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Let’s Play D&D To Help Some Sick Kids [BIDDING ENDED]

Posted on November 14, 2011

Update December 12th: A winning bid has been submitted! I don't expect any more bids this week, so I'll just go ahead and call it. Thanks to everybody for their support. An update on the group of winners soon!

Update December 5th: So $250 is just too steep for you assholes? Fine. Until December 19th, you can start your bidding at $150. You can split the cost up between members of your party: the more, the merrier! Remember that you're not just buying 8 hours of me on one day; I'm spending at least 10 hours creating the custom monsters and levels for your enjoyment. Send me a bid, won'tcha?

If you're not familiar with Penny Arcade's Child's Play, it is a yearly charity drive that collects video games, books and other forms of entertainment for children's hospitals across the globe. Since 2003, the charity has raised millions of dollars worth of materials that have helped miserable, sometimes terminally-ill kids cope with their hospital stay.

A long time ago, I was a cancer kid. I was fortunate enough to have family who could splurge on a NES while I was in the hospital being diagnosed. Being able to sink a few hours into Super Mario Bros. or Operation: Wolf helped me cope with the fear of the known and unknown. Other children don't have the luxury of families that can afford such gifts (on top of expensive hospital bills). Child's Play not only donates items that can be checked-out by kid patients, but also gifts the children can receive when they "celebrate" their birthdays during their inpatient stay.

I've donated to Child's Play in the past but this year I want to do something different. I offer my services as a college sports fan and Dungeons & Dragons player/Dungeon Master to create an unique one-day dungeon delve event for the highest-bidding group:

  • A custom-created dungeon delve using D&D 4th Edition Rules. (Sorry 3.5/Pathfinder folks, I don't know that system well enough to DM.)
  • I will travel up to 500 miles one-way from Lexington, KY (including Louisville, Indianapolis, Knoxville, Nashville, Huntington and other regional areas) to run this event. I have all the materials necessary: Just provide a table and chairs for your group and I.
  • The campaign will be custom-tailored to your favorite team's NCAA basketball schedule. You will play characters based from the basketball players or coaches; you will fight monsters that are cheekily designed to be like your team's rivals. The locations will be modeled after basketball stadiums your team plays on -- including special traps you can trigger on teams that fight on your team's home court!
    • I can also create a more traditional D&D setup or match a different theme based on your specifications. Let me know in the bidding process what you'd like.
  • I will have at least four encounters for a total of at least eight hours of play. The gaming session can take place during the NCAA basketball season or afterwards.

The starting bid is $250 $150. All proceeds will go directly to Child's Play. If you and your friends are interested in bidding, send me an email with the subject "Child's Play D&D". The highest bid by 12:01 AM on Monday, December 5th 19th will win my services. Update Dec. 12th: Bidding ended early! See above.

If you're not interested in hiring me for my nerd game, please consider donating to Child's Play directly. Thanks for your time.

Nov. 22nd Update: Just to clear up a few things:

  • You don't have to know the Dungeons & Dragons rules to play. 4th Edition is like a strategy board game but allows an easy learning curve. Even if you and your group are D&D n00bs, it will be easy to learn the rules as we go.
  • The session can be broken into two or more sessions. Eight hours in one day is a big commitment, especially for those of us with kids and whatnot. If you live closer to Lexington, I can break up the four encounters into two or four sessions. It usually takes about 2 hours to play one encounter. I can also do online hosting if you'd prefer.
  • Kids are welcome. I'll make the adventure PG if you want to include your kids. Though I would recommend that your child has the ability to sit through other strategy-type games.

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A Room Full of Dungeon Masters To Rank Them All!

Posted on February 18, 2011

But why would we want to talk about anything other than the NCAA Tournament? It's the ONLY thing that matters in college basketball!

Close, Ken. I think it's more like a Dungeons and Dragons encounter-building party, where 20-some-odd wannabe Dungeon Masters argue over which monsters go in the rooms of the dungeons. They'll cite stats, gripe about why their favorite monsters aren't in the more important rooms and quote rules at each other.

What would that look like? Let's role-play:

Greg Shaheen, NCAA Interim Executive Vice-President: Alright, we are now looking for four monsters to populate 4th-seed encounter. MAY I REMIND YOU TO PLEASE REFRAIN FROM THROWING CHEETOS AND OTHER SNACKS AND BEVERAGES. Any suggestions? Yes, Andy.

Andy Glockner, SI.com writer Lets put in a Level 9 Villanova Wildcat. It's kinda a dual-role creature that has fantastic long-distance attacks but can still be effective in hit-and-run melee combat.

Mike Hall, B1G T3N Network: Good pick, Andy. I nominate a Level 7 Florida Gator: It has a surprising vertical attack that controls the air. The Gator also has overall great defensive stats that let's it really slug it out with PCs.

Seth Davis, Sports Illustrated/CBS Sports: I concur, a Florida Gator deserves to be in this room. Furthermore I nominate a Level 8 Vanderbilt Commodore. PCs who get close and hit it allow the Commodore to apply +1 stackable free-action attacks. Plus the Commodore collects an insane amount of damage when attacking from deep.

Greg Shaheen: All good choices, gentlemen! Just one more. Yes, Jason?

Jason King, Yahoo! Sports: How about a Level 6 Young Kentucky Wildcat?

(Disgusted groans emit around the conference table.)

Jason King: C'mon! It has an insane stacking bonus to it's attack -- once it starts causing damage, both it's attack and overall defensive prowess goes up!

Seth Davis: Yeah but the Young Wildcat can't defend against artillery attacks and it's base offense & defensive stats makes it fairly worthless if it's not hitting anything!

Andy Glockner: Don't we have enough striker-type monsters in this encounter? What we need is something that can adequately dominate in the middle of the area... something like a Level 6 North Carolina Tar Heel?

Jason King: I understand that, but--

Mike Hall: Yeah, and we don't need any more Southeastern-origin creatures in this encounter. We should pick either a Leader monster or a Legend monster. How about a Level 27 Zombie Paterno?

Andy Glockner: That doesn't even make a lick of sense!

(The conference room erupts into multiple arguments. Sprayed clouds of Red Bull and Mountain Dew fill the air. Greg Shaheen calmly rolls dice on the table.)

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