Druid, at first.  Specifically from the point of view of our current “Druid” character (and her player, who has a thing for playing elven druids).

But after that, we’ll be doing other stuff, too.  I have a couple of article ideas lined up, including some collaborative stuff with Critical Hits, but I’ll also take requests.

Is there something you would like me to talk about/discuss/preview?

Let me know in the comments here.  And remember.

I have a PHB2.

And you don’t. 😀

Scales of War – All sorts of updates

procrastinationSo, I should really have posted this a lot earlier than now. Sorry everyone. 🙁 Graham posting again finally guilted me into posting.

ps. this is going to be long.

Anyways, things have changed since I last put up a DM Log; mainly that after we finished Rescue at Rivenroar, Graham took back the helm. He is now DMing, and I am back to playing.

The decision was made for 2 reasons: first, I was running into some mental blocks in trying to run a pre-written adventure. I write, so the main draw of DMing for me is, and always has been, the world-building and plotting aspects. I found that working with someone else’s story was sapping my creativity, both in-game and in my other endeavours. Long story short, my writing was suffering (ie. not happening at all), so I decided to drop the DMing to concentrate on the rest.

I do hope to DM again in the future. I found 4e was so much easier to work with mechanics-wise. Once we’ve had more experience with this edition, I want to run my own stories. For now, it falls to Graham to lead us.

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Musings on the Ages of RPGs

monalisaddSo, through Phil, I was pointed to an article on the “Ages of D&D” by James at Grognardia.

My comment got far too long, so I turned it into a blog post.

First off, I think it’s pretty apt that he uses many of the same terms used to describe comic book eras.  Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age.

It can easily be argued that Golden Age comics were, perhaps, more pure, more original, and probably a bit more naive.  But it’s nearly impossible to argue that it (or Silver, Bronze, whatever) was objectively better than any other age.

I find that fitting.

And did anyone else notice that, if you extend past the Dark Ages era (late 2e, according to James) to 3e, historically you would hit the Renaissance?

I find this apt, too.  See, the renaissance was a time of cultural change, after all.  Things got better (than the Dark Ages, debatable for previous ages), particularly from a cultural viewpoint, but culture and society changed drastically.  While they resemble the previous ages much more than the Dark Ages, they were still very, very different.

Again, seems fitting.

The Reformation fits well for 3.5e.

Age of Discovery/Exploration (which overlapped the Renaissance) can be used for the era following the Eberron campaign setting, as WotC explores new mechanics and options (Tome of Magic/Battle for big examples, and the Eberron setting itself), braving new waters with some drastic changes from what has come before.

And to continue the trend, 4e corresponds fairly well to the Age of Reason/Enlightenment.  During this age, much of philosophy moved towards a mathematical and deductive basis.  This didn’t sit right with some people, who demanded empirical evidence, and debates on which philosophy was “correct” raged.  (Pathfinder could be seen as the empiricist movement, perhaps.)  4e, as well, moved away from empiricism (simulation) towards mathematically balanced gameplay.

…huh.  That worked… surprisingly well.

Now I’m waiting for the Industrial Revolution.  C’mon, 4e d20 Modern!

UPS? More like You Pee… Freely… or something…

unexplainableDear UPS,

The next time a package comes to me from UPS that isn’t handed directly to me with no additional charges or trouble, I’m refusing shipment.

You attempt delivery, I ask you to hold it so I can pick it up.  You attempt again, I angrily ask you to hold it, as I plan to pick it up the next day.  I go to pick it up, OH LOOK IT’S OUT ON THE FUCKING TRUCK!

And you have the tenacity audacity to charge me $40 for the privilege.

Your service sucks.

Fuck you,


EDIT: Just to note, this is just the latest time I have been screwed around with by UPS.  I have yet to have a good experience with them.

So… Notice anything new?

changeDamned straight!  I finally got the new site design finished and up!  I listened to the feedback you gave us, too.

The navigation is primarily the same, but you’ll notice some changes.  For instance, the gravatar of the post author is at the top left, beside the date.  Just below is the author name and the number of comments, followed by category links.  This all used to be (inconveniently) at the bottom of the post.  Now you can tell who wrote the post right away.

How does everyone like the new header?

That’s right, a Critical Ankle Bite is a melee basic attack.  Speaking of which, I have yet to relate that story here.  Odd, considering the site is named after the event.  I should also credit Josh/Daelkyr over at EN World with originally creating the 4e icon font used in the header.

