Monday, April 13, 2015

Weekly D&D: Target practice

The sun was beginning to set on the small, abandoned town. The wilderness had begun to reclaim its land. Vines crept up the crumbling walls of the cave. One tree had decided to move into a lovely two-bedroom home, its branches reaching through the large hole in the roof. As the sun continued to descend over the horizon the air grew cold and sour.

Rurick, Finlore, Vatuu, and Zell stepped cautiously through the empty town. Something didn't seem quite right to the group. The town was silent; the wind refused to blow and the branches of the trees had ceased their normal creaking and rustling. Vatuu growled under his breath. He knew that the group was being watched, but he didn't know buy whom.

The travelers entered a small, lonely building at the end of a small road. Their quest had sent them searching for an artifact that could be of great value to them. Zell and Vatuu entered the ramshackle house first. They immediately knew that they were not alone in the dark room. Low moans permeated from far corners of the room. Rurick and Finlore, who both had eyes well attuned to seeing in the dark, immediately fixed their gazes on the source of the foul moans.

"They appear to be zombies," Finlore said in a perfectly calm voice "and they appear to be quite hungry." Vatuu lit a torch just in time to see Zell swinging blindly in the direction of one of the creatures. When his blade made contact with the zombie's torso, a puff of dark ash escaped into the air, blinding Zell temporarily. A second zombie began clawing at the fighter's breastplate in futility. 

"My friends," Rurick grunted as the holy symbol fastened into his beard began to glow "let me show you what a cleric is capable of." Rurick then recited words in ancient dwarven while lifting his hands towards the heavens. As he finished channeling divinity bright rays streamed out from his holy symbol. Upon gazing at the glorious light, all of the zombies began to hobble away. When they reached the farthest wall, the monsters scratched desperately at the cold stones in an attempt to retreat.

"Looks like target practice." Zell said as he readied a javelin. The other members of the party readied their ranged weapons as well. Fireballs, javelins and arrows rained down mercilessly upon the helpless zombies. 

Every undead creature was vanquished well before the holy light radiating from Rurick's beard began to dim. With the monsters out of the way, the party searched carefully through the abandoned building in hopes of finding the artifact. Sadly the search was in vain. The party found nothing more than a few empty barrels lingering in one of the corners. 

The band of friends left the building determined to search each and every building in the abandoned town until they found what they had come for. With hopes high, the band of friends headed towards the next dilapidated structure. Perhaps they would have more luck, and less zombies, ahead.

I hope that you enjoyed this week's adventure. As always, happy adventuring.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Savage Worlds: First Impressions

Secret agent Jose Rodriguez had trouble recounting the events that led to the predicament he currently found himself in. The mission seemed so mundane when Rodriguez had accepted it. There had been reports of attacks happening across the city. What had piqued Rodriguez's curiosity was the nature of the attacks. All of the victims were claimed to only have severe bite and scratch marks on their bodies, and nothing was ever taken from the victims. Rodriguez considered the attacks strange, but he had no idea that accepting this mission would intertwine his fate to the realm of the supernatural.

The clues that Rodriguez managed to unearth led him to an old, abandoned warehouse on this cold evening. The only light came from the moon suspended in the starless night sky. The pale beams of light flooded in through the broken windows on the side of the building. Rodriguez readied his gun as a precaution; he had learned the hard way that it is better to be over-prepared than to be under-prepared in these situations. Deep, gurgled moans permeated through the building; the sound sent small chills down the agent's spine. Rodriguez took aim at the source of the sound. Several dark silhouettes began to shuffle in his direction.

The figures came into the light, revealing a grotesque scene. The flesh of the creatures was rotten and mangled. The bones of the humanoid creatures could be easily seen between the patches of grey skin. The eyes of the creatures were sunken deep into their skulls. Rodriguez had come face to face with his first group of ravenous zombies. 

Seized by fear and surprise, Rodriguez's body was locked in place. His mind screamed inside to move, to run, but his body failed to respond to his plea. The zombies crept closer, their disfigured hands stretching out toward the agent. Rodriguez was helpless as the lifeless predators made their way towards their prey.

