D&D Part 5: Learning The Lingo

I’m so getting districted by everything and time just seems to be flying by. Whenever I look at a clock it’s another 2 or 3 hours ahead of me! Which isn’t really a problem now because I can’t wait for tomorrow. My weekend is set to be great. Then on Tuesday I start my training for my new job and I’m really hoping that’s going to work out. Now, though I should get back to the topic and stop getting so districted!
It’s another D&D post today, because that’s where I was last night! I think I’m doing okay with these posts because I show what happened in my game and also what I’ve learned. This time it’s about the language/jargon that D&D uses and why sometimes it’s important to state the right words…..The image above is of a character sheet. This are a vital part of playing! Many things can be recorded as I stated in my first post about D&D, but learning all the shorthand can be confusing. I’m still trying to pick it all up and know what’s needed in the different situation. I guess in the handbooks everything is stated, but I’m still torn between getting one and not and I’m sort of hoping someone might decided to get me it for xmas…..It’s understandable that at the end of the day if you are going weekly to play D&D then you might not need the books because you are taught to do the basics and can easily pick up the game by playing it with someone who knows the ins and outs. But if you want to advance, then getting the books is the best thing to do.
So, I’ve done a bit of internet research and found this page which lists most of the acronyms for D&D. http://www.themacguild.com/forums/showthread.php?302-DDO-Acronyms-and-Slang-TerminologyThough most of this acronyms relate to playing online more then anything. I didn’t find another website that listed the acronyms.
Here’s some of basic ones I know though:
AC – Armour Class. The armour you’ve got on to save you from taking hits.
Cha- Charisma
Char – Character
Con – Constitution
Crit – Critical Hit. When the dice roll numbers that equal in a high attack.
Dex- Dexterity
DM – Dungeon Master, the game referee and in control of the story and monsters.
Int- Intelligence
PC – Player Character/Heroes/You
RP – Role-Play
Str- Strength
Tank/Meat Shield – Character that’s purpose is to pull aggro and absorb/deal damage.
Wis- Wisdom
XP- Experience Points
Sometimes though, it’s not about the visible acronyms. Last week I forgot the secret mission and this time though I did remember to do it, I ended up declaring what I was doing without thinking! A complete stupid moment and one that had players on my house glaring at me and the players in the other houses staring in confusion. I should have just declared my movement as a stealth check and maybe told the DM in a whisper that I was ‘secret missioning’. I believe I did get away with it though! but I need to be more careful next time. The D&D jargon can be hard to pick up.
I also discovered this on Amazon and I think I once questioned if this book did actually existed!
The game picked up from the ending last time and we entered the house following the Drow who’d kidnapped the wizard. We then had to face four monsters, two different sets before we got any further. It was a bit of a tough battle because everyone’s dice rolls were not high enough to either attack or cause damage. Something I picked up on my first night was about players and their dices.

Technically, you only need a set of seven different dice to play, but the reason why players like to have a few sets has more to do then them just liking the colours and patterns. it’s to do with unlucky/bad dice. If after a few rolls, a dice is rolling low numbers, players switch to another. My dice was rolling a lot of low numbers and I don’t really believe in them being unlucky, but my dice do have a slight..well..curse to them. They were the last present my ex brought me and they were used for the first time the night before my ex broke up with me. I’ve not got enough money to buy another set right now, though last night I found out that one of my dice had gone missing. Lucky not one I’m ever going to really need, but I still have no idea where it went too!

I decided to stay at the back of the group and just fire off some arrows. I only hit once though, but it did take a monster out! Actually, I was on a good table because there were two meat shields, two healers, a goblin and whatever the last guy was…a dwarf! (don’t ask) and then there was me as the rouge. I’ve two favourite scenes in this battle. The first was that the goblin decided to charge a desk. Yes there was a good reason for this! There was a monster standing on the other side of it, so when the goblin hit the desk he squashed the monster and did a bit of damage. Though it’s still an odd move to make. Thus followed the jokes about a character dragging a table around. Secondly, I jumped onto a smaller table, because well we were fighting in a four by four area and I’d been stuck standing in the doorway for like forever! So, I got some height advantage, but I also used my cloud of darkness- it’s a power thing- so I could hide and not be seen by anyone. That was fun.

After the monsters were defeated, we got to face the true enemy and defended him too, though it took some more time. I ended up being leader of the group as we faced him, because I’d been the closest as we’d moved to him. Luckily though I did enter the room because when everyone else did they were faced with some damage from a table full of potions. We saved the wizard though and so completed the mission. Next week we get to start a new mission!

