Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate (Comic Book Review)

Great to see a Baldurs Gate comic on sale but does it capture the essence and the feeling we had playing the game?

I recall the late 90s and early 2000s when fantasy video games were coming out every year that appeared to seemingly dwarf the previous releases of the year before.  Diablo, Baldurs Gate and Ice Wind Dale were released to good reviews and more importantly they were being played by people who had no idea what D&D or pen and paper RPGs were. A new generation of RPG fan and player was ushered into the fold thanks to technology and globalization. RPG games were being played in lan parties and online with Battlenet and other services growing the genres popularity and access.  At that time Dungeons & Dragons had changed ownership and its future was in the hands of Wizardz of the Coast (now a subsidary of Hasbro) and in this time we also saw  more suplimentary products for their big Intellectual Property which was Dungeons & Dragons. With Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 coming out in 2000 it would seem that the publishers managed to get all their ducks in a row as RPGs both tabletop and their PC counterparts were in trend and the brand awareness was growing.

Lets step back into the early 10s after Dungeons & Dragons have been releasing comics sporadically while the novels were still selling strong with the drow ranger Drizzt becoming the unofficial mascot of D&D and the Forgotten Realms. With Wizards poised to release a new system (5th Edition) the last thing they could afford was a cold release. A cold release is when a company releases a product or service with little to minimal marketing and promotional efforts and after 4.5 was panned by critics and players alike and with Paizo building an empire on improving 3.5 WOTC wanted to make sure 5th Edition would not only make a splash but ride in on a tidal wave.

After Wizardz of the Coast wisely decided to announce playtesting in 2012 and openly let people participate in helping them craft the new system that at the time was still called D&D Next. By 2014 they released the basic rules for free on their website  and by September players could purchase the first 3 core books and it was very well recieved. This ties in our review today as Legends of Baldurs Gate was released the same year as their system. I have to tip my hat to them as this move not only catered to fantasy comic fans, fans of their already popular settings but also any newcomers could also see the value in getting to know more about the lore of the setting through a comic. Let us not forget that the majority of younger gamers probably never played Baldurs Gate so this product could walk them through it and introduce them to what D&D was about without them having to buy an old game or do more research.

At the time I was still playing 3.5 and was reluctant to switch systems despite GMing sessions at Cons and at my friends game shop I was not onboard the 5E train but was still reading the novels and any comics I could get my hands on. When I was browsing Amazon I came across the comic and having played the PC game I was interested in reading a book that was revisiting the setting, serving as somewhat of a sequel to the game.

I placed my order and the quality seemed industry standard when it arrived, like most products published through IDW. The paperback collected 5 issues of the story and the cover art did resemble the style I was used to with their previous comics that they were printing during the 4th Edition run.

The story takes place ____ after the events that saved the people of Baldurs Gate. One of the legends Minsk, comes to life and as I like to avoid spoilers I will attempt to not give away too much in my critique of the book. The plot for the most part is nothing crazy or new but the cast of characters are interesting as you have a party come together through circumstance and have a united goal.

Jim Zubkavich and Max Dunbar deliver in this 5th Edition tie remaining as true as they could and bringing some darkness to all over storytelling. Jim himself coming off writing and working for big names just Capcom, Marvel, DC, Cartoon Network and Bandai-Namco so Wizardz chose a seasoned vet to oversee and be point on the project. Not to say Max Dunbar does not have a hefty resume including illustrating for big franchise IPs such as GI Joe, Gears of War and Judge Dredd so the talent and skills were never in question.

The characters play out like your typical party in a campaign but the twists in the plot and the pacing is done right so that someone new to the genre would not be overwhelmed. Baldurs Gate comes to life with Max Dunbar’s and Sarah Stone’s drawing styles while the dialogue and writing bring it all together in this enjoyable comic. This is a must read for anybody who loves fantasy comics and D&D especially if you are a newcomer and want to get to know the Forgotten Realms. These sort of comics are great to introduce people to the different roles in a party, to language that was spoken and even familiarizing themselves with key concepts and lore in Dungeons & Dragons.

I can warmly recommend this comic if you can find it at an affordable price. Looking now the paperback is selling for around 44$ on Amazon so try check Ebay and other book stores for a hardcopy. A decent gift for a teenager and adult and adds to any comic collection with lots of good images to draw inspiration from.

 

Please tell us what you think of Legends of Baldurs Gate Vol 1, do you agree with us or did you feel it was a crime against rainforrests. Let us know in the comment section or message us on social media. Til next time, quest strong and may your days be filled with adventure and joy.

 

 

 

What are TRPGs and why do we quest? Why we think you might like them too.

By Mykal K Grimm

If you are new to role playing games then I hope this piece will shed some light on the hobby and help further your interest in this truly enjoyable form of social entertainment. Table Top Role Playing Games are not like other games the majority of your friends might play when they hangout in their free time as it has a heavy reliance on the players imagination and it is narrative driven, a story is unfolding throughout play and you can change the course of events by decisions taken by the player. The dice have more than 6 sides or less depending on which ones are needed to be rolled and the game is not competitive in the sense that there is a winner and looser at the end. The game also lasts longer than most traditional board or card games and is played in a way that most people have not encountered as it is vastly different to Uno, Chess or Poker. We will go deeper into the mechanics at another time but it is a very different game that offers a truly unique and fun experience for the players and game masters. I will do my best to help explain what it is we do around the table and why I enjoy it and think more people would if they tried to play TRPGs.

