Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Toy Box

I collect action figures. This statement in and of itself is not really that impressive, but I tend to differ from a lot of other collectors that I know. First of all I only collect figures that I like, I simply don’t care what they are our will be worth. Secondly, I (gasp) open a lot of my figures, especially ones want to display.
I have a regular rotation of figures that I display on my computer desk in various poses. A few months ago I had my version of the Justice League during a meeting on my top shelf. Last month it is Vegeta and Goku fighting Frieza and a McDonalds mini raptor. This month is it Cthulhu eating a mini Power Ranger while Shreck watches. I also have a Marvel Legends Sasquatch, a Green Goblin, Longshot, Iron Man a few hundred Heroclix (I don’t play I just collect them) D&D Minis and various other figures guarding my comic book and RPG collection up stairs in my comic book/RPG room. Actually it’s a closet, but it is a very big closet.
Granted I do not open all of my figures, there are some I just like too much to open. For example I will not open my white Marvel Legends Sasquatch, some of my Star Wars figures and I refuse to open the Booster Gold and Blue Beetle figures. It has nothing to do with their current or future value. I don’t open them because I don’t want to see them get damaged.
Many collectors look at me like I’m an idiot when the discover that I have opened figures that would other wise be worth a fair amount of change. They simply can’t seem to understand that I just don’t care. I am not wealthy so I won’t pretend that the idea of buying a figure for under $10 and reselling it for over $100 is not an appealing one. I just don’t have the time or inclination to track down all of the potentially hot figures. If I were younger, and single I might be able to sit in Wal-mart at 3am and wait until they open the newest cases so that I could snatch up all the latest figures to resell, but I just don’t feel like it.
Like I said before I just buy the figures I like. This is one reason that the Marvel Legends build a figure sets suck for me. While I may want the completed figure, I do not want half of the ones you have to buy to get the pieces. To make matters worse the hard core collectors make it next to impossible for me to find the figures I actually do want. For example, I like Thor, Ms. Marvel and Spiderwoman, but good luck trying to find one these at the local Wally World. Pretty much all that is left are the figures no one wants, so I can’t get what I am looking for, unless I want to pay way too much for them from a dealer. Though I did find the DC Universe Firestorm variant(Ronnie Raymond, the real Firestorm) on clearance which was cool.
I didn’t understand it during the 90’s comic boom and I don’t understand it with action figures now. These items have high production numbers and people are still buying them to keep unopened. Honestly I don’t see them being as insanely valuable as people expect them to be. Sure GI Joe’s, original Star Wars and Transformers figures are valuable because, as kids, we opened them and played with them (they are toys after all), so there aren’t that many left in good condition. So why do we think that in 20 years the one million existing bearded Sentry figures that are still mint in the box will be worth enough to help us retire? Give me a break!
Sure there are figures out there that will, probably, be worth a small fortune at some point, and it will likely be ones that no one thought to collect. If I remember the comic book rule correctly, second issues are usually worth more than first issues because they have lower print runs and don’t sale as many copies. After all value is generally related to scarcity and if everyone has it, then it usually isn’t worth much. If you do keep your figures in the box do it for your own enjoyment not because they might be worth something someday. Other wise open your toys, read your comics and enjoy them. That’s what they are made for.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Avast! It's talk like a pirate day....Arrrr!

It is that time of year again, International Talk Like a Pirate Day. So get out with your mateys, grab some grog and drink up me hearties... yo ho! (But do so responsibly... I was going to make a booty comment here, but thought better of it.)

Talk Like a Pirate
Another Pirate Link
and another link
and another
and another

Some songs to sing while you enjoy your grog.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We pillage, we plunder, we rifle, and loot,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.
We kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot,
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We extort, we pilfer, we filch, and sack,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.
Maraud and embezzle, and even high-jack,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We kindle and char, inflame and ignite,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.
We burn up the city, we're really a fright,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.

We're rascals, scoundrels, villans, and knaves,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.
We're devils and black sheep, really bad eggs,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We're beggars and blighters, ne'er-do-well cads,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.
Aye, but we're loved by our mommies and dads,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho.

Dead Man's Chest

Verse 1. Fifteen men on a dead man's chest
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum
Drink and the devil had done for the rest
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.
The mate was fixed by the bosun's pike
The bosun brained with a marlinspike
And cookey's throat was marked belike
It had been gripped by fingers ten;
And there they lay, all good dead men
Like break o'day in a boozing ken

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.

Verse 2. Fifteen men of the whole ship's list
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
Dead and be damned and the rest gone whist!
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
The skipper lay with his nob in gore
Where the scullion's axe his cheek had shore
And the scullion he was stabbed times four
And there they lay, and the soggy skies
Dripped down in up-staring eyes
In murk sunset and foul sunrise
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.

