Sunday, July 15, 2012

Gary Gygax for President

It's a little weird how D&D gets mixed in with Presidential campaigns. During the 2008 election, criticism was made of a religious story McCain told about his POW experience that greatly resembled a story from a book he was fond of about prisoners in the Gulag. Micheal Goldfarb, in response, commented on the "basement-dwelling pro-Obama Dungeons and Dragons crowd" for bringing this criticism up. A good apology followed, "If my comments caused any harm or hurt to the hard working Americans who play Dungeons & Dragons, I apologize. This campaign is committed to increasing the strength, constitution, dexterity, intelligence, wisdom, and charisma scores of every American." However, the "pro-Obama Dungeons and Dragons Crowd" reference was used again almost immediately after.

If there wasn't a pro-Obama Dungeons and Dragons Crowd before the comment, there certainly was after. Wizards of the Coast sent a response to the McCain campaign, pointing out the remarks were disparaging, the number of military personnel who play, and Hasbro's donation of crates of product to support GIs across the globe. A Facebook group, named the Pro-Obama Dungeons and Dragons Crowd started and had several hundred followers (archived here) I was one of the administrators of said group.

McCain may have lost his opposed Charisma check with Obama, but the presidential D&D references continue in the 2012 campaign. Mitt Romney is shown courting votes at an RPGA convention on Saturday Night Live:

Go to 3:03 if you don't want to see the whole thing. We've also have some character sheets for numerous candidates here and here. Enjoy!

The Avengers, D&D style

OK, I've been away for a LOOOONG time. I've moved into a house that needs lots of rehabilitation in another city, and had to find new jobs in said city (Kansas City, in fact). All that takes time and attention, in the meantime there has been a lot going on in D&D culture. I'll try to catch us up.

The Avengers movie is the surprise smash hit of the summer. Naturally, we have D&D versions of the Avengers crew appearing.Here are some from Malaysian artist The Durrrian (that's with three Rs, right?) You can read more about it<\ here on io9. I don't know what's cooler, Iron Man as a wizard, Captain America as a warforged, or the Black Widow looks perfectly at home in D&D garb (Shadar-Kai?)  The last three images come from Black Panther artist Francesco Francavilla for, reimagining the Avengers in the Age of Discovery including Hulk as a Druid.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Geek of the Week: Vin Diesel

Vin Diesel, famous action movie actor known for having actual action chops and a huge set of biceps, plays D&D. This probably isn't news to you, if you're a D&D player who has visited a forum in the last seven years, but it is remarkable nonetheless. Diesel played the game as a youth and his game continued into his adult life. He even wrote the introduction for the 30th Anniversary D&D book (link below). I suspect he still plays, at least at the time of this interview (audio only)

A transcript below(thank you Der Kluge of ENWorld):

Conan: You have this image right now, of an action star, tough guy, but there is, for lack of a better term, maybe a slightly nerdy side to Vin Diesel, is that fair to say?
audience: *laughs*
Conan: Please don't rip my head off, reach into my neck, and pull my heart out, but... You can do that later, but.., let's just say a side of you that people might not expect.
Vin: I spent a lot of years playing a game called Dungeons and Dragons.
audience: *laughs*
Vin: Very few people know that I was rolling 20-sided dice and talking like a half-orc
Conan: You would talk in the voice when you played the game?
Vin: Oh, we completely role-played, yea.
Conan: *laughs* you're kidding?!
Vin: (in the voice of a half-orc) "How dare you!?"
Conan: That's amazing! (in a nerdy voice) "Fear not, Gandalf is on the way!"
audience: *laughs*
Conan: That's what I would be, if I was playing with you. You would not let me play with you, probably. You'd be like "that guy's too nerdy, he's gotta go."
audience: *laughs*
Conan: So you played this for like how long?
Vin: For like 24 years.
Conan: For 24 years?! *laughs* I know...
audience: *laughs*
Vin: Now I call it the training ground for imagination.
Conan: Right, well that's very...
Vin: But this was before video games. I started playing in the 70s. And, this was, I mean, I could have played Risk, Monopoly, or D&D.
Conan: Right, which was probably the cooler of those games.
Vin: I think, yea.
Conan: And you created a character for youself, didn't you?
Vin: I created a character... No one knows this, but in Triple-X, one of the tattoos, right above my belly-button, or below my belly button, I don't know why I'm saying this *hoots from audience*, was the name Melkor. And that came from a character that I had, uh..
Conan: That you created in Dungeons and Dragons?
Vin: that I created. That was a Drow witch-hunter. Double-specialized witch-hunter. but this is all
Conan: There are so many nerds watching right now who are just thrilled. Cause you're making them cool, suddenly. All these guys are watching going "Go, Vin Diesel, Go! Go!" All hail, Melkor, you know?
audience: *applause and laughter*
Conan: I think that's neat though. See that you did, see that you'll talk about it.