And I know I’m abit behind on stuff being a new player and all, but I just found this interesting thing whilst looking for images. D&D has entered a new era of play and become all technology loving. You can check this out here. I’m not going to try and explain it as it goes over my head….. http://www.koboldquarterly.com/k/front-page4080.php
Images from;
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Norwegian Wood Review – This Bird Has Flown

The weather is really bad right now. Had about a month’s worth of rainfall in the last 24 hours and they say that more is to come over the next few days. Luckily, my town hasn’t flooded, which is saying something as the river is only across the street from my house. I heard on the lunch time news that a few towns and villages had been taken over by the rapid down pour. So, I’m grateful that it doesn’t look like this will happen to me! I do love the rain though. I like watching it fall and wondering how I can best describe it in a story. The weather can set a whole range of tones and moods, just like nature and the seasons. Which brings me on to this post’s subject, Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami.
Published in 1987 and set in 1960’s Japan, this is a tragic love story with two different love triangles. It is also the most recognized of Murakami’s work. Now romance novels aren’t my thing, yeah I do like some love stories in the horror or supernatural books I read, but I like it to be a sub-genre more than the actual genre. I first heard about NW on a late night TV book show and added it to my list of books that I should read someday. I can’t remember what the TV review said as it was about 4/3 years back. I read NW last year-ish and straight away fell in love with Murakami’s style of writing. Not being able to read Japanese, I read the English translation of the book. During my MA Creative Writing, I had a class on translation which was very interesting and I realised that most people probably don’t think much about the language side of things when they read. It’s easy for a writer to translate another writer’s work and there’s okay money in it, but what got me is that sometimes the writing translator won’t stay true to the original work and can try to make it their own. This is a problem I had with the 3rd Murakami novel I read- Hard Boiled Wonderland and The End of The World.
NW is translated (by Jay Rubin, 2000) well and seems to have stayed true to Murakami’s style. His writing is so poetic, that after a few chapters you forget you are reading fiction and find yourself believing it to be poetry. This is because he uses a simplistic, yet full of meaning, short and rhythmic vocabulary, which is very readable. The imagery he creates is also amazing and beside from LOTR, I can’t think of another book that has blown me away through the pictures that the words can create. I’ve never been to Japan, but through Murakami I was able to visualise a very clear image of the novel’s settings and well, it felt like Japan was on my doorstep instead of being hundreds of miles away. As for the characters, I took to their names well, but that’s because I’m use to it from the manga/anime that I love. You also get a clear picture of the characters and their lives. You can deeply connect with them all and sympathize with the events they’ve had to face in life.
The themes in NW also fits in with this, as there’s love, tragedy, heartache, suicide, solitude, sex and growing up. The narrator of the novel Toru is reflecting back on his college years and the loss of his true love. This comes about because he hears the Beatles singing ‘Norwegian Wood’, a song about an affair. (Though I’ve lived in Liverpool, the home of the Beatles for the last 3 years, I’m still not a fan of their music.) So, that explains the title of the novel, but other connects can be made as well. Such as the backdrop for much of the novel is set near Kyoto in a mountainous/forest area and the main female character, Naoko’s favourite song happens to be NW. At times affairs do happen in the book and also the song’s meaning ‘this bird has flown’ can be read as someone become free through dying, which towards the end of the book is something that can be sensed. There is also something about the tone of the name that gives it a depressed, dark feeling and that really does linger under the surface of the novel.

The reason why I wanted to write this post was because I watched the movie of NW today. Though I know it’s only been a few days since I wrote about The Hungry Games, my mind is still interested in reviews. I still don’t plan to make a large feature about them on my blog though. But it’s nice to have more focus to my writing for a change. So, the movie which came out in December 2010, is a good representation of the book, but for me and like The Hungry Games, if you’ve not read the novel it can be hard and confusing to follow. The film is in subtitles, but there is actually very little speech, which reflections on the main characters’ love of solitude and not being able to openly discuss their feelings. Another thing that threw me was the student civil unrest, which is explained in the novel, but not the movie and though Toru is seen to stand against the unrest, he doesn’t share his thoughts on it, like he does in the novel. However, this theme appears not to have any meaning in the overall content, rather it’s a reflection of the turmoil that is happening in Toru’s life.

