Hi friends! Its been awhile since we’ve posted but I’ve been getting excited and getting the energy to start this back up, I’ll be aiming for 2-3 posts a week to try and get back into the rythym of things!
First off: it’s october! so that means Scary movies!
My good friends over at The Scary stuff Pod review scary movies and do deep dives into them. Check them out over on Stitcher. (https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/the-scary-stuff-podcast). In honor of the great work they are doing I’m going to be watching the movies they have been discussing and giving my Dan Sucks at Hot Takes™ on the films. Should be fun! I dont like horror movies that much so this should be torture.
Second I’m still doing two weekly RPG games (sometimes 3) so I’ll be talking a bit about prep an recaps of the various games and what I think I need to do better.
First item on that list: Drink Less Beer while GMing!”
We’re working our way through Tomb of Annihilation and having a really good time. Mostly we just take the opportunity to rant and ramble about the world and covid and what not. But it’s good to chat with friends when you can.
I’m also still running Blades in the Dark, but as the Summer is winding down its hard to get time to play that one, so we’ve been on a bit of hiatus. Blades is such a fun game and great to GM. Check it out!
I’m also really into Crusader Kings 3 lately and will be trying to stream that on my twitch channel a few times a week. That or Among Us which my children are obsessed with! I’ve literally only played like twice. Maybe I can convince my friends from OPP and TSSP to do a live stream with me of that one night.
Either way Thank you everyone for reading. Dont forget to smash that like button and subscribe, send me some money on patreon or follow me on twitter and twitch!
Hello Friends. My apologies I havnt posted in quite some time. It’s been a rough 6 months. With Corona Virus rampaging throughout the world, and my family all quarantined at home I have had neither the time, nor the energy to post anything. I think I may be able to come back to this now though! Planning a few posts for this week and you will see some more!
It’s been an insane few months. I started a new job at work and with the holidays and everything gaming has taken a bit of a back seat in life. I still play D&D once a week, and we’ve been running a Blades in the Dark game for a few months now.
In December we picked up a new Telescope for the family. Ostensibly for Penny’s Christmas gift, but honestly for everyone in the family.
I’ve always wanted a big fancy telescope since I was a kid. My parents had gotten an old refractor at some point, but living in the suburbs and having a telescope that was super difficult to use, I never saw anything exciting and got discouraged quicklly. With that in mind I wanted to get something large enough that it would really scratch the itch I had for awhile, and also help foster Pens excitement for astronomy and not discurage her in the same way. I did some research on telescopes, which I had done off and on for months, and came across a reddit post for buying a telescope.
This thread is perfect for getting you going and directed me at a 6” – 8” dobson. So I picked up the Orion XT6 6” Dobsonian Telescope for the family for the holidays and set it up.
Right away we started looking at the easy and obvious things. The moon, venus, Sirius and Betelgeuse. Those were really cool and Penny was getting exciting. I wanted to see some Deep Space Objects like Nebulae and star clusters and galaxies.
We spent some time doing research on books and sky charts to help us find some of the more difficult items.
We found a few easy star clusters like the Pleadies (M45!) and practiced finding some constellations. Honestly outside of the constellation Orion I had no clue how to identify and of the others. I didnt even know Orion isnt visible at night during the summer! Maybe I only look at starts in the winter? The book lists items you can see with a telescope at home and gave us a ton of great recommendations on what to look at to start, how to find them and how easy it is to see them. It recommended we start with the Orion Nebula (M42!). It’s super easy to find and almost visible with binosculars.
The Orion Nebula was so easy to find I was shocked. It’s located in Orion’s “Sword” (aka penis) and we were able to find it in minutes. It was really breath taking to see it for the first time. I was a bit bummed however, because it didnt look like all the pictures I had seen online. This led me to doing some more research online about viewing Nebula and realized that the light is do dim that the human eye under normal conditions cannot take in enough light to see the colors you see in those fantastic pictures. Maybe some day we’ll make it to a dark sky site to see them for better.
Today Penny can find Orions Nebula on her own. The first three things she looks for each time she’s out with the telescope is :
Sirius (she loves Harry Potter and gets a kick that there’s a character named after the star who turns into a dog!)
