Legacy Board Games

I really enjoy the Legacy games like Risk: Legacy and Pandemic: Legacy. I love that each game has repercussions that effect every game afterwards. For example, in Risk: Legacy, the winner gets to place a city or rename a continent and gets bonuses based on that, other countries get bonuses and penalties based on battles that took place there, worldwide events are triggered through battles, etc. It shows the devastation of war, and how future wars are shaped by it. We are all shaped by our past, whether it’s on a small or grand scale.

Also, it’s a much faster game, as you don’t have to conquer everyone, just earn 4 victory points.

So I was thinking about other games that could be made into Legacy games.

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5 Low Level D&D Monsters Made Deadly

I love Dungeons & Dragons. I’ve been playing since I was 10 years old (I’m 39 right now), and hopefully I’ll play until I die (or drop to negs). D&D has been a major influence on my writing. Not that I rip them off, but the skills I learned helped with world building, narrative flow, and especially character development.

I enjoy being a PC more than a DM, and I’ve been lucky enough to have some excellent DMs over the years. That said, I love coming up with great scenarios for combat. As one of my DMs said,”it is all about the setting and the dynamic of the landscape.” I agree, but it’s also about customizing monsters (in logical ways) to make them unique and deadly.

In this post, I took some low level monsters–the kind a party would face at 1st to 3rd level–and souped them up. With these changes, they can be deadly to any size party of much higher level. Enjoy.

(some contributions are borrowed from gamer friends John B and Osvaldo O.)

RUN AWAY!!!

1) Kobolds. Bah, Kobolds are basically xp machines for low level parties. 4 HP, a mediocre AC, reduced damage, there’s not much to intimidate the PCs here. Just kill the rat-dogs and loot the bodies.

Answer: Rogue Levels. Kobolds have two distinct advantages: numbers and dexterity. If you put them to use, they become very deadly. Have them surround the PCs, two kobolds can fit in one 5ft box, so you can get up to 16 (!) in there. Give a few of them a rogue level or even two. They now have Sneak Attack, and since a surrounded PC would be flanked, they always get that damage bonus. Their numbers will make casting difficult (taking out area-affect spells), and 2nd level rogues get Evasion. Imagine the look on players faces when they’re facing down a pack of Kobolds that can cause 11 points of damage with one hit. Smile and laugh.

For an added laugh, have the encounter in the dark, where the Kobold’s Darkvision gives them a big advantage. When PCs fight, they almost always set down the lantern. Have a Kobold kick it over. PCs also drop their packs in a fight. Have a few Kobolds steal the packs and retreat for even more hilarity. Even if they kill all the Kobolds, they still have to find the thieves that took their stuff.

gif dnd cat paladin

2) Wild Dogs or Wolves: Dogs and Wolves aren’t monsters, but they’re a fairly common encounter at low level. They don’t have many HP, and they don’t do extraordinary amounts of damage. Wolves are more difficult, but nothing a low level party can’t handle.

Answer: Group Tactics and Trip. Both species are pack animals, and this is how they fight in the wild. Wolves already get Trip, but give it to the dogs too. Add Group Tactics (BAB +1 for everyone with GT fighting the same enemy, up to +3) to Trip and they will pull your PCs to the ground and have their way with them (not like that). Wolf pack tactics are a beautiful thing.

Note: Some party members might have qualms about killing animals. Attack them last, eat them first.

Gives Me XP

3) Goblins: Goblins are the whipping boy of the D&D world. They pick fights with every race, and almost always lose. Only their prolific breeding keeps them around. Despite this, Goblins have a wicked, crafty intelligence and love traps and ambushes. A good DM uses all of this.

Answer: A Bard. Bards are so versatile, they’re perfect for any trap. Besides a variety of spells that can confuse or disable PCs (Daze, Flare, Sleep, Cause Fear, Simple Illusions, etc) they have the excellent Inspire Courage song. There’s no set amount of creatures this can affect. It doesn’t matter if they are 5 or 50, as long as they can hear the singer, they get a +1 to saves, attacks, and damage. This counts for missile weapons too. As with the Kobolds, you can have them fight in the dark, though I prefer missile attacks from concealment like trees or bushes. Add some wolf riders to keep the PCs off the missilers, and you have a killer encounter.

One tip, have all the goblins sing, and dress the Bard the same as the others. This way, the PCs can’t target the Bard specifically.


