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Archive for December, 2011

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Book Review: Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Dungeons & Dragons

The masters have said I need to contribute more to the Podcast if I ever truly want to have fans like they do. Also they said I should learn how to be a better person, and Joe thinking he is so clever gave me Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Dungeons & Dragons: One Woman’s Quest to Trade Self-Help for Elf-Help by Shelly Mazzanoble.

As the title would suggest it is a self help book written as a reflection on Shelly’s life experience living, breathing and working D&D. She started working for Wizards of the Coast, the owners of D&D, and then found not only that she likes to play D&D but that it can shape her life for the better, chronicled in her first book Confessions of a Part-time Sorceress: A Girl’s Guide to the D&D Game). After this discovery it did not take long for her to realize that many other people might also benefit from a little D&D in their lives.

Broadly speaking the book is a self help book, but it is told in a very autobiographical form as the author proceeds to tell you of a life challenge that she faced and then how she solved it using D&D or from lessons learned from D&D. I would estimate the book would relate best to women age 20+ but personally I would recommend the book to anyone interested in D&D, role-playing, or how to have fun and make your life better for it. She is very informal in her personal stories and consistently breaks the 4th wall, as in talking directly to the reader of the book. Sometimes it does seem that her writing rambles along or goes too long to make a point. I did find myself lost a couple of times in the middle of a three sentence paragraph because the topic had shifted drastically and I was lost. However, it does add to the charm of the book and makes it seem that you are drinking with a friend and they are telling you some very choice life stories. True to all things role playing there is no table of contents, bibliography, or index and at least a bibliography or a book/persons of interest section would have been really appreciated.

The book is interesting to me because I have met very few other couples who game together, or at all. I would also say this is the first time I heard a story of people in the same game later dating and not ruining the game, group, or their friendship.  Part of that makes me realize how unique my own life situation is at times being married to a woman I game with every week. Shelly also really reinforced the idea that having a good time playing a game, any game, can really bridge any gap between people and that it can be a great way to pass the time in any situation. I found the last two chapters of this book very poignant because it deals with her experience of living with a significant other for the first time and their discussions on children, and both have also been recent experiences in my own life.

Shelly created a self help book providing example of her own life and how D&D helped her either solve problems or enrich her experience. I would recommend this book to anyone who has heard of or played D&D (Role playing games) or who has never heard of it and would like know more about it and the people who play.

So now I shall sit back and wait for you, all of my adoring fans, to leave me comments on how brilliant of a writer I am and shower me with gifts!

R.Dragon

PS. The great benevolent masters Wizard of the Cost said I should link them and not Amazon… so you can find Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Dungeons & Dragons and Confessions of a Part-time Sorceress on their most magnificent website.

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Episode Twenty: O Bai

Pacing is a difficult subject, since it’s something that appears at first glance to be a talent that sopme folks have and other don’t. This is a LIE! We try our best to express some of the techniques we use to keep games flowing properly. Mostly, of course, we GUSH about Hamlet’s Hit Points, which is probably the best book ever written about pacing in GMing. It’s a really fantastic work for teaching a GM how to track their pacing.

Also, this is the final episode of the first seaon. We are not going away, or going dark. We’ll have all sorts of stuff to post for the next few months. We’re soliciting feedback about what you’d like to see for season two! You can talk to us about anything on Twitter, Facebook, our Forums, or via an email!

Episode Twenty: Pacing

FAVORITE GAMES OF THE WEEK

Spycraft
My Life with Master
GURPS Bunnies & Burrows

CURRENTLY PLAYING

Star Basterds has ended, and a good time was had by all of us. We’re looking forward to starting the next game after the holidays!

ANNOUNCEMENTS

End of Seaons One! We are not disappearing.

Robin D. Laws’ new game will be called Hillfolk

The first person to email us the name of the power we describe (found in the Scion Companion) wins $10 for DriveThruRPG.

MUSIC SECTION

“Roll the Dice, Make my Day” (Mustard Men)
“Hazel” (Weekend)
“Hours” (Tycho)
“The Drums Of Burundi” (The Sacred Drums Of Burundi)
“Hillbilly Dogs” (Stick Jones)
“Happy Gabber” (madonkey)

GAMES MENTIONED

Robin’s Laws of Good Game Mastering
InSpectres
Castles & Crusades
Savage Worlds
d20
Shard
Scion
GUMSHOE
Scion Companion
Nightmares of Mine
GURPS Black Ops
Vampire: the Requiem
Ghouls
Star Wars D6
Savage Worlds

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Episode Nineteen: Tincture of Cream

This week we bring you a full episode review of our favorite game of the season: Castles and Crusades. We have both had a long love affair with C&C, and played many a campaign. We’ve modifed the system on occasion as well as adapted and created settings for it. Mostly we talk about our love for the product, but we go over the incredibly rules-light engine in some detail.

Episode Nineteen is brought to you by all of you awesome fans! We can’t wait for Season Two! Be sure to tell us about your excitement on Facebook, Twitter, our website, our Forums, or with email! Season Two suggestions are always welcome.

FAVORITE GAMES OF THE WEEK

Way of the Yakuza
Heroes of the Feywild
Gary Gygax’s Extraordinary Book of Names

CURRENTLY PLAYING

C&C Session: Flight of the Magus. It was a whole lot of fun.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Keep it up folks, we enjoy reading your comments and be sure to tell some friends about us! If you’ve never emailed or commented, now’s a good time.

The Forge, where Joe used to lurk.

Joe’s thread: Fuck Game Balance

Also, we said that we used an issue of The Crusader for rolling magic items. We said it was 19 or 25 or whatever, but it turns out the article is in Crusader #8.

Someone please email to remind us to post a link to our C&C magic system, since the old website Joe used for inspiration is apparently gone.

Joe confused Feudal Japan with Rokugan…Dammit.

SHOUTOUTS

Alex Swingle! Chibi Emperor Sousa!

JOE! We owe you and you’ll be getting stuff.

The Story Games Book of Names Project offers the book for free!

Ian!

MUSIC SECTION

“Roll the Dice, Make my Day” (Mustard Men)
“March of Cambreadth” (Alexander James Adams/Heather Alexander)
“Siyabonga” (African Calabash)
“Easy To Love” (Tess Henley)
“Dominick the Donkey” (Richard Allen, Sam Saltzberg, and Lou Monte)
“Relax, Max!… music for stressed people” (Jako Jake)

GAMES MENTIONED

World of Darkness
Savage Worlds
d20
AD&D
Castle Keeper’s Guide
Castle Zagyg
C&C Player’s handbook
C&C Monsters and Treasure
Of Gods and Monsters
Tainted Lands
Queen of the Spiders
Pathfinder
Crusader #8
Kaidan
Changeling: the Dreaming
7th Sea
GURPS Celtic Myth
D&D 4th Edition
Shard