The main thing that strikes you about this movie is the deep connect to nature. There’s so many great shots of the landscape through the changing seasons. This is a much better backdrop to reflect the characters’ feelings. The Japanese clearly have a thing about nature and love showing it off in all it’s glory. One of my favourite parts was towards the end of the film where Toru goes to stay in a cave near the sea for some nights. The raging sea reflects his anger and loss so well, it was difficult for me not to be crying along with him. When he returns home he looks like the sea has worn him down, as it does to rocks and all the tragedy of his life is reflected in that moment. However, he knows he has to go on living. I like the scenes in the woods too, because of the symbolic meanings of finding solitude and reflection in nature. The woods become something of a secret place for Toru and Naoko.
The first love triangle is clear from the start with Naoko dating Kizuki and them being best friends with Toru, who is hiding his feelings for her. The second triangle is between Toru, Naoko and Midori. Once again though Toru can’t really have Naoko because she’s mentally unstable, so he turns to Midori instead. This story does have something of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet about it for me. I guess it’s because of the whole tragic love story and the fact that a few characters commit suicide. The movie did capture the 60’s in Japan though and I guess when people overall think about that country they still have an ancient image in their heads. So, it was interested to see how ‘westernise’ Japan was in that era.
Like with most other Murakami novels there is an underlining confusion for the reader. This isn’t really to do with the Japanese setting, it’s more how to do with Murakami’s style. His characters will say and do things that sometimes don’t make much sense or else appear wrong. This happens more at the endings than anywhere else in the books. I got the same sense at the end of the movie that I got at the end of the book. That confused, unsure sense about what the characters were going to do next. There seems to be no real closure or certainty from the characters, though we know this has all been a reflection from Toru, so clearly he has gone on living and coped well with letting go of the past. (I don’t think that came across in the movie, though there were a lot of flashbacks). I think one of the reasons why Murakami’s novels end like this is because he’s letting the reader draw their own conclusions. That said, NW is an awesome book and Murakami is a writer to fall in love with.


Images from:
http://www.onexday.com/2009/october/30.html
http://moviedroneblog.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/preview-norwegian-wood.html
http://www.buzzbox.com/news/2012-01-05/haruki-murakami:norwegian-wood/?clusterId=7695650

Haunting Ghosts

Well, autumn feels like it’s here! I know the British summer has been a complete wash out and there’s been so much rain and hardly any sun. I spent two weeks in Cornwall on a camping holiday and it rained the whole time! Autumn is my favourite season though. I love the transformation in nature and the trees having multi-coloured leaves. I even don’t mind the change in the weather, but over the last week as autumn has settled in and the last lingering reminds of summer-if that is at all possible-has faded, it has gone cold and dark very quickly. Not what I was expecting and well….it feels like next month winter should be gripping nature with icy fingers already, but we still have my favourite month to go- October and strangely the topic of this post does link in with that month.

 

Recently I’ve been watching series 14 of Most Haunted on TV. I’ve always been a fan of Most Haunted and it’s properly the only TV show I can say that I’m truly dedicated too. With that said though, because I don’t have Sky and have to cope with watching it now on Pick.TV and what was before Living.TV, I’ve missed a few episode of different series and have always been playing catch up with the show. I guess I could just buy them all on DVD. They are cheap enough on Amazon. But I’m still a poor student and don’t have the money to fund collecting them.

 

I don’t want this post to turn into a review or discussion about Most Haunted. I just wanted to use it as a starting point to talk about ghosts and the supernatural genre. Though I properly could go on about Most Haunted forever! There’s a few things that I actually do want to say about the show though.

 

Firstly, I should point out that I do believe in ghosts and have had a few different encounters with seeing, hearing, feeling and smelling things that couldn’t be explained as being natural/normal. I’ve always known from being little that I’m very sensitive to the supernatural and was once told by my grandma that I had the physic ability. However, I’ve always played down low with this and never really admitted to people this, (Okay, so admitting on my blog properly does count. but I’m not going into details here so…) However, I’ve never wanted to explore more or learn how to connect ghosts or actually become a medium. I’ve never been interested in going down that pathway. To be honest I don’t know why I decided upon this, maybe because half the time I just believe it’s my imagination playing with me? Being very creative, over imaginative and a writer it’s kind of easy to dismiss the voices and the sensations.

 

Secondly, for the first time I’ve actually just read some reviews about MH -as in previous post I don’t read a lot of reviews.- So it’s interesting to see the clear divided in the comments about the show. Lots of people really do like it and believe that what the team capture on film is supernatural, other people say it is fake and all staged. I’ve to admit that there have been a few episodes where I’ve had to wonder the same thing or else I’ve just dismissed what they’ve called a supernatural noise as a natural sound straight away. I can understand why the show might fake some events because of the whole entertainment value and that they might be lacking in the real paranormal activity. However, I do believe that sometimes they have actually caught stuff.

 

I think that MH is my favourite show because I’m interested to know if ghosts can be proved for real. Yeah, I know I believe in them and have connected with them before, but I’d like to see the actual proof about the whole ghost thing. I don’t know if MH can really do this though or if anyone else can for that matter. The haunted places they film at interest me too and hearing the ghost stories as well! One thing of late that I’m really started to hate is when they create images and sounds through camera and computer visuals during the start of the show. I know they do this for effect and to get people interested, but it just goes to show how much faker can now be achieved and for me it then dampens down any actual paranormal activity they capture.

 

Writing that has just reminded me of why I wanted to write this post in the first place! I read a very bad and badly written review about the movie Paranormal Activity 1 last night. I had to disagree with that review because I did like it and did get scared by it.