The closest zombie reached out strike at Rodriguez. Just as the monstrosity was bringing its claws down on the agent's torso, a shadowed figure leapt down from the rafters above and struck at the zombie's neck, separating his head from his body.

"If you have a preference towards living, then I suggest you fight back." The shadowed figure mused. A stray beam of moonlight caught the figure. Not quite human, yet not quite feline. This furry femme fetale brandished two rapiers, which she used to make quick work of a second approaching zombie.

Finally able to collect himself, Rodriguez readied his weapon and took aim at one of the monsters. His world had been turned on its head in only a few short moments, but he still had a mission to complete. He wouldn't let these rotten meat bags get the better of him. The first of many gun shots rang throughout the warehouse.


Savage Worlds has an amazing starting price point of just over ten dollars for paperback

I got the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer's Edition in the mail earlier this week. I really, really enjoyed my first experience with this game. I love the fast-paced battle mechanics, the customization options for characters and worlds, the character creation system and so much more. All of that at ten dollars for the paperback edition, and there is little reason not to try it. I had so much fun making a world where a secret agent can fight zombies alongside a sword-swinging cat person. I can't wait to make and explore many more campaigns in Savage Worlds.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Weekly D&D: Revenge!

The sun rose slowly on this somber morning. The last embers in the fire pit died away, releasing small wisps of smoke into the cool air. Finlore, Vatuu, and Rurick rose wearily; they had been forced to bury their friend only hours before. Finlore sat in a melancholy silence, blaming himself in his mind. If only he had run a little faster or noticed a little sooner then this morning might have been cheerful instead.

If Finlore could have read the minds of his companions, he would have known that they shared his feelings. As a paladin, Vatuu felt responsible to protect the group. He knew that Hilda was the weakest of the group, and as such she needed the most protection. Rurick didn't tell the others, but he had seen the javelin travel in the Hag's direction during the battle. At the time he had assumed that the halfling dodged the projectile and he continued his onslaught against the orcs. He never even looked back to see if she was alright.

After packing up camp, the group discussed their next plan of action. Their original quest had sent them looking for a whimsical banshee to ask about a spell book. However, when the adventurers were in town, they had heard rumors about blood-thirsty orcs raiding caravans in the area. The orcs were rumored to have made base only one day of travel away from where the adventurers currently were. There were no arguments or disputes on what should be done. The three adventurers unanimously decided that the orcs should be eradicated for their wicked deeds.

The sun shone down brightly as the adventurers traveled along the gravel road. They had been walking most of the morning making only a few short stops. The party seemed to move more sluggishly than their normal pace. Moral was down across the whole group. Their only driving force was revenge.

Vatuu noticed a figure in the distance sitting under a tree. A battle-worn fighter sat lazily in the shade of the large oak tree, admiring the intricate designs on his great axe. As the group approached, the fighter's eyes shifted in their direction for a moment before returning to his leisurely task.

"I don't know if you gentlemen noticed, but the trail goes in the other direction." said the warrior, running one of his thumbs up the blade of the axe.

"We know the direction of the road." Rurick said curtely. "We are looking for an orc post." At hearing this, the fighter's eyes shot back up to the band of travelers as if to assess their motives. Without warning, the warrior hopped up and began to walk down the road. Vatuu turned toward the stranger.

" Hey! We aren't finished with..."

"You said that you were searching for an orc camp." The fighter interrupted as he walked down the road. "I will take you there."

"I don't trust anyone taller than me," Rurick rudely blurted, his dwarven beard glistening in the sun, "and you are no exception."

"What my partner means to say is what importance does this orc post hold to you? Also, we don't know who you are. We don't even know your name." Finlore said in his eloquent elven accent.

"I am sure you have your reasons for finding the orcs, and I have mine as well. Let's just leave it at that." The fighter said Tersely. "And the name's Zell." With no other way of finding the location of the orc camp, the group decided to follow Zell, who was already traveled several yards down the dusty trail.

It wasn't until the next morning that the group reached the post, which was nothing more than a small cave. A single orc stood outside of the cave. A fly landed on the upper lip of the beast. With a loud snort, the orc sent the fly into his dark nasal void, never to be seen again. The adventurers decided that avoiding detection was the best plan of action. That plan was quickly foiled when they heard a loud horn come from the trees where a sentry orc was posted. The orc just outside of the cave quickly ran in to warn his clan mates.