I know some of you may be missing is the Wiggum quotes.  But have no fear, for I did not leave you lacking in this area.  Just hover over the title image (or Gah the gully dwarf in the top left) for the random Wiggum quote.

I may replace these with something else, however.  Lately, around the game table, we’ve been keeping a list of “things that have made Nonnie/Alabaster’s player giggle”…

So yeah.  Change: Scary and confusing.  But also awesome.

I hope you agree.

Comments are welcome. 😀

Decisions, decisions…

gameknight-1I hope everyone had a good holiday, and is having a good 2009 thus far.

If I may, I’d like to make use of the collective knowledge of the interwebs here and ask you all a couple questions, based on my christmas presents.


One of my gifts I recieved was a Crackberry Bold.  I am looking for a good dice roller program for this tiny addictive handheld.  Anybody know of a good one?


I also recieved some gifts to fund my hobby.  Specifically I got

  • One free D&D book of my choice (thanks Christine).
  • $100 in gift certificates for my FLGS (part of the old layout of which is pictured above, click to go to their website).

So I have some purchasing to do, and I need to decide just what to get.  Most of it will probably be 4e books, though I’m open to other suggestions.

The 4e PHB2 is definitely in that bundle.  Aside from that, though, I’m just not sure.

Manual of the Planes looks nice, but so do Draconomicon and Open Grave.  The Eberron Campaign Setting and Player’s Buide both are on my list of books to get, but they aren’t around until June, and I should be graduated and earning money by then.

Suggestions?  Should I just blow it all on minis?  Has there been any further news of a 4e d20 Modern?

Aside from all that, it’s Christine’s (current DM, other writer, my fiancee) birthday today!  Everybody wish her a happy one!

Story Time – Chicken Mage

chicken-hatIn a discussion of encumbrance rules, we got onto how chalk is weightless according to D&D (and I will often buy 200 pieces of chalk at chargen just to wipe out my starting gold and mock the encumbrance system while I’m at it).

And from there, buying senseless cheap animals (guinnea hen, mongoose) in 2e was mentioned.

Well, along those lines is my Chicken Mage.

Essentially the first character I ever made in 3e, using that character builder program from WotC, I decided to make an elf wizard.

And after buying the tiny amount of gear I needed, I had about 10 gp left.

So I tried to find something else to buy, and came across the trade goods tab.  I bought a goat, and spent the rest on chickens.

But these were not useless, pointless chickens.  Oh no.

These chickens were to be used as spell components.

Chicken Mage: “Magic Missile!”

Chicken, being thrown: “Buckaw?” *whap*

CM: “Fireball!”

Chicken: “BUCKAAWWW!!!” *FWOOMF!*

I never got a chance to use the character, however.  We’re still not sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

I’ll post more of my insanity in the future, for sure.  How about any of you?  Any crazy character concepts you never got to play and wish you had?  Or did you play them?

There are comments!  Use them! 😉


…they’re rereleasing the Dark Sun novels?

Could this be a sign of what the next WotC campaign setting will be, after Eberron?

We’ll see, I suppose.

Merry Geeksmas – Updated

pac-treeOr, y’know, whatever holiday you want to celibrate.

But if you really want to geek up your Decemberween rituals, you’ll need appropriate background music.

Like a little horror with your turkey?  Well, you should check out the HP Lovecraft Historical Society’s album A Very Scary Solstice (and the followup album An Even Scarier Solstice), which includes such holiday classics as:

Or do you prefer your Eggnog with a little shot of 1985 brandy, just for that retro feel?

If so, you may want to check out 8-bit Jesus, a new Christmas chiptune album, with each song done in the style of a different 8-bit era game.

Be sure to listen to “The Legend of Noel” and “Carol of the Belmonts”, my personal favourites from the 9 available thus far.

In site news, we still have two new session logs to go up, but we’re taking a seasonal break from gaming until January, as the next couple weeks are busy for everyone.  New posts will hopefully keep coming, though.  And that site redesign is being worked on now that my computer has returned.

But tonight we need to put up our gorram tree and geek wreath.

EDIT: The 8-bit Jesus album has been updated, and it is now completed.  New link above and here.  You can also get a physical copy now, if you feel like dropping $15 (US) his way.

New favourite songs:

  • Bubbles we have heard on Bobble
  • Have Yourself a Final Little Fantasy