Verse 3. Fifteen men of 'em stiff and stark
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
Ten of the crew had the murder mark!
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
Twas a cutlass swipe or an ounce of lead
Or a yawing hole in a battered head
And the scuppers' glut with a rotting red
And there they lay, aye, damn my eyes
Looking up at paradise
All souls bound just contrawise
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.

Verse 4. Fifteen men of 'em good and true
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
Ev'ry man jack could ha' sailed with Old Pew,
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
There was chest on chest of Spanish gold
With a ton of plate in the middle hold
And the cabins riot of stuff untold,
And they lay there that took the plum
With sightless glare and their lips struck dumb
While we shared all by the rule of thumb,
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!

Verse 5. More was seen through a sternlight screen...
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum
Chartings undoubt where a woman had been
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.
'Twas a flimsy shift on a bunker cot
With a dirk slit sheer through the bosom spot
And the lace stiff dry in a purplish blot
Oh was she wench or some shudderin' maid
That dared the knife and took the blade
By God! she had stuff for a plucky jade
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.

Verse 6. Fifteen men on a dead man's chest
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum
Drink and the devil had done for the rest
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.
We wrapped 'em all in a mains'l tight
With twice ten turns of a hawser's bight
And we heaved 'em over and out of sight,
With a Yo-Heave-Ho! and a fare-you-well
And a sudden plunge in the sullen swell
Ten fathoms deep on the road to hell,
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!

and one more for good measure

Hoist the Colours Lyrics- Hans Zimmer
The king and his men,
Stole the Queen from her bed,
And bound her in her Bones,
The seas be ours,
And by the powers,
Where we will, we'll roam.

Yo Ho, haul together,
Hoist the colours high,
Heave Ho, Theives and Beggars,
Never Shall We Die!

Some men have died,
And some are alive,
And others sail on the sea,
With the keys to the cage...
And the Devil to pay,
We lay to Fiddler's Green!

The Bell has been raised,
From it's watery grave...
Do you hear it's sepulchral tone?
We are a call to all,
Pay heed the squall,
And turn your sail toward home!

Yo Ho haul, together,
Hoist the colours high
Heave Ho, Theives and Beggars,
Never Shall We Die!

In celebration of TLAPD here are some Pirate gaming sites.
7th Sea RPG
Pirates of the Burning Sea Online Game
Pirates of the Caribbean Online
RPGNow Talk Like a Pirate Sale!

Palladium Books September Sale

Each weekend during the month of September Palladium Books is having a bundle sale. If you buy one Palladium product you get another one for free. You have to buy one of the specific bundles to the the deal, but the upside is that they aren't the crappy products that no one wants. I missed the first weekend of the sale, but you still have this weekend to get in on these deals.

Palladium September Sale Spectacular

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide

I got my copy of the FGCG today. The first thing that struck me was the fact that it reminded me of the 3e Eberron CG. Something about the way it was set up made me think of that book. I haven't really had time to read it, but rest assured I will be positing my opinion about it in the near future.
My first impression is that it feels like a rip off. By this I mean that now we have to buy 2 books where as before we only needed one. To get the full use out of the FRCG you will need the Players Guide. I think that sucks.
I could deal, with some grumbling, with having to buy a second and possibly third PHB to get the additional classes and races that were left out of the PHB1, but I just realized that 4e is a bigger money trap than I originally thought.
Not only do we need the core books (PHB, DMG, MM) to play, we will need the future PHB releases (PHB2, 3, 4, etc...) to get all the races and classes we want since many favored classes and races(except Gnomes.. leave the gnomes out of it) were not in the first PHB. They will undoubtedly release more Monster Manuals, of which you will at least want to get MM2. Then there will likely be a DMG 2. That doesn't even take the specific Campaign Settings into consideration.
For which ever setting(s) you want to run you will need that setting's Campaign Guide(now just a campaign specific DMG) as well as the Players Guide (a setting specific PHB).
So assuming that you both DM and play a PC and you want to play a Bard or Druid (assuming that those classes actually are in the PHB2) in the Forgotten Realms you will need a total of 6 books to both play and run that setting. The 3 core books (PHB, DMG, MM), the PHB2, the FRCG and the FR Players Guide. WTF!!!!That is something like $200+ if you want to play and run Forgotten Realms campaigns.
What if you want to run Eberron as well... add another $50-60. Given that I've seen future Dark Sun novels listed on and the WotC site I think it is safe to say there will be a Campaign Guide and Players Guide for that setting as well. (They bring back Dark Sun and kill Mazitca... damn you WotC!) Now add the fact that there will likely be setting specific Monster Manuals and supplements, you end up with a lot of books to run/play a single setting.
Granted you could just stick with the 3 core books and be able to play the game, but that is kind of like playing a PS3 or 360 game on a 13" black and white TV. You can play but you don't get the whole experience, you are missing a big part of what makes the game great. Unfortunately the new model for playing D&D seems to be a page straight from the Palladium play book. You may not need all of the books to play the game, but no single book will give you everything you want/need in your game. So you buy another book but only get a part of what you want/need in and you find that you really need to buy one more book, and then another and another... ad nauseum.
While I was man enough to admit I was wrong in my initial opinion of 4e, the system is good and I like it. My opinion of WotC, however, is becoming less and less positive. I will buy the FRPG because I already bought the FRCG and I'll buy the PHB2 because there are classes in there I want for my games, but after that I'm done!
At least until Eberron comes out......

