Books, Paper, Pencils, and Dice.


New dice for my nephew.

I got my nephew his gaming dice yesterday, and sent them to him today, including cool dice bag.

After becoming kind of interested in gaming the last few weeks, I have been doing a lot of thinking about Role Playing Games and how rad they are.

How much better than “card” games they are.

How much better than video games they are.

I think you’ll find a lot of old time gamers who also greatly disrespect card games like Magic: the Gathering. Really, all that shit is all Pokemon-esque. It’s just a vehicle for selling more and more cards and/or video games/consoles. Weak. I’ll admit, I like occasionally playing video games, but man, I tried playing Halo with my nephews last week, and it was 100% bullshit confusing. Then we went to the arcade where I totally whipped their asses on Galaga! Yeah man — it was great! Here’s what was kind of funny. My oldest nephew kept getting blown up in Galaga, and said “There’s so much to keep track of.” That is really really funny, because to me Halo is the same, with the added complication that I have no idea where the hell my character is or what I’m doing.

At any rate, whether playing Halo or Galaga, I am happy to play video games with my nephews, even when the are kicking my ass.

But I digress.

Why RPGs are more betterer than stuff that is worse than them…

  • Creative: RPGs are creative. Players create. They create together. They use imagination.
  • RPGs are social in nature. Pretty much can’t play them alone.
  • Don’t involve looking at a damned screen.
  • Don’t go bad because they move to a new gaming platform.
  • Slower pace than today’s stupid fast society.
  • If you are a gamer, there are games you will remember for the rest of your life. Few can say the same of a video games.

Some might say that video games help give kids the skills they need for modern work. Really? Do you really believe that? Do you WANT your kid to be a cubicle monkey like you (or me). That’s not how humans should live. Watch Office Space, for “BOB”‘s sake. You should want your kids to be musicians, poets, writers, artists, liquor store owners, or librarians. Right?

OK, well, as I have been updating my D&D knowledge, I learned that just this month the first materials of the 5th Edition came out, with the Players Handbooks, DMG, and Monster Manual coming out over the rest of the year. Stoked because they made the basic rules and whatnot available for free as a PDF. I have checked it out and it looks pretty good. Looks like they have un-fucked what they fucked  up in 4th edition. Hard to tell without actually playing, but it looks pretty good. They have a “Starter Set” available in the stores that has a prefab adventure to help new players get started, and it is only about $20. That’s pretty damned good.

My friend Dave is picking up some of the 2nd Edition books for me, which is great. I’ve used them. They are essentially the same as the much-loved 1st Edition, but with refinements. Gonna get them, and also order the old books from Amazon. I’ll send the old books to my nephew, since the new edition isn’t totally available yet, but I think he will dig the new one when it can be purchased.

Also in gaming news, an old highschool and college friend and sometimes-gaming buddy is moving back up here next month. He has been working on a campaign setting and rules, so I am hoping that we can play once or twice a month. They will have to be shorter sessions than the old days – maybe 3 or 4 hours – since we are old dudes with jobs now – but I think it would be fun.




12 thoughts on “Books, Paper, Pencils, and Dice.

  1. Tony (@coldkennels)

    I used to be a Magic player in a big way. The problem with Magic is, as you rightly point out, that it is basically a vehicle for selling more shit. There is a constant upgrade cycle, and it’s vicious if you want to get involved with “serious” play. Worse still is that in every cycle, there are a few powerhouse cards, and if you don’t have them, you lose. This is the reason I quit; when your opponent is basically buying a perfect deck design using individual cards from the internet and you are playing with weird, cobbled-together decks, it gets pretty depressing.

    But don’t write the game off because of that. At its core, it’s a fantastic game. There is a lot of fun, creativity and tactics in the game. We used to have a regular casual M:tG night every Wednesday at a friend’s house, and the more ridiculous and archaic the cards got, the more fun we had. Also, rather than one-on-one tournament style play, we’d often have team games or massive multiplayer matches where anyone can be a target. Cue politics and laughter.

    I remember once we decided to play an “Elder Dragon Highlander” match – a special type of game that requires a specially designed Magic deck. You have to have at least 100 cards and you’re not allowed to have more than one of any card other than the basic lands. There’s a couple of other stipulations, but needless to say, it was one of the weirdest games I’ve ever played. I spent all week trying to figure out how to build a deck for it and then, when Wednesday came around, found myself playing six other people at once and laughing my ass off for about two hours straight.

    Sometimes you’d see if you could build a deck around a ridiculous idea just to see if it worked. I had one deck that was designed to create as many “tokens” – imaginary creatures produced as an effect of something – as possible. Unfortunately, one of my friends had a similar deck. That game ended with four people knocked out while the two of us just amassed larger and larger armies across a table, neither of us daring to move. It was a perfect Cold War arms race… with elves and saprolings.

    1. admin Post author

      I think games that require 1)no preparation and 2)good strategy are cool. I am being an old grumpy guy about Magic.

  2. Mike Moore

    I just wanted to thank you for including “liquor store owner” in your mid life crisis nerd manifesto.
    Does your mom have a basement? If so, and you are about to embark on this middle aged middle earth mission, you will have to get divorced and move down there. If there’s one golden rule amongst the D&D set (no matter which rule volume you’re playing from), NO GIRLS!!!. You may already be outlawed from the game, as I assume “you’ve gone all the way”. To be a true D&D master, you must undertake not only a vow of celibacy, but also one of greasiness and profound acne.
    I’ll pray you make the right decision, as I must also question the godliness of this whole thought process you’re embroiled in. I honestly suspect demonic forces at play. No 20 sided die will protect you from that, and I promise the word “Vorpal” isn’t in the good book either.
    I’ll do my best to understand, but if I hear of ANY desire to LARP, you’re off my Christmas card list.

      1. Mike Moore

        Oh…I did the D&D thing, and yes, it was fun…but yes…I was 15. I suppose the same logic could be applied to skateboarding, riding bikes, and masturbation…but some things are easier to let go of than others. (get it?)

        1. admin Post author

          If you know what LARP means, it’s really really really to late for you. Pull the d20 outta your ass and get your nerd on.

  3. Mike Moore

    You’re an Elven magic user aren’t you? All defensive, yet oddly proud. I was a half Orc barbarian…Gonad the Barbarian. If you’re gonna be stupid…be REAL stupid I say. hahahahaha

    1. admin Post author

      I guess I had 3 characters I liked over the years. Halfling theif, human illusionist, and elf figther/magic user. I preferred thinking my way out of situations and letting the Gonads of the world do the fighting.

  4. T. Salazar Loftin (@MexHistorian)

    An advantage that RPG have over video systems is cost. The barrier to entry is lower for young gamers with limited incomes. It also seems to transcend race and class as players can design their own characters. I guess you can argue that video games can do this, too, but I think RPG have a great latitude in this respect since it is entirely dependent on one’s imagination. This article from the NYT also attests to D&D’s lasting influence on a generation of writers:

    1. admin Post author

      I love the picture of the well-worn dice in that article. That’s what ours looked like. I wish I still had all that stuff.


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