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Game the Game: Role vs Roll: “I roll to hit!”

Game the Game: Role vs Roll will be a regular series approaching gaming questions through the wisdom of memes, delivering unto you, “wisdom” and “advice” about roleplaying and roll-playing.


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As GM, you have crafted a terrifying villain, he has depth, he has ties to the PCs, you even have his voice and mannerisms down. The PCs meet up with him, as he sits on his throne.

And just like that, you’re into combat.

Surely, you didn’t plan for this.

PCs can be kill-crazy murder-hobos/ crusaders for blood+justice.

How do you stop it?

Find better rules.

If you are playing a game that requires your NPC be ready for battle all the time, and must contend with the combat machinations of the PCs to survive, don’t expect your awesome NPC voice and description of the awe the NPC inspires to stop the PCs.

And, don’t make arbitrary rules.

Find a better rule-set.


Game the Game: LMTYAMC: Corum

Raise your hand if your RPG character is an orphan.

That’s a lot of hands out there.

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Genre fiction, of which RPGs often seek to emulate, is filled with orphans. Loners.

My friend challenged us years ago, in a D&D game to think outside the box.

My character, a paladin who might have had a crisis of conscience (I believe we started at 5th level) had a wife and daughter. I found this to be compelling.

His greatest moment came not when he one-hit killed the dragon (the DM was trying out a new critical hit system, it worked great!).


His greatest moment came when he returned home and his wife told him that the nuns in his order had taken their infant daughter, claiming she was chosen for a higher calling. His wife was inconsolable.

I marched down to church and demanded her return. the higher-ups in the church were clear what would happen to me if I betrayed them.

I was able to secure my daughter and return home.

Would I be outcast? Would the church turn their back on me? Would my god?

All compelling questions.

The most compelling conflict came not from fighting Evil, but from having to make a tough decision.

It was no decision at all.

Never once did I ask the DM what would happen, from a game rules standpoint.

Allow yourself to develop a deep connection. Allow yourself to make a decision based on what your character wants to do, not what is proper in terms of game mechanics. As a GM, push your players to make these decisions, ignore the rules. Be in the moment.

I wish I could tell you happened to Corum. The game ended on this note, which on one hand is incredibly frustrating, but on the other is a perfect conclusion.

Imagine If: Batman and Robin, Release Date 1964

Imagine if Hollywood had released tent-pole comic-book movies starring their iconic characters around the time of the source material’s release date. For the purposes of this experiment, we will say that a movie would be released 5 years after the introduction of the character, and only movies that have been made would be made.

The Bat-franchise was struggling, Mitchum was happy to collect his paychecks, and his acting style had worked for a gritty performance, as producers threw everything at the franchise at an attempt to…. truthfully, no one is really sure what producers were trying to do, there were so many cooks in the kitchen.

Mitchum still donned the cowl, but his aloof nature and disdain for the material was quite evident.

2de0e94c1a379c0049ca6637b3a4bc6f--artful-dodger-school-picsRobin-Davy Jones

Hot off a Tony nomination for Oliver, Jones was a peculiar choice, mainly due to his English accent. Producers explained it away with batman having had a mod adventure in England and meeting young Dick Grayson.




PCDTUWE EC001Batgirl-Tuesday Weld

Producers wanted Batgirl to serve many roles, drawing in female viewers with a strong female character, and providing a cute foil for Robin. Unfortunately, Weld only had eyes for older men.




!C!3D8v!!mk~$(KGrHqN,!i0E0GwGU4)oBNE4OuztDw~~0_35Mr. Zero-Lionel Jeffries

Bald and English, he fit the theme of having Robin be a young street urchin.






MV5BODY0NTgzMTE4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzUxNTgzNA@@._V1_Nora Fries-Honor Blackman

Mod in The Avengers and Pussy Galore in a Bond film released the same year, Blackman was shown in flashbacks, but was Mr. Zero’s reason for villainy.

The film had a groovy soundtrack, the costumes and clothing was brightly colored, and although it made money, producers were willing to admit that maybe it just didn’t work that well. It has since become a cult favorite.










Wow or Woe, Release Date 7/26


This cover has nothing to with this issue. Nice job JSCampbell!

Secret Empire #7

I don’t have perfect recall, but I believe that Marvel made (sort of) relevant a character that was introduced with a ton of hype, and as far as I know has pretty much faded into obscurity.

How is that for a tease?

And when you scream because this is not the way a particular character would act. The character in this case is one who I am not a fan of, but who I respect. A character’s whose greatest moment of shame and weakness is one of my favorite moments in comics.

A character who has  a very complicated relationship with one of my favorite characters.

A character with a very black and white moral compass.

timthumb.phpThe previous issue felt like one of the issues that extended this series, it was an issue that felt like several beats needlessly prolonged into a whole issue.

This one has more happening.

Is any of it good?

