Friday, November 30, 2012


I have no illusions that I have no more words in my brain after wednesday's post.  So many words.  I do have illusions that I'll be able to DM still.

Art from GIS for "wizard of oz"
LooneyDM out

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Real Geeks

The idea that someone needs to have certain qualifications to be a real geek is at once fascinating and frustrating.  Fascinating because of the human psychology behind it.  Frustrating because of the negative attitudes it encourages.  I'll delve into the brain games behind it first, then tackle the frustration, and round off with some thoughts on change.

The brain games behind every statement of "You're not a real geek if you don't x" or "You're not a real geek if you haven't y" are complicated and I believe stem from a variety of different sources.  First off the grouping tendency.  Humans like to group items because it helps our monkey brains deal with large numbers.  Our relationships with others are no exception.  People group themselves and others by their politics, religious affiliations, sports teams, and all manner of social clubs.  In and of itself this is fairly harmless.  Even competition between these self regulated groups can be friendly and reasonable.  However when we group others into groups we consider inferior the troubles start.  You can see much of this in politics and religion.  The "geek" and "not geek" designations simply become an outgrowth of this phenomenon.  We want to be in the right group, or the superior group, or [insert adjective that indicates I'm better than you here] group.  This is fascinating because there are so many motivations behind it.  Some times we may not even be aware of the motivations.  Motivations of being accepted, being special, or being better than someone else.  Sadly therein lies a terrible illusion.  Designating yourself with a label doesn't make you smarter, more logical, more open minded, or more reasonable.  But so many people act like it does.  Saying you're a geek doesn't put you in an elite group, even if we like to think it does.  We make the label, the label does not make us. 

The whole frustration behind this grouping is that it causes so much exclusion, ostracizing, and negativity.  This strikes me as hypocritical of us as geeks since the idea of being a geek or a nerd has long been a negative term of ostracizing and exclusion.  And that straight up sucks.  If you've been at the place of being the unwanted one in a social circle it's that much worse when you become the force that makes others unwanted.  Especially on the internets and in the geek industries it has reached a point of many different people being told they're not wanted.  Or they're being treated poorly to the point they want to leave.  The follow up frustration is if the geeks doing the poor treating are called out on it they often get defensive.

So what can we do?  This is the part I feel is most important.  Analysis is all well and good but if there isn't any solution to the problem the information isn't useful.  The biggest pit trap to jump over is bringing the geeks who engage in this behavior from a state of defensiveness to a state of willingness to listen.  Patience and reasonableness are the prime weapons in this fight.  Patience is required because minds will not be changed overnight.  Reasonableness because it's super easy to get into flame wars where no one wants to back down and just wants to hurt the other side because they've been hurt.  Of important note is that some of us have the experience to win this mind battle.  If I'm hanging out or participating in a discussion with person A who declares "If you haven't played game X, you're not a real geek" and I happen to have played game X, I am the one who needs to wield patience and reasonableness against this statement.  Why?  Because like it or not if person B who hasn't played game X speaks up in disagreement person A will ignore what Person B has to say because they haven't played game X.  It simply won't matter how patience or reasonable that person B is, person A isn't going to listen.  This isn't going to be easy.  I'm not going to pretend otherwise.  Someone has to be the one to stand up for what's right and if it isn't you then someone else is going to be that hero.  And isn't being the hero one of our shared fantasies?  Let's bring some of our fantasies into reality.

I leave you with this.  We're all geeks here.  All of us.  It took all of us to change geek from derogatory to a badge of honor.  It's going to take all of us to change the geek community from what it is to a place where anyone is welcome no matter how weird (the weirder the better).  Can we all be geek enough to stand up for each other and say "We're all geeks here"?   

Art from GIS for "brony"
LooneyDM out

Monday, November 19, 2012


You know you're playing under a good DM when you take a flaw that you thought was fool proof and they bring it into the narrative anyways.  Or if they bring in flaws that you hadn't thought of that match what you're trying to do with your character concept exactly.

LooneyDM out.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Rolled Stats

I'm not a fan of rolling for my character abilities.  I prefer to make the character that I want to make when I make a character for an escapist fantasy game.  I've got a list of character ideas longer than my arm and that's just for D&D.  The idea of trying to shoehorn one of them into a random set of stats makes me cringe.  In addition I've found I roll poorly for characters.  Sure when I roll test rolls for fun they'll turn up good, but as soon as I start on my official character I will be lucky to match the elite array (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8).  Inevitably there will be someone else in the group who rolls much better.  Overall when I'm playing a game where I have a character for longer than one session I want to make what I want to make.  I don't want the dice to render the concept I have in mind unplayable.  Life's too short and full of amazing experiences to waste time playing a character you don't want to play.