Role Playing Games are games in which the player takes on the role of a character of a certain class and race in often a fictional setting where they are given a quest to resolve. When generating this character you roll or calculate Points for your ability score and distribute them among your skills and attributes which is done during the character creation phase. Different classes possess different talents and abilities as do races which can include dim light vision if you were an Elf or resistance to poison if you were an Orc shaman. Classes can range from the combat focused Fighter to the versatile Wizard and Elves, Dwarves and Halflings are but some of the playable races and classes in some of these systems.  These tabletop games are not merely restricted to medieval fantasy settings but those are the ones I prefer and will use them for most of my examples.

Games can be set in any era, in any environment and classes and powers vary from system to system as do the rules of play.  Mutants and Masterminds is an RPG system which sees you take on the role of a super hero or villain and battle it out Marvel style while Call of Cthulhu has the players play as Investigators trying to solve a murder before dying or loosing their collective s##t in the process. Some RPGs require a  gaming surface and miniature figurines for staging combat, others may use index cards to tell a story while some do not require anything but a piece of paper and is entirely spoken. RPGs come in many forms , levels of complexity and have actually been around since the 70’s with  Dungeons & Dragons being the first leading name in the industry and remains so until today.

Gary Gyax and Dave Arneson were enthusiastic war gamers who wanted to create a game in which you controlled a single soldier opposed to an entire unit or platoon. They would eventually brainstorm a very basic Dungeons & Dragons system and later Gary Gygax would publish it through his company TSR. D&D would change the face of gaming forever as many video game developers would use the character stats from their game to develop and design their own games with them serving as a template. In time their brand would have bestsellers popularizing the genre of fantasy further and familiarizing the reader with their RPG settings and lore. They would push the envelope for the entire industry while creating it at the same time. Fantasy was the first setting but later they would release futuristic science fiction settings in Gamma World  and other books including D20 Modern where players could use SMGs and helicopters. The whole idea was to give players a chance to enter their imaginations and with their guidelines play out epic adventures all from the safety of their own home and in the company of their friends.

Me and my guild first really got into RPGing because we all enjoyed similar things and for most of us, none of us had a chance to really play an TRPG. We would come together and after long discussions about D&D we decided to give it a shot and start playing. At first most of us were brand new to Dungeons & Dragons TRPG games but we enjoyed reading the books, seeing the great artwork. We did start with a more complex system (3.5 Edition which later evolved into Pathfinder) that did have many stats, numbers, reading and may not have been the best choice for newbies in hindsight. The learning curve is not as steep as it may appear at first glance but it does require reading the material in order to have a basic grasp of how it the game is played. Coming to the gaming table without reading anything is a mistake. With the resources available online today a new player can get a decent idea of what the game is about and a basic comprehension of stages of play and how a turn goes. We ourselves plan to put out tutorial videos down the line.

In the beginning your eyes will be overwhelmed with many of the Character sheets but after a few gaming sessions you will know what to look for and where what goes. With every session we ran we would feel more comfortable with the rules, questions would get addressed and answered and the deeper we delved into this imaginary world. My first character was Marcus Marvella, a Half Elf Ranger with a cliche backstory and I remember how much I like attributes of the class. My brother player a more advanced class of a War Mage, Boris of the Bash Bros was a Human Barbarian and Medeni played a dwarven cleric. All of us enjoyed figuring out which skills and weapons to use depending on the situation they found themselves. We learned very fast that there was a big coop component to playing the game, communication and teamwork is the only way to survive an attack or escape a potentially fatal argument. We also grew closer as friends and before long we are snapping D&D puns and jokes and it was something we all would continue to look forward to until this day.

When you quest you are playing a character other than yourself in a fictional setting where you are not bound by our current reality and norms. Want to slay dragons and rescue the princess, you can do it from the safety of your home with your friends as your allies. Ever wanted to be part of a story as it was written? Solve mysteries in a Victorian city or escape the Death Star with you friends, yes and yes guys. Questing is always going to have more options than any video game because there is no limit to your imagination. Many have described the RPG experience as the players are characters in movie and are playing it out as the Game Master is the director responsible for crafting the obstacles and supporting cast. I cannot describe the laughs had at the table and the tension when the Health Points were low and nobody had any potions and our Cleric was out of heals! The immersion is a big part of why I enjoy playing and running the game. No one session is the same and if done right a session involves just as much role playing as combat encounters.

The community of tabletop RPG players is diverse and the passion for the hobby is very real. There are dozens of groups and pages on social media and websites (cough) including Nerd Dimension who seek to make this hobby more accessible and make it easier for those wishing to pursue it as a hobby. RPGing can be a truly liberating experience, being able to break away from the problems in the real world and it can also be very social if you schedule games with new players once in a while. I hope that this post can help motivate readers to consider playing or maybe return to it now as there are so much more options now. Reach out to members in local gaming groups or go to game shops and see if there other players who need an extra player. The experience can be rewarding and it is better than solitary gaming in my opinion. At the end of every session I feel I did not waste my time, I was socializing while playing a game by telling a story. I do not have the same feeling after playing 4 hours of a PC game or console and my eyes get tired.

