Monday, January 21, 2013

2013 Spring Tournament Schedule for Magic: The Gathering

After an embarrassing showing at the SCG Invitational in Los Angeles, I decided to attack the Magic scene harder than I ever have before. This page will serve as a place to chronicle my possible successes and probable blunders.

Gatecrash Patch for Magic Workstation (MWS)

The full Gatecrash set hit the spoiler scene this morning, and you can find it here.

But for those of you who just can't wait to start building decks, you probably want to get it on Magic Workstation ASAP. Good news! There's an updated MWS patch as well... just click here.

1/21/13 3:00 P.M. CAUTION: THIS FILE MESSED UP MWS FOR ME... I'M CURRENTLY WORKING ON FIXING THE ISSUE... WILL UPDATE SOON.

1/21/13 4:45 P.M. Link updated. This one works, although I had to reinstall MWS and download a new mwBase file in the midst of all that mess. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New D&D Campaign

It was just another one of those days. My brother and I were reminiscing about the good old days when we had game night every week and played D&D or Rifts or 40K or Magic regularly. Yeah, those were the good old days. And then his fiance started pushing to start game night again. Of course, we agreed, but I didn't actually see it happening. I've gotten pretty cynical about the idea that the old gaming group can ever manage to find free time at the same time.

But it happened this week. We had game night. Despite struggles, like me feeling unable to commit time to DMing and my brother thinking he would be able to but not finding the time, we still played on... with Rachel as DM.

Now, a lot of things weren't ideal about the situation. For one, Rachel only took it on at the last minute when nobody else stepped up to the plate. Second, she has played but has never been the DM before. Third, not only was she inexperienced, but we had agreed ahead of time to use 3.5 rules, which aren't the easiest to just pick up and run with. Even worse, we had also agreed on starting at 6th level... so things were even more complicated than they would have been if we had created 1st level characters.

Things could have taken a major turn for the worse, but they didn't. Even though she was a little green, Rachel handled the role of DM pretty well, especially for a first timer. We stumbled around two towns trying to figure out who committed an atrocity (lots of dead bodies) in the first one, and as much as it sounds like there's a weird vampire out there in need of killing, I've got a feeling she might have a plot twist for us.

Eric played a human fighter, as he hadn't had much time to prepare and needed something he could roll up pretty quickly. I took a more complicated approach and played this:
I know he looks pretty buff for a strength of 7,
but that's Hero Machine for ya.
Kalannar                   ECL 6
Male lesser drow cleric 6 of Vhaeraun
Drow of the Underdark, Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, Magic Item Compendium, Player’s Guide to Faerun
CN Medium humanoid
Init +3; Senses Spot +5 (3 ranks), Listen +2(0 ranks); darkvision 60 ft.
Language Common, Drow
AC 22, touch 14, flat-footed 19
hp 30 (6 HD)
Fort +5 Ref +7 Will +8 (+10 vs spells and spell-like effects)
Spd 30 ft.
Melee mwk shortsword +2 (1d6-2)
Ranged +1 hand crossbow +9 (1d4+1+poison, 19-20/x2)
Base Atk +4; Grp +4
Special Atks Rebuke Undead (+2; 3/day)
Combat Gear Chain Shirt +1, Heavy Steel Shield +1
Spells Memorized (CL 6, Drow and Travel)
3rd (3+1)—Fly, Animate Dead x2, Darkfire (6 rounds, ranged touch +7, 3d6 fire)
2nd (4+1)—Locate Object, Desecrate (PHB p218), Resist Energy, Spiritual Weapon x2 (6 rounds, +7, 1d8+2)
1st (4+1)—Longstrider, Command, Comprehend Languages, Entropic Shield (20% miss chance vs. ranged attacks), Obscuring Mist
0 (5)—Detect Magic x2, Light, Read Magic x2
Spell-like Abilities
Lesser drow (1/day, CL 6)—dancing lights, daze, touch of fatigue
Abilities Str 7 (-2), Dex 17 (+3), Con 10 (+0), Int 9 (-1), Wis 16 (+3), Cha 11  (+0)
SQ Drow Domain (Lightning Reflexes Bonus Feat), Travel Domain (automatic freedom of movement for 1 round/cleric level, Survival is a class skill)
Feats Weapon Proficiency (Rapier), Weapon Proficiency (Short Sword), Weapon Proficiency (Hand Crossbow), Daylight Adaptation, Hand Crossbow Focus (counts as Weapon Focus and Rapid Reload for hand crossbows only), Leadership, Lightning Reflexes
Skills Concentration +1 (1 ranks), Knowledge: Religion +5 (5 ranks), Survival +2 (0 ranks)
Possessions combat gear, Wand of Cure Light Wounds (50 charges), Ring of Protection +1, Amulet of Natural Armor +1, Hat of Disguise, Everfull Mug, Everlasting Rations, drow poison (10 doses), 20 gp
Experience 15,000 / 21,000
Advancement Path: Cleric 20

