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Wizards has released some new Dungeon and Dragon bits. I, uh, kind of like it.

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There’ve been numerous problems with the new Facebook application Dungeons & Dragons: Tiny Adventures. It was down for a day or so. During what I assume are prime time hours (i.e., now), I consistently get that evil little Try Again button. There was even a de facto server wipe, presumably due to a hardware failure.

When the game works, there’s also not much “game” there, so to speak. For instance, you only make a few decisions: which class you play, which items to equip, which adventure to choose, and which potions to bring with you. It’s not like D&D in the sense that you don’t pick which attack powers you have, or even in a more granular sense, you don’t choose whether to go down the left or right corridor.

This makes it sound bad, right? Like you wouldn’t want to play? Well, I can’t stop playing. I’m on vacation this week, and since I can basically play this game while doing something else, I’ve been doing just that.

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Anyone seen this?

Essentially, a pair of ladies, who were also identical twins, moved to a suburb of LA in 2002. At some point, they started feeding wild rats they found living near their house. Rats, as you might know, breed quite rapidly. Hilarity ensues as some neighbors who just move in notice a truly absurd number of rats in the area.

You can read the original LA Weekly article here. Here’s an excerpt:

The number of wild rats the Barthels bred in one year— if they began with a single male and a single female — is, by the association’s calculations, 2,258. That number of rats would be capable of devouring 10,931 pounds of food and excreting 56,400 rat droppings.

But the sisters fed the rats for much longer than a year. They did so from the time they returned from Santa Ynez in 2002 until late 2007 — not to mention possible rat-feeding during the decades that Margaret continued teaching in Redondo to support their refuge in Santa Ynez.

Theoretically, during a second year, 2,258 rats in the Palisades could grow “a thousand-fold,” to more than two million rats, says Greg Baumann of the association. That’s only a mathematical figure, because the food needed to sustain two million rats would be impossibly huge, and cats were in the area.

But, estimating conservatively, the two sisters added tens of thousands of rats to L.A.’s tony Westside. And perhaps far, far more.

Can we talk about this? Let’s look at some big “creepy” markers:

  • Identical twins
  • Thousands and thousands of rats

Of course, my first thought was about how I’d use this in a World of Darkness game. Beyond the obvious beshilu-type connections, this offers all sorts of interesting possibilities.

A hive mind composed of rats, who perhaps share a mind with these ladies? Women who’re made of rats? Rat-spirits gathering in advance of some event? Post-apocalyptic food supply for some messed up people? Eventual carriers of an as-yet unknown plague? An animal-based spy ring for some bizarre or sinister purpose?

Shit, this is one of those plot hooks that just writes itself.

I’ll say some words: play D&D. In a Facebook application.

I can’t play it right now because it’s down. Here’s what Bruce Baugh has to say about it, which has enough in the way of screenshots and an explanation such that I want.

Damn you, Facebook.

And triple damn you, Wizards! If this is as good as it sounds, you’re basically going to waste an enormous chunk of my time.

Edited to make the link to the app an actual link.

There are actually a surprisingly large number of semi-viable race/class combinations. That is, you can still do pretty well for yourself even if you only have a stat that belongs to a class build’s secondary stat.

Lemme show you one that’s been bouncing around in my head: a spear-wielding, Hide-wearing eladrin fighter.

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On Friday, I secured myself a copy of Hunter: the Vigil. (It turns out that they weren’t lying after all!) I didn’t get a chance to spend much time with it until yesterday afternoon, and by this point I’m about halfway through.

You know what that means: first impressions!

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Looks like the D&D Insider Bonus Tools are up. (Previously, I couldn’t find them through a web search or by poking around their site, but now there’s a bit along the time with a link.)

In terms of the tools themselves, there’s the Ability Generator and the Encounter Builder. To begin with, it looks like they’re using Adobe Flex (which makes me wonder how difficult it would be for me to do something similar myself). They’re Flash instead of a client app. As such, they’re both pretty lightweight, although the Encounter Builder is fairly extensive in some ways.

So let’s talk about ’em.

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Let’s talk about stuff that isn’t out yet. Good? Good!

I saw on EnWorld the other day that, among other things, the Player’s Handbook II is in the latest catalog from Wizards. It’s due in March 2009.

I’m glad we’re hearing about it but March? Dammit! That is basically Forever. I’ve really been spoiled by White Wolf’s release schedule, where there’s a 128-pager every couple of weeks. There’s always more material to read, and it’s almost always really good, even though I’ve really only run one game of Mage: the Awakening. (I intend to remedy this once 4e slackens its grip on my cold, shriveled heart.)

Some of the classes that appear to be as good as confirmed are the bard, barbarian, druid, swordmage, and sorcerer. After paging through the Swordmage preview (click the “Download the preview material” link), I am sort of interested in that class.

But let’s be honest: it’s the old classes redone that I am most interested in. I like seeing how they express the core concept of the class. I think the fighter’s never been cooler than in 4th Edition, and I can’t wait to see what they do with the old classes.

…except for the bard.

Yeah, all right, fine! I can’t lie. I’m curious about the bard, too! Despite my inherent skepticism, I know they’re going to do something interesting with it. I just have no idea what.

I guess there’s a Monster Manual II coming out in May, also. That’s like Forever plus Infinity.

Fortunately, Hunter: the Vigil is due out in a week or so. Or so they tell me.

OK, I’m going to level with you, blog: I find this hard to believe. Deep down, I suspect shenanigans; there’s no way it’s August already. Right? The Pacific Northwest barely got a summer as it is, and now the summer is over? Look, you might be able to fool everyone else, but I’m not falling for this one.

Still, I decided to play along. I told my FLGS that I’ll be buying Hunter when it comes out, even though I’m signed up for D&D for at least a few more weeks, and I’m thinking about running a paragon tier game after this one.

With the demise of Gleemax, documented also here and here, a bunch of folks got together and created the RPG Bloggers Network. I thought, hey, why not? I like exposing myself to strangers. So now I’ve joined up, as you can see from the link on the left.

It aggregates a bunch of RPG blogs, which is neat, as everybody in the network gets a bit of traffic.

Feel free to stop by there, and also welcome if this is your first time here.

It’s really short, as this session had a couple of encounters and a lot less roleplaying.

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