Go For the Eyes Boo – Go for the Eyes!

Quite often I dream of the really old school games.  I bust out the old NES, pop in Zelda and then have the damnedest time trying to find the Level 1 dungeon.  I get nostalgic for the old PC game Curse of the Azure bonds or even Hillsfar, but one of the classics was always Baldur’s Gate.

I really think what made this game so rad was the characters and their quotes.  I know that among my friends Minsc was everyone’s favourite character.  He had the best quotes out of everyone.  Even after years of no longer playing the game at least once a month in one of our gaming sessions someone calls out “Go for the eyes Boo!” (at 0:30 in the video below)

[youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ozv1RcQJAHA#t00m30s”]

I also seem to recall that Khalid reminded me a bit of C3P0 but was not able to find an audio clip of his quotes like I did for Minsc. In my searching I did get a bit distracted and came across a listing Amazon.com for a Super Pack of the Baldur’s Gate games plus a ton of other classics for only $19. Turns out it was just released a few days ago (Nov 15th 2011) worth getting disctracted for, but…

If anyone can find an audio clip of Khalid’s quotes please share the link!

Best Apps for iPhone if you are a Massive Dungeons & Dragons Dork

best apps for iphoneAs I was driving home from the latest DnD session with my fellow dorks last Sunday, I started to let my mind drift. As per usual my body was filled with Doritos and Dr. Pepper so I was all hopped up on pure ‘dorkatude.’ This is when I recalled a moment during my day where a co-worker came by my office and shared his opinion of the ‘Best Apps for iPhone.’ The fact is everyday he comes by and tells that he has found the latest and best new app for the iPhone.

This got me thinking about iPhones and Dungeons and Dragons.

I decided that I would research what was in my opinion the best apps for iphone that were related to Dungeons and Dragons. When I arrived at home I cracked open iTunes and started searching through the app store in search of the best iphone apps for DnD. Below is my list of the top (there are only 4!) apps for the iPhone related to Dungeons and Dragons.

The Dicenomicon: I found a lot of dice rolling apps. Most of them were pretty crappy looking and lacked any real aesthetic value. If you own an iPhone it seems obvious that aesthetics are important to you. The Dicenomicon was the most realistic looking iphone app. The best feature was the fact that you can give your iPhone a shake to roll the dice, and if you reroll the dice you can hold a die in place and roll the rest. There are a ton of different condition you can apply when it creates the total for you. For example: roll 4d6 and keep the highest 3 rolls. I think the Dicenomicon is a must have iPhone app for any DnD player, especially for those sessions where you forget your dice and have to borrow your friends crap dice. Check out the light version or the full version of The Dicenomicon.

Spellbook Master: If you ever play any kind of spellcasting class then you know how much of a pain it is to be constantly thumbing through your book to check out a few details of a spell, or if you are a DM and you need to quickly check and see if a spell requires a saving through even though your PC’s say “No it doesn’t require a save.” The Spellbook Master iphone app makes it easy to reference spells either by class, domain, school, element etc. all from your iPhone! It is the best tool you can have if you play any kind of spellcaster. for more details and screenshots check out the app page for the Spellbook Master

Quick Roll: This is another dice rolling iphone app, yet it is much different than the Dicenomicon. With this you can program specific dice roll variables into the interface and then quickly roll them. So you can have your initiative roll modifier added in, your fortitude save and so on. You can pretty much have every item that you need to roll added into the app so you don’t have to slow down the game by constantly adding in all your modifiers from all over place. I am sure we have all had a moment where another player (never us) rolls to strike and then begins to keep adding in the modifiers: I have power attack, I’m using the weapon 2 handed, and on and on. If you want to streamline your gaming then read up on the Quick Roll app

tCiMP Character in My Pocket: This great iPhone app allows you to keep your character and all of it’s information stored on your iPhone. Gone are the days where you can’t play because you forgot your character sheet at home.It has a built in rolling system so you can roll stats and create new characters. With this app you will never be without a character ever again! Check out the Character in My Pocket app

So those are as far as I can tell the best apps for iPhone that pertain to Dungeons and Dragons. If you are browsing through the itunes app section and find another great DnD app please share it with us in the comment section below, or help spread the word to other dorks by clicking that precious Stumble Upon or Digg buttons!

Eulogy for a Friend No. 2: Veronica Mars

When I was young, I preferred Nancy Drew to the Hardy Boys. I guess I’ve always had a thing for smart girl detectives. . .

On September 22, 2007, Veronica Mars aired for the first time on the now defunct UPN network. It was brilliant. Over the course of its three seasons, the few people actually watching it got to see television at its best. When it wasn’t picked up for a fourth season, I actually took the time to write to the network and tell them what I thought of their decision. Suffice it to say that TV doesn’t usually stir such passion in me.

I have to start with our firecracker title character. Kristen Bell was perfectly cast in the role, giving her a depth of character I rarely see in any entertainment medium. Veronica was complex. Sure she was witty and intelligent. Of course she was good looking and funny. Yes she was the girl I always wished existed when I was in high school but would have to wait much, much longer to actually meet. She was also overconfident, occasionally petty and insensitive, and very prone to trusting her gut when she shouldn’t, often to disastrous consequence. In short, she was very nearly a goddess. When her heart broke, mine did too.

