Category Archives: games

To fudge, or not to fudge…

Fudge in roleplaying games…how do we fell about it? Now I know what you’re thinking; “Fudge? I dunno, bro, those dice are weird looking!”  Well, yes they are, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Also, why are you calling me bro? Also also, not what I’m talking about.

they are kind of weird looking

they are kind of weird looking

An interesting conundrum has recently nestled itself in the squishier bits of my mind. Well, interesting to me, if it’s not interesting to you, then don’t friggin’ read it, you ill-mannered bucket of sh…sorry, I get testy sometimes. Anyway. I was sitting around the game table one recent night, sipping brandy and cracking wise about pee-pees, playing a rousing game of D&D. After a particularly harrowing combat where I survived by the skin of my teeth, something that concerns me because I’m pretty sure skin shouldn’t be there, my compatriots and I were exchanging high-five and discussing how close a call it was. After the encounter, the DM remarked that I should have been dead several times over by now. I asked him what he meant by this, and he said that he had fudged the results so I didn’t meet my hard-fought demise. This led to a an internal conflict. Getting your character killed, especially in something as arbitrary as combat, is rarely fun. That being said, walking into every fight knowing that you’ll be walking out takes some of the sense of danger from the experience. As I looked back on all the times I clearly should have eaten shit, I decided to tuck it away and ponder it later. After all, it was four in the morning and I had more dick jokes to make before I returned home to my wife…to make more dick jokes.

Days went by, and I was in the midst of running my weekly Shadowrun game, when one of my players takes an axe to the face.

“I’m dead.”, he proclaimed.

I paused, surprised. “You can spend edge to hang on.”, was my retort.

“I can, but I’m going to spend it to get one last action and kill the guy with a lightning bolt!”

“…ok”, I retorted, my mind reeling from the whole ordeal.

Clearly, this guy wasn’t terribly worried about his character becoming a fresh ghost, but it got me thinking back to the previous week’s incident. He then whipped another character and proclaimed “I made a Troll. I get 40 dice for damage resistance tests now.”  My jaw slowly fell open into an expression that I imagine looked like I had just watched my new puppy raped and then kicked into traffic, but that’s a different story. (There is no puppy, by the way.)

puppy

This experience got me thinking about the nature of characters and their mortality. I empathized with my DM from earlier. I don’t particularly enjoy killing of people’s characters. I’ve gotten a fair share murdered in my day. So many so that I used to be known as the king of the dirt nap. My getting killed skills were legendary and our DM had no sympathy for us back in those days. Often it was in hilarious fashion, thus cushioning he blow, but it always stung a little, and was kind of a pain in the ass having to roll a new character and start over. This new DM softened the blow a little bit by keeping us at least a little safer. But at what cost?

Mmmmmmmm...

Mmmmmmmm…

I’ve been known to fudge a time or two. Usually unless I’m running XCrawl, I try to at least give the players a chance, but this leads to a slippery slope. Where does that perfect balance lie? The balance of “shit happens” and “your lives matter”? I’m starting to favor the more bloodthirsty approach, letting the dice determine the fickle finger of fate, but it rarely feels good to feed someone’s effort and imagination into the yawning void. Unless you manage to overcome a 40-dice resistance test. Then you’ve earned it.

Where do you fall in this situation? To fudge, or not to fudge? That is a question. Not the question though, there are others. Like how does Robocop poop?

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Hidden Gems…the best stuff of the rest of the stuff

Nerds like stuff. That’s one of the coolest part of being a nerd; all the STUFF! But sometimes we get hung up on the stuff that everyone else is getting hung up on. That’s how stuff gets popular. That’s just the way things are, but there’s so much stuff that some truly great stuff gets pushed to the wayside. Let’s talk about some of that stuff. Just because stuff isn’t the most popular stuff, doesn’t mean that it’s not great stuff, maybe even better stuff than the stuff everyone else is stuffing themselves with. Here’s some stuff you maybe missed. Stuff.

