The Geek Emporium

The Great Geek Revolution is NOW!

The Alpha and the Omega

This is it!  The beginning and the end of a era.  Now begins the new.  It is the alpha and the omega.  It’s Skeletor in a bad He-Man.  It is all of those things and many, many more.  You are witness to the greatest moment in human history!  OK, so I’m being melodramatic!  So what, I’m freaking excited!

I had originally thought that it would take months of hard, laborous effort to develope the new site, but I was wrong.  the new Geek Emporium site is up and ready to receive new updates very soon.  So, the tentative plan is for the effective change to take place early Saturday morning.  Here is the basic schedule, just so everyone knows what’s going on:

Tomorrow’s posts will go up as normal.  The only exception is that tomorrow night’s post will be the last on this site, and will probably be the about being the last on this site.  If you receive feeds from us, then you’ll want to update your feeds.  The new site can be found here.

Other than that, the weekend will operate just as normal from your ends if you update feeds.  This is a big deal for me, and the whole Geek Emporium organization (man that feels wierd to type).  I’m hopeful that this will be a huge success.

Cliff jumping is never easy, so here’s hoping things go along well!  Wish me luck! 😉

September 11, 2008 Posted by | Movies, RPG, Television | 2 Comments

Busting Stereotypes Part 6 – The Bard

They’re dandies in fine clothing, carrying the obligatory lute, and always ready to give a chipper song.  Sure, they’ve not made their way in with 4th Edition, but word on the street has them coming in the PHB II.  That’s right folks, I’m talking about the good old bard, one of the most maligned classes in all of D&D.  However, bards are incredibly useful and don’t have to suck quite as badly as people think!

Of course, the first thing you need to do before playing a bard is make sure there’s plenty of role play opportunity for your character.  Bards tend not to excel in combat, and players get bored inspiring their companions alone, so if you’re playing a hack & slash type campaign, take my advice.  Play a rogue instead.

However, if you’re fortunate enough to have a heavy role play campaign, the bard can be a very useful class.  With the typically high charisma, they make great diplomats.  The 3rd Edition bards had healing spells that could serve a party well also.  Bards aren’t completely useless in combat either, though to say their useful is a bit of a stretch.

Yep, but bard is a pretty cool class when played to it’s potential.  But the stereotype is that of a performer who seems to want to play his lute more than anything else.  So, how do you stay true to what a bard is good with, without playing the stereotype up to the hilt?  Easy.  Storyteller.

Most of the bards abilities are based on CHA.  By making him a storyteller, you eradicate the dreaded instrument they typically lug around.  He also has more chance to interact with people, possibly encouraging a DM to give them a plus to his bardic knowledge check.  In addition to that, he may get synergistic bonuses to diplomacy, bluff, and intimidate!  In short, the bard can be the “mouth” of the party!  He’s definitely better suited to it than the arrogant wizard who thinks that everyone should kiss his feet anyways, right?

His dress can be muted, and he can carry a typical adventurers equipment. Perhaps he has multiclassed as a fighter or something, and therefore has some skill with a sword that even the average bard doesn’t have.  So, what people would see is a man in regular clothes, carrying a sword and regular gear.  Maybe some leather armor.  NPCs would think “low level fighter” (if the DM wants them to anyways).  Or, if dressed in finer clothing of a non-bard nature, perhaps a lower noble traveling through.  Either way, nothing necessarily screams “bard” to anyone.

The bard, to break the stereotype, must be played against the stereotype.  Most of what makes the bard unique is in 3.5 class abilities.  As we still don’t know what they look like in 4th edition, no one can really speak of how that all will work, but I suspect they’ll be powers instead.  Same difference really, as far as playing a bard.  Those powers/abilities are necessary since they are what makes a bard!

However, the crunch doesn’t dictate how you play them.  In truth, it’s trickier to play a bard against stereotype because the crunch doesn’t make it easy.  However, if it were easy, the stereotypes would have been crushed long, long ago 😉

September 11, 2008 Posted by | RPG | , | 5 Comments

The One Less Traveled By

I remember it like it was yesterday.  My wife and I had been playing a good amount of D&D, and she was a little depressed.  I asked her what was wrong, as any good husband should.  She looked at me and said “You know how we pretend to have these adventures?”

Not knowing where this was going, I answered “Yeah?”

“I just wish they were real!  That we were really doing something like this stuff!”

Now, on the surface, that just sounded like crazy talk.  But I thought for a moment and realized that it wasn’t really.  We talked a bit more, and she was basically just a bit bored of talking about doing cool things, when we just sat around watching TV when not role playing.  I really couldn’t argue with what she was saying.  We were both working crap jobs at the time, and money was always tight.  Short of living in a parent’s basement, we were damn close to fitting the dreaded gamer stereotype.

I didn’t really act on anything then.  It took several years, but I took up backpacking.  I started off as an ultralight backpacker, which is sort of a more extreme backpacking.  Less gear, more skill required since gear can bail you out of a tough spot, etc.

My first trip had all the makings of a disaster.  I had overestimated my ability and finally made it into camp that first night well after dark.  I set up my camp and crashed, my feet hurting in ways I didn’t think possible.  The next morning, I ate the nastiest eggs in the history of man (I’m telling you folks, freeze dried eggs are awful), and started back out.  I was exhausted, and glad to start the long, long drive home.

I had a deer walk less than 10 feet in front of me.  I scrambled around rock faces where, quite honestly, a wrong step would have resulted in some fairly serious injury, if not worse.  I drank from streams, and had to ration water due to drought conditions on the mountain.  I sweated my butt off by day, and was cold at night.

I had done it.  I’d actually become a real-life adventurer.  My wife’s passing comment years ago, one that she’s never really acted on herself, lead me down the road less traveled by.  It’s not for everyone, but it was for me.  Despite the times on the trail when my feet were killing me, I never gave in.  I finished what I started, and despite the pain, I had the time of my life.

I won’t sit here and tell you that you should take up backpacking, or anything else, but I do urge you to take that road less traveled by, whatever it may be.  Not only will you be doing something you can be proud of, but it may actually help your role play.  You’ll know what it’s like to walk 15 miles in a day with all your gear on your back, or you’ll know what it’s like braving white water rapids, or climbing a rock wall that goes straight up, or any number of other things.

Why stick solely with pretending to have adventures where there’s so many real ones you can have as well?

September 11, 2008 Posted by | RPG | , | 9 Comments

The Dark Knight Returns?

I don’t think it’s a big secret that I’m a huge fan of The Dark Knight.  Heath Ledger’s performance was legendary, and it’s a damn shame we’ll never get a chance to see him top it.  Well, Warner Brothers seems to think so much of the film that they’re working on rereleasing it in January to help with the Oscar voting.

A source told The Hollywood Reporter, “It’s just a matter of bringing it back as a reminder for people.”

Right now, Warner Brothers is in talks with IMAX executives.  As for whether they intend to return it to your local regular theaters or not is anyone’s guess.  Still, if you have an IMAX theater near you, this is something that could be very awesome for you folks!

To Warner Brothers, I just want to wish good luck.  I can’t help but feel that Ledger deserves the Oscar for his role.

September 11, 2008 Posted by | Movies | | Leave a comment