Tag Archives: pax

Testing the theory that one can not have too many dice

Just before I went out to GenCon in August, I wrote:

I have one request, which I hope isn't unreasonable: I'd like to test the theory that you can't have too many dice. If I see you at GenCon, would you give me one gaming die? I'll bring home as many as I get, dump them all on my office floor, and take a picture. I think it could be pretty cool … or very, very sad. Either way, it will be something, you can be sure of that

Before I even left, the response was epic, including this hilarious and brilliant comic my friend Joel drew for his webcomic, Hijinks Ensue.

I hoped I'd get a fair amount of dice, but I was totally unprepared for how many, and the incredible stories that came with just about each one. For three straight days, hundreds of people gave me probably close to a thousand dice, total, and each one had a story: "This is from my original red box" and "These dice killed all my players and I need to get rid of them or they won't play with me again" and "This is my first set of GenCon dice, I wanted you to have it" and the most common: "These dice are evil. They are out to get me. Here you go. Good riddance."

Since I came home from GenCon, I've been too busy to take a proper photo of the giant haul of dice I got, but I made some time this morning to take a few shots. They're all at Flickr, and none of them truly capture the enormity and beauty the way I can experience it with my own eyes, (especially pouring out close to 15 pounds from the big GenCon bag I keep them all in) but this is my favorite one:

GenCon Dice Haul #1

Now, to the important question: Can you have too many dice? I require further research and testing, but the early results of my experiment clearly say "No. No you can not have too many dice, especially when each die or set of dice you get comes with a story from the person who gave it to you, allowing you to make a personal connection that merely talking to each other does."

Enormous thanks to everyone who gave me dice at GenCon and at PAX. I think I'm going to keep doing this, until one day I have enough dice to cover my entire floor.

PAX After Action Report, Part One

PAX started for me, like it does for a lot of people, a few days early, when I was traveling to Seattle.

I took the train from Vancouver (for $38, you really can't beat it) and met a couple of other guys who were on their way to PAX. I introduced them to Zombie Dice, and we played several games, nerding out and making silly math and statistics jokes the entire time.

Upon arriving in Seattle, I spent three days with my friends Chris and Nicole, playing games like Mad Scientist University (a favorite of Nicole's daughter Kate), Wings of War, and Dragon Age RPG (which Chris designed.) Our friend Will Hindmarch joined us the day before PAX, and we had a nerd sleepover. It was awesome.

As I said last week, I made an effort to spend this PAX the way I've always wanted to: not really working, instead just playing games, hanging out with my friends, and recovering HP and Mana. Making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS.

Friday, I did my first signing in Bandland, where I was given the best Magic: The Gathering card, EVER, and then went directly to Console Freeplay for some L4D2 with my friends Mojo and Abby. We did a lot of stupid hollering and stuff while we played, which added a great deal to the experience. I also learned that Abby likes to let her health drop to below 5 before she uses a medpack, which is both hardcore and insane. After that, we visited Classic Console Freeplay, where I lost my shit upon seeing a working ZX Spectrum with my own eyes. I didn't get a picture of the small stack of cassettes with games on them, which is a bummer.

We then wandered through the Expo Hall, which was packed with gamers and exhibitors, but didn't really stop to watch demos or play anything. I was way into the booth design for Fallout New Vegas, though. Then it was time for lunch at Juice It (which has changed its name, but like Pink Godzilla, will forever be known by its former name to me). We ate our food in the Rock Band Freeplay area, and that was awesome. It was really fun and joyful to watch and listen to people playing the game, being encouraged by everyone around them whether they were succeeding or failing, and of course singing along. After eating, I saw a T-shirt that mashed up two of my favorite things: Wheaton's Law and Penny Arcade.

I spent some time in [ENFORCER]land after that, and then headed back to my hotel, where I played a playtest of Munchkin Zombies with my friend Andrew (Munchkin Czar), Logan Bonner, Keith Baker (!), @Stepto, and @thevowel, which was as munchkiny and braaaaiiiiiiins-y as you'd expect. One of my favorite moments was when Eric (that's @thevowel) played an IRS Agent Wandering Monster on Andrew, who failed to run away, which caused him to lose his most valuable item … which was called "An Arm and a Leg."

"Hey, the IRS Agent just caused Andrew to lose an Arm and a Leg," I said, "just like real life." There was much rejoicing.

When Munchkin was over, and Stepto and E went off to do X-Box-y stuff, Logan ran Gamma World for us. I never played Gamma World back in the old days, but I've always heard that it's a lot of fun, so I was super excited to give it a try. WotC is updating it, using modified 4e rules, and it was a lot of fun. Real quick, here's how WotC describes it:

Earth. After the apocalypse. Never mind the radiation—you’re gonna like it here.

The D&D Gamma World Roleplaying Game offers
hours of rollicking entertainment in a savage land of adventure, where
the survivors of some mythical future disaster must contend with
radioactive wastes, ravaged cities, and rampant lawlessness. Against a
nuclear backdrop, heroic scavengers search crumbled ruins for lost
artifacts while battling mutants and other perils.

This product is a complete, stand-alone roleplaying game that
uses the 4th Edition D&D Roleplaying Game system as its foundation.
It appeals to D&D players as well as gamers interested in fantasy
science fiction set in a bizarre, post-apocalyptic world.