GAUDEAMUS

Hard to pronounce, hard to put down.

Hard to pronounce, hard to put down.

Gaudeamus was a sci-fi novel from acclaimed novelist John Barnes. It’s also a damn hard word to spell, and no picnic to try to pronounce. It launched in 2004 to little fanfare, and that’s a shame, because it’s a really fun read. Barnes tells the story from the first person, using himself as a main character, listening to the story told to him by an old college friend. Got all that? It’s a tricky little literary device, but one used to great effect here, as it makes you wonder how many of the people in this story actually exist, and which ones are pure fiction. It makes me wonder that too, we have so much in common. If there’s actually a Travis Bismarck out there, I’d like to have a beer with him and hear about his adventures. And if there’s not, just read this book, maybe while drinking beer. Beer is nice.

UFO’s, telepathy-inducing sex drugs, and punk rock bands disguised as clowns, there’s a lot going on here. So much, in fact, that it’ll have you saying “what’s going on here?” up until the very end. Go read it, it’s a neat little ride.

NEXTWAVE

This pretty much sums it up, yeah.

This pretty much sums it up, yeah.

Marvel comics are pretty hot these days, and every title gets the scrutiny of whether it’ll end up as a huge blockbuster movie. Here’s one that almost assuredly will not. And that’s a bad thing. A not-so-super team comprised of D-list Marvel heroes Boom-Boom, Photon, Machine Man, and Elsa Bloodstone, with Newcomer “The Captain”, whose powers include “generic superhero shit”, Nextwave had a twelve-issue run and became insanely popular with people who read it, and no one else, really. It’s a damn shame. It’s sarcastic humor and open mocking of itself are extremely endearing. I’ve never met anyone who read this and didn’t love it. Go read this too.

THE SPOILS

Annnnnnnd...dick joke!

Annnnnnnd…dick joke!

Do you play Magic:The Gathering? Well stop it! The Spoils is yet another CCG that made it’s debut in 2007 to a huge splash (maybe too big) as an alternative to Magic. If you’ve ever played Magic, you can learn The Spoils in about five minutes, and do well at it. Building off of the basic rules structure that MTG introduced, and improves on it in some key ways, namely resource management. The real kicker here, though, is the game’s style. The Spoils is not afraid to make all kinds of off-color, though not truly obscene jokes on it’s cards. Where Magic takes itself super-serious, The Spoils hands out dick jokes like Halloween candy, while not letting the humor take a backseat to solid mechanics and fun gameplay. Unlike most things on this list, this is still going, and definitely deserves your support.

Boob jokes too? There's something for everyone!

Boob jokes too? There’s something for everyone!

There’s some of the stuff that you may have missed on your quest for neat stuff. Go check some of this stuff out, it’s pretty great stuff. What obscure stuff are you into? Sound off in the comments! Also, check out the movie The Stuff. It’s a movie…about Stuff.

thestuff

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Still more…Costume Ideas for fat guys!

Sorry for the lack of updates, and this one specifically, as we find ourselves smack dab in the midst of convention season, but life has conspired to shit in my mouth as of late. Now, as I clean the taste out of my mouth, and pick the corn from my teeth, I’m back to provide what will no doubt be a life-changing update for you.

VAULT DWELLER

No, you may NOT buy Yu-Gi-Oh cards with bottle caps, beat it!

No, you may NOT buy Yu-Gi-Oh cards with bottle caps, beat it!

This one’s going to blow up in a big way soon, with the announcement of Fallout 4. Cons across the world are going to be littered with Blue and yellow jumpsuits with collector’s edition Pip-Boys making accompanying them next year. This one has the added benefit of being super roomy and comfy, as well as pretty easy to pull off, depending on how much or how little you choose to embellish it.

SPACECORP CREWMAN

Yeah, it's pretty great, you've probably never heard of it...

