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A Little Rant About Stupid Armor

armor
An example of not-so-stupid armor.

Stupid armor

Hey, nerds, today we’re going to talk about something stupid. Specifically, stupid armor.

There are a few quick ways to get my jimmies rustled, and putting a character in a skimpy outfit and trying to claim it’s somehow battle armor is one of the big ones. There is a time and a place for drawing something kind of outrageous and enticing, and what is supposed to be full plate is not that. Continue reading A Little Rant About Stupid Armor

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What’s going on at the movies?

[Editor’s note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the mission or views of Nerdarchy.]
WARNING: A rant on movies is forthcoming
So, with all the problems Warner Brothers has with their DC Extended Universe films, they make a better than average movie in “Wonder Woman” and then decide that their problems are cured (even though “Justice League” is a mess, “The Batman” is up in the air, and “The Flash” is like a ghost story – people are afraid of it even though there’s no proof of its existence.)
Now, these morons (I mean that with all the love and care in the respect in the world) want to start pumping three to four of these monstrosities out at us per year.

Continue reading What’s going on at the movies?

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Gaming Elitism Isn’t Dead

gaming tableThis probably isn’t news to you, but no matter how many times we sit down and have the discussion of “this is a game and there isn’t a wrong way to play it,” there are still going to be people who will be glad to tell you exactly how you’re having fun wrong. Most of what I end up seeing personally are hardcore roll players getting upset because people aren’t min-maxed. Continue reading Gaming Elitism Isn’t Dead

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Top 10 Things I Hate As A Gamer

gamer gaming tabletop RPGAlright, it is personal gripe time as I have a a few things that are on my grey matter in light of a few friends of mine complaining to me. Here is my top 10 things I hate as a tabletop RPG gamer. This may be things the players do, or just things I hate to do in general. This is not to say this list (done in no particular order) won’t work for another table, or that they are inherently wrong, but that they get my goat when I see them. I highly encourage constructive advice and learning of your gripes in the comment section below. Let’s jump in, shall we? Continue reading Top 10 Things I Hate As A Gamer

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Dungeons & Discourse: Digital Media

As Nerdarchist Dave has mentioned in the past, the staff writers here at Nerdarchy.com have really started to gel. We’re putting together a module for Geek & Sundry’s International Tabletop Day that I think is fantastic, and we have a lot of great discourse, a majority of which is just for us. We share our perspectives with each other, elicit help, or provide suggestions. Sometimes we just talk about whatever. I think what makes it the best is that, even if we vehemently disagree with each other, or it’s a couple of us railing against the world, there is a genuine respect that allows us to know everyone is actually trying to listen to and understand each other, even if all we did was take a merry-go-round.

If nothing else, some of those conversations have inspired some great articles, but today I want to share a great debate that occurred between Scott Garibay and me about the place of digital media. I always enjoy debating with Scott because of how polar opposite we are in nearly every category. Even though we’ve come to the same place, how we got to D&D, and thus how we approach it, are vastly different. My hope is that you, loyal reader, get a chance to see two well thought-out arguments, with two very reasonable conclusions, and maybe get to pick out the things you agree with from both sides (or even equally agree with both sides of the same argument). Continue reading Dungeons & Discourse: Digital Media

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The Monster Manual Is for Every Player During Every Moment of Every Dungeons & Dragons 5E Game

Last week, the Manual of Siraq was presented right here on Nerdarchy as a new Dungeons & Dragons 5E magic item for players. The Manual of Siraq is a distinctly unusual magic item that has a metagame purpose of allowing every Player Character in a gaming group to have access to the Monster Manual during every moment of every Dungeons & Dragons 5E game. This article is specifically targeted at explaining why the Manual of Siraq is needed.

FIXING D&D 5E FROM WITHIN D&D 5E

Monster Manual
Monster Manual (original version for 1st ed. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons) by Gary Gygax (TSR, Inc., 1977) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was blessed to be discussing Dungeons & Dragons with a few Nerdarchy Dungeon Masters (DMs) and one of them commented that he really wishes he could play more because he is almost always in the DM seat. I agreed that good DMs are few and far between, and then we got into a discussion about why there are so few good DMs. My fellow Nerdarchy DM stated he felt this issue was a lack of mentoring and that by mentoring players to be good DMs, this problem can be fixed. I disagree with his stance at a fundamental level. DM mentoring is already being done to a high degree. There are dozens of blogs, YouTube channels and podcasts aimed specifically at mentoring new DMs. Additionally, many existing good DMs are preparing their players to step into the DM seat.

My fellow Nerdarchy DM went into exactly how a player should be mentored into DMing, and explained that done right this process takes time and dedication. My goal is for there to be tens of thousands of new, good DMs, ideally hundreds of thousands of new, good DMs. That requires a fix to the problem that scales and scales quickly. The problem of why there are not more good DMs is not that there is a lack of mentoring, it is two specific obstacles to players playing and enjoying Dungeons & Dragons 5E:

  • Play Obstacle 1 – Takes far too long to play (typically four hours).
  • Play Obstacle 2 – Rewards system mastery greatly and punishes casual play brutally.

