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In a move that appears to be shaking the foundations of the Free World in ways that the Cuban Missile Crisis and the fall of the Berlin Wall only wish they could have, nerds everywhere are on the verge of revolution over IKEA’s font change. As usual, I am left standing here scratching my head. In the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, with Birthers and Tea Baggers roaming the countryside spreading lies and unfounded fears, *this* is the cause that these people have deemed worth taking up?
And where were these people when the SciFi channel became SyFy, (which just begs to be pronounced “Siffy)? Not only is Siffy the most retarded name in the history of modern media, that lame motto of, “Imagine Greater,” barely makes sense.
Oh well, it’s just more fodder for my eventual PhD thesis: The Humans: Too Fucking Dumb To Live.
In life news, my wife Dorinda has been hired to teach her first college class at my old place of employment, Daniel Webster College. They offered her the job on Friday, and classes begin tomorrow. Nothing like having time to prepare for your first teaching experience ever. At the best of times Dee is a nervous creature. This weekend she has been a complete basket-case. But I have every confidence that she will do fine and that the experience will be a good one for her. Good luck babe! (Not that you ever read my blog, so you’ll never see this anyway.)
In Robo news, next year’s Free Comic Book Day story is chugging right along. I’m really enjoying the pencils-only approach. I feel like it allows me so much more freedom, giving me the confidence to try things that I wouldn’t have before. Because if I screw up now it’s just a swipe of the eraser and all is forgiven, whereas before it was bust out the pro-white and then try to ink smoothly over that. Again. And usually again.
I’ve got 8 work days to get 9 pages done if I want to have FCBD 2010 wrapped up before I leave for PittCon. When I mentioned this to Dee last night she rolled her eyes, knowing that this meant I wouldn’t really be available for family stuff next weekend.
Speaking of family stuff, I am really missing New York. I didn’t think I would, but the Old Homes festival I attended yesterday at the park next to the Widget’s school really drove home just how nice Wilton NH is, and just how little I have in common with it’s more long-term residents. I can honestly say that I really like most of the people I have met through the Widget’s school. But the hillbilly factor in this town is just more than I can take. For example, yesterday I noticed this young twenty-something playing with a baby. I tried not to be judgmental because she had a cigarette dangling from her lip and she stooped over the kid, holding the baby’s hands as it toddled around, accidentally ashing into it’s gossamer hair. Kids do dumb things, right? But then I realizes that this was the baby’s mom. And the barely middle aged lady sitting nearby? That was Grandma. If appearances were anything to go by these two could barely take care of themselves and i felt a little pang of sadness knowing that this baby would grow up to be just like them.
I guess that sounds kind of harsh. I mean, who the hell am I to judge anybody? It’s not like I’m a poster child for good living. But that was how I felt at the time anyway.
In Nerd News, my copy of the Pathfinder RPG arrived last week, just in time for my weekly game. I don’t usually get insanely excited about a new book, but damn, the people at Paizo.com have put together a beautiful product here. It is thick and heavy. Like a textbook for someone pursuing their Doctorate in Geek. Where the book really shines is in the design, layout, and artwork. Almost every image is full of such energy and mayhem that it makes you want to play the game.
We had been playing the new Dungeons & Dragons for a couple of months prior to this. I can’t say I disliked D&D 4E, though I despise the corporate policies that Hasbro has inflicted upon WoTC. The idea behind 4E seems to have been two-fold. First to simplify the game of D&D to make it more appealing, and to gain a larger audience primarily in the form of WoW and Everquest junkies. In the latter I think they will succeed -assuming they can pull those folks away from their computers for a few hours and convince them that using their imaginations can actually be a lot of fun. As far as simplifying D&D though I think they failed in a major way.
It’s true that things have been streamlined and the laws of physics completely discarded in order to make a simple and easy tabletop miniatures game. Which is really what 4E is. Role Playing definitely takes a backseat in this design process, though it can be argued that a good group of Players can work around that without any problems. But while things are simple on the surface, the devil is always in the details. By the time your character progresses a few levels you are literally buried in paperwork in the form of At-Will, Encounter, Utility, and Daily Powers, as well as whatever special inventory you might be carrying. True, if you can find what you are looking for in the stack of print outs the information is usually easy to interpret. But finding it in the first place is the hard part. You also have to remember who can Shift and how far after ana ttack, who is Marked by Who, Divine Challenges, Hunters Quarries, and a whole host of shit that’s great for the individual Player, but mind-numbing work for the GM, and death for the smooth flow of the game. And don’t get me started on Skill Challenges. Why Role Play when you can jsut roll dice? Well, because it’s a fucking ROLE PLAYING GAME. That’s why moron.
Pathfinder is basically an improvement upon D&D as it existed pre-4E rules. Figuring out how magic works is like reading the phone book if it was written by the IRS. But the actual mechanics of the game (which basically only come into play when you are killing monsters) are actually very easy to grasp and things move along quickly, allowing you (in theory) to maintain a feeling of excitement and adventure as you move your little plastic dude across the map and attack with your +1 Do-hickey. And that’s where Pathfinder comes out on top for me. I can immerse myself in that make-believe story for a few hours and I’ve been dying to play again ever since. Thursday can’t get here fast enough. I never felt that with 4E.
Finally, Atomic Robo has a TV Tropes page. Check it out. Lots of fun.