How-To: Dungeons and Dragons 5e

 

Hello reader,

I’ve created a concise, but detailed how-to on running Dungeons and Dragons. I have tailored this specifically for library programmers that might not know where to begin. Dungeons and Dragons has had a resurgence of popularity with the release of D&D 5e. Since its release, my teens had wanted to play D&D, but I didn’t know where to start or how to run a game. On my own time, I learned how to play, played in a few games, and have run a couple sessions of D&D on my own. Hopefully this guide will help you understand D&D, how to run it, and what you can expect.

This program may appear later in the YALSA Program HQ website. For now, you can save this post for your future reference.

Program Description

Participants will group together into groups of 5-7. One person in each group will be the Dungeon Master (hereon referred to as the DM), and the rest of the members of the group are the players. Together, the members of each group will role play, puzzle solve, and build a story together using Dungeons and Dragons 5e.

This program can be held as many times as you would like. The size of the program can also vary depending on how many of the participants are willing to be the DM. We hope that these programs have teens willing to volunteer to be the DM. If none, the largest size I would recommend is 6 per library staff.

Learning outcomes

  • How to work together to solve a problem and make joint decisions. Working together cooperatively to solve problems build a foundation for them to work with other people in teams.
  • Learn how to collaboratively create a story and tell it. Creating and telling stories allows the teens to explore their creativity and overcome the shyness that comes with expressing themselves. This will help them be more assertive when speaking with others.
  • Learn to work with other people by engaging them and being present.

Instructions

To start with D&D, the first prep is always the longest. Expect to front load a lot of information and, depending on your preference and budget, there is a front loaded cost to running these games as explained later. Following the first program, the rest of the sessions become easier and easier to prepare for once you have become used to the rules and story telling on the fly. There is a chance your teens may already play D&D, and I would advise you to speak with them and collaborate with them as you prepare to run this program at your own library. Encourage the teens to become DMs themselves!

What you will need:

  1. Read up on the Basic Rules for both Players and Dungeon Masters here. You can totally run a game of your own imagination just by following the free Basic Rules. If you find yourself wanting more or have the room in your budget, consider ordering the Player’s Handbook, the Dungeon Master’s Guide, and the Monster Manual. These are optional purchases and somewhat costly, but they more than make up their cost in how many times you will find yourself using these invaluable resources. If it is possible, consider adding these items to your circulating collection, or even better, your professional collection.
  2. Get an assortment of polyhedral dice. These dice are used to determine success rates or the outcome of events. They are commonly used in role playing, puzzle solving, and combat. You do not need too many dice, having at least one of every kind of dice (starting from 20 sides down to 3 sides) should be good enough. I recommend buying large assortments as it makes rolling go more quickly if all the teens have their own set during the game. You will also find that some teens will buy their own or bring their own.
  3. During the first session, you will have the option to have the teens create their own characters using character sheets (download link) OR you can have them play pre-created characters. For first timers, I would suggest using characters from this website or the pre-made characters in the starter kit.
  4. Finally you will want a notebook or loose paper and something to hide that paper behind, such as a Dungeon Master’s Screen or even a large open binder. This is to hide your notes and rolls from the teens so that there is an element of surprise.

Your options in running your own game:

  • You can spend any amount of time creating your own original game. For the most part, you want to have a few story hooks, such as: the city is being attacked by orcs, the mansion in the bad side of town is haunted, or even a princess has been kidnapped by a dragon. You can be as detailed or as loose as you want, the important thing is to create a situation where the players have a goal to accomplish.
  • You can purchase the D&D Starter Kit for fairly cheap, and it will contain a physical print out of the rules for players and DMs, along with dice, pre-made characters, printed maps, and nifty miniatures and tokens. If you have some money to put into this, I would recommend you put it here.
  • You can download official Wizards of the Coast adventure league campaigns for cheap! These are meant to run for several sessions. There are several that you can choose to run. I suggest trying these before hand so that you can get a feel for how they are written and what might be expected to happen as you play.
  • You can spend money on campaign books. These books expand on the adventure league campaigns and can last for months or even over a year depending on your players and how often you meet.