You can decide, but for me, this gets a WOE!

Other comics this week: Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, Batgirl, Infamous Iron Man, Iceman, Your Pal Archie, Kamandi Challenge, Wonder Woman.


Crisis of Comics: The Wu-Tang

Crisis of Comics takes a weekly look at some of the recent publishing woes by the Big Two, offers up theories and concludes with suggestions about what might be missing.

Best_of_Spidey_Super_Stories_Vol_1_1“My daughter really liked the Wonder Woman film, can you suggest….”

“My son is really excited about the upcoming Thor movie, can you suggest…”

Comics (from the big two) have moved away from being for the kids. Gone are the single issue stories, gone are the kid-friendly (which doesn’t mean kiddie, although there is nothing wrong with Spidey’s Super Stories) tales.

There are plenty of comics being published for kids, some by the Big Two, but they often veer towards kiddie. If they want new (read: young) readers, they need to capitalize on successes, and have some comics be good entry points. There is nothing saying there cannot be mature story-telling. Mature, not always grimdark.

  • Action_Comics_469Wonder Woman. the current title is not far removed from the cinematic portrayal, but there has to be a middle ground between Super Hero Girls and the current title, a monthly Tales of Wonder Woman title, with one-off stories?
  • Spider-man. He is going back to being Friendly and Neighborhood, but the fact that he is likely still a CEO, etc, all the while a new Spider-man, with teenage PParker dropped this summer. When the current crop of Marvel titles launched, I recall there was a Spidey title. Keep it going, tales of teenage Parker, etc.
  • Batman. Kids love The Dark Knight, and not necessarily the Frank Miller characterization. Batman Family, a monthly book, stand-alone stories featuring Batman, Robin(s), Batgirl, etc.
  • Avengers. The team from the films, who cares if it is one-issue stories from their past, they need to at least acknowledge the team.
  • Superman. Something close to the character from the films, perhaps, but also with the optimism of 1970s Curt Swan era-Supes.
  • SHIELD. There is this tv show, it has an audience, but is in discussions about cancellations every year.
  • Tales of the Teen Titans. A book bridging the gap between Teen Titans Go! and the current title, tales from their past, paying homage to the Wolfman/Perez era (sigh).
  • eric_chase_anderson_interview_03Legion (Marvel). Is it for the kids? Probably not, but neither were some of the comics of the 70s-80s. Kids don’t have to be spoon-fed garbage. See if Eric Chase Anderson can do the art.
  • Flash/ Arrowverse. Hear me out, I know they have books, but come up with a logo, and have these books take place in that corner of the Multiverse.
  • Runaways. Rekindle interest in this property.

The Pull List, Comic Release Date 7/26

701071_812197a14409d456fa969554a3e413f9ea5996d1There is an elephant in the room. The room being the Marvel and DC room. The elephants are Convergence and Secret Wars. Secret Empire has had moments, the most surprising was when it acknowledged the past of Marvel comics. I enjoyed International Iron Man, and wish that titled had not been cancelled. It is one of my favorite artist-writer combos. Another one of my favorite combos is on display in Infamous Iron Man. What gives it that little extra something is that it acknowledges the Marvel history. This is one of the books I most look forward to when it comes out.

Game the Game: Role vs Roll: The Thrill of Twenty, the Agony of 1!

Game the Game: Roll vs Role will be a regular series approaching gaming questions through the wisdom of memes, delivering unto you, “wisdom” and “advice” about roleplaying and roll-playing.

If you’re playing a d20 based game, do you remember all the awesome 20s you rolled in critical times? What about all the 1s?


How many d20 rolls do you make in an average session, assuming there is a combat or two?


If you’re going to tell me about your character, i don’t want to hear every little detail, I want to hear about your Epic Triumphs as well as your Legendary Failures.

In my recent time as a player, I recall one of each, as fate, not FATE, would have it, they have consecutively, and had incredibly dramatic results.

I rolled a nat 20, saving my teammate, an individual who never trusted me.

And when it came time to save myself, I rolled a nat 1.

Maybe I was meant to die a martyr.

Does your choice of system include interesting results? As a GM, are you preparing situations that can produce interesting results?

In 20 years, players are not likely to remember the actual riddle, but they might remember the result….



Vinyl Diving: Tom Dickie & The Desires: Competition

tomdickie_competitionThe second in my reporting on Vinyl Diving with my turntable owning friends. Find #1 was St. Paul, and find #2 was Tom Dickie & the Desires, Competition.

Information on St. Paul was there to be found, if one dug just a little.

Tom Dickie. Not so much.

Whatever happened to Mr. Dickie?

Can I do better than the above information?

It was rock, kind of generic, not bad at all, but not that memorable.

As of 2011, he was filmed making music in Boston still, not the band, the city.

Sadly, no real web presence.

Would I venture out to see him? Perhaps.

Should you venture out to find your own copy of this album.