Tag Archives: The Chief

Dropping Kayfabe

Back in October of 2014, my friend and I decided to compile all our D&D notes into one place. We decided to do that online, so both of us could access it whenever we wanted to, namely since neither of us would typically be using it at the same time. After some initial discussion about the style and layout of the contents, I was told to “do something that’s easy to read, and navigate”. About that same time, we decided to turn it into an actual, proper website, that other people would go to and use and stuff.

The decision was made to launch about a week before the 31st, because we had a bunch of Halloween-related material to post. Over the next few weeks, we changed the layout once or twice, reworked the column schedule a few times, and added or subtracted features as we saw fit. By the time we hit January, it had turned into the homegrown repository of class you all know and love.

From the very beginning, this website has only been run by the two of us.  Yes, we have multiple “staff writers”, but every single article on this website was written by one of two people. I write under the names “The Chief”, “Meepo”, and “The Mysterious Dr. X”. My compatriot uses “Pain”, “Hicks/Snout”, “Doderman”, and “GP Humongous”.

Now, as regulars of this blog might notice, the articles that appeared like clockwork, every week, were the ones written by me, and the ones that eventually stopped appearing altogether were the ones written by my friend. There’s a simple explanation for that- he got busy. I didn’t. I still had time to do it. He did not. So, he was eventually forced to stop contributing.

My friend got a new job about two and a half months ago, so he had to continue to not have time to contribute, on a more long-term basis than before. (Up until then, he would occasionally spend an entire day just writing articles every couple weeks, then I would sweep in and parcel them out, once a week or so, to make them last as long as possible.) But then. Oh, but then. I also got busy. At right around the same time, I also got a new job. Now, both of us were working 40 hours a week, not to mention the kids and wife my friend has. Neither of us really had time to do it any more. (Sure, some of you might point out that lots of people that work 40 a week still have time to do other stuff. Do you remember the miniature series of game review articles I wrote? Those took me like nine hours to write. Each. And I did like seven of them. Or, do you remember how the format of the weekly Interviews changed after only a few months? It’s because those bastards would routinely take me six-plus hours to write. Each time. There’s no way I’d be able to work and have that kind of writing output.)

What I’m trying to say is, this website took up a LOT of our time, and we had very little to show for it. I’m gonna be really real with you guys, we got basically no response. We set up an email address to talk with our readers, and we never got a single message. I can count on one hand the number of comments and likes we’ve gotten on all our articles combined. And occasionally, we might get a couple visitors to the site. Like, a couple a week. But generally, I would log in every couple days to notice the “stats” page still completely barren, just like the last time.

So, like, I said, we spent assloads of time trying to make this website everything it could be and more, and we got no meaningful response. After a while, we both kinda had the same realization at the same time- “should we even keep doing it?” The question became a moot point when we suddenly realized we didn’t have the time to do it, regardless of whether the desire was there. But the seed had been planted.

So, back in early April, my friend turned in what would become his final (as of this writing) batch of articles. I don’t think neither of us knew that at the time, however. And after that, when he was no longer contributing, I fell back into my standard response that regular readers of this blog will recognize, because I’ve done it several times- multiple articles in a row all about the same thing, and making the articles I write longer to try to make up for the fact that I’m the only one writing them. That’s where my series on Fallout came from, that’s where my series on The X-Files came from, that’s where the idea of reviewing RPGs came from, that’s where the Traiters In Our Midst column came from, that’s where my Mad Max articles came from, et cetera.

It eventually got to the point where, when I said “time to write a new article”, that would be pretty much the only thing I had time to do that day. As such, everything else that I was supposed to be doing got pushed to the background. That’s why, in early June, I took two weeks off- I finally needed to do those other things I didn’t make time for any more. (And in case you were wondering, when I was talking about “trying to get GP and Pain back to writing again” in those updates, I knew when I wrote them that wouldn’t happen).

Unfortunately, I took those two weeks off, then immediately after that, I got my job. I tried to still keep it going for a couple weeks, but it just wasn’t working. You might have noticed that, after the Great Hiatus was over, the articles got noticeably shorter- a handful of plot hooks, a reminiscence about a former game, a new item, a Traiter article (which is just me typing out stuff I already have on a list), and a couple Interviews whose format was specifically designed to be easy and quick to write (that’s why it’s the same questions each time). But even that was just too much for me. I just didn’t have time any more. And since I had to assume my partner in this endeavor was out of the game permanently (remember, by this point, it had been almost three months since last time he wrote anything for the site- or even logged in to it), if I stopped doing it, that meant that was it. As the only listed executive still actively involved in the production, it was up to me and me alone to make the decision as to whether to continue on. I ultimately said “I cannot”. I felt it was a disservice to the website, the readers, and our original intentions to attempt to keep this website limping along.

I’d rather this website produce no new content, then low-quality content.

So what does this mean for you, the Doderman Disciples? Well, the website will stay up, hopefully forever (remember, it was originally created to merely be a place to keep all our notes- that never changed), so you will still have access to all our top-quality articles and writings. As for the future? I would like this website to produce regular content again, but I just don’t see that happening without other people contributing as well. I enjoyed writing for this website, and want to do so once more, so this definitely will not be the final update the site ever sees, but since it eats up so much of my time, I don’t think it’s gonna be a regular, common thing any more, unless things change. But like I said, there will definitely be more articles. Eventually.

Roll those dice!
The Chief

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CRUSH YOUR ENEMIES

This pair of thin, red leather gloves is white around the wrists, with small black squares of padding lining the backs of the fingers.