Betelgeuse. I need to show her this movie some day. She’s excited that it’s doing some cool things lately, aka dimming drastically (maybe thinking about going supernova?). It was really cool to watch videos online of Sarafina Nance, an astronomer who studies Betelgeuse! It’s great for Pen to see a rad woman in science studying the things she wants to! We’ve watched a few videos on Youtube with her in them, and read her twitter feed. Such a cool woman.
Orions Nebula. Again it’s so easy to find and it’s cool to watch her using the finder scope to find it in a matter of minutes.
Penny and I decided we needed to do a fun little project with our telescope. We did some research on the Nebula that we had seen and learned they are part of a list called the Messier Objects. Basically some old french dood discovered some while looking for comets and made a list of all the objects so he could keep track of all the NOT comets he had found. I figured, if some dood in the 1700s could find these with a primative telescope, we should be able to find them as well using our new fancy modern telescope. So we’ve ordered a poster that lists all the Messier objects and we’re starting a project to find them all!
Today we found M1!
M1 is also known as the Crab Nebula! It’s located in the Taurus constellation and using Taurus and Alderbaran (Alderan?) you should be able to find it! First we read the information in the book about M1 which is the remnants of a star that went supernova in 1054! Pretty cool that it was a star that went Supernova during humanity’s exisitance! Human being actually saw this star go supernova! Thats pretty fascinating when you think about how little amount of time humanity has been around on the cosmic scale.
We spent some time trying to figure out which of the damn stars up there were Alderbaran … Where was the Taurus constellation? Where is this star Tianguan thats next to the cluster?! So confusing.
Penny surprised me. She was able to find Alderbaran first and together we figured out the V shape grouping of stars it sits in. That we realized was the head of Taurus! And Tianguan is one of the tips of its horn! And the Pleiades we had found before was close by and part of the Bulls back? I guess? either way it was cool to see all these items that we’ve been able to identify all sort of close together and helping us to pinpoint what we’re lookign for!
So getting “in the area” of M1 we figured it should be pretty easy to spot! Here we are on a relatively moon less night, with clear skies, and living in a place with relatively low light pollution (we’re a Bortle level 4! Bortles!!!!)
Took us a bit but we eventually found a “smudge” on the lense that stayed in the same place when we moved the telescope. It was barely noticable, but we are confident to say we found it! M1 is checked off! We practiced finding it a few times, moving the telescope to a differnent spot in the yard, resighting on Orions Nebula, then Sirius, then Betelgeuse, then Alderbaran, then the Pleiades, and finally over to Tianguan, stepped down to Struve 742 and boom, there’s the smudge again. It was a really neat feeling to be able to walk through those steps to find the Nebula. The book Turn Left at Orion really helped walk us through those steps and made it really uncomplicated to find. I’d say easy, but it wasnt easy, but it was certainly uncomplicated.
After that we were too cold to do much more, it being in the low 20s and the wind picking up we packed up and went in for some hot cocoa. Maybe tomorrow night will be good too!
So I had a post up here from October talking about how I was going to do 30 characters in 30 days. I made about 5 of them, but unfortunately, life just got in the way and kept me from actually diving into this.
I’m hoping I’ll be able to get back to this project this month! So stay tuned!
In other news, I’ve had some big game things going on the past few months! We are on session 14 of our D&D game running Waterdeep Dragon Heist. That’s been a lot of fun and really looking forward to wrapping that up sometime early in the near year. Not sure where I’ll be taking the game after that. I’ve laid some bread crumbs that could lead the squad down to Chult to run Tomb of Annihilation or even Saltmarsh along the way.
I have also considered just moving them right into Dungeon of the Mad Mage, so that could be fun.
Another option would be to make something up. But with how busy life is for a Dad of 2 with a very busy full-time job, that’s unlikely.
I’m also running another game. Our Scum and Villainy game morphed into a Blades in the Dark game, which I haven’t run before. But so far so good. It got off to a bit of a rocky start as one of the players is not playing anymore. Our first 2 sessions we ran with only 2 as our third hasn’t been able to make the game. But it still went great and was a lot of fun! So hopefully we’ll get to play soon.
So hopefully some more to come on my games. Looking good to talk to more people soon about gaming! <3 <3
Hi Everyone! A quick break from the posts about D&D.
Wanted to talk about a game we played last night at our board game group that I wanted to talk about a little bit.