The sentry orc sent  a javelin flying at Vatuu. The javelin ricocheted off of Vatuu's gleaming armor and stuck forcefully into the ground. Vatuu pulled the javelin from the earth and hurled back at the orc. The orc roared as the javelin pierced his shoulder. Finlore shot a bolt of fire from his wand and struck the orc in his side. Some of the embers from the bolt landed on the dry, wooden platform, setting it ablaze almost immediately. As the orc attempted to snuff the flame, a fierce creature climbed up to the platform and prowl toward the orc. Between the fire and the beast, the sentry failed to notice how close to the edge he had come. The orc fell to his death with a thick thud. The monster in the tree evaporated from existence and Finlore smirked. The illusion had done its job quite well.

The group all stood outside of the mouth of the cave waiting to ambush the orcs. But no orcs came. Finlore suggested that the group enter stealthily, but Vatuu had had enough stealth for one day. He charged into the dark cave brandishing his weapon and proclaiming the name of the hag. Without hesitation, Rurick and Zell followed suit. Finlore let out an exasperated sigh as he cast an invisibility spell on himself and entered the cave as well.

The cave was pitch- black, leaving Vatuu and Zell blind. Vatuu lit a torch to see several orcs standing around him in the cave, each wielding a crude great axe. The orc in the center stood two feet taller than his counter parts. Vatuu, a large dragonborn, targeted the large orc and charged right at him. As he charged, Vatuu called upon his deity. The symbol of Tiamat engraved on his weapon began to radiate. The glow quickly consumed the entire weapon. Vatuu leaped into the air, raising his weapon high over his head. He came down hard onto the beastly orc. Had it not been for his armor, the orc would have been cleaved in half. The mighty blow brought the large orc to his knees, but to the surprise of the entire party the orc stood back up and delivered a powerful blow of his own to Vatuu. The other orcs let out gurgling laughs as Vatuu tumbled across the cold cave floor. The large orc pointed at the intruders and let out a fierce war cry. The intense battle had begun.

Vatuu managed to raise to his feet just as two of the orcs swung at him with their mangled axes. He managed to parry the first blow, but the second blow bored itself into his shoulder. Vatuu screeched in pain. Another orc flung a javelin at Rurick, who easily knocked the projectile aside with his axe. He charged at the barbaric beast and struck him with a swift blow to the thigh, knocking the orc prone. Zell attempted to cleave another orc, but missed and was thrown off balance. The orc seized the opportunity to attempt to strike Zell in the back. Just as the axe came swinging down, Finlore revealed himself and sent a ball of freezing energy at the orc. The orc's movement slowed to a stop. Frozen solid, the orc fell to the floor and shattered like a fragile clay pot.

Vatuu, enraged by the humiliation that he had been dealt by the orc leader, charged once again at the giant. The dragonborn made a precise strike at the orc's unprotected neck. The orc's smile faded as Vatuu made his strike. The monster's body fell forward, and his head fell back. Upon seeing their captain murdered, all but one of the orc's decided that the escape was the best course of action. The two orcs quickly ran toward the light that shined dimly through the mouth of the cave. Finlore and Rurick followed closely in pursuit. Zell made quick work of the remaining orc in the cave. Finlore and Rurick were successful in bringing down one of the orc's, but the last orc ran swiftly and managed to escape. The party decided that living a life haunted by cowardice and isolation was worse than death itself.

Zell thanked the party and revealed his true motives. Just like the party, Zell had lost someone very dear to him at the hands of the orcs. His only son had been captured and killed by the orcs. When they had found him under the tree, he was planning to take on the orcs alone, fulfilling his death wish. Now that his son had been avenged Zell decided to continue fighting with the party. Even though they were new friends, they were the only friends that he had left in the world.

The four adventurers looked into the clear, blue sky. The Hag had been avenged, and the party had made a new friend. With moral slowly returning to the group, the four friends headed back out to the road from whence they came. Tomorrow would bring a new day with new adventures.