 

I would like to think that one day we’d find out the truth about the supernatural, but then I guess that all the mystery, which is why it’s good and fascinates people would be gone and people wouldn’t be that interested in it, even if it was found that we could comminute with ghosts etc properly. It’s the mystery of the unknown and wanting to discover that keeps people (and readers of supernatural fiction of course!) interested in the paranormal. Now to tie in with my experiences of ghosts before I move on again, I want to write about the ghost walk I did in Cornwall in Polodark Mines.

 

Now that day it was raining, cold and dull. Having nothing else to do we went to the mines early and though we’d prebooked and paid for the tickets online for the tour, we got the chance to visit the mine in the afternoon time before we did the evening walk. I’m really glad we got the chance to do this because mines can be dark, small, eerie places and half the time you just have this feeling of expecting something to jump out at you. When we went down again for the tour they had turned the lights off and it was all done by candlelight. The atmosphere had changed so much it was hard to believe we were walking through the same areas we’d been in before. The guide and medium told us about the ghosts that had been seen in each different area and showed us photos of ghostly shapes that had been caught. My mum swore she saw a little girl with blond hair and my dad and brother (who don’t believe) swore they saw a shadow man shape walking cross the pathway behind us. Now, I had two options- either to tune in or tune out and I decided to turn out and block my mind so that if ‘anything’ did decided to try and talk to me or appear before me I wouldn’t freak out. I was pretty scared as it was to be honest. That however didn’t stop the ghosts from appearing in the photos I took and the one below is the best photo I have from that night.

 

Telling ghost stories dates back to ancient times and has many links with folklore. Around the world people know about ghosts and so many stories have come from people’s experiences and imaginations. There is just something about the supernatural the interests so many people and maybe it’s as I suggested before because it’s an unknown thing. It’s stated that the ‘golden age of ghost stories’ was in the 1800’s and mostly down to the Victorians having a very deep fascination with all things supernatural and I guess it was something of the ‘fashion’ at the time. So many great stories and writers came out of this time though and they have gone on to inspire others to carry on with the supernatural genre.

 

It’s strange to think for me as a writer that nearly all of my writing fits into this genre. Yes, most of it is about vampires, but I’ve written some haunted house stories or novels which feature ghosts. For me, I think it’s about escaping from the real world and writing about something that is outside the normal. I’ve always had an enthralment with vampires which I’ve never full been able to explain to anyone not even myself! The supernatural is a very popular subject and people like the thrill they get out of being scared. That’s why people ride roller coasters and do other crazy things, they like the rush they get that states they are alive. Being scared has the same effect and that’s why people like watching horror movies. Within the writing it allows the exploration of something that is hard to understand. That has been a key in most of my writing and I find that by expressing the problems or events that go beyond me, I can get a better picture and understand more. Maybe this has something to do with ghost stories as well? Though I know people love to share their experiences and you don’t have to look far on the internet to find that out! I can’t further explain my love for writing and reading the horror genre. It’s always been something that has appeared in my writing.

 

I think the supernatural as a genre will be sticking around for a long time yet. Yeah, it might fall out of popularity, but it’ll bounce back again. People are too interested in it and it will always make for a good story in any format.

 

The main question here is do you actually believe?

 

 

Images from:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Most-Haunted-Series-14-DVD/dp/B004G5Z0BE/ref=sr_1_2?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1348351324&sr=1-2

 

http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2607253760/tt1179904

 

Author’s own collection

 

http://studentsblog.skola.edu.mt/2009/11/the-haunted-house-by-dale-and-aaron/

The Hunger Games Review – May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favour.

I’ve never really written reviews before. Yeah, maybe I did a brief one or two before about a book I was reading for uni or one which I really loved. To me there always seems to be a tone of reviews out there covering the whole range, so why add one more to the list? Because for some reason whilst I was watching this movie I thought ‘won’t it be interesting to write a review and do it from the point of view of a writer.’ I bet this film has been reviewed by film and book critics a like and that there are hundreds out there, many of which are properly really good. I’ve never been one for reading reviews of anything before. I think that at first I didn’t have time to read or watch reviews and then it became because I didn’t want to know; I wanted to watch or read in my own time and make my own judgement influenced by anyone else.

Lately, and maybe it’s because of my boyfriend and the fact I suddenly have a lot of time on my hands now, I’ve started to become interested in book, film and comic book reviews. I’ve been watching a few on blip recently and maybe that has part inspired me. However, I wanted take a different point of view from the normal film and literature critic styles, not saying I’ve not got the intelligence to take one of those views- I’ve a degree in English lit and know how to de-construct a book to death- but this being a blog about becoming a writer and with myself trying to become a published author, I fancy that this view point would be more valuable.

So, here’s my writer’s review on The Hungry Games.