Running the game:

  1. Start by creating/distributing characters to the players, handing out any pencils to people who didn’t bring any, and putting the dice at the center of the table.
  2. Have the players introduce their characters. You can have them speak in character, talk about their character, and/or do ice-breakers such as “Tell me what Grom the Dragonslayer likes to do in his free time?”
  3. Set the scene for the game. Describe the town, the situation, or an event that will engage your players to explore and quest in the world.
  4. Find good stopping points about 10-15 minutes before your program is over. I like to use heightened climax scenes or cliff hanger moments to entice the teens to come back next month.
  5. Wrap-up your program however you feel, whether you give an ending scene, talk about when the game will next take place, or ask how the players how they felt about the game.

You can easily run a single game (referred to as a one shot) of D&D rather than run a series of games. This is based on your and your teens’ preferences. I would always allot for at least 2 or 2.5 hours of play time. Here are a summary of upfront costs depending on your budget. Dice are included in most listings, because you should own at least 1 set!

Mostly Free:

  • Basic rules
  • Character sheets &pencils
  • Dice

$15-20:

  • Starter Kit
  • Pencils

$25-65:

  • Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and/or Monster Manual
  • Character sheets & pencils
  • Dice
  • Printed out Adventure League sessions from here or as listed in the supplements.

You can always become more invested and purchase the campaign books: Hoard of the Dragon Queen, Rise of Tiamat, Princes of the Apocalypse, and/or Out of the Abyss. These are optional, but have a ton of helpful information and ways to extend your game past a few months. The cost for each of these books is around $20 to $30.

Finally, here are some tips and optional things that I couldn’t fit elsewhere in the instructions:

  • You do not need miniatures, figures, or tokens. You can do combat without visuals. Pros to this is that it is cheap, cons is that it may be hard for the teens to get into combat.
  • You can use white boards, paper, and dice to represent maps, battlefields, and characters.
  • Be ready for your teens to drop your story hook, and want to do random things. Maybe they don’t care about the kidnapped princess and instead want to go exploring a nearby cave or they decided they would rather start up a business in the town. Be ready for them to do almost anything but what you planned!
  • I recommend using note cards to keep track of monster stats and player stats. This way you are not always referencing a book or PDF, and can instead rely or reference information on the go.

Evaluation

Evaluation is done via asking the teens their opinion. I do this by sending out a monthly e-mail about D&D to my teens while also asking for their input.

My questions for them:

  • How do you feel about the length of the event? Too long or too short?
  • What did your group do that you enjoyed? What did they do that you didn’t enjoy?
  • What was your favorite part in the story?

To give you an overview of comments I received:

  • I think the program should be an hour longer. (We now play for 4 hours)
  • Sometimes the room can be very noisy, and I find it hard to hear. (Consider your space and how you can use it. We have made D&D an after hours program so that we can use the entire building.)
  • I would like to change groups because I want more story than combat.
  • I just like fighting things.
  • Can you teach me how to be a DM? (DMing is something you just have to do. There is no training for it. Encourage them to just jump in! If they are still nervous, direct them to the Dungeon Master’s Guide or the DM’s Basic Rules for more information.)
  • I wish we could play D&D more than once a month.

Other resources

Link to D&D Behind the Screen: Collection of reference materials, pdfs, and how-to DM guides

Talk with your local gaming/comic book stores, gaming groups, and your teens to see what kind of collaboration you can come up with. If you are lucky, a local store might sponsor your library program.

 

D preps for D&D NEXT (Spoiler Alert: I don’t like 3.5e)

Hello readers,

Some of you might be aware that Dungeons and Dragons has been playtesting their next edition. Its called NEXT, but most players have been calling it 5e. It originally came out last year for beta-testing and they still have no tentative release date. The goal of NEXT is to bring in new players as well as see if they can grab hesitant players such as myself.

For those of you that do not know, Dungeons and Dragons is a roleplaying game in which there is a Dungeon Master (DM) that sets the narrative for players to explore. A typical game of D&D consists of characters killing monsters or running errands for gold and loot, but unlike MMOs, they allow the players to shape their environment and live out their fantasies. I’ve always been drawn to D&D, but I have not always had excellent experiences with it. Luckily for me, I joined a group made up of people I know. I have a way better feeling about this attempt to be apart of a gaming group.

We have decided to use NEXT/5e as our set of rules and so far it has been incredibly easy to work with. We had a test run last month and built our own characters on May 3rd. From previous experience, 3.5e took FOREVER to get anything done. I felt like we were constantly looking up rules, stats, and it just made the game seem like it was more time spent arguing what would make sense over actual gameplay. Character creation for 3.5e, for me, was kind of complicated and came off a bit cluttered. 5e is pretty simplified and character creation was not confusing at all. I will walk through what I prepared as my character for 5e and I will do my best to explain things along the way. I will be leaving some information out since it might not be pertinent to the character I have created, but I would be open to answering questions! There will be a link to the playtest materials at the end of the page.