The Manual of Siraq is designed specifically to solve the second Play Obstacle. As it stands now, in a typical Dungeons & Dragons 5E game the DM brings his Player Characters into a dungeon and confronts them with a monster. Each player then thinks about how best to defeat that monster. Here is what typically happens with a group of five Dungeons & Dragons 5E Players.

  • Player 1 (Grognard) – Knows exactly how to defeat the monster because she has the Monster Manual entry memorized, but it does not matter because she is running a Cleric and while the player knows exactly how to approach defeating the monster, the Player Character cannot use that knowledge because the Player Character does not know that knowledge.
  • Player 2 (Dutiful) – Is a great player and has bought all three Core Rulebooks and has the Monster Manual sitting in her bag where she can quickly look up how to defeat the monster, but it does not matter because there is a long standing tradition her DM adheres to (along with the vast majority of DMs) that players cannot read the Monster Manual during a game session.
  • Player 3 (Newbie) – Has no idea how to defeat the monster and does not have a Monster Manual to check how to defeat the monster (but is really curious what the Monster Manual has to say about the monster).
  • Player 4 (Showboater) – Is a dubiously motivated player playing a Ranger who is really looking forward to using her knowledge of the monster to carve the monster apart and lord her expertise over the other players.
  • Player 5 (Hackster) – Is a player who wants her character to swing her sword and kill that monster immediately and could not give two displacer-beast tails about how best to approach defeating the monster (which is the same approach this player uses on every monster).

Here we see the problem: The Monster Manual is available at the table and there are players who need the Monster Manual to know how to fight the monsters the DM has presented, but because of long held DM traditions the information the Monster Manual holds is not available to those players who want it and/or need it.

Monster Manual
Monster Manual (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This tradition comes from the 1980s and in the ’80s this tradition made sense. Then Dungeons & Dragons was limited to a group of players who were generally nerds, generally scholars. We were happy with that, with having a limited population of Dungeons & Dragons players and the game being a niche. Dungeons & Dragons was for nerds and scholars then. Today, we have moved past the Dungeons & Dragons community being a community of nerds and scholars. We want to include as many people as possible in the hobby now, which means we need to move past this tradition of holding that the Monster Manual is not to be accessed during game play. We need to change this tradition so players can use the Monster Manual during every moment of a play session.

In the ’80s, players would spend four hours playing in the game and then go home and read and reread the Monster Manual. A large reason for this was that there was far less to do in the ’80s. There were not hundreds of great movies, hundreds of great video games, a higher focus on family time and building deeper relationships with friends. The world has fundamentally changed and Dungeons & Dragons needs to change in order to be inclusive and to do the simple things that will allow players to use the information that is available to them in the Monster Manual to defeat the monsters they are presented. Players need to be able to defeat monsters not with the knowledge they gained outside of the game (which rewards system mastery) but from the knowledge they gained during the game (which rewards casual play). Unlocking the Monster Manual and allowing it to the be used by players transforms the game into four hours of –

  • Using the Monster Manual the way we use the Player’s Handbook.
  • Using the Monster Manual to increase our knowledge of the monsters we are fighting.
  • Letting the game become a learning session as well as a fun session.

Dungeons & Dragons

This is an absolutely critical change that needs to happen with Dungeons & Dragon 5E. The Monster Manual should be for all players at all time. That is the reason I wrote the Manual of Siraq. The Manual of Siraq solves the in-game problem of Player Characters not having the knowledge of the player. DMs now need to solve the problem of the tradition of keeping the Monster Manual out of the hands of players during game sessions (This change also has the added benefit of making the Monster Manual a useful purchase for players, which will reward Wizards of the Coast for the amazing work they have already done on Dungeons & Dragons 5E.)

CLOSING THOUGHTS

I should note that the Nerdarchy Primarchs (Dave, Ted, Ryan and Nate) have built a platform where you can read Scott Garibay’s thoughts on Tabletop Roleplaying Games each week, but that does not mean that a single one of them agree with my thoughts. This is a Scott Garibay stance, not a Nerdarchy stance. With that said, I call upon every Dungeons & Dragons 5E DM to take that bold step and make the Monster Manual available to Every Player During Every Moment of Every Dungeons & Dragons 5E Game. Thank you and great gaming to you!

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Secrets of Nerdarchy revealed! You won’t believe it!

Nerdarchy
Would you trust being at sea with this shifty lot? The Nerdarchy crew, from left to right, Ted, Dave, Ryan, and Nate, all aboard for the Fan2Sea Comic Con Cruise.

Last week the entire Nerdarchy crew set out to sea for the Fan2Sea Comic Con Cruise. That’s right. Ted, Dave, Ryan, Nate, their family and friends, the whole shebang, they’ve up and left everything behind to go play at pirate. With Frank Miller.

Continue reading Secrets of Nerdarchy revealed! You won’t believe it!

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In Role Play, Description isn’t Always a Good Thing

Dungeons & Dragons
These are dice. They decide things in RPG combat, but they don’t describe the combat. Maybe we could learn from this.

The most dreaded words I can hear from a game master are, “Describe your attack.”

