Monday, June 29, 2009

Dungeons & Daddies

A couple of weeks back, Audrey was visiting some friends of ours, and Bruce told her he had purchased a D&D starter set for him and his son Jonah to play. Even though it was a starter set, however, he was having a heck of a time wrapping his head around it, and upon hearing this, my wife immediately volunteered that I had probably logged more hours playing D&D in high school than he'd had hot dinners. Now, this is not to suggest that I was opposed to her doing this, because I wasn't. I had heard good things about the 4th edition of the game from people like Scott Kurtz, whose comic strip PVP often references pen and pencil roleplaying games. All the same, there was a sound in the distance, that though faint, is now clearly discernible as a siren.

Even looking at the attractive package made me think of Keith Richards pitching some kind of after-market methadone while exclaiming, "I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!" But by then it was too late. Fenya had asked me about it enough times that I knew I wanted to play it with her at some point, so the three of us hadn't even finished our first encounter before I suggested we make this a weekly thing.

I shan't bore you with the details, but the new game is much more straight forward and enjoyable than previous editions, and the new tactical rules make it play almost like a boardgame which is just dandy by me. A week later I had popped into Mission Fun and Games in St. Albert and grabbed all three core rulebooks, a couple of miniatures and Fenya had grabbed her first set of dice. (sniff)

Last week, all four of us got together and played out a full encounter with no real problems or hiccups. The starter set comes with these dandy tiles and counters you use to lay out the room and show where monsters are, but I had enough models that were close enough so we used those instead, and a great time was had by all. All that remained was to get more appropriate models for the player characters.

The gray elf (sorry, Eladrin) wizard and halfling rogue had been easy enough to procure, but the dragonborn paladin was going to be more of a challenge. Yes, you read that right, old school gamers, you can not only start the game with the character who was almost impossible to roll up, but he can be part dragon and even use a breath weapon once per day. Lemme tell you, back when I was a level one adventurer I had to poke my own brother's eye out (-1 Dex) just to wrestle away a butter knife so I could kill a rat I thought was going to steal my crust of bread. Kids these days have NO idea...

Ahem. That's not to say that finding a model for Fenya's character, Zukenna, was easy, because my daughter has no time at all for models that bring 'teh sexy', or that even have their navels exposed. Obviously, as her father, this pleases me greatly. Or, it passes the time whilst I wait for the other shoe to drop. At any rate, we were happy to find this one, and Fenya picked out the colours and I painted her up.

While shopping for that one, I came across this halfling who is a bit more dangerous-looking to my eyes than the typical hobbit analogue, although the face turned out a little effeminate. On the other hand, according to Johnny Cash's "Boy Named Sue", that might be what toughened him up. At any rate, Bruce's rogue, Goddard is now represented.

Jonah's paladin Gendarr (a name that sprang from his mispronunciation of the word "gender" on his character sheet) was going to be tough. There are some pre-painted plastic models that might be appropriate, but they look like butt, so that left me for a conversion. I found a Games Workshop Lizardman model, sawed him up with my Dremel tool and puttied his head and neck onto a Chaos Warrior model (graciously supplied by my old colleague Ward who is now looking after the 4 prairie GW stores). I used the remaining putty to add a couple of ear-flap thingies so he looked a little more dragonny and a little less lizardy, and that didn't turn out too bad. A spare High Elf shield with a dragon on it seemed appropriate since Gendarr is a follower of Bahamut, the Platinum Dragon, and a Space Marine power sword finished him off once I removed the power leads.

And this angle pimps the earflaps. Considering I've never actually used putty for more than gap filling, I think they are all right.

Sigh. Once more into the breach, dear friends. After years away from D&D, it appears I am back, and Dungeon Mastering again no less. There is just something intrinsically cool about fighting monsters with fantasy heroes. I am feverishly painting up monsters from my old Warhammer Quest box, and am looking forward to a summer of adventuring.