So we played a game that I’ve owned for awhile and have played a few times, but never as successfully as we did last night.
Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
Deception Hong King is a reimplementation of an older game called CS-Files that was kickstarted back in 2015. I don’t think I got it as part of the kickstarter but i game across is a bit later seeing a friend post about it on Facebook.
At my bi-annual private cons we have here in Frostburg with my friends, we always have a strong group of 6 – 8 people we play games with for about 3 days straight. One problem with that is that there is not a whole lot of games you can play with 8 people and not get tired of them. There is only so much of Secret Hitler and Codenames you can play. So I’m always on the look out for good party games I can pick up that play well with 8 people.
I always like to look at the Board Game Geek top rankings for various games, and I tend to try and acquire games in my favorite categories that are listed there. So when i saw that Deception: HK was on the top 10 list on Board Game Geek I immediately wanted to pick it up. So I did!
The game itself is a bit like Mysterium in that there is a mystery component. You are an investigator and you are trying to unravel a murder. The Forensic Scientist runs the game (like a GM) and helps to coordinate all the pieces. The Forensic Scientist is similar to the ghost in Mysterium as they are trying to give you clues without talking to pinpoint the murderer and their murder weapon and the key piece of evidence. These two items the murder will show you in a Werewolf style “Everyone Close your Eyes” segment to start the game.
The first time I played this game at a Dan Con I didn’t understand the rules very well and it went VERY poorly. Everyone was confused and messed up and no one had a good time. I feel bad because I think i turned everyone off of the game as I haven’t gotten that group to play it again.
We played it a few more times with some other friends, but two of those people dont talk to us anymore, so maybe that went even worse? I’m not sure.
So to try and correct this problem I went for the best avenue to learn how to play a board game.
I found two great youtube videos that helped me learn how the play the game correctly! I’ll share those below so you too can learn the game! It’s really fun and quick and once you get the hang of it, it’s a great time accusing your spouse of being the murderer. It has the fun of accusational pieces of deception games, with none of the 2019 awfulness of accusing someone of being a Fascist or Secret Hitler.
Sidenote: I really do miss playing Secret Hitler. It was a always a blast to play and we have many great experiences playing it. Unfortunately in today’s world its too real and has lost some of its fun. Also, cant play with kids because having an 8 year old scream “YOU ARE SECRET HITLER! I ASSASSINATE YOU!” isn’t as fun as it sounds.
I finally got a chance to break it out again this week (Labor Day game fest 2019!) play it with a bunch of friends.
We played a few rounds of the game, and after a shaky start in the first game with myself as the Forensic Scientist (we lost, the murderer won, once again… I suck at Gaming) we had a better try the second round! In that one my lovely wife was the murderer and killed the victim with eggs laced with illegal drugs! Is that poisoning? I guess?
Either way the game plays really quick and is actually pretty light weight in terms of ruling. We got through 2 playthroughs in roughly an hour and a half. Game box says 1 game is about 15-30 minutes long, and we certainly could have gotten into that time range if we had cut out the cross talk and held people to 30 secondish long presentations between rounds.
Overall it’s a very fun game thats great for parties / party sized gaming groups that I will certainly keep in my bag for future game nights.
I probably wont get a chance to do another game night for a few weeks due to my sons soccer scheudle, but SOON!
Anyways, here are the two How To Play videos which helped me the most. Enjoy!
I talked briefly last time about setting a hookt/trap for my PCs. I had them fall in love (platonic?) with one of my NCPS by having her be a supportive helpful and kind old woman who helped to hand hold the group get their tavern started.
While we haven’t played again yet (we play tomorrow), I just wanted to share a few pieces of feedback I got from my group in the subsequent days.
So, I feel kind of bad? But also feel kind of awesome that I’ve gotten such emotional reactions out of my players over “just a game”.
For the past few weeks I’ve been prepping a game of Waterdeep Dragon Heist for my regular Wednesday night game. Since we finished off Strahd awhile back, I took a month or so off to prep by reading, taking notes, and building out the roll20 campaign. One of the neat things with Roll20 lately is the ability to create characters very quickly with using the Charactermancer. It’s nice and allows you to build a new usable PC.
I wanted to play around with the Charactermancer the day before our session started, mostly so i could help out one of our newest players with the build process, since it was her first time playing and building a PC.
