Jul 31, 2009

Dragonlance Comics (Issue 22) - Landfall

Landfall

Landfall part 1 The issue starts with Riva and Fizban on a boat out in the middle of the ocean, in the middle of a storm. It seems Riva is on this boat as part of a mission from the knighthood for her to prove her obedience to the order. Fizban also has a mission for Riva, instructing her to bring her love of goodness, justice, and mercy to the continent of Taladas, a continent of Krynn that hasn't known those virtues for centuries.

Before her boat crashes into the rocky shoreline, Fizban teleports the warrior and her magical dragonlance onto the dry plains of this new land. Nearby, Riva sees two people on horseback (a man and gnome) being chased by a huge group of warriors. The two are so desperate to evade the chasing legion, they push their horses to leap over a huge chasm.

On the other side of the chasm, they are confronted by a one-handed minotaur named Axantheas riding atop a blue dragon. The minotaur focuses on trying to kill Griffin, the human warrior, while Skrum rides his horse into the nearby forest for cover.

Axantheas, believing the gnome is in possession of a special ring, has his blue dragon unleash lighting strikes in an attempt to burn the forest down. Skrum is able to ride out of the forest and rejoin Griffin. As the two ride away, the blue dragon gives chase, mere feet away from snatching the riders off their horses.

From a high outcrop, Riva jumps onto the beast, plunging her dragonlance into the dragon's hide. As the dragon twists around, Riva falls to the ground and immediately takes a position ready to spear the creature again if it gets close enough.

As the dragon dives toward the young woman, Griffin snatches her up onto the back of his horse and rides toward the dragon. Riva, now standing on the back of Griffin's horse, stabs the blue dragon in it's exposed underbelly. The attack causes her dragonlance to break and sends the dying creature down a deep canyon. As it falls, the minotaur is able to safely leap off the steed.

As they ride away from the area, introductions are made, and Griffin mentions that he and Skrum are soldiers of "The League of Minotaurs" (a name Riva is not familiar with). Finding a quite cave nearby, the three stop for a rest. Griffin learned that the general had made a deal with the Erestem, the Queen of Darkness (another name Riva doesn't know) against the Emperor of the League. Fearing for their own lives in such a civil war, Griffin and Skrum stole the dragon ring from the general, by cutting off his hand, and were trying to inform the emperor of his general's treachery.

Overhead, the sound of horses indicates that the soldiers are still searching for Griffin and Skrum and riding away from their current spot. As the three head out of the cave, they are surrounded by a group of soldiers, the ones they heard overhead in the cave were securing the other exit from the caves.

Surrounded by human and minotaur soldiers, Griffin decides to surrender. While they will be executed for treason, that will be done before the Emperor of the League, the one person capable of helping them.

Commentary

Before I start my review, let's have a little history lesson. Late 1989, TSR decided rather than continue to develop the existing Dragonlance setting (the continent of Ansalon) for the Dungeons and Dragons game, instead to launch a new setting, Taladas. Taladas was set in the same world, but on a totally different continent.
Trivia: For almost 15 years these comics would be the only fiction set on this new continent until 2005 when Chris Pierson wrote Blades of the Tiger, the first book in the "Taladas Trilogy".
When the story first appeared, I was disappointed, as I would rather read more stories set on Ansalon than a new land that I didn't care as much about.

But putting that aside, this was a great first issue. The artwork was great, with plenty of detail on the dragon and the minotaurs and the action scenes, especially Riva and Fizban on the boat, and Riva fighting the blue dragon were exciting and well paced.

One thing I didn't like was the slight changes to Riva's appearance. In this issue she appears more muscular for one, but worst of all, her facial expressions seem more intense, more angry, even when they shouldn't be.

Overall, I'm really looking forward to the next part of the story, and maybe a return of the "softer, gentler" Riva we've seen in the other stories.