I already know this is a bit of an out dated review with The Hungry Games (HG) books and movie rush already over, but I only just got around to watching the film today. I was aware of the books before I heard about the releasing of the film, however hearing the whispers that HG was the next Twilight and the next big thing in teenage fiction put me straight off. For me, I’ve never actually got into teenage fiction, all of my writing is adult fiction and I’ve never been drawn to reading much teenage stuff. Though I was a massive fan of R. L. Stein and the Point Horror novels when younger.

With HG I refused to jump on the bandwagon like everyone else. It didn’t interest me especially when I found out that the plot was similar to Japan’s Battle Royal films and manga. I love both films and find them fascinated. I’ve read some of the manga too and actually found it a lot more in depth and graphic then the films. So, I was even more sceptic about the HG book. I couldn’t see how someone could take the idea of teenagers being forced to fight to the death much better then the Japanese. (If you’ve not actually seen this film then do.) Now the author of HG Suzanne Collins said that she wasn’t aware BR existed and her book had no ties to it. For me as a writer, I find that a bit hard to believe. Yeah, I know there’s no original ideas left and that writers recycle stuff all the time, but for her not to be aware of it until it got pointed out seemed a bit off. However, there are very few similarities between HG and BR.

I received the first HG book as an overdue Christmas present from a friend who thought it would be the perfect thing for me. I then also learned that the movie was due to come out. Interested to see what all the fussy was about- the same thing I did with Twilight-I thought I’d give reading the book a go. I was prepared as a reader and writer for it to be terrible, for the characters to be like cardboard cut outs and all samey, for the plot to only have one focus and frankly for it to be an American rip-off of Battle Royal.

I got proven wrong. The book is written wellish and has a clear story arc. The language used is as one expects for a teenage audience, simple with a touch of adult vocabulary The pace is also fast and you can become gripped by the unfolding events. The characters appear realistic and you get time to learn the main characters backgrounds and grew sympathy for them. Truthfully, I wasn’t that taken with the book, I’d properly just finished reading some complex book for uni at the time or was reading a supernatural romance novel. I don’t want to say because I’m not into teenage fiction or in touch with my child self. I did however prefer it over Twilight because it was better written and the characters more engaging. I’ve not read the other two books though I do have them.

So, the film. For the first twenty minutes or so I sit there thinking if you’ve not read the books or any reviews, then you won’t have a clue what’s going on. The exposition at the beginning is really bad and can be a bit confusing to what has happened and what is going on. How the dystopia happens and why their society ends up as it does isn’t examined fully and though the book goes a bit further into this, I still had many questions as to why we were being made to believe the stereotypical warring man has driven humanity to this. Battle Royal has a better explanation for why society has choice to go down the path of killing the next generation. In my mind and realistically thinking I can’t see humanity ever choosing to go down this root. I know that reality TV is getting worse all the time and people are becoming desensitised to things, but still.

After that shaky start you get what feels like a lot of time to learn and sympathise towards the main characters Katniss and Peeta. I know that this is important to draw the audience in and get them on the characters side, but I felt that too much time was spent doing this. You also get flashbacks through the film and though these are well placed it can be difficult to understand what’s happening. Rather strangely, whilst I’m writing this and I’m discussing HG with my boyfriend and we just came up with a good explain of the problems with these flashbacks. He wanted to know why the bread that Peeta gives Katniss is so important because that isn’t explained at all in the movie. Having read the book it was clear in my mind! Katniss and her sister are staving and by Peeta giving her the bread she was able to survive. This allows a strong link to form between them and fits in with the whole survival theme.

I have to admit that the romance between Katniss and Peeta though it was a faked romace just for entertiment was a lot better then the romance in Twilight. However faked or not, the romanace didn’t go anywhere and then once it started become the soul focus and the fighting was placed in the background. None of the other characters became romaticly involved and they were only interested in killing each other. Another difference to Battle Royal as lots of characters in that were romanticly involved and some even used it to an adventage. Also the focus is always on Katniss and you only see the other characters when she engages in them. Battle Royal shows you lots of characters and their backgrounds. As I writer I’d be keen to have explored the other tributes’ backgrounds and actual give readers the choice about who to support.

For me the script did come across as an okay adaption of the book, though there clearly were some confusing parts that could have easily been explained or explained differently like the bread thing, it only took me two minutes to explain that. Also one small thing that did bug me was how Katniss got that Mockingjay pin. In the film she finds it on a stall and the old woman gives it to her, in the book it’s the Mayor’s daughter who gives her the pin. The pin is meant to symbol hope and be a good luck token. It also symbolises Katniss district and rebellion against the games. but this isn’t really dealt with and actually slight confusing note, I’m not sure if the pin mockingjay pin does represent district 13 as no mockingjays live there and Katniss doesn’t know what one is until she’s told….So, I’m not sure about that point, maybe that’s my mistake though….