Apparently Jareth the Goblin King has some Bard levels.

4) Zombies. Everyone loves fighting Zombies. They have a good amount of hit points and damage resistance, but they’re slow and have a poor BAB. Zombies can be trouble for a party without a Cleric, but a Turn Undead ability usually takes care of them.

Answer: Water. I never understood the Slam or Weapon attacks for a zombie. I’ve seen a lot of zombie movies and the attack is always the same: grab and bite. A variation of this would be “grab and drown.”

The undead don’t need to breathe, but PCs do. Have the zombies pull them to a watery doom. Use enough water to drown a person, but not so much that the zombies can’t reach the PCs from the water’s bottom. A shallow pond or swamp works well.

From a cinematic POV, imagine swimming across a darkened lake, only to have corpse-like hands grab you from beneath and pull you under. Scary stuff, right?

As for using Turn Undead, it’s up to the DM. Do you have to see the creatures to turn them, and can you do so without being able to speak? A good grapple might keep a PC from reaching their holy symbol too. We may be 70% water, but it’s better on the inside than out.

I like playing a cleric sometimes.

5) Lizardfolk. I am partial to lizardfolk, probably because I’ve been playing one as a PC for the past 3 years (maybe 4). Lizzies are tough, but their lack of tactics in the wild limit the challenge toward PCs. From the D&D wiki: Lizardfolk fight as unorganized individuals. They prefer frontal assaults and massed rushes, sometimes trying to force foes into the water, where the lizardfolk have an advantage.

The obvious answer would be to give more sophisticated tactics (like the zombie drowning scenario from above), but I drew from real-world culture for a different solution.

Answer: Poisoned Weapons. Lizardfolk are swamp dwellers and there are plenty of poisonous animals/plants in the swamp. There’s no reason why they can’t harvest and use poisons. Human cultures have been doing it for thousands of years.

Lizardfolk could put the poison on javelins or darts, or even (and this would be pretty awesome) their claws. Lizardfolk get the very awesome claw, claw, bite multi-attack. If it’s a poison they have natural immunity too (and I imagine there to be several poisons like this) they can dip their claws in the swampy goodness. Given the many different types of poisons, the possibilities are endless. Personally, I would use paralyzing or strength-sapping poison and then have the lizardfolk drown them in the swamp or eat them alive. I’m a twisted bastard.

So there you go, five scrub monsters turned into PC killers. Use with caution, challenging a party is fun, causing a Total Party Kill is not.

Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. I also suggest picking up my latest novel The Watchmage of Old New York. Set in 1855 Manhattan, it’s a blend of vivid history, in-depth magic, gumshoe mystery and fairy-tale fantasy. It’s based on the original serial at Jukepop Serials, where it remains one of the most popular serials on JukePop OF ALL TIME!

the-watchmage-is-coming1

You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (they both exist). Song of Simon currently has a 4.8/5.0 rating on Amazon, so people seem to like it. 

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Hyrule Warriors? Pinch Me!

I don’t have Nintendo, and I have never wanted it more than right now. I just saw a commercial for Hyrule Warriors, and I want to cry. They took one of my favorite games, Dynasty Warriors, and crossed it with The Legend of Zelda. THIS IS THE GREATEST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO MANKIND!!

excited space cat

Maybe I’m exaggerating (No!) but I really love this idea. The Zelda-verse is so iconic, who wouldn’t want to jump in there and hack ‘n’ slack until their arm falls off?

I love hack ‘n’ slash style games. Right now my addiction is Happy Wars, a team PvP hack ‘n’ slash.

Happy Wars is my crack

Those games remind me of my childhood playing in the arcades. Remember the cacophony of two dozen games going on around you? The jingle of quarters? The sound of older kids trying out new curses? Gauntlet, Space Invaders, Asteroids, Donkey Kong…I could’ve plunked quarters in those games forever.

It occurred to me that a lot of people don’t remember arcades. Real arcades, not Dave and Buster’s or Chuck E Cheese. I bet some of them have never seen a pinball machine. I’m so damn old.

Dynasty Warriors (based on one of the best rpgs, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which is based on the epic novel of the same name) reminds me of the old arcade games. That’s the kind of game that would be at home in some shadowy arcade. Zelda, of course, was one of the great games of my youth. Link was an icon to me and my generation (a friend of mine has the Triforce tattooed over his heart).