Jul 30, 2009

Not Quite 101 Uses for A Petrified PC

As Qualar wandered the dank dungeon alone, he could almost hear the call of the ancient magical treasures surely contained within. He skulked along the walls like a rat, peeking into the room with caution. But the pull, the promise of great power was too much. He entered. . . and came face to face with a basilisk.

Several hours later when the party found him (for Qualar wasn't going anywhere now) they began to wonder what they would do with a petrified party member.

A long (long) time ago, I started working on an article based on a real-game event (real-life sounds strange when talking about imaginary characters). I wanted to come up with 101 uses for the PC after he was petrified, but ended up falling short.

  1. Use him as the figurehead of a boat
  2. Use him as a decoy
  3. Use him as a pole to hold up a tent
  4. Use a reduce spell to turn him into a finely detailed figurine
  5. Use a reduce spell to turn him into a bullet for a sling/staff sling
  6. Shatter him into pieces (and thereby destroying any chance of returning him to normal) for a bunch of bullets for a sling/staff sling
  7. Use him in a catapult (again, the chances of returning him to normal after this are slim)
  8. Tie a rope or chain to him and use as a boat anchor
  9. Display as art
  10. As a person always willing to listen to your problems, and never trying to get a word in edgewise
  11. If the character was good enough to get petrified while holding a sword, he or she can be used for dueling/fencing practice
  12. Use as cover from ranged attacks
  13. Use as a clothing/armor mannequin
  14. As a conversation piece ("Did I ever tell you the story of how he got this way?")
  15. As the perfect painters model ("Now just hold that pose!")
  16. As a scarecrow
  17. For display in a rock garden, especially appropriate if he was a gnome
  18. Grind him into a fine powder; the dust can be thrown in opponents eyes
  19. As a perch for birds
  20. With a stone shape spell, he can become the cornerstone of a new building, hopefully dedicated in his honor
  21. With a permanent levitate spell and a piece of string, he can be a balloon
  22. Hollow out the insides to create a secret hiding place
  23. ...and if filled with candy and toys, a pinata!
  24. Paint him pink and use him as a cheesy lawn ornament.
  25. Wrap him in fur and let the ranger's pet use as a scratching post
  26. Shrink and use as a bracelet charm
  27. or an earring
  28. or as a door knocker
  29. or a necklace
  30. or a Christmas tree or other festive ornament
  31. or as a chess piece (Khas if you're a Dragonlance fan)
  32. or use in a role playing game (he could be his own mini!)
  33. To prove the theory of gravity (the larger broken pieces could be used again and again to verify this theory)
  34. With a permanent stone shape spell, he can be play-do
  35. Use as a battering ram
  36. Use as a very large candle holder
  37. Use as a paper weight
  38. Properly modified, he could be a bobbing head ornament
  39. Shrink and place into a glass bowl filled with water and silver shavings to make a "snow globe"
  40. Use as a door stop
  41. Use as a barricade
  42. Use as a coat and hat rack
  43. Use as a giant sharpening stone
  44. Use as a coat and hat rack
  45. Use as a weapon (club or sap)
  46. Use as a lasso practice target
  47. Use as a permanent torch with a Continual Flame spell
  48. Reduce, hollow out and add holes in his head to create a salt or pepper shaker
  49. Lean on it's side, a bench
  50. Use as a warning alarm with a Magic Mouth spell
  51. As the recipient of a Stone to Flesh spell, but who'd wanna do a thing like that!
So here's my list... if you have any suggestions, add a comment and maybe together we can finally finish this list...

Jul 27, 2009

DM Tools - Post-It Notes and Note Cards

As someone who runs a lot of pre-made modules, some of my best DM tools are Post-it Notes and Note Cards.

The best things about the Post-It notes "stickies" are that they come is all different shapes and sizes. They also come in all different colors, but I'm too lazy to come up with any kind of color-code system. In the modules I'm running, I use the small stickies to remind me of key information I might need during a session. If a certain piece of terrain has a unique effect or associated DC to cross, I'll write up a small note with the DC and/or effect. This makes it a lot easier than having the re-read a paragraph in the middle of the game to get all the details (monsters and traps are usually easy to find in a glance, but sometimes even these too need a little reminder).

