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Showing posts with the label Characterization

Putting the Howl in "Howl-loween Specials"

There are three things I've learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin. But this is our blog, and that means we can discuss whatever we want. Being the spookity time of year, it's a good opportunity to do just that. While "horror" might be the word of the month for many, there's also something to be said for the more mundanely macabre - the things that, while not horrific, blend right into the spirit of the month. Here at Never Say Dice, one thing that brings us into that space are the old Halloween specials of our childhood. While some should probably  stay buried in the past, worms crawling in and out of their corpses, others seem to endure over the years. The favorites might vary from household to household, but shows like It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown or Garfield’s Halloween Adventure are still commonly well-liked. That begs the question, though: what makes a good Halloween special work, and what can we take from t

Attitude Adjustment: Sonic, Poochy, and an X-treme Conundrum

I admit it: I'm not up to date on the Sonic Fandom . My familiarity with the character is limited to the original Genesis games, although I've certainly known people around my own age for whom the name "Sonic the Hedgehog" meant the animated series, comics, or (heaven help us).. newer video games. There have been the recent movies  keeping the character in the public eye, not to mention Sega embracing fan creations using the old 2D format though Sonic Mania alongside slicker, modern titles like Sonic Forces . Nonetheless, I've been spending a lot of time with the character lately - thanks to a couple of miraculous devices , I have the complete Sega Genesis library at my fingertips and I've been slowly working my way thorough the classics . Things are stressful for just about everyone these days, and being able to quickly pull up a something colorful and energetic for just a few minutes provides great comfort and relief. I beat the first Sonic the Hedgehog

I DO Wanna Be A Player!

This blog, at least the tabletop gaming entries, are mostly written from the perspective of Dungeon Masters and gamemasters. That makes sense, after all - the two writers here have spent significantly more time running games than actually playing in them. There's nothing wrong with this, but typically the people running tabletop games would like an occasional chance to be a player as well. So what happens when the stars finally align, and (after much convincing) one of your regular players or GMing friends offers to (gasp) run a session and include you as a player? If it's been a while since you were on the other side of the (literal or metaphorical) GM screen, the concept can feel a bit strange and even worrisome. Fear not! For this week on Never Say Dice, we have some tips to help you in the temporary transition from RPG Runner to RPG Player. - A A : You’ve made it to character creation and that backlog of unused ideas is practically screaming at you. If you’re anything lik

I Wanna Rock!

Planning out a character for your story or game can be difficult and time consuming. When you're just starting out, there are a great number of things to consider, no matter if you're working on a Player Character or an NPC. Even in digital games, there can be so much going on in the character creation process that it can be easy to be sucked in, fine tuning the looks and stats of your digital avatar to get it just how you want it... and before you know it several hours have passed and you haven’t even "played" the game! We’ve previously talked about developing characters by providing specific details, such as giving them current or previous jobs and love lives . Another thing you may want to consider is whether or not they have a pet (or even if they  should) . In Dungeons and Dragons, you’ll often see a Ranger with an animal companion, or a Wizard with their familiar. But you don't tend to see other character archetypes walking around with pets in D&D, or e

Superman and Purpose

Greetings, citizens of Metropolis, (Metropolians? Metro-ites? Metrons? Is there even a specific term?) and happy salutations to all for another annual Superman Day . While it may have originated as yet another spurious corporate holiday, for some it can still be an opportunity to celebrate a long-beloved superhero. Though I may tend to be more of a Marvel fan myself, DC Universe stalwarts like Superman and Batman have always been part of my media consumption. This may be an unavoidable force, as evidenced by both my children becoming fans of DC superheroes before they even consumed any related media. A while back, Bugsy broached the topic of nature of Superman as a character and property for a previous Superman Day. With such a long-running and widespread character, it's worth thinking about what our own personal experiences with Superman have been. How have they shaped our unique view of the character, and how will that change our interactions with future Superman media? For thi

Combat Culture

For the past two years, this weekend has seen “ Moments of Silence ” posts, the first in response to the murder of George Floyd, and the second to comment on what had taken place in the ensuing year. This year, the weeks leading up to the anniversary have seen a number of brutal, preventable, man-made tragedies, and, given their nature, the standard litany of finger-pointing -  particularly from those desperate to draw attention from the obvious connection between mass shootings and the ready availability of firearms. In addition to their current favorite targets, both human and conceptual (funny how the blame always falls on the people they were already mad at), and something that can only be described as “architectural victim blaming” (at least Ted Cruz’s comments about doors are being roundly mocked), the old classics were trotted out, including that aging recurring villain: video games. Both of us at NSD were in the same graduating class as the Columbine shooters, so, while we wer

This One's for You, Tapper OR Backyard Brew and Tabletop, Too

This weekend is the unofficial start of summer here in the United States. For many of us, that marks a time full of grilled burgers and cold brews. Previously, we talked about how food might disagree with you, and how to get the help of Peter Pepper at your table top . This year, the focus is on the brew part of the cookout events. While half of Never Say Dice is a teetotaler, that doesn’t mean we can’t all appreciate the strange fun of beer and games. If you haven’t figured it out yet, this year we’re pouring one out for Tapper . We’ll get into a bit of the game's history and its main character. We’ll also put together a Risus version for you to include in your own games. (If you don’t know Risus, fear not! Check out some of our previous Risus posts where we’ve taken inspiration from other classic arcade games, including Gauntlet and Pole Position . (Not to mention out our very own "Introduction to Risus .") So sit back, pour yourself a cold one with us, and enjoy learn

A Terrible, Stupid Catastophe: Loss and Trauma in the the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Douglas Adams would have turned 70 this year, and, over two decades after his untimely death, the impact he made on all our lives and culture, particularly through The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, remains largely unknown… just the way he liked it. Adams loved to blend the precisely known with the manifestly unknowable by turning the very concepts on their heads, filling his stories with asides, detours, and commentaries, usually(but not always) for their own sake, even especially when there was no way the characters themselves could possibly be aware of it. He took a shortcut through the entirety of human philosophy and religion by giving us the answer to the Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything... but kept the question itself a mystery all the way up to the end of the series. He never shied away from the very real massiveness and incomprehensible scope of the universe, but addressed the problems of long-distance space travel in some of the silliest (and most imagi

Willy Wonka - Cartoonish Supervillian or Time Lord?

Every spring, in at least some of the religions practiced in the States, brings yet another holiday full of varied confections: Easter. For some reason, perhaps it’s the candy content or the garish colors associated with the holiday here, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory seems to be the movie that most often comes to my mind. While there are other pieces of media that are more “classically Easter” entries, Willy Wonka just seems to belong here. Perhaps there’s something to those giant eggs, as well. Whatever the reason, it’s in our common consciousness around this time of year, and that has had me thinking about a couple of common internet theories. One common thought is that the titular character Willy Wonka is an incarnation of Doctor Who ’s (only semi-titular) protagonist, the Doctor. The other would have you believe that Willy Wonka is a cartoonish supervillian originating in the DC universe, most likely one of Batman’s adversaries. For this post, let’s go over the arg