The hands of the balrog seem like nothing more than a relatively innocuous fashion accessory at first glance. However, when the wearer clenches their hands into fists, a visible aura of energy surrounds their hands, bestowing upon them significant melee power.

The wearer of a pair of hands of the balrog gains a +2 competence bonus to their Strength score. Additionally, he can act as if he has the Streetfighting feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites. Finally, if he makes a full attack action of only unarmed strikes, he gains one additional unarmed attack at his highest bonus.

The Chief (BEAT IT, CHUMP)

Traiter In Our Midst: Descriptors- 141 Through 160

Hello, all you fine readers great and small! You saw the headline, so I’m pretty sure you know what to expect- so let’s get right to it!!!

  1. Old Lady Wearing  A Wig
  2. Classy
  3. Time Machine
  4. Scorekeeper Of A Chess Match
  5. Vineyard Owner
  6. Gangsta
  7. Hand Model
  8. Attracted To Katey Sagal
  9. Terrible Shoegaze/Ambient Band With Pretentious Name
  10. Clothespin
  11. Hero Of Time
  12. Garbageman
  13. Mulder
  14. Guy Who Invented The “Om Nom Nom” Sound Effect
  15. Oprah
  16. Cancer Patient
  17. Train Conductor
  18. Xenophiliac
  19. Cowboy
  20. Guy On Bus That’s Obviously Listening To Ozzy

Haha, excellent! Hope you guys enjoy these! They are quite the… diverse choices!

The Chief (wondering whether he should spend all his money buying a Scrooge McDuck style vault for all his millions. On one hand, it would be great. On the other, it would probably cost so much he would have no money left to actually put IN the vault. Decisions)

I’ve Been Debating When To Talk About This. The Debate Is Apparently Over.

Back a while ago- like, twelve or thirteen years ago- I happened to get in on the ground floor of something that only in retrospect did I realize would change my life. An acquaintance of mine from high school was putting together a Modern game, since Modern had come out the summer before, and Urban Arcana was about a month from release. A mutual friend knew that I played D&D, and so suggested me to him, if he was looking for more players. Luckily for me, he was, so I was asked to show up.

When I arrived, there was my school acquaintance, our mutual friend, and a few people I didn’t know. At that point, the team consisted of:

  • El, Mexican gunslinger
  • Hugo, underworld pit fighter
  • Hanis, expert hacker
  • Snake, military sniper
  • Vlad, federal agent
  • Jezebel, unregistered nurse

We played a session or two, then the DM bought a copy of Urban Arcana. The method with which the contents of the book became available to us ingame are too ridiculous to recount here, but suffice to say it was ludicrous. Literally the next session, we had a new player. Hilariously enough, the new person turned out to be Pain. That’s actually how, when, and where the two of us met. But that’s beside the point for this particular story. The team at that point consisted of:

  • El, lycanthrope gunslinger
  • Hugo, drow swordsman
  • Hanis, half-dragon hacker
  • Snake, half-fraal sniper
  • Vlad, revenant
  • Jezzebelle, half-celestial divine mage
  • Stone, grimlock boxer

Over the next three or four levels, we would switch DMs twice, lose Vlad, and see him replaced by:

  • Alec, catfolk drug dealer

And right around that point was when things started… happening. The player of Alec (who also played Vlad until he died) left the game after just a couple sessions, then Jezzebelle’s player quit maybe a month later. Her boyfriend, Hanis’s player, quit almost immediately after that. Then, due to unrelated matters, we took a break from playing for a month or two. When we returned to the game, El’s player was not invited to rejoin. By that point, however, we had found a new player to take over Jezzebelle. So by then (we were around level ten or so by this point, and it’s probably 2005 by then), the team was Hugo, Snake, Stone, and Jezzebelle, with the other four (Alec, Vlad, Hanis, and El) all relegated to occasional NPC appearances.

Over the next couple years, the sessions would happen more and more infrequently, until it was sometimes months between sessions. Eventually, they would stop altogether in approximately 2009, with the party at about level 17. Since then, we’ve played one session- in 2011, I believe- that was left unfinished. All evidence suggests it will remain that way permanently.

Looking back over what I wrote so far, I realize that I probably sounded a bit overly melodramatic at the beginning, talking about how it changed my life and such. But the thing is, it did. If I had never joined that game, I would have never met the people in it (including Pain), I never would have had a chance to play Modern (which, in case I haven’t mentioned, is my favorite RPG). Plus, this happened right after I had started playing D&D. I’d been playing for maybe two months when this Modern game started. I honestly can’t tell you how my life would be different if I hadn’t joined that game, because it’s affected my life in so many ways I can’t even imagine myself without it.

I spent six years with these characters, you know? I saw everything that happened to them. The clones. The aliens. The dragons. The kids. The castle. The mountains. The displacer beasts. (I understand those sentence fragments don’t actually mean anything to you, but rest assured there’s a story behind each one of those phrases that’s long enough to get a whole column out of. Each.)

In about 2010, we created a spinoff campaign that took place in the same canon as this Modern game. As such, it was retroactively dubbed “Alpha” to the spinoff’s “Beta”. The concept was that it would follow an unrelated group of characters while they visited the locations of the major events in Alpha, and saw how things had changed due to whatever had happened there. Unfortunately, in practice, the only connection between Alpha and Beta was that Beta was stated to take place three years afterwards. It turned into a weird amalgamation of Animorphs and Silent Hill. You see, that characters were children- well, teenagers- and they fought monsters like you would expect to see in something like Resident Evil. The characters never visited any of Alpha’s locations, or got involved in any of their old operations, or anything.

