Maze Arcana: Inkwell Society [Eberron Campaign]

For those of you who are fans of Critical Role and The Adventure Zone and other real play D&D or RPG streams or podcasts, I’d like to recommend a new one. Maze Arcana’s Inkwell Society game is an Eberron Campaign, which has a far different feel than most D&D games. Eberron is a D&D setting created for D&D 3.5 like a decade and a half ago. Eberron is a huge city with a low magic, high tech sort of steampunkish, noir style. Campaigns in Eberron tend to take on a much different vibe than people might be used to.

If you’ve watched other Geek & Sundry programming you might be familiar with Ruty Rutenburg & Satine Phoenix who have created the Maze Arcana channel and campaign stories. In fact, Satine took over GM Tips on Geek & Sundry after Matt Mercer’s dozen or so episodes. For Inkwell Society, Ruty Rutenburg is the GM with six players that include a Dragonmarked, Shifter and Warforged characters, which are much different races than what most people are used to.

One of the things I like about this campaign is that we see these characters meet in the first episode but there’s more of a mystery noir element to the continuing story. They refer to it as a Neon Noir. So instead of what we think of as the normal historical fantasy with magical races and big countrysides with lots of actual dungeons to explore, we get this gritty alchemical city with lots of mysteries to uncover. We’re only five episodes in, so who knows where it could go from here. But, I’m eager to see where it goes.

Watch INKWELL SOCIETY – Episode 1 : Arcana Noir #dnd #Eberron from MazeArcana on www.twitch.tv

Overwatch Retribution

I’m a little in love with Retribution mode in Overwatch’s most recent event. I’ve played so much of it that went I tried to go back and play a normal match I couldn’t remember how anything worked for the first half of the match. Is this happening to anyone else?

I play healers a lot and Moira has quickly become one of my favorites so getting the chance to see some of her interaction with Blackwatch is pretty exciting. It’s also hella stressful to play as the singular healer for these four dps characters.

I’ve been playing mostly on Hard mode which when you play solo queue like I do, means that even I think I’m on my game I’m losing about 50% of the time. People that play recklessly die quickly no matter how fast I am at healing. I’ve played enough of it to know where things are going to be and how to react in new areas but there’s no guarantee how many times the other three people have played.

Champions of the Earth! a podcast

Recently I started listening to a new actual play podcast called Champions of the Earth.

I’ve tried several actual play podcasts that aren’t Critical Role or The Adventure Zone and had a lot of trouble getting into them. Many of them explain too much or take themselves way too seriously or just have too much bro-ness about them that make them uninteresting or just boring. Champions of the Earth  was a recommendation through twitter because one of the members is Gina DeVivo, who’s on a few different Geek & Sundry / ProjectAlpha shows… not all of which I watch. That’s a long way of say that she was my way into this podcast.

The GM for Champions of the Earth, Collin Kelly, is a big fan of The Adventure Zone and I think that shows strongly in the way he tells the story. But in just a few episodes I’ve found that I really enjoy how he backs out of the story when the characters are having moments among themselves. He lets them direct some of the action, let’s them have character moments that aren’t necessarily plot related by have an impact on how the characters will interact when the plot resurfaces. It’s a good mix of storytelling and actual play. They use a modified version of D&D rules to play which makes the game play familiar enough for people that know 5th ed. rules and they explain character changes and rule updates quickly as they come into play, but don’t belabor the rules too much.

What’s different about Champions of the Earth is that it’s not a medieval-esque fantasy world though. It’s a modern day story of high school students thrust into a world of zombies, aliens and giant mecha knights. It’s a little Power Rangers and a little Twilight. It’s great.

It’s also really great that the episodes are about an hour like The Adventure Zone instead of 3-4 like Critical Role. If you start now, you’ll catch up to today’s episode 8 in no time. I think episode 8 also has my favorite moment of the show so far — a scene in which one of the characters is about to get into a fight with a creature, but pauses zen-like to take a sip of Fresca before it happens. It’s perfect.

You can find Champions of the Earth on iTunes and Google Play and wherever fine podcasts are sold. #ChampionsCast

Critical Role S2 Pinterest Boards

From my time putting together things for a Dragon Age RP board, I’ve built up quite a collection of Pinterest boards for both characters and ships. Since starting though, my collection has expanded quite a bit to literature, podcasts and other media I enjoy. These days, I’m pretty sure you can tell exactly how much I’m into a thing by what boards I’ve created.