Yeah, it’s pretty great, you’ve probably never heard of it…

I’ve spoken before about the hidden gem that is Spaceship Zero. Similar to the Vault Dweller, the crewman of Spaceship Zero wear simple red jumpsuits with Spacecorp logos on them. This one may not be as recognizable, but you’ll have the satisfaction of repping a true indy darling of an RPG at your con of choice.

Wear it proud

Wear it proud

BRAY WYATT

Perfect for smackdowns, or casual gatherings

Perfect for smackdowns, or casual gatherings

Truth is that a lot of geeks are closet wrestling fans, and I fully intend to elaborate on that in a future post. Up-and-coming WWE Superstar Bray Wyatt has the dubious honor of being this generation’s inspiration for chubby fans. (R.I.P. Dusty Rhodes, the portly champion of yesteryear. Much respect.) Bray Dresses simply, in his Hawaiian shirt, Black tanktop, and white or red pants, with optional fedora, leather apron or vest, lamp, and thumb protector. This one can also serve as part of a group costume if you’ve got a couple of friends willing to dress as Erick Rowan and Luke Harper with you…and maybe drag a rocking chair around for you.

Follow the buzzards

Follow the buzzards

EARTHQUAKE

Fear my huge pink jammies!

Fear my huge pink jammies!

Yeah boy, we’re going old school with this one! Who remembers Samurai Shodown? Classic 90’s fighting game series from the glory days of SNK fighters. Eh, kids these days. Regardless, for those of you that remember, Earthquake was the games token “huge fuckin’ dude” character. The hardest part of this costume to pull off would be the prop weapon that he carries into battle. The rest shouldn’t be too hard.

Well, that’s it for this time. Again, apologies for the lateness of this post, hopefully things will pick back up, and there’ll be more nerdy dick jokes more regularly soon.

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Beloved franchises…that actually mostly suck

We have a lot of long-running entertainment franchises these days that have developed rabid fan followings. With increasing frequency, these franchises crap out sequel after dreadful sequel that are instantly thrown on the pile of loathsome offerings that make us wonder why we ever liked this shit. This usually occurs with film franchises, television tends to get cancelled quickly when it goes to seed, but sometimes this phenomenon occurs within other media. Here now, I take a look at some of these franchises that were terrible far longer than they were good.

HELLRAISER

Look, an Ouya!

Look, an Ouya!

I loves me some Hellraiser, it was one of the most innovative and imaginatively brutal horror series around…briefly. There are nine Hellraiser movies. The first one is great. The second one is quite good. The third one…happened. The fourth one was better than it should have been. The rest were a dumpster fire. Cenobites that throw CDs, kung-fu cowboy demons, and scripts that had Hellraiser stuff hastily tacked on in order to retain the license have made this franchise a fucked-out shell of the genius it once was. One of the sequels even involves Hellraiser being just a big video game…that’s clever, sadly Frankie Munez must’ve been been too busy to be in that one. Too bad Lance Henriksen wasn’t. It’s ok Lance, we still love you.

This series is set for a reboot soon, under the guidance of creator Clive Barker. This is one of the few times I’ve been looking forward to a reboot. Seriously, CDs? Who throws CDs? Maybe the reboot will have a guy throw MP3s…not sure how that would kill people.

Play Freebird...you piece of shit.

Play Freebird…you piece of shit.

HIGHLANDER

I can't find it in myself to make fun of this, it's just too cool.

I can’t find it in myself to make fun of this, it’s just too cool.

Highlander was awesome. It had a rockin’ Queen soundtrack, cool swordfights, and an interesting concept that stirred the imagination. Then Highlander 2 happened. Then everything else Highlander happened. That was a shame. The Highlander sequels involved aliens, wizards, time travel, the Syfy Channel, all kinds of horseshit that’s known to ruin franchises. There have been 4 theatrical releases, a made for tv movie, two television series, an animated series, and an anime movie. Also, the first movie was good.