Which was kind of a missed opportunity, I suppose. But I have no one to blame but myself (since I DMed Beta, while I notably did not DM Alpha). Anywho, Beta didn’t last long- I have very little confidence in my DMing ability- and the idea of Alpha was basically done for, never to return.

Until.

Fast forward to about six months ago. During a writing exercise, I craft a story about Alpha. That brief mention I made of “the kids” earlier? Well, while Alpha was still going on, a lot of the characters ended up having children over the course of the game.

  • Hugo married a human and had a daughter, Lily.
  • Stone and Jezzebelle had a son, Jewel.
  • Jezzebelle also had a son with Snake, Evan.

Anyway, about six months ago, I wrote a story about the three of them adventuring together. And it got me thinking. See, since Alpha ended, the person that played Snake stopped coming around. So it was Hugo, Stone, and Jezzebelle, was all that was left. Each one of them, during the run of Alpha, had a child. And I had always wanted to bring back Alpha. But I know it’ll never happen.

So how about the next best thing? How about a campaign about the children of Alpha- Lily, Jewel, and Evan?

The only roadblock- in the intervening five years, I have not gotten any more confident about my DMing capabilities.

The Chief (there’s another game that, in its own way, is just as important as Alpha is. I sometimes refer to it as “D&D’s Alpha”, since it’s a fantasy campaign. Maybe one of these days, someone will tell you the story behind the Sons Of Fate)

Staunch Traditionalism: A Chat

Meepo: Well folks, it’s Interview Friday, and what an interview it is! Joining us today is that most stalwart of companions, Berronar Truesilver herself! Known most famously as Moradin’s wife, she is in fact a major deity in her own right, using her maternal focus and iron will to keep the dwarf pantheon’s collective head cool when problems crop up.

Chief: But hey, we don’t want to spend the entire time just talking about her- let’s at least give her the chance to explain herself! So here she is- Berronar Truesilver, come on down!

Berronar: It is an honor, Mr. Chief and Mr. Meepo.

Chief: I can assure you, madam, the honor is ours. It’s not every day we meet one of the highest-ups in a given pantheon.

Berronar: Maybe not every day, sure, but you have before. Gruumsh? Blibdoolpoolp? Kurtulmak? The heads of their respective pantheons. I, however, am not.

Meepo: Um, well, that’s true I guess. But you’re still very influential. I find it… inspiring. Also, his name is #TopKekG now.

Berronar: …No it isn’t. Anyway, there’s no need to be THAT excited. They were influential too, to their own followers. I’m not different.

Chief: …Hm. I’ve got a question. Why are you going out of your way to minimize your own importance?

Berronar: It’s not so much I’m claiming I’m less important than I seem- that would be dangerous and unwise- but merely that I’m attempting to make sure we see things in proper perspective, and- if I’m remembering you’re phrase earlier correctly- “keep everyone’s head cool”.

Chief: You truly are a miracle worker.

Berronar: I just do what needs to be done.

—–

1. WHO/WHAT IS YOUR PERFECT DREAM DATE?

Berronar: Well, Moradin, of course. We only have eyes for each other.

Chief: Yeah, I suppose asking “who is your dream date” to someone married was kinda dumb.

Meepo: Well, remember though. That whole thing with Hephaestus and Athena.

Berronar: (shakes head) For shame, that man. “In all things, one must be true”.

Meepo: Well, I mean, in his defense, he is in… a bit of a different situation than you are.

Berronar: (sighs) To each his own, I suppose.

2. WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE ABOUT YOUR LIFE?

Berronar: Glenn Close.

Chief: Wow, that’s two weeks in a row where they’ve just (snaps fingers) got it, right away. Like they already knew.

Berronar: Well, I’ll be honest. Since all the previous Interviews are up on the site, I already know what the questions are. I’ve had all this time since initially booked a couple weeks ago to come up with the answer.

Meepo: Okay, that’s fair. But just to be sure- name someone else, right now. Who would be your second choice?

Berronar: Uh, uh… Meryl Streep.

3. DO YOU READ THE COMMENTS ONLINE?

Berronar: Only when I’m feeling particularly sorry for myself. Otherwise, I try my best to stay away, as any reasonable person should.

4. WHAT IS ONE THING YOU CAN’T DO, THAT YOU WISH YOU COULD?

Berronar: You know, as a woman, there are a lot of things I wish I could do. But honestly, I would have to go with “stop the flight of youth from the church”.

Meepo: What do you mean by that?

Berronar: Well, a lot of young dwarves see myself and my husband as stodgy and out of touch, spending our times doing more of the same instead of enacting real meaningful progress.

Chief: So?

Berronar: So, they think that our beliefs are slowly strangling the long-term survivability of the dwarven people as a whole, and are turning their backs on our teachings, looking elsewhere for spiritual guidance.

Meepo: So, you don’t want them to leave, but you’re unwilling to meet their needs?

Berronar: Well , when you put it like THAT… look, what I want is for them to realize the wisdom of our words. And I haven’t been able to do that. And that’s my answer.

Chief: And what an answer it is.

5. IF YOU COULD HAVE LUNCH WITH ANYONE FROM HISTORY, LIVING OR DEAD, WHAT WOULD YOU ORDER?

Berronar: Beer. Lots and lots of beer.

Chief: Interesting.

Berronar: No, you don’t understand. I basically can’t get drunk. Not only am I a dwarf, I’m a goddess! Literally! I could drink anyone under the table, and I will go out of my way to prove it.

