Before I begin with the regularly scheduled post, I just wanted to say a few words about a few subjects. Trust me, this won't take long at all...
Happy Birthday to Mark Hamill and the late Christopher Reeve, two gentlemen who each played one of my favorite heroes.
This last month or two (OK three) has been very tough financially. Business was especially weak this summer season. As a result, I may sell off some old game stuff I don't need (even though I'd really rather not). If I do, you'll be the first to know.
There is a new flavor of Oreo Cookie called Cookies N' Cream. Although they are available at my local supermarket, the only proof I could find on the internet was a package of the product on ebay. Ebay? What...The Hell? What an odd choice for a variation on the classic too. A Cookies N' Cream Oreo is a bit like tiny bits of lettuce between two pieces of lettuce, no?
Once more, not as many comments as I would like or as I would have expected on some of the subjects I posted about. Specifically, I am surprised by the low turn out on the last post about ideas for Marvel Heroic. No love for Marvel Heroic? No love for my ideas? Are you secretly a clone of Spiderman currently working for SHIELD and are afraid commenting on my blog is a conflict of interest. Well fine. You, that last guy, you're off the hook (I don't want you getting in trouble over it) but the rest of you have no excuse.
OK, down to business...
We had our second session of Hunter X Hunter this past Saturday with Amari (Dave), the Barber (Lee*) and Smiley McGee (aka Stan - played by me), joining hundreds of other Hunter wannabes in the attempt to overcome the first of many challenges on the way to getting our Hunter licenses. If we pass that is...and of course survive.
The opening challenge was a Ninja Warrior style obstacle course, modified by the GM (Ray) into D&D-like death traps. There were 10 traps in all. Most could be taken singularly, with a partner or as a team but some required you to go 'single file' with no assistance from anyone else.
We managed to get past them all with only one or two scary moments where a poor die roll seemed to hold the power of life and death over our characters' heads. I hate that.
There was a lot of die rolling this session. A. LOT. Now I must give Ray some props because it was never boring and didn't ever deteriorate to the point where I felt like having someone else roll for me while I went to read a book or play some video games because so much was based on random luck that I felt like I didn't need to be there.
I've been there and done that, didn't like it and told the GM what he could go do with the T-Shirt.
I have a love/hate relationship with rolling. I don't want to eliminate it and play some crazy diceless thing but I can't stand when GMs make you roll for every breath you take and every move you make (thank you Sting and The Police). I also hate it when, as a player, you come up with a reasonable reason why the die roll should be altered in your favor and it feels like it was rolled straight.
Case in point, one of my least favorite gaming moments of the last three years...
OK, using a system that is a homebrew variant of D&D 3.5, we set out into a homebrew medieval world that is described awesomely but feels like every other D&D game world I've ever gamed in. Its Lord of the Greyhawk Realms basically.
I was playing a Gnome
We come to this odd valley, essentially a very large crater with shear cliff walls. We need to explore the incredibly dense forest down in this pit/canyon. First we need to climb down. Four or five of us, sheer cliff walls, everybody first level.
We have rope and we come up with a plan using iron spikes and a cheap pulley system (thanks to a nearby tree and rock) to lower us down more carefully. It's about 50 ft down I think, maybe more.
All I know is that the GM made us each roll our Climbing skill at least four times on the way down. Now lets do the math. Four players each rolling four times to climb down a wall. That's Sixteen rolls just to get to the woods. Why? For what reason? Are we getting bonuses on our rolls for the mountain climbing ingenuity we rigged up? Didn't feel like it. One guy fell a short distance and got stuck but the rest of us helped him down. One guy fell kind of far and got hurt but our Cleric healed him.
In the end it was so tedious, so boring and so dangerous to our characters that it drove the majority of us a little bonkers. Dude, if you are that determined to hurt somebody for no reason don't pretend. Just number the PCs, roll 1d4 and deliver 1D10 damage on that guy and move on. No. We had to sit through 16 goddamn rolls.
Luckily, Ray didn't go that far but it felt very much like it was threatening to go in that direction. It started out challenging, with each player/PC trying to figure out a way around the traps based on the predicament and our own unique abilities (or at least strong suits). Eventually at some point near the end we were just rolling dice and seeing if we made it.
It's a good game and I am looking forward to continuing but I will say it needs to kick up a notch on the excitement level. It is engaging. Yes, that is a good word. It is a very engaging game and yet I am hoping it turns into a 'Holy Crap! Wow!' game.
Time will tell.
*I still can't remember his character's name even though he told me twice already. I think it starts with an N.