I’m not good at planning so I resigned the right to call myself an improv gamemaster with the ability to come up with crazy stuff on the fly. However that was the case in previous years, but for some reason I have lost that ability. It could be due to the fact that I was depressed for a while and during that time something happened. So what’s stopping me from becoming more of a planner? It’s the fact that I can’t focus on anything. Even as I type out this blog post I’m playing Hearthstone and watching a twitch steam. There are some of who will say, “Why not just turn off the distractions?”
I’ve tried. Nothing works. I’d simply look at the blank sheet on the screen.
Many times throughout the day I find myself wishing I could magically transform my mind with the flick of a wrist. I can’t even flick my wrist because I’m sure I’d hurt myself doing so. Medication could work. If I’m really depressed still there is the possibility it may help me. But do I really want to go down that path?
Even when I’m typing I can’t focus on a subject, can I?
My partner says my lack of ability to improv may be because I took an extended break from tabletop. He reasons my mind is still adjusting. It’s either that or the fact that I’m older. He told me that when he was younger he could do it well and his improv ability is still good, but not where it used to be.
Weird to see myself already worried going senile at the age of 29.
The players I’ve had in the past got into wild situations and their ability to come up with ways to get themselves out of said situations always amazed me. Perhaps that is what I need to do. I should go back to being a player for a while and see how well my improv skills do for me as a player as opposed to a game master.
Keep on the Shadowfell was my first D&D module and I didn’t like it. It consisted of a large boring dungeon crawl with NPCs who I didn’t give a damn for and lengthy repetitive combat. So after that experience I decided to make a homebrew game with my own world and that turned out fine. How fine you might ask? The group I played with last two and a half years before two of them moved to Canada. Anyways I never touched another WOTC module since until now.
Hoard of the Dragon Queen came out August 2014 and was part of a collection of 5th edition or DNDnext modules. My partner ran the game and ended up tossing it to the side for a homebrew that takes place in Waterdeep. The combat was repetitive peppered with kobolds and cultists. The thing that turned me off to this module was a particular combat session. There’s a family who is held hostage and a half-dragon challenges anyone who would fight in one on one combat. Regardless of the outcome he would let the family go. Being the paladin I was I didn’t want the father with little combat experience to fight him so I volunteered and got my butt handed to me. Death in a game is fine! I was okay with it until my partner told me later that the half-dragon was very powerful and there wasn’t any way a second level adventurer would be victorious. Hence part of the reason we’re playing something else.
Since then the group has moved on and I was curious about the module that was supposed to take place after Hoard of the Dragon Queen, The Rise of Tiamat designed for players of 7-8th level. This is the synopsis as taken from the official D&D website,
“The Cult of the Dragon leads the charge in an unholy crusade to bring Tiamat back to the Realms, and the situation grows more perilous for good people with each passing moment. The battle becomes increasingly political as opportunities to gather allies and gain advantage present themselves. From Waterdeep to the Sea of Moving Ice to Thay, it is a race against Evil. Succeed or succumb to the oppression of draconic tyranny. Win or lose, things will never be the same again.”
Sounds exciting doesn’t it? A race to stop the coming of Tiamat with the possibility of fighting the goddess yourself is awesome. Before reading the material I went on Amazon to take a look at the reviews. Currently the module is rated 4.5 stars (36 reviews) out of five as opposed to Hoard of the Dragon Queen which has four stars (110 reviews).
The adventure is well written. In the introduction we are given an overview of what happens in the module as well as descriptions of the factions of Waterdeep, potential allies, and other enemies. There is just enough information given not to make your head spin. I love how your party may be able to ally themselves with devils, because let’s be serious not every devil wants Tiamat out of the Nine Hells. It hooks whoever is reading it in.
The modules has six dungeon crawls sprinkled with multiple meetings which include the Red Wizards, the metallic dragons, and the factions of Waterdeep. Personally I’m not a fan of multiple dungeon crawls, but for what it’s worth each one is unique in its own way. Players will travel to the glaciers of the Sea of Moving Ice to Xonthal’s tower (a magical tower that once belonged to a power magic caster). As thorough as the adventure is I can see a fresh inexperienced DM having trouble running this campaign due to extensive details however an experienced DM should be fine.
Though the major dungeons layout is described very thoroughly there are some sections that lack such detail like the council meetings. Though it could be that the creators wanted the DM to add a little flair of their own into the adventure. There is very little detail given about the meetings themselves even though the factions are vital for the players to have for the last final battle. The lack of detail can also be found with meeting the wizards of Thay, the metallic dragons, and the Ice Hunters at Oyaviggaton.