If you love playing RPG PC or video games, this is something you should at least look into to get some insight into how your pass time originated. I have noticed it seems harsher for video game players crossing over but there are systems that let you do awesome stuff in the early levels so don’t worry about being bored.

If you love fantasy fiction then I cannot recommend this enough for it is the closest I have gotten to playing a character from one of my favorite novels and immersing myself into a setting. It could also serve as a helpful tool to flush out your own settings and characters if you group are open to trying it out.

If you are looking for something different that could sharpen your writing, voice acting or social skills in general than this is something that could be beneficial to you.

 

Game Systems I can recommend for new players:

GURPS : A very basic system which is good for a first session as there is less attributes and a basic rule system. A great way to introduce basic character creation and principles of play found in the more complex systems especially for younger players. There are many itirations of the system with loads of settings to choose from and is the cheapest to get price ways compared to the bigger systems.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (2nd Edition): A step up in complexity but still easier than the later editions and other RPGs on the market. Despite having more rules than GURPS the AD&D system allows for more options in play and character creation. Good starting point if you have a group thinking of playing D&D the amount of materials and campaigns online to me make this the most fun to run and play for new players from teens to adults. Our very own DM Pat still runs the system until this day and you can catch him on Roll20 running sessions.

Shadowrun: A science-fiction / cyber punkish game which is more focused on skills opposed to class for solving problems and resolving combat. It is a more modern setting and is rich in theme and flavor and serves an interesting alternative to players not looking for Swords and Sorcery. The weapons and races are just as diverse as you can find in most fantasy and the twist of entery this ‘Matrix’ like cyber dimension makes for a unique experience. You have hackers to tanks and working together while one of your runners is disabling a security program is pretty cool. If you want to get a feel for the general idea of the game you can get the Shadowrun PC games for fair prices on GOG and I recommend them.

Call of Cthulhu: A horror science-fiction RPG based on the HP Lovecraft’s Mythos in which you investigate mysterious events and have to maintain your sanity and safety as the Ancient Ones hurl every demonic thing it can at your party. The basic role playing rules make it easy to get into for new players and the horror setting will have players on the edge of their seats until the very end where everyone dies…because it is very very very hard to survive in COC. A must play for all horror and Lovecraft fans thinking of entering the RPG realm.

Star Wars Roleplaying Game: What more can I say. This game was designed to be easy for those taking their first steps into roleplaying games and the theme is there in buckets. It is new and you can buy beginner boxes for cheap and I think this goes over well with younger players the most. Unleash the force with your buddies while recapturing some of the magic of the movies.

Vampire: The Masquerade :  A system unlike the others which is more story orientated opposed to combat. The system has a strong community and following is designed with those looking for more storytelling in the game and the setting and theme of vampires is very well done. Take on the curse of the night in the form of unique vampires as you and your party have to decide how to operate in this hidden world. There is a great PC game developed by Troika of this system which I recommend.

There is something for everybody in the world of tabletop RPGs and maybe this post helps somebody choose to give them a shot. Until your eyes gaze upon my humble writing once more please let us know what you think of our content in the comments section below. If you like what you read so far we welcome you to subscribe and follow our social media pages and podcast.

*Nerd Dimension also have started recruiting members and players for our Sci Fi Fantasy Club in Kungsbacka, all you need is the app Meet Up to find and get in touch with the group.

Pathfinder: Game Mastery Guide (Pocket Edition) Review (Tabletop RPG)

Mike reviews his pocket edition of Paizo’s Game Mastery Guide. Is it worth the money and space saved?

Paizo is a company that means a lot to tabletop RPG if for nothing else for making the best use of the OGL and using their pioneering spirit to change the landscape of gaming. Paizo took a system that I myself loved which was 3.5 Dungeons & Dragons and later expanded and streamlined certain things allowing for truly an individual experience for role players. The system built upon yet kept key elements and mechanics such as alignment, attack opportunities and the feat system which made for a plethora of customization and a feeling that you were in control of your character with no character in the party really feeling or playing alike. I hope to provide more in depth articles and posts about Paizo and their contribution to the industry so plesae subscribe to Nerd Dimension.

Sure, D&D 5th Edition is a system onto itself and I give it credit and maximal respect for making a smoother system for new players and recapturing another generation with the bug that is tabletop role playing. However, as someone who enjoys Pathfinder and is not a fan of math I still managed to get used to it and with a little effort was GMing long sessions and my party never complained after the first few combats. Not to say I myself have not enjoyed 5th Edition but I find myself missing the tons of source books available for 3.5 with the simple conversion and the vast library that Pathfinder itself provided. I will recommend that anyone just getting into role playing games should start with 5th edition as it is a less complex system with more focus on the role play aspects of the game with a simpler rules set while being far more streamlined for newcomers. 