Larger notes can be for listing out a creature or NPC battle plan (round one: fireball. round two: silence on the mage, etc), or I'll rewrite the "read aloud" text. I may need to change something for my specific campaign setting or campaign idea, but just as much I rewrite text so that it sounds more natural to me.

Also, I sometimes use the really large stickies to block out large sections of the module. In a recent module, I did a lot of changing around for various reasons, and dropped a number of the original encounters. When I did that, I just covered up the encounter number so I wouldn't get distracted during the session.

My other favorite DM tool for prepping a module is note cards, but not just any note card. A little while ago I stumbled on 4x6 index cards at my local Staples with a grid on the front instead of lines. These cards are a great size for drawing an encounter area (room, crossroad, campfire) and listing key info like location of monsters, traps, treasure, and even monster hps if there's room. Additionally, I can attach a sticky with the "read aloud" text (as I talked about above) to start off the encounter and run combat right off the card.

For me, when I run my own adventures, I don't need as many reminders since all the ins and outs of the module are in my head (and the paper is just an outline of locations and events), but when I'm running pre-made adventures, my stickies and note cards are invaluable tools for helping me make the module mine.

If you have other "tricks" or tools to running your games, please leave a comment, I'm always looking for new ideas.

Jul 21, 2009

Celebrity Dungeons and Dragons

You ever wonder what would happen if Celebrity Poker and Dungeons and Dragons ran into each other like an early 80's commercial for Reece cups?

Luckily you don't have to wonder any more. Here's on idea of how a celebrity session might play out:



and for some color commentary on the game session:

Jul 17, 2009

Dragonlance Comics (Issue 21) - A Special Issue

A Special IssueThis issue contains two stories, one featuring Myrella and the other with Riva Silvercrown. Sadly, the two tales are separate, so Riva and Myrella never actually meet.

The Sorceress' Apprentice

This short tale is any early adventure of Myrella before her first appearance in issue 5. The would-be mage is in a forest with another mage, Jenque, planning to assault the nearby castle of Borgys, who is also a mage. It seems that Borgys is in possession of the staff of Ethys, and plans to use the magic item to raise an army of undead and conquer the local province. Jenque can't enter the castle as the old mage has cast a protection spell around his stronghold.

Jenque asks Myrella to sneak in and destroy the amulet Borgys wears. The amulet is a component of the protection spell that keeps her at bay. Myrella is at first nervous, but knows she needs to prove herself if she wants Jenque to accept her as an apprentice.

With only a few basic spells, Myrella enters the castle. Coming across a pair of guards, her sleep spell renders them unconscious quickly. Delighted at the magic running through her, she casts another spell to blast through the door to Borgys' chamber. In the confusion, Myrella races in and seizes the amulet before the old man can put up a defense. Borgys cries out as Myrella crushes the device, ending the protection spell around the castle.

As the smoke and dust clear, Myrella notices a dead woman on a stone altar. The corpse wears a wedding ring; one that matches the ring Borgys wears on his own hand.

Just then, Jenque grabs the staff and with her own magical abilities, kills Borgys. In horror over her part in this, Myrella runs out of the castle. Moments later Jenque appears. As Myrella cowers in fear, anticipating her own impending death, Jenque begins to explain.

Borgys' control of the staff had already driven him insane and his plan to bring the dead woman back to life would create an unnatural bridge between the realms of death and live; Borgys could be allowed to complete his plan. As Jenque walks away into the night, she reveals that Borgys was her father.

To Sail on Sunbeams

This story focuses on an early adventure of Riva Silvercrown. It starts off with a bronze dragon bringing food back to a nest of wyrmlings. Meanwhile Riva is climbing up the huge mountain toward the nest in response to a dare from her friend Brak to grab a piece of one of the dragon eggs.