The acting was good, but I do have to agree with a few other reviewers that Jennifer Lawrence didn’t properly represent the image of Katniss that appears in the book. Yeah, I know with a fictional character finding someone to match the image of that character in the writer’s head is hard! The other two books, Catching Fire and Mockingjay (which is being divided into 2 parts) are being made into movies and have predicted release dates of November 2013 and November 2014/2015. If I actually read the books and go to see them is up for some debate right now….

So, what else can be said about HG? Well, technically it is the next Twilight, only I don’t think it’s going to set off a whole sub-genre of teenagers fighting each other books. Similar, to Twilight though the ideas and themes behind it are good, but the way it’s written effects how these ideas and themes are transferred to the reader. Thinking in terms of teenage fiction though and actually getting kids back into reading is a hard thing to do. Technology is a very hard medium to battle against and so any book that gets mass of kids and even adults to read it can only be classed as good. That’s not to say it’s written well though….but still any author who can achieve that has gained my respect.

Images from:

And just to remind you of the link to my boyfriend’s web show.

Tyas Looks At...

D&D parts 3 and 4 – Your Secret Mission Is….If you choose to accept it!

I didn’t get a chance to write about last week’s D&D encounter. I’d spent the day in hospital before going to play and so was unfocused on what was happening. Though I do remember most of it. Being ill means that I’ve not got around to writing the events up so now I’m having to do a joint post for last week’s and this week’s encounters. I’m still very ill right now and also I’m now coming down with a cold, but as normal my mind is pretty active and wants to get busy. So, we’ll see how much I can type before I feel the need to nap again….

 Now last week was the ending of the first mission and at the start you got to choice which house you wanted to belong to. There are three different houses: Xorlarrin, Melarn and Bregan D’aerthe (my house) and the DM give each person a secret mission connected to their houses. I believe if I’d been more awake and not in pain, I would have remembered the need to act on my secret mission, but I was still fuzzy and when the time to step up came, I didn’t. True there was nothing I could actually do, because I had moved to the back of the group and wasn’t in range of the Drow Priestess, but I should have got the other person in my house, who actually attacked her and killed her, to carry out the mission. My boyfriend did remember and suggested it, but it was a bit too late and Bregan D’aerthe failed their first secret mission.

 The Melarn house completed theirs, which we learnt was to carry out the ritual and get the Demon Weave started. There was another choice at the start of the game and that was which you wanted your end goal to be and who’s side you were actually going to stand on. You could stand with Lolth and help create her Weave, be against her and try to take her out or just be against her creating the Weave. I’m not going to tell you what I picked! Of course before we got a chance to try and carry out the secret missions we had to do some more fighting. It was against the Priestess and her guards. I did pretty well with my cross bow and the dice were really in my favour as I took two of the guards out and helped bloody another. So, small victories for me then!

 It was also interesting how the group decided to spilt itself too. I’ve read very little about Drow society and also about D&D itself….maybe there’s a For Dummies book about it, but I properly could do with getting my hands on some books and doing some more on line reading. I believe I’m getting seriously in to playing now, but unlike some ‘serous’ players, I still just see it was a social game and being told a story which you then get to interactive with. Now, my group for the most part did stick together, beside from one guy who decided to walk all around the board and then found out that actually you couldn’t enter the last room and get behind the enemies! He then had to walk all the way back again and maybe because of this when the DM asked him if he wanted to switch sides and become in league with the Priestess, he agreed! (Now the DM had asked everyone but me. I was still at the back of the group firing arrows everywhere.) But it was fool on him really, because the Priestess used him as a pawn and he then decided to turn traitor on us! Bad move as my boyfriend- who’d died on week 2-had come back with a mega strong warrior and when he got attacked decided to try and kill the traitor off. Okay, now this is where it get weird because then some of the other players decided to attack the warrior and let the traitor live, so my boyfriend’s character died once again…..

 I had the choice to stand up and fight against them in sort of like a mini revenge attack, but they outnumbered me and I am but a small female Drow rouge with a short bow and short sword. So, it wouldn’t have been very wise to launch an attack. However, Drow I am learning only look out for themselves and can be very treacherous even to members of their own house. My overall plan has always been to stick as a team player, for what you learn very quickly in D&D is that only by working together can the enemies be defeated and the missions-secret and normal-be completed. So, once again last week I had to give out sympathy hugs and kisses to my guy and of course nobody minds doing that!

 (okay it’s taken me nearly 10 minutes to figure out how to spell ‘treacherous’. The joys of being dyslexic where words so don’t look how you’d sound spell them and to be honest that doesn’t even look like it reads treacherous!)

 

 Let me just explain this before I get on to this week’s encounter. I wanted a D&D image of some minions because they were some of the monsters we had to face. However, instead of some scary looking monsters I ended up with multi-images of these cute guys from the Despicable Me film. And I thought well they’ll lighten up these dark D&D images and so here they are. Frankly, these guys are to cute to engage in battle with….So, here’s another image which is a bit more realistic, though we didn’t have to fight as many minions!

