Tag: Magic

Point of Order: The Last of 2020

Point of Order: The Last of 2020

So, there was one final order in 2020, as Miniature Market did an end of year sale on their sale items. Now, I will say, I didn’t only pick up sale items, but I did pick up two games that I’ve been looking at for 

The Collection A to Z – So Many S’s

The Collection A to Z – So Many S’s

This is going to be a long post, you have been warned. I had a lot of L’s but that’s nothing compared to what I have in the S’s. Not to mention that I just got in Sentinels of the Multiverse expansions and Sentinel Tactics 

The Collection A to Z – Many Games with M

The Collection A to Z – Many Games with M

We’re continuing our push through my collection, we’ve now made it to the letter M. Definitely a letter that has a fair number of games, though, it looks like so many more because I have a ton of Marvel Champions expansions listed as well.

The Collection

Numbers

A’s – B’s – C’s – D’s – E and F’s – G and H’s – I, J and K’sL’s

M’s

Mage Knight Board Game

This is one of the most popular solo board games out there, which is why I picked it up when I could used. This is not the ultimate edition that has all the expansions, just the base game. From what I know of it, it’s a quite heavy game made even heavier by a fairly poorly written rule book and a tutorial that kind of tries to teach you the game but doesn’t do a great job at it, but it was a lot of things that I like, Deck building being one of them and it is said to have an RPG like feel as well. It’s one that I need to spend some time learning and get to the table.

Status: To Be Played

Magic: The Gathering

This was one of the games that kind of got me into modern board gaming again, or helped me diversify my gaming because the group that I joined in with. Magic is a good deck construction game that I don’t get to play all that often anymore. In fact, I sold off the majority of my cards, but I still had to keep a few decks around because I know that eventually I’ll play it again, especially Commander. I think I kept three or four commander decks around because that style of playing can be expensive, but you only need one of each card in the deck. And it allows you to deck build in more interesting ways.

Status: Played

Image Source: Fantasy Flight

Mansions of Madness: Second Edition

I like my Arkham games from Fantasy Flight, but Mansions of Madness: Second Edition is my favorite. The game play is really enjoyable as you are playing through an app guided scenario. Since it’s app guided, it means that the game will be different each time that you play it, or could be, which is a lot of fun as well. And the scenarios are really different, some have just trying to stop a summoning in a mansion while others have you running around trying to escape a town that’s been already taken over, and there’s a scenario with time travel as well. Fantasy Flight has done a lot of things with the game which gives it a lot of replayability.

Status: Played

Mariposas

Last years big hit of a game was Wingspan from Elizabeth Hargrave, and she followed it up this year with Mariposas. Mariposas is a game about butterflies and their migratory patterns, which doesn’t sound that interesting, but the game play itself looks very interesting. You push as far north as you can all while sill needing, in the last season, to get all the way down to warm weather again to score more points. So it’s a push and pull of which objectives you want to get and which ones might be worth passing on because of how you’re set-up. It seems like clever game play and is an interesting theme, though not the only butterfly themed game that I have.

Status: To Be Played

Marrying Mr. Darcy

Sometimes you just want to play a light filler game about finding your ideal suitor in Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice. And sometimes you mix in the undead expansion if you want to play Pride, Prejudice and Zombies. This game is one that my wife actually picked up on Kickstarter, and it’s been a hit at the table. The game, I will say overstays it’s welcome a little bit considering how simple it is, but it does always provide good laughs as you try and set-up your best match and hope not to end up an old maid. The humor in the game is solid as well, it is just a bit too long for what it is.

Status: Played

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Marvel Battleworld

Marvel Battleworld is kind a game. In a lot of ways it is more collectible than anything else, but not really being collectible. You are rolling dice to defeat enough locations before Thanos gets them. But the game is mainly about these Thanos Stones, something made up for the game, which are basically just a blind bid pack. You crack them open when you beat a Thanos Stone location and you have a new hero that you can play with. The heroes do look great, and the game play is meant for kids, so it’s not a knock on it, it’s about getting you to buy more packs for the kids in hopes that they get their favorite character, like frog Thor or cat Captain America. And there are rarer packs to sucker in the adults. But it’s a fun five minute little game thing, which is what it looks like.

