Gaming Environment: Smoking

A post from Newbie DM about less-than-ideal gaming environments made me think about where I game. Honestly, my problem actually has little to do with location because this problem sort’ve follows our group around. See, almost everyone in my D&D group smokes. Often heavily. So while I’m rolling sneak attack damage for my rogue, I’m also dealing with the fact that my body dislikes cigarette smoke. It’s like I develop an instant cold and congestion is never fun. It’s only exacerbated by the fact that we’re usually playing in a small apartment room with pathetic AC and just generally bad ventilation.

On the other hand, the other players are adults and it would definitely be more of a pain to smoke outside and it could potentially disrupt a game in progress. I don’t have a moral problem if they want to smoke and after all, it’s not my house. However, the secondhand smoke definitely affects me. Not only do I deal with my body’s physical reaction at the time, I have to shower and change all my clothes when I go home because otherwise, the reaction continues. Oh, and I also smell like smoke.

Essentially, I’m caught in a hard place because I’m not going to stop gaming but I’m uncertain as to how I could deal with this. I could suck it up and say nothing but it’s really started to bother me. Last time I started to feel rather ill because of the smoke.

June 28, 2010. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Eberron Campaign

I’ve really fallen in love with the Eberron world in 4th ed D&D. Airships, lightning rail, the Mournland, everything. So when Borders issued one of their 40% off coupons, I picked up the Eberron Campaign Guide and the Eberron Player’s Guide.

What I haven’t seen yet is any feedback on the encounters that are included in the back of the Campaign guide. They look pretty solid but I’m looking for ideas on how to go on from there once the players have defeated Aric Blacktree. I want to start and run a campaign set in Eberron but due to my lack of experience, I’d like to start with some premade modules. I’m looking at Seekers of the Ashen Crown.

I’ll type up individual reviews of each of the Eberron books in the next few days.

June 27, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Gaming as a Female

The fact that I’m female influences my D&D gaming style much less than you’d think based on frantic forum postings over at the WOTC D&D forums. Apparently, possessing a vagina and a set of dice throws some male DMs into quite a tizzy. I’m not certain why. I’ve always been a competitive, ambitious person and so I work pretty hard at optimizing my rogue. I’m not a munchkin or a powergamer but I would be frustrated if the game never allowed me to show off some of my neater tricks. I like being able to punch holes in bad guys occasionally and I love being so slippery that while the tanks are spending their healing surges like its water, I  waltz out of combat with nary a smudge on my well-tailored clothes.

What I don’t understand is how frequently I’ve read posts that say if you game with women, then you must be careful to include a lot of fluffyness. Personal interactions. Cute little companion animals. Picking their own outfits. My biggest complaint about Shelly Mazzanoble’s book about women and D&D, Confessions of  a Part-Time Sorceress, is that it seems like she concentrates entirely on dispelling the stereotypes that surrounded D&D. She almost never addresses the way that female gamers are often treated. In fact, she frequently perpetuates a sexist view of women that portrays them as consumerist, clothes-obsessed shopaholics that only enjoy D&D if they can take their character to the nearest medieval shopping center.

Another strange view is that women possess some mystical power to instantly transform a game table to a higher plane. Apparently their vagina rays tame the savage natures of the men around them. Cheeto’s no longer litter the floor. The munchkin begins to roleplay. Jesus wipes away a single tear of pure joy. Putting women on a pedestal in this way is just as much of a disservice.

Ultimately, what I wish I would see is that women are treated just like people. Like regular old gamers. Some of them will be great. Some of them will suck. Some will love a story-oriented game. Others will fall asleep until they can hack-n-slash some bad guys. Women are gamers, too.

June 15, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

DMing for the First Time

So one of our players is away for a few weeks and so our normal D&D campaign is stalled. Maybe we could come up with some plausible way to play without him…then again, no. He’s too much a part of the group.

Then, because I’m stupid and idiotic and rash, I mentioned that I had an idea.

(this is a big mistake. never, ever let anyone know that you have talents, ideas or resources. because then they expect you to use them or share them.)

I was inspired by the old Robin Hood TV series that has that cheesy theme song and it’s in black and white.

Yeah, this one

It’s heroic and romantic and cheesy and the Sheriff of Nottingham is improbably evil

Sheriff: Killing babies, you say? Must ponder this brilliant scheme

and the heroes are white as snow

Robin Hood: Outlaws without Borders? That sounds brilliant!

but it’s great TV and I thought it would be fun inspiration for a brief little D&D campaign. Nothing serious.

My plan is for the Sheriff to hire the PCs to kill the terrible evil bandits that are harassing his town. If I can play my cards right or my fellow gamers are exceedingly kind and pretend to not realize…well, anyway, the plan is for a twist. Surprise! You’re working for the bad guys!  Oh, and Robin Hood has been captured, oh noes!

It sounded (to me) to be fairly simple. Sadly, I play with interesting and varied individuals who have decided to create wonderful characters with detailed backstories and in short I am terrified out of my mind WHY DID I EVER THINK OF DOING THIS! Now I must live up to these amazing players!


June 9, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Knitting & Crafting During Gaming

I knit during D&D sessions. Sometimes it’s a simple afghan square but it’s usually very simple socks. I find that it helps control my tendency to fidget. I also get, er, rather passionate about what’s happening in-game and knitting helps to keep me from attempting to destroy the dice when they are rolling horribly. I’m a somewhat ADHD person so it actually helps me to balance multiple activities at once.

Thus far I’m the only crafter at the table, as well as the only woman. The other gamers smoke (a lot) and one of them paces excitedly and waves his hands around so I’m hardly the only fidgety person there. Still, I’ve heard from other crafters (usually women) that they’ve run into hardass DMs that ban crafting during the game as being ‘distracting’ while ignoring the 5 other people continuously texting.

What do you do during downtime in a game?

June 8, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

My Gaming Background

My gaming background, to be frank, is quite pathetic. At least if you define it in traditional terms. I’m not interested in computer or console games. Pacman is about as sophisticated as I get when it comes to computer games. Storytelling has always drawn me, though. I loved making up stories and acting them out with my siblings.

My brother and I used to enact vicious battles between Captain Cardinal and General Bluejay, sworn enemies. If we had been smart, we would have written a glossy handbook and sold sets of randomized miniatures. Instead, we would continue to play until we were bored and declared a tie. We never admitted defeat. It was always a tie.

So when I first tried out a roleplaying game just a few months ago, it felt strangely familiar. Yes, there were more dice involved and a few more numbers to track. But it wasn’t anything I hadn’t done before. Unlike board games or computer games, this world was so much freer and open. I could really do anything I wanted to do and it felt instantly freeing.

Now that I have a serious case of the RPG bug, I figure that I might as well chronicle my adventures into gaming..dom. I’ll see how it goes!

June 5, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.