 

 Yesterday then, we started a new mission and we had to rescue the head of the Xorlarrin house who’d been kidnapped. We all got another secret mission and I’m not going to mine state just yet. We had to battle our way into this house where we believed the kidnapped Drow was being held. That battle was tough and everyone took a lot of damage and another character bit the dust-thankfully not my boyfriend! that would’ve been a bit too much bad luck!- We barely made it through though and then I sort of forgot the secret mission. The battle had just ended and my mind was busy wondering what to do now. Once again I’d stuck at the back of the group and just been firing my bow and arrows. Which is very effective and I do seem to get more hits and create a lot more damage to enemies that way.

 The other person in my house sort of did it and my boyfriend, who’s character at this point was laying unconscious on the floor near death, started poking me and trying me to do the secret mission. But my brain just drew a blank on what I was meant to do, which was actually something very simple and very sneaky, but I totally forgot in those few moments. He give up poking me in the end, but to be honest I wasn’t sure how to even go about it because I couldn’t announce my movements to the group-then the other house would know I was up to something and the DM was a bit busy reading the end of the encounter by the time my brain had figured out what it was I was meant to be doing!

 Hopefully, I’ll get another chance to have a go at doing the secret mission next week. The wizards we had to face were pretty hard to beat and they kept casting a range of spells on everyone. I guess my highlight of the battle had to be the goblin balancing and then moving around the edge of this fountain. One of the guys had choice to play as a goblin, but like all non-Drow characters, he was a slave and the servant of our Priestess healer. The RP was really funny and brought a bit of light into the darkness of the battle. To keep his distance from the fight, but still be useful, he jumped up on fountain and shuffled around the edges when he needed to move. Just the image of this in my head seems really funny.

 Lastly, I found this website whilst looking for the minion images and it looks very interesting

http://dungeonsmaster.com  I don’t think I posted up that one last time. I’ve a few more things to add to today’s post, but it’s pretty big already and the things are none-D&D related. However, I want to write another post later on this evening about a review I want to do, so I’ll properly add those things at the end or else just write another post tomorrow…too many choices!

 Images from:

http://muluc85.deviantart.com/art/Drow-Priestess-121639536

http://dungeonsmaster.com/2011/07/two-hit-minions/

http://maurolongo.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/dd-4ed-un-bilancio/

Collborating Writing

Been almost a week since I last wrote, but I’ve been ill and busy. I’ve had lots of ideas for posts though and today I’ve picked to write about collaborating writing. This is due to the fact that I’m currently embarking on this myself with my boyfriend. So, I thought it would make an interesting post and get me in the mood to write some more. Also it’s about time I had a post on writing too! My last few ones have been focusing on my life and D&D. Which is understandable, since I’ve not been doing much writing since finishing my Diss. I hope that’s about to change now.

There are lots of different ways for writers to collaborate on writing. Too many to get into here, so I’m just going to talk about the main ways. It’s possible to see when work has been collaborated on as two authors names will appear on the front cover. This can get you wondering about how and why they decided to join forces. I like the idea of the manuscript being passed around and the writers each adding a chapter or changing things until it becomes a whole, but that sounds like a long process and could led to disagreements or unevenness appearing in different areas of the works. However, writers both doing some of the writing is common enough, though they probably take half the chapters each to achieve this.

One of the simple ways to collaborate is for the first writer to have the idea and the second writer to write it. This is what my boyfriend and I are currently doing. He came up with the basic plot and characters for a Darren Shan styled story and I am busy expending on his ideas and trying to write it. It’s proving a bit tricky because teenage novels are not my normal area-though they were when I first started writing-so it’s getting back into that mind set. This way does work well though, though all the work is left up to the second writer and the first comes up with most of the ideas. The first write may also do some editing as well and that can be mega useful to allow the writers to discuss things further.

Another way to collaborate is something I’ve been doing for the last 3 years with my friends and that was having them suggest ideas/events that could then appear in the writing. They also wrote the backgrounds for many of the characters and though most of this work didn’t appear in the finished novel it was still important to know. Having them read and edit the novel also helped, though they didn’t really do any of the writing. That was all down to me. This way works more if there is only one actually writer in the group and the others are just there to listen to ideas of to help redraft.

It’s not just novels and short stories that writers can work on together. Lots of TV and film scripts can have joint or secondary writers. Series writers (Normally there’s more then two writers and they sometimes can have guess writers too) also take it in turns to write different episodes, something that can be very noticeable- take Dr Who for example- sometimes, but this generally doesn’t effect the main characters or plot of the story. Series writers also have to work closer together to make sure that things are considered throughout and that the running background plot stays the same. This is a great way to work though as it gives each writer a chance to put different ideas out there and create spins on events that other writers might not have thought about. It’s also good for the audience as they get to experience a slightly different view or story that keeps them interested in the show.

