Tag Archives: Dungeons And Dragons

SATURDAY SPOTLIGHT: The greatest strategy game ever played.

Each Saturday, Jason spotlights one product or service or work of art he finds particularly amazing; the kinds of things that make you wonder, “Why doesn’t everyone have this?” (Read more atwww. jasonrpeters.com.)

I’ve been an avid player of hundreds of games, most of them carrying some strategic element: Dungeons and Dragons, Risk, Settlers of Catan, Monopoly. Tac Air. Chinese Checkers. In the digital world, I began with Warcraft 2, Starcraft, and Warcraft 3, expanded to Age of Empires, Empire Earth, Company of Heroes, Star Wars: Empire at War, Rome: Total War, The Battle for Middle Earth2, Black & White 2.

In spite of a plethora of variations on a theme, one game strategy game stands above them all (and I would wager it always will), simultaneously full of beautiful complexity and elegant simplicity:

Chess. Read More →

CHALLENGING THE STATUS QUO: Don’t eat chips with your fingers.

If an open mind is an open door, a closed mind is a locked cell for the soul. An organism that isn’t growing is dead, and water that never moves stagnates. If you vote, worship, read, work, research, eat, or invest the same way you did five years ago, Jason would like to challenge you on it. If all your dreams have come true, and the country is in perfect shape, PLEASE keep doing things the same. OTHERWISE, it’s time to shake things up. (Read more at www.jasonrpeters.com.)

I’ve lost 15 lbs so far this year, which is to say: There’s a few things I’ve given up. I have not given up Doritos, though, and I won’t. I love them. I love the taste, I love the texture. I love the way the bag crinkles when it opens. I love every flavor I’ve ever tried; some more than others. While I’m an off-brand shopper, I’ve never found a sufficiently satisfying “off-brand” of Doritos. Like cars, computer parts, and musical instruments, my favorite chips are brand-name or bust.

There’s one thing I don’t love, though, and that’s how your fingers look and feel from the very first chip. Minuscule crumbs coat your finger in a fine powder that’s guaranteed to transfer to ANYTHING ELSE YOU TOUCH.

TV Remote? Yes.

Video game controller? Definitely.

Computer keyboard? Oh gods, yes.

My collection of autographed books? PUT THE CHIPS DOWN AND BACK AWAY SLOWLY. Read More →

Valek’s Story

I am playing a bard in our new Dungeons and Dragons campaign. His story follows.

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The first gurgling of her infant child was the last sound heard by Daria before she died, never knowing that she had borne a son.

The Erdridar tribe named the boy child Valek, and on Valek’s behalf they swore two oaths: To raise him faithfully in the absence of his mother, and to avenge her death against the human father who sired him. None knew why Daria took the secret of her human lover with her to the grave; most assumed she had been raped.

The tribe delighted in raising Valek, and were charmed by his human qualities; rampant inquisitiveness and curiosity. The boy asked so many questions that his guardians began to tease, “Don’t you know already?” And so Valek would pretend he did, inventing stories which suited him and delighted his elders.

Thus Valek’s tale of a flying ship was taken for imagination for two full days, until a ship actually descended from the clouds to alight upon the outskirts of tribal soil. The tribe’s warriors approached the craft with caution, and Valek’s curiosity did not permit him to remain far behind.

A proud human descended the gangplank, dressed in strange robes which gave no protection from the elements. He gazed unflinchingly at dozens of Elvish bows trained on him, and announced:

“I have come for my son.”

The only reply was wind whispering through the trees and the grass. But if any present could divine its secrets, none spoke. Eventually Chief Tirol turned to young Valek and rose an inquisitive eyebrow.

Valek came forward, the others parting before him to clear the way. He addressed the robed man boldly:

“You may have bedded an elf maiden, but what makes you think she bore a son?”

The man turned a palm up and colors swirled in the air over his hand. He looked Valek in the eye.

“I have seen it.”

“The boy is ours,” replied Chief Tirol. “We raised him, we taught him, and we love him. It is thanks to you that Daria is dead. If you value your life, you may depart now.”

Without warning, lightning crackled from the ship’s deck, and Tirol fell to the ground dead, his body charred and smoking with an aroma like overcooked sweet-pork.

“Peace!” the robed man said, addressing his shipmates and the assembled elves.

“These elf heathens may not threaten my crew,” a staunch and ornamented man said from the deck, presumably the captain.

Seeing his mentors about to let fly their arrows, all consequences be damned, Valek spoke out:

“Stop!” He addressed the man claiming to be his father. “What is your name, tyrant?”

The man looked crestfallen at the accusation, but all he said was, “I am called Brad.”

“I am the son of Daria, Brad. I will go with you if you leave my tribe in peace.” The elves murmured at this, conflicted. Valek’s fate would be uncertain among these human barbarians, but they knew Valek’s bravery might well save their lives.

“Done,” said Brad, and turned ascended the gangplank, expecting Valek to follow.

“You will see me again soon,” Valek promised his true fathers and brothers. Then he, too, ascended the ship, which carried him away to the sky.

Three years passed before Valek returned to his tribe, broader of shoulder and deeper of voice than any remembered; his human blood advanced him beyond his years. To his stories, he now added music; drums of battle, vocal ballads and laments, but everyone’s favorite was Valek’s handheld harp, somehow sounding both hopefully bright and infinitely sad. His songs and stories were literally enchanting, infused with the sorcery he’d learned among the humans to make his audience drowsy or alert, soothed or angered, triumphant or sorrowed.

He related a hundred tales learned from the humans, or seen in his travels, or made up entirely. But the one story Valek never told was how things ended with his father, or how Valek had come to live among his people again.

But neighboring tribes had heard the rumor of a flying ship which fell burning into the ocean. When asked whether this rumor was true, or whether he’d had anything to do with it, Valek only replied, “Don’t you know already?”