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Gabe / on Wed, Apr 11 2018 at 9:46 am

10 Years of D&D

Almost exactly 10 years ago someone literally had to pay me to play Dungeons & Dragons. Whatever impression I had of the game before that, it was the wrong one. Within a week of playing Jim Darkmagic for the first time I was on the phone with Jerry asking what books I needed to buy in order to be a dungeon master.

I started my own home game shortly after and running that game every Monday for my friends was the most fun I’ve ever had playing games. I discovered pretty quick that while I loved D&D, what I really loved was messing with D&D. Specifically pulling themes and mechanics from video games and trying to fit them into a tabletop experience. One of my early games used Dungeon Tiles, tiny mirrors and a laser pointer to recreate a classic light puzzle from every adventure game you have ever played.

In another game I used a slideshow full of cards to simulate random drops from every enemy the group killed. With each death I progressed to the next random slide. It could be trash:

Or it could be something cool.

This particular game gave me a lot of the ideas I used for my game at PAX East this year.

Later in the campaign I wanted to try and simulate a massive open world game. I took a month and built out a huge map of a place I called the Estwild and populated it with encounters and adventures of all kinds. I then gave the party a blank hex map and let them go wherever they wanted.

This was another of my early games that inspired some of the mechanics in my Battle Royale adventure.

One of the last games we played took place on the Elemental Plane.

I designed a bunch of mechanics that let the party hop from orb to orb as they tumbled through the chaos.

Eventually all of this culminated in me wanting to design my own game from scratch for them to play. Rather than build on D&D I set out to make something entirely unique and that started out as a game called Card Warriorz and four years later became Thornwatch.

When Tycho let me DM the C Team I could not help but revert back to my old habits. Wizard Kart was so much fun and honestly I’ve got ideas for a Super Wizard Kart that I hope will see the light of day at some point.

Watch Jimterlude - S1 E18 - Acquisitions Inc: The “C” Team from PennyArcade on

When I learned that I had the opportunity to run the AI game at East this year I knew right away that I had to try and do something that would capture the spirit of the current Battle Royale craze in gaming. I ended up enlisting the help of some incredibly talented folks at PA and together I think we managed to pull off something pretty special. If you have not seen “Wizard Unknowns Battle Royale” yet you can watch the entire thing right here on Witch.

Watch PAX EAST 2018 - Main Theatre - Acquisitions Inc. from PAX on

I’ll be working with the folks who helped me make this happen to put together another post in the future that lays out the entire process. Lots of people have asked for the materials and rules to try and run something like this for their own game. I plan on doing exactly that once I figure out the best way to do it. You’d be surprised how light my notes are even for something like this and if other people are gonna play it, I’d like to tighten them up a bit.

I know there are a lot of Dungeon Masters out there who are sticklers for the rules. I’ve played with people who want to consult the DMG for every question that arises at a table. I do not believe there is anything wrong with playing a game by its rules, indeed that’s how they are intended to be played. I think Dungeons and Dragons is a special case though. In my opinion it is a testament to the pure genius of the rules, that a crazy person like me can stretch them like taffy and still maintain the spirit of the game. You can look at D&D as a finished game, or you can look at it as an incredible foundation for your own.

-Gabe out

Tycho / on Wed, Apr 11 2018 at 12:01 am

I’ve only been to San Francisco twice, if I recall correctly, and the second time - the now that I am currently inhabiting - is only nominally San Franciskian.  I have a layover here that could comfortably accommodate a Norse saga.

Our Star Wars: Legioning continues apace.  Wargames occupy a relatively sophisticated space for he and I, which is to say Gonk et moi.  There a couple common apertures through which you might arrive at this hobby, and though we’re both here and we both love it, we only overlap in the very center.

One entry point is that you might be a person for whom taking a tiny, grey person and making them read as warm and alive is possible or interesting.  Whether it is because these devils dream of an army of tiny thralls utterly beholden to them or some other malevolent purpose, it should be clear at this point that I am incredibly jealous of what they can accomplish.  I’m not merely bad, I have something akin to “anti-skill.”