Art from here 
LooneyDM out

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I have decided that I am done with D&D.  Well not done done, but done.  Specifically I'm done dealing with the D&D Next playtest.  I've determined that at this point I can't keep up to date on the D&D Next play test and stay positive.  Given that I don't want to give up on being positive, D&D Next playtest will have to go.  There are a few reasons for this.  The first doesn't have anything to do with optimism or positivity.  It has to do with the fact that I don't have the time to run playtest games.  I'm running a weekly 3.5 game and a bi-monthly 4e game.  I'm having too much fun with both of those to suspend either of them to run a playtest session.  I don't currently have the headspace to prep another game, even if it is a one shot.  Without being able to run or play in a playtest game I don't feel involved in the playtest process.
The other major reason has to do with today's poster.  D&D has a lot of design baggage.  There are entire swaths of mechanics that only make sense in the context of their original design culture.  This can have a polarizing effect.  Those who are currently part of that culture feel that these mechanics are important to their fun and react with hostility to their removal.  Those who are not currently part of that culture feel that these mechanics get in the way of their fun and react with hostility to their inclusion.  My personal opinion is that the more the designers jettison this design baggage the better.  The trouble being this goes against D&D next's stated design goals.  At this point the designers and I have fundamental differences about what D&D should be and it appears that no amount of playtesting is going to change that. 
Going forward I won't be paying any more attention to the D&D Next play test.  I'm looking to decrease the number of D&D games I run and branch out into other systems.  Specifically into the prep light arenas of gaming.  I know I've had plenty of fun playing in Savage Worlds and PDQ.
Art from GIS for "emotional baggage"
LooneyDM out

Monday, November 12, 2012

Inappropriate Attire

I mean really.  Nobody wants to see the wizard shirtless.  Especially your stereotypical wizard.  You know the one.  80 years old.  Full white beard.  Wizened eyes.  Robes with runes.  The whole get up.  Of course in a delicious set of double standards, everyone wants to see the stereotypical sorceress or sorcerer shirtless.  Go figure.

Art from GIS for "shirtless old man"
LooneyDM out

Friday, November 9, 2012

Board Game Night

This hasn't ever actually happened to me.  I can say I have been tempted more than once.  I know it has happened out there somewhere as I read about it on the internet.  And if you read about it on the internet it has to be true.  Any way you slice it, board game night is lots of fun.

Art from GIS for "Lords of Waterdeep"
LooneyDM out

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hit Points

Been done before, but hit point jokes never get old.  Especially with that many arrows sticking out of you.  Either way have some critical humor hits in the form of these quotes from my wednesday game.

* Pitch uses hand signals to communicate what she sees
Iannes: ....there's pies in the fridge?

Pitch: (( If you did hit me, you'd be in trouble ))
Pitch: (( Then again, I'm fire resistant ))
Pitch: (( Maybe we should plan around that! ))

While down in the sewers
Rendar: How about we take a breather before heading back with the girl.
Markarian: theres not much to breathe around here
Pitch: "Breathe? Down here?"

* Iannes rolls: d20+0 Insight to reporter lying or misinforming => 3 + 0 = 3
Iannes: (( I believe everything he says, including that the sky is made of candy ))
* Rendar rolls: 1d20+1 insight => 1 + 1 = 2
Rendar: (( The sky is candy! ))

Pitch: "If this mission gets me a half-step closer to punching the face of the guy who framed me for a crime I didn't commit? I will walk across hot coals for it. So enough of your pessimism."
Rendar: "Aren't you resistant to fire?"
Pitch: "Shh. You weren't supposed to remember that."

LooneyGM: Yes. A slightly unusual request but not out of ny expertise.
Rendar: (( The inquisitors that say ny ))

Rendar: (( We'll just call Iannes Captain Fubar. ))

Pitch: (( Do the Dark Lanterns all get rings with cosmic powers? ))
Rendar: (( By darkest day, by brightest night... ))

* Laemkral rolls: d20+9 => 20 + 9 = 29

LooneyDM: You have heroically agreed to help him out after the mob smashed up his inn
Iannes: (( They ruined my favorite stool. ))
Pitch: (( That's us! Helping the downtrodden. Also I like this inn. ))
Rendar: (( Well why don't you take a sample of that stool for a keepsake. ))

Iannes: Oh fuck me.
Rendar: I wouldn't say that so loud near an ogre.