I ran through it the first time making a Cleric using the name I use for most of my PCs, Alpaca Pepper. I made a cleric since i knew the group was without a healer, and figured if things went south in the opening encounter in the Yawning Portal (a fight against a Troll and a group of Stirges) I could drop a quick heal or two to keep the party up right.
I did a google search for “female cleric image” and probably due to the algorithms in my web browsing traffic I got some scantily clad images of women in armor.
Oh well, i took the first one there and copied the picture over to Roll20. Loading it up to the new character I made took a few seconds and i made a token for it and dropped it on the map as well. I also made a fighter and a wizard as well and made them a similar adventuring group to the PC’s that will probably show up from time to time.
Unfortunately however, this story has a side side. Doug, who is playing Tabby in the game, showed the roll20 interface to his wife. She apparently took offense to my clerics picture and called her “Tit Cleric”. 🙁 So I changed her name in the game to Tit Cleric now and thus she has entered into D&D lore (in my games) as TC.
Hello Internet Friends! (Probably just Friend. Thanks for reading my Blog Mrs Dan Sucks at Gaming). Welcome back to another installment of my awful blog.
Today I wanted to talk about a new Table Top Role Playing Game I’ve started with some friends. It’s called “Scum and Villainy” by Stras Scimovic and John Leboeuf-Little, from Evil Hat Games. Its a fanatasic sci-fi It’s based on the Blades in the Dark game by John Harper, also published by Evil Hat Games.
We’ve played a few sessions so far, and I’ve liked it so much I started a second game with some more friends so I can play it even more.
The system is just so different from other games I’ve played in the past. While I cut my RPG teeth on TMNT & Other Strangeness and it’s percentile based dice system, I’ve mostly played Dungeons and Dragons over the years. I’ve mostly been a D20 or D100 system TTRPG player. Games like Dungeons and Dragons or Call of Cthulhu, or even Old School RPG’s like Dungeon Crawl Classics. I’ve played a few other games which I would label as non-traditional or maybe new wave like the Fate based Dresden Files RPG and Fiasco, but I’ve certainly been more into the traditional TTRPGs. And even games that are just trying to be different like the Fantasy Flight Star Wars system. I had played the West End Games version in my youth (so many d6’s) but havnt played that in years.
I’ve run D&D campaigns for 3.5, 4e and 5e with 4e being the game I’ve probably played the most in my history. My favorite system right now is absolutely 5e and I run a regular game of the on roll20.
Scum and Villainy, and it’s predecessor Forged in the Dark game, Blades in the Dark, is just so much fun. It’s narrative driven and much less crunchy then the other games I’ve played in the past outside of maybe Fate. It uses d6’s for all the skill roles, but relatively sparingly. There some really neat mechanics that I’ve never run into before with gaming such as the use of Position and Effect, and structured downtime activities and the Faction portion.
By far my favorite part of the system has to be the use of the flashback mechanic in play. I came across the flashback mechanic for the first time in Dusk City Outlaws from Scratchpad Publishing. Scratchpad is led by an amazing game designer Rodney Thompson who was part of the Wizards team that built D&D, the Lords of Waterdeep board game, Star Wars Saga edition and currently works for Bungie. I was in love with DCO when I found it on kickstarter and over the summer of 2018 I watched tons of actual play videos of the game in action. The Leverage style heist games really evoked the feel of one of my favorite series of novels, The Gentleman Bastards series (Lies of Locke Lamoa) from Scott Lynch.
The flashback mechanic in that game really helped to drive the fast pace of the game and give it a neat feel you don’t find in many other games. One of the most painful parts of d&d adventures can be the 30 minutes the group spends planning out how they are going to break into the villains compound. With a flashback mechanic you can skip those parts and still feel as if your characters are competent and planned for everything.
For example, in our game this past weekend, the crew was using a Deception Plan to get on board an asteroid scientific outpost to steal a prototype shuttle with a cloaking field. They used a sway roll to convince a group of guards and a technician to plug a coax cable for their music performance into a jack near an airlock. They flash backed to rigging the air lock to vent when the guards approached, allowing them to dispose of the guards effortlessly, all for some meager stress!
The mechanic is alot of fun and leads to some interesting interaction and ideas via game play.
