Digression Girl

Let's Talk Comic Books & Genre Media!

Homebrew How-To: It’s New

So, in the process of crafting entries for this blog, as well as waiting for the release of upcoming products (the One D&D playtest, the Dragonlance adventure, etc.), I have considered expanding the scope of this blog with other things than just me harping on about roleplaying games or product releases, much less getting on a soapbox and opening a Can of Worms or taking a minute for a Minute Musing. As a gamer and all-around fan of the imaginative in general, I’ve often created various things for roleplaying games or my own fiction writing (which sort-of work hand-in-hand, but …

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ONE D&D

Hey—Wizards of the Coast are the ones who codenamed the playtest One D&D. I just happened to point out the coincidence and cues with that and the hit by Queen. So, I apologize for the video-heavy post, but it does give the base information that I’m referring to. And noting that, here’s the official announcement of the upcoming major update to Dungeons & Dragons that will coincide with the 50th anniversary (and soon after, my own 50th birthday. Damn, I’m getting old.) In essence, it’s apt to call it 5.5 edition, since it’s backwards compatible with the current 5th edition. …

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Minute Musing: Where Do We Go Now?

One of the most challenging aspects to the creative process, whether writing fiction or a session for a tabletop role-playing game, is selecting the setting of the story/event. In some instances, the very element or issue addressed, or even a character focused on, helps narrow down this selection process; if you’re writing a story about a Victorian-era superhero, then more likely than not said story will take place during the reign of Queen Victoria, and within a suitable locale during that time. But sometimes, determining where everything occurs helps determine what occurs or whom is encountered. Sometimes that can be …

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About Journeys (Through the Radiant Citadel)

So, the latest Dungeons & Dragons adventure module, Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel was released recently. I obtained a digital copy of the work, though as I’ve gone through it, I like the resource so much that I may consider including a physical copy to my collection due to the book’s utility and some of the interesting aspects of the titular setting at the heart of this book. So, in summary, deep in the Etherial Plane is this gigantic floating fossil with a massive crystal in the center, which wayward extradimensional travelers discovered and took over as a base of …

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The Challenges of Revision

For those who may have not invested in the D&D Rules Expansion Gift Set, the relatively recent release of Monsters of the Multiverse recalibrated a fair number of monsters and playable character races (or heritages—not sure of the official nomenclature as of yet). To summarize, a lot of options were included in one book instead of keeping them scattered across multiple sources, and they have been reworked to make them easier to use in a game. Furthermore, the revisions to the playable races simply reformatted the entries into the new standard structure for that mechanic going forward: standardized movement of …

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Can of Worms: Real Tragedy

I’m writing this hours after something utterly horrible has happened. It’s something which caused my anxiety to flare up and my outrage to erupt. I’m trying to use this negative energy for something, because it’s keeping me from sleeping at the moment. The horrible event that has me in this state got me thinking about fear, anger, hate, and horror. It reminds me that there’s enough out there to be legitimately terrified about without having to make stuff up or think of supernatural forces to trigger that fear. In short, we are too efficient at making our own monsters. I …

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Can of Worms: Mental Health

This entry is going to remove some of the obscurity behind the entity known as Andras the Obscure. I’m sharing this because well, for one, it’s been on my mind a lot recently, and for another, I feel that, potentially, someone may benefit from knowing that they aren’t the only ones out there going through such an experience. One of the most substantial challenges that I face in my life is dealing with my mental health. Mental health has always been a taboo subject, and in general a lot of pre-determined opinions about mental health have been negative, both in …

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Minute Musing: D&D in Space! (Space!… Space!… Space!….)

With the D&D Direct announcement of Spelljammer, I find myself at an odd junction as a gamer. I remember the original release of the setting for the 2nd ed. of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, though I wasn’t as enthralled with it as some as my peers. I think the element that the promotional materials for Spelljammer uses, that retro-80’s spacey futuristic vibe that Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok (with the cyan & hot pink-infused title cards) perfectly capture the vibe of the setting, which younger generations may get a kick out of and the elder generations have a …

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Can of Worms: Diversity

There are many topics that I think are worth discussion but present a plethora of issues in discussing them properly. These issues are either timeless or very timely in their form, but in either case discussing them threatens unrestrained passionate responses in return, and dramatic conflict and stances as a result, with the attempted points of discussion cast aside in the process. However, one thing I think is important is identifying these potential hot-button issues from the get-go, so that they can be addressed respectfully and considerately in the best means and format possible for each group addressing them. This …

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Can of Worms: Systems

Along with my posts that I’ve noted as “Minute Musing,” I’ve decided to establish another category: “Can of Worms.” These sorts of posts are ones that I feel may be likely to provoke conversation or response, quite possibly of the passionate or heated variety. I’m aware of this, and so have noted that fact by the very label of “can of worms.” One thing I have seen argued time and again over my years in gaming has been arguments about various systems or aspects of systems used in games. There have been many game systems created and used over the …

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Terrible Hunger

Hunger can be terrifying, whether it’s what it drives you to do or what it drives others to do to you. Cannibalism, fully in the sense and definition of one eating one’s own species, is an ancient taboo and probably one of the oldest horrors thrown about. And for those of us in nations or regions with regular access to food of some sort for the majority of our lives, it’s an unimaginable sin often attributed to “those” people who aren’t as “evolved” as the rest of us. In a way, this disdain crosses the species line and can tinge …