As she loses her grip and starts falling, she is grabbed by the adult bronze dragon, who promptly plops the young girl in the middle of the nest. The bedding of the nest gives way and Riva falls into a dark cavern surrounded by the dragon's treasure. When the huge dragon takes flight, a few of the wyrmlings also fall into the cavern.

In the cavern, a group of gnomes arrive from a connecting tunnel. They see the wyrmlings as potential hostages and a way to insure that the adult dragon won't stop them as the gnomes loot all the treasures here.

When the parent dragon returns, the leader of the gnomes grabs a wyrmling and holds it at knife point. He demands that the dragon hand over a Dragon Orb, an item that the bronze doesn't have. Riva claims to have found it in one of the treasure piles, but this is a ruse to distract the gnomes for a moment while she attacks and ultimately chases them away. Her bravery and selflessness earns her the gratitude of the parent dragon.

Several days later, Riva watches in delight and amazement from a nearby ledge as the wyrmlings are learning to fly. The stone gives way under her, and she starts to fall. Moments later one of the wyrmlings rescues her.

After the bronze dragons take Riva home, she is given a special amulet. It will identify her to other bronze dragons as someone worthy of being a dragon's familiar. Also it will also make her forget this experience.

While the dragons fly away, Riva clutches the amulet in her hand, proclaiming this to be a greater treasure than any piece of dragon egg.

Commentary

The art for The Sorceress' Apprentice was really well done for the most part. Myrella looked like a teenage girl, Borgys had the look of a crazy old man, fitting based on Jenque's story. Jenque herself had a very sexualized look, more like a temptress than a mage. Also the castle had a great attention to detail and the scene of the exploding the chamber door, followed by the smoke filled room helped capture the swiftness of that action.

A few of the things I didn't like, art wise, where that neither of the mages wore any kind of colored robe. Most mages wear colors in line with the order of magic they belong to. Borgys should have had a black robe, while Jenque is probably a red robe. Based on the twisty ending, I understand hiding her magical allegiance as she appears evil for a while till she explains her side of the story.

As for the plot, I liked the pacing and overall theme. In only ten pages, this tale turns out to be more compelling than some of the previous arcs that used up eight times as many pages.

With regard to the Riva story, as a generic fantasy tale, it's ok. As a dragonlance tale, it's downright awful. Clearly this author (each story was written by a different person) has little to no familiarity with the dragonlance setting, and no understanding of what the world was like before the War of the Lance, when this story had to have taken place (as Riva is grown up in issue 1, which takes place at the beginning of the war).

For instance, before the War of the Lance, dragons, especially bronze dragons, were not on the continent, and had been unseen for so long that most people thought they were a myth. Certainly Riva and Brak shouldn't have known were one was nesting.

Additionally, the gnomes do not behave like dragonlance gnomes, being more obsessed with money and magic, than technology. Likewise, the gnomes names and speech patterns don't match krynnish custom. Lastly, one gnome even refers to his "Uncle Trapspringer", a mythic kender, NOT gnome.

It's a shame the story is so flawed, because the artwork is fantastic. Riva is drawn to look like a young teenager, with an outfit close to what she wears in the first story arc. The art has great scene detail, from the various scattered items in the treasure cavern, to all the details on the mountains in the range. Likewise her facial expressions are detailed and very expressive.

Here's to hoping that next issue isn't so uneven as this "special issue" turned out to be.

Jul 16, 2009

Real Life People Need Help Too

One of the things I love most about D&D has nothing to do with character classes, or magic items, or any of that. What I love most about the game is that at it's core, it's a cooperative experience. The players and DM work together to tell a story, one that neither one could have told on their own, but one that exists only through the collaboration of all the people involved.

In real life this occasionally happens too; a chance or an opportunity to collaborate on the larger story of life. Sadly this tale starts with a man hoping for a little assistance, help from a group of virtual strangers and willing to offer a reward for their generosity and compassion.

