Thursday, March 26, 2009


Okay, since I haven’t done this yet I think it’s probably a good idea to go ahead and do a review of the Player’s Hand book II for Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition.

First though, I think I need to explain something. A long time ago I expressed my hate of DnD, and since then my opinion has… changed somewhat.

When I first started roleplaying, it was with Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP) 2nd Edition. It’s a great system. Anyways, lots of the people who play WFRP and are on the internet tend to give DnD a bad name. Explaining how they are tired of the powergaming, optimizing, super-build “roll players” (read: more interested in the dice than the story) that play DnD.

So, I kinda took this to heart, and, when I played Neverwinter Nights (an computer game based on DnD 3rd edition) I had to agree with them. Here I was, a mere mortal ranger guy killing Fire Giants and fighting dragons… hmm something here is just not right.

But, then 4th Edition of DnD came out. Someone on PbPhouse decided to run a game of it and I said, “What the heck, I’ll try the system.” I was suspicious of it and even played a character that seems completely random and bad (Halfing Warlord). Since then, however, I’d really enjoyed the game and even ran a small game myself.

My conclusion is this: DnD is a combat focused game where the players can perhaps do some really crazy stupid things at the higher levels. Stuff like kill Gods and travel across the “astral sea” fighting beasts from really weird places. There is a place for that, but I think it needs to be done well. That is to say, in stories I’ve read with super powered characters they are leading armies, opposing gods and all that, but they do it with style… and I don’t see myself as being able to fit that style correctly, as a DM at least.

I will admit, some of the things that DnD has still bothers me. The commonality of Magic weapons and the like, but the game, at low levels at least, seems to interest me. So, when the player’s handbook II came out I just had to buy it and at least see what it had in it.

Basically, what Wizards of the Coast (WotC, the company that publishes DnD) did when they released DnD perhaps about 8 months ago (I forget actually) was they released the standard fair: The Player’s Handbook I, which had all the rules for the game, a Dungeon Masters Guide, which had extra DMing (GMing, or game mastering, or how to play as the game master) rules and tips and the like, a monster’s manual, which has a bunch of different monsters and creatures players can fight in DnD. However, while these books contain tons of DnD info and the like, there is lots of information that has yet to be expanded upon. Stuff like dragons of Good, certain races prominent in Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 but no longer existent in DnD 4th Edition, as well as extra classes and the like.

So, that’s where the Player’s Handbook II comes in. These book introduces a bunch of new races and classes, as well as some extra racial rules, not to mention more feats and magic items. Its smaller than the first Handbook, but this is expected since it doesn’t contain all the combat rules and stuff.

So what does it have? Well, Goliaths, Half-Orcs, Devas, Shifters and Gnomes are the five new races contained in this book. For the most part, I don’t really like their fluff for some of these races. The gnomes and the Half-orcs have gotten a redo with half-orcs becoming less savage warrior-beast guys and more ranger/dexterous fighters. Gnomes are anime-monster wannabes. However, the Goliaths (giant dwarf-esque mountain nomads) Devas (angelic dudes), and shifters (half-werewolves/cats) all impress me a lot. I love them.

Then of course, we have the classes. We have the long awaited arrival of the bard, druid, sorcerer, and barbarian along with the introduction of the avenger, the invoker, shaman, and the warden. The bard and sorcerer are arcane spell caster type guys. Bards inspire their allies, sorcerers destroy their enemies. Both are awesome. The Invoker and Avenger are divine warriors. Avengers seem to be “holy assassins” who are amazing at killing single targets. These guys are perhaps my favorite class right now because of their fluff and image. They don’t wear armor, and get bonuses for doing so. The result is a guy with a huge sword (or mace, or axe) and these billowing robes all around him, charging at his target. Very cool. The invoker is a wizard reimaged as a Divine caster instead of an arcane one. They get their powers from the gods, but have much more of an older feeling and more divine wrath feel than the cleric or paladin, who seem to be more in line with a holy, but good, warrior. Invokers seem more evil/dark to me.