LooneyGM: (( eenie meenie miny moe ))
Dashiyn: (( come at me bro! ))
Iannes: (( That rhymes ))

Markarian: (( its like an icy hot pad thats also Bi ))

LooneyGM: Pitch goes over the edge

Markarian: Ray of Frost: 25 vs. Fort. On hit 11 and the target is slowed
Markarian: stay forsty goblin
Markarian: dammit
Rendar: I bet hes forsty

Pitch: (( When did I graduate from falling off of towers to spinning death top? ))

Markarian: acrobat boots, all the cool kids are using them
Rendar: If by cool you meant me, you are correct.
Markarian: what can i say big guy, youre rubbing off on me, and by that i mean youre filthy

Markarian: pitch, i need one of your dresses
Pitch: "I just have the one, and it's tailored for someone with a tail."
Markarian: good, ill fill the hole with alchemist fire

Pitch: (( I will supply a box if it means Markarian sneaks around Metal Gear Solid style ))

murdock: (( markarian is strangely turned on by his brothers roughness ))
Iannes: (( okay Homosexual McFeycest, take it easy ))

Pitch: (( Oh no he's going to offer you his daughter's hand in marriage! ))
murdock: (( its not too bad, its a carry-on sized wife ))

Markarian: i used to be a grand wizard! then the orcs stole my magic

Iannes: (( Suck my elven balls ))
Iannes: (( Like my ears, they are pointy ))

Iannes: (( Well I now need to paint Markarian red so he has more dakka, that's the only way left to make him even more dangerous ))

Markarian: (( ok, lets just go in disguise ))
Markarian: (( ill dress as lady stripper ))

Markarian: (( go pitch! i know you can do it! ))
* Pitch rolls: 1d20+8 flail => 7 + 8 = 15
* Pitch rolls: 1d20+8 mace => 7 + 8 = 15
Pitch: (( Dicechan, 7s are not good luck if you're rolling a d20! ))
Markarian: (( thats it, im not going to be positive anymore ))

Markarian: (( maybe you should switch up for some longswords, something with a +3 ))
Pitch: (( But the flail is awesome! ))
Markarian: (( is it pitch? is it? ))
Pitch: (( Yes! ))
Pitch: (( *sulks* ))

LooneyGM: There they regaled him with stories of dead gnolls, burning carts, and pirates
Iannes: (( Or as it's known in my homeland....Tuesday ))

Dashiyn: (( are you crawling around? ))
Markarian: (( yes ))
Markarian: (( never question a wizard about his ways ))

Markarian: (( im gonna use prestidigitation to make it look like im pulling scarves and doves out of his corpse ))

LooneyGM: No assassins come for you in the night, and you all wake rested and refreshed
Iannes: (( Well, that's almost reassuring. ))

Art from WotC art gallery
LooneyDM out

Monday, November 5, 2012


Ambiguous morality systems can be fun in RPGs.  After all if the "monsters" are attacking the village because the village founders chopped down the forest to make room for the village and surrounding farms rather than "we are bad bad evil bad monsters" it can throw a kink in the players plans to kill them all and take their stuff.  Who the monster is is often merely a matter of perspective.  It can be fun to try to mess with players in this way.  Make them consider the ramifications of their actions.  Of course they may just go with the "civilized" races are superior tack and kill the monsters anyways.

Art from Magicka
LooneyDM out

Friday, November 2, 2012


In honor of Disney buying Star Wars I give you a post about lightsabers.  Pink ones at that.  Since Mace Windu had his purple one and the advent of different colored ones at the jedi academy in the expanded universe a pink one shouldn't be that far out there.  It's all gem based any ways and I know there are pink gems.  So rock the pink lightsaber with coordinating outfit.
As far as the Disney buyout of Star Wars.  Bring it on.  As mentioned many places before they can hardly do worse than the prequels.  I don't have any favorites for directors for the new movies but if John Lasseter or Brad Bird want to take a swing at it I wouldn't complain.  They've done well with the movies they directed and Star Wars really is a kids franchise anyways.

LooneyDM out