Those who know me in “real life” already know what happened. But it’s not all bad. I’m going to turn this negative into a positive and go back to school. Now I need to decide between computer and electronic engineering for my major.
I just finished reading The Iliad by Homer and I want to get this down while it’s fresh in my mind. More than anything this book was a major let down. From the epic story of the seige of Troy I was expecting something, well, more epic.
The story is a long, detailed, account of the beginning of the war. How detailed, you may ask, and what’s this about the beginning of the war? Well, a lot of people die in this story (as befitting a story about a war) but most of these people are not important to the story as a whole. They’re what we who play RPGs call NPCs. Most of the time these characters wouldn’t even get a name if they didn’t have an impact on a story. Homer, however, gives everyone a backstory, usually giving it after the poor fellow has already suffered a gilling blow, making it almost completely unnecessary. Also, the book doesn’t cover the actual fall of troy.
That’s right, no horse, no heel, nothing!
In the end I’m going to have to recommend that people skip this entry in the “best books ever written.”
I was going through the posts on my old blogger hosted blog and found this little gem from around four years ago. I decided that I couldn’t just let this slip into obscurity, oh no, I had to make sure that this was saved for all time.
Hi, I’m Greatamericanfolkhero, and I would like to welcome you to the wonderful world of Dungeons & Dragons. DnD is a fun, exciting game of high-adventure, epic wonder, and fantastic worlds where anything can happen. Unless, of course, Young Wallace is the DM. If you happen to find yourself playing in one of his games, here are a few tips to help you along in his “campaign”.
There is an epic story (mostly involving elves and drow) that is constantly being played out inside of Young Wallace’s brain. You are but one small part of that story. Your character will start at point A, and no matter what you do, you will eventually arrive at point B. This is what Young Wallace calls “plot”, and you would call, if you had been playing long enough to hear the term “railroading”. If you are in a tavern, you will overhear (you don’t even need to ask around) about a town being attacked by double weapon wielding drow. That will be the only thing going on. Anywhere. At all. Anything else you hear about, like an elven wizard (who lives in a 10-story hollow tree in the middle of the human village) needing help gathering spell components will send you to the one place on the entire planet where you can find them, or if you happen to meet a merchant needing a guard for his caravan of goods going up north. Both destinations will just so happen to be the town that is being attacked by the two-weapon fighting drow. And it’s all part of some evil master plan. Don’t worry about trying to foil the plan, because you can’t. If you figure out a way to stop the plan, it just gets bigger and harder. He won’t tell you that, not until he reveals that your hard work to counteract the plan was all wasted in the futile attempt to change his glorious “story”. Oh, and don’t think about trying to do something else, because …
“You were the chosen one!”
The fate of not just world, but the entire multiverse is depending on you, and you alone. I know it sounds hard to believe, but trust me, you are the only one standing inn the way of Armageddon. Even though there are stronger fighters, wiser mages, holier clerics, or sneaker rouges running around everywhere (Who you will meet and get smacked around by, see Rule #4.), by some cosmic coincidence, only you have just the right balance of skill and determination to save all life as you know it. It will be a tough, long and unrewarding road you will find yourself on. If you don’t look like you will try to do the mission, something will get attached to you to make you do it. Oh, and don’t worry about dying, because …
“Great, now I’ll have to color my hair again.”
You will die. A lot. Young Wallace doesn’t feel like he is running the game correctly unless he kills all of the characters playing at least once. Don’t worry about it though, you will return to life. A lot. Usually as something different than what you died as, because Young Wallace will only let you find someone who will “Reincarnate” you (never accept the first reincarnate roll from a dragon, see Rule #5). And you will be reincarnated, because Young Wallace feels that bringing in a new character “hurts the flow” of his game. So I hope you really like what you’re playing now, because you’re stuck with it. Oh, and the NPCs…
“…And there came a time, when the Gods walked amongst men.”