Status: Played

Marvel Champions

Continuing the run on Marvel games we have the game that if I split it up into expansions as well, it could have been it’s own post. Marvel Champions is a deck construction card game where you are taking a hero up against a villain in a scenario, or multiple heroes in multiplayer. This is another Fantasy Flight game and is a living card game, which means that they are releasing new things for it all the time. I have 11 expansions for it, but you don’t need them all, or really any, there is a lot to play with in the base box, and after that you can just pick and choose your favorite heroes to get. What I really like about this game is that you go back and forth between your hero and alter-ego side, so Spider-Man and Peter Parker, for example. If you are in the Peter Parker form, the bad guy won’t attack because they don’t know who you are, instead they’ll scheme a way. But on the flip side, they attack and scheme less, so you need to balance it out so that you can beat them.

Status: Played

Marvel United

The final Marvel game on my list, this one is a simple cooperative game (all the Marvel games are cooperative). But Marvel United has amazing Chibi figures. This game has a ton more expansions coming with it sometimes in 2021, but just the base game is enough to get started with. This is a very straight forward game of dealing with a bad guy who is scheming away. But it has a really cool twist. On your turn you play down a card and use it’s actions and the ones from the card played before you. So it is that super hero team-up feel that people think of from the Avengers films.

Status: To Be Played

Image Source: CMON

The Mind

The Mind was everywhere last year. It was a simple game that showed up and was very polarizing. Some people consider it less a game and more of an activity while other people say it’s a great game. For me, it’s an okay little bit of filler. In the game you play down cards in ascending order, not that tricky. But you can’t speak, so you have to be in everyone else’s head trying to guess what they have and wait it out before you play. I’ve only played The Mind a little bit, and I don’t need to play it that often. It’s an okay sitting around and drinking game, but overall just an okay time and it will fall flat at times.

Status: Played

Munchkin: Zombies

If you asked a lot of people what some of their first games to get into board gaming were, I’d expect a lot of people to say some version of Munchkin. I played base Munchkin first, but the version I got was Zombies. In Munchkin, you are kicking down doors and fighting monsters while everyone one else is trying mess you up. The game is very much a take that game and for that reason isn’t going to be for everyone and really isn’t even for me anymore. I keep it on the shelf because it is a good introductory weight game, and nostalgia at this point.

Status: Played

Alright, that’s all of the games that I own which start with M. There are a number of them, though not as many as starting with L. What is your favorite game that starts with the Letter M? What game should I add to my collection starting with M?

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My Top 100 Board Games 2020 Edition – 80 through 71

My Top 100 Board Games 2020 Edition – 80 through 71

We’re back with the next ten, a bullet point of what I said in the first part (which you can find 100 through 91). If you aren’t caught up, you can find yesterdays 90 through 81 to see as well. But we’re back for the next 

Top 10 – Netflix Original Shows

Top 10 – Netflix Original Shows

I haven’t done my Top 10 TV shows yet so there will be some overlap, but I wanted to focus just in on Netflix because there are so many Netflix original shows out there now that are good that I think it’s worth talking about 

Making Magic Items More Interesting

Making Magic Items More Interesting

In D&D, and other RPG’s, fairly often a special item is just something like a +1 sword, yay, you can hit better and do more damage, but not all that exciting. Every adventurer worth their salt has a +1 sword. The same for a ring of walking on water, okay, that one is cooler. But a lot of the times what players want, because of their practicality is the +1 weapon and the +1 armor. Those a great and fine for mechanically in the game, but not that interesting, and a +1 sword gets tossed aside when the +2 sword comes along.

So what can you do to make magic items still be useful but more interesting? There are several different ways you can do that, and it ties some into my Friday Night D&D that was also posted today, but you can name the weapon, make it sentient, make it cursed, give it unique properties, or let it evolve.

Named

The point of naming a weapon is that a +1 long sword isn’t that exciting, but Gregor Falhelm’s Long Sword or The Shadow Blade, those are interesting. Who is Gregor Falhelm and why is this sword known as that? That’s something the players can checkout. The Shadow Blade clearly has a lot of history with it as well. Now, they’ll still probably toss it aside when a +2 sword comes along, but in the mean time, you can have a quest for them to track down the history of the sword. Maybe Gregor Falhelm was a famed adventurer who was known for something and now the player will try and live up to it. Or The Shadow Blade is a weapon from a famed assassin that had belonged to a thieve’s guild years ago but had gone missing, and now that you have it and people have seen it, the thieve’s guild wants it back. The names can generate more story for you to play with and make it more memorable than just a +1 long sword.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Sentient

Another thing you can do is give the weapon a personality. Allow it to communicate telepathically with it’s wielder. Maybe Gregor Falhelm died defending an orphanage and because of that his soul was attached to the blade and he can tell them about years ago or give advice when needed. Or The Shadow Blade because of all of the assassinations it has helped with and all the blood on it, maybe it has a dark personality that urges that player to kill. Again, only a +1 sword, no extra abilities, but now you have something more for the player to interact with. How do they deal with a sword that is constantly urging them to kill? Gregor Falhelm is interesting to listen to, but very long winded, what does the player think of that. Give it a unique personality so that the players get a memorable experience with that weapon and it’ll be more than just a +1 long sword to them.

