Monday, August 22, 2011

Terribly Distracted

Sorry for the lack of's just been awfully busy around my neck o the woods and my mind's been elsewhere (well, other than the nagging worry that I should be throwing something up on my blog...). That being said, posting will still probably be minimal over the next week or two as I work on some other stuff.

HA. "Work?" I'll be honest: I've just been enjoying the summertime weather. And vegging out with Seattle sports on TV when I'm not out enjoying the sunshine. The Sounders are playing well, the Seahawks are playing like crap (but O So many interesting storylines there), and the Mariners, while completely out of any playoff hunt months ago, have at least found some offense so they're fun to watch. Especially while enjoying a beer at the pub with the doors open to let in the sunshine, etc.

But my own (real life) job has been a bear of late, and I just haven't gotten around to buying any lottery tickets so it looks like it will be awhile before I can quite and just blog/game full-time. The downtime (and long walks) have been exceptionally necessary to recharge my batteries and keep me sane and mellow. Besides, with Luke handling the GMing on Thursday nights the pressure has been "eased off" for the constant creativity on my end.

Not that I haven't had time to do some stuff "off-stage"...

But I'll blog about that more later. I DO want to get down some thoughts from last week's DCC session while I have the opportunity (currently hanging outside a local coffee shop with my infant asleep in the stroller next to me). Let's see, where to start:

As I mentioned before, Luke's using the Anomalous Subsurface Environment megadungeon as our adventure. This is one I don't own and with which I am completely unfamiliar save for a review or two I've read. Still, it's plenty cool and I'm digging it.

Though it seems a bit of a waste to use it with DCC. Admittedly, this is a personal gripe: I would like to PLAY B/X not just run it, and ASE was designed for use with the B/X retro-clone Labyrinth Lord. What an opportunity! For me (I mean)! But Luke has said often enough that there are many parts of the BX/LL system he does not enjoy and that he prefers some of the more fiddly bits of D20...for him, DCC is a nice little hybrid of the two and I don't fault him for wanting to use it.

And as I said in my last post on the subject, there are a LOT of very cool things about DCC.

This session, we went into the game with newly advanced PCs; those that survived the first outing were advanced to 1st level. Since I only had one survivor, I chose to bring along my 4th 0-level character ("Derrick the Blue") as a henchman/servant of my dwarf, Yorin the Young, now re-Christened Yorin Steeltoe. We made our way to the adventure site, fought a couple/three bears (black and degenerated by radiation sickness, they weren't much of a fight), found some secret doors, broke up some aggressive robots...the usual, ya' know?

ANYway, as 1st level characters, we got to experience some of the frills of the system. As a dwarf, this meant trying out "Mighty Deeds" (a semi-narrative game mechanic attached to the random attack roll)...not to mention sniffing for precious gold, seeing in the dark (much improved "infravision"), and generally acting as a tough guy with my 12 hit points. For other characters, it meant seeing spells and corruption in action, as well as "thief skills."


So thief skills first ('cause it's the shortest): the thief didn't use any skills. As with standard D&D, assigning low percentages to actually accomplishing anything makes it ill-advised to act as a thief. Fortunately, Itchy Blackburn started his career as a 0-level minstrel, and he was able to play us a jaunty marching tune on his banjo while we were exploring.

Now magic: hmmm.

I mentioned before that I've been bit with the bug to design a fantasy heartbreaker of my own. This still holds true, and I've been jotting down notes on the game for the last few days. But I've come to a serious roadblock in the design process: designing magic systems is TOUGH. I mean, if you are trying to do something non-derivative. Not just "non-Vancian" but non-Stormbringer, non-Ars Magica, non-"Spell Points." It's tough.

The boys playing spell-casters in DCC found a lot that they liked. Which is a GOOD thing.

There was also more than a couple brushes with serious corruption (open lesions/sores, and manifestations of certain spells that made them more-or-less un-castable). The final analysis: plusses and minuses both.

But I'll have to write more specifically about that later. As I said, I've been terribly distracted as of late, and right now I've got some errands to run (specifically, a wife to pick up from work and a son who's awake and in need of holding). I'll write more later, folks.

; )

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