In this case it's a story all too common these days. Without medical insurance and in need of cancer treatment for his wife, the bills have added up to an epic level. And now he seeks our help.

Please read his story in his words: http://tinyurl.com/n94phr

Now is the time for all of us to put down our pencils, and set aside our dice. Now is the time for us to show our real character, our true class, and help in any way we can. If you can make a donation, great. If not, you can still spread the word on YOUR blog, YOUR Twitter network, or YOUR Facebook page.

One of the truisms of D&D is that when different peoples all come together for a single cause, they can overcome great obstacles, and triumph over evil. And while the world doesn't always work that way, it doesn't mean we should stop trying.

Jul 13, 2009

D&D Fan? Wear It Proudly

If you're a Dungeons and Dragons fan, you probably talk the talk. Well, now it's time to walk the walk.

I'm sure you have some collection of game related t-shirts in your closet or drawer. I personally have the Choose Your Weapon tee along with at least one TSR tee adapted from a classic module cover. But now it's time for the latest in gamer clothing... your footwear.

Seems there's a contest going on right now to design a D&D sneaker. Top prize includes $1000. For more on the contest and a gallery of current submission, check out the RYZ site.

Jul 10, 2009

The Draconians are Coming, The Draconians are Coming

Pictures of the miniatures in the next D&D set, Legendary Evils, confirm that two creatures exclusively from the Dragonlance setting will be included. This new set will feature minis for both the Aurak and Sivak types of draconians.

Previously, the Dragoneye set included minis for the Baaz and Kapak draconians. Now all I need is for them to create a Bozak figure to round out the set. Interestingly the Baaz and Kapak are the two weakest and the Aurak and Sivak are the two strongest, leaving the Bozak to suffer middle-child syndrome.

Another exciting bit of news about draconians is that one of the new source books will include 4e stats for these creatures. I haven't heard yet if the book will also include rules to play Baaz and Kapak, like the 3.5 edition of Dragonlance did.

All of these little bits are leading some to think that Dragonlance will be the new 4e setting for 2010 (last year was Forgotten Realms, this year is Eberron). While I hope it is Dragonlance, I wouldn't be surprised if Dark Sun was the next setting, since it never got a real 3.0 or 3.5 update, except for a few articles in Dungeon/Dragon.

Jul 8, 2009

Blackwater Keep: Barbarians at the Gate (part 1)

After using the Gem of Amara to shatter the bones of the Black Scourge and disperse his ghostly form, the party spent some time with Greybear and the local druid circle resting and healing from their adventure.

After a few days, they bid farewell to their druid friends and journeyed back to Dun Eamon for training and to seek out Elinda Bannon's aid. The mage in residence for the town had helped the party in the past, and hopefully she could shed light on how to deal with the dragon's bone shrapnel still embedded in their bodies. While it didn't hurt, everyone, except for Jesriel, felt a slight sensation where the fragment was.

By the time they returned to Dun Eamon, they found that Elinda was out of town for the next few weeks. The party used that time to get supplies and train in their various skills. At the same time, Adow was summoned by the Wizards of High Sorcery to take his Test, the results of which were sometimes fatal.

When Elinda returned, Hunter, Theo and Jesriel went to see her. After explaining their story, she realized that the only person in the area that might have an answer is Marzena, a mage and friend of Elinda's that specializes in dragon lore. Marzena was currently at Blackwater Keep, providing magical assistance to the guards in the keep and researching the rumor of a black dragon in the swamp. The party planned to head for the outpost once Adow returned.

When Adow returned, the party was shocked to see the changes the Test had wrought on the young man. Clad now in the white robes of good, Adow had apparently suffered greatly in his test. A large scare covered one side of his face, with some of his hair gone from the burn. In place of one of his eyes a large gem glittered as it moved within the socket.