Then we have the new power source: primal, or nature power. The warden is a defender, so he’s similar to the fighter or paladin, but instead of using high armor and defense to defend he just has so many hit points no one can kill him.

The Druid is a controller… basically a primal wizard who can turn into an animal and attack like that. In this regard he’s also a bit of a striker.

Finally, the Shaman and the barbarian: the barbarian comes back from DnD 3.5 with its orginal role: LOTS OF DAMAGE. Barbarbians are known for being big, stupid, strong guys with huge axes. This idea remains. The shaman is a reflavored druid who has a spirit companion and buffs his/her allies with nature’s blessings, so he’s a leader/defender I think.

Overall, all the classes are awesome, I love the sorcerer and the avenger. The invoker sounds like the kind of Controller I’d wanna play. Personally I like the Rogue and Fighter from PBH a lot, and not all the new classes really seem too amazing. I’ve never been a fan of the druid, so the fact that I dislike both him and the shaman isn’t surprising. The bard, isn’t my kind of class. I love the bard as a concept but I’d never play one. The Avenger, Sorcerer, and Barbarian, however, all rock in so many ways.

The rest of the book is good too. They added racial “paragon paths” which are what act as prestige classes in DnD 4E. I haven’t looked at them too much but some of them, like one of the DragonBorn ones looks really cool (you get WINGS! You can FLY!) .

And that’s about all I have to say about the book. If you play DnD 4E then I highly recommend you get this book.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

DotA stuff mostly

Sigh… like is normal.

I have 9 more weeks of school and 1 week of holiday before that. This is good. TPS is a good school, if even it does cause me to panic at least 1 every two weeks, if not 1 a week. Still… I’m working on that. More planning, more diligence, less internet (DARN YOU WIRELESS!), I’m working on it… the key is a true desire to change, which I know I don’t have, yet, but I’m really thinking trying to make the right decision. I think I’ve done better so far… only time will tell.

I played what was perhaps one of the most balanced games of DotA on Saturday. The team was… I forget, I think me Manik, Saad, and Michael against Derek, Jinkin, and Pranjal… oh and Jacob. I played Broodmother for the first time. Actually it was very interesting because at first glance my team should have lost quite easily, but we managed to pull off a very even game. Seriously, right up until the final push it was a toss up between the two teams. Finally, though, Derek’s team managed to destroy our ancient, in one push… and that clearly was our fault because at the time of that final push me and Manik were pushing top. We managed to get the entire lane cleared and I was going to go for mega creeps (which, if we were lucky, we might have gotten. We would have at least destroyed the tower). IF our gambit had worked then I’m sure we would have won that game. As it was, we should have retreated and hit Derek’s push from the rear… but we didn’t and we lost.

Still, it was a very good game and actually, it made me feel good about my DotA skills. I really liked broodmother and I managed to get a good build-up for her without much trouble. My one major issue was I should have gotten Phase Boots and not Boots of Travel, as I needed the phase more than teleport. I’ll keep that in mind next time I play her.

Also, I really liked the Webs, they were VERY useful for ganking/mind games/escape methods. Working with invisibility takes some practice however, and I haven’t gotten that down just yet.

Finally, I think I might go Caleb and Andrew’s graduation. It’s not for sure yet as we need to figure out things like my SAT (which is around that time) as well as my Math and English Final. I think I can get everything organized but I’m not entirely sure. I’d love to be able to attend the graduation, since it’ll be the only one of my friends I’ll be able to see. But if I’m unable to do it, well, I’ll live, I suppose…

I was going to write more but I didn’t so I’ll stop now and get ready for bed.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Color of Worship

So… most of you know I love modern music, specifically stuff like Hard Rock and Metal. For this, its been implied that I’m going to Hell or something along those lines by various people. Never to my face, but on my school forums. Interestingly enough, when I directly ask them if that’s what they’re saying they’ve never actually said yes… but still that’s what people have kinda implied.