I truly hope that you enjoyed our group's most recent D&D session. We have decided to finish our current campaign before we start a new campaign to save the Hag from the clutches of death. One of our members has already started planning the campaign. Go out and enjoy your adventures. Happy adventuring!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Adventuring Gear: Dice Bag

The dragon released a final deafening roar before collapsing on the cold, stony ground. The warrior stands triumphantly over the beast, and removes his sword from the monster's great chest. He slowly makes his way over to the dragon's hoard, a single chest resting on a smooth stone. The intricate carvings displayed on the chest are highlighted by a single ray that pierces through the ceiling of the musty cavern. 

The warrior had invested a lifetime desperately seeking this treasure. Regaled by tales his father shared with him about the mysterious chest when he was a young lad, the boy became engrossed in unraveling the mystery. As an adult his wonder turned to an all-consuming desperation to find the answer to one simple question. What was in the chest?

After decades of searching and training, the warrior would finally have his answer. He runs his rough fingers across the top the decorated chest in anticipation. How long he has yearned for this moment. How many sleepless nights and futile searches has he invested into reaching this point. He opens the lid of the chest, and peers in to see what has infested all of his waking thoughts and robbed him of most of his life. 

Sitting in the chest is a small, lonely leather bag. The warrior opens the bag to find a set of ordinary playing dice. The warrior places his head in his hands and howls painfully at the realization that he has wasted his life searching for a simple trinket.


It may be a trinket, but its my trinket and I am quite fond of it.

If there is one thing that I enjoy as much as fantasy role playing it would be crafting. There is something really exciting about creating things and giving them your own personal touch. When I can combine my two passions, I am in heaven. I try to craft things for my gaming whenever I feel inspired to (and I use that inspiration to gain advantage when crafting my item.)

I made this dice bag after seeing some other awesome bags on the internet. My goal was to create a bag that looked like what an adventurer's coin bag might look like. I added the embroidered d20 for obvious reasons. The outside of the bag is brown suede, and the bag lining is made from old shirt material. The cords are leather strips. 

The bag came out really spacious. It has more room than I will ever need.

I had a great time making this bag. I enjoyed the process of making the bag more than I enjoy the bag itself. I enjoyed it so much that I have already made three more for my friends, and I have plans to make more soon. Have you made anything for your fantasy role playing adventures? If so, how did you enjoy making it and would you do it again? Let me know in the comments. I love to hear from fellow crafters/adventurers. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Weekly D&D: A legend falls in battle

The air became still. The world seemed to stop. The only movement came from the flames dancing in the campfire. No one in the party said a word; they couldn't believe what had just taken place. Just minures before a group of close friends were enjoying dinner around the campfire and enjoying each others stories. Then the party was ambushed by bloodthirsty orcs on all sides. Finlore, Vatuu, Rurick, and the Hag were no novices though. The party made fierce blows against the enemy, tearing through orcs as if they were made of parchment. But the orcs were not the only side to take casualties that evening.

As the band of friends struck down each murderous foe, an orc in the distance readied one of his javelins. He had his bloodshot eyes fixed on a scruffy halfling who had already effortlessly taken down two of his comrades. He took aim and thrust the weapon through the air. The javelin soared through the branches, seeking its target with deadly accuracy. The Hag let out a shrill scream as the javelin pierced her side. The world became a blur to her as she began to stagger. She fell with a soft thud, her breathing becoming quick labored. She tried to call out to her friends, but all energy quickly drained from her body and she could only let out soft whispers. 

The ended as quickly as it began. The party made quick work of most of orcs; the last two beasts, realizing the hopelessness of the situation, attempted to escape with their pathetic lives. Rurick and Vatuu began to persue the cowards, but Finlore noticed something that he had not in the heat of the battle. Across the camp he saw the pierced halfling laying on the ground in a pool of blood. Her hand weakly reached out in his direction. She had always been so fierce both in and out of battle. To see her in such a weak and vulnerable state took him by surprise. Surprised turned to panic as he realized how dire the situation truly was. The elf crossed the camp faster than any human could, hoping to outrun death itself, but nobody can outrun the cold clutches of death. Just as Finlore was approaching the Hag her hand dropped and her eyes glazed over as the remainder of her life seeped through her wound. The elf wasn't fast enough to save his friend when she needed him most. This realization hit him like a fist to the stomach. He let out a pained scream. 