Ability Scores, Race, & Class

First, I decided on being a druid that heals at range and her name will be Diyaa. Druids are restricted to simple weapons (boo) and I wanted to be a badass with a bow, a martial weapon, so I chose to be a Wood Elf to gain access to Longbows. Picking Druid and Wood Elf told me I could add +2 to my Wisdom score since Druid can add + 1 to either Constitution or Wisdom and Wood Elf adds + 1 to Wisdom. We used the point buy system to determine our initial ability scores. I decided to leave Strength at 8, but boosted the rest of my scores to at least 12 with 15 Wisdom. My final ability scores look like this:

abilityscore

They might not be the best scores, but I my main focus on stats will be Wisdom (healing and intuition), Intelligence (knowledge checks), and Charisma (gathering information and persuasion). Since I am a Wood Elf, it means I gain:

  • Low-Light Vision (I can see pretty well at night)
  • Keen Sense (Advantage on Wisdom spot and listen checks)
  • Free Spirit (Immune to charm and sleep effects)
  • Trance (Instead of sleeping, I can rest for 4 hours in a trance and its equal to a full night’s sleep)
  • Fleet Foot (I can move 5 ft more)
  • Mask of the Wild (I can attempt to hide even when I don’t have much cover)
  • Weapon Proficiency in short swords, long swords, shortbows, and longbows
  • Languages I speak and read both Elvish and Common

As a Druid, I have the ability to cast Druid spells that I prepare or cantrips. I decided to be in the Circle of the Oak to have better spellcasting abilities. Cantrips are spells you can cast repeatedly for free in 5e. Other spells have limits on how many times you can cast them per day. In 5e, you prepare spells, but you can cast any of them repeatedly based on how many level one spells you can cast in general. For example, I only have 2 spells I can cast per day, but I may cast any of the 3 spells I have prepared. When you cast a spell to damage a creature, that creature has to make a saving throw of some sort against your DC. What that means is if they need to make a Constitution saving throw, they roll a d20 and add their Constitution Modifier to the result. What they roll needs to be higher than your Save DC. Druid Save DC has this equation: 10 + Wisdom Modifier + Spell Bonus, so my equation comes out like this: 10 + 3 + 1 = 14.

My cantrips are:

  • Druidcraft (I can create little illusionary effects, such as critters or voices for about a minute)
  • Fire Seeds (I throw 2 burning seeds with a range of 50 ft. Target makes a Dexterity saving throw and if they fail they take 2 Fire Damage)
  • Read Magic (I can decipher discrete magical inscriptions on objects)

My level one spells are:spellbook

  • Cure Wounds (At 25 ft range, I can either cure a creature for 1d8+4 or damage an undead for basically a ton of damage at 4d8 on a failed Constitution save and half that on a successful one)
  • Entangle (At 50 ft in a 5 ft radius, I can deal 3d6 piercing damage on a failed Constitution save and half that on a successful one. It creates difficult terrain in a 20 ft cloud for 1 minute)
  • Thunderwave (Each creature in a 15 ft cone in front of me must make a Dexterity save, if they fail they take 3d8 thunder damage and are pushed 15 ft away. On a successful save, they take half that damage with no push)

The playtest character sheet doesn’t have room for all of these notes, so I have a notebook that I will be using to both keep track of the story and have a quick reference to my spells and feats.

Skills, Background, & Equipment

In 5e, players starting at level 1 may chose 4 skills. Those skills are considered trained skills which means whenever the character rolls for one of those skills they add 1d6 to the initial 1d20. What this means is: I can roll a spot (Wisdom) check even if I don’t have it trained, which is 1d20 + 3 (my Wisdom modifier). Since I am an Elf, I have the Advantage on those kinds of checks, which means I can roll 2d20 and keep whichever one rolls better. That means if I roll 2d20 and the results are a 1 and a 20, I can choose to take the 20. If I have spot check trained, then I add a 1d6, so the overall calculation looks like this: Adv(2d20 )+ 1d6 +3. Similar to Advantage, Disadvantage has the player roll 2d20 and take the worse of the two results, so I would have to take the 1 if I was actually Disadvantaged in spot. There is also Contest, which allows to creatures to compete toward the same goal with just a 1d20 + modifiers, but that won’t come into play for Character Creation. It seems confusing to read, but if you try it out its actually quite easy to understand.

