And Now, A Brief Intermission

•8 May 2011 • 1 Comment

Yes, Gamer Bling has not been posting. More on that later.

In the meantime, this made Gamer Bling laugh:

Roll a D6 from Connor Anderson on Vimeo.

Gen Con Blog 3: Gamer Bling Has Impact

•19 August 2010 • Leave a Comment

Sometimes Gamer Bling wonders if anyone pays attention to him. He makes these posts and reviews, and many go without comment (which is probably a good thing). But, at Gen Con, he received some much-needed affirmation.

He was visiting with the fine and cultured people at the Geek Chic booth, at which they were displaying many fine woodworked items and generally giving Gamer Bling a very hard time controlling his lust, envy, and greed, and thus Virtue was running a close 4-3 score against the Seven Deadly Sins. And Gamer Bling also felt very underdressed in his shorts and t-shirt. But the only way Gamer Bling would have culture is if he were holding a pile of yogurt in his hand, which is not only a bad pun but very messy.

Now, the fine folks at Geek Chic understand the value of marketing, for which Gamer Bling is eternally grateful. But a small part of him always wonders if getting a Gamer Bling review works (for the manufacturer, that is). Now, prior to Gen Con, Gamer Bling did, in fact, have direct evidence that his review has sold two other Penultimate Dice Towers of Doooom! But at Gen Con, it got even better.

It seems that Geek Chic was at HistoriCon a while back. And a shizzlin’ tubular hep cat went to HistoriCon for the sole purpose of buying a Geek Chic gaming table (not The Sultan, but another model).

And, bless his wealthy and well-informed heart, this person told the fine folks at Geek Chic, “If anyone deserves credit for this sale, it’s Gamer Bling.”

So thank you, mysterious stranger. Gamer Bling owes you a microbrew (by which he means a very small cup of coffee). And the rest of you, please tell the people that you read about [insert bling here] on this site. Gamer Bling will thank you mightily for it.

Ha! $3000 in manufacturer sales just like that! Who says Gamer Bling has no influence?

Besides Gamer Bling’s subconscious, that is…

Gen Con Blog 2: Mythic Party

•18 August 2010 • 1 Comment

The ultimate reason that Gamer Bling went to Gen Con—which is to say, the straw that cruelly broke the camel’s back—was to support Mythic Party.

Mythic Party was a swagalicious dungeon crawl hosted by Steve Gerke of AvatarArt fame and mastered by Keith Baker of Keith Baker fame. Seats at the table were auctioned off for the Gygax Memorial Fund of charity fame. Prizes were donated by various manufacturers and supporters. And, at the end of the game, the players got to walk home with the lewt.

Now, AvatarArt had collected much great swaggy prizes. And Gamer Bling exerted his influence acquiring other prizes. But, ultimately, a mythic pile of swag at Mythic Party just wouldn’t seem very mythic without an Ultimate DM Screen of Dooooom!

Since Gamer Bling had disposed of the custom Styrofoam padding and box in which his Ultimate DM Screen of Dooooom! had been shipped, he had no real choice but to hand-deliver it.

This was a tough call for Gamer Bling, since he knew the Ultimate DM Screen of Dooooom! could be eBayed for many bucks, even in these tough economic times which have far less to do with Obama and Bush and far more to do with government regulators requiring banks to make sub-prime loans to people with crappy credit ratings (and now punishing those same banks for their unbridled greed in making government-required subprime loans to people with crappy credit ratings). Hello, their credit ratings are crappy for a reason!

But Gamer Bling decided it—donating the swag, not making bad loans—was The Right Things To Do™, so he tearfully agreed to donate said prize and proceeded to process his way through the four stages of grief. Well trained psychotherapists like The Gamer Bling Official Companion will tell you that these stages are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. But real guys know they’re Denial, Blaming Others, Self-Reproach, Heavy Drinking, and More Denial.

At Gen Con, Gamer Bling met Sean Pecor, fellow North Carolinian and owner of many portal sites, who proclaimed that he was bound and determined to keep the high-bid seat so he could win The Ultimate DM Screen of Dooooom! And there was much biddage, and much money was raised for charity. Nigh unto $3000. Which sets us a goal for next year.

So, after the Mythic Party and the L5R party and other such partyage, Gamer Bling found himself playing a game of Innovation with Rob “I program great stuff” Bowes and other Lone Wolf groupies. It was about 2:30 a.m., and, without cause or provocation, Gamer Bling flipped open his cell phone to see if anyone had called. And lo! There was a text message from Sean Pecor. Which was strange, because the text had been left like five minutes before, and Gamer Bling was in a quiet area, and the phone had never made a noise. Go figure.

The upshot of all this was that Sean Pecor had indeed kept the top seat, and, when time came to divvy up the loot, he realized that the only thing he wanted was The Ultimate DM Screen of Dooooom! So he took it and waived his right to any other bling. And when he got back to his room, he realized that (a) he was never the DM, (b) arranging to ship The Ultimate DM Screen of Dooooom! back to his house would be a pain, and (c) he knew somebody who loved it so.

Thus it was that at 2:45 in the morning that ownership of The Ultimate DM Screen of Dooooom! was transferred back to Yours Truly, and it made the trip back home to Charlotte with him.

This probably stuns you as much as it did Gamer Bling. But Sean put it simply: “It was totally worth it. I had a blast playing. And I have no use for this, and you do.”

So thank you, Sean, for supporting charity and for being Ultimately generous. And thank you Keith, for running an awesome session, and thank you Steve, for being a great host.

And, since Gamer Bling ended up at the end with everything that he started with, it appears that he did nothing to help and deserves no thanks whatsoever.

Waaaaaah!

Gen Con Blog 1: Like Luke

•17 August 2010 • Leave a Comment

Gamer Bling did go to Gen Con this year. And, like last year, it was a last-minute thing. And there was much fun discovery at Gen Con, for which new reviews will be coming along.

This year Gamer Bling’s annual lemming-like migration was enabled by Adrian “Danger Girl” Swartout, who remains an awesome chick; and Steve Gerke and the other top… men of AvatarArt as well as Keith “I won and you didn’t” Baker, both of whom were pretty much the deciding factor in Gamer Bling’s attendance; and Luke Peterschmidt, who, unlike Rob “I program great stuff” Bowes this year, had a spare bed.

It was, in fact, Thursday morning, give or take, that Luke called Gamer Bling and said, “I have two beds in my room, and I’d hate to see one go to waste.” So Gamer Bling knew that, at the end of the 9-hour drive from Charlotte to Indianapolis, he would be able to crash on a nice bed rather than lug an air mattress and sleeping bag up to a room. Which, since the aforementioned 9-hour drive would start at dinner time, and thus Gamer Bling would arrive in Indianapolis at two in the morning or so, might be more effort than he’d have left in his body, which would mean he’d spend the first night zonked in the driver’s seat of his car in the parking garage.

Luke is an old compatriot of Gamer Bling’s, from back in his TCG days at WotC ten years ago. Luke is also pretty darned (a) cool, (b) smart, and (c) employed, even if on a freelance basis. Which means he was buying the room whether Gamer Bling snored in the other bed or not, which made the price very much to Gamer Bling’s affordable liking.

Luke may also be Gamer Bling’s nemesis. Gamer Bling says this because the two of us are roughly the same height and weight; and both sport fair hair, pale skin, and goatees. So if the compatriot is Luke Peterschmidt, then Gamer Bling is Like Peterschmidt. The similarity is so strong that Gamer Bling once dressed up as Luke for Halloween at work. And one of our mutual friends at work didn’t notice until Gamer Bling closed within a ten-foot reach.

Except that now Luke shaves his head. Gamer Bling did that once twice, but it made The Gamer Bling Official Companion cry, so Gamer Bling stopped doing that.

Looking similar is, of course, not enough to make someone a nemesis. No, the reason Luke may be Gamer Bling’s nemesis is that during the time Yours Truly worked at WotC with Luke, if something good happened, Luke got the credit. If something bad happened, Gamer Bling got the blame.

Case in point: Gamer Bling was at Gen Con at the Day of Thunder, at which much loud L5R awesomeness was taking place. There were large 8-foot-tall banners on stands in the booth where the quarterfinals were taking place. These banners were each supported by a center pole with a crossbar at the top, and these crossbars had large pointy tips (each larger and much, much pointier than Gamer Bling’s fist) at each end. Gamer Bling caught a movement from the corner of his eye: a clueless gamer (a common encounter in urban areas) with requisite backpack was backing up. The backpack bumped into a banner; clueless gamer did not notice and backed further up. 8-foot banner begins to fall, and the large pointy tip arced down toward the crowded aisles looking for a brain in which to embed itself. Gamer Bling leapt in and caught the center pole of the banner, preventing it from injuring anybody. From across the aisle, Gamer Bling heard coworker Mindy “Mouse” Sherwood-Lewis call out, “Great catch, Luke!” Gamer Bling turned slowly around and favored her with A Look™, for which he got an “Oops! Sorry!”

At the same show, Luke accidentally knocked something over in the booth—crash!—and someone yelled at him… using Gamer Bling’s good name. Hmph.

(As a side note, a couple years ago Gamer Bling was playing What Were You Thinking? with all his high school friends and their spouses. The question came up, “Who in this room gets blamed for the most stuff that they didn’t do?” Yours Truly was the unanimous choice. And Gamer Bling felt muchly vindicated.)

So anyway, Gamer Bling set out for Gen Con this year at 5 p.m. Gamer Bling Official Expansion #2 was very excited, because he knew that Gamer Bling was going somewhere that Pokémon cards were sold. And, at 5:05 p.m., no joke, Gamer Bling Official Expansion #2 called. “Are you there yet?”

No, Gamer Bling got there after 2 a.m.

And, the next day, as he was walking along the sidewalk to the convention center, he ran into someone who had worked at AEG. Gamer Bling had worked alongside this gentleman for three and a half years. And Gamer Bling was excited to see that he had a wife and two kids.

Up until the fine gentleman turned to his wife and said, “Honey, you remember Luke?”

Dooooomsday!

•1 August 2010 • 1 Comment

It’s Gamer Bling’s birthday today, but instead of having his own party, he is going to support Mythic Party, along with fellow Musketeers Steve Gerke and Keith Baker.

Steve Gerke cleverly nabbed the name Aramis, leaving Keith and Yours Truly to squabble over Athos (which sounds like a body part) and Porthos (which sounds like “portly” and is, therefore, the one that Gamer Bling should logically choose, especially given Keith’s elflike build).

In any event, Gamer Bling will be donating his own personal given-to-him-by-the-coolest-man-in-gaming Ultimate DM Screen of Dooooom! to the swag pool at Mythic Party. Yes, that’s right, you could walk off with the Ultimate DM Screen of Dooooom! at Gen Con and return home to mock your friends! Mock mock mock!

Of course, if all of you attending Mythic Party really want to be clever, no one should bid anything for the charity. Then everybody gets to raid the swag pile for free. But… in a classic prisoner’s dilemma, if just one person bids one penny, they’d be the high bidder, and that person would get first choice in the swag pile, and…

Oh, heck, just bid your guts out. There’s an Ultimate DM Screen of Dooooom! involved, and it’s all for charity, and it’s all deductible, and Gamer Bling could seriously use an ego stoking right now.

Joe Bob says “Check it out.” Or he would if he were a Gamer Bling fan.

Beware Tomorrow!

•31 July 2010 • Leave a Comment

Those of you out there who love Gamer Bling (by which Gamer Bling means himself, with Capital Letters, and not gamer bling, the shtuff, except that of course you love both, you should just love Gamer Bling more) may be wondering what the heck has happened to him these past few weeks.

Especially when he has a way-cool new bit of bling from GF9 to post about.

Well, a lot has been happening. Especially with the Mythic Party, which has been aggressively pushed forward by the (1) top… men at AvatarArt, (2) the always-to-be-remembered-as-the-guy-who-knocked-GB’s-world-design-out-of-the-WotC-contest Keith Baker, and, of course, (3) Yours Truly.

The Mythic Party is essentially the prototype test run of the soon-to-be-an-annual-tradition of a swaggolicious gamefest for charity.

And, in spite of everything that has been happening in Gamer Bling’s life, it has all come together, thanks largely to the top… men and the always-to-be-reviled-even-though-he’s-a-nice-guy Keith, and the many contacts throughout the industry that we collectively have.

Gamer Bling assumes no credit for the event, even though, really, the key part of it was his idea.

But Gamer Bling dropped the ball for a while, leaving the other two of the Three Musketeers to carry the burden. And now it is time for Gamer Bling to pony up.

So here’s the deal: Gamer Bling will announce the beefy first prize that he will donate to this cause.

Tomorrow. Bwah hah hah hah!

Plug the Darn Hole!

•23 June 2010 • 1 Comment

While ruminating over his planned ascent from novice adventurer to trans-level-30 epic immortality all without shedding a single drop of mortal blood (or amorphous ochre ichor, or what have you), Gamer Bling encountered an obstacle that revealed a surprising blind spot on the part of the vaunted 4e design team.

To wit: every holy symbol that Gamer Bling has seen written up does extra dice of damage on a critical. This also applies to almost every other implement (orb, rod, staff, tome, and wand) that he has investigated. The sole exception he has encountered thus far is the PHB’s Rod of Death’s Grasp, which, since it only appears in one variant, is easily designed to have unique properties.