My intention was to run this in my brother's campaign, and since he can have kind of a twisted take on things sometimes, I figured playing a drow to the hilt wouldn't be too big of a deal. Rachel doesn't have the same twist, and with Eric in the party now rather than running the game, my character ended up being the voice of reason in the group thus far. We'll see if that changes... Kalannar is sure to get power hungry sooner or later, as most drow tend to do.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Top Five Free Android RPGs of 2012

While not all of these games were actually released in 2012, these are the best free RPGs that graced my Android tablet over the course of the year. These apps saved me from many a moment of boredom, and didn't cost me a dime!

#5 Sacracy
I played Parallel Kingdoms for a while, and the GPS based RPG idea intrigued me. However, PK just never did it for me visually. Sacracy is a similar take on the GPS based world, but is much visually appealing.


 #4 Bad Nerd
While it is based on a lot of cheesy stereotypes and can be quite glitchy at times, Bad Nerd is a hoot to play. Basically, you play as the nerdy kid who has suffered at the hands of school bullies, and it is time for revenge.


 #3 Inotia 4
I played Inotia 3 a while back and wasn't all that impressed, so I didn't even bother downloading Inotia 4 when I stumbled across it in the Google Play Store. However, I'm glad I did. It isn't that much different than Inotia 3, but there are enough improvements to warrant giving the new version a shot.


#2 Soulcraft
Reminiscent of the Diablo series in many ways, Soulcraft is probably the most visually appealing on this list. The most frustrating thing about this game is the controls, which didn't respond the way I expected - often not sensitive enough. If the controls were better, this could easily have been #1 on this list.


#1 Heroes Call
The best of the bunch is another title reminiscent of the Diablo series. Heroes Call has pretty awesome graphics for a mobile game, addicting gameplay, and a user-friendly interface. Of the games on the list, this is the only one I am still playing.


Please note that not all of these games were released in 2012. These are games that I played in 2012.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Gaming Resolutions

It's hard to believe this is the fifth year I've been posting on this humble little blog, and that this will be the fourth year I've posted gaming New Years resolutions. As usual, we'll take a look at my goals for last year and then set some new ones for this year.

A look back at 2012:
  • Complete the first adventure in the Madcap Mercenaries campaign. Failed. This campaign petered out over the summer, and I haven't even thought about it until I went back to review my 2012 resolutions.
  • Play in a more competitive Magic: The Gathering tournament. Succeeded. I won a Star City Games Invitational Qualifier back in June, and I've been trying to make it to more "bigger than FNM" tournaments ever since.
  • Continue chasing the same goals I stated in 2011! Meh. Game nights happened, but they weren't regularly scheduled events by any means. The old crew has a lot more responsibilities than we did when I first started this blog, and I just don't foresee game nights becoming a regular thing again. I did manage to play outside of the man cave a lot more often, so I'll claim half success on this one.
Overall, I'd give 2012 a 1.5/3. That's kind of pathetic, but considering the schedules and new responsibilities of my usual game night participants, I don't think that third goal was realistic anyway. For 2013, I want to make sure I challenge myself, but that I challenge myself realistically.
  1. Top 8 a Magic tournament with 100+ participants. I'm not going to specify exactly what this has to be, but the biggest tournament I've ever done well in had 75 players (details on that one here). I'm going to shoot even higher this year and try to do well in a Star City Games Open or a Grand Prix. I'm already planning to attend several of these over the next few months, so hopefully things will go well. 
  2. Downsize the Man Cave. I already started this in 2012 when I gave most of my Magic cards to my little brother. However, my long term plans include a move to a big city, and that usually means less space. I want to go ahead and start the process of selling/giving away/throwing out stuff I don't use anymore so that when the time comes, I'll have less work to do.
  3. Write for my Audience. I write about games that interest me, but that's a pretty broad spectrum. I get most of my traffic from search engines rather than returning readers, and that's something I want to work on: writing articles that are useful enough and focused enough that people will want to come back. It'll be a significant paradigm shift for me. I'll need to focus more and write more often, but I think it is possible. 
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