Some people really liked the TV series, well, the first one, not “The Raven”, but there are also people who enjoy having entire fists shoved up their assholes. Seriously, look it up. Whole human fists.

Just like a fist up the ass, Highlander well overstayed its welcome and ruined all the goodwill it had earned, making us wonder why we ever liked it in the first place. Oh yeah, the Queen soundtrack.

THIS, on the other hand...

THIS, on the other hand…

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG

Radical!

Radical!

Man, Sonic the Hedgehog was cool. The running fast, the loop-de-loops, the snarky attitude, the…blast processing, it was great. Then the 90’s ended. Sonic hasn’t had a really good game since Sonic and Knuckles, once the days of 2D platformers ended, Sonic found himself a man without a country. Unable to hang in an era of 3D games and polygons, Sonic hasn’t fared well, yet we just can’t seem to stop making bad attempts to make him seem relevant again, despite more failures than successes.  As painful as it is, it may be time for Sonic to hang up his red sneakers. There’s a farm upstate he could go live on. There’s room to run around there, and other hedgehogs to play with…he’ll be much happier.

Yeah...shit got weird.

Yeah…shit got weird.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN

Yaaay!

Yaaay!

Pirates of the Caribbean was a great movie. It was a fun, lighthearted adventure full of interesting characters and cool action. Then they made more of them, and Johnny Depp owes me six hours of my life back. The first sequel, Dead Man’s Chest, wasn’t too bad, but then At World’s End happened, and we were subjected to what felt like days of Jack Sparrow looking for a fucking peanut, and the filmmakers desperately trying to make Elizabeth Swan seem like a likable and important main character, as opposed to an insufferable bag of shit. I had actually forgotten about the latest entry in the series, and I paid money to see it in a theatre, which means I left my house at some point. 25% success rate is not a good number to base your series on.

When I said "grow a personality",  you didn't have to be a dick about it!

When I said “grow a personality”, you didn’t have to be a dick about it!

These are just some of examples that jumped to mind in my sweaty, gravy-induced stupor. I’m sure there are plenty of others out there that eluded me. I contemplated Heroes, but since I haven’t finished it yet, it’d be based on hearsay, and that’s just unamerican, so sound off and tell me some franchises you think were more shit than shinola!

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Maximum XCrawl

Remember that pretty, albeit chunky little cutie we discussed last time? Well, maybe you’ve decided not to see her on the regs anymore. That’s ok. But that doesn’t mean you should kick her to the curb entirely. It’s ok to see her every now and then. And maybe when you do, maybe she wears a little something special for you…something new and exciting…shit, I seem to have given myself a boner with this metaphor.

GMGP2000CoverLarge

Ok, so the plump lass in question was Pathfinder. Well, the naughty podiatrist (of whatever your occupational kink is) outfit just happens to be a new edition of XCrawl!

XCrawl has been around for a while, but if you’re not familiar with it, here’s the long and veiny of it. Imagine a world similar to ours, the catch being that all the crap from your D&D books is real. A world where the phrase “Honey, I stepped in gremlin poop on the way to Taco Bell.” is not unheard of. Ok, so in a world like this, what does one do for fun? Well, they watch televised dungeon crawls, naturally. That’s where the game begins. Your party plays the role of a team of adventurers for sport. You compete in public spectacles for cash and prizes…and groupies.

It was love at first sight for me with XCrawl, that was way back in 2007 or so, and I’ve been hooked from the word go. I got my game group enamored with it too, and we even helped playtest this new edition, landing the Bluegrass Brawlers a mention in the credits page. Since then, I’ve actually gotten to know the game’s creator, Brendan Lasalle, pretty well, and even colloabo’ed on other projects. That being said, I still feel capable of giving an unbiased review. So…here goes nothing…

This thing fucking rules! Ahem, sorry. Seriously though, a lot of work and love went into this book, and it shows. And it should, since it was supposed to be released sometime roughly around the Carter administration. (Take that, Brendan, ha!) It was worth the wait though, as it pretty much fixes every issue I had with the old version. Let’s talk about that.

