Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Best TD Run EVER (at least in my mind-3)

Lead up to the TD run
Part 1 rooms 1-3
Part 2 rooms 4-6

This is it, Room 7 - the Dragon's Lair.

We entered with the other group running Dragon Ward. We were told the other group was an illusion created by Bibwik to distract the dragon. We were in a small area blocked from the dragon. Then it was time, we walked around the corner and there was Smoak sleeping. We slowly snuck up to do battle. As we started the attack, I began singing songs of valor and battle. Our first round of attacks was not very fruitful, but I think our trusty wizard cast a magic missile spell. The dragon was awakening and we attacked the second round. I don't think we did much damage then the dragon decided it would like to bake us in a fireball. Luckily we had the amulet from room 6. It took the fireball into itself and disintegrated, saving us for at least another round of attacks. Next the dragon got a jump on us and attacked me. Killing me, but I look at it as taking one for the team. Then the dragon decided it was time to mock Wil. With the noise it was hard for Wil to hear it, but he did perk up and heard that the dragon was mocking him. He was not going to take it lightly that the dragon had had mocked him and killed his faithful bard. He strode up to the board released his slide and watched it hit the 20 on the dragon's image. I saw this as I was falling to my final rest and called out for no one else to slide yet. If the 10 on the token pointed to the damage dot, Wil would have slain the dragon right then and there. The DMs walked over looked at it closely for what seemed an eternity, even though it was probably 5 seconds. Checked it and the 10 was almost dead center in line with the damage dot. Wil had slain the dragon with 1 slide. No one else had done or did it the rest of the con. I was in the presence of a great dragonslayer. Much cheering and celebrating went on. (Unfortunately for my character, I think the poor dead bard was forgotten and left to rot. No big deal) As the dragon lay there dying, the elfin cleric (did I forget to mention the elfin cleric who was trapped in a cage?) ran over to Smoak and struck the dragon with the Evading Hilt. After doing so, she realized that in her crazed state she had made a horrible mistake. The letters of "the evading hilt" can be rearranged into "the living death". So, even though a mortal blow was struck upon the dragon, the cleric had unwittingly turned it into an undead dracolich.

And so the story continues on...

At this point I want to say I had a blast with everyone on the run. Everyone was so nice, man that sounds dumb. It's true though. I wasn't sure what to expect. I hoped they would be cool and fun and I wasn't disappointed. They all made me laugh. They worked hard on puzzles. I don't have one bad thing to say. I think that they would be people I would hang out with, if I weren't 1550 miles away. Felicia was awesome. I think I may have insulted her when she was leaving. She said I was funny as the bard and I turned stupid. I should have said thanks and that I love her writing, timing, and acting on the Guild, but instead I said "You're intense" and it looked like she had a sort of put off look on her face. Felicia, if you happen to read this, understand that the fanboy in me turned 12 and I turned stupid. I think you're awesome and cool as Hell, if Hell can be cool with all the fire and stuff. You know what I mean.

The Best TD Run EVER (at least in my mind-2)

Lead up to the TD run
Part 1 rooms 1-3

He we go with Rooms 4-6...