Never try to fight anyone who has a name longer than two syllables. Ever. Not unless you think your character would make a good Kobold (With a purple arm, see Rule #7.) If you meet someone who is introduced by name, even if he is a janitor, make sure to treat them with the utmost respect. Because they will demand it, yes even the janitor. Oh, and if they attack you, just save yourself some time and coup de gras yourself, because your weapons and armor will be useless against his Keen Voporal Wounding Icy Burst Janitor Broom +15. Is someone is introduced with a title, he will be quite capable of handing you your own ass. Don’t even think about fighting “the Captain of the Guard”, because he has been scrying on you since you were born, has watched every fight you have ever been in, and can anticipate your every move, which means, when fighting you, he will have Damage Reduction X (where X = the max non-critical damage possible you can do – 1). So will anything charging out of his Guard Barracks of Holding. Oh, but that is just for humanoid NPCs, because…
“Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons…”
Young Wallace’s dragons do not have stats. They are just his way of making you do whatever he wants you to do if you aren’t following the plot closely enough for his liking. They are arrogant, bossy, insulting, assholes. The only thing different is that Young Wallace himself can’t breath fire. If you ever hear the name Carpathias, just turn around and walk the other way. It won’t help, but at least it will feel like you have some control over your characters. Usually you’ll need to go to him to get some artifact needed to save the world. Which means you now owe him a favor, which means you have basically sold yourself into slavery. Oh, and I hope you like listening to Young Wallace talk as much as Young Wallace loves to hear the sound of his own voice, because…
“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…”
You know how most video games let you just skip the cut scenes. Those are great. You know those few video games that don’t let you skip the cut scene, and it seems like no matter what you do, you trigger a cut scene, and if the game didn’t have cut scenes, it would only be about one fourth as long, which is why it has been padded with so many cut scenes. Guess which kind of game Young Wallace likes to play. I have found that the cut scenes in Young Wallace’s games are a great opportunity to teach yourself a new skill, like balancing all of your dice in a single stack, sleeping with your eyes open, and how to choke yourself without using your hands. My personal favorite is to get up and make a plate of lasagna. Don’t worry if you don’t have some already made. While he’s talking (at length, mostly about elves and drow), you will have time to make some. From scratch. To assemble the lasagna, add about 1/2 cup of sauce to the bottom of a large pan. Add a little water and mix. Make an overlapping layer of the noodles across the bottom of the pan. Spread a large spoonful of sauce on top, making sure the noodles are well covered. Add one more layer of noodles and sauce, and then add a layer of, wait, where was I? Oh right, and don’t worry, you will get a chance to use the Icy Burst Bastard Sword Young Wallace saw fit to give your STR 9, one armed Fire Mage, because…
“If you don’t plug ‘em in both pumpers, you just piss ‘em off.”
There is one word to describe combat in Young Wallace’s games: annoying. It’s a given that you will die, Young Wallace just tries to make as an embarrassing death as possible. For the rest of your life, he will bring up the fact that “they were ‘only’ polar bears” and that “there were ‘only’ three of them” or that when you died you came back as a kobold with a purple arm, or that after you died, they ate your familiar. Don’t worry, sometimes he has “good” combat. That’s when whatever your fighting, be it Elves, Drow, half-drow, half-elves, hundreds upon hundreds of intelegent animals, or his epic npcs, they will actually focus on you (and only you) instead of the weakest member of the party that your enemy can’t see, and wouldn’t know about if you and your party weren’t the “Truman Show” of the Forgotten Realms. Don’t worry, you can get some small bit of satisfaction from referring to them by the names of the comic book villains Young Wallace ripped off to create there “distinctive” look. I remember many a game where we had to fight Doc Ock and The Joker. You’ll still lose, but he won’t get as much satisfaction from the “victory”.
I hope you have enjoyed this little primer to the way Youung Wallace runs the trail of tears he calls his “campaigns”. For extra enjoyment from this list, print it out, and and make a checkmark next to each rule as you see him use it, or make a bet with another member of the party as to which one he is going to use most in a given night.
Why yes, I am still bitter, how ever did you know.
This is the first in what will most likely be a series of small reviews for the “classics of literature” that I’m going to be reading on my new nook. Remember, I am not an English major, nor am I a trained critic, so these might not be the best reviews that you’ll ever read but I will at least endeavor to make them entertaining.
I decided to start with one of the three books that came preloaded with it. I was happy to see that Dracula was one of those titles. Alas, that happiness was to be short lived.
I must admit that I was expecting a little more from one of the cornerstones of modern horror. This book, which has never been out of print and has inspired countless other vampire stories was, in my opinion, awful. This thing read like the campaign notes of someone with OCD-like need to record every detail of the game. The only thing missing are the dice rolls and the references to Mountain Dew and Cheetos. The protagonists take every opportunity to draw out the scenes for as long as possible and to repeat themselves and each other as often as they possibly can.
One thing that I found amazing, having seen several movies starring the Count, is that the title character is almost completely absent from most of the book. Other than the opening chapters (where Jonathan Harker lets you know over and over and over again how trapped he has become in the castle) Dracula himself shows up something like three or four times, out of the nearly 300 pages of the version that I read, but don’t worry, the other characters are more than happy to fill the pages between the beginning and the end.
I’m not trying to harp on this in some sad attempt to earn “cool points,” I honestly started reading this expecting to enjoy it, but this turned out to be, in my opinion, one of the most boring things I’ve ever read. I have to assume it’s because I don’t have a Victorian mindset and have been desensitized to the bits of the book that surely shocked 19th century readers. In the end, I can only recommend this book to people who wish to compare it the various movie adaptations that have been made.
The other two books that came preloaded on the nook were Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I’ll be skipping straight to Pride and Prejudice for the next review as it’s the one I have more interest in.