My boards are themed in a way, characters assigned cards from both major and minor arcana from the tarot, as well as the lenormand cards. (As a note, I started doing this long before the Major Arcana for Critical Role S1 was ever announced so my cards don’t match the characters, and I refuse to adjust them to match.)

I tend to pick and choose characters that I like best, I’ve never created a full spectrum of boards for all the characters in a thing. I never put together a full list of boards for Critical Role S1 characters. And yet, Critical Role S2 totally made me want a board for each one of the characters. Today I created the final board I needed to finish my collection for the Mighty Nein. If that’s the kind of thing that interests you, I’m listing them below.

Feel free to follow one, all, everything… none. I just like having them all in one place and thought I’d show them off.


Tomb Raider 2018; no-spoiler review except this spoiler: I loved it

I’d planned to take my little sister out to see Love, Simon tonight but it was nearly a sold out show, which rarely happens at our theater. So, rather than wait for a later show, we went to see Tomb Raider instead. I wasn’t sure what to expect, I’ve seem some pretty cynical reviews and some really shitty ones from manbabies that care more about the size of Lara’s chest than anything else in the movie. Taking everything I’ve heard with a huge grain of salt, I thought we’d check it out. I was never a fan of the early Tomb Raider games, they felt unnecessarily difficult and way too focused on Lara’s appearance (they were).

In recent years with the reboot of the video game series, I decided to check them out again. And I fell in love with Lara, the story, the game play. They’re fantastic games. A little bit open-world, a little bit puzzle-platformer, a little rpg. They’ve got good story, good puzzles and a great protagonist. I’ve never really gotten into the multiplayer aspects, but I’ve loved the single player content of both games and am eagerly awaiting the third.

I’m really pleased to be able to say that I loved this movie. It’s everything the rebooted games are but in live action. They follow a similar story path, we see the same younger, scrappier Lara the games have gifted us and plenty of room to expand. I do have a soft spot for the cheesier Angelina Jolie movies, but this movie is a world apart. The action scenes are really great, none of it felt like too much CGI for me and several of them gave me really great flashback moments to the 2013 Tomb Raider game.

There’s a lot of new stuff coming out soon (YES, I DID WATCH THE INFINITY WAR TRAILER AND GET SUPER EXCITED WHY DO YOU ASK?) but I’d love to go see this again if I get the chance. It’s not perfect — I wish there were more women for one — but it’s a really good place to start for a new series and I hope that we get the chance to see where they take it. Alicia Vikander is a great Lara Croft, playing up the athleticism and the feisty sarcasm as her video game counterpart. I think she could make something great out of this series. 

Halfsies dice; Superdice in super blue and heroic red

Forever ago, Matt kickstarted the Halfsies dice campaign. We were able to pick up four sets of dice and I got the Superdice (blue and red) and the Davinci dice (black and gold). We just got them in the mail today, but I had a D&D game tonight so I was able to put my new Superdice to use on my earth genasi bard, Ariyaris. That’s it. I just want to show of my new dice and say how well they did for me out of the box. Ari rolled two nat 20s tonight and at least one nat 12 for damage. So they’re off to a good start.

My Davinci dice might turn into my GM dice for the game I run on Wednesdays, as long as the cats don’t bother me. They didn’t seem to care for them tonight, but they almost always want to be on my desk when I’m surrounded by dice, books and notes.

We would’ve had these dice long ago had some bad luck not befallen the nice guys at Gate Keeper Games in the form of a nasty fire just before GenCon last year. Thankfully, they’ve gotten things up and running and dice are available on their website. These dice are just like the tiniest skotch bigger than your standard dice from like Chessex, so keep that in mind if it matters to you. Check the all the other types they have at http://www.gatekeepergaming.com [#notspon i just like them]

The Cantata Pansophical: An Exandrian Musical

I know I posted about this on tumblr yesterday, but I had to write a little more about it as a way to express my awe over this whole project.

I’ve been following the updates on this project since the idea was first floated to the community. Tumblr fans had been mashing up Hamilton and Critical Role in art and gifs and photosets since Hamilton came out. But a project of this scope is just beyond everything else, and it could’ve worked out so differently.