Vatuu and Rurick turned to see the screaming elf kneeling over the limp body of the Hag. Vatuu had just cut through his prey like a blade of grass, but Rurick's target was getting away. Finlore set gently set down his friend, rose, and lifted his wand to take aim at the escaping orc. With great resolve, Finlore began to speak a powerful enchantment. The wand glowed a sickly green as a large ball of acidic sludge formed at it's tip. With a flick of the wrist, Finlore sent the green orb soaring at the orc. The ball struck the orc directly between his shoulder blades. With a gurgled howl, the orc was reduced to a puddle. 

The group worked in somber silence as they buried and mourned for their friend. Rurick took an old dagger, a keepsake precious to him, and placed it at the foot of the grave. Finlore collected all of the remaining magical energy that he could muster to cast an enchantment that ensure the grave would never be disturbed. On the top of the grave he wrote "Here lies the Hag. A legendary warrior." Rurick, Vatuu, and Finlore spent the remainder of the night reliving the adventures that they had partaken with their lost friend.

In the following morning the remaining three friends made a pact. Their individual missions and motivations were changed and unified by the loss of their friend. They branded themselves with the letter "H" as a permanent reminder of their new shared goal. With new found determination the group readied their materials and set off. The friends decided that they had not seen the Hag for the last time. They would travel to the land beyond the living and rescue her from the grasp of death himself!
This was hands-down my favorite night of D&D. Hilda Haggins, or "the Hag" was a halfling rouge created to be used by my wife when she played. When my wife took on the role of DM, my friends and I took the Hag because we needed an extra player for our adventure. Since she never talked, she became somewhat of a feral creature in our story. Then in nearly every battle, she would roll back to back critical hits on the enemy. She quickly became a legend in our group for clearing out entire rooms with ease. 

When she fell in battle we really thought that we could save her in time, but we rolled a critical miss on a saving throw ONE TURN before the next player could go and stabilize her. It was exciting and emotional at the same time. We knew that we couldn't let the legend go, but none of us had the resources needed to revive her. It is unclear how we are going to save her yet, but it will definitely be a legendary adventure. I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I loved playing it. Happy adventuring. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fantasy Life (Part 2)

The battle had been fierce. A great warrior testing his might against a ferocious dragon. Both side had delivered powerful blows to each other. But the warrior was beginning to wear down, and he knew it. He was beginning to make careless mistakes, the last of which nearly cost him his life. He had grown sluggish as his stamina began to wane. He needed to rest, but the dragon was relentless. Strike after fearsome strike, the dragon moved with the swiftness of a feral feline. The warrior closed his eyes and accepted his fate. He now knew that going on this adventure alone was a fatal mistake. The dragon opened his jaws. The back of his throat glowing orange with an all-consuming flame.

The dragon prepared to deliver its destructive firepower upon the weakened warrior. The dragon suddenly thrust its head toward the sky, shooting its flame toward the clouds and missing the warrior completely. The dragon roared in pain. The warrior looked up to see what caused the dragon such agony and gained the warrior a few precious moments that he needed to regain his strength. An arrow was lodged deeply into the monster's side. The warrior followed the direction of the shot to a figure standing of to the distance. It was his partner, the hunter. The expression on the hunter's face made it clear that he was dismayed at the warriors decision to go alone. The warrior gave a quick smirk at the hunter and charged at the dragon. With his strength restored and his friend at his side he knew that they would make quick work of the beast.


As I have stated before, I really enjoy Fantasy Life. In my last post I discussed how varied lives can affect the game play and make the game feel more engrossing. Today I want to focus on multiplayer compatibility and customization.

I am not the only fantasy nut in my household. My wife loves adventure just as much as I do, and we try to share our adventures as frequently as possible. The problem that we often run in to is the lack of fantasy role playing video games with multiplayer content. I am not including mmo games when I say this. We just aren't huge mmo fans. I feel like Fantasy Life does a great job allowing friends and family to share in epic quests and battles. What could possibly be more exciting than felling a large monster with your significant other? The game is great solo, but I greatly prefer playing with others on this game. Its nice to not feel alone in such an expansive game world.

