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Grant Woodward
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Grant Woodward

Game Mastering  - 
 
 
Kenku! Wyverns! Long, boring stretches of narration! Grant's back with another play report from our D&D game, and this time he has a lot of explaining to do.
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Grant Woodward

New Episodes  - 
 
Grant and Peter are back with a whole host of things to talk about! We start with a bit about the #Pugmire campaign Grant just started playing in. Then we answer a surprisingly tricky question from Patreon backer Jim Nanban, who asks us for our “elevator pitch” for RPGs as a hobby. We remind everyone that Save Against Fear 2016 is coming up very quickly (and that you should go if at all possible!) And finally, we reach our main topic: Epic monsters. What do we mean by an “epic monster”? What role can and should they play in your campaign? Why do they sometimes fall flat? And what little tricks and additional details can you add in to really make them stand out to your players? And most importantly, what’s the best story about an epic monster from your own gaming career?
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Grant Woodward

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We're back, and we have a LOT to talk about—the #Pugmire game Grant's started playing in; our "elevator pitch" for RPGs; Save Against Fear 2016; and a discussion on how to make your campaign's epic monsters awesome. Plus, we want YOUR gaming stories—tell us about the best epic monster you ever dealt with in (or put into) your game!
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Grant Woodward
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Episode Discussions  - 
 
Special thanks to our Patreon backers who voted on topics. This is a lot of fun, and we're excited for the next vote.
 
Our first Patron-selected episode is here! We're talking about anti-heroes this week, and it turns out there's more to a good anti-hero than brooding and black trenchcoats. Enjoy!
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Depending on the writer, Punisher goes from being portrayed as "whoo hoo, killing criminals is awesome," to a much more nuanced, tragic character. Ironically, I think when he has a limited series or is a guest or co-star in another charcter's book, he come across as having more depth, because the longer series tend to lean heavily on the "isn't violence fun" angle, especially for the Garth Ennis version of the character.

More recently, in the last couple of years, Greg Rucka's run with the character shows Frank as a tortured, self destructive guy, and that what he is doing isn't good, even if he ends up doing generally positive things, from a certain point of view.

The Punisher War Zone limited series by Rucka, showing the Avengers attempting to bring Punisher in, was an interesting take on the character, contrasting him with the members of the team, at the time. Unfortunately, Rucka ended up leaving the book when Marvel decided to put Punisher on a new team of Thunderbolts which was comprised of "hey, violence is awesome, let's kill some bad guys" characters, which seemed regressive compared to what Rucka was trying to do.

Essentially, Rucka's take on Punisher is that he has a really strong drive to keep going, to keep living, but he's got nothing to live for, so in a lot of ways, his survival instinct is just pushing him to kill as a means to having something to do. If he stops to contemplate why, the weight of everything that has happened just kind of falls on him, and threatens to suffocate his self-preservation instincts.

I think the version of Punisher that shows up in Daredevil Season 2 is much closer to both his original appearances in Spider-Man, where he is a tragic villain, and Rucka's run, and I think its worth watching.

I think even in the real world, Batman had a pretty clear progression from anti-hero originally, to street level hero (when he adopted Robin), to full blow super-hero, when he joins the Justice League, and I think we see that same progression in the animated series, minus a lot of the pre-Robin anti-hero stuff.

Unfortunately in the comics, people seem to like to highlight the anti-hero or street vigilante side of Batman, even when he's clearly moved on to "higher" heroics, and it feels at odds with his appearances with the Justice League, where he as literally moved into a new phase of his life, that is more focused on supporting others and doing large scale good, instead of just cleaning up Gotham, for some value of "clean."
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Grant Woodward
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Games & Hangouts  - 
 
 
Grant's back at the blogging desk this week, with another update and play report from our ongoing D&D campaign. This time: Giant snakes! Giant beetles! Giant fungi! Giant rats! Giant ... look, you get the idea.
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+William Carson Thankfully, they were. Sadly, "fire beetles" in this context means overgrown fireflies, not beetles that could actually burn you. Disappointing, although covering the PCs in glowing bug juice was mildly amusing for all concerned.
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The next #GameToGrow  segment will be live this weekend!
 
Join Game to Grow host Sarah Lynne Bowman and special guests Maury Brown, Johanna Koljonen, Lizzie Stark, and John Stavropoulos as we explore the ways in which playing emotionally intense content can provide developmental opportunities for players and communities alike. This Game to Grow episode covers three important questions: Why is it beneficial to engage in emotionally intense play? What sort of techniques can we introduce to help calibrate play styles and comfort levels between players? How can we help players feel more safe when engaging with emotionally intense content? A short Q&A session will follow, so tune in!
This Hangout On Air is hosted by Sarah Lynne Bowman. The live video broadcast will begin soon.
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Emotionally Intense Play, Calibration, and Community Safety
Sat, August 27, 3:00 PM
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I blogged again! Specifically, I blogged about my terrible habit of railroading my players when they're exploring. And some other things, but I think that's the main takeaway.
 
Kenku! Wyverns! Long, boring stretches of narration! Grant's back with another play report from our D&D game, and this time he has a lot of explaining to do.
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Grant Woodward
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Episode Discussions  - 
 
That's right. We really do want your gaming stories! Tell us about the best epic monster your campaign ever had, and what you did about it. (Or for the career GMs out there, the best epic monster you put into a game.)
 
We're back, and we have a LOT to talk about—the #Pugmire game Grant's started playing in; our "elevator pitch" for RPGs; Save Against Fear 2016; and a discussion on how to make your campaign's epic monsters awesome. Plus, we want YOUR gaming stories—tell us about the best epic monster you ever dealt with in (or put into) your game!
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Most of my big bad villains tend to be "player character" races, with monsters as minions. Sometimes those brute servants get foreshadowed to give a sense of menace, but that's not quite, to me, "epic" in the sense that we're talking about.

