Friday, February 24, 2012

Very Exciting

I got to pass on some very exciting news with my group today and they shared some awesome stuff with me. First off, the 'guys' were really quite good for a two-hour session in the computer lab. We got through the election of the village council, the selection of their liege lord and most of them completed their conversion from generic to standard classes. For the most part I gave them more skill points than they would have had in standard 3.x as I strongly feel that characters tend to under-perform at lower level and since this will be a lower power more medieval themed campaign it suits just fine. This group is not suited to grinding for levels because honestly the effort of fielding the swathes of generic baddies does not thrill me nor does it suit the ethos of the campaign or the grander idea of Lego d20. The purpose has and hopefully always will be to build team play, cooperation (or coopertition as FLL would have us say), creativity, strategy and community. Sort of why their big reward from the coopertition heavy battle was a group managed property which they are responsible for building and creating with their fertile minds. Since they did select the 'easiest' (they think...) liege lord, the estate will be less rich than the other two I had offered but it will offer the easiest access to other villages, and the favor of King Oleg.

Oh, but the first bit of good news. Well lets put this first: I'm now a member of VicLUG, the Victoria Lego Users Group, a very awesome and active bunch of adult Lego enthusiasts who have basically adopted me into their fold since they witnessed the awesome (or just bizarre) spectacle that was my first convention demo. One of the best advantages (and my timing was just right) is that they are just about to put together a bulk order from Denmark. Now those baseplates and trees and ugly rock bricks and castle window pieces aren't going to be such a chore to track down.

Second bit of news: I'm going to try to put this together as a book. I'm thinking Brick d20. I don't claim to be the first person to play D&D with Lego, not at all, I just seem to be systematizing it effectively for jr. play, something my background in education and gaming brings to the table. Having a degree in writing won't hurt either.

I also broke out my new pantheon. Lan, Envir, Gojan, and Olea. Ha ha. But it really worked well. You have the Lawful Lion Lan (think Aslan) as the primary deity (at least in Olegia) you have the trickster, Envir, often aspected as a raven, like Raven. You have Gojan, the dragon, and the destroyer, because in a Lego world there is always a destroyer. Sometimes your little sister whether you want her to or not (apologies to all the good little sisters out there who never smashed a new lego build), and then there's Olea. Olea is perhaps the most complex in that she is a nurturing bear or a tree or a crone. But in all ways she provides the female balance to the primary four. I really thought of this as a wolf pack of gods, with Lan as the Alpha, Envir as the Beta, Gojan as the Omega, and Olea as 'top cow' as a prof of mine used to put it. Although come to think of it, Gojan doesn't have to be male, not all the time at least. I think there is definitely room for more wisdom, order and other gods, but Lan's shoulders are big enough.

I almost forgot to share the awesome news they found for me. Images of the Lord of the Rings sets and minifigs to be released this year. As I said, VERY EXCITING.

In the next post I hope to share a number of the teams' backstories, if they don't want them to be secret as I am sure S. M. would prefer.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cherry Bomb Toys and Minifigs.

Cherry Bomb Toys has a build-your-own minifig setup in their store on Broad St. It has been of the best things I found for getting the little weapons to equip and re-equip all the little minifigs I have collected over the years (especially from '82-'86 when I got the bulk of my space and classic castle stuff, although I must approve of some of the selections made by my brother as his pirate, forest keep, and colonial ship sets have really put some flavour to the collection). I have probably spent $30+ on minifig accessories alone at $1 a pop (way high, I know, but when you need bows and axes, you've got to get bows and axes).
Also, both London Drugs and Toys 'R Us have the Minifig Series 6 in stock for $3.50 each. I have found the decoding site at that has the 'braille' bump codes and have confirmed that they work (got a fig I wanted that was an easy pick, not saying which one, might spoil some campaign surprises), although I really want to dig through and get several of the Roman Soldiers and the Highland Battlers... I mean really, Celts vs. Romans? Why Not!

I think the main reason I want to mention this is to underline two things. I am spending my money that I am basically getting as an allowance from my lovely wife to spend on toys for the Lego Robotics kids to play with -- which I am happy to do. The other is to possibly encourage those who are enthusiasts and excited by Lego d20 to go and find these places and pieces and spend their own $5 to MAKE their character. I remember the joy as a kid to have found a lead mini that might have looked sort of like a character I wrote up for my D&D games. I would love for the kids who for the most part seem to be having a blast playing Lego d20 with me, to have the joy of owning their own character fig, which some guys have already done, bringing theirs from home, even adapting Star Wars or other series figs to the fantasy setting.

Oh and I have to give a big shout out to my co-leader who is bravely, and often with bemused looks, doing what she can to help cat herd this crew along in this highly experimental process, and who recently added a beautiful addition to her own Lego collection (ahem - Hogwarts Castle - ahem). Two yellow hands angled directly up for her! I must not forget to mention with extreme gratitude my thanks to the Lego Robotics University sponsor for letting me essentially hijack her Lego Robotics team for this grand experiment, all with encouraging smiles and patience, especially in those madhouse moments, like when 10 boys are all needing help with their character creation and there is only one me.

This brings me to my final topic for this late night post: Book the computer lab so the kids without books can get on the d20 Hypertext SRD so they don't have to try to glean their info from over the shoulders of the few experts.