Chief: I’m afraid to see you drunk.

Berronar: Why? I just said I can’t be. Why be afraid of something that doesn’t exist?

Chief: Your logic is unassailable.

6. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE MONSTER?

Berronar: I love the balrog from Lord Of The Rings. That dude is great. I love whips.

Meepo: (clears throat) Better let Moradin know.

Berronar: (laughs) Oh, you. You’re so funny. We’ve been married for literally hundreds of years. He knows.

Chief: Haha, okay, MOVING ON

7. WHAT’S THE DUMBEST, MOST BONEHEADED THING YOU’VE EVER DONE?

Berronar: Heh, uh, well, answer that last question the way I did.

Chief: What’s wrong with balrogs?

Berronar: You know, can we just, uh, drop it?

8. WHAT WOULD YOUR BAND BE CALLED?

Berronar: “7:37 PM, May 4th”.

Chief: Well now, bands don’t have names like that, that are just random. It obviously means something.

Berronar: You caught me, Mr. Chief. It’s the date and time my husband and I first met.

Meepo: (glances at watch) Happy belated anniversary.

Berronar: Thank you, sir.

9. WHAT WERE THE LAST THREE THINGS YOU GOOGLED?

Berronar: (pulls out phone) “Gogol’s”, “Goohle”, and “goole”.

Meepo: …You were searching for “google” on Google?

Berronar: I didn’t type those in on the site. My phone is an Android. So typing in the search bar automatically searches it on Google. Problem is, I have classic thick, short dwarven fingers. And I just got this phone a day or two ago, so I’m not used to typing on it yet.

Chief: Hey, you don’t need to defend your answers. It’s fine.

10. ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
-MAC OR PC?
-DC OR MARVEL?
-SONY, MICROSOFT, OR NINTENDO?
-STAR TREK OR STAR WARS?

Berronar: Oh, man, I don’t know. I don’t really follow any of that kind of stuff. I think Morrie has a Mac at home that I sometimes use to, like, look at pictures of cute cats and stuff. But beyond that… (swoops hand over head)

(Chief and Meepo glance at each other)

Meepo: That’s understandable. Not everyone always is. No worries.

Berronar: (shrugs) Sorry, guys.

11. WHAT THE HELL, WHAT IS IT YOU THINK YOU’RE GONNA FIND?

Berronar: Hopefully, more interesting things to say next time I come on here. Sorry for being so boring, guys.

Chief: No, no. You weren’t boring. You were you. That’s what we want. Deities just taking the chance to be themselves for a while, letting people see what they’re actually like.

Berronar: So that’s the mission the two of you have taken it upon yourselves to do?

Chief: Well, in our defense, we aren’t the only people that do it.

Meepo: I just work here.

Berronar: So you don’t take it seriously. Disheartening, I know, but every profession has its washouts.

Chief: …Wow, that was actually a really sick burn.

(Berronar smirks)

—–

Chief: And that, folks, means another Interview is wrapped up for the day! Stop by tomorrow for some science fiction action with The Mysterious Dr. X, and check us out again on Sunday as I spend some time with your favorite game- and mine- d20 Modern!

Meepo: Have a blast, pals!

The Chief (HAHA wow it took everything I had to bust out laughing when she said that)

Meepo (Dude, you don’t have to tell me twice. Heh. “Morrie”. Man, that one’s going on Twiter)

Get Yourself Adventure Hooked 10: The One Black Stain

It is January 28, 1596. You ship is anchored just off the shore of Panama, just like it has been for the last five days or so. But today, it’s for a very important occasion. Your captain, one Sir Francis Drake, died during the night from dysentery, and has requested a burial at sea. Dressed in his full armor, inside a lead coffin, his body goes overboard and promptly sinks into the depths. Seemingly forever- even four hundred years later, his body would still not be found.

Anyway, after the requisite time for mourning, the new captain raises anchor and flees, since the spot was the location of a complete rout of Drake’s forces. During the trip, Drake’s assistant comes up to you, telling you that Drake gave him a small chest right before his death. The things in it have writing on it, and unfortunately the assistant can’t read, and so he now requires the help of one of the only people in the crew he can completely trust.

Inside the chest is four things.

  • An object in a strange shape you’ve never seen before. It looks like an oval with a line sticking out of its right side, with another line sticking out down from the midpoint of the first. It looks carved out of stone
  • A small metal cylinder, flat on one end and a rounded point on the other. The flat end has a bit of a lip, and on the underside of the edge, the message “9X19” is stamped into the metal
  • A sealed envelope, inside of which is a vaguely triangular piece of burlap, apparently looking like it was ripped directly from a bag. It has a crudely drawn compass pointing northwest on it and dated two days ago
  • An ornately designed hair comb, inlaid with ivory. Would not at all seem out of place in the personal bedchambers of a queen. When held under the sun, flecks of gold glint and catch the light

The Final-ish Frontier

Chief: Hello, everyone! Today is both a Thursday and a new Interview With A Deity! You know what that means- a new, uh… Interview. Like I, um, already said. Heh. Good ol’ “paying attention”.

Meepo: And we have what I feel is a pretty interesting choice for you all today. He’s a god that’s been around since (consults notes) first edition in 1982, but he was never really overly important or used very often (with one exception, which we’ll get into later). A lot of people no doubt forgot about him, but there he was, plugging away in the background doing his thing like normal.

Chief: And then, on August 19, 2014, a miracle. The fifth edition Player’s Handbook is released. On page 295, three lines down, there he is, listed among the core deities for the first time in his career. And we’ve brought him here to ask him how he feels about that, on top of a bunch of other stuff.