While standing in the connector between rooms 3 and 4, I noticed Felicia was going to go in first and said "Hey, stop the wizard from going in first again" and everyone said something like "oh, yeah, get back wizard" and there was lots of laughter. So, with the wizard in the middle of the pack we entered room 4. It was set in the Elemental Plane of Air. We were located in clouds with a pedestal in the middle of the room. On top of the pedestal was what initially looked like a calendar with 5 different colored shapes on it. We noticed there was no 17, so we figured it must not be a calendar, but was that a clue or red-herring? We found the clue on the upper right corner of the board. It talked about this being our dimension minus 1. The group figured out almost immediately that we were looking at a 2-dimensional representation of the shapes on the board. The clue told us to place the shapes on the table where they would go if they were to grow. The key to the puzzle was the 3rd stanza, but that was ignored at first. Everyone agreed the shapes would grow, but we weren't sure how they would grow. The shapes were 3 triangles of different sizes, a square, and a pentagon. We all pretty much agreed that the square would grow into a cube and placed it on the 6. The DM told us it locked into place and was correct. "Yea!" Now for the rest of the pieces. There was lots of discussion and Sandeep being the rogue opened the rogue's test and took the clue. The clue said they were footprints. OK, so... Here's where the third stanza comes into play. It talked about the pieces controlling fate, dealing judgment, and chance being their sacred role. I think it was Wil who thought role may actually mean roll, like in dice. So we arranged the 3 triangles smallest to largest and took the 5 sided and placed it on the 12. The Dm said it locked into place and was correct. Now for the triangle discussion. We knew the 4 and 20 sided dice had triangular sides, but don't the 8 and 10 as well? We'll deal with that later. First, which goes on the 4? Biggest or smallest? There was some thought and then it was determined that with more sides would come smaller facets. So Wil grabbed the largest triangle (or so he thought) and placed it on the 4. BAM!!! we all take 3 points of damage. Then we realized he grabbed the middle triangle, argh! No problem, he grabbed the largest and placed it on the 4 and it locked into place. Next we placed the smallest on the 20 and it locked in. Now which number 8 or 10 for the last one. We were racking our brains, which had the triangular sides. Then we rememberred that the 10 sided has diamond sides, not triangles, so the last triangle was placed in the 8 spot and SUCCESS!!! We received our next puzzle piece and then off to room 5.

Room 5 was in the Elemental Plane of Water, but this area had been frozen over with a pedestal at the opposite end from where we entered. There was nothing going on until Sandeep got to close and an Ice Demon pops out creates an icewall and freezes our wizard, poor Felicia. We attack with range weapons and I go into singing mode (I start by singing Danke Schoen, but only the parts I know from Ferris Bueller). We did pretty well on the first round of attacks. Second round begins and, lo and behold, our wizard is frozen again. The demon actually offered to take the wizard and leave the rest of us alone. We thought about it, but we just couldn't give up a valuable member of our party, so we said "No" and attacked. Second round damage was pretty good again. Then the cleric(?) and I are targeted with freezing attacks. We both made our saving throw, defeating the spell, and continue the onslaught. Melee is fought and the wizard, breaking free of her icy prison, casts a magic missile. With the demon about down, our third round of attacks finish the deed. We get our final piece of the puzzle and put it together to see what it is. It represents earth, air, fire, and water with a connecting source at the center. We heal up with Mitzy getting the cleric's bead test right twice (she was worried initially, but did awesome). We are healed up and ready for room 6.

Room 6 is almost an exact replica of the first room with a different puzzle on the board. This one had a sliding puzzle. I think this is the room where we screwed up by all being involved. I tell people all the time, be aware of when you need to step back and let 1 or 2 people work a puzzle and stay out of it. I forgot my own advice. We were sliding and sliding and sliding. Whenever it looked good, we realized we were screwed again. Argh!!! Sandeep got the clue and it talked about being able to solve it in about 12 moves and the key move was halfway. We stepped back but just couldn't get it. We took push damage, but got the amulet to use against the dragon in the final room. We were bummed that we didn't solve it, but the dragon fight was coming up and thoughts quickly moved that way.

Next time we'll go through Room 7 - The Dragon's Lair...

Part 3 the final room

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Best TD Run EVER (at least in my mind-1)

Lead up to the TD run

I wish I had paid more attention to who did what in each room.

We entered room 1 and saw a large table with 4 colored lit up balls. There was a smaller pedestal with 4 colored indentations and a clue on the wall. The clue told us that we needed to get the balls on the table from one end to the other. The table was about 4 feet on a side and had walls and holes in it. There were hand holds on each side for 2 people a side. We each assumed a position and lifted the table. We started out slowly to get the hang of the tilting and ball motion. We got the first ball to almost the end when we ran into a small ramp. We got the ball up the ramp and down into the finishing spot. Sandeeep then ran it over to the pedestal and we started on the second ball. We were starting to get confident and moving the ball faster, so I said the famous Star Wars line "Don't get cocky" and before I could say "This ain't like dustin' crops boy" Felicia says "Yeah, don't get cocky!" She was very impressive with her focus and determination. We finished the second the second ball just after the 6 minute bell. I think we felt pretty confident that we would finish in time. However, while starting ball 3, ball 4 decides to follow along. We got ball 3 to a point where we could tilt the table to get 4 back to a safe spot. It took a little time, but not too much. We almost had the third ball done when we were coming up to the ramp. Oops, we hit a hole before we got to the ramp. I think Jeff L took that damage. Then we were at the ramp and "Oops again," Wil takes damage when we overcompensate and "hello" hole. We then finished ball 3. Ball 4 was almost a complete dupe of ball 3. We hit the hole before the ramp and then the hole at the ramp. So we got through the room with minimal damage, but solved it and got the elemental plaque we would need to access the dragon's domain. Healing was discussed, but I think we held off for now.

