Food on the Table

Okay, that was weak. I was tired and on my way to work when I wrote that last “update”. Let me try again.

I’ve even got a good topic. Food around the table.

We’ve all heard the Mountain Dew and Cheetos jokes, right? Well, as far as they go, I prefer Doritos, and the Dew? It has to be Code Red. Code Red is my DM fuel, in the most literal manner. I’m currently not of drinking age in America quite yet, but if you want to talk alcohol….I dunno. Ask your parents. I once tried to teach a room of drunk people how to play Munchkin, and it went about as well as trying to put a cat on a vegan diet, with similar results.

I’m well acquainted with snacks, and I’d like to share a few tips and ideas:

  • If you’ve got a fancy-shmancy expensive game mat like I do, it’s probably a good idea to limit the messy foods. stick to small, handful-style foods, like M&Ms, Skittles, pretzels, or chips. No dips though. Expensive game mat, remember?
  • These will probably get me laughed at, but if you’re of a healthier bent, then nuts, raisins, trail mix, and my personal favorite, dried fruit (pineapple especially, but trust me when I say that eating more than a pound of the stuff in one sitting? Not a great idea.). IF you spill any of these, you probably won’t ruin any character sheets.
  • If you want to get a little more creative, you can tie in the foods you eat into your game. Smell and taste are your major memory trigger senses. If you’re running the game, and the PC’s are traveling over a long distance, serve them up something that might be a part of their rations, aside from the dried fruit and nuts mentioned above, people tended to take foods that wouldn’t spoil on long journeys, and this meant preserved foods like pickles, dried meats like beef jerky and smoked fish (As a former Alaskan, that means salmon). If your PCs are in a tavern then you can try simple stuff like cheese and bread and pickles (a cheap plowman’s lunch). If you want to put in the effort and make it a party, meat pies still might be a little messy, yet historically accurate.

Fun fact: in D&D or one of the spin-off video games, you might have seen an item called an “Iron rations”. I wasn’t sure what it was at first, assuming it was something like beef jerky or something else with a high iron content, but after looking a little into it, Wikipedia tells us:

The first attempt to make an individual ration for issue to soldiers in the field was the “iron ration”, first introduced in 1907. It consisted of three 3-ounce cakes (made from a concoction of beef bouillon powder and parched and cooked wheat), three 1-ounce bars of sweetened chocolate, and packets of salt and pepper that was issued in a sealed tin packet that weighed one pound. It was designed for emergency use when the troops were unable to be supplied with food. It was later discontinued by the adoption of the “Reserve Ration” but its findings went into the development of the emergency D-ration.

Sounds less than appetizing to me. Why, you ask, is something  that was invented in the 20th century found in a medieval fantasy setting? Remember, the first D&D players were wargamers, people who studied the culture and tactics of wars throughout history. Gygax, a huge wargamer himself, probably borrowed a little something from that to add to his games.

If you’d like to share your typical gaming fare, leave it in the comments below. Until next time!


Dungeons and Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God thoughts

So, a few years back, the Nostalgia Critic reviewed the Dungeons and Dragons movie. That movie was somewhat universally disliked by it’s intended audience, and only has a 3.5/10 in IMDB. I was given a DVD of it a couple of years ago for Christmas. I was surprised to discover that it actually had a sequel, Wrath of the Dragon God, and that it was on the reverse side of the DVD. After watching the first one, I never really mustered up the interest to watch the sequel. Last night, I had just finished the MST3K collection I had picked up from the library, and I was desperate for something else to watch (while I worked on my super secret project). I grabbed the nearest DVD to me, which was Dungeons & Dragons. I realized I’d never seen the second movie, so I popped it in my laptop. I usually check out the special features first, and this disk had InterActual Player on it, you know, that DVD-ROM gimmick that was hard to actually get your computer to run for some reason? The disk has a module on it! I could actually print out the for four 1st-level players Servant of Decay module and play it if I wanted (and if I had friends), how awesome is that?! I looked up the module online and no one was talking about it, so either no one liked it, or no one had it.

Next I watched the interview with Gary Gygax, where he gives his blessing to the film, and it’s discovered that the characters in the movie actually have stats! Most of them are seventh level, and it even lists their stats and abilities. Almost as if they put actual thought into this movie!

Then I moved on to the actual film. The bad guy in this is Damodar, the second-in-command to Jeremy Irons in the first one, who has been cursed by Iron’s character Profion to become an undead Death Knight.

He’s trying to awaken a Black Dragon God and destroy the world. In Izmer (the city from the first one), an ex-knight turned bureaucrat named Berek is tasked with putting together a group of adventurers that can travel unnoticed. He chooses Lux, 7th-level Barbarian warrior woman, Nim, the grubby-looking but super competent 7th-level Rogue, Ormaline the Half(?)-Elven Wizard, and Dorian the Cleric of Obad-Hai. I was going to say I wasn’t a fan of the woman who played Lux because she seemed a bit too…svelte to play a Barbarian, then I found out she’s the same height as me, so….yeah…

Already I really like this movie.  It just feels like a D&D set up. A previous villain coming back stronger, an excuse to put a party together and a quest to send it on, each one filling out a desired niche (although in a real party, there probably would have been at least one Half-Dragon Rakshasa Warmage with levels in the Celestial bloodline. God I hated ECLs).

They travel to find the location of the abandoned temple that Damodar is hiding in with his MacGuffin what will awaken the dragon. Along the way, the Cleric dies (as per usual), and the Rogue is by far my favorite character. They get attacked by monsters in the Monster Manual (A White Dragon, darkmantles, unfortunately, no goblins), and eventually discover the location of the temple, and teleport there, only for the mage to teleport herself into a stone wall, trapping her arm. After another of one of this movies surprisingly well choreographed fight scenes, Damodar gets his arm cut off by a vorpal sword (which thanks to a scene getting cut just spontaneously appears in the main character’s hand).

They get the orb back to the temple, and stop the dragon. Those of you who have seen this movie know that I’m glossing over a lot. I’m not going for a full review, only a recommendation. If you are a hardcore fan of D&D (especially 3.5), definitely find a copy of this movie, it’s 100% worth the watch. It’s full of inside references, especially to classic D&D modules and items, and it’s done really well.

If I had to point to a part of the film and call it bad, it would be the special effects. These are made-for-TV budget effects, and it shows. The only thing that stops them from being silly, is that they’re used so often, and it just becomes part of the “look” of the film.