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dragon & Dungeon Issue Archive

Wizards of the Coast now has the issue archive for the issues of Dragon & Dungeon magazine that they have produced so far. While the content that WotC has produced may not have been well received by all D&D fans, especially those that want the print versions back, they have put out some good 4e content.
So check out the archive and get the back issues you missed, while they are still free.

Speaking of Dragon magazine.....
To fill the void left by the transformation of Dragon magazine to pdf format you should check out Kobold Quarterly. They not only offer print subscriptions, as well as pdfs, but to keep the spirit of Dragon Magazine alive, they will apparently be supporting the current 4th edition of D&D.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Free Comic Books!... kind of.

Every one loves free comics, which is evident by the success of Free Comic Book Day. Unfortunately this event only happens once per year. However, I have found a way to have Free Comic Book Day nearly every day. WOWIO offers free digital comic books to anyone that wants them. There are hundreds of comics you can search through and read at absolutely no cost, but (there’s always a but) there is a catch. Actually there are a few minor “catches”.

First, to get your free comics you will need a “real” email address. Internet based email accounts like Yahoo, Gmail, or Hotmail are not accepted. Well they weren't when I tried it anyway. They say you may get some email solicitations in return for your free books, but I have yet to get one. Secondly, you are only allowed to read them online, though you can pay to download the pdf($.99-1.50). Finally, you won’t find any DC, Marvel, Devil’s Due, Dynamite or Image comics on this site. Though you can find some of the issues of Supreme published by Awesome. That’s about the extent of the down side of this site.

Now on the plus side there are tons of books to choose from. You don't have to pay the subscription cost to read them online like with Marvel's site. All of the comics are from smaller companies like Heroic Publishing, but there is still a wide variety of titles from a wide range of genres. So far I have read most of the available Champions books on the site and have barely touched on all the available titles. There are naturally plenty of superhero books, but fans of sci fi, fantasy and horror are represented as well. Some of the titles you can expect to find are Alien Legion, 10th Muse, Dead Sonja, and Oz: the manga. While many of the available titles are from the 80’s and 90, there are plenty of titles published in the past few years available as well, with new books being added from time to time.

Now for those of you that like a little more to read than just comic books you are in luck. With your account you also have access to fiction novels, biographies, and a whole slew of other types of books. Pretty much anyone who likes to read can find something on this site that will interest them.

Wowio is definitely worth checking out. You may not have access to as many titles as you would at your local comic shop or Barnes and Nobles, but there is enough here to keep you busy for quite some time. That is if you don't mind reading them on your computer screen.

Wowio isn’t the only place you can find free or even very cheap comics. RPGNow offers free or reduced comics in pdf. Some of the titles, such as Oz, are also on Wowio, but they have enough diversity to make it worth checking out as well.

While you’re at RPGNow gamers should also check out the gaming freebie section. There are a slew of gaming goodies there to download. From NPC and Zombie cut outs to use in your game, quickstart rules for games you want to try and even a few full campaign settings.

Image of the Month

This month's pic is from the Fantasy Clip Inks Spellcasters Set 1.
Get a copy for your game at RPGNow.
This month's image courtesy of William McAusland and the gang over at Outland Arts.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Quick Reviews: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

As a fan of the Buffy television show I am kind of amazed that I never picked this game up before. I suppose the fact that licensed properties generally suck is what kept me from doing so before now. To be honest if I hadn’t found this book at the buy 1 get 3 free booth at Gen Con last year I probably still wouldn’t have bought it.

Overall this book is not bad, but it’s not great either. This is the revised core rule book and you can play the game with just this book, but to get the most out of it you will need to get more. This is one of the things that generally turns me away from most games. I don’t mind buying extra books that I want, I just don’t like feeling I need other books. This was my main gripe with Rifts and one of the things that aggravates me about D&D.

Overall the system this game uses, the Unisystem, is fairly easy and should prove no problem for experienced gamer. Fans of the Buffyverse will find the feel of the show is well represented in the game. There are many quotes and references to the show throughout the book. There is even a guide to Buffyspeak in the back of the book.

Unfortunately, Eden Studios no longer has the license for the game and will no longer be producing products for the game. The good news is they still support the products they have produced so far.

While I have to say I do like the game and will teach it to my ten year old who also loves Buffy, I can’t recommend it to non-fans. In my opinion, the game is just too focused on a specific group to appeal to a wider audience.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Yet Another Internet Video Pick

Whether you are a 4e fan or not you just gotta love this video.

Damn Gnones...serves em right.