Meepo: So without any further stalling for time, here he is- Celestian, god of outer space!

Celestian: Good morrow to you, fair sirs!

Chief: I like your black cloak. Are those stars on it?

Celestian: Verily! Well, actually, they’re jewels that resemble stars, but close enough, I sayeth!

Chief: That’s cool stuff. Also probably heavy. There’s, uh, a lot of them on there. But enough of that. Let’s get to it.

Celestian: Aye, we shall!

—–

1. WHO/WHAT IS YOUR PERFECT DREAM DATE?

Celestian: Sir, tis a valorous question! I of course findeth observatories to beest very romantic. And as far as who I would taketh, I doth not particularly mind who specifically I am with, as long as the fine maiden enjoys the sights and mine company.

Chief: So you think space is pretty romantic, eh?

Celestian: How could thee not? Such wonder, such possibility! Who knoweth just what is going on out thither??

Meepo: Well, besides you, of course. You’re known for wandering the cosmos.

Celestian: Well, aye, of course. I meanteth as a general rule.

2. WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE ABOUT YOUR LIFE?

Celestian: Adrien Brody.

Chief: That was quick. You had that ready to go.

Celestian: Aye, well, I hath spent a gross of time pondering just such a question.

3. DO YOU READ THE COMMENTS ONLINE?

Celestian: Nay. I doth not own a device that can connect to the internet. All mine time tis spent searching the cosmos.

Meepo: Searching for what?

Celestian: Mayhaps “searching” is not the correct word. I should sayeth “wandering” instead.

4. WHAT IS ONE THING YOU CAN’T DO, THAT YOU WISH YOU COULD?

Celestian: Telleth people what is in Celestian’s Gift.

Meepo: Which is…?

Celestian: Thousands of years ago, I hath sent a giant meteor crashing into the planet, and it hath been sitting thither untouched ever since. Everyone concurs that the core holds a most wondrous gift, but none has’t been able to concur on just what tis.

Chief: And why can’t you tell people what it is?

Celestian: Because the whole point of doing this wast to maketh people wend thither and findeth out what twas. Telling those folk defeats the purpose of doing ‘t in the first place.

5. IF YOU COULD HAVE LUNCH WITH ANYONE FROM HISTORY, LIVING OR DEAD, WHAT WOULD YOU ORDER?

Celestian: Well, ‘t depends. Who is ‘t?

Meepo: Uh, it doesn’t matter.

Celestian: Except ‘t totally doest. How am I supposed to decideth what to order if ‘t be true that thy meaning escapes me regarding who I am thither with? What if ‘t be true I wanteth to order different things depending on who I am meeting?

Chief: …What?

Meepo: Uh, let’s see. “Except it totally does. How am I supposed to decide what to order if I don’t know who I’m there with. What if I want to order different things depending on who I’m meeting”. Is that about right?

Celestian: That is what I hath said.

Chief: Uh, no. No it isn’t. But anyway, it doesn’t really matter. What we want to know is what you would order, not who you would meet.

Celestian: Very well. I would order wine, lobster, a side dish of rice, and a goodly table outside. And of course what mine companion wanted as well.

6. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE MONSTER?

Celestian: The Thing, from the 1982 film The Thing. In case thee art wondering, tis but a coincidence I hath chosen a movie from the same year I first hath appeared in the game.

Chief: Interesting. And why that specific movie, precisely?

Celestian: Thee mean, aside from the monster being from space? Tis a most wondrous movie. The creature can changeth shape. Who hath not wished themselves could changeth shape?

Meepo: But… can’t you already change shape? I mean, gods can do that, can’t they?

Celestian: I see thou art unaware of the rules on how divinity worketh. Aye, gods can changeth shape- if ‘t be true that those gents art of a class capable of casting spells with that effect, has’t the appropriate divine salient ability, or has’t control of a portfolio that provides ‘t. Merely being divine doest not inherently grant shapeshifting.

7. WHAT’S THE DUMBEST, MOST BONEHEADED THING YOU’VE EVER DONE?

Celestian: Alloweth Spelljammer to end.

Chief: Really? You miss Spelljammer?

Celestian: Oh, forsooth. Up until fifth edition, twas the only time I has’t held any position of real prominence or import.

Chief: Oh, I didn’t know you were involved in the setting.

Celestian: I wast one of the main gods of the universe, for all the goodliness ‘t didst me and mine résumé.

8. WHAT WOULD YOUR BAND BE CALLED?

Celestian: The Starjammers.

Meepo: …Uh, you sure about that?

Celestian: Aye, of course. What is wrong with the name I hath chosen?

Chief: “The Starjammers” is already a thing.

Celestian: Forsooth? And in all mine wanderings, how didst I nev’r manage to cometh across’t?

Meepo: Well, I guess you just don’t really read comics.

9. WHAT WERE THE LAST THREE THINGS YOU GOOGLED?

Celestian: (pulls out phone) “rule 63 mario”, “hilarious conspiracies”, and “how to knoweth if ‘t be true the lady likes thee”.

Chief: …I thought you said you didn’t have any way to get on the internet.

Celestian: I doth not.

(Chief narrow eyes at Celestian)

(Celestian narrows eyes at Chief)

10. ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
-MAC OR PC?
-DC OR MARVEL?
-SONY, MICROSOFT, OR NINTENDO?
-STAR TREK OR STAR WARS?

Celestian: Star Wars and Star Trek art both most wondrous. But I generally prefer Trek, since tis about space exploration, while in Star Wars, space just a backdrop to describe whither the adventures befall the characters.