Stick bugs (trust me this is going somewhere) do this super demonstrative, “I’m a leaf and not a bug!” dance whenever air passes by them, even something as gentle as your breath.  They’re these hilariously overblown, massive lateral movements.  That’s more or less what happens when I try to paint a very small man - I look like I’m trying to get the attention of a passing airplane.  I remember doing the soldering for our Afterburner kit, back in the day; not pretty.

I said that there would be a second round of Never Mind That: A “C” Team Story from Nurse Normal today, and I wasn’t kidding.  Here’s the first set to get you caught up.  And don’t forget: Acquisitions Incorporated: The “C” Team returns April 25th!

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / on Mon, Apr 9 2018 at 8:02 am

It’s pretty rare that we engage in dreaded continuity on the Make-A-Strip Stage, but we’re bold gentlemen untroubled by convention.

I always end up here, trying to unzip the weekend after the fact, while in-room coffee cools.  Four days makes it harder, but not by much; once you have this much information it’s a penny/pound scenario and the decompression isn’t a purely linear affair.  For example: I can tell you that, having gazed into the precognitive orb that is the Expo Hall, the next couple years are gonna be pretty rad if you’re into this gaming shit.

I’m certain things will continue to occur to me throughout the week, but I do have to take a moment to give my friend Mike Krahulik - whose name I will not butcher this one time - props on Thornwatch.  I’ve seen many, many versions of this game, back since it was called Card Warriorz with a Z and wasn’t part of the Eyrewood at all.  He wanted me to make it fit in there and to answer some of the questions that would naturally arise from the game’s assumptions, and I did my best to be of service to him on that side of it while he and the rest of the team made the rest of it work.  I had the first chance to play the real, live version at this show, in a sealed box right off the assembly line, and it’s beautiful - but it’s also fun.  There’s no guarantee that after the kind of protracted gestation it had that it would arrive somewhere that wasn’t simply Acceptance on some level.  There’s a lot of cooks and even multiple kitchens.  I don’t pretend to know how.  But it’s great.

I want to thank my longtime fixation Harmonix for bringing out Dropmix and a heap of custom decks for the final round of the Omegathon.  Fruitalicious and Snapfarr duelled valiantly, but in the end they were defeated by Ducktales and Woo Hoo - people who’d come up with their handles on the spot because they were randomly drawn directly from the crowd at the first round.  That they managed to go from the crowd to PAX East victors is a pretty incredible tale, and is just one tale from a weekend dense with them.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / on Fri, Apr 6 2018 at 8:46 am

It’s gonna take me a bit to get used to this “show starts on Thursday” thing.  Here’s the strip.

I was building an AT-RT with my son the night before I flew to Boston; I was overjoyed because somebody finally made models he found interesting enough to build.  I think the larger vehicles especially are very, very nice - Gabe was pleased with the AT-ST he and the boys put together, but I’m partial to the Airspeeder sculpt in particular.  Including the flaps separately so you can really nerd out on the degree of fucking apertures is kind of a grace note.

It says part one because we’re gonna make more than one part, right now it’s four in total.  My associate is gonna draw the second strip in this series live on stage tomorrow at the Makle A Strip panel if you’re down.  The game these models are part of, Legion, has taken up a ton of our conversation lately and I’m really looking forward to seeing some play here at the show and when we get back.  I’d like to stream some of it, too, if we get a chance; I’d reeeealy like an excuse to play this during the day.  The manual is currently my mousepad on this trip, and thus far it seems like it has a crisp level of complexity, concise, more than “My First Warhammer” but something that could comfortably be played, even at scale, before the heat death of the universe.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / on Wed, Apr 4 2018 at 3:40 pm

Never Mind That: A “C” Team Story

One of the most humbling things about Acquisitions Incorporated and The “C” Team in particular is how much fan work it seems to generate.  One enthusiast, Nurse Normal, has created a lot of work that I know we just think of a canonical. 

Early in the second season, Dragonborn narcissist Donaar Blit’zen is exposed to a material that obliterates memories.  I’d heard that Ryan Hartman and Nurse were working on a project, and I’d seen parts of it, and so when I needed to choose a memory I chose the one they had been working on together.  They call it Never Mind That - here’s the first six parts, and I’ll post the next six next Wednesday.






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