Recognition, Vindication, Liebsteration, Part 1

Last week Points of Light (that's me!) got nominated for a Liebster Award by Dan and Sally's Digital Domain. From what I can gather, the Liebster Award is a way to "throw a little recognition around": you are supposed to participate by posting ten things about yourself, answer ten questions from the blog that nominated you, and then nominate ten more blogs, giving them ten questions of your own to answer.

This post tackles the first half: I do not even regularly read ten blogs, and I am not sure how many in my blogroll are even still active. In other words at some point I will have to hunt some down to fill in the gaps, and then badger them about it.

10 Things About Me
I could not any find requirements about this part, so I assume they can be any ten facts I want, which means some of them are going to be opinions about stuff that I factually believe. Scathing opinions. I would say skip to number 4 if you want to avoid them, but I think that is just going to make people read the whole thing all the more.

1. Opening strong, I think that 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons is a very lazy, uninspired game with nonsense legacy mechanics intended to appeal to traditionalists that fear progress. It is disappointing that after all the strides 4th Edition made in the game's design and tone, that virtually everything had to be jettisoned because, like Paizo, WotC wants to play it safe/get back people that already have the kind of game they are trying to peddle. Kind of like Nintendo and their Mario, Metroid, and Zelda re-treads.

Shocker, I know.

2. I also think Frozen was a terrible movie. I have no idea how it maintains even an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. Like, how did Elsa get her ice-powers? Why did they have to change her sister's memories? Why could they not tell her that she has ice-powers (it apparently was fine when they grew up)? Why would you lock your daughter-to-be-queen away and prevent social interaction (and the other one, too)? Why would you tell her to just subdue her emotions instead of learning to deal with them? I mean, it was just one honest mistake; it is not like she got angry and zapped her sister. Why did Elsa run away and build an ice castle (which I guess is a thing she can do despite not using her powers for years)? What was her long-term plan? To just, I dunno, hang out there and let everyone freeze?

3. I think the whole Tucker's Kobolds story is seriously overrated. Maybe there is something I am missing, but any DM can make any monster deadly if they stack the odds in its favor enough. If the players are more afraid of kobolds than "huge flaming demons" you are doing something very, very wrong. I would like to point out that if you want an edition of D&D that made kobolds into competent, even dangerous opponents, 4th Edition does it without having to give them a heap of advantages.

4. Shifting gears to something a bit more positive, I got into gaming with Dungeons & Dragons back when I was ten, I think. I started with whatever version had Zanzer Tem's dungeon, which was fucking ridiculous and rail-roady. I remember that no matter what you would get arrested trying to deliver a basilisk with a bag over its head (possibly after a child reveals it and gets petrified), and somehow wind up in Zanzer Tem's dungeon (who I think was the guy you were supposed to deliver it to). When I was in junior high we moved, and I made some friends there that had 2nd Edition, which I played for a few years before getting into Rifts until 3rd Edition came out.

"Campaigns" rarely lasted for more than a session or two, most games involved us either milling about trying to find something interesting to do, or saw the DM/GM brow-beat us with a ridiculously powerful NPC (sometimes while bemoaning that our 1st-level characters were "too powerful"). Nowadays things are much better: campaigns last for more than a few sessions and there is often a plot. Looking back, I am not sure why I kept bothering with RPGs, but I am glad I did.

5. If I could take any RPG back in time to when I was a kid, or even a teenager when I had a lot more time to play, I would go with 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons (especially if money was no object), since I would actually need all that time to get through a 1-30 campaign "by the book".

Otherwise I could see FATE, especially if money was an object, which it was back then because we were pretty poor. Dungeon World would be second since we would probably plow through all the classes and levels pretty quickly, though it would be interesting to see what kind of crazy-ass classes we would concoct in our game design ignorance/innocence.

6. I once stayed up until 4 AM every day of summer vacation one year painting Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000 armies (for myself and my friends) while watching back to back episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Cheers, and Star Trek: Voyager. Not because I was particularly interested in Star Trek or Cheers, but because it was the only thing on (oh, the days before internet was a major thing). I must have gone through some 6,000 points of units, and who knows how many paints and brushes.

