Dungeons & Dragons: Is It Worth The Cost?

Dungeons and Dragons Logo

I went looking online for the three core rulebooks that are required to play the game of Dungeons & Dragons. The Player’s Handbook, The Dungeon Master’s Guide, and the Monster Manual. Amazon shows the Dungeons and Dragons Core Rulebook Gift Set, 4th Edition containing all three core rulebooks for just over sixty six dollars.

Now sixty six dollars is not a whole lot of money really. But it was enough for me to take a step back and ask myself, “Are you really going to play this game all that much? It’s almost the same price of a video game!”

Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Starter Set
Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Starter Set

Some time passed with me looking off and on at the rulebooks on the Amazon website. Then one day I took brake from work and headed over to the local book store here in Juneau to see what they had in the way of Dungeons & Dragons. It was not long after that, I found myself staring down at a bin of multi colored dice, dice bags, playing cards for games like Magic The Gathering. I finally came across the Dungeons & Dragons section. The D&D section was on a book shelf on the bottom rack, near the back of the store. It was clear from the way the book shelf was arranged that they normally have more Dungeons & Dragons books available. But as it stood they did not have one rulebook that I could find. The upside to this in my thinking, was that Juneau was home to more Dungeons & Dragons players then I was currently aware of. This opened the possibility of a local community of information that I might be able to tap into.

Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Starter SetAs I stood up to got ready to leave the D&D section of the book store my eyes caught site of a blue box. I bent back down to pick it up and found it to be the “Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition RPG Starter Set“. My eyes widened as I read that the starter set contained “Everything you need to start playing now!”.

  • Over 50 full-color character and monster tokens
  • 3 sheets of double sided D&D Dungeon Tiles
  • 16-page 4th Edition Quick-Start Rules
  • 64-Page Dungeon Master’s Book
  • 6 dice

Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Starter SetTo say the least I was stoked to find this! And for seventeen bucks I picked it up. I figured if the starter set could help me get a grip on how the game is played, then I would for sure know if investing nearly seventy bucks into the three core rulebooks would be worth it for me or not.

To Be Continued…

Dungeons & Dragons: The Learning Quest Continues

Dungeons and Dragons Logo

So some time has passed since my first Dungeons & Dragons post. Since then I have been doing some more research online. I have learned that their have been several versions of the game have been released since 1974. The current version of Dungeons and Dragons is Version 4.0. It’s supposed to be a lot easier for newcomers to the game to grasp. In my case, I take that as very positive news. It was also encouraging to find that I am not the only one learning how to play the game. Gabe from Penny Arcade has also been taking steps to learn how run a D&D game as you can read on the Penny Arcade blog.



To Be Continued…

My Quest To Learn How To Play Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons and Dragons Logo

I am not sure how it happened but recently I have become bitten by a bug to learn how to play Dungeons & Dragons. I have always been intimidated by the game and all the books associated with it. But on the flip side, so many people play this game that it can’t be all that hard to learn. Right?

Now, I am not a total newbie when it comes to Dungeons & Dragons. My old roommate and I, along with a few friends from work used to play D&D on weekends. It was a lot of fun to me even if I didn’t understand the whole mechanics of the game. But after 5 weeks or so we had to quit playing due to conflicting schedules. Ever since then I have felt like no game (computer, table top board, or other) I have played from that time on has pulled me in so tightly and captured my imagination so strongly. I know that’s a pretty bold statement to make. But the game was really that fun to me. I mean to be in a room with some of your good friends and playing a game of high adventure with boundless and endless possibilities. It’s just epic. It’s unmatched by any computer game. But it’s not just the adventuring, it’s the socializing with friends which is just as an addictive eliminate to the game as playing the game it’s self.

Vin Diesel explains why he fell in love with the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons and what kept him playing even as he worked as a bouncer in New York City.

So with those good memories in hand, along with some local friends who would like to get a game of Dungeons & Dragons going I set off on my journey to learn how to play the game.

Like any good internet citizen I started off my quest by searching online for as much information on Dungeons & Dragons I could find. What I have learned was this:

  1. Dungeons & Dragons was designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, in 1974
  2. To play a game of Dungeons & Dragons you need some people to play as Adventures or Player Characters (PC) and one person to play as the Dungeon Master (DM).
  3. The game’s rules are detailed in three core rulebooks: The Player’s Handbook, the Dungeon Master’s Guide and the Monster Manual.
  4. The only items required to play the game are the rulebooks, a character sheet for each player and a number of polyhedral dice.