Notice that while Conan assumes this is all past tense, Diesel talks about playing D&D in the present tense. Very interesting. Sadly, I can't find a direct picture of the tattoo.

After this interview, D&D became a favorite topic in Diesel interviews.

Here he discusses D&D with Jimmy Kimmel:

He says he hasn't "played recently", again he mention's Melkor. He mentions playing as an adult and a player who would get drunk and brandish a gun (which is why I don't allow weapons at the table.) Here's an article also talking about it.

This is Vin Diesel on Shootout:

Very poignant on this one, talks about it lovingly but completely in the past tense. Mentions playing it while being a bouncer. Claims not to know about "now in the age of technology".

Jonathon Ross on the BBC:

Amusing discussion about Ross' wife WoW playing. Light but pleasant

This guy from UGO tries to engage Vin Diesel and check his geek chops. Diesel shoots right back and nails the interviewer on his lack of nerd cred.

Interview one:

Interview two:

Here is the coolest interview though:

Great response.

Vin Diesel is our geek of the week. I'd love to see him in a Drizzt movie. If he's too old to play Drizzt, he'd make a perfect Zaknafarian.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

D&D Candles, Creams, Lip Balms, and Lotions

 Jessica Peffer, known as NeonDragon on Elfwood and her own website, sells D&D monster themed candle, cremes, lip balms, and lotions on her etsy store site. Check it out below.
The Art of Jessica Peffer by NeonDragonArt on Etsy

Here are some examples:
Kiwi - Lamia Laughter - 8 oz Body Lotion.Wyvern Wisdom - Chocolate Fudge - 8 oz Candle TinGolden Rose - Phoenix Pinion - Soy TealightsButtercreme - Chimera's Cry - 8oz Candle TinManticore Musk - Brown Sugar and Fig - 8oz Candle TinGreen Tea and Lemongrass - Dryad Dreams - 8 oz Candle Tin

There are also buttons and glass pendents of this art, if buying a pricey, stinky candle or cream doesn't appeal to you. I wish her success, and think I might pick up the Manticore Musk to try to cover the musk my players make every Sunday evening in my gaming den.

This blogger doesn't get a cent if you buy from NeonDragonArt, btw. Just lifestyle reporting. If you feel the need to give me money, purchase from any of the other links around. I did find some of NeonDragon's books on amazon though:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Community Episode: Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

I must admit to having never watched Community before, despite really liking Chevy Chase. However, I couldn't miss an episode called "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons". The episode is a very impressive piece of writing, in which a plan is hatched to save "Fat Neil" from his depression by playing some old school AD&D.

The game gets crashed by the evil Pierce who quickly turns the game on its head in a manner to make Malhavoc proud. The episode is far better than the similar effort by "Jessie" (see prior post), as it shows how a game really can run. The episode is below.

The episode is witty, funny, and is the best presentation of D&D I've ever seen on screen. This is another must watch for D&D players, simply for the excellent lines if nothing else (see below). It even handles "Sex and D&D" better than Phil Foglio ever did, something I never thought would be possible.

I personally was inspired to create a soundboard for sound effects to hit while playing. The entire game doesn't use a single miniature, and reminded me of how I used to always run games before 3e. It's interesting to note the materials used, and there's a fourth ed book on the table among the other items, anyone know which one it is?

Other content for your amusement:

An interview with writer Andrew Guest on Wizard's website:

Some lines from the show (spoiler alert, watch the show first):

Abed introducing Pierce as a character: You notice a 67 year old naked man lying in the grass shivering. . . in about 13 turns he will die of exposure. (points to Jeff) Jeff.
Jeff: I wait 14 turns.

Troy’s first “Dungeons and Dragons” attack: I attack him using my (looks at sheet) additional notes.

Neil: This sword was one of a kind. It was forged by my ancestors.
Pierce: I hump it.

Pierce: I can't hear you over the sound of me rubbing his sword on my balls.
Abed: You have (rolls) successfully rubbed your balls on the sword.

Pierce: I won Dungeons and Dragons, and it was Advanced!

Abed (regarding Pierce's character): He's face down, barely breathing, a pool of blood around him.
Shirley: I can't tell you how long I've dreamed of this moment! . . .In the game.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fear of Girls

Fear of Girls is a genuine cultural phenomenon. Ryan Wood's first installment of the series was once the #1 Blogged site according to and was slashdotted five years ago on January 26, 2006. Fear of Girls, if you haven't seen it, is definitely part of the D&D geek landscape. The series manages to make us laugh at ourselves and squirm terribly at the social awkwardness some players experience.

In the series DM Doug Douglason (Tom Lommel) and player Raymond Ractburger (Scott Jorgenson) live primarily in their D&D world, making the real world a true challenge for them. Below I've included ALL the deleted scenes from the show, some of which are hysterical. Enjoy!

Warning: Some material my be NSFW. No dirty pictures or anything, you perv.