Adventures in Middle Earth – First Impression.

It’s out!

I downloaded my electronic copy this evening. Just spent an hour scanning it. My first impression is this is a clever and well-executed adaptation of Middle Earth into the Wizards of the Coast d20 system. Highlights, etc.

D&D “Playable races” are translated into #MiddleEarth cultures. I can’t wait to roll up my first character, which will no doubt be a Rider of Rohan. Equipment lists are #Tolkien-appropriate, so lots of standard D&D items missing (though you could always bring some of it in if you wanted to.)

The add-on rules required to make a campaign world function the way Middle Earth does are well-thought out and seem intuitive. I’m talking about things like a point system to quantify the influence of the Shadow on mortal hearts & spirits.

At first blush, this is a setting for experienced players and Tolkien freaks. Novice players who are still learning the core rules might have trouble with some of the add-on rules unless they’re so new they can use only what they need from the D&D player’s handbook and focus on learning AME first.

D&D purists and magic junkies are not going to be happy in this setting for long, but any role-playing nerd with even a passing fondness for Tolkien should jump at the opportunity to try it out.

This supplement isn’t going to play or feel anything like your standard high magic, dungeon-crawl-of-the-week fantasy world because Middle Earth just isn’t like that. The campaign structure is entirely different than what most DMs I’ve seen do when they design their own adventures.

There are no spellslingers and no clerics with direct access to divine power unless the gamemaster allows core character classes to be brought in (and I’d discourage that because those are wrong for this setting). But warrior and rogue classes, and lots of abilities like Trackless Step and music-based magic, are incorporated seamlessly.

Worth a look if you can get into a game for free or know someone with the books. Not something to invest money in casually or out of curiosity without reading reviews, though. I bought it because I have friends interested in playing it, and so far I am pleased with the purchase.

Cubicle 7 Entertainment is going places.

I can’t wait for the print copies 🙂

Advertisements

In which I pose a serious question in a roundabout way

Image

My family has two puppies under our care. One, we adopted because we have a seven-year-old boy living in the house and he’s been begging for a dog since he was three. The other adopted us because we fed him at a time when he was down on his luck and we obviously know how to take care of puppies.

Their names are Diesel and Ren, but I call them “Lil’ pup” and “Big pup.”

Big pup. He likes to guard smaller creatures. He doesn't guard food and seems to not understand toys at all. He's quiet unless he has something important to say. And he doesn't jump up on people even when they're waving meat at him.

Big pup. He likes to guard smaller creatures. He doesn’t guard food and seems to not understand toys at all. He’s quiet unless he has something important to say. And he doesn’t jump up on people even when they’re waving meat at him. Has the makings of a super-sweet working dog.

They get along well. Ren is six or seven months old, based on his size and dental development. Either a German Shepherd, or a GSD mixed with one other related breed, we’re pretty sure. And we’ve done our best to make sure no one’s looking for him. It seems that no one is.

Lil' Pup. She's a monster, and a connoisseur of fine paper. That's Mr. Chicken she's gnawing on there. She loves Mr. Chicken, but they are not friends.

Lil’ Pup. She’s a monster, and a connoisseur of fine paper. That’s Mr. Chicken she’s gnawing on there. She loves Mr. Chicken, but they are not friends. Diesel is a bit of a terror.

If I ever figure out a way to migrate my consciousness to some surrealistic fantasy world and become a not-so-evil overlord, I’m bringing these two with me. They will be my gargoyles. If you happen to wander into my fantasy domain unbidden, Big Pup will pose you a riddle. If you are unable to come up with a satisfactory answer in a reasonable amount of time, Lil’ Pup will eat you alive, starting with your face.

So, on to the serious question. These doggies love, love, love some paper. It makes interesting sounds and tastes enough like food to satisfy. And it is so. Very. Shreddable. Cardboard, wrapping paper, tissues, toilet paper. Just doesn’t matter. Ren mostly sniffs around and forages for little bits of paper, but Diesel seems to be on a holy quest to sample every type of paper that ever existed. We have to watch her around the books. This is totally normal behavior for a three-month-old puppy and we correct it often enough that it’s not a long-term concern.

I have a computer desk with a floor-level shelf, and until we got puppies, I was accustomed to storing documents on that shelf. It’s very convenient. They are out of sight and I know where they are if I need to refer to them. One of the documents stored on that shelf is my Master’s Thesis, shrink-wrapped and nestled snugly in a Kinko’s box.

Those of you who are familiar with the academic meat grinder will get this. A master’s thesis is a thing you sweat over, and if you’re a flighty person, maybe you go to therapy to get it done. Then once it’s done, unless you’re a genius or were at least smart enough to use the master’s training to do exploratory work that you can build on, what you really want to do is disavow it and pretend someone else wrote it.

So, anyway. Lil’ pup has worried and worried at the Kinko’s box for weeks now. The entire lid is gone. She really truly wants to get into that box and rip the plastic and sample some 25-lb linen paper seasoned with 9-year-old ink.

Given that I’ve never taken that document out of its box even once since I published it, it’s probably the least favorite piece of writing I’ve ever finished, and it’s archived in an academic library for posterity in any case . . .

. . . Should I go ahead and let her have her way with it?

They like to help the boy study his spelling words. That is great fun for EVERYONE.

They like to help the boy study his spelling words. That is great fun for EVERYONE.

Super Awesome Self Promo Thread of Doom

Reblogging this because some of you might be interested. I love threads like this and I plan to join in 🙂 Comments are closed to eliminate confusion about where the links should be dropped.