Adow claimed to have little memory of what happened during this test, and could not explain how he survived, or earned white robes. While the gem was also a mystery, he did confide that he could see through the gem, even to the point of seeing in the dark like an elf.

jarak-sinn warriorAfter this reunion, the party set out shortly thereafter for the keep. The journey was uneventful until the last day. As they crested the final hill, they could see the keep in the valley below. Surrounding the building appeared to be several dozen jarak-sinn. Small clusters of 5 or 6 of the lizardmen dotted the area around the keep and even more dead lizardmen and dead soldiers littered the landscape. The nearby stable looked to be damaged and the dead carcass of a horse lay in the doorway.

In the keep itself, providing defense, less than a dozen soldiers manned the wall, some walking wounded, others covered in the blood of their comrades, all very exhausted. They probably couldn't out last a second assault from the jarak-sinn.

Moving closer, the party was able to get into a good fighting position without being noticed by any of the attackers. At first Hunter and Adow launched attacks from bows and spells. The long range attacks picked off a few of the jarak-sinn and caused others to advance on their position. When the lizardfolk got close enough, Theo and Jes sprung from their hiding spots and attacked those closest to them.

After the first group was defeated, two more clusters of jarak-sinn moved in to attack. Switching to his sword, Hunter dove into the fray swinging and hacking at the nearest jarak-sinn before him, while Adow unleashed any one of a number of deadly spells on the lizardfolk. Soon a dozen or more bodies lay around them. Seeing this, the other jarak-sinn retreated into the forest and into the swamp. For now the area was safe.

Inside the keep, the party found the remnants of an earlier attack where the jarak-sinn breached the main door. That time it took most of the soldiers to push them back and secure the keep.

Hunter went about helping the soldiers by treating wounds, changing bandages and for the most sever cases, administering some of the healing potions everyone had brought along.

"Thank you for all your assistance with the men here," the soldier, Arton said with a wave of his hand at the wounded men huddled around a table in the mess hall, "and for chasing off the 'folk out there."

"I know you want to speak with Marzena, unfortunately she was one of the people on the front line when those filthy 'jars' broke down the door. They pulled her and two other men out like trophies!" Arton spoke, the anger spilling out of his voice along with each word.

"I really wish we could run into the swamps and get them back, but as you can see, there's no men to spare right now. I can't offer a reward, but I can assure you that Lord Angus will know of your bravery. Can we count on your help?"

After the party agreed, Arton took everyone to a private room. Together they reviewed maps of the local area.

"In addition to the half dozen or so tribes in the swamp," Arton began, "there are a number of other creatures and hazards, not the least of which is the rumor of a black dragon. We've never seen it or seen traces of it, but Marzena was trying locate where it might be."

After a short pause, he continued, "the 'jars' today were all from the Black Spear tribe, based on their weapons. They lair somewhere in this general area," the soldier drew a wide circle on the map with his index finger, "infighting between the tribes keeps their numbers small and keeps them on the move every season."

"I wish I could be more specific on where to find them. It's important to find them soon, since the these jars seem to have a real 'taste' for the humans."

With that, the party set off into the swamp, hoping that they could rescue everyone before time ran out...

Jul 6, 2009

Twitter... Social Networking Tool or D&D Magic Item?

And here I thought Twitter was just for staying in contact with friends, coworkers, etc... seems it can also be one pretty cool magic item for the 4th edition of D&D:

http://allgeektout.com/2009/06/24/gituot/

Jul 3, 2009

Dragonlance Comics (Issue 20) - A Winter's Knight Concludes

A Winter's Knight

Winter's Night part 4This issue starts off with Riva, Darial, and Shaya meeting with Palin Majere at the Castle of the Dawn. She delivers the secret to the draconians undoing (as revealed last issue), which turns out to be a magic scroll created by Takhisis. It was created in case the draconians became too power to keep under control.

Palin casts the spell, which summons all draconians within a 200 mile area to travel to this location. The closer they get, the weaker they get, making them easy to defeat. This should effectively end their control on the area.