The previous edition of XCrawl was a fantastic exercise in concept and world building. It went into a great amount of detail about the setting of the game, it’s history and culture, but it was a bit rules-light. Aside from a few feats and spells, the mojo system, and one new class; the Athlete, there was a lot of fluff compared to crunch. This time around, the script is flipped, giving us a lot of new crunchy bits to sink our teeth into. There are six, fully fleshed out classes, including a vastly overhauled and improved version of the Athlete, a more streamlined mojo system, great detail into building a crawl by the numbers, a revised fame system, and much, much more! If you’re looking for a full-fledged rulebook, Maximum XCrawl does not disappoint. That being said, with so much crunch, there’s naturally not as much room left for fluff. There’s still a fair amount of space dedicated to the setting, definitely enough for you to understand and enjoy, but it felt like the old book went into more detail about it. For that reason, I think that there’s still plenty of reason to pick up the old edition, as it’s still mostly relevant information. There’s a lot of subtle depth and commentary that Lasalle put into this setting that many (myself included for a time) overlook due to the in your face action of the games themselves. both editions together make for a perfect set for rules and setting.

All in all, this is a great new edition of an already great game. There aren’t a lot of alternate settings for D20 style games hitting the shelf anymore, and this is the most original one I’ve seen, and a great reason to keep playing Pathfinder.

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How one fat nerd equates D&D to marital infidelity

Imagine if you will; you and your squeeze are together for a while now, and you have a great time together. But over the years she changes. It’s ok, everyone changes, and it happens slowly at first, but over time she becomes someone you don’t exactly enjoy anymore. It’s not that she got super fat, or got her face and tits mangled in some kind of industrial accident, she’s just…different. Perfectly capable in her own right, you suppose, but not quite the same. And it’s not just you that notices, your friends notice too, they may be afraid to mention it until you bring it up, because your friends always liked her too, that was another point in her favor. Now imagine you meet someone else. You weren’t really looking, you’re a faithful kind of guy, but you just kind of ran into her along the way and, to your horror and guilty delight, she stirs something in you. It feels fun again. You get that same feeling you had with your first love. It’s not that she’s some kind of supermodel, though she’s certainly attractive, if maybe a bit thick around the middle, but in that good way that Sir Mix-A-Lot would approve of. No, she’s just fun to be around. It’s like old times. So you make the hardest choice of your life, and you and your old lady part ways, and this new cutie embark on a whirlwind of fun times. Your friends like her, you have fun together, all is great. Then, one fateful day, your run into your ex. You engage in awkward small talk for a bit, give her the old scrutinizing eyeball, and you realize that she’s different again. She’s fun again. In new ways, but ways that remind you of why you fell in love with her in the first place. You agree to hang out casually, and you find yourself falling back in love with her. Now you have another painful choice to make. Do you rekindle this old flame, or do you stick it out with the chubby cutie that you left her for?

More of you to love...

More of you to love…

Friends, thus is the conundrum with Dungeons and Dragons: Fifth Edition. And for clarity’s sake, Pathfinder is the fun, big-hipped lass you ran off with. Yes, a new edition is here, and it reads like an apology for everything D&D related since 2007.

Baby, is that you?

Baby, is that you?

5E, formerly known as D&D Next, trims so much of the fat that’s been heaped on in the past two editions that it feels like a breath of fresh air. Gone are the gratuitous modifiers for every little thing, and the overactive skill system, replacing it with simple over-the-board proficiency bonuses and advantage/disadvantage systems. Gone is most of the creepy shit added in 4E, that it feels like D&D again…although the Dragonborn are still oddly present. It reminds me a lot of Second Edition, but in all the right ways. The Player’s Handbook’s cover is even done in the same color scheme, which makes me wonder if that was in any way intentional. The power gamer elements are all but stripped clean, making a game that seems fast to learn, and legitimately streamlined, as much as that word gets thrown around.