One of the first campaigns I ever ran, however, I decided I wanted to end in a big, epic fashion. There was a mysterious bad guy that was creating a plague that would kill all of the magic creatures in the world.

The bad guy ended up being a cambion (half-demon in those days). After running around the continent looking trying to get to various ingredients and items before the cambion's agents, the players finally ran into a drow mercenary that was working for him, who revealed that he already had everything he needed, and that the drow knew what the plague would do, so he gave them the location of the cambion's fortress.

When they finally went there, the big fight ended up being with his father, a full demon, and the half-demon revealed that he had already released the plague. He told them that he was content to have his little "evil" kingdom, but he was contracted by an entity from Beyond that determined that the time of magic for this world was over, and this was how it would all end.

The cambion had assumed he could just relocate to the Abyss until he found new stomping grounds, but was now trapped. So he then worked with the PCs to find portals to other, magical worlds, where elves, dwarves, wizards, etc. would be safe from the plague, and they could evacuate as many friends as they could find.

Of course, he then decided that everyone going through the portal owed him their souls, which he could present to a Demon Lord to bargain more power for himself, so with friends and family dying in the portal, they fought the cambion to gain access to the other worlds they found (as the plague just didn't function on any other world other than where it was made).

At the time, I was big into cosmic Marvel as well as just getting into Fafhrd and Mouser stories, so there was a layer of entities beyond the gods that represented concepts like Balance and Fate, and Necessity was the entity that decreed when magic was "over" and sent an avatar to hire the Cambion.

Lest that all sound way too functional for a first campaign, I was in junior high, and there were also casual conversations with Thor, Planetars with modern names like Phil and Bob, and really goofy, stupid stuff. But I wanted the ending to have some serious impact. It's still a bit cliche heavy looking back on it, but I liked the swerves I put in place at the time.

On a smaller scale, I was on a kick where I wanted my fantastic monsters to be more restrained for a while, so for one campaign, while the PCs were lower level, wolves were attacking in organized patterns, and there were rumors that the wolf's alpha was some kind of monster.

Essentially, he was just a worg, but since worgs are intelligent enough to understand languages, I decided this one could actually speak common, so he managed to show up on the edge of a few of the wolf attacks and mock the PCs. I do love a villain that can actually monologue during a fight.

Eventually the PCs ran into a Mist Wolf (good aligned intelligent wolf thingie, for anyone that didn't run into the reference before) that wanted the local wolves to be spared, so it asked the PCs to subdue the worg so that the mist wolf could ritually defeat it in front of the other wolves and take over the massive local pack.

So they hunted him down, beat him up until he was unmoving, and took him to a forest clearing. The mist wolf had the cleric heal him, and then challenged him, and killed him to take over the pack.
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Grant Woodward

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Our first Patron-selected episode is here! We're talking about anti-heroes this week, and it turns out there's more to a good anti-hero than brooding and black trenchcoats. Enjoy!
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Grant Woodward

Actual Plays  - 
 
A recap and review of our gaming group's first-ever dungeon crawl!
 
Grant's back at the blogging desk this week, with another update and play report from our ongoing D&D campaign. This time: Giant snakes! Giant beetles! Giant fungi! Giant rats! Giant ... look, you get the idea.
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Grant Woodward

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Grant's back at the blogging desk this week, with another update and play report from our ongoing D&D campaign. This time: Giant snakes! Giant beetles! Giant fungi! Giant rats! Giant ... look, you get the idea.
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Grant Woodward
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Episode Discussions  - 
 
 
Grant’s back from Electric City Comic-Con 2016, and it was fantastic! We recap the #EC32016 show, including some specific people and organizations Grant wanted to specifically call out (check the full notes below for links.) Then Grant and Peter answer a Patreon backer question from Jim, who asks about demonstrating the difficulty of doing the right thing in game without being obvious or annoying about it. Finally, we cover our main topic: A discussion of generalist and specialist characters, with a focus on an issue that came up in the pre-game prep for our current D&D campaign.

Scripture: Exodus 31:1-6, Colossians 3:23-24
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Grant Woodward's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
I think this might be the best barber shop in Greer. Just got my hair cut here for the first time—I asked for a big change in my appearance and they did a great job. There was a bit of a long wait, but that was due entirely to how busy they seem to be on a Saturday; once my turn came up, I got a very professional haircut with due attention to detail and very little wasted time. The large number of customers ahead of me turned out to be a solid testament to their quality. Good price, great product, great experience. I'll definitely be back.
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Public - 3 years ago
reviewed 3 years ago
When my brother-in-law's florist failed to get anything together in time for his fiance's bridal portraits, we called Expressions Unlimited in a rush. They had a bouquet together in an hour - can't get better service than that.
Public - 7 years ago
reviewed 7 years ago
4 reviews
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Fox's Pizza is very quick (I've never waited more than 15 minutes for a pickup order, and usually it's been waiting for me for a while by then.) I'm very fond of their cheese sticks, and their pizza is of very good quality. Their non-pizza offerings are also excellent, especially the stromboli. They've got a very friendly staff and are always polite on the phone -- rarer than you'd think, and worth appreciating. My only complaint, and it's not exactly a fair complaint so I'm not knocking a star off, is that Fox's IS a franchise, and as such it doesn't really have the flexibility to offer anything truly unique to that particular location. For what it is, though, you'd be hard-pressed to find better pizza anywhere in Greenville.
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Public - 6 years ago
reviewed 6 years ago