Now, while I of course disagree with the idea that rock = sin I see their point, to a degree. Drugs, Sex, and Rock and Roll… doesn’t sound very good does it? I remember I heard on the radio that some Pink Floyd guy died recently and then the radio mentioned how he was high on drugs much of his life or something and my cousin’s mom (who was driving the car) said something along the lines of “wow… wonderful guy,” when my cousin was like… “he died? NO!”

Or perhaps Jimi Hendrix, a alcoholic druggie who had a tendency to get very violent when drunk. He was a social wreck, but a musical genius. The guy made the electric guitar what it is today: rock music’s most important and most ionic instrument.

And then we have metal… which has always had a history of flirting with Satanism and the like. It’s angry, often curse-filled, loud music. And yet I love the stuff. I do not think all of it is inherently sinful.

My family is reading a book about honor for our Bible study and this section we’re reading now has to do with individual cultures’ unique styles of worship. It’s interesting because the author has mentioned several groups (specifically Native Americans) that I know had some very dark and demonic parts of their culture, parts of their culture that were very deep into their culture. Now, I’m not saying that the Native Americans were all demon worshipers and their culture should be wiped off the face of the earth, but let’s be truthful here… the Native Americans had some strange and demonic rituals and practices.

However, God made them and he made them unique. Sadly, when the white man came to America they didn’t see this wonderful unique culture as that, but as a dirty uncivilized people that needed to “become American” or whatever. Yes, some of their culture was bad and needed to be removed, but not the whole thing. By doing what we did to the Native American people we’ve only created a rift that to this day has not healed, one that may never heal fully.

What’s my point? When my mom was reading this book I thought of something. My culture worships God uniquely, and while you could call my culture White or American or whatever it is, its also other things. I’m a geek: I play RPGs, quote Monty Python, love video games and other things. I listen to hard rock and metal music and my idea of worship includes modern instruments like the electric guitar, drum kit and bass.

Now, like I said in the beginning of this post, I know rock music has some pretty bad guys involved in it. I know some of the founders of Rock, Rock and Roll and Metal were messed up people who really needed to get saved (and in most cases, didn’t, but instead died and went to hell). But that doesn’t mean that all of rock music is evil. It doesn’t mean that if I play metal music then I am an evil demon worshipper or hate God. Unless my actions, both on stage and off, explicitly are forbidden in the Bible then I’m not (and I challenge anyone to try and explain to me WHY Rock and Metal are evil. I’ve debated it so many times I’m sure I can explain to you my point of view quite accurately).

But here’s the problem with Rock music, or any culture that has demonic roots: where do we draw the line? Now sometimes it can seem quite simple, but at other times… it’s not. When I think of Native Americans in their traditional dress dancing around a camp fire, honestly, I automatically think their doing something that is not Biblical. Its not the dance, or the clothes, or the fire, but the words they’re saying which often invoke the names of the demons their people worship(ped).

Now, some Native Americans I’m sure can use this style of music and performance to Honor God but we have to be careful. We can’t just take part in some sort of “cultural performance” without knowing exactly what’s going on, and if we’re okay with that.

My point is: God has created thousands, if not Millions, of unique cultures with their own styles of worship and praise. To some people the idea of jumping up and down to Rock music is scary, strange, or weird. But to me slowly chanting some flowy poem thing is weird. Not to mention boring. :P God created us all in his image and no matter how messed up our cultures are we can still find something within our culture that can be redeemed and we can use that part of our culture to worship our Creator.

Signing off for now,

Isaac, the masterofweirdness

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Player's Handbook II... other stuff

A few quick notes:

In math, I started a Chapter on Trig… so I’m being reintroduced (I used them briefly in Geo) to Sine, Cosine and Tangent

I bought the Players Handbook II and Adventurers Vault for DnD 4th Edition. They’re very niiice. I like Half-orcs… but I hate their background… its… to mild.