7. I really dig Lovecraftian horror. I tend to put it in every game I run, and have been writing up both a bronze-age and "wild west" style campaign setting with Lovecraftian elements.

8. My last name is pronounced "Gwill".

9. I have lived all up and down the west coast, most of it when I was really young so the only place I really remember nowadays is Oregon. I love the rain, and people who use umbrellas confuse me.

10. I write every single day, which is a good thing for some, not so much for others.

No One Expects The Dan-And-Sally-Quisition
Now for the Dan's questions.

1. What is your blog about, and why did you start it?
This blog originally started as a way to talk about 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, in particular as a place where I could consolidate my play experiences and responses to criticisms that were being directed at it. It gradually grew to include homebrew content, adventure and book reviews, and information from upcoming releases.

Awhile ago it expanded to include pretty much anything about any game I am playing at the moment, including my own third-party products.

2. Did you serve in the military? Why or why not?
I did not, because I have not had any real cause to, I guess. Nothing about it appeals to me, and almost everyone I knew that went came back with a lot of bad experiences, so I am not in any real hurry.

3. Are you an athlete? What's your favorite sport?
I am not. I am not a sports fan at all; I do not even like watching them.

4. Name three authors that other people should spend more time reading.
I think any authors I name are authors that people are already familiar with, but here goes: Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files and Codex Alera), Gregory Keyes (The Waterborn, The Black God, and The Hounds of Ash), and Robert Holdstock (Lavondyss, Mythago Wood, The Hallowing, and more).

5. If you had to rename your blog, what would you call it?
I am not sure. I might just shift it to Awful Good Games, but definitely something less intrinsically 4th Edition-y.

6. When you read comics, do you pay more attention to the writing or the art?
The writing, definitely. A comic can have some pretty abysmal art, but if the writing is good enough I will keep reading. I mean there is a lot from, say, The Sandman that I thought was pretty badly drawn (up until the last collection, from what I recall), but the plot and characters were compelling enough that I managed to slog through.

It also depends on character design: I think that a lot of the superhero stuff is well drawn in a kind of technical sense, I guess, but the designs are almost always terrible, so I just cannot get into it.

7. Marvel has had a string of hit movies, but DC has fallen behind. Besides Superman, Batman, and/or Wonder Woman, what DC superhero would you like to see in a movie?
I am also not a big Marvel or DC fan: most of my knowledge comes from the movies. I think it could maybe possibly be interesting if they could crank out a good Superman movie.

8. The game Dungeons & Dragons uses a set statistical block to describe Player Character abilities on a scale of 3-18: Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. Rate yourself, 3-18, in each stat. Also, if you were a D&D character would you be a fighter, rogue, wizard, or cleric?
Heh, I remember doing this when I was a kid. If we are not relying on point buy, my best guess is something like this: STR 10, CON 14, DEX 11, INT 14, WIS 13, CHA 12. I am sure others will disagree in various directions, but there ya go.

As for class, I guess I would gravitate towards a wizard. If we are talking 3rd Edition, definitely a wizard since I could eventually dominate the game, but if we go with 4th Edition I could also see a bard since I like telling stories and they are not made of suck. It would be nice if I could get an elite array to go with. :-P

9. The secret of your success is...?
Success, eh? I write every day, though I do not always post, and it is not always blog-related. I have about a thousand draft articles that I just never got around to finishing, several campaign settings, a bunch of adventures, and cliffnotes for other bits of content on Google Drive. I also participate in social communities and frequently lurk in several forums to see what others think about subjects that I can relate with.

10. If you're still in school, then what do you want to be when you grow up? If you're grown up and working, what are you doing now? How does that compare to what you thought you'd be doing back when you were a kid?
As a kid I started out wanting to be an astronaut because I liked space, then it turned to art, then computers, then web design. Nowadays I tend to float between the latter two (and am looking for a job in the Beaverton area if anyone has something!), though I am slowly turning my writing into something I actually get paid for.

And that is it for part 1. Next time I will nominate ten blogs and grill them with my own questions.


  1. Very cool! Some insight into the man behind the blog, so to speak, haha!


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