Multiple reviews of Amazons I read mention that the adventure is stacked against the players. This may lead to multiple deaths along the way. That’s not surprising as there are parts of Hoard of the Dragon Queen which are heavily stacked against the players. One of the helpful reviews mentions that it is strongly recommended to have at least 4 people in a party and even with that the adventure still must be tailored. I can understand that this module is trying to bring back the old ways where everything could kill adventurers. That is acceptable, but be prepared if your players are not used to dying they may become extremely frustrated. What I like is there is a possibility that the adventurers might fail and sometimes that’s a good thing! I think…
I view this module as spectacularly average. There is a solid story with some intrigue but not as much as I would hope for. It’s a good module for DMs that have little time to make their own adventure.
I’ve never been great at playing video games. A part of me would like to consider myself average, but most of the time when I play something new it appears more like I’m painfully worse. In particular I’m terrible at games within the MOBA genre. MOBA for those of you who don’t know stands for Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), also known as action real-time strategy (ARTS), originated as a sub-genre of the real-time strategy (RTS) genre of video games, in which a player controls a single character in one of two teams (Wikipedia). Popular MOBAs include DOTA 2, League of Legends, and Heroes of the Storm.
I could never get used to the controls and it seems as if someone would need to have insanely fast reaction time to be good at it. This author has the reaction time of a turtle and the observation skills of a bat. I‘m not the best person to play a MOBA. One however had caught my eye and that is SMITE. I’ve mentioned SMITE in my video blog on Youtube a few times. And if you play a lot of video games you might have heard of it. SMITE is a MOBA in which a person can play as an immortal from Greek, Roman, Mayan, Hindu, Buddhist, Egyptian, or Norse mythology. What really sets this game apart from other MOBAs is that the perspective of the game is a third person view and it has other modes different from your typical three lane maps.
Previously I had seen some people I know play it and I was hooked. I downloaded the game and it turned out I was awful. Things in that game take skill shots so I actually had to be good at aiming things and there were delayed time casting. Instead of whining about how bad I was I decided to go through my routine regiment for getting better at games. I read guide guides on building gods and I just began watching videos and streams of people who are actually good at the game. So far from my first initial times from playing I’ve gotten a little better. So I feel like I didn’t do anything special. It was kind of like preparing the way I always do on something. Now all I got to do is find more friends who will play with me.
I don’t have anything profound to say, because it’s hard to think of anything when you are 25,000 feet in the air and sleep deprived. If you follow my videos on YouTube then you might know that the trip I’m currently on is one I don’t really care for. Yes, it is Hawaii and being one from a region that is experiencing cold weather at the time you’d think I’m excited. Right… I love my best friend and it will be for her wedding I am traveling to.
There’re a lot of things that we don’t wish to do in life. It’s even more annoying when it’s something that other people view as wonderful such as going to Hawaii. It sucks and it feels like when you’re complaining that it’s a first world problem.
The best thing you can do when you are doing something less desirable is to make the best of it. But it’s not that easy when you’re predisposition is to be negative about everything at the first pass. But I had to learn that not everything or everyone is going to suck.
My emotions affects others just as easily as others affect me. I’ve learn that over the years and now that I have somebody who cares about how I feel I find myself being more aware of that.
You know it has been a long time when you look at your last blog post and think to yourself… “Hell it’s about time.” Twenty points if you get that reference. If you’re reading this then you’re probably wondering where I’ve been all this time. Those who watched my videos know I had been jobless for a while. As some of us know being jobless for a long period of time does things. It can make a person lazy and depressed. You forget about things and stop caring.
I stopped caring for a while.
To be honest I think I would’ve been worse off if I didn’t have my fiancé or cats. They would keep me company because I didn’t want to go out. I tried to convince myself I couldn’t afford to drop money on games, restaurant food, or even a coffee.
The videos were an attempt to do something with myself. It worked for a while. Then like everything else I tried to continue doing. I stopped.
However in April I was hired as a lab manager at a university for two neuroscience labs.
So far it has been pretty good. I’ve met a lot of nice people and have been fairly productive.
I ran a dungeons and dragons game for the first time in six months. That being said I was a little rusty, but I have the tabletop spark again.
I’m also painting again. Well I never stopped completely, but now I do it regularly.
So things are good, but they could be better. For example French Fry is on my desk. I wish he wasn’t.
Seriously though I don’t want to come home and veg out on the couch. There are so many things I could get done. I want to restart my podcast, but I have to find a partner that I can meet frequently enough and click with.
Talk Days will resume next week with two videos a week. There will be a blog post every week and the GM Tails comic will be post every Tuesday and Thursday.