For those of you who don’t understand, half orcs are half human, half orc. Orcs are savage beast-like people who kill other things and ally with goblins and bugbears, other nasty savage monster things. Now… why would one of these ever have children with humans? Well… the only answer I can think of is unwillingly… so rape.

But of course, DnD does want to include the little twelve year olds and the idea of an entire playable race being created by well… rape isn’t very kid friendly I must admit. So… what do they do? They mess up Half-orcs and give them some strange background like humans… for some strange reason actually willingly sleeping with orcs and making half orcs. That or a God deciding he wants to make half-orcs. Both of which make no sense.

Anyways… other than that, Half-orcs are fun. Also, some of the new classes look quite nice, though I’m not entirely sure I’d enjoy playing them. The Invoker (divine controller… what the wizard would be if he got his powers from Gods). The Shaman looks… strange… and the bard looks like something that I’d hate to play but would love to RP with.

Oh, and gnomes look… stupid. Like anime wanna-be thingies. Not cute fuzzy gnomes. That being said, they make for cool wizards. If I ever play a gnome, it’ll be a gnome wizard. Or maybe a evil gnome warlock. That would be fun… like a little gremlin guy. :P

So… nothing else to blog about. I’m off to make some character sheets.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dawn of War II

Dawn of War II is amazing.

Why do I say that? Because it’s true. I haven’t finished the game, nor have I played all the armies in skirmish but I have to say it really is quite fun.

I got Dawn of War II this Thursday from Derek, lol… first off, this game is so pirated. :P there is no install, no crack, just copy the game into your harddrive (or is it ONTO? Bah… my grammar is horrid) and then play! Anyways… it works fine, and I love it.

The single player is like Dawn of War I’s single player. It’s a Blood Raven Space Marine Chapter campaign. However, instead of the evil Chaos Marines of Alpha Legion you face off against the Tyranid (which I learned I had been pronouncing wrong this entire time! Lol… I pronounce half my vocabulary wrong. I suppose that’s to be expected since most of the people I hang with don’t speak English as their first language and I don’t use half my vocabulary regularly. :p) So anyways… you fight against the ‘nids the orks and the eldar. The game starts pretty much the same, the orks are attacking and we need to stop them, then it turns out that the eldar were manipulating the orks into attacking this area because the nids were coming and now we’re all doomed because the nids will destroy us all!

So that’s the plot… yes, it’s quite shallow but it’s all the game really needs. Warhammer 40k isn’t known for its amazing plots now, is it? So long as those plots allow for lots of violence and battle, then we’re all happy.

What makes Dawn of War II so different from Dawn of War I is that the campaign is… like an RPG. You get a force commander, a scout squad, a devastator squad, an assault squad, a tactical squad, a later a Dreadnought and you can take your force commander and 3 other squads out on a bunch of missions. As they complete missions they get EXP and sometimes the enemy will drop “Wargear” (read: loot!). At the end of the mission you can level up squads by increasing one of their four skills: health, ranged attack, melee attack, and their special power stuff (what I would call magic power if this game was fantasy…), as well as giving them better equipment.

Now, all your units have their own specializations, but you can mess some stuff around. For instance, the tactical squad is meant to be a ranged “tank” unit and has some powers that make people attack them. However, you can give them chainswords and attack, or a flamer or a plasma gun, or even a missile launcher. Your commander is meant to use melee weapons, but he can also wield a heavy bolter with some leveling. Right now I’m playing everyone to their strengths, tactical squad with bolters, assault squad with chainswords, commander with a power weapon. But next time I play through the campaign I wanna try it all messed up. Give my assault squad bolters and my tactical squad chainswords… that’ll be… fun. :P