Chief: You know, the moment I saw this question, I knew he was gonna say that.

11. WHAT THE HELL, WHAT IS IT YOU THINK YOU’RE GONNA FIND?

Celestian: What ‘t doth feel like to finally beest a part of the core pantheon.

Meepo: You’ve been waiting for this since 1982, and suddenly here you are, in the Big Book, right there for everyone to finally see.

Celestian: I admit, twas a bit overwhelming at first. ‘t tooketh a bit to becometh accustomed to ‘t. But more than anything else, I wast just proud to has’t finally madeth ‘t. “This is what ‘t doth feel like to beest a core”, thee knoweth? A valorous feeling, to beest sure.

Meepo: A heartwarming tale, definitely.

—–

Chief: This week’s Interview, tis cometh to an end, yea, verily, forsooth and all that!

Meepo: That made no sense. Thanks to the classy Celestian for coming by today, and we hope you come by again!!

The Chief (although I gotta say, he sounded a bit more “divested in time”, not “divested in space”)

Meepo (are you saying you expected to hear him talking in some weird alien language?)

Traiter In Our Midst: Descriptors- 121 Through 140

Welcome to this fine Sunday morning, Modernphiles! It’s nice out, and I don’t feel like being cooped up inside all day writing this- so today’s gonna be a quick, easy-to-digest article, so we can all get out there and romp around and goof off! And what fits the bill more than probably my favorite column on this website to write, NPC descriptors! Lots of ingenuity and a wide range of stuff- what’s not to love!?

  1. Bassist Of Molly Hatchet
  2. Helen Keller
  3. Son Of Kong
  4. Mortician
  5. Realtor
  6. The Last Twinkie On Earth
  7. 7 Foot Tall Cockroach
  8. The Winner Of Lot 14-F
  9. Fat-Bottomed Girl
  10. Exhibit A
  11. Mystery Novelist
  12. Redshirt
  13. Flatulent Movie Patron
  14. Man That, From Behind, Was Totally Mistaken For Woman
  15. Barbershop Quartet
  16. Delicious Burrito
  17. Subscriber To Weekly World News
  18. Transformer
  19. E. Honda
  20. Patriotism Personified

Man, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again- this is my favorite column I write! I’m starting to get near the end of the list, but thinking these up is a lot of fun, so I’m definitely gonna keep it going even after I get through the ones I already created. But anyway, that won’t be for a while yet.

Hope you had the biggest of blasts with this list- and I even more hope you’ll pop back in next week to see what other Modern shenanigans we’ll be up to next! Only one way to find out! [Twilight Zone music]

The Chief (You start to panic as you hear the mystery closing in on you.  There’s the mystery, right in front of you. You start to run, but the mystery catches up too quickly. You trip and fall into a puddle of mystery. You look up, staring right into the eyes of… The Mystery Show. Hello, I’m Rod Serling)

[Sultry Female Voice] Interview… After Dark

Chief: Hey there, folks, it’s that time again- that’s right, a brand-new Interview!

Meepo: I’m sure everyone is wondering why the three of us are sitting in our pajamas inside this huge bed.

Chief: Haha, I know I am!

Meepo: Well, Chief, we have with us today the famous Aphrodite, a goddess known for her frequent romantic excursions, as well as her carefree personality and easygoing nature.

Chief: Great! What the heck does that have to do with pajamas though??

Meepo: It’s a marketing tool used to imply a sense of intimacy, due to the possibly adult subject matter. I’m sure our intern here, Nadine The Intern Who Knows A Lot About Marketing Tools And She Also Only Has One Line, can confirm. Nadine?

Nadine: With this, I qualify for a SAG card.

Chief: Haha, excellent. Anyway, as Meepo said, we have Aphrodite with us tonight, so without further yakkin’, here she is!

Aphrodite: Hello, boys. Madam.

Chief: Well, uh, wow! The invitations definitely said “wear pajamas”! Well, Meepo, it looks like she followed the instructions to the letter- assuming she routinely sleeps in the buff!! Yowza!!

Meepo: Dude, get serious. Hello, Lady Aphrodite. Please excuse my acquaintance here. He forgets he’s no longer twelve sometimes.

Aphrodite: (smirks) That’s perfectly okay. This is routine for me, so I’m used to basically every reaction. It’s not an issue.

Meepo: Excellent. So are you ready to do it?

Aphrodite: I’d love to.

—–

1. WHO/WHAT IS YOUR PERFECT DREAM DATE?

Chief: …IN BED!!!!

Aphrodite: One of them, yes.

Meepo: What do you mean by that?

Aphrodite: I mean “in bed” is one of my many dream dates. It’s of course not the only one- I’m not shallow- but I do believe in open expression, and sex is one way to do that.

2. WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE ABOUT YOUR LIFE?

Chief: …IN BED!!!!

Meepo: Thanks. We got that. Anyway.

Aphrodite: My answer actually changes yearly. Typically, it’s “whoever is considered the world’s most beautiful woman”. According to People Magazine, that would currently be Sandra Bullock. Can’t argue with that.

Meepo: Not a bad choice. So, you read People?

Aphrodite: I like to flip through and look at the pictures. I have zero interest in the actual stories- tripe, the lot of it- but I like the photos.

3. DO YOU READ THE COMMENTS ONLINE?

Chief: …IN BED!!!!

Meepo: Dude. If you aren’t gonna take this seriously, what are we even doing here?