I’m not talking about describing complex character actions. That I understand. If the game master needs explanation on how one of my characters is trying to perform a certain act, especially an unusual one, that makes perfect sense.

No, I’m talking about the rather mundane, usually involving combat.

My character steps into a fight, swings his or her weapon. I roll dice. The weapon hits. I go to roll damage and … Continue reading In Role Play, Description isn’t Always a Good Thing

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Gamers, Feelings of Entitlement, and the need for a Realistic Perspective on Star Wars Battlefront

This would be more elegant if not for my annoyance with the gamers and their feelings of entitlement, There is a need for a realistic perspective on Star Wars Battlefront and the Star Wars franchise in general. This is only the beginning. I will probably go back and edit this later as well as add an additional section.

angry face Gamers, Feelings of Entitlement, and the need for a Realistic Perspective on Star Wars BattlefrontI know we call them articles on nerdarchy.com but I wish this to be viewed as a ranting blogger post. Not some attempt at award winning prose.

Think stream of consciousness. My consciousness. So If it doesn’t make sense, don’t worry it is probably my fault.

This is my article response to all of the complaints I see on Amazon and elsewhere on the subject of Star Wars Battlefront

I will try as best I can to stay on target. I make no promises.

Gamers, Feelings of Entitlement, and the need for a Realistic Perspective on Star Wars Battlefront

Gamers and their feelings of entitlement. Let’s break it down. Basically a feeling of entitlement is an emotional attachment to gaining what a person expects to be given because they feel that they deserve it. Don’t we all want to get what we deserve? Well the problem is that people begin to expect certain levels of satisfaction from a good, service, or event and these expectations and feelings of entitlement create a backlash when the person feels they were not satisfied.They become outraged and lose their normally realistic perspective

Does anyone remember the level of awe they felt when they watched Star Wars 4,5, or 6 for the first time?

On a scale of one to ten, how was it?

I say the original trilogy is an 9 for me (I think that was also my age when I saw them all). Do I give it a nine for all of it’s original story lines? Hmm, let’s check the originality.

  • A princess falling for the bad boy (a very old trope, practically medieval)
    • He had to work at it probably more than he usually does but he made it happen
  • a guy who wants to do good but finds out his dad is bad(a several hundred year old trope)
    • Rather than a Strong female character as his sidekick we have an old knight with a magic sword to show how strong the whining guy becomes
  • A mentally quirky “person” is the comedy relief (Shakespeare and much older)
    • Oh and he talks to someone we can’t understand-double points.

Like many science fiction and fantasy stories these are just people with the same problems we humans have today just re-skinned in scifi

I could go on but it to sum it all up it isn’t an original story. I love it but that isn’t why I love it. So why do we like the original trilogy so much while many of us dislike the prequel trilogy. Well unless you had the good fortune of seeing them all when you were 8 years old, like my son, I have some bad news. You will most likely never like the prequels better than the original trilogy.

Why?

The simple answer is that you are a more complex person than you were last year, and the year before that, and so on. Compound that with having probably seen the original three movies when you were a child or teenager and the difference in personality and taste are a hyperdrive jump away from who you are now.

If you are the type of person that won’t be satisfied until they make something exactly how you want it then start an online group and see how much consensus you can get for how the movie or game should be.

vr Gamers, Feelings of Entitlement, and the need for a Realistic Perspective on Star Wars BattlefrontOr you can pioneer the choose your adventure VR movie superplex (patent pending) where everyone can see the exact thing they were expecting.

Because that is the only way to make a product now a days that won’t have the armchair game designer / movie maker nation jump all over it. That is until you hear from the group that wants to be surprised instead.

While 60-70 dollars sounds like a lot on it’s own. Compared to going to the movies a few times it is a deal. I have already gotten more enjoyment out of Star Wars Battlefront than going to see the marvel and avengers movies (which all together cost me more than the game).

Gamers, Feelings of Entitlement, and Star Wars Battlefront

And another note about the price-

Server space doesn’t sprout like mushrooms from the forest floor.

Servers that can run the amount of data at a quality speed cost many hundreds of franklins, not fungi.

Since they designed the game to be played online it is clear to me that they needed to charge by the month (something gamers hate) or charge more upfront and for expansions (something gamers hate). Charging people based on their usage (expansions) makes more sense. The people who will be playing this in 2 years are, most likely, going to be the people who buy expansions.

Perhaps the entitlement gamers on amazon can quest to seek the aid of the benevolent underground race of technologically advanced hamsters who will build and maintain a mighty, hamster powered, server for us while taking on all of the costs to do so. If you are an outraged gamer, and want to go looking for them, let me know if you find them.

Will everything that is created today be better than everything that came before it?

I really don’t need to answer this question.

And my final question to pose to all of the angst ridden 1 star reviewers-

What magical level of ecstasy did you people who were disappointed in Star Wars Battlefront expect when pressing start?

Next week I will address the actual gameplay, here is a taste of one of the many maps available

please keep in mind I have motion blur on so if it bothers you come check out the rest of the videos here in the coming weeks.

Gamers, Feelings of Entitlement, and Star Wars Battlefront