We next go to the connector between rooms 1 and 2. The DM meets us and tells us we are now at the end of a cavern and the only way out is a small cave. Felicia uses a potion of polymorph to change into a viper and scout ahead. I thought this was a genius move. I don't know if anyone else did this throughout the game. After she goes through she doesn't come back, so we decide we must find out what happened. As we enter the cave we set off an avalanche and have to hurry through. Upon exiting we find Felicia trapped inside a gelatinous cube. (as an aside, a gelatinous cube is basically a cube 7 feet on a side made out of wobbly Jello. We couldn't actually make a big woobly Jello cube, but we had a cool mockup that looked like it could have been a big cube of jello.) We have to do battle with the cube to defeat it while trying to be mindful of not damaging Felicia. I break into song as the bard to bolster the spirits of our team and help with dealing more damage. The first round I think we hit the cube 5 times and missed Felicia. Yea us!!! Round 2 we hit 6 times and again we miss our trapped wizard. Our attacks were so powerful we fell the cube in just 2 rounds. We helped our wizard clean the cube goo off (not really, but it just sounds cool) and prepared for room 3. There was time left in the room, so a little healing was done. I think the cube got in a hit or two before we took it down. I was busy singing and walking the room, so I didn't pay close attention to who got hit. I wish we would have thought to get a pic of Felicia in the cube. It would have been epic.

We next ventured to room 3 where we found a table in the elemental Plane of Fire. We were informed by the DM that the walls were "on fire" and would "burn you" if touched. One wall had keys on it. The table had 2 words on it saying SEEK KEY. There was a clue stating we needed to find the right key to get out. It also said to solve the puzzle only 4 of the pieces in the words could be moved for the solution. The letters were made as if they were formed from toothpicks. Their was a little discussion about which pieces to move, but the group figured out all but the last piece pretty quickly. The way the Y was made made it look like it was pointing in a diagonal direction, however the bottom of the Y could be moved up to make it point down. The group deduced the clue on the wall that talked about being READ meant to start with the red key. Starting with the red key, we went right once then left 5 times and then down. I had the ring of fire resistance so I started to grab what I hoped was the right key. The DM made sure I really wanted that key, the team said yes, we do. Earlier Felicia used the detect illusion token and found the area where the door was hidden. I took the key and it opened the door to room 4. Yea, again. No damage in this room and solved with plenty of time left. It was brought up that the wizard had led the way into all the rooms so far and that we'd be careful not to do that anymore. So now it was time to go to room 4.

Rooms 4-6 will be in the next update...

Part 2 rooms 4-6
Part 3 the final room

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lead up to the True Dungeon Run

On Friday evening I was keeping an eye out for the Guildies to show up. We wanted to try to keep them from being mobbed and bothered and let them have a normal run. I spotted them over by the escalator where we were having our treasure draws. I got Jeff's attention and we greeted them. I was just acting in a director's capacity to get them checked in, sign waivers, and get them their bag of tokens. You know, the normal stuff. We were going to have Jeff Broemmel and Stefan Pokorny, owner of Dwarven Forge, go along to fill out the party. I saw Stefan behind me and thought he was going on the run, but the next thing I know Jeff hands me a waiver and says "You're going with them, if you want to." My brain exploded with all kinds of questions and stuff...

"I get to go on a run with the Guildies?"
"Are you kidding me?"
"Felicia Day is tiny."
"Who invented liquid soap and why?"