Aphrodite: That doesn’t even make sense. But anyway, not really. They’re kinda nonsensical, and they aren’t really very intelligent, so they’re good for the occasional laugh, but that’s it. Too much hate. I’m all about love.

Meepo: The original hippie.

Aphrodite: Well, except for the whole “looking down on people that don’t do the same” part. If people want to be super strait-laced and stuffy, that’s fine. They’re people too, and they do what works best for them, you know?

4. WHAT IS ONE THING YOU CAN’T DO, THAT YOU WISH YOU COULD?

Chief: …IN BED!!!!

Meepo: SERIO- actually, that one kinda works.

Aphrodite: I wish I had better impulse control. As for the “in bed” version, I’m literally the goddess of sex.

Meepo: …?

Aphrodite: That’s all I was gonna say. Draw your own conclusions.

5. IF YOU COULD HAVE LUNCH WITH ANYONE FROM HISTORY, LIVING OR DEAD, WHAT WOULD YOU ORDER?

Chief: …IN BED!!!!

Aphrodite: A big bowl of seedless grapes, two baked potatoes with butter, ranch dressing, and pepper, and a huge glass of lemonade.

Chief: Wow, that actually sounds really good.

Meepo: Quiet, y- that does sound pretty good. Good call on the grapes.

Aphrodite: Yeah, they’re my favorite.

6. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE MONSTER?

Chief: …IN BED!!!!

Meepo: Just ignore him. I’m apparently the host today.

Aphrodite: Oh, don’t worry, I already have. Xenomorphs.

Meepo: …Really? Wow.

Aphrodite: You seem surprised.

Meepo: I figured you would picked, like, a succubus, or Natasha Henstridge in Species, or something.

Aphrodite: Sex isn’t my entire life. I do other things too, you know. I read, I get sad, I hang out with my friends, I watch scary movies.

Meepo: Of course. Sorry. I didn’t mean any disrespect.

Aphrodite: I’m sure you didn’t.

7. WHAT’S THE DUMBEST, MOST BONEHEADED THING YOU’VE EVER DONE?

Chief: …IN BED!!!!

Aphrodite: (rolls eyes) Okay, so this one time, I was at a rave. Well, I’ve been to a rave more than once. But one of the times I was at a rave, right? And there was this woman there, Carla. No one knew her last name, but to the rave scene, there was only one Carla that existed. She was kind of a local legend in the underground.

Meepo: Okay.

Chief: Man, I would love to see you in full raver getup.

Aphrodite: Men generally tend to approve. Anyway, they were playing some Chemical Brothers, and I dropped my glowsticks. Carla picked them up, but I thought she was trying to steal them, so I attacked her. We fought for a while, then I discovered she was just trying to give them back to me. Boy, was I embarrassed.

Chief: So, what ever happened to Carla?

Aphrodite: When she died, she became my deific right hand. I believe the proper term is “exarch”. So, I mean, it worked out well, but it was still pretty stupid of me to jump to conclusions like that.

8. WHAT WOULD YOUR BAND BE CALLED?

Chief: …IN BED!!!!

Aphrodite: It’s funny you say that, because it actually would be called “In Bed”. We’d be kind of a soft electro-rock group that just makes some real chill stuff, you know? The kind of thing you’d put on before you go to sleep, and it would relax you and help you fall asleep faster.

Meepo: Wow. You’ve put some serious thought into this. This isn’t the first time you’ve considered being a professional musician, is it?

Aphrodite: Honey, I’m twenty levels of bard. I already am a professional musician.

9. WHAT WERE THE LAST THREE THINGS YOU GOOGLED?

Chief: …IN BED!!!!

Aphrodite: (pulls out phone) “rollins band”, “rob zombie dragula video hd”, and “iphone wallpapers”.

Meepo: “chill electro-rock”, eh?

Aphrodite: It’s not all I like.

Chief: Yeah, man. I’m equally likely to have Slayer or Marvin Gaye on my iPod.

10. ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
-MAC OR PC?
-DC OR MARVEL?
-SONY, MICROSOFT, OR NINTENDO?
-STAR TREK OR STAR WARS?

Chief: …IN BE-

Meepo: Nope. You’re done. Seriously. I’ve repeatedly asked you to stop acting the fool.

Chief: Good point. I apologize.

Aphrodite: Star Wars. Billy Dee Williams was a sight for sore eyes, I’ll put it that way.

Meepo: I’m sure he’d be thrilled to hear that.

Aphrodite: I’m sure he’s heard it before.

11. WHAT THE HELL, WHAT IS IT YOU THINK YOU’RE GONNA FIND?

Chief: After last week, you sure you’re comfortable asking this question any more?

Meepo: …I’m calling a mulligan on that one. Let the official record state his response was “uh, some thing cool I hope”.

Aphrodite: Anyway. What I’m looking for. I still haven’t found it.

(Meepo blinks in confusion)

Chief: (groans loudly) Oh, MAN, you went there. Let me guess- you were also hoping to find out how to dismantle an atomic bomb?

Aphrodite: Wow, nice. I take it you’re a fan?

Chief: Haha, wow, nope. Not even a little. I just know the reference.

Meepo: Uh, I don’t.

Chief: Keep it that way.

—–

Meepo: Well, everyone, I hope you had a blast! Join us next week for more hard hitting questions and intriguing answers!

Chief: You stay classy, internet!

Meepo (so seriously though, man, what was up with your performance today?)

