Dungeon Grind

Many a year ago I read at least half a million webcomics. Sadly those halcyon days are largely behind me. However, I do read Dungeon Grind, by British creator Steve Dismukes. I love it.

Dungeon Grind follows Vykus, a goblin who seeks employment at Castle Evilgrim, lair of the arch-lich Xyziax. Vykus attempts to revive his career in much the same way the rest of us do: filling out an application!

Hilarity, as they say, ensues. Steve is adept at playing with the general conventions of Dungeons & Dragons-style roleplaying games as seen from the other side, without crossing too far over the fourth wall into “we’re in a game” territory that is prevalent in many other comedic fantasy RPG comics.

The characters are heartwarming. Steve writes and draws another, more serious comic called Dark Places (which unfortunately appears to be on hiatus), and he brings a lot of that subtlety to the humor of Dungeon Grind. The kobold Jeek is really someone you’d want as your best friend. Also, between Dungeon Grind and Dark Places, the kobolds are the best-drawn I’ve ever seen.

Vykus and Jeek

So check out the website. You can also start from the first strip. There are only 60 or so at the moment; it’s a great time to catch up!

Dungeon Grind updates every Monday and Friday. If you enjoy it, please vote for it on TopWebcomics.com. That will help Steve get some much-deserved exposure for his work. You can vote every 24 hours!

Tabletop Tales: Dynamic Combat

Despite a few pointed efforts to the contrary, Brithangel Malraeneus survived to fight another day. The human he had cornered fled deeper into the mines, and the party decided to pursue. There they discovered strange machinery left behind by an older civilization. What at first blush appeared to be a frivolous attempt at increasing the rogue’s wealth had proved something else entirely.

Within the center of the mine, Brith and his companions found a large room containing six cylindrical chambers. A human woman was there, as well as a few guards and—naturally—another minotaur. They had prisoners who were bound. When they saw our heroes, the minotaur lifted up one of the prisoners, opened one of the middle chambers, tossed him inside, and slammed the door shut.

We rolled initiative, the party steeled themselves for battle, and on Brith’s turn he… ran right for the nearest chamber! Minotaurs, after all, had proven bad for the health of other party members, and the alchemist wasn’t sitting on a stack of hit points.

It’s important to me to play in games where combat happens in interesting environments. I do enjoy bashing some skulls in as much as the next person, but I’m always happier when there are other things going on. Decisions that need to be made, secondary objectives needing fulfillment, and so on. When I can put my character’s skills to use in a way other than bluffing to feint, tumbling to avoid attacks, and climbing to higher vantage points, I enjoy the game all the more.

Brithangel happens to be an incredibly intelligent alchemist, so his goal was to figure out what exactly the human and her entourage intended to do with these strange devices. Continue reading

Lords of Waterdeep

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Lords of Waterdeep

I went to Labyrinth Games & Puzzles on Saturday the 14th to meet my friend Erin for an afternoon of board games with some of her friends. One of those games was Lords of Waterdeep, which neither of us had played. I commented that it reminded me of both Ticket to Ride and Agricola. Those are great games.

A little while later the owner came over, saw we were playing, and said: “Oh, I love that game! We call it ‘Ticket to Agricola’!” I was glad she and I saw eye to eye!

Worth Dying For

Death. It gets us all in the end.

There is a school of thought in Dungeons & Dragons that PCs live brutish Hobbesian lives and players must use every clever trick in their arsenal to keep their characters from shuffling off this mortal coil. I grew up in a different sort of environment, playing character-centric games in one-on-one sessions. I don’t think I’m alone when I say I grew attached to my fictional creations and didn’t want to see lasting harm befall them.

Over the years my attitude changed. Somewhere along the line I stopped viewing my characters as default extensions of myself and started seeing them as pieces in a story. Stories are bigger than any one character in them.

“The mightiest man may be slain by one arrow, and Boromir was pierced by many.” —Pippin, The Return of the King, by J.R.R Tolkien

Boromir, a bearded man in a cloak, sitting against a tree and impaled by three arrows.Boromir dies. Ned Stark dies. Sean Bean plays them both in the screen adaptations, which we all know is no coincidence.

Recently I played a game of Pathfinder with some friends. My character is an elven alchemist named Brithangel (bri-THAN-gull). On a side quest of interest to the party rogue, the party travelled to a dig site in search of relics. There we encountered some unarmed minotaurs gambling, and a human man down in one of the holes. Naturally they were hostile. Brithangel knew he couldn’t go toe-to-toe with the minotaurs, and the human was secure far enough in the pit that he couldn’t hit him with an alchemical bomb. So he decided to climb down into the pit to get a better shot. The human had a bow and arrow, but Brithangel wasn’t made of paper and I knew this. If he were shot and fell off the ladder, he would be injured, but damn it he was an adventurer!

Continue reading

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Jinteki. Identity: Megacorp. Whenever an agenda is scored or stolen, do 1 net damage. 45/15Jinteki Press Release

Fantasy Flight recently posted an article on the 11th briefly touching upon the ways the Android: Netrunner LCG will differ from its forerunner. They intend to keep the major amount of bluffing that is the central aspect of the game, which pleases me.

Most importantly, they spoil three new cards! I am thrilled. The new Identity cards—judging from Jinteki—show promise.