Film scripts are less collaborated on than TV ones and when they make books into movies nearly 99% of the time a different writer will write the film script. There’s a whole list of reasons why this happens. Sometimes the book writer might have some influence or get ask how they’d like some represented but normally what you see in a movie is the scriptwriter’s and the director’s verison of things. Writing a script is actually easier then writing a novel, it types up a lot faster and needs less imagination to create. However, none of my ideas have really been suited to this formatting.

So, why do writers join together? Yeah, they can just write their own ideas and things, but sometimes it’s fun to work on projects with others and other writers can bring certain things to the work that might not have happened otherwise. Of course working with someone can have it’s problems. Everyone views the world different and no one really has the same ideas. It goes for readers too. Everyone has a different vision of Harry Potter or Frodo Baggins in their heads. So, how does a writer go about turning someone else idea into a novel without going off track and making it their own? It can be almost impossible to do this! But collaborating is just that, people getting together and creating something they can agree on. Luckily enough I’m actually working with another writer though he does scripts, but because of that he understands that I’m going to put my own spin on things and the visions in my head are going to be slightly different from his. This is an experiment though and we are both keen to see what’s going to happen.

D&D 2: Attack!

Hey readers, this is a bit of a late post this time, but I’ve been ill and not much in a writing mood. Feeling a bit better now though, so here’s my report on my second D&D encounter.

There was less people playing this time, so we were in two groups of five and four. I didn’t have my boyfriend at my side either, so I was more in control. I didn’t mind him helping me last week, it’s great to have that support during the first game, but you can only truly learn how to do something when you take full control over it. So, it was this time around, which I’m fine with as it give me a chance to actually play my character. I still let the other players and the DM make the choices for me though! Listening to their suggests was very useful as you learn what your character can do and can’t do and those kind of actions aren’t really written down on the sheet.

I’m still struggling with the rules and the maths and I know I’m being a bit slow on the uptake of the game, but the DMs are really nice and supportive, they allow you to find your own feet and just learn at your own pace, whilst giving advice and suggestions. I know that beside from the main rules, I’m going to struggle to remember all the side ones and for me the maths is never going to stick. I’ve always been bad with numbers, but luckily the game doesn’t deal with very high numbers, its just the fast adding up and taking away that’s the main usage. All of this just comes with time and practise.

The encounter this time picked up from where we had left it- as they all do-with us entering a chamber and being attack. It was a tough battle as we had to deal with a range of goblin like related creatures, who believed we had come to in slave them. That wasn’t true, but as we didn’t speak goblin language and they were in full fight mode, it was impossible not to engage with them. By the Hand of Fate, I was the first to go and started attacking the goblins. I really wanted to move and stand behind the others though! My character is a rouge and not really built for fighting. She’s good at being sneaky, setting and discovering traps, stealing etc. However, I didn’t have much of a choice and decided it was kill or be killed! So I tried to fight the first monster and nearly died for my troubles.

Luckily, we had two healers, who were also good fighters as well as another two fighting heroes as well, so I got saved from dying twice because they were able to heal me and get my hit points up. I did get my revenge on the monsters and took out about three of them, first with my sword, then with a trip, then with a bow. I ended up deciding to move back and be out of the way because I was on the edge of dying. But, I couldn’t let the rest of my group face off the monsters, so I got my bow out, which meant I lost a move on dropping my shield and putting my sword away, but it was worth doing so really as the fight moved too far away from me to jump back into it. To save having to waste another move on putting my shield away, it was suggested that I use my athletics to kick my shield across the floor as I moved. It was a funny statement, but I decided to try it out-twice. I rolled high enough both times to kick my shield with style and make it stay at my feet so I didn’t loss it. I think it’s those random little moments that can bring some fun to the heat of a battle.

We were also luckily enough to hear reports from the other table and we quickly learnt that they were fairing badly. At the end of the battle we learnt that all the heroes had died but one. They had no healers and hadn’t been on full hit points at the start. The battle had been too much for them. Hit points can go into minus numbers and then you have three rolls to escape death and you can also use surges to heal, but only at certain points-like rest stages-The only survivor had turned out to be a goblin slave and he’d found another goblin hiding and they had run away together. It was me that spotted the same hidden goblin in my game and well after some hard questions one of the other heroes killed him by shaking him. My boyfriend’s hero had been amongst the dead so girlfriend hugs and kisses were in high demand when we had finished. He can build a new character now and has since made one which is a very great fighting machine- they call them tanks- as he’s determined not to die again. I was surprised that I survived actually!

So, I’m still loving playing D&D and supporting women gamers. I’m really hoping I’ll be okay for next week now, just need to get over this illness.

Images from:

http://www.netjunkz.com/anime-cartoon-wallpapers/wallpaper-of-faerie-dragon/

http://www.fancydressball.co.uk/accessories/swords-knives-and-axes/crusader-sword-and-shield-60318.htm