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Sport the War

Due to the situation unfolding in Europe, I couldn’t help but think of the complex nature of war. Though we, as human beings, prefer a simple narrative of “us good, them bad” in such matters, reality doesn’t permit such clear-cut narratives. Many films on war show a broad view on the issue, from patriotic boosting fare that riles up the populace to fight the good fight, to the horrid nightmare that is warfare and the complex issues that ultimately lead to human beings to kill other human beings because what they wear or say leads us to believe they are …

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Minute Musing: Dungeons and Diseases

Well, after coming down with the current COVID plague this past Thursday, and well into the course of medicines for combatting it, I couldn’t help but think of disease. It’s an omnipresent threat of an omnimorphous sort, but it has captured the fear and imagination of humanity for centuries. Zombies, vampires, werebeasts, berserks, and several other things that corrupt and destroy us have been taken from the generic “curse” category into the realm of virus or parasite or pathogen or genetic trait with the progress of medical knowledge over the years. But at its root is the core fear: the …

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Star Wars TTRPGs Done Correctly

As a gamer and a Star Wars fan, I have always enjoyed RPGs set in the Galaxy Far, Far Away. I have played two radically different versions of such games, and I have my own opinions and takes on what does and doesn’t work with each form of the game. I haven’t really got into the latest version of a Star Wars RPG from Fantasy Flight games, but I am not enamored of what I have seen of it, for reasons which I will discuss later in this post. The West End Games RPG is the first notable licensed version …

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Minute Musing: Of Spiders and Men

So, while I am going to reference the latest release of the Spider-Man film franchise, not to mention some Disney+ shows and upcoming MCU films, I will try to avoid spoilers. However, if you are hypersensitive about spoilers, be forewarned. Spider-Man: No Way Home is a great film. I loved how it acknowledged the past and the many differences between the franchises and the comics, much less delving into the complexities of the multiverse on a more grounded level, rather than from the lofty heights of beings like Loki and Dr. Strange. It explains why certain things unfolded as they …

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Novelty of the Familiar

There has been some talk about some of the recent releases for 5th ed. Dungeons and Dragons, such as The Wild Beyond the Witchlight and Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos. The former begins in a traveling carnival run by fey folk, and leads into adventures within the setting‘s realm of faerie. The latter is based in a wondrous school of magic and the dealings going on there, derived from a Magic: The Gathering release which in turn harkens back to a particular set of works by Rowling. Compared to the dungeon-delving or planar traveling of other D&D releases, these releases …

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If You Build It, They Will Play

As a tabletop role playing gamer with decades of experience playing and running multiple games of multiple editions, I can say that I have experienced a few various settings for those games. I’ve had experience playing in published settings as well as those created entirely by a player, or what’s typically known as a homebrew setting. And over those years, I’ve had an appreciation for homebrew game settings rather than many published ones over time. However, for anyone who intends to run a campaign for a tabletop game, I would advise building a fictional world of your own creation rather …

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Who Are You?

I’d like to start with that I started writing this post before the discussions regarding the future of Dungeons & Dragons during the D&D Celebration event, as well as the release of the Unearthed Arcana playtest supplement detailing a lot of new character options fit for the more fantastical styles of play and setting (notably the Spelljammer D&D-in–SPACE!SPACE!SPACE! style of play, with sentient ooze beings, mantis-like four-armed insect humanoids, and ammosexual hippo-humanoids and the like). But, while this wasn’t on the table officially in some form when I started this post, it’s still very applicable. One of the key foundations …

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Beyond the Table

Role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons have been around for many years, and quite a few were created to cover a genre or style of play that the edition of D&D out at the time did not cover, while others created a new system that better suited their view of something “better.” However, despite all of this, there arevery few franchises beyond D&D that have crossed over into multiple forms of media. The number of novels set in a D&D setting like the Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance is significant. But then again, the expansion of D&D into toys, comic books, …

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In Range of Canon

Canon has been addressed in prior posts on this blog. I’d like to add to the discussion in terms of RPGs, since edition changes and ancillary materials contribute or modify their canon. Recently, over on the official Dungeons & Dragons website blog, Christopher Perkins addressed the issue of canon for D&D: “Our studio treats D&D in much the same way that Marvel Studios treats its properties. The current edition of the D&D roleplaying game has its own canon, as does every other expression of D&D. For example, what is canonical in fifth edition is not necessarily canonical in a novel, …

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Misalignment

In Dungeons & Dragons and other games inspired by it, one of the most debated aspects in the game is Alignment. By now, the preponderance of alignment chart memes filled with various characters from within or across a franchise should be familiar enough to everyone. However, despite this, arguments about what actions, values, behaviors, or the like constitute what alignment still continue. Is Batman Lawful Good? Chaotic Good? Lawful Neutral? In some instances, there are characters that regularly appear as clear examples for a specific alignment: Darth Vader as Lawful Evil or the Joker as Chaotic Evil are frequent selections. …

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Nostalgia and Gygax RPG

Though I started this piece before reading Anthony the Silver’s post on good, bad, and ugly fandoms, I feel that my topic is relevant. For those in the tabletop gaming community, especially those who have been involved for a few decades, change is not always a welcome thing. Nostalgia for the days of youth, or those “golden days” when everything was ideal is a common human trait, and is something that each person needs to confront in their own lives. I bring up nostalgia because it plays a big part in the issue I discuss. For those in the Old …

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