Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Just wanted to post a Happy Thanksgiving to our American neighbours.

As a kid, my older brother hooked me on the Dallas Cowboys. So with the 'Boys always playing on the US Thanksgiving, I adopted the holiday long ago. Going to school and working for a time in the US helped things along too.

The Canadian Thanksgiving is in early October (because our harvest is earlier) but I always try to do something to mark the American Thanksgiving.

I'm taking it easy today and looking forward to the game this afternoon.

I have a bunch of Cowboys on my fantasy football team, so hopefully they have a good outing. The Lions/Packers game should be pretty sweet too.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Love/Hate: AD&D Dragons

Dragons occupy a strange space in D&D. The game is Dungeons and Dragons, after all, but you really don't see them until of sufficient level - and if your group is anything like mine you won't be facing one in the foreseeable future (we just had a TPK in Session 25 of the Northern Reaches - but I digress).

I always loved the dragons from the original Monster Manual. I suppose my fondness for them - particularly the evil dragons - came from the consistency of their representation. An AD&Der knew a black dragon from a white dragon. I liked the straightforwardness. AD&D modules carried forward the aesthetic of the blue, black, green, and white dragons. This was particularly true of the Dragonlance modules. Yes, I know they get grief, and rightly so in some instances, but I adored the depiction of dragons in the early DL adventures. Spot on.

The proliferation of dragons in subsequent editions really bugs me though. I play D&D because im interested in playing archetypes and battling archetypal monsters. Now, to be fair, the proliferation of exotic dragons began in AD&D. Did we really need a Cloud Dragon (MMII)? Or how about the "Oriental Dragons" from the Fiend Folio? Carp Dragon anyone?

The aesthetic of the evil dragons mentioned above remained somewhat consistent in 2E although the inclusion of "Gem Dragons" (Amethyst, Crystal, Emerald, Sapphire, Topaz) gives me a big rubbery one. And who could forget the legendary Brown Dragon? Deep Dragon? Mercury Dragon? Mist Dragon? Steel Dragon? Yellow Dragon? Someone should have made the madness stop. The one redeeming feature of dragons in this edition was the inclusion of age categories - it was nice to biggy-size your 8HD black dragon if so desired.

Do you have any particular thoughts on dragons in the game? How many have you actually faced/set against your players over the years?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Moldy Vale Keepin' It Real

The Moldy Vale is keeping it real on the WotC Legends and Lore column.

Check it out.

Friday, November 4, 2011

D&D Art: Examples of Dramatic Irony

I'm looking at examples of dramatic irony in the art of TSR D&D - and you don't need to go very far to find some :)

By dramatic irony I'm referring to examples where the viewer possesses more knowledge than the character(s) depicted in the scene.

This is perhaps the best I can think of 1) because it's Trampier, 2) because the guy off-camera to the right points at the spider and thus "freezes" the exact moment prior to the fighter getting his ass handed to him, thereby heightening the suspense. Given the legion of examples across TSR and Old School D&D these could also classify as comedic irony within the subculture.

I think this is the most iconic example, although there are examples in the AD&D PH, DMG, and MM.

Do you have any favourites?