The Chief (after the disaster that was last time we interviewed a sex-themed deity, I was trying to keep things light, airy, and fun, and I just went a little overboard with it)

Modern’s Unsung Hero

Look, I know I’ve touched on this a bit before (in my Crawfordsville Monster articles, those are the first ones that come to mind), but I’m gonna say it again so we’re clear- I love Monster Manuals. Doesn’t matter what theme they might be, what game they’re for, if I even understand what the numbers mean. I just love flipping through Monster Manuals. I even own a copy of the fourth edition MM 1, such is my love of creature stats. And I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that you probably already pieced this together on your own, but the one they released for Modern- the Menace Manual- is probably my favorite one.

There are some good ones- 3.5’s MM2 had some cool monsters, that book The Encountered for the game Alpha Omega that The Mysterious Dr. X reviewed some time back has some legitimately great artwork in it. 5E’s MM is also really sweet as well. The third edition of Mutants & Masterminds released a book called Threat Report that is an incredibly useful resource for M&M players. And, for my money, I would say that- after the Menace Manual, of course- probably my favorite monster index-style book is called The Book Of Unremitting Horror, released in 2007 by Pelgrane Press. It’s designed for the GUMSHOE system, an investigation-heavy game system created for use for two similar, overlapping games- Fear Itself and The Esoterrorists.

If you haven’t put it together by now, they’re both horror games. I personally got it for use with Fear Itself, but it works equally well with either game. But anyway- this book. Seriously, this damn book. It is legitimately disturbing in a way very few things are. They really, just… they really hit the nail on the head when they decided to make “book with lots of messed up stuff” in it. I highly recommend it if you want to read things that will stay with you for a while. I can’t say for sure I’ve ever gotten all the way through it.

Which, in retrospect, I find to be a very interesting way to phrase that thought, since that’s the reason I like creature stats so much- I can just sit down and read them like novels. Which brings me to my original point- the Menace Manual.

So many cool monsters, dude. I’m tellin’ ya. They cleverly got all the classic monsters- zombies, gnolls, ogres, Meepo- out of the way for the mini-Menace Manual inside the core rulebook itself, which meant they had plenty of room to think up all kinds of crazy new monsters for the Menace Manual that don’t really have any D&D analog. And let me tell you, some of them are pretty great.

The first one that comes to mind is, of course, the Crawfordsville Monster. It is, was, and will be my favorite monster that ever appeared in Modern. It’s great, and I’m not gonna say any more, since I wrote a two-part article all about them. If you wanna now more, go check the articles out. Next up, the rogue tulpa. Now, the thematic style of the monster- rampaging beast created from latent psychic energy- could reasonably appear in any game, but what makes it especially appropriate for Modern is the long-standing real life tradition of natives practicing tulpa creation. It feels like the kind of monster that doesn’t quite belong in fantasy, since it’s too closely tied to real events, people, and places that actually exist- thereby making it perfect for a Modern game.

Another great monster is the sand slave. Like the rogue tulpa, sand slaves don’t have any similar (even superficially) comparison to a creature from fantasy. The closest resemblance I can think of is the umber hulk- not because of any remote similarity between powers, or appearance, or even purpose. But because umber hulks are the slave race of the neogi, and sand slaves are the slave race to the etoile. Etoile are a race of intelligent machines that vaguely resemble ornate Christmas tree ornaments (which is the analogy they use in the book, one I find incredibly apt), and have a special nanite injection ability (they spell it “nannite” in the book, and I just can’t accept that spelling) that turns the infected into cybernetic spies (thew aforementioned sand slaves). Cool, cool stuff.

I’ve also always been a fan of Montauk Monsters as well (apparently, I’m just a big fan of creatures with the word “monster” in their name). Basically, imagine really big, all-blue humans with no head and super long arms. Oh, and they’re invisible. Oh, and they’re basically made of electricity. And bringing them up reminds me of something else that I’ve always liked so much about Modern- they really went out of there way to make even the monsters feel like they belong. And I don’t mean like how they depicted Meepo as a soldier, or the gnoll as a pimp. I mean that they really turned to creatures that are uniquely recognizable to current players. Monsters like the rogue tulpa, whose existence is tied to the worshipping practices of natives. Chemical golems, litter brutes, and toxic sludge, which are monsters that could only exist in a situation like ours, the question of what to do with all this trash and toxic waste still lingering.

But then, they bust out my favorite category of monster- of which my favorite monster is a part- the urban legend. Crawfordsville Monsters. Montauk Monsters. Mothfolk. Mongolian Death Worms. Sasquatches. Fraal (which is what they call grey aliens). Yetis (which are NOT sasquatches). Man-o’-wars. All of these (and I’m sure there are more I didn’t immediately recognize) are monsters we’re familiar with, since they actually exist in real life as urban legends. An all that does is make it more exciting, since in almost every case, the monster has been changed or otherwise modified a meaningful way that will make us unsure of its capabilities, even if we’re familiar with the story it’s originally from.

And on top of all that, here come some more classics, right out of the Monster Manual. As if the ones from the core book just weren’t enough, they toss out neothelids. Hags. Intellect devourers. Harpies. Grimlocks. Ghouls. All these and more are iconic monsters from D&D that have successfully been transplanted into Modern. Some of them are basically identical (megalodon), while others (looking at you, bodak) took the name and the look and completely overhauled them. Then there’s the ones in between- fiends, for instance. They were definitely around before, but the ones in Modern are a mix of transplants from fantasy and brand-new creations. All cool ways of doing it, and it just plain works.

Make sure to come back, ladypeople and gentlefolks, for more quality material, only available here on The Doderman Defense!

The Chief (and I never even got into things like the madman, or revenants, or bogeymen. Wizards’ template game really stepped it up a notch with Modern)