My only complaint towards the game would have to be the squad sizes. Your commander has no retinue, and while I can live with that, its somewhat unfluffy… and stupid. Then again, he’s only in charge of like 5 squads and only takes like 3 of them with him on missions, so they’re rather small scale battles. But your squads… are hardly that. Your scout, devastator, and assault squad are 3 man squads, your tactical squad has 4 guys. Sorry, but a sergeant and two bodies does not make a squad, I don’t care what you say. I think they did it for balance reasons, since the orks and the nids have 8 man squads that get eaten alive by a marine tactical squad. So in bigger battles if you wanted 5 man squads (which would mean something like 20 men in a marine army. :P) you’d be fighting… 53ish nids, and I can see how that would be a problem. Still, I don’t like the squad sizes.

Anyways… it’s a good game.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

More DotA

So… I think I learned a valuable lesson in DotA yesterday: I do not do well in mid game.

Early game, I can do really well. Because no one else really focuses on Last hitting so much I manage to farm quite well… but once I go back to base 1 or 2 times I start o do much worse.

Also, I don’t think I’ve yet learned exactly how to play lighter (read: agility and int heroes) very well. I can play them decently, but I tend to do better as str heroes. Though I remember when I played Vengeful Spirit I did really good… and that was fun.

Or maybe these games I just didn’t have as good a team or wasn’t as necessary to the team so I didn’t do that good. I dunno…

Also, I’ve recently read that Heart’s 1% health heal bonus does not stack. This is annoying, but I can understand why. Centaur Warchieft, with 2 hearts can easily have 3000+ health and some 60 health regen. Add a satanic to that (or even just a basic mask of death) and you have an ungodly amount of health… a beast of pure tanking power that just cannot die.

So… I’ve fooled around with morphling and I don’t like my str build for him. So I’m going to try and get 2 butterflies for him next time I play the guy and see how that goes. The way I figure it its probably a better idea to focus on agility (since last time I played I actually ended up with what I felt was too much health). Also, I need to up the difficult of the AIs again… I’ll have to start throwing in a few insanes to my usual Normals. I used to play against insanes with normal exp (they don’t gain bonus exp) but that got so easy it wasn’t funny. So then I switch to Normals with bonus exp… and now I’m going to try and work my way up to 5 insanes against me… something that will probably not happen for a LONG time (I can play against 3 easys with some heroes… but I still usually lose).

Oh, and Derek has Dawn of War II… so I’ll try and get that on Thursday. I tried to get it yesterday but he was out of his house the entire day because of exams… Dawn of War II souns amazing.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

DotA stuff

Morphling… is really weird.

Morphling, in case you didn’t know is one of the many heroes on Defense of the Ancients, a Custom Map (read: Mod) for Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne that I play. I play it a lot, actually, both with my friends on the weekend, and at home during the week.

Anyways… morphling… okay, morphling is a ranged agility hero, this means he focuses on doing lots of damage really fast, and as a ranged hero does this from a distance. HOWEVER, while he is a ranged hero he has the power to switch his strength and agility stats around. What does this mean? It means he can suddenly get a lot of health (which strength gives you) and lower his attack speed. Or he can have a tiny amount of health, but lots of damage and attack speed… or he can switch between the two.

Now, as you can imagine, the power to suddenly have an additional 500 health is quite useful. I played around with him a bit, not much, but just enough to familiarize myself with him… and I think I like him, but realize playing him really well is probably above me. (Where with someone like Dwarven Sniper, Razor or Skeleton King I can play very easily… they’re easy heroes). However, I have a somewhat useful build for him.