I wish I was a child again with a Wii U, clutching the nunchuck like a sword and slashing my way through Ganondorf’s minions. The hardest part of getting old is seeing all the cool toys you missed out on.

Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (they both exist). Song of Simon currently has a 4.8/5.0 rating on Amazon, so it’s pretty damn good. If you’re looking for something FREE, you can read my serial (soon to be an expanded series of novels) The Watchmage of Old New York. Though it ended in February, it remains one of the most popular serials on JukePop OF ALL TIME!

Cards Against Humanity: Great Game or GREATEST GAME?

I’m about to pimp my favorite card game.

It was a little over a year ago that I discovered Cards Against Humanity. Like a perverted thunderbolt to my heart, it became my favorite game (next to D&D, of course). It’s the most cringe-inducing, douche-chill-chilling, vomit-stifling, questioning-why-you-have-these-friendsing, thinking-of-more-hyphenated-adjectiving, game ever made, and I love it. I am here to profess my love for CAH. Yes, I am a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad, person.

What is Cards Against Humanity?

Basically, take the popular–but tame–game Apples to Apples, and replace all the cards with things that if you said in public would get you slapped, punched, or kicked in the nuts. I’m going to assume that you all know how to play Apples to Apples, the damn thing is everywhere.

CAH offers question cards like “What’s that sound?” “As part of his contract, Prince won’t perform without ________ in his dressing room,” or “And the Academy Award for ______ goes to _____” (a double card). Some of the answer cards are gems like “a windmill full of corpses,” “not caring about the Thrid World,” “a vagina that leads to another dimension,” “MechaHitler,” “being a muthafucking sorcerer,” and “a big black dick.” They also give you blank cards to add your own terrible entries. Some of my add-ins are “Michael J Fox eating a bowl of hot soup,” “Randy Orton’s glistening abs,” and “Robin Williams’ bloated corpse dangling from a ceiling fan.” If you think you wrote a great card, you can submit it to them and it might end up in an expansion.

There’s even an official theme song

The good (evil) people at Cards Against Humanity put out expansions a couple of times a year, so you never get bored of the same cards. There are also many optional rules that you can play with to mix shit up. It also makes an epic drinking game.

There’s a secret 3rd card: “The biggest, blackest, dick”

What If I Don’t Have Friends?

Say you’re like me and nobody likes you. How do you get a game together? Because CAH is under the creative commons license, there’s room for imitation/ripping them off. There’s an online version of the game called Pretend You’re Xyzzy. It’s ok, but I miss the tabletop interaction of the real game. Still, when it’s hard to put a game night together (and it is for me) it’s a fair substitute.

look at how happy he is!

Terrible People Doing Good

I just found this out today, which triggered the urge to write about CAH. Apparently they give a good portion of their profits to charity, which is fricken awesome.

from Wikipedia:

Despite the satirical nature of Cards Against Humanity, the creators have done charity work in affiliation with the game. In December 2012, Cards Against Humanity released a special holiday expansion pack and allowed users to choose their price. The average amount paid was $3.89 (with the majority of contributors paying $5) which resulted in an overall profit of $70,066.27, which the makers donated to the Wikimedia Foundation.[15] The following year, in December 2013, the creators released a “12 Days of Holiday Bullsh-t” promotion where contributors would pay $12 to receive 12 random presents over a span of 12 days. On the tenth day, Cards Against Humanity donated $1 for every person that contributed to this deal, amassing a grand total of $100,249.94 that was donated to several educational projects via DonorsChoose.[16]

Anyway, I’ve been jonesin’ to play, and I’ve got a brand new bunch of handwritten cards. Let’s play.

Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (they both exist). Song of Simon currently has a 4.8/5.0 rating on Amazon, so it’s pretty damn good. If you’re looking for something FREE, you can read my serial (soon to be an expanded series of novels) The Watchmage of Old New York. Though it ended in February, it remains one of the most popular serials on JukePop OF ALL TIME!

How Settlers of Catan Improved My Promotion Skills Part II

Ok, this is a continuation of an earlier post, where I tried to convince people that gaming is the key to building promotional skills. Interested? Intrigued? In Sheboygan for the weekend (what?)? Check out part 1 before or after you read this (or you laugh at the memes).

What? You thought a cat riding a peanut butter and jelly sammich wouldn’t end up here?

