Monthly Archives: July 2014

What is this?

For years I maintained a web site called In the summer of ’14 I decided I no longer wanted to pay the upkeep for the site and I moved the things I cared about to a server based in my house. This site, Carnifex Dot Org In Exile, I have had for a couple of years, using it primarily as a backup of my primary Blog. After shutting down, I opened this blog to public viewing as a ghost site to be updated only rarely (if ever). This is here solely to celebrate the hey day of and give me a way to link to my old content.

Video Chatting Like George Jettson

I had a nice chat with Chad. Our conversation ranged from Billings Montana in the 1970’s to the latest methods of deploying Windows 7 site wide without getting up out of your chair.


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So, who is running the game?

So, in between washing dishes and reinstalling Windows 7 on PezWitch’s computer, I rolled up a D&D 5E character. Here were my rolls;

5,4,3,1 – 12
6,5,3,2 – 14
6,6,4,2 – 16
4,4,3,2 – 11
6,3,2,2 – 11
5,4,4,1 – 13

My average attribute is 12.83, slightly above average and a perfectly functional set of attributes. Since D&D now goes with the “Play what you want” and not “Play what you roll”, I get to choose where to place each of these rolls. I chose as my race a Stout Halfling, this gave me a +2 Dex and +1 Con. Here is the final character;


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D&D 5th Edition, 1st Impressions

Product Summery:
Name: Dungeons & Dragons – Basic Rules
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Author: Mike Mearls and WotC Staff
Line: Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition
Cost: Free
Pages: 110 pages

For the holiday weekend, Wizard of the Coast (WotC) released the basic characters generation rules for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition (5E). While I did download the play test kit for 5E, I have to say I never really looked at it since I really never had any intention of playing it. However, I have never been able to resist buying a new edition of D&D and I am especially attracted to free products. I downloaded this and printed it out to get a better feel for the product.

The layout is acceptable for a modern role playing game (RPG) product. The first thing of note is there is no art to speak of, this makes the product come off as rather bland, however, it is a free product whose reason for existence is to sell other products. The idea is they want the Dungeon Master (DM) to purchase the starter set, which will be available on July 15th 2014, then his players can simply download this product and they can as a group play until the hard bound books start appearing in August.

This new edition appears to me to be a throw back to the 3rd edition of the game. The 4th edition was designed more or less to emulate video games such as World of Warcraft and was very combat centric, which is fine if you like that sort of game, I do not care for this type of play as you can see from my review of that product. Additionally, this game feels a lot like Castles and Crusades (C&C), a game based of the d20/OGL mechanic made by Troll Lord Games. This game seems to take the best parts of C&C but leave off the irritating Siege Engine game mechanic that added almost nothing to game that could not have been solved with the standard d20+bonus vs Difficulty Rating.

One of the things I like best is the idea of Backgrounds, this is sort of reminiscent of the 2E Class Kit idea. Basically, you get to choose a Background which helps crystallize the characters and gives them useful skills and proficiencies. Backgrounds are not limited to particular classes, so you can be a Magic User with a Soldier Background who served in the city watch before going to school and becoming a spell caster, or a Thief-Acolyte who served as a spy for the church. WotC also went back to the Vancian spell system, with some slight changes. For instance a Magic user may now wear armor as long as they drop a proficiency slot on armor. They may also cast Cantrips at will, including Ray of Frost which does 1d8 damage, without burning a spell slot to memorize. This adds a great amount of flexibility to the Magic User without over powering them.

Overall, the game is much more like 3E or Pathfinder than it is like 4E, which is a good thing. WotC also threw in some 2E ideas and some ideas from other games, all seems to have melded into a workable system, this is probably what 3E should have looked like to begin with. I am not a big fan of the d20 mechanic, however as time has went by, I have grown to not hate it and with the improvements to the system, I think I could live with this system as is. I have ordered the Starter set on Amazon and I look forward to reading it and possibly running a game for group later in the summer.

Summery (Scale of 1-5):
Appearance and Layout: 3
Game Mechanic: 3
Setting: N/A
Overall: 3

Laptops vs Desktops

A few years ago I started using a laptop as my primary system. When I was at home I had a monitor, mouse and keyboard plugged into it and when I travelled, I brought my system with me, the best of both worlds, or so I thought. These days I use an Alienware X51 as my primary system and ASUS T300 Tablet when I travel. What I learned from my experiment was I have completely different expectations from these two system types.

When I travel, I do not want a 15 inch LCD and very rarely do I need any amount of real hard drive space. 15 inch LCD is still no comparison to a 24 inch monitor and the bigger those LCD’s get the bigger and heavier the laptops get, believe me, this makes a difference when you are hauling this fucker through an airport. I also don’t need terra bytes of hard drive space, I pay both Dropbox and Google Drive to provide me with online access to my important files, no need to keep them on my hard drive. When I do travel, what do I really use the system for, checking email and light web browsing, what type of system do I really need for this? Finally, I encrypt the file system so if it gets lost or stolen, my data can not be accessed.

My desktop on the other hand, I have much higher expectations of. I expect to be able to hook up at least 2 monitors, I am a multitasker and it is not unusual for me to be surfing the web, blogging, listening to music, ripping a DVD, running maintenance on my server and checking email all more or less at the same time, two or three monitors makes that much easier. On my desktop I do need a terra byte of hard drive space, I keep all of my music, all my pictures, a good chunk of my DVD collection and the majority of my gaming books are all kept on my computer hard drive and backed up to either Dropbox or Google Drive. I also maintain a fairly larger collection of ISO’s for various purposes. All of this amounts to a very large amount of hard drive space. I also like a fast and responsive system, so I like a nice video card, a decent CPU and enough memory that my system boots quickly and I do not have to wait for programs to launch.

When I was using my laptop as my primary system, I discovered it was never quit as good as I wanted it to be. The CPU was never as fast as I wanted and although I play very few games, I do play a few and the integrated Intel graphics was never up to the task and the hard drives were always slow and this was made worse by the encryption. Further, I could never use more than 1 monitor with it, sure, I could still use the built in LCD, but that is a pretty small screen. When I started looking at getting a better laptop, I realized that a desktop that would do what I needed it to do would be cheaper than the equivalent laptop by a significant amount. And as I thought about it, I realized the last couple of times we went anywhere, we took our tablets rather than either of the laptops. I suspect at this point we will not replace our laptops. I expect we will instead use our tablets or smart phones as our travelling computing devices. When we travel, we don’t tend to do the same sorts of of things we do at home and I see very little reason to drag a laptop around with us when two tablets will likely provide us with everything we need for the couple of days we will be away from home.


It appears this was my 600th post on this blog.