Tuesday, September 21, 2010

DnD Interlude: My imaginary friend can beat up your imaginary friend!

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled PAX/Transit coverage for a Dungeons & Dragons Update!
Walks softly...
I know it's shocking to you that someone as hip and cool as myself would be a Dungeons&Dragons player but alas it's true. Right now I am in the most exciting phase of DnD for me and probably most players: Character Creation! Rather than tell you how awesome my character is turning out (just kidding, at the end I'll provides stats and details) I want to talk about why this part of the game is so fun and important.

Remember high school? Remember how it sucked and we were all losers that wanted to kick ass and take names but instead you struggle on whether you should ask out Andrea knowing damn well she's going to say no?

Dungeons and Dragons is the anti-high school experience and that's why I love it. It's a great escape from the boring, mundaneness of the real world while still being social and sharing a fun experience. A bunch of friends hanging out and building something with the power of our imagination and desire to overcome is something special and unique. I get the same kind of thrill after a big battle that I did after a baseball victory in high school. In DnD you can build a character that will succeed more often than fail (unless your Matthew and all your characters are textbook examples of min/max fails) and embody elements of yourself you wish you had. I can't jump from chandelier to chandelier whilst expertly wielding a +2 Rapier of Speed but I can look on those experiences as inspiration for my own health concerns.

There's also the thrill of narrative empowerment. How many time have you read a book and thought: "Man, the main character is an idiot. If I was in this story I would throw my little chinese sidekick at the heart yanking shaman and run with the magic rocks." When you're playing you can be that main character making the smart (or often dumb) decision. I tried to explain that to my dad when he asked why I wasted my time with that gaming stuff but realized he doesn't really read that much. Little did he know I'd parlay that wasting time into a thriving career in game design :-) So I put it in the context of movies and he understood the attraction to running the show. How many times has James Bond gone through an elaborate scheme to get the bad guy when all he had to do was blow up the zeppelin with the bad guy's name on it. Once I put it in that context he understood but doesn't go bragging about it to his friends.

What does narrative empowerment have to do with character creation you meandering jerk you might ask? Character creation lets you stack the deck in your favor when it comes to your character's interactions and personality. Want to be a suave and debonair rogue with a silver tongue? Take ranks in Bluff. Want to take control of hostile encounters and be Billy Badass? Take ranks  in Intimidate. Keeping your character motivations and situations you want to shine in in mind whilst creating the new you is vitally important!
Also there's shopping. Shopping for magic items, shopping for steeds, shopping for magic weapons. That $hit is just fun. Stayed tuned for character details and a video clip of me giving myself a wedgie while screaming: NEEEEERRRRRDDDDDDD!!!!!!!*

A good dozen or so of you e-mailed me on FB and direct mail pointing out that I neglected to post the stats for my new character as promised in the introductory paragraph of this blog entry. While I appreciate the enthusiasm for my creative endeavors I have to ask: if you care so much why don't you follow me on my blog! How am I gonna sell advertising to Google, Disney and Adam & Eve unless I have 14 digit followers!**
But I digress. By as popular demand as my blog can muster, here you go:

Name: Brannan Brundle 
2nd Lvl Rogue/7th Lvl Cleric
  • HP:62hp
  • Str:14
  • Dex: 15
  • Con: 15
  • Int:10
  • Wis:10
  • Cha: 9
Brannan Brundle was born the dull witted, ill tempered son of an equally dull witted blacksmith father and an even more ill tempered mother in a frontier town on the eastern shore on the Great Kingdom. Brannan's father began training him in the smithing arts much to his dismay. Being shorter, but also stronger, than most kids Brannan grew up with a chip on his shoulder and had larger dreams than hammering out nails and horseshoes. During the day Brannan picked up the minimum amount of blacksmithing skills to keep his dad happy and mom from yelling at him but by night he took to lurking the alleyways and robbing the odd drunken patron using his brute strength and intimidating demeanor.

After a few years of clandestine thuggery he set his sights a little higher and decided to take out a small stage on his own little knowing that the stage would be meeting a contingent of guardsmen on their way to the next town. After a sound thrashing Brannan was left to die in a bloody heap as is proper for a thug of his stature.

He was discovered by a traveling group of monks from an order loyal to St.Cuthbert. Seeing the error of his ways Brannan devoted his life to the rough, no nonsense justice promoted by St. Cuthbert. For the next few years he traveled the world spreading the good word of St.Cuthbert via proselytizing or through the end of his enchanted warhammer. Fortunately, what he lacks in converting charisma he makes up for in perseverance and a strong hammer arm.

*Look for the guy that played Ogre in Revenge of the Nerds as a viking in those credit card commercials.
** I know 14 digit followers would be double digit billions and not possible with the current population of the Earth. I give China and India about 2 generations before we're there.


  1. I have always wanted to play D&D.. I get the appeal :)
    I have a friend who created a whole room for his D&D nights with his friends- total dedication. A board half the size of a table tennis table and the room is wrapped with shelves holding figures and game pieces. Totally awesome.

  2. "...(just kidding, at the end I'll provides stats and details)..."

    10 ranks in Tease much?

  3. The post has been updated with stats and back story. If you guys comment enough I might even tell you about his magic items. But only if you eat all your vegetables.

  4. I can't believe you went with Brannan Brundle as your character name (though I like that you did alliterate). You really should have gone with Dingus the Dimly Lit. What better name for a Clerical Thug than that?! I'm shaking my head at you...*shake shake* *shake shake*...and giving you the opposite of my Will Face...

  5. I always try and alliterate my character names so they're easier to remember. I learned that from Stan Lee. Dingus the Dim is more of an NPC name. I can feel the opposite of the Will Face from here! Ouch!

  6. Kind of sucky stats, did you roll those or are you using point-buy?

  7. They are sucky stats. I rolled and them and felt a little betrayed by my dice that day.

  8. Do you by any chance have one of those variants that lets you substitute your casting stat? Because clerics are typically wisdom-based, and you need a casting stat of 10+spell level to cast a spell.

  9. Yeah, I adjusted my stats thusly to compensate for the Wis based spell casting:

    # Str:15
    # Dex: 10
    # Con: 15
    # Int:10
    # Wis:14
    # Cha: 9