Now, for someone who is Dyslexic like me, reading through three players handbooks is a very intimidating task to under take. But with a little bit of spare time I should be able to read them in a few weeks. In the days to come I will be checking out local Books stores and online retailers like Amazon for the D&D rulebooks.

To Be Continued…

Batman: Night Cries

Batman: Night Cries
Batman: Night Cries

I have just read a graphic novel called “Batman: Night Cries“. This DC Comc’s book that I found the other week at a local used book store was written by Archie Goodwin with art done by Scott Hampton. It uses the graphic book format to spread awareness of child abuse. I can’t help but feel like it falls short in it’s attempt.

The reality is that Batman fans know that he is not out fighting the Joker every night or trading battles of intellect with the Riddler. In between these epic battles, he is fighting everyday crime. Muggings, robberies, vandalism, to name a few.

Night Cries tries to show this with a  child abuse story, and falls short. It falls short because the story feels like it’s trying so hard to get the message out that child abuse is a bigger issue then we all realize. Because of this it takes away from this being batman story and ends up feeling more like a Public Service Announcement. In-fact, Scott Hampton’s art work was the only thing keeping me turning the page at one point.

The book also contains a subplot involving Commissioner Gordon having been abused himself as a child. This gave the book multiple child abuse stories and presented us with a different look at Commissioner Gordon that has never been told in past comics or since. It only adds to making the story that much harder to accept.

You can pass on this book.

Superman: Red Son – Book Review

Superman: Red Son Cover
Superman: Red Son Cover

What would have happened if the rocket ship carrying the child Superman had left Krypton just twelve hours later? Because of the Earth’s rotation, Superman would have landed in the Soviet Union‘s Ukraine region. Rather than fighting for truth, justice, and the American Way, Superman is described as the Champion of the common worker who fights a never-ending battle for Stalin, socialism, and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact.

At least that is the theory behind the DC Comic’s, Superman: Red Son. The result is a very different world then we are used to thinking about in regards to Superman comic books.

This was a great read. I really enjoyed it cover to cover.

Kingdom Come Review

This last weekend I finished reading “Kingdom Come“. Which is a comic book mini-series that takes place in the future with an aged Superman and Batman. The story is great and the art is nothing short of amazing. I have been reading a lot of these comic mini-series lately and so far have enjoyed them all.

Kingdom Come is a four-issue comic book mini-series published in 1996 by DC Comics. It was written by Mark Waid and painted by Alex Ross, who also developed the concept from an original idea. Set some 20 years into the future of the then-current DC Universe, it deals with a growing conflict between “traditional” superheroes, such as Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Justice League, and a growing population of largely amoral and dangerously irresponsible new vigilantes. Between these two groups is Batman and his assembled team, who attempt to contain the escalating disaster, foil the machinations of Lex Luthor, and prevent a world-ending superhuman war.

I think of this story as a big “What if” story. It’s wroth the time to pick it up and read it. I would like to talk about it in more detail. I am just worried about ruining it for people who have not read it yet. But it’s a good book and if you get the chance I hope everyone will read it.

The comic dose such a good job of letting the reader know each characters personality as well as their abilities. Even if you don’t the back story of each character, the book dose such a good job of making you feel like you do from page one.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Book Review

I just finished reading the Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. It’s a comic book mini-series written and drawn by Frank Miller and published by DC Comics in 1986.

Bruce Wayne has retired from the Batman mantle after the death of the second Robin, Jason Todd, and becoming an alcoholic. Ten years pass, during which Gotham City is overwhelmed with crime and plagued by a violent gang called “The Mutants”. Bruce retakes the mantle of Batman after he encountered Mutant gangs in the alley where his parents were murdered. Batman is aided in fighting this menace by a new Robin, a young girl named Carrie Kelly.

This was a really hard book for me to put down. The art and the writing is very impressive and keeps you wanting to turn the page and look ahead at what is going to happen next. I flet that this book contains a lot of the things Batman fans want and like to see in a Batman story. Epic battles with friends and foes alike. How being batman affects Bruce Waynes life.

There is so much about this book I really want to write about. I could talk at leanth about several of the battles that occure in the comic because of how monumental they are. But i really don’t want to spoil it for anyone who has not read the book. Even if it is over 20 years old.

Just know the the comic is dark. The writing is dark. And the Batman is a dark character. Since he is much older in this story the Batman has only gotten darker with age.