4) Have a strategy and stick with it (unless it obviously isn’t working)

I’ve seen a lot of people play Catan, and they’re just all over the place with it. A little construction here, a little development points there, etc. It doesn’t work. You have to pick one strategy (based on your situation) and go with it. Personally, I like to build settlements and go for the longest road, but do whatever works for you.

When it comes to promotion, people sometimes get overwhelmed by the options. Facebook, Blogs, Twitter, Pintrest, Reddit, Personal Pleas, Free Giveaways, Paying for promotion…so many options. When there’s a buffet in front of you, it’s hard to resist trying a little of everything (believe me, I know my buffets). The problem is that doing a little of everything is like doing nothing. Find one strategy and stick with it until it’s obvious that it doesn’t work. Give it at least 6 months, maybe even a year. Building recognition takes a long time. Be patient.

Don’t beg, engage instead.

5) Don’t Try to Tear Down Others, Just Build Better

Nobody likes the dick that plays The Robber. In Catan, you can use the robber to mess other people up, but it will almost always backfire on you (the only exception is when you use it to keep the leader from pulling too far ahead).

Remember rule #1, if you act like a dick, people remember. They will be wary of you every time you play from now on. People don’t always remember the good things that you do, but they always remember the bad ones (remember the John Pigfucker joke).

It’s hard to be nice all the time. When you put yourself out in public like writers do, people will insult you, shoot you down, and just troll for no better reason than to troll. You have to stay above all of this. There are tons of stories about people or businesses that got into flame wars and it dragged them down. Just don’t get sucked in.

Instead of rolling around in the mud, just build better. Stay your course, be positive and surround yourself with a network of positive people. Maybe it’ll work, maybe not, but it’s better than sinking into the quicksand of dickitude (it’s a word now!)

And get off my lawn…dick!

In Closing

I think that the suggestions I make in this blog and the previous one boils down to this: Don’t be an asshole. This is a pretty good mantra for life. Say it with me now…”Don’t. Be. An. Asshole.”

*drops mic*

Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (they both exist). Song of Simon currently has a 4.8/5.0 rating on Amazon, so it’s pretty damn good. If you’re looking for something FREE, you can read my serial (soon to be an expanded series of novels) The Watchmage of Old New York. Though it ended in February, it remains one of the most popular serials on JukePop OF ALL TIME!

Geekin it Up

It’s time for my bi-weekly DnD game. Last time we had a major battle, this time we deal with all the fall out. It’s gonna be bad.

The thing that I like best about this campaign is that the players have to face responsibility for our actions. We’ve already become wanted in our home country. it doesn’t matter if the people we fight are bad, they’re still people and the law protects them too.

Too many games are hack and slash with no worries or complexity. Our game is the opposite.

Time to bust out my dice. TTYL

Injustice: Gods Among Us

I just got back from GameStop (Stop Game! Stop!) and picked up Injustice. I’m a sucker for comic games, and fighting games are always fun when you have people over (which I never do, but want to. It’s a lonely life). I haven’t opened it yet, but from what I can gather, the story line is this:

The Joker blows up Metropolis and tricks Superman into killing Lois Lane (an obvious trope, and kinda infuriating). Superman goes full on fascist (as we all know that he was capable of…that any of us are capable of) and basically creates The Justice Lords. Batman leads a rebellion against it, which is kinda ironic since he is one of the biggest fascists in the DC Universe (more on this when some comic geek flames me for besmirching Batman).

It’s an interesting premise (though again, the “Women in Refrigerators” trope bothers me). It made me think about something: Has there ever been a crossover where Superman had to stop the Joker, and Batman had to stop Lex Luthor? I don’t think that Supes can stand up to the sheer madness of the Joker (and this video game agrees with me). I also don’t think that Batman can compete with Lex. Lex can very easily discern Batman’s identity with his money and tech (there must be a paper trail a mile long). From there, it would be easy to crush Wayne Tech and take away all of Batman’s toys. Batman without money is still potent, but not against Luthor and his inventions and connections.

I’m sure that this has been done before, but probably with the two heroes switching out. If anything, it shows how the hero and the villian in a comic are a matched pair, an opposite number.

On a side note, I bought the game with the gift card that Valerie gave me for my birthday. Fitting that the last gift that she gave me was something called “Injustice.”