Good Omens on the BBC

This thing is completely amazing.

D&D Podcasts D&D FOR THE HOLIDAYS By Bart Carroll, Shelly Mazzanoble, Trevor Kidd - 15/12/2014

This is likely the best episode yet--actually helpful design tips, laugh out loud moments, and just a great playful episode.

Most importantly we get an update on Shelly's Mom playing Card's Against Humanity--this game needs to be live streamed next time!

The only complaint I have here is that the theme song intro seems to have changed--not sure why, the closing music is the same--new music is fine, but I did prefer the old music.

We start off with a great interview with Geeky Hostess--she has some general design tips, some great decorating ideas, and a gift giving element including these:

and then a Craft Section which is an amazing Surprise Ball D&D Invitation

After this amazing section, we get THE DUNGEON BASTARD in all of his glory reviewing the new Dungeon Masters Guide--it is completely fantastic! 

His initiative system is already Cannon at my table!

This is a great podcast episode!


Gamer to Gamer – Jeremy Crawford

James Introcaso continues his amazing work on the Tome Show with this fantastic interview with Jeremy Crawford as part of his Gamer to Gamer series, but unlike the others in that series this is more of a review of the DMG. 

It is very well produced, amazingly easy to listen to, and very informative. My favorite part is when James asks Jeremy for advice on how to take down Tiamat in Mike Shea's game. 

Gygax Memorial Update

Brian is home for the holidays & found the following article

which includes a picture of the proposed memorial


Infusion Day

Jack & I went to CHOC for his penultimate infusion, but he had the flu so we had to reschedule.


Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies

The Battle of Five Armies was a battle waged between the Goblins and the Wargs against Men of Dale, Elves, Dwarves, Eagles and a Shape-shifter on and near the Lonely Mountain.

I love the above quote taken from the OneRing wiki because it identifies so much of the confusion around the current film.

While in line to see the film in IMAX 3D Opening night, I asked most of the people in line with me--these are knowledgable nerds--kids that grew up on video games, Harry Potter Film Premiers, and play D&D. These are people in line to see Hobbit Opening Night in IMAX 3D. These are kids that have won prizes playing OneRing trivia & have placed in cosplay contests.

"Who are the five armies?"

Do you know how many people got this right?


And you did not either. Don't kid yourself...Nobody seeing the films says Goblins.

You said Orcs. Because, well there is an Army of Orcs. In fact, in the film there are two. Real live armies, with different ranks, roles, and skills--clearly and visually portrayed multiple times. More importantly the Goblins involved in the final battle seem to number about 100 and are killed rather quickly by two dwarfs & maybe a hobbit hurling rocks. Hardly an Army of Goblins.

In the films, the Wargs are just orcs--they have about as many lines as your standard unnamed orc. There are likely fewer Wargs then there are Spiders--and they likely mean less. There is clearly not an Army of Wargs. No one says Wargs. 

The Men of Dale are an army of sorts, more like a defensive militia, but they do fight skirmishes with leaders--they exhibit command and control behavior. The have rank and role. Most people name Men as an Army.

The Army of Dwarfs (I know, I know--OneRing is wrong) in the film is really two armies--and one is more of a band. But overall, must people guess this and are correct.

The Army of Elves is the most obvious army & everyone says this and they are Right. The Elfish (again, I know, I know--everyone is wrong) Army along with the Orcs is clearly the most organized and traditionally military.

Some people say Eagles. Generally this is just a guess to get to five. There are very few Eagles even though the once again save the day. Even in the book, I am no sure you can count the Eagles as an army--Tolkien's War Trauma clearly impacted this inclusion.

The Shape Shifter's are not an Army. No one guesses this. Ever. Even in the film, the Army of One is more like a military tool than a unique military organization--roughly on par with the wall smashing Mountain Troll. 

So who are the five Armies? I think that the answer is that no one really knows, but the film argues for a very different set then what is traditionally counted. 


Abazan For Life

Tuesday Before Winter Break

Another great Tuesday morning of Magic! 

Team Schwarm was exhausted after a long night at Disneyland--but were stoked that Preston, Andrew, Matt, & Derek came to enjoy donuts & sling some spells.

Jack was playing very well--he is started to bore of magic & we may need to hit a tournament some time soon. 

Preston is playing very well--he has a ton of great cards!

My first game was a rematch against Andrew

We went three games & I won at the end.

My next match was a two headed giant match against Derek

And Matt

We started strong with a 12!

But we did not get to finish the match--Noobs [Andrew and I] were down on life, but he was about to start dropping giant green monsters!


Freeman Dyson, physicist (b. 1923)

I believe that life can go on forever. It takes a million years to evolve a new species, ten million for a new genus, one hundred million for a class, a billion for a phylum -- and that's usually as far as your imagination goes. In a billion years, it seems, intelligent life might be as different from humans as humans are from insects. But what would happen in another ten billion years? It's utterly impossible to conceive of ourselves changing as drastically as that, over and over again. All you can say is, on that kind of time scale the material form that life would take is completely open. To change from a human being to a cloud may seem a big order, but it's the kind of change you'd expect over billions of years.

Mitosis by Brandon Sanderson

Mitosis (Reckoners, #1.5)Mitosis by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fantastic short read designed to get you to read Steelheart and it works--the writing is very crisp and imaginative. The writing is suburb. Definitely worth reading.

View all my reviews


Christmas Tuesday

Lisa had the house decorated & lots of treats for when Tuesday rolled in today.

I started off against Liam--good game, but Abzan triumphed 2-0 without much of a challenge.

Jack and Cody were playing a lot--there was chase, Pokemon, and other crazy fun games.

After playing Preston I lost 1-0 to Matt.

We had an interesting exchange...I tapped out to cast Siege Rhino

on his turn, he roped my Rhino with Banishing Light

and on my turn I cast Utter End to remove the Banishing Light.

The question is does the Siege Rhino come back with Summing Sickness or can I attack with him?

We ruled that I could attack, but Jack voted that I still had Summing Sickness.