My gaming group and I have had pretty much the same sentiment when looking over this new thing; deep personal conflict. We made the jump to Pathfinder years ago and haven’t looked back, and now D&D is looking like a very attractive option again. If only there was  some reason to keep those Pathfinder books on the shelf, and not dump and run. If only.

Stay tuned…

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The return of…COSTUME IDEAS FOR FAT GUYS

It’s that time again, convention season is upon us, with Origins just having passed, and Gencon, SDCC, and Dragoncon just around the corner. “Oh no!”, you’re surely saying, “I wanted to wear a costume, but have been eating like  pig and not doing crunches!”. Well, voice in my head, you can relax, here once again, is a small list of suggestions for my more portly brethren.

 

HOUND

Payback time, Rosie!

Payback time, Rosie!

Thank you, Michael Bay, for giving us a Transformer with a weight problem. Seriously though, This fat robot from Age of Extinction stole the show. A big transformer that smokes an artillery shell like a cigar and talks like John Goodman? Yes, that’s badass. This one might be tricky to pull off, but for those with the skill to build those awesome transformer costumes we’ve all seen pictures of, this is an awesome choice.

 

GALIUS ZED/ZILIOUS ZOX

In buttery day, in fattest night...

In buttery day, in fattest night…

HOLY SHIT

HOLY SHIT

 

Green Lantern fans rejoice! These guys are…round. That counts, right? Ok, so they’re mostly giant heads, a la MODOK, but with a foot growing out of their asses, but there’s a start to work with. Choose good guy Zed, or his rage-filled brethren Zox of the Red Lantern Corps. If you want to make it even more disturbing, Zed came back as a gross Black Lantern!

 

SHADOW KING

All hail Burger, I mean Shadow King.

All hail Burger, I mean Shadow King.

Old school X-Men villain Shadow King is Charles Xavier’s psychic nemesis. They’ve had several run-ins in the past, often with him appearing in the form of his astral avatar, a big muscular blue monster. Well, tough, I’m talking about his doughy, fez-wearing human form. Still, people who get it and not think you’re dressed as fat Dr. Who will totally commend you.

 

JINBE

Ladies...

Ladies…

I don’t know a lot about the anime One Piece, but I’ve been told by a friend that this large karate fighting fishman is pretty darn cool. Well…he looks pretty cool, and that’s really what this is all about, isn’t it?

 

KINGPIN

I'll get you, Spider-Man...after lunch!

I’ll get you, Spider-Man…after lunch!

Hey look, it’s Kingpin! Everybody loves Kingpin, right? Well, except Spider-Man and Daredevil. Oh, and the Punisher. This is a nice, easy, recognizable costume that also serves as stylish eveningwear!

 

CARDINAL MONCADA

I vant to drink your gravy!

I vant to drink your gravy!

This Iconic NPC from Vampire: The Masquerade, was quite the specimen. A high-ranking member of the nefarious Sabbat, Moncada had the distinction of being morbidly obese by human standards, which practically unheard of for a vampire. This comes with the added benefit of swanky, yet breezy clerical vestments.

And one for the ladies…

FAT PRINCESS

Giiiiiirl, slice me off a piece of that...cake!

Giiiiiirl, slice me off a piece of that…cake!

If I could be serious for a moment, as hard as it is for overweight men to find costumes, it’s even worse for women. Women’s standards for costumes are so much higher because they’re expected to look like supermodels and dress like fantasy prostitutes. Well, plus-sized gals can be just as beautiful as the scrawny broads. Fat Princess was a great little game for the PSN, and the titular character makes a great, and not too revealing costume for the nerdy girls who can’t fit into a size 0.

That serious moment is now over…heheh, titular.

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