Cursed

Cursing a weapon is always a fun surprise to pull to make it memorable as well. With a curse, make it something that is annoying but not game breaking. Maybe The Shadow Blade thirsts for blood and will cut the wearer if they don’t get blood on it otherwise. Maybe if they get too far away from it the cursed soul of Gregor Falhelm, because he couldn’t save the orphans and now it’s just a constant weeping that only the player can hear from the sadness and they have disadvantage to hit because Falhelm doesn’t want to kill anymore. There are a lot of negative things you could add to a magic item to make it more interesting. A wand of fireballs, but you don’t know where they’ll go. A ring of water walking that walks your feet along the surface of the water, but from the bottom side. Be creative with the negative affects because again, we’re trying to make things more memorable.

Unique Properties

Unique properties is one that is fairly tame, kind of like naming the weapon. Just give it something small or as big that it can do as well. +1 sword, well there’s a magical word to make it glow. Now you don’t need more torches, but the sword is more interesting. Or the word for the glowing sword is common so it’s possible that it could be triggered at the wrong time by anyone saying the wrong thing. One idea I had was a sword of reincarnation. If you died by that sword, within 7 days your soul would find a new body to go into, so you really aren’t dead, but you’re probably pissed that someone tried to kill you. That makes for a great story. It could just be that the +1 sword of Gregor Falhelm glows blue whenever an orphan is near. Or The Shadow Blade adds a mark for each person it’s killed on the blade and if it ever gets full something will happen.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Evolving

Finally, make it evolve. Take what you’ve learned from above and make it get better along with the player. Now The Shadow Blade, which was just a +1 sword will start to grant a bonus for stealth the more the person kills with it, or when the player character hits level twelve, not only do they get a +2 to attack and damage now it gives a +2 to stealth and deception. Gregor Falhelm’s sword glows in the presence of orphans but the player can unlock what is basically the ability the detect evil with the sword once per long rest or once per short rest. The example I gave in the Friday Night D&D was to make Mjolnir. Don’t start off with this amazing hammer that the person can use to fly with and call lighting with, but start out with just a simple +1 hammer, eventually it does an extra 1d4 of lightning damage. Then the player can once per long rest do 3d10 lightning damage on an attack. Eventually at a higher level, at the start of combat the player can cast call lightning and either use it as a one off level 9 call lightning or it can deal and extra 3d10 on every successful attack. Mjolnir, then, which might have started out as at level one as just a regular war hammer could be for the final epic battle a hammer that grants the user flight (though technically it’s just throwing it and forgetting to let go), throwing it and it returning, +3 to hit, +3 to damage, call lightning at level 9 for a one time affect or call lightning at level 3 for an additional 3d10 lightning damage on every attack. You have the weapon evolve with the player and they don’t forget their their awesome weapon.

So there are a lot of interesting things you can do to make it more than just a +1 long sword or a +1 shield, or even a ring of water walking. You can create something unique and create unique situations for them to use it in. It’s silly for Gregor Falhelm’s sword to glow around orphans, but useful if an orphan is lost in a labyrinth and it glows brighter the closer to the orphan you are. So if you create something odd like that, use it in the story. That’s the other and really the biggest thing, none of these things will make the magical item stand out unless you use it in the story. The item being part of the story and important to the world is going to make it more memorable than anything else, so maybe The Shadow Blade is just a regular long sword with a +1, but if the thieve’s guild is coming after the players, it’s interesting.

What are some memorable magical items or moments with magical items in D&D or other RPG’s that you’ve had in a game? Do you use magic items a lot?

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Revisit, Rewatch, Review – Onward

Revisit, Rewatch, Review – Onward

So, one of the interesting things from the Covid-19 pandemic is that we’re seeing some movies that wouldn’t have hit streaming nearly as quickly get a streaming release, and one of these films, Onward, was one that I had been planning on seeing, not in 

Friday Night D&D: The Crystalline Halls

Friday Night D&D: The Crystalline Halls

Pretty often when playing in a game of D&D or another RPG, there’s a world or universe ending event that has to be dealt with, and this can be fun because it really ups the stakes for the end of the game. You get to 

Friday Night D&D: The Keys of Ashiri

Friday Night D&D: The Keys of Ashiri

Like normal, I’m stealing from popular culture for my idea for a game, this time from the Netflix show and comic books, Locke & Key, as well as maybe some from the show The Order.