The rest of the casting was also very good. While virtually all of the characters were standard archetypes (the steadfast best friend, the bad boy with a heart of gold, the sleazy PI, etc…), the actors brought something to make them special and memorable. Enrico Colantoni as Veronica’s dad and Tina Majorino as Mac are particular favourites of mine. Michael Muhney as Sherriff Lamb also deserves a special mention.

This show was densely plotted. There was a single overarching mystery that ran the length of the season, there were also smaller mysteries that would get solved over a three or four episode arc, and each individual episode would have a mystery that would be solved during the episode. The third season broke from this in that there was no season long mega-mystery. Instead, the writers decided that it would be easier to get new viewers into the show if they broke the season in half and had two smaller mysteries rather than the larger one. I’m sure that opinions differ, but season three, while being very good, was definitely my least favourite for that very reason.

I don’t know why Veronica Mars failed. Maybe playing in the same time-slot as Lost was its undoing. Perhaps the network didn’t promote it effectively. Maybe the continuity heavy serial nature of the show was its undoing, although programs such as the aforementioned Lost or Heroes are just as continuity heavy and seem to be thriving. I’m sure the reasons for its demise are just as complex as Veronica was.

I do know that I can see Kristen Bell in Heroes now, and though I like the character she plays (Elle) it isn’t the same. So raise those glasses again and toast Veronica Mars. Two amazing seasons and one really good one, at least she never got the chance to age gracelessly.

Eulogy for a Friend

Stripes tearing apart a demonI’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking about a friend of mine that was taken too soon. This got me wondering why so many good things end before they should. That’s what this column is going to be about. Every week (or so) I’m going to write about something that I really enjoyed, be it a comic series, tv show, band, what have you, that ended before it’s time.

This first column is going to be about that friend of mine.

Stripes was shifty. Even his good friends could never shake the feeling that he would have sold them out for a suit of Plasticman armour and an NG-Super. He probably wasn’t even liked or respected by other members of his race. His fur was patchy and burned away in spots, he smelled bad, he had a double fistful of psychoses, he could barely speak any language, and he wasn’t very smart in general, despite calling himself Dr. Stripes and trying to charge you for his advice.

Despite all this, Stripes taught me how to be an adventurer.

No matter how poor an idea might have been, Stripes committed to it with his entire being. Assault on Chi-Town? Stripes was there with guns blazing. T-Rex eats all? There he is in the arena fighting for all he’s worth. Sell out the rest of the party for a cache of equipment? Stripes is balls deep into the scheme. He defined tenacity, proving that you may not get what you want, but you’ll have a dang good time trying to get it.

Stripes was resilient. He survived a fall from around 800 feet not once, but twice. And walked, okay limped, away to bark the tale. He survived more gunshot and laser wounds to his body than any three other people I know. I can’t imagine all the mental trauma and psychic pain he endured to end up with all those phobias and nervous tics. It just boggles my mind that he could endure after the sheer amount of punishment inflicted on him during his short life. He was a Wolfen legend.

So raise your bottle in toast to Stripes, an unparallelled adventurer and a friend without peer.

D&D 4th Edition: Is It Worth Buying all New Dungeons and Dragons Books?

I’m going to be honest here. I haven’t really done that much research into the new 4th edition of Dungeons and Dragons. Personally I thought that the leap to 3rd edition was awesome, despite the slap in the face of converting characters from 2nd edition to 3rd. OF course those characters are long gone. They didn’t last too long in 3.0.

My first thought about 4.0 was that it was just a cash grab by Wizards of the Coast. My only research in to 4th edition D&D was a conversation with a the guy that works at the comic store. He tried to explain to me that 4.0 would focus more so on miniatures and combat. So my first thought was:

‘great, more min maxing combat characters, and less actual character and roleplaying. They are turning D&D into World of Warcraft on paper’

The kid at the store talk my ear of for 2 hours (didn’t he have something to be doing, like helping customers?), and kept pronouncing ‘Blackguard’ as ‘Blaggard’ I really could not get out of there fast enough. This whole experience put a sour taste in my mouth (or maybe it was the Root Beer Banana Slurpee) made me think that their was no need to upgrade to Dungeons and Dragon 4th edition.

I found a site that specialized in providing info about 4th edition I spent some time on the site just reading through, and there definitely some interesting changes to 4.0. Of course I kept bouncing between reading the site and looking at my bookshelf chock full of 3.0 books. I’m not sure if I can justify rebuilding my collection of DnD books…I don’t think 4.0 is that awesome. I may pick up the Players Handbook and have a look at the changes.

The main benefit of this new Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition is that all of the 3.0 books will be super cheap as gamers start to unload their used 3.0 materials on Amazon.com. So for all you dorks that don’t want to invest in all new 4.0 books, just keep and eye on Amazon for some awesome deals on used books.

A lot of 3.0 D&D books are only around $20 for new, and even less for used. That’s a serious discount since talk of 4.0. On my next paycheque I plan on some major shopping. Check it out: