Tag Archives: Tabletop RPGs

The Voidspark Chronicles: Humble Beginnings

Introduction

Once upon a time, I refused to purchase anything through a link in Facebook. Then, I bought a pair of Pittsburgh Penguins mittens only because they came with a Bernie bobblehead. I also purchased a couple of Funko figures that took forever to arrive. So, I thought my decision to leave Facebook out of future purchases vindicated. Then, an ad came across my Facebook and I fell for it again. I clicked on the link for Sundial Games and their 2023 quest desktop calendars. For 40 bucks, I got a set of dice, some dry erase markers, and a day-by-day calendar with a solo RPG adventure attached. And, so, on January 1, 2023, I embarked on my Voidspark Chronicles humble beginnings.

Since January has the theme of “New Year, New Games“, that brings the perfect opportunity to talk about this unique idea. Before that, I want to say something. The calendar sits on my desk and not one of my students asked about it yet. That’s surprising since they usually stick their noses in all of my business. Oh well, probably just a matter of time.

Rules and Character Building

Rules? Who needs rules? The only rule is that you ignore all the rules and play however you want. What’s this? You need to refer back to the previous day to resolve today’s story. Hmm, maybe I will take a look at those rules after all.

To be fair, that’s the only rule that you need to follow. The rest of it more or less comes down to your capacity for and forgiveness of bad dice rolls. More on that in a bit. Speaking of dice rolls, at least in the beginning, they streamlined character creation. You roll a d4 and that becomes your bonus for each stat. Then, during the course of the story, you get your inventory and you’re off.

Escape, Combat, and Near Death

So far, I engaged in combat twice and made a decision twice. The first combat went smoothly. I killed both sentry drones without a scratch. I also escaped my prison quite easily with a single Dexterity roll to pick the lock. Man, I thought, this stuff is easy.

I know better. Don’t ever piss off the dice gods. They smite without prejudice those who do. Over the weekend, I failed a dexterity roll and then took two blasts to break down the door. Then, today, I came close to dying in combat because my dice rolls came out on the low end. Hell, I “cheated” a bit by allowing myself 3 rolls to free someone else from being captured and twice to find a med kit since I used the other one to heal after nearly eating it.

The Verdict

My Voidspark Chronicles humble beginnings give me all the joy of playing a role playing game daily. They also bring the same frustrations of low dice rolls. As I proved, those are easily countered by “do overs”. Maybe I need to limit myself to one “do over” per day because otherwise, what’s the point of rolling. Just take the loot and move on to the next day. In any case, I’m glad that I bought the calendar and look forward to each day’s next adventure.

2023 Tabletop Games Look Ahead

Introduction

I thought about specifying RPGs in the title, but I also want to talk a little bit about my humble beginning as a miniature painter. But, then specifying RPG and miniatures seemed too clunky for the title. So, I take the risk that anyone searching ends up finding the page because they are looking for board games, which are probably the most popular option. Just a bit of a look at how the sausage is made and how I arrived at the title, 2023 tabletop games look ahead.

While I really only play Dungeons and Dragons on a regular basis, I always want to branch out and try the various other role playing games available. I also often look at the miniature games forlornly and hope for a day that I have an actual army to bring to the table. Alas, right now I only have a single skeleton archer and an ogre barbarian. I also painted an elven archer a few years ago at a local learn to paint class, but I think that one is buried in the closet somewhere.

I’m proud of these two guys. Can’t wait to give them some brothers and sisters.

Pathfinder in 2023

I discovered Pathfinder via recommendation from a former student. I bought some books on Humble Bundle. However, I still need to actually play the game. Luckily, Humble Bundle also recently offered a starter set. Once I play that, I can have a better idea of what the future holds.

Miniatures in 2023

Earlier, I searched “How to get started in miniatures.” I, then took some time during Aiden’s soccer practice to go to the local nerd store. Instead of starting at the comics like I normally do, I went to the miniatures section. Without any guidance (because I didn’t read the article), I decided to wait on that purchase. Good call. I spent just under 120 dollars on comics. Explaining another 75-100 on miniatures to my wife would be a bad scene.

So, I currently plan to read that article. I also want to buy the rule/lore book for Warhammer 40k. I figure that it differs from D&D. Normal Warhammer looks too much like general fantasy. 40k offers a more science fiction vibe that I find intriguing. Hopefully, in a couple of weeks I can offer an update on the army I chose with some pictures.

Dungeons and Dragons in 2023

I told the story more than once that I took over both the middle and the high school Dungeons and Dragons clubs at my old job. Consequently, starting in the summer of last year and through the rest of the year, I spent a stupid amount of money in an attempt to get all of the 5th edition source books. I started with the campaign settings because I enjoy reading about the lore. Then, I moved on to some of the collector’s sets before finishing with the adventures. I got every one of them except for Rise of Tiamat (and I hear they are re-releasing that one) and the Stranger Things module, which I found a free PDF that surely violates copyright law on at least one level.

Even though I know longer work there and the books now sit on my bookshelves upstairs, I’m still glad I bought them. They brought joy to several of the students in the half year we played together. Just the other day, I said that I might ask the D&D advisor at my current job if he wants me to help. So, maybe they live to fight another day.

As a result, this year I focus on the new releases. In addition to the previously mentioned Tiamat reissue, this page has a few others. None of them grab me other than Planescape. But, as the release, I will buy them and probably review them here. Also, D&D One remains on the horizon. No idea what it actually involves, but keep an eye out regardless.

The Verdict

Of the gaming genres I discussed this week, tabletop looks like the one with the most potential for growth this year. This month alone, I planned an article about my solo adventure in Pathfinder and my new army in Warhammer. Add in a possible return to D&D club and Planescape and you have a recipe for fun this year. The PC article brought me down and I think the console might have a similar effect. But, the 2023 tabletop games look ahead gives me hope for this year.

2022 Tabletop GOTY: Dungeons and Dragons

Introduction

I missed a couple of days of updates. I planned on doing this one on Thursday and 2022 Console GOTY yesterday. If I’m being honest, which I often am, console GOTY would be only slightly less difficult than choosing PC GOTY was. I played about an hour of the Red Dead Redemption II prologue this morning. Great game. Also, released four years ago. Other older games we enjoyed this year; Mario Kart and Mario Party on the Switch. Liam and Quinn played a ton of the new Pokemon, so I could have them write a guest article about that one. Thankfully, 2022 Tabletop GOTY is much easier to pick.

An argument that the choice is virtually automatic has merit. But, we tried other games this year. Quinn and I played Roll Player Adventures a couple of times. Our family broke out several family trivia games during the year. I know those aren’t traditionally thought of in the same category as Dungeons and Dragons, but they are all tabletop games. So, let’s explore why the old lady gets our 2022 Tabletop GOTY.

Dungeons and Dragons with Quinn

We started the year with momentum on the D&D front. I wrote one adventure that Quinn and I played through. That gave me ideas for other adventures. I finally followed up by writing almost all of a second adventure that starts on a haunted ship and ends in a harpy cave. I wanted to play that adventure during this vacation, but most of our plans went for naught this vacation.

I stole this harpy lair from one of The Witcher games and added D&D flair. Some puzzles, some fighting, and a little bit of mystery.

Just looking at that map makes me want to finish the adventure the whole way through and play it with Quinn. In fact, I just searched for the Starter Set box with all of our characters in it. And, I found it! So, after I finish this article, time to finish that adventure. We still have a couple of months until February vacation, but maybe I can convince him to play one of these weekends. I think this one might take a couple of play sessions to complete.

Dungeons and Dragons at School

I started running the D&D club at the high school at my old job a couple of years ago. Mostly, I just sat there and planned or corrected as my faithful group of 4 to 6 gathered in spite of the threat of Covid to play their favorite characters. The group expanded to 8 regulars last year and even grew as much as 12 during a couple of the meetings.

This year, they talked me into taking the middle school club as well. Before I left the job, my reputation (and, more likely, Stranger Things) helped grow the club to two high school groups of about 6 to 8 and three to four middle school groups. One played consistently from week to week. The other groups moved, merged, and sometimes fought among themselves. Mostly, we enjoyed our time together. I even ran a group for several weeks. We finished most of the prologue for Curse of Strahd and then played through some of the Dungeon of the Mad Mage in my last session with the group.

The Verdict

I think I made a case for Dungeons and Dragons as our 2022 Tabletop GOTY. Looking ahead, there might be some competition for the old lady. I bought a Pathfinder starter set from Humble Bundle that has a solo adventure that might inspire me to play that more. I also bought some Warhammer 40k books and want to make some characters for that game. Finally, I somehow acquired a starter set for a Fallout RPG that might or might not be discontinued. So, look out for them in addition to D&D in 2023.