The work that it took to write these songs and make them fit both the story of Season 1 in addition to hitting the plot themes of Hamilton is mind boggling. Somehow they made it work and they made it work so incredibly well. I cried multiple times today listening to this whole thing. Seriously, if you’re a fan of both Hamilton and Critical Role and you haven’t listened to this yet, get on it. It’s amazing.

The Critter community is pretty fantastic as far as fandoms go. I feel like it’s worth mentioning how generous this community is. There’s a call for charitable donations on the website if you like the work they’ve done, some of the cast gives suggestions on places you might give. To put something like this together for free and further — to encourage charitable gifts as a way to appreciate the work, is such a wonderful thing.

The story in The Cantata Pansophical is centrally focused on the events of the Chroma Conclave with a little set up before hand. The cast is huge and extremely talented. Also, please take in the really fantastic and matched themes of the artwork on each song, it’s impressive.

Be prepared… the emotional gut punches hit pretty hard.

This should take you to the playlist on YouTube. You can also check out the website with the download link in addition to additional materials like the lyrics.

D&D [Underdark]: Dungeons and Actual Dragons

In the D&D game I play in on Mondays, my druid has recently come into guardianship of a young red dragon wyrmling. Against the better judgement of part of my party I gave him a name that was NOT food related. This party is constantly at odds and rather than attempt to save the poor thing (while he was still an egg), they wanted to make him into a dragon egg omelet. Hilarity did not ensue.

Anyhow, thanks to me, our party is +1 protective dragon. It’s pretty great so far. Since our party is mostly in travel mode at the moment, escorting part of our npc group home, my druid has been spending her time teaching the little guy to forage, speak, fly and fight. I’m working on skills that she has, so she can better train him, so tonight I opted to teach him about Religion. She’s a worshiper of Silvanus herself and thought this would be a good start.

Our DM is never the best at spur-of-the-moment dialogue but the exchanges we’ve had as druid & dragon have been pretty great so far. Tonight’s produced this moment.

Dragon: What’s Religion?
Druid: Well, it’s the thing we call it when you decide to spend your time and energy paying love, attention and respect to something or someone.

Dragon: Does that mean you’re my religion?


And that kids is how you make me fall in love with a baby dragon.

#INeedDiverseGames

I’m giving today’s post to share with you a cause near and dear to my heart, #INeedDiverseGames.

I Need Diverse Games is a 501c3 non-profit organization advocating for diverse voices in gaming. The organization sponsors attendance at conventions with diverse panel tracks, promotes diverse creators and teaches about diversity and inclusion in gaming spaces.

There’s plenty of ways to support this effort, starting with either Patreon or  Twitch.tv. You can also continue to support and share the work of creators with underrepresented or marginalized voices from the tumblr and twitter accounts for INDG which boost games and creators regularly.

We get that everyone struggles with funds, but every little bit helps. There’s just a few people involved with Tanya at the helm, and there’s still plenty of work to be done. Right now, INDG needs help with both funding and content and you can read more about both here on this post.

If you’re new to Patreon, you can get started supporting INDG with as little as $1, each of which adds up to be an amazing help. I love Tanya and the work she’s doing with INDG. Please consider checking it out, subscribing to the twitch channel or becoming a patron.

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D&D [Holloway]: Player Questions

In what I’m sure will be a continuing series, I bring you a very pertinent questions my players are currently pondering. In today’s edition I bring you a question from my Tal’Dorei game, currently taking place in a city heavily modified from an old 3.5 campaign.

On learning that the city they’re currently in has abnormal ghosts who function more or less as living citizens:

“Do they poop?”

To be fair, it wasn’t the very first question they asked. It also didn’t take very long for our group’s Wizard to get to it either. But you know, as the DM, I appreciate that they’re taking an interest in the great mysteries of the city. I’m sure as they continue to learn more, the questions will evolve–

No, let’s be honest.
Until they solve if and how these specific ghostly humanoids poop, they won’t be happy.

Every campaign has one. The Adventure Zone had tacos– I have ghost poo?

Look out level 20.
In which our intrepid adventurers have 17 levels to figure out how exactly it all works.

On a related note, their curiosity reminds me of a certain druid from Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid series. I guess it doesn’t matter what kind of creature they are, humans (tieflings and halflings in this case) have an inherent need to know how other creatures poop.