When returning and launching my group back in Stockholm I could not afford to buy too many books as I had digital copies of the core book and a few supplements so I opted to buy Bestiary 1, Advanced Classes and the Game Masters Guide with a GM Screen. My thinking behind the decision was also the space and weight both on the table and to carry around as I was actively looking for new players and venues to play. Having a portable set up for Pathfinder didn’t require much more than my Ipad 2 and the books which all fit in a backpack along with the stationary, battlemat, dice and miniatures. Subscribe to read our GM load out in the GMs Chamber that me and Bakar will put together if you are curious about stepping your game mastery up notch or two.

The book is great and the print was not as small as I feared it would be but I do not require the aid of spectacles just yet but some of my players who do wear glasses were a little irritated by this. The book has everything that the bigger book has just in a smaller print so I cannot complain about the quality or of any errors in printing that I came across using the book. I am a fan of the artwork and style used by Paizo through out Pathfinder and Pathfinder Society and it looked good in Kingmaker. I can say that I feel that Pathfinder did a good job concerning how the spread their information in their smaller books and it scaled well. I can say that the smaller size allowed me to take two books with me to work and spend lunch putting post its on pages I knew I would be referring to that were not on the screen. It was did make my backpack a little lighter so I can say I am a satisfied customer and that Paizo delivered.

Now with Pathfinder Second Edition officially out I am eagerly awaiting to hear the experience of players and GMs alike concerning the new mechanics and how it compares of the original Pathfinder.

 

Game Mastery Guide
My copy of Pathfinder’s Game Mastery Guide

Hero Con Göteborg 2019

Mike & Erik attend the Göteborg Comic-Con, highlights and their thoughts on the event

After the changes here at Nerd Dimension, one being my music career taking off just as creative differences and moving left us with no studio or staff to continue. Upon my return to the snowy north I found myself with some time on my hands between meetings I learned about the con in Göteborg that was coming up. I reached out to my new friend Erik and we decided that we would attend the con. It was my first con in Sweden and I was looking forward to checking out some of the stalls and hopefully re up on some books and gifts for loved ones back home.

What seemed interesting was that Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin from Stranger Things)  and Alexander Ludvig (Bjorn from Vikings) would be there and I almost took my Stranger Things poster, but I didn’t in the end which I was glad about after the fact. Seeing such big names did make me wonder if the con manage to get some support from the big companies perhaps merch and giveaways. The comic artists who were there did get published by the big names but they were not any we were familiar with and when I arrived they did not seem too keen on talking as no one was cuing for them. Regardless of the lineup my seconday motive for attending was also checking what the stalls full of preloved goodness had to offer as I had realized there was not much in the form of gaming or tabletop sessions that was organized.

Me and Erik grabbed burgers en route to the con and got sufficiently psyched about attending and the weather was very nice for Sweden in May. After finding the parking lot we walked past a decent amount of cosplayers, so many that I started thinking it would be packed wall to wall with fellow nerds. As we approached the entrance we hear country music and a van plugging a band while Spider-Man and some obscure Anime character are striking poses. Immediately I was thrown off by that and a pony dressed up as Batman brought up a question mark. Yes, you read that right. There was a pony in costume to the side of the convention center which also is next to the horse track. I guess it could be fun for the wee ones to have something else to do but I figured maybe Knights or Cowboys might have gone over better for a stead.

When we entered we did not see such a huge turn out, surprinsingly as I figured the one con of the year might have drawn a few more like minded folks. We purchased our day passes and entered the convention area. First thing I notice are some stalls with sharply dressed people who looked like they worked at an electronics chain but none of them seemed to be pushing any hardware. A few animantion companies, but nothing that drew our attention or stood out as something interesting. We get to the center of the convention hall, noticing that the space was not really used up to its fullest with corners walled off flimsly. It looked pretty vacant other than a long cue of cosplayers waiting for the contest which really was the majority of the attendees we would later find out.

Me and Erik continue deeper into the convention center and find the gold we were searching for. We find a few comic book vendors and obviously I hit big so expect more comic reviews. Nostalgic Comics had a great selection and had fair pricing on certain books so after getting a few I slid over to the next stall and found shelves of anime DVDs and BluRays. I found a few DVDs that looked interesting but the prices were were pretty high even for the regular DVD collections so unfortunately I had to pass on those purchases.

Concerning gaming we managed to find a second game store operation working mostly online and at conventions which had interesting items including memory cards and other smaller console accessories which were fairly priced. I am considering getting a retro console to catpture some game footage and did buy a Gamecube game for 10$ which seemed OK considering you can’t find too many of them out here in Sweden. Erik purchased some Playstation 2 games and a memory card along with some comics.

I was disappointed with the lack of vendors present at the con and there was no big Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo stalls plugging any games and HBO sent a few promotional models and props but other than that I felt the content was lacking and we were done in 4 hours and that was with us taking our time. There were some interesting exihbits for Swedish authors which I felt was nice to see, always promising seeing independent authors get some shine. I found classic Dylan Dog collection prints but they did not have them in English so I passed.

Before leaving we wanted to check out the cues for the actors and saw that the price was north of 50$ so I was really glad I did not bring my poster. Moving forward we decided to make our way back to Kungsbacka all the while discussing some of the shortcomings of the con and the potential it had.