In Locke & Key, it’s a story about a family who return to their father’s family house and the kids start finding magical keys throughout the house. Right there you have a basis for a game of D&D, so let’s see how I’m going to suggest turning it into one.

To start off with, you are likely not going to have kids nor, in a heavily fantasy setting, do I think that you’ll want to have a particular house or single location where all these keys are stored. Instead, you have Ashiri, a famous wizard from thousands of years ago, who legend has it, created many magical items and drove the fields of magic forward. No one knows what she created, but there are a lot of people who would love to get a hand on her work. Unfortunately there are a lot of con artists out there as well who claim to sell her items.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

The game would start around discovering some sort of clue to the location of one of these items. Or the location, maybe, of one of the places that she worked, something where a lower level party is going to be able to do a dungeon crawl through it. Come up with a reason, such as the manuscript with it on having just been found as to why people haven’t gone there to loot it before. And don’t just give the players the information make them buy it, somehow, they can decide if they want to owe a favor later, agree to give away 75% of what they find, or something like that.

Give them a dungeon crawl but when they make it to the place, they find a locked door, not magically locked, from the outside, but something that a rogue would be able to pick, a wizard magic open, or a barbarian bash open. Let them get inside, and then that’s when you start having fun, you close the door behind them, even if the fighter or barbarian bashed through it, the door reconstructs and it’s magical, so immune to all damage, can’t be picked, and while the wizard can cast magic on it, if they have identify, they’ll know that it needs a particular magical item to open it, but what that item is, who knows.

Then give them a dungeon crawl, and hide a couple of keys in there. Don’t make them easy to find, but with two keys in there, and again, if they have identify, they’ll know they are magical and match up with the door. But only one of them should allow them out. The other one should do something else. I like the idea of the mirror prison from Locke & Key, where a player character might end up getting trapped. And maybe even have them find a third key that they think will work on the door but is more like the head key from Locke & Key where it goes into the back of someone’s neck.

I wouldn’t really put a ton of monsters in this dungeons, maybe some skeletons or something undead that Ashiri could have used as guards, but this place is meant to have been sealed up for a long time. Instead give them challenges and puzzles. Maybe there is a trap in a hallway that they can see because there’s a dead skeletal person in armor who has been cut in two. Well, they know there’s a trap there, and with a perception check they can see where blades or something that had cut them in two and also spot some pressure plates or something on the far end of the room that stops it. So give them things to do that focus on the characters abilities.

Once they get through this and have dealt with all the traps and they’ve headed back, I don’t know that you need to double cross them, but maybe have it that the person who got them to do this was blackmailed by someone else to send someone into get this, because the last person they sent in had failed, can even be the dead guy cut in half, so you could start tipping off the players. Or if the players get greedy, have someone come after them and start chasing them down. But while doing this, start hinting that the keys work anywhere, and have given them a clue to more of Ashiri’s locations.

Image Source: Wizards

Eventually, I think the campaign ends with them finding a near immortal version of Ashiri who has been twists and corrupted by some sort of magic. There can be some lesser bosses along the way, those who just want the keys for their own nefarious purposes. But make Ashiri someone who isn’t hiding away in one of her former places but is living publicly somehow. That’d make the players questions some of the things, or maybe Ashiri has been cursed to never enter her former places because she was going to bring on the end of the world. But go with an epic climax like that where whom the players thought someone was, it wasn’t the case.

I think that there’d be good buy-in pretty often from groups of players for this, and there’s a lot of room to play with it as the DM. You can create keys that do anything, which is the great part, and you can borrow from Locke & Key. The Head Key, from Locke & Key would work great if someone has gone insane and they have to go and rescue themselves from their own head or something like that or go into someone else’s head to try and pry out some information that they don’t remember. The Echo key to bring back a twisted echo of someone, especially if it’s a fallen player character would be amazing twist on things.

So would you play in a game like this or run one? What sort of character would you want to play?

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TelevisionTalks: The Order

TelevisionTalks: The Order

While working form home I’ve had the chance to binge and watch a number of TV shows. One of them was Locke and Key that I wrote about already, but another one, in somewhat of a similar vein was The Order, another Netflix original show