Afterward, Riva talks about another great victory that happened here, Wistan Dawnbringer's final battle with the black robed wizard Ravenna...

Wistan's tale picks up with him and two knights, Collum and Hagen, heading toward Ravenna's base over snow covered lands. Along the way they are confronted by a group of thanoi (commonly called walrus men). While the thanoi are usually in the coldest climates, the three year winter has made these lands ideal for them.

During the fight, Collum is killed by one of the creatures, while Hagen and Wistan defeat the others. The remaining two knights set off for the wizard in the middle of the storm.

Some time later, after the storm has passed and the two knights are nearing the Castle of Dawn, they encounter another of Ravenna's guards; a frost giant in this case.

As the giant attacks, the two knights split up with Wistan heading for cover while Hagen draws the lumbering hulk onto a nearby frozen lake. Hagen narrowly avoids the giant's battle axe, causing the weapon to crack into the ice sheet it was standing. The crack, and the giants massive weight break the ice causing it to fall into the frozen depth. As it's last act, the giant grabs Hagen dragging the down to the same watery grave.

Wistan cries out for his friend, but is too far away to help.

As Riva tells her story, Shaya is saddened that so many good people have to die to defeat evil. Riva recounts those who have passed and how their sacrifice helped them bring Palin the spell needed to defeat the draconians. Riva continues with her story...

Wistan enters the castle to find it empty. In the main room at the top of one of the towers, Wistan finds three versions of Ravenna. Two of the non-existent versions dissolve under attacks from the knight. As he swings his blade for a killing blow at the remaining wizard, this one also turns out be an illusion.

By aid of her spells, Ravenna pulls Wistan's sword out of his hand and plunges a pair of daggers into the knight's stomach. Wistan charges the wizard and grabs his sword long enough to attack her with it. Locked in a hand to hand grapple, Wistan pushes her toward the open tower window. As they both fall to their death, Wistan proclaims that Ravenna will wield no more evil magic on Krynn.

As the two bodies lie motionless on the ground, the rising sun starts melting the snow, and the land starts to be reclaimed from Ravenna's long winter.

Commentary

This was a very, very good issue. The only thing holding it back from being a great issue, was that the Riva section of the story was so short and uneventful. After all her traveling, the ending is her and two kids watch Palin cast a spell. I would have liked some combat at the end, or some kind of resolution to Darial and Shaya's story. Overall, a very weak ending to her tale.

Also the art was a bit strange. As I commented before, it looks like DC was one again experimenting with some computer coloring on the pages, in many places it looked good (like Palin casting the spell), but in others it looked really awful (like the closeup of Riva where her age lines are done with shades of flesh tones, instead of line art. But that's only a minor complaint since the artwork for the draconians, and most of the other creatures and characters are nicely detailed and very engaging.

As for the Wistan section, the writing was strong and the art was probably the best of the series. The combats with the thanoi and the frost giant were exciting and well paced. I really enjoyed Hagen's trick and was sad that he didn't escape the giant after all his work.

Portraying much of Wistan's journey during a snow storm added an energy and urgency to the panels. The battle with the thanoi could have been a bit better, the creatures come off as naked brutes, and none wield their trademark ice battle axes.

But this small bit doesn't take away from what is a really, really good issue. The only way it could be better would be for all of it to focus on Wistan and ignore the Riva parts.

Jul 1, 2009

Flashback... The 60 Minutes Report on Dungeons and Dragons

Clips from 1985 episode of 60 Minutes looking at the alleged harmful influence of Dungeons and Dragons in the murder/suicides of several teens. Part 2 ends with a follow-up on Dr. Thomas Radecki, who became involved in another controversy a few years later.

Part 1


Part 2



Sadly, Pat Pulling died in 1997. I've found no information that she ever changed her opinion about the game or its effect on her son. As mentioned in the story, I suspect that this grieving mother may have needed something to blame for her son's unfortunate tragedy.