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I Was Attacked By An Owlbear

I have to apologize to all the people I missed at the PAX Prime 2010 DM Challenge. Literally, one minute before I walked out the door I was attacked by a raging owlbear also known to some as my wife. I had my laptop and projector packed in my backpack. All my minis were picked out. I had printed out the stats for my cast of characters. The statblocks for all my monsters including my award-winning horakh monster with custom-built miniatures. My stacks of foamcore maps. Everything. It was all in the car. Then, I heard the screech just as I was pulling the car out of the driveway.

I ran back into the house and into a full frontal assault by my wife who shall henceforth only be referred to as the Owlbear. After being torn limb for limb and left bleeding on the floor, I was accused of being an absentee father and making my owlbear into a D&D widow.

To be fair, it might have had something to do with my oldest daughter getting stung by bees twice an hour earlier and her left hand swelling up to the size of a catcher’s mitt, the five year old crying for her missing blankey while the two year old was emptying out the contents of her sippy cup onto the new bedsheets. What does she have to even complain about? She’s a stay-at-home owlbear. I’m a work-from-home dad who can watch the baby while she runs errands. This is her job as she so often reminds me. Do your job. Let me go!

I guess I do spend quite a bit of time obsessing over D&D and role-playing games. Last year, she told me I needed a makeover so I went out and bought all new T-shirts. All my old punk rock t-shirt were full of holes and starting to pinch my ever-growing frame uncomfortably. So I got an all-new RPG inspired wardrobe.  D&D conventions t-shirt reprints, shirts splashed with d20s and my favorite, my “I (heart) Dungeons” t-shirt. I also spend an inordinate amount of time reading RPG blogs and working on different projects. But the alternative is to sit and watch T.V. with her all night. The owlbear follows two shows a night including 48 Hours, Big Brother and the Real Housewives of INSERT A CITY I DON’T WANT TO LIVE IN. In other words, brainmelting horseshit that I can’t handle for ten minutes. I certainly do abandon my family for five hours every week when I ride my bike to the city to run D&D Encounters. Maybe she has a point.

There was nothing to do, but stay. Even though I had made plans with her a month in advance. Even though she had witnessed me spending every night (after I bathed and put the kids to bed) gluing and cutting maps, printing documents and crafting minis. Even after I ended up missing my ferry the night before the DM Challenge, spent all night stranded in Seattle, got home at 7:00AM and caught an hour nap only to get up and feed the kids while she slept. Even though I told her this happens once a year and it was important to me. Deep breath.

The owlbear actually has a blog that a few of you posted comments on when she blogged about D&D. She calls me “Big Daddy.” I didn’t claim her at the time because we had a “no follow each other rule” on Twitter, but that went out the window. I don’t know. How do you handle your significant owlbears?

I refuse to let the time I spent on my DM Challenge entry be a waste of time. I’ll be posting pictures of my maps, traps and encounters this week starting tomorrow. I spent a great deal of time to bring some new ideas to the game table. I hope you all like it.

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Help me win King of Monsters

As many of you know, I was picked as a finalist in Kobold Quarterly’s King of Monsters 2 competition for my entry, the Horakh. The final phase of the competition relies on public voting. I’ve already gotten alot of support from my friends, family, fellow bloggers and my tweeps, but I still need more votes to cinch the title.

The number one complaint I have heard is voting is difficult. If you follow the steps in this short guide, you can vote for me in less than a minute.

1.) Follow the link below to the registration page:

http://www.koboldquarterly.com/kqforums/profile.php?mode=register

Skip down to the “Login Details” section. You only need to fill out a few pieces of information here.

Email address: Use any email address you have.

UserID: Make up a unique user name.

Password and Conform Password: Type a password here.

State/Province: Your state.

Date of Birth: Birthday in the format MM/DD/YYYY so Jan 1, 1970 would be 01/01/1970

Click Submit.

2.) Follow the next link once you have successfully submitted your registration.

http://www.koboldquarterly.com/kqforums/viewtopic.php?p=13701#13701

You should how see a voting screen. Click the circle to the left of ”Horakh by Jobe Bittman’ and submit your vote!

It’s that easy an takes less than a minute.

Thanks in advance for your vote.

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I made the King of Monsters 2 Finals

It’s official. My monster, the horakh, was picked as a finalist in the King of Monsters 2 contest. In case you haven’t heard of the contest before, here’s the low down. Kobold Quarterly periodically runs a monster building competition open to all. Designers can submit their monster’s statblock in Pathfinder/3rd Edition or 4th Edition D&D formats complete with flavor text, but no longer than 800 words. A panel of RPG celebrity judges picks 10 finalists, then the public votes on the winner. Public voting opens next Monday, August 30th. You have to register on the koboldquarterly.com forums to vote. I hope I can count on your vote.

The statblock on KQ is limited to RTF format only. You can find a more 4th Edition-friendly statblock below. You can also download my .monster file here. You can import this XML file directly into Adventure Tools to tweak the monster for your group’s level. The statblocks are posted for information purposes only and are owned by Kobold Quarterly.