I remember playing Golden Sun on the Gameboy Advance years ago. The game had amazing graphics for its time, and the game play and story were incredible. The one problem that I had with the game is a problem that many fantasy role playing games share. When you equip a character with new gear, it looks exactly the same as the gear that they were previously wearing. I go on an epic, dungeon exploring quest and I am rewarded with a stronger version of the exact same armor that I am wearing. Recent games have began to rectify this with more customization options, but Fantasy life takes customization to a whole other level. Don't like your suit of armor? Buy or make another suit. Maybe you just don't like the helmet. You can change only the helmet. You can even keep your armor and just change the color. You customize your character's physical characteristics at the beginning of the game, and you have the option to change hairstyles later.

Customization in Fantasy Life doesn't stop with your character. You can choose from several npcs to join you on your quests. This effectively lets you customize your own party. You can even fight alongside your very own pet, with choices ranging from dogs to dragons. This game also borrows ideas from animal crossing by letting you customize your own house. Did I mention that you eventually are able to own three customizable homes? I love being able to fill my home with items that I have personally crafted with the carpenter.

You can make your home as traditional...

...or as original as you choose

If dragon quest and animal crossing had a child, it would be Fantasy life. There is an amazing balance of adventure and customization in this game. The more that I invest into the game, the more engrossing the game feels. If you are looking for a fantasy role playing game to play with a friend, or if you are in the mood to slay monsters, go fishing, and design your own home all in the same game, then I highly suggest that you try Fantasy Life. Happy adventuring!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fantasy Life (part 1)

You have taken up a request from a bounty clerk to fell a fearsome bird that terrorizes the plains to the west of the kingdom. The beast has become a growing concern for the citizens, so you answer the call to help your fellow people. The foul fowl has eluded you for days. You are about to give up on your quest when you spot your bounty just past some trees in the distance. You quietly make your way to your mark, making your best effort to avoid detection. You ready an arrow, take one breath, and take your shot.

The bird is injured, but is still flying strong. You have clearly angered the monster. It flies in your direction; each flap of its large wings creates a burst of wind that nearly knocks you over. The beast dives at you, hoping to strike with its fierce talons, but you are a master hunter and you have hunted many terrifying creatures. You nimbly avoid its clutches and ready another arrow. The arrow flies clean and smooth directly towards its target.

The glorified chicken-raptor fall to the earth. You efficiently felled your prey, as you have so many times before. You wrap the monstrous beast up and haul it back to the bounty clerk. You are the hero of the kingdom. People shower you with praise, shouting your name excitedly through the streets. 

You return home, doff your weapons and armor, and don your apron. While you find a pleasure in the hunt, you have another calling that drives you. You desire to become the greatest chef in the land! You prepare your utensils and begin making a fantastic fowl feast.


I picked up Fantasy Life for the 3DS about a week ago. At first I wasn't confident in what the game had to offer. The story can be bland and the writing is snarky and immature. What really hooked me about the game can be summarized by the game's title. This game sets itself apart from many other rpg's because there is so much more to do outside of the classic battles and dungeons in your fantasy life. Do you want a particular weapon not offered in stores? Become a blacksmith and craft it yourself. Don't have the materials you need? Mine for them in deep caves and on beeches. Maybe you feel at home in the kitchen. You can make meals fit for a king.

There are 12 diverse "lives" to choose from that each offer a unique experience

For me the game really became exciting when I took up multiple "lives." Lives are the class system used in the game; they range from Paladin to tailor. When I play with multiple lives, I get to experience the full adventure offered by the game. I mine for ore. I use the ore to make armor and weapons. I use the armor and weapons to reach more dangerous lands. I mine for more valuable ore in the new, risky lands. So on and so forth. It is very exciting. 

On my next post I plan to talk about the vast customization options in the game and about multiplayer options. I am a big fan of this game. Having more "normal" tasks to complete makes the world feel more genuine. Having different roles in the game world makes the battles in between more refreshing and exciting. I can't wait to tell you more about this game. Happy adventuring!