I would have to give them credit for continuing to keep the event going but I feel they should get more content including workshops, displays and even performances. The lack of content just disappointed me, I mean why could they not have at least held a few tournaments in Street Fighter or have Marvel vs Capcom etc. Maybe schedule a screening of something perhaps but it seemed like the con fell short of giving us enough selection in how to spend our money. There was one vendor selling consoles and games and there was no other real gaming presence. The kids seemed to have a good time but there was definitely more that could have been done to keep them entertained. I mean why not have had some tables to play Marvel Legendary and other comic related board games. Just a few ideas should the organizers find this article. Seeing as we only attended the one day I can only give an impression but seeing as we were there for what looked like the big day it is safe to say I did not miss anything ‘big’ so my grading will not be too harsh.

I give the con a grade of 5 out of 10 if for nothing the facilities were clean, parking large enough etc. and there were enough vendors for people looking for deals and hard to find comics could make off like bandits.

We hope that Hero Con tries to integrate more gamers and nerd culture into the next Con, perhaps reaching out to gaming clubs and groups to GM sessions on day or host board games. When I was organizing a Con in Croatia which was the first Con in Dalmatia of its kind we managed to sell board games, have people playing board games and even getting a movie screening. You do not want your con goers to leave unhappy or feel bored. The price was not too expensive but if I was to be honest I did not get much out of it and Im deep into the culture so I can only imagine the disappointment on some of the visitors who may have left without anything memorable including the experience.

 

Hope that you enjoyed this post and look forward to reading some of your comments. Were you present at Hero Con? Which Cons do you recommend in Europe? Let us know and until next time, Quest Strong and enjoy your roles.

 

 

 

 

 

Dungeons & Dragons – Shadowplague (Comic Book Review) IDW

IDW pairing with TV writer John Rogers and what we thought of it. At a time when D&D was loosing fans because of 4th Edition did they get this right?

It is no mystery that most of us at Nerd Dimension are RPG Players who have played or still continue to play Dungeons & Dragons. It is synonymous with nerds, adventure and chances are that most of the people you know have heard about it or know something about it.  In the dark era in which Wizards of the Coast got greedy and foolish by releasing what is still dubbed the worst version Dungeons & Dragons. In this time IDW had the license agreement with WOTC to publish D&D comics. IDW had already obtained licenses were already coming off successes with popular TV franchises which they turned into comics with 24, CSI and Star Trek. The publisher also would give readers also print comics for popular gaming titles (Silent, Castlevania and Metal Gear Solid) and IDW continue to cater to their readers so D&D would make perfect sense.

I had already read two volumes of classic D&D comics (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons) published by the giant DC comics and was curious to see how the newer material would read. Having also real several novels including The Crystal Shard & Homeland I went in knowing a lot about D&D and the lore.

The duo that put together Shadowplague were screenwriter John Rogers (The Core and Leverage) and seasoned artist Andrea Di Vito ( Marvel’s Annihilation), peaking my interest as I had not heard of Rogers prior to this book and actually thought it could be a idea getting someone from TV for the writing. Later I would see he worked on Catwoman.I feel I need not add insult to injury but this guy did go on to do bigger and better things. John Rogers would write for the Young Justice, Librarians and the Teen Titans all shows which I enjoyed so he was up two in my grade book.

shadowplague

I loved the art on the cover, the characters well drawn and it looked a lot fresher than the older issues I had read before. A big step up but then again I was reading content from the late 80’s & early 90’s.  The writing in Shadowplague is not the best but it is well written with the average reader in mind. I could see how the writers work in television helped him in making the story a little more engaging to those who would come in as novices. Not too many people will understand the difference between a spell and a cantrip and like most of us in high school we hated reading old English. The writer here managed to meet you halfway so that the dialogue feels modern but not too modern that it works against the feel of the setting. I like the coloring and the shading in the panels, especially how some of the characters get those extra details in the right places. I do however miss the rugged look of the older comics but the visually the comic is up to standards and I cannot complain nor praise it.

The plot is not the most original but then again what do you expect buying a Dungeons & Dragons comic? I did like that this was not a comic version of other stories but more a continued comic book series. The characters and story did not have to measure up against previous bestsellers and both the artist and the writer could add more of themselves to the creation of the book. The story revolves around a party that have just joined forces out of common interests and we read the unfolding of the stories. Some have intriguing conflicts that push them further forward whereas others are more stereotypical in a fantasy sense, meaning the elf and dwarf are not that keen on each others company. Through the story it does feel like D&D in the sense that the characters classes do get to play to their strengths in the story and the story, though dry does get you the last page.

I still prefer the older version of the comics but that is my opinion. I feel they were more original with some of the storytelling and think that Shadowplague is a light entry. I saw that quite a few people gave this book a favorable review but I will have to be the outlier…again. The writing and page count left me with things to desire, more chapters and a better conclusion for the price I paid. The book I bought online through amazon did not last two readings before falling out from the spine. I feel they could have been a little more creative with the characters and perhaps added more so that I would feel tempted to fork over more money for the next book. The way things stand now I will not be purchasing the remaining books as I have got into their more recent D&D Publications which you can bet we will talk and write about in posts to come.