First off, since he’s an agility hero, I decided to focus on Agility, not strength, which is something that I think most people will do. Then I started off with various items… Phase Boots, a brace and a wraith band, and the headdress of rejuvenation (because I think its worth the etra 311 gold to get +2 to all stats in one slot… and the AoE regen, even if it is pitiful is still AoE regen). Then I decided to get Sange and Yasha. I did this because my brother told me to (and he knows a lot more about build ups for heroes than I do...) but also because it made sense. I can have a lot of strength or a lot of Agility, so get a balanced item that has good powers. So I got Yasha and Sange, then I decided, since I’m an agility hero to get Butterfly, the default Agility hero item of choice. (What’s not to like? 30 Agility, 30 Evasion… 30 other stuff). But as I used this, I realized actually I should consider another build:

2 Heart of Tarrasque. XD

Why? Well… lots of health regen is always good. Plus, with 50 strength from those I can basically have 1 strength base and still have enough health and regen to not die really fast.

This might sound like a completely stupid, idiotic build… but I’m going to try it. If it works… I’ll laugh. :P

Also… this chapter in Chemistry has actually been somewhat fun. Working with atoms is much better than that nasty Stoichiometry stuff… gack!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Kid's Camp 2009

Camp was last week.

What is camp? Well, “Camp” is really “Kid’s Camp”. It’s a weekend event that happens every year around the end of February/Early March. Kid’s Camp is run by AG Church in Maghbazar (my church) and every year usually about 100+ kids (this year we had only 80ish though… more on that later) come.

This year however, things were a bit different. First off, as some of you might know, the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) mutinied and killed a lot of their officers and caused a lot of chaos and stuff, as a result, the people in charge of Organizing camp were unsure if we should run camp because they did not if the BDR were going to continue to munity or if the situation would mellow out. As a result, about ½ of the people who signed up were actually told that Camp was cancelled. It wasn’t, but the damage was done: on the first day we only had like… 48 kids. However, thanks to the heroics of one of the camp organizers, Auntie Diane (btw… I call all older women Auntie and all older men Uncle... I’m not related to her) we managed to get another 32 kids to come to camp on the 2nd day after breakfast.

So, other than that, Camp went quite normally. However, it was quite sad that out of the 136 children that signed up only 80 came…

The theme this year was Super Heroes, and how Jesus is our Inner Hero. All the team’s had super hero names like Powerful Patriots (My team), Super Soldiers, Amazing Avengers (winning team), Truthful Troopers, Incredible Invincible (I swear… they ran out of names and threw together this team name). My team wasn’t amazing… but we had some good kids. We had to really cute little girls… I’d say my team was about average. The councilors for my team were: me (Jr. Councilor) Raimey and Derek. I had the best councilors. :D. No honestly, they were great, and I think we all had a good time, even if we ended up in like 6th place (out of 8).

What else… the Worship was good. I found out how good of a voice Maxim has. The speakers, a guest team from Calcutta, did a good job, they had some fun songs we sang (such as… Grin Again Gang Get Gung-ho about Jesus… which you sing REALLY fast).

Every year the teams all have to do a skit/play thingie, usually focusing on a specific verse or idea that the camp was about. So this year we all were superheroes who found out without Jesus we couldn’t do much. My team had the evil Dr. Disco face off against Super Strong Girl, Y Girl, and (for Copyright reasons) the Guy Who Tells Jokes. :D Dr. Disco danced them all into zombies until Pastor Gus (who was the guest speaker… :P) came in and told Dr. Disco that he couldn’t have the “secret power” because the secret was in our hearts! We didn’t win, but I liked our Skit a lot this year, it was a whole lot better than last year’s skit.

Also, I felt quite bit that this camp was a milestone for the younger generation at Kid’s Camp. For various reasons Nathan and Jacob ended up leading their teams, even though they weren’t prepare for it nor were supposed to. Also the people who started camp 12 years ago Mark and Daleene (sp?), are leaving Bangladesh for good. They may never come back. But, looking at Camp, I don’t think that’s to big of a deal. 12 years ago, the camp leader, Josephine, was a kid, a camper, now she is in charge of camp! Next year, Max and Jacob will probably be ready to be Sr. Councilors. Me and Julius and Naomi can all be Jr. Councilors. People are leaving, but they have left a new generation with the tools to continue their works.

And… that’s all I have to say.