But it still does extra damage on a critical. You just don’t roll dice for it.

“So what?” you cry?

G4mers across the globe, even as they read these words, accuse Gamer Bling of using one very niche PC archetype (that being the utterly nonviolent cleric) to impugn the design for an entire role-playing game.

Meanwhile, in other parental basements across the globe, the hat3rs are cackling gleefully, shrieking, “See? We told you that 4e was evil and not worth playing!”

You hat3rs need to get off your hobby horse high horse and read the Qu3stion and 4nswer series, which starts here.

Everyone else, tag along and Gamer Bling will show you that he is not being merely narcissistic about his one little kewl idear.

In 4e, every weapon and implement has an additional effect when its wielder scores a critical hit. This is a good thing, because a critical hit should be a time for rejoicing and gloating and high-fiving and ordering extra pizza and such. It should feel cool. And it does.

With weapons, which have a primary purpose of killing things, the obvious additional effect is additional damage. So on a critical, not only do you score the maximum regular damage for your weapon, but you get to roll additional dice on top of everything else you’ve rolled. This runs from one or more additional d6s for basic enchanted weapons to extra d12s for vicious and vorpal weapons. Chop chop! This is all fine and dandy, because no one swings a sword at someone’s face unless one wishes to remove that face… and the head behind it. And scoring big whacks of damage feels like a critical hit where weapons are concerned (but see below anyway).

However, there are many classes that wish to use magic items for effects—gasp!—other than damage. Wizards with their Orb of Imposition are a prime example of such a class. Unlike Gamer Bling’s concept, this is not a niche character build, but one of two basic build archetypes suggested in the PHB. Illusionists from Arcane Power are another, and select builds of other classes also count. Basically, one can assume that half of all Controller builds are mass damage builds, while the other half are SFX/domination builds. And some leader builds tend toward the controller, as well.

But, for the sake of an example accessible even to those who haven’t graduated beyond the original White Box D&D, let’s consider orb wizards. By the suggested build profile given in the PHB, their daily spell is sleep: a spell that does no damage at all.

Now consider this: you are a control mage. You have a cool magical enchanted +1 orb of goodness badness awesomeness that helps you cast your spells. You cast sleep on a pack of goblins. In 4e, when you cast an area spell, you make attack rolls against every target. And let’s assume you score a critical hit against one or more of those targets. What’s your first thought about the critical hit?

a) The sleep effect should last longer.
b) The sleep effect should be harder to shake off.
c) The sleep effect should cover a greater area.
d) The goblins should get severe nosebleeds.

If you’re like Gamer Bling, you’d be happy with any of options (a) through (c). Sadly, what you are given is option d. What, did some pixie dust get up their nose or something? Can even a wizard truly sleep someone to death?

Worse yet, the sleep power itself doesn’t even get an internal bonus for scoring a critical. If you use get a critical hit while casting magic missile at the darkness, you at least get max damage. But sleep? Nothing. Nada. Nichts. Zilch. Zippo. Zero. And other assorted N and Z words.

Why is this?

Gamer Bling doesn’t know. But he will conjecture. He suspects that it is because “additional damage on critical” was used as a balancing factor for magic items. That’s why you see weapons doing d6, d8, d10, and d12 extra damage on a critical; it’s a way to fine-tune the value of the weapon as a whole when compared to another weapon that has a different special effect. Since upping a dice size adds one extra damage average (per plus) to a mere 5% of the rolls, that allows for some fine cost balancing.

But why not different effects, effects other than more damage? Why not a magical Wand of Inevitability that, on a critical, subtracts 1 from the target’s save per +1 level of enchantment? What about an Orb of Statis that, on a critical, extends a power’s duration for an additional round per +1 level of enchantment? Such impacts will still be of use to mass-damage builds like war mages, but also of extra special benefit to SFX controllers.

For that matter, why not step back and review the weapons? Even when you’re trying to kill someone, special effects can nonetheless be cool, and are ofttimes cooler than extra damage. How about this for a weapon:

Nerve Hunter
Weapon: Spears
Property: Target suffers -1 to all attack rolls until the end of your next turn.
Critical: Target is slowed and suffers -1 to all attack rolls per plus; save ends. 

It would be nice if this little blog got Gamer Bling a modicum of attention from the fine folks in WotC R&D, as well as maybe a little freelance work from same, but in the meantime he will content himself with some house rules to assist those who pursue control over damage.

Because Gamer Bling wants critical hits to be fun for everyone.

Well, except for the one who got critically hit.

Sucks to be him.

 
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