Rating: 6 out of 10

 

In closing, if you can source this book or the whole run for cheap then by all  means pull out the plastic and make your bid. I could recommend this comic to someone thinking of getting into D&D and it is a good, light introduction without being too heavy. I talked with some younger readers who said it was fun to see the different races and got curious about the tabletop and video games after reading so in that sense the book does serve a purpose.  For more information on the pair behind the book they did an interview with Newsrama in 2010 we invite you to read.

Thank you for reading, please leave a comment even if it is to contradict my opinion, rate even if it is 3 out of 5  and most importantly subscribe/follow our pages on FACEBOOK + MIXCLOUD as to stay up to date on content and contests. We are always interested in your feedback and welcome your submissions and entries. To hear more on the book the in audio format visit The Nerd Dimension episode in the link.

 

Nerd Dimension Podcast TOS EP 4 , MOVIES !!!

Another show from the trio nerdos so tune in to hear their take on movie, movies and more movies !!!

Your favorite Nerds have succeeded in sending out another signal from the dark depths of  the dimension they are voluntarily trapped in. Stream their latest show and hear them go in on bad movies and praise some old favorites. The team recorded a long one this time around for all of our fans who said they wished they were a bit longer. Let us know what you think in the comments and please share with those you feel may enjoy our content.

Image return ! Saga Volume 1 (Comic Book Review)

Nerd Dimension bring you a review of the award winning first volume the internet were talking about. Have Image reclaimed the throne for different and dark again?

I first learned about Saga through some of the pages I am a member of on social media and saw other members uploading panel pictures and praising this book as something the industry has been needing for years. I had not heard Image were planning to come with something big in ages and missed the first run but then again I am biased. To this humble blogger their best work will always be their franchise player, Al Simmons aka Spawn (something I recommend to anybody looking for a darker comic and anti-hero dishing out tons of carnage). Image developed a reputation for publishing the books the other big companies shied away from.

When I decided to do some research it seemed to be a Space Opera meets Fantasy as you have two protagonists fleeing with a baby across space while being chased by the two of biggest armies in the universe. Did not seem too original, granted, I still decided to keep digging and especially with all the great reviews I had read. I learned that the writer, Brian K. Vaughn had worked for both DC and Marvel comics in his career, writing for X-men, Green Lantern, Batman, Spider-man and Captain America. As well as working with big names in the world of comics he also worked on 3 seasons of ABCs smash ‘Lost’ and worked on Showtimes adaptation of Stephen Kings ‘Under The Dome’ I was surprised to see that his illustrative counter part and partner in comics, Fiona Staples was nowhere near his status or caliber. When I was googling her and trying to find out more about her I did not see her tied to any of the major titles or franchises.

It was not until I was in Comics Heaven in Stockholm when I managed to get my hands on a hard copy and immediately fell in love with the artwork. It looked good and my research told me what the story was supposed to go like. I avoid reading spoilers for anything including comics as to best experience the book. I read the volume in one sitting and was immediately hooked by the first chapter. The way Vaughn created this interesting setting with far from perfect characters was interesting. The conflicts and set up is done just right and the subject matter is not for kids. One of my favorite characters has got to be the Freelance ‘The Stalk”. The adult content of the panels was refreshing to see coming from a big publisher but it was not cheap if you understand what I am getting at. They did not use nudity of obscenities to mask a poor plot, it all comes together like a great stew sprinkled with just enough to make it a hearty read.  The 13 awards the book received in 2013 only reinforces my claim of the quality of this first installment.

It was interesting to me how the writer managed to create these characters who did fit certain RPG archetypes yet managed to have them come off as unique to his setting. The language used by the different players in this grim universe adds a dose of reality along with slight twists that actually make sense. Not being a big fan of campy comics I see myself continuing to read this series.

The things I did not like was the lack of explanations for humans, it appears that regular humans do not seem to play a big role in this setting and I sadly cannot divulge  much more without spoiling the first issue. The coloring at times seemed a little dull but not enough to put you off from reading. I do see the coloring as an aid for setting the tone but still I would have preferred different palettes for some of the scenes. Now a minor warning to some, this is not capes and chaos but rather a mash up of several modern genres by splicing together high sci fi, low fantasy, intrigue and a hefty load of dystopia.

All in all I give this first volume:

7.5 out of 10

 

Conclusion: Saga has succeeded in being a fresh and did manage to get the comic community talking and has maintained it fanbase and following years after the release. When other books fizzle out or fail to keep the pacing Vaughn managed to script a book that reads like a movie and Staples delivers panels that match that narrative. People coming to this book will have a different experience from the usual and I urge those who enjoy Sandman and Preacher to skim through some of the pages as it is not the run of the mill book.

 

Saga FC Vol1

So until next time, never dog ear your pages when there is always a receipt lying around to be used as bookmark. Just be sure it is not the bill from the BDSM spot you went to last week.