This game is quickly turning into one of my favorites! Catch one of our streams when we play on www.twitch.com/danthehut !
Last night was the final session of a Curse of Strahd campaign that I’ve been running since October 2016.
This is probably the longest single campaign I’ve ever run and I’m a bit amazed it’s lasted this long. There were a few moments when I expected the game to fall apart. A few months in one of the most engaged players got swamped at work and dropped from the game. This was incredibly disappointing as I had mostly started the game for him. One of the players he had also brought in stopped attending as well. Luckily we were able to push through this drop of players and bring in a few more!
This unfortunately happened a few times. Overall the game had 12 different Players over the course of the 2 years that we played. Some of them played for 6 months. Some for over a year. a few played for only a hot minute. Either way they all participated in the overthrow of Strahd, and I’m grateful for the time they spent playing with us every (ok.. most) wednesdays for 2 years.
We’re going to have one more session with the crew to do recaps of what happened to them after they left. Perhaps they will show up again in future adventures?
I didn’t go into last night with the plan that it would be the last session. The party had already had the main final encounter with Strahd and I had been using him to pop in and out of the rooms they were in while exploring the castle, and harass them. Get a few hits, make them spend some of their spells. My goal was to have them low on spell slots and hit dice, and then have them engage in a big battle. I was just waiting for the opportunity to show up.
When they found Gertruda in Strahd’s bed chamber I played her as if she was a pouty 20 something refusing to go with them. Nicks character Dawnlord was so focused on having her returned to her mother in Barovia and couldnt drop it, even at the behest of the others in the group. With him so set on having her returned, and Strahd knowing this, I decided to kill her off. While the party was finishing up a random encounter of wights, I had Strahd pop in through the wall and bite her, killing her. However the stubborn PCs of course resurrected her! Her resurrection insanity however made her unstable and more focused on loving Strahd and would have her refuse to follow the group, setting up the next encounter.
I decided to have Strahd bring her mother to the castle from Barovia, along with a bunch of charmed villagers, and convince Gertruda to leave. Instead of letting her go the group rolled initiative and the final fight began.
I tried to stack the combat a bit to make it difficult for them. They had been breezing through the last few encounters and were making it hard to give them a real challenge. Sitting at level 9, having looted Srtahds crypt for armor and the Staff of Power, AND getting the AC bonus from having returned the skull of Argynvostholt to his tomb, the group were sitting on 20 + AC each, making the minions Strahd normally brings with him incapable of hitting them. Strahd of course with his +15 to hit with his longsword was still able to do some real damage and I almost dropped the parties Paladin in the first round. Things were not looking good for the group and a lucky poor roll by Strahd saved the Paladin, and maybe a TPW.
Shasta’s character then pulled off an amazing spell, using the Staff of Power to cast Wall of Force, and trapping Strahd alone with the party and none of his minions. Strah had already used his Lair Power so needed to wait a round to escape. He couldnt get out with his move and I had him use his legendary actions to attack Linkosa (Shasta’s Warlock) to try and break her concentration and lower the Wall of force. A poor damage roll from Strahd and a good Concentration check on her part kept the wall up and I knew Strahd was in some trouble. I had broken the connection to the Heart of Sorrow the turn before after he took almost 35 points of damage on the first attack from the group, good thing as Dawnlord (Nicks character) did 70 points of damage on his turn.
Bloodied and at the start of his next round I had Strahd use his lair ability and fall through the floor and move back to his bedchamber by flying. This got him out of the fight, allowed him to reconnect to the Heart of Sorrow briefly to regain some HP and get away. But with the group still blocked off and surrounded I thought that Strahd arrogance and vindictiveness wouldnt want to let Gertruda get away and still wound Dawnlord, who had evolved to become Strahd real main opponent throughout the campaign. I had Strahd use one of his legendary actions to move into the room, then after a wight ineffectively banged on the Wall of Force some more, used the last 2 legendary actions to Bite and kill kill Gertruda. A great moment in the game, Strahd looking up at Dawnlord and the party, his fangs dripping with blood, behind 2 ranks of his minions and the other side of the wall, and gloating in this petty little victory of destroying something beautiful and again toying with the party.