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Gencon 2010 D&D Minis Revealed

On the last day of Gencon, I was finally able to snap some pictures of the new Lords of Madness set. The display was well hidden. It was the bottom shelf of the glass counters in the Wizards booth… right on the floor. The exhibit hall was wall to wall geeks. The only way to see it would be to be right in front of counter and look at your feet. Luckily, I caught a tweet from bensrpgpile that helped me find it and even then I circled the booth twice. I apologize for the picture quality. I was squatting down on the ground trying to get pictures while oblivious gamers were stomping on me trying to buy Magic the Gathering cards. Some of the pictures are badly out of focus. I did get good shots of the monster cards though. Enjoy!

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Gencon 2010: Self Publishing Crash Course by Luke Crane

I attended Luke Crane’s “Self Publishing Crash Course” today. It’s was chock full of great information for anyone who has ever wanted to publish their own game. Luke Crane, author of Burning Wheel and the Mouseguard RPG as well as other successful titles, graciously shared the knowledge and experience he has gained over the years.

Topics covered include:

– The pitfalls of working with a printing company

– Tips for getting your art/layout/etc done cheap

– Setting a price for your game or book

The talk is humorous and very informative.

Self Publishing Crash Course

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Settlers of Catan on Surface at Gencon

If you are heading to GenconIndy, Vectorform and the Microsoft Surface team have a big surprise for you. Settlers of Catan on Microsoft Surface is heading to GenconIndy this week. A new video of game play was posted today and it looks amazing. Surface is shaping into the holy grail of tabletop gaming.

The most interesting revelation in the video is the use of physical dice on the virtual game surface. I’ve closely followed the D&D on Surface project, but I find its reliance on virtual dice a weak point. I hope the D&D Surface project gets released at some point and benefits from the phyical dice technology.

[Note: I misspelled the company name of the developer earlier. The company name is Vectorform. Many apologies.

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Keith Baker’s Gencon Contest

Writer, game designer and creator of the Eberron campaign setting, Keith Baker, is running a cool contest on his blog. The winner will win a spot at his game table at GenCon 2010 where he will be running a 4E Eberron game. The game has been scheduled for Sunday, August 8th at 11:00 AM.

Keith posts a new question each week around Monday. The best answer wins the seat. There are only 3 seats left so get cracking. Read more at his blog – Have Dice Will Travel.

I got an honorable mention for my visual entry in Week 1. Keith posited the question, How will the Owl win the Race of Eight Winds? I guess Keith didn’t see how sleeping with the toughest competitor would allow the owl to win. Actually, I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking when I crafted this scenario…

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D&D 4E July Update Summary

Want to find out about the newest updates for 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons, but don’t have the time to read the entire document. We’ve got the skinny on what the latest 4E updates mean to your game. We have created an summary of the latest changes and an index. The biggest shocker? Magic Missile is now auto-hit!

GENERAL CHANGES

All: A few (deserved) nerfs to prevent recursive actions.

All: Free actions that are attacks don’t stack. In other words, if you have a power that allows you to have 2 basic attacks as free actions. You only get one of those per round. (pg 3)

DMs: Updated DMG damage tables to reflect new math in MM3 (pg 4)

CLASS CHANGES

Avengers: Improved armor of faith got nerfed. (pg 7)

Artificer: Static shock at-will loses ranged keyword. (pg 9)

Ardent: Ardent gets some fixes for broken powers. (pg 14)

Battlemind: Blurred step clarified. (pg 14-15)

Clerics: Some cleric powers have moved from standard to minor actions “to better reflect the game’s action economy” (pg 2)

Monk: Power tweaks. (pg 15) Ki focus changes don’t stop after death. (pg 17)

Psion: Power tweaks. Kinetic Trawl gets augmentable keyword. (pg 15) Exchange Power feat changed (pg 16)

Seeker: Tweaks to high level powers. Primal Eye feat fixed. (pg 16)

Warlord: Fixes fo ‘Lead the Attack’ (pg 2)

Wizards: Magic missile is autohit and does 2 + Int modifier force damage (pg 3) Dispel Magic is now an encounter power. (pg 3) Wizard’s Escape nerfed. Encounter to Daily. (pg 8 )

RACE CHANGES

Tiefling: A few PHB:T feats ghot nerfed. (pg 18)

You can find the complete update here.

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D&D Encounters in Seattle

D&D Encounters have finally arrived in downtown Seattle. I’ll be running a weekly D&D Encounters: Dark Sun Season 2 game at Gamma Ray Games on Wednesday nights at 6:30PM. I’m looking forward to meeting some new gamers.

Follow this link to add the event to your Google calendar.



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D&D Surface 20 minute gameplay demo

Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center has finally released a game play demo of Surfacescapes. They have editted the video down to twenty minutes. I love the sedated voiceover on top of the laughing and gaming chatter in the background. Stop everything and check out this video.


Surfacescapes Second Semester Demo from Surfacescapes on Vimeo.

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