 

Nerd Dimension Podcast : The Couch Coop Convo

New podcast up, twist up, flip the cap and lay back as the nerds take you for another joy ride through fun fantasy and f##kery

 

In this episode our three terrible hosts discuss couch coop titles, some of the best games, a few undiscovered gems and give you their usual spiel. Apollo is still the overbearing intellectual, Gus is always trying to bring the balance as Mike continues to throw out crazy comments like they are going out of style. So sit back, relax and enjoy  🙂

 

Why I chose Pathfinder over Fifth Edition

I remember the feeling I used to get as a kid, watching movies of knights defeating dragons and other monsters in epic encounters on-screen from the safety of my couch fort. Thinking to myself, how awesome it would be to wield such powers and possess such courage. That and how they kind of did their own thing, not really answering to anybody or anything but themselves and their code of honor. I guess everybody enjoyed imaging themselves as the hero in a story at some time in their childhoods. I was lucky to have been a kid in the 90’s so we got to read those ‘choose your adventure’ books which to an infant was pretty cool, next best thing as you didn’t want your Gameboy getting confiscated in french class. As a kid I loved being able to take a different path in the story and loved nervously flipping through the pages to see what fate awaited me.  Whether I was plowing through a swamp, wrestling with lizardfolk or rescuing the princess it made for good reading to a kid with a wild imagination and a family that could not afford the newest toys and consoles.

My first introduction to Dungeons & Dragons was the animated series that was running on TV when I was reading these books and comics. I never got to watch the entire season back then but I tried to catch it whenever it was on  TV and my brother and I would pick which class we were and the next day make our own pretend adventure. The many different roles in the party and the new quests were interesting to me and I never had heard of the role playing game at the time. As I moved up through grade school my brother would take a deeper interest in certain fields of fantasy but it wasn’t until I was 13 that I first saw someone playing a role playing game in the pen and paper sense. Until then I thought it was strictly a console thing to describe games like Zelda and Diablo. It seemed pretty fun to me but after 15 minutes as a spectator I started getting bored  because I did not really know what was happening and the party were not using miniatures or other aids to help me visualize what was happening. I did hear some cool words such as Fireball, Enchanted weapon and Rebuke Undead but apart from that I did not get a grasp of how the game was actually played. The only thing I understood was that the GM was a referee of some sort and I figured he was having the least fun- As Dungeons & Dragons was never really that popular at the schools I went to and the crowds I was in it would not be until college that I got my first real opportunity to play D&D and it was the 3.5 edition.

I was intrigued by the mechanics of 3.5 and all the  well illustrated books available for it at the time. I started reading more about it, reading the fiction of the talented RA Salvatore and rewatching the first movie. Good thing I remembered that movie in a better light as kid because that movie could have put off a lot of people, just saying if it was not for Jeremy Irons it would have been even more unwatchable. I played the most of this version of D&D and I loved how it gave me, as a player, so many options and the flavor was there in spades for a curious would be Dungeon Master. I have such fond memories of fudging rolls just to get the party past the last demon so they could rest before tackling the next puzzle or minion I had lurking in the shadows behind the next corner. The supplements and companion books allowed me to always throw something new which at times overwhelmed me as a rookie DM just starting out and beginning to tell the story. The writing and artwork made it fun to read and as a player it was fun to pass the books around and see what was coming at you instead of relying solely on my descriptions which can at times put a lot of people off if they lack the vocabulary and language skills. Not for nothing but there are only so many times a ‘big’ ‘scary’ orc, insert other generic baddies or ‘dark’ corridors that are ‘just’ corridors can ya take before calling in with scurvy at the next session.

With the release of D&D 5th Edition I was curious about seeing what Wizards of the Coast had in store for their fans after fumbling with 4th edition so bad they aided in the creation and extension of their prior system under a new publisher (Paizo). The sales were poor and critics slammed it for being entirely way too focused on combat and minimizing the roleplaying aspect of the game. Wizards announced that they were going back to their roots with D&D and re-released the classic Red Box and Basic Set which sold well and helped create anticipation for the new system. They said they wanted to make the new edition feel like the older ones and not be so rules heavy as to allow for the easier introduction of role players and Dungeon Masters alike.

I played it shortly after it had come out and was fortunate enough to get official print outs,folders and merchandise to test the game with. I was given the privilege to run a game for a friend and I decided to get ready. I loved the artwork and the covers for the books and approached this new system with a positive attitude. I got to run the game with the hardcover books and was given some pregenerated characters and a module provided by Wizards of the Coast for free legal download.

The game ran smoother than I had expected but at times I found myself looking for stats and things that were not there or even important. I noticed earlier that alignment was not stressed as much in 5th edition and the minions were falling left, right and center in most of the combat encounters. I mean, the party were really cutting through them and gave me the feeling that the PCs were kind of over powered in this version. It did not feel as suspenseful at the third and final conflict but all in all it was far easier to explain to new players compared to the prior editions and other RPGS I had played at the time.

After returning to 3.5 for a year or so I would spend some time away from the table in which I had heard more about Pathfinder and how it was the same thing just a little easier and it was new. I thought that it would be hard or illegal to deliver the same experience but then remembered the OGL and learned that Paizo and WOTC at one time collborated together. Long story short I liked the idea, the conversion kit made it easy for me to use my older books if I wanted to.  What also got me was the under dog story and how their entire business model was based on servicing an existing clientage that Wizardz were not trying to keep or get back.