I'll admit, I was nervous. In case you missed it, I think The Guild webisodes are effin awesome! I wanted TD to make a good impression and I didn't want to be the loose wheel that made the cart crash. I didn't want to be a stumbling fanboy.

Did I mention that I was told that they had started working on their characters and divying their tokens at lunch? It was awesome to see them get their bag of tokens for the run and start going through the new tokens deciding what would help their characters and what just wouldn't make the cut. So when it was time we headed to the coaches area to have a coach figure up our armor class, hit points, saves, attack bonuses, etc... We were all sitting there still going through tokens when I handed Wil the +2 Long Spear of Dragonslaying. It will automatically kill any dragon if a 20 is slid and the "10" area is pointing at the damage dot on the combat board. Not very likely to happen, but I was playing the Bard and couldn't use it, so I gave it to our resident Paladin. We were finally getting our party sheet finished as we went into the training area.

Wil was the Paladin
Felicia was the Wizard
Sandeep was the Rogue
Jeff (Lewis) was the Barbarian
Robin was the Monk
Mitzy (with GenCon) was the Cleric
Jeff (Broemmel) was the Ranger
and I was the Bard

So now we are begining training. The fighter types are practicing on a slider board, Mitzy is memorizing the Cleric beads and Felicia is memorizing the Wizard's planes. This gave me a chance to get a feel for each player. The Jeffs were practicing the sliding and I made Jeff Lewis laugh, which helped me start to calm down. I talked a little to Robin and she was upbeat and perky (did I just refer to someone as perky?). Wil was getting into his boastful Paladin persona and making proclamations. Mitzy is a D&D player and had always wanted to do TD but never had a chance, so she was pumped. Felicia was very intent on the Wizard's planes and getting nervous that she wouldn't memorize them, so Wil stopped his slider practice and tested her. By the end she was getting them all. About halfway through there was a magical communication from Bibwik the Mad Mage. He gave some back story and told the adventurers what needed to be done. He then faded away until the end of the room when he was teleporting the group into the first room. I was a little disappointed they didn't notice Bibwik was actually me. I did whiten my hair and goatee, maybe it was enough to change me.

So this leads us to the first room and the next post to come. Stay tuned...

Part 1 rooms 1-3
Part 2 rooms 4-6
Part 3 the final room

Special Guests' True Dungeon Run

On Friday, of GenCon Indy, I got to make a dungeon run with Wil Wheaton (Fawkes), Felicia Day (Codex), Sandeep Parikh (Zaboo), Jeff Lewis (Vork), and Robin Thorsen (Clara) of The Guild web-series. At the last minute I had to fill in for another player who couldn't make the run. I wasn't bothered at all to make the run. I am a huge fan of The Guild and when I found out they would be at GenCon I emailed the top dog of True Dungeon and said we needed to get them on a run. He didn't let on for the longest time that they would be going on a run. He did let me know about a week prior so that I could do some voices for the dragon to taunt them during their final fight. I will admit that I was stoked for them to hear my taunts. Unfortunately the final battle was too loud and the taunts were almost inaudible. So only one of them was played. I will admit that I am crestfallen that the taunts weren't heard. The one for Wil was played and he heard a little of it, I think, because he stood taller and said "I think this dragon is mocking me."

So, I am going to place them here for everyone to hear. Maybe Wil will rehear his and maybe Felicia, Sandeep, Jeff, and Robin will hear these for the first time and smile and remember their run with the bard, who voiced a dragon, who knows. I did mention to Sandeep after that there were taunts, but after you hear them, you'll understand why I couldn't fit in Zaboo.

Guild smack
Wheaton Returns

I will put up another post later about the run and the fun that was had.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


How has fatherhood changed me?

Hmm, good question. When I was younger and had my life mapped out (this was the late 70’s, early 80’s) I thought I would meet someone and get married by 25. Isn’t that what you were supposed to do? Then start having 2.3 kids by 30. I had the perfect parenting life set up in my head. The kids were always good, never cried and my wife knew everything about child rearing. I sort of lived in a perfect little bubble when thinking about the future. Didn’t all girls know everything about kids? Isn’t that what it meant to be a girl? Have kids and raise them. It’s just genetics, right? Everything was going to be perfect.