BUT… i didnt account for Shasta being willing to drop the Wall of Force so quickly. Her selfless act, being alone in a corridor on one side of wall with 4 wights and 2 Strahd Zombies, while Dawnlord and Thaco were in the study with Strahd, the commoners and the Druids, allowed Dawnlord and Thac0 to get into range of strahd before his move and his legendary actions AND his Lair ability recharged.
Strahds minions were too low level to really effect the crew at this point. And they were. After a quick recharge of HP from Thac0, Dawnlord, with his 23 AC braved the opportunity attacks from the commoners and the Druids and rushed Strahd, pinning him in spot with his abilities. The sunsword forced strahd to havedisadvantage and he couldn’t use his hp regen. After Linkosa dropped the wall, she did get beat up a bit by the wights that she had blocked in the hallway, but it let Dawnlord and Thaco get to strahd and pin him down. Thaco threw up his doom circle (spiritual guardians).
At this point I’m still thinking it was going to be ok. Strahd would get a few hits in then use a legendary action to bounce again waiting for his lair power to recharge to he could just drop through the floor. But then Thac0 crit on his spiritual weapon (24 damage!) and hit hard with his spiritual Guardians (17 Damage!)! This could be it!
BUT a lucky roll from Strahd on his wisdom save saved him, for now.
With 18 hit points, and Thac0’s Spirtual Weapon Strahd suddenly only had 8hp left!
The crit catches me off guard and unexpected destroys the heart of sorrow. Strahd is also stuck in sunlight so if he’s dropped he cant transform to mist to escape and regenerate. His only chance was to wait till the top of the round when the lair power regened and he could pass through walls and floors again. He did that and used a legendary move after one of the wights to drop through the floor to escape Dawnlord, but Dawnlord got an attack of opportunity.
I’m sitting here looking at 8 Hit Points for Strahd, and Dawnlord about to roll a melee basic attack with the Sun Blade.
Luckily Strahd’s AC is 21. The Sun Blade just misses the Counts head as he falls through the floor to safety.
Strahd is distraught from the destruction of the Heart of Sorrow and his recent defeats. He rushes to the Heart and screams in despair when its obvious its destroyed. He then limps to the tower roof and is found by the group looking out over his demense.
The party decided to go investigate and went up the tower stairs. There they found rubble and shards of a large red crystal and the echoing emanations of some evil dark energy(the destroyed heart of sorrow)a line of indented scratched stone led out to the tower roof where Strahd stood, blood dripping from his wounds, standing in the pouring rain looking out over barovia. He monologues for a bit and Thaco and his Spiritual Guards move closer to bring Strahd into his spiritual guardians aura Strahd casts invulnerability while Thacos spiritual guardians danced around Strahd trying to attack him. Strahd smiled and said “fine. you have defeated me”and dropped his invulnerability and the spiritual guardians killed him
Hi Internet! If you are not aware I’ve started a Patreon to help support my Gaming Addiction. While it’s true I have a successfull day job, my gaming addiction tends to spend a bit more then my wife allows me to budget for bullshit gaming stuff. I have alot of kickstarters that I’m currently supporting as well as a a bunch of video and board games I want to buy,
I’m currently supporting the Tsuro Pheonix Rising Kick StarteR: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/781219801/tsuro-phoenix-rising. This is a game based on the board/tile game Tsuro which U;ve blogged about before but in a sci fi setting (which you know i love). I played Tsuro and its a ton of fun. Little Gamer at age 8 was also able to play with us so it’s a good game for kids. Something they can pick up and enjoy relatively easily!
I’m also waiting on delivery on a a few Kickstarters:
1: The Crusader Kings Board Game:https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1192053011/crusader-kings-the-board-game-lead-your-dynasty-to Look. I have like 400+ hours invested in the Crusader Kings video game. If you are lucky you might catch me streaming some of that on twitch. It’s one of my favorite video games.
2: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/awakenrealms/tainted-grail-the-fall-of-avalon Tainted grail, something something something. Looks like King Arthur Gloomhaven. No other words needed
3: Trogdor the board game: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1999933720/trogdor-the-board-game
Do I really even need to explain myself here? My personal domain name is trogdor.us. I love me some trogdor. He is the burninator.
Ok. So those are the top three kickstarters I’m doing. So I need your patreon support so i can blog about those. Makes sense right? Get it.