Pathfinder gave me what I loved in 3.5 concerning resources but in practical pocket editions and paperbacks at affordable prices. Paizo were smart to offer PDFs something that 5th Edition is not going to ever do so it made it easy for me to snatch some decent books at a good price. As a publisher they managed to streamline the original system their game was built on and compress the information without taking away from the game. As a result you do not need a lot of books to start because you can run a game with two books as they have a Core Rulebook which is a players handbook and gm guide in one and a Bestiary (a monsters manual). Also for the classes you have Ultimate Combat which covers all your combat feats, adding some new ones and new classes and so does Ultimate Magic. These are big books but worth every penny and if you are buying this for a party, pennies well spent indeed. DISCLAIMER : Roleplaying does not require hardcopies of the material but for me and most players I know it is the preferred way of playing. We are in no means saying you HAVE to play with these books, merely saying that if you are interested in buying then these are the things we recommend you consider!!!

To be entirely honest I feel if you have already played rpgs and have a party I recommend you start the investment with

  • The GM Screen
    • Well written and is built just high enough to conceal without taking up too much space. It also features a gallery of charts with everything you might want to check on the fly.
  • The Game Masters Guide
    • The pocket edition is affordable if you do not mind the small text and provides you with everything you need to craft a campaign and really spends time in the first few sections introducing new Game Masters to the role in a more fun way than 3.5 and in a simpler language as well.
  • The Core Rulebook
    • The players handbook for Pathfinder and really has everything you need to know as a player if you want to run the core classes. Printed on good materials and will be durable for being passed around in paperback with great artwork.
  • Bestiary
    • A resource that both the players and GM can benefit from as it gives you a visual which is always better than something you print out on paper or show on a cellphone screen. There are more than seven of these on sale but all you really need is the first one to run all your standard monsters.
  • BONUS Material

We recommend that you consider looking at the Ultimate Combat or Magic which works out to be pretty cheap if you break it down on a party level and you can always use it as it really provides you with EVERYTHING you would to know for those casters and the combat orientated classes. To the same note the Advanced Players Guide could be your best bet if you want that little extra in customizing characters as it adds a little for everyone and is pretty cheap and also comes in a pocket version. Also for GMs we suggest Ultimate Campaign as it is a rich source of stats that are well set out to be plucked for use in the writing of you next campaign, but this can be purchased in PDF.

Apart from having great products at decent prices Paizo also offers accessories such as face and items cards that aid Game Masters in telling the story along with a wealth of content available online both free and on sale at their website. Sure it costs you money to buy these books but you don’t have to if you don’t think your group may not stick with it keep the budget low but if you believe in it then propose the idea of pooling your resources because once you have these books you are set for a long time. Paizo have made so many things from mats to minis that you can really get all your gaming needs from one spot. As a Game Master I wanted a system that had support and a publisher that made it as easy as possible for me to tell me my story and Paizo has been able to do that. From offering accessories to the Pathfinder Society that has organized play world-wide yet there are other online communities where you can track down potential players and games.

5th Edition just seemed so basic to me coming from 3.5 which a lot of players do say is crunch heavy (lots of modifiers and numbers you can add to a roll) but after a few sessions you have learned what to look for and when. 5th Edition does not offer many resources and do not offer PDFs on sale. Along with this I feel 5th edition focused on getting a whole new generation of role players, it feels and plays like it was designed with the new player in mind. Which is great and its similarities to the older, DM heavy style of play from AD&D went over well with some of the veteran players. Our group just wanted something we already knew worked and from my research I saw that this would be the system I run for the next 3 to 5 years. That does not mean I think 5th Edition is bad, I just feel that for this generation of players you need options and restrictions to make it both easier for the GM to run and more fun for the players to create their story and characters. Pathfinder gave us both and a decent price where as 5th Edition came off as entirely uninterested in the their older following from 3.5.

I saw that Pathfinder offered me a system that I did not require me to learn an entirely new system from scratch and gave me an affordable price point for entry. I saw that I could get more bang for my buck in a game which already had a lot of things happening and offered me the support and accessories I would need moving forward. Paizo won me over and this is just my preference. At heart an RPG should be players playing out a story in a fun, interesting and exciting way that they want to repeat. Pathfinder is the system for us and I hope by discussing the things I liked I may have helped some people in making their decision.

Nerd Dimension TOS Ep 2 with guest David

They return !

The nerds return with another throwback installment in which we tackle many issues and of course go overboard with our sound effects and trolling. Apart from giving listeners our opinions on the listed below we through in our specific brand of humor as to offend only the most sensitive of listeners. We try to not make time sensitive content so that you will never feel like you are keeping up with a trend or listening to another pod-casting reviewing the newest products. By not having sponsors we have the liberty of talking about what we want, the way we want and pick and chose topics we feel may not have been discussed enough or from our position. In between day jobs, shows and other day to day BS we have to deal with we gotta vent somewhere about the shit we love so enjoy as we talk about:

– D&D Shadow Plague (Comic Review)
– Fairy Tale Fights Review (Xbox 360)
– Shadows  Over Camelot (Board Game Review)
– Book Recommendations
–  Apollo still hating on flat chested actresses portraying Wonder Woman !

And of course over the top sound effects !!!

 

 

please remember to like, subscribe and comment on our social media and share if you feel like it so more people can enjoy our content. Thanks

FACEBOOK

MIXCLOUD