Well, real life isn’t exactly like what you’re taught as a kid. For starters, I didn’t do a lot of dating or look for mates very seriously. I had a period of time where I didn’t really have a date for 7 years. So that set me back a touch. Well, I finally met Liz when I was 34 and we got married when I was 36. That put me back 11 years from my initial plan. What else would be different? Surely the rest was right, right? We planned to try to get pregnant about 6 months after we got married. We thought we should have a little “getting used to” time before adding another to our crew. But after just 3 months, we changed our plan and Liz got pregnant and I realized I knew nothing. I kept asking Liz questions and realized she didn’t have all the answers. What? Wasn’t she supposed to know this stuff? She’s female. She’s supposed to know it all. OK, she bought books for her and for me. We named our little child-to-be “Bunny” and always referred to her that way. I think of Bunny as a girl. Well, we really don’t know what Bunny would have been. Liz, or more specifically WE, miscarried at about 10weeks. Liz had some spotting and we went in for an ultrasound to see what was going on. I was watching the screen and saw Bunny. The tech then said she had to go get the doctor to take a look. I almost passed out; there was no movement on the screen. No little heart beating, nothing. Luckily I had a stool next to me. I fell onto it. I was hoping that I was just missing something on the screen. The doctor then comes in, takes a look, and tells us that we miscarried. I was in shock. How could that happen? Didn’t women have babies all the time? What was wrong with us? Everything in the world was flashing through my mind. But the single most important thing that flashed in my mind was “Oh. God. Liz!!! What is she feeling and how is she feeling?” We went to the doctor’s private office and he talked to us for a while. I don’t know how long actually. I was still in a daze and worrying about Liz. He told us that miscarriages happen a lot more than talked about and that there wasn’t necessarily anything wrong with either of us, it just happens sometimes, and we could try again. That helped somewhat, but we were still in shock about losing Bunny. We went home and called family to let them know what happened. I was calling people until we got to my dad. I couldn’t call him and tell him. I had been the one who called him and told him that my sister’s son Jacob had died. I couldn’t do it again. I remembered hearing his anguish and it just about broke me. I just couldn’t do it; I almost couldn’t even talk to ask Liz to call him. (Wow, thinking about that almost made me cry all over again.) After calling people, we spent the rest of the day lying in bed trying to support each other. Each of us took turns being strong while the other would break down in tears. So, try number one sure didn’t go as I had pictured.

After 2 months we went to the doctor to see if things looked ok for us to try again. He gave us the go ahead and we got pregnant again. This time we didn’t tell anybody for a long time. I was scared. I kept thinking about the miscarriage. Everything seemed fine. We went in for an early ultrasound just to be sure things looked good and lo and behold they were. There was the heartbeat. I still didn’t know anything about being a dad or raising a child, but a huge burden was lifted. I felt better and felt things would go right this time. Everything was right with Teagan. We had a scare when Liz’s heart rate went all wonky and almost had to be de-fibbed to get it back in rhythm, but that’s a different story and Teagan was fine. I finally read the books Liz had gotten me and still had no clue how to be a dad. Luckily I have a partner who helps me when I struggle.

So even before I was officially a father I changed in many ways. I realized a much deeper love than I thought I could feel for something I hadn’t seen. When we lost Bunny, my heart felt like it had been ripped out of my chest. When I saw Teagan’s little heart beating, my heart felt like it would burst out of my chest with love. It’s amazing how such a little thing could have such a huge impact. I watched Liz go through her pregnancy loving every minute of it, even when she hurt and complained. I saw the look of love on her face and loved her more for it. I could not have physically gone through a pregnancy. Props to women on that one.

I have learned to be patient, loving, strict, understanding, mad, upset, dumbfounded, etc… from my kids. I used to be solely about me. I think that has been the hardest thing to adjust to with kids. I now have little people relying on me and my time and my attention. I know the pride in seeing my kids do something for the first time or discovering things on their own. I hope fatherhood has changed me in a good way and I hope to keep getting better at it even when they drive me nuts.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Better late than never

I filmed Teagan's school christmas performance back in December. I finally got the video entered into the computer and got Teagan's parts edited out. So without further ado. Here are Teagan's class performances.