You start out making random characters, rolling 2d20 to get two different backgrounds that combine into one character. I got Sentient Plant and Radioactive, then rolled truly awful stats (yeah, you get to roll 3d6 for your stats! Old school, baby!), so we decided that my character's name was Needles, and I looked just like the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree (Me: Oh, DAMMIT! Logan: I think you mean, 'Good grief.'). Andrew was an empathic giant parrot called Fluffy (he named his character before he even knew what it would be), Will was a seismic doppelganger called Dug Dug, and Keith was a Yeti mad scientist called Doctor [I forget, but it was hilarious]. None of us were particularly smart (average INT and WIS scores were 10), and we all lived in a bunker together. I won't recall the entire adventure, but some highlights were:

  • Introducing everyone to each other, sort of like this: "This is Andrew, he edits all of my work, and is the Munchkin Czar for SJ Games. This is Logan, who freelances for WotC, and made the Bard a worthwhile playable class. This is Will, who designed games for White Wolf, and does all the interior and cover designs on my books. This is Keith, who designed Gloom and Eberron. I'm, um, Wil … and I have really interesting and successful friends."
  • Keith getting a kaleidoscope, and then using minor actions the rest of the time we played to take kaleidoscope readings (Logan always gave him results, which Keith recorded in a notebook). 
  • Dancing with Danceboot '86, who had been modified to also be a guard of some sort. Logan did the best D-d-d-dancebot voice and c-c-c-chaacter voice ever. He was always r-r-r-ready to p-p-p-party!
  • Destroying the big scary Umberhulk/Manticore/Laser-beam-eyes monster fairly easily, and getting eviscerated by the little fucking Sonic The Hedgehog/rolling-needle-best thing.
  • Staying up until 230 with my friends, playing a game.

I'm sure I'm forgetting other awesome things, and hopefully the rest of the guys who played will comment here with their own memories about the experience.

My takeaway from Gamma World: I wouldn't want to play an entire campaign, because it's just a little too gonzo for me, but I think three or four
sessions (would you call that a mini-campaign?) as a break from my
regular game would be perfect. Also: Logan Bonner is a frakkin' great DM.

Upon realizing I stayed up too late, I moved my Saturday signing back a little bit, and went to sleep, marveling at how lucky I am to have such awesome friends, and so many incredible opportunities to do cool things.

Next: Saturday.

about that recursive wil wheaton t-shirt…

I'm guessing a non-zero number of you have seen this picture:

Recursive_wheaton_t_shirt_by_basic_instructions 

I further imagine that some of you have seen the animated version. (Warning! May cause seizures, nausea, trips to Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite.)

Like all awesome things, this comes with a story.

Paul (of Paul and Storm) texted me one day and said, "Storm and I wanted to give you a surprise gift, but you have to grant permission for it to be made. You're going to get an e-mail asking for permission to use your image. I promise you that it's going to be for something awesome, so please say yes."

I am very good at following directions, so when the e-mail arrived, I did what Paul asked, and then waited for the arrival of a pen with a cartoon version of me on it that, when clicked, revealed my epic wang.

Thus began a saga wherein Paul would say, "Hey, go get your mail. Something awesome is waiting for you."

I would reply, "I'm working on my keynote. I'll pick it up when I get some time."

About 45 days later, I finally picked it up. I opened it in my office, saw myself looking back at me from infinity, and couldn't believe that I'd waited so long to pick it up. (On the other hand, it was a wonderful reward for completing the first draft of my keynote.)

I called Anne into my office, and revealed it in the usual manner, by slowly lifting it up to my chin and showing it off.

"Oh my god," Anne said. "It's you … and you … and you … and you …"

"All the way to infinity," I said.

We shared a Sci-Five, to commemorate the occasion. You know, like you do.

I wore this shirt to Emerald City Comicon, where it was photographed a few times, always to much laughter and occasional applause. I wore it again at PAX, where this now-famous picture was taken by Paul.

This picture has been sent around the Internets in all the usual places, first appearing on Reddit, then Fark, then Epic Win, and today it got to Digg. It's been pretty awesome and a lot of fun to see it compared to the Infamous Clown Sweater and the Velvet Wesley (and its own recursion), but I feel sad that the man responsible for actually making the thing isn't getting the attention and congratulations that I believe he deserves.

I intend to correct that, right now:

The Recursive Wheaton (also known as the Wheaton Singularity) is an Infini-tee, created by Scott Meyer, who also creates an amazing and wonderful webcomic called Basic Instructions. This is the strip where the Infini-Tee was born. I understand that, once a year or so, Scott will accept commissions for your very own Inifini-Tee, if you ask him nicely (and throw him some shiny gold rocks, or a chest of electrum pieces.)

I come across cool stuff online all the time, and I always like to know where it came from. I don't know if Scott even cares, but speaking as a creator, it's really important to me that credit is given where it is due. If you see this, Scott, thanks for making such an awesome T-shirt and entertaining webcomic. And thanks to Paul and Storm for giving me such an epic gift.

wil wheaton gets lucky … sometimes

This was the ultimate highlight of my #PAX 2009, and watching it again just now brought tears to my eyes again. 

I'm not worthy of something this awesome. Thank you Jonathan, and Paul, and Storm, and Molly for making me feel cool. I <3 you guys.

announcing THE AWESOME HOUR!!1

The schedule for PAX 09 has been posted, and I am on it.

BEHOLD:

Wil Wheaton first came to PAX in 2007, when he gave the keynote address that your parents won't stop making you listen to in the car. In 2008, he returned for a panel that asked and answered the burning question, "Can Wil Wheaton really be a panel all by himself?" This year, Commodore Wil Wheaton welcomes you aboard the USS AWESOME for 60 minutes of story-telling, lingerie-dodging, mirth-making, myth-making, iconoclasting, and the obligatory burning-questioning … ing.

I'll be in The Serpent Theatre from 2:30-3:30 on Sunday at PAX. I think it would be kind of awesome if we did a massive How We Roll photo as soon as the panel ended, too, but we'll talk about that as we get closer to PAX.

Got PAX questions? Post them in comments and I'll do my best to answer them.