No Assembly Required – Weta Swarm

The March edition of my monthly monster-building column, No Assembly Required, is now posted at This Is My Game.

The column, No Assembly Required, features a monster that can be inserted into a Dungeon & Dragons 4th Edition campaign. Each monster in the series includes comprehensive information including Origin, Lore, Combat Tactics, Power Descriptions and Stat Block. Visit This Is My Game to review this month’s monster, Weta Swarm. The Weta Swarm is an Heroic-Tier monster who can serve as a pesky creature and hopefully adds more “swarming” flavor than other monster options.

The Weta Swarm was inspired by my recent travels to New Zealand. I have thought about creating a swarm monster in the past because I often find that the current swarm options do not feel all that “swarmish.” Other than taking half damage from melee and ranged attacks, many swarms simply feel too much like other monsters. It was my intention to make the Weta Swarm feel like a significant threat just by sheer numbers alone. As always, I’m open to feedback so please post any questions or comments about the monster here or at This Is My Game, and come back next month for another ready-to-use monster.

The fantastic artwork is provided by Grant Gould. Visit This is My Game for the full description of Weta Swarm.

There And Back Again: Traveling to Middle Earth

I just spent two weeks in New Zealand.

That is a sentence I never thought would be factual. Since watching The Lord of the Rings many making-of documentaries, I’ve always wanted to travel to New Zealand to visit the wondrous locations used to re-create Middle Earth.

Thankfully, my wife is also a huge nerd and would be more excited to meet Richard Taylor than Orlando Bloom. We decided years ago to save up both vacation time and money to make the trip a reality. And this month, we set forth on our journey. I realize this is not a travel blog, and it is not my intention to update everyone on any future comings and goings – excluding GenCon, of course! But the trip invigorated my inner geek because I spent two weeks trekking through a living, breathing fantasy-like landscape. Knowing how fortunate I was to spend an extended period of time in this magical country, I wanted to share my experience with those interested enough to read about the trip. And to encourage everyone with every fiber of my being to travel to New Zealand. Especially if you are a nerd. Do it at some point in your life! I know it is expensive; it’s worth every dollar.

Below, I provide some reactions to the trip and describe how my journey to New Zealand inspired me as a roleplaying gamer.

Continue reading “There And Back Again: Traveling to Middle Earth”