Since I am rolling a healer, I decided to focus my skills on being knowledgeable about nature and magic. I also want my character to be a little intuitive and able to receive information by talking to NPCs. In 5e you are not restricted to what skills you can take, so I chose to take:

  • Recall Nature Lore (Intelligence) I have advantage since I am a druid
  • Recall Magical Lore (Intelligence) Any healer worth their salt should know about different hexes, curses, and spells
  • Sense Motive (Wisdom) My character is an observant person, a “people studier”, so I can catch on to people’s natures
  • Gather Rumors (Charisma) My character enjoys talking with people and can sometimes learn things from them

Usually, in 5e, it seems you will pick a background first and then it will assign you the 4 skills, but we decided to mix and match our backgrounds and skills. Backgrounds are there to offer players: skills, a trait, and half of the starting equipment if you chose to take it (you must take the other half from your class). Traits are kind of nifty since they allow all characters to have some kind of input to the Role Play part of the game. For example, the Fighter class is mostly just about brawling and before did not bring too much to the Role Play other than having low intelligence and charisma stats (depending, but most seem built that way). Now, a Fighter can chose to take the Temple Services trait and gain the ability to go to the temple of their chosen religion/god and be able to: ask priests, acolytes, and other members for help/information, heal yourself and your companions for free, and receive religious services. Thus, your fighter can be a Templar if you chose and actually contribute to the Role Play and not just combat. Its a great way to help you construct a background for your character.   I chose the Sage trait.

trait

There are feats in 5e, but they are completely optional unlike previous editions. Our group decided we wanted to have ALL THE THINGS, so for my feat I chose Herbalism. Herbalism lets me spend an hour to create up to 3 items (Antitoxin, Healer’s Kit, and Potion of Healing). I must have  the necessary material components in order to create them, components such as: herbs, vials, cloth, etc. I can also identify poisonous herbs.

For equipment, I did decide on taking the recommended starting items for Druids and Sages, but I did decide to change it up just a bit. I had 70~ gold plus some items from the set I didn’t necessarily want (such as a spear!), so I decided to gain a fishing tackle box (as a method of providing food) and a Longbow. Now I only have 17 gp, 12 sp, and 8 cp leftover, but I feel better about my starting equipment:

  • Robe
  • 10 Candles
  • Code Ring I haven’t decided what its for yet
  • Nature Tome The DM will assign a DC to the Tome. If I would have to make a DC check about something the Tome covers, if the DC is the same as the Tome’s, then I can succeed a check with it
  • Ink, Ink Pen, and 10 sheets of paper
  • Leather Armor Adds 11 to my armor class
  • Shield I won’t be using it for right now, but kept it just in case
  • Longbow 1d8 piercing damage!
  • Adventurer’s Kit Has a backpack, a healer’s kit (20 uses), 10 torches, 10 days of rations, a waterskin, and 50 ft of rope
  • Sprig of Mistletoe Apparently it can be used as a Druid Focus, but I honestly don’t know what that means for this edition since it had no entry anywhere other than in the Druid starting equip list
  • Fishing Tackle Box Has the fishing rod, lures, and lines

With that, my character is complete. I left out some details, like how fast she can walk and her measurements, but those things are easy to look up for yourselves! I had a lot of fun setting up my character and I hope I have  a lot of fun playing her. The last thing I need to do is give her a back story. I already had one in mind as I made her, so here it is:

Wood Elf Druid taken from http://dustin.wikidot.com/

Diyaa grew up in a small, secluded village by a river. While Wood Elves typically are weary of other races, Diyaa’s family moved into the human dominated village nonetheless. Her father and mother were Druids that acted as soothsayers and healers in the town, able to cure just about any ailment that came their way. One day they died of some mysterious illness that even Diyaa’s grandmother couldn’t stop. With only the notation that it was Magical in essence, Diyaa decided that in order to become a great healer she must learn all she can about healing, both natural and magical. Leaving her grandmother behind to tend to the village needs, Diyaa set off on a journey of discovery with a slight hope that she might recognize the cause of her parents’ untimely deaths.

I am really excited about this character and I hope I got some people excited about playing D&D 5e. I will try to post more about the system in action when we convene to play on May 24th. I will give my impressions of the ease/difficulty of the system and whether or not the Skill Dice, Advantage/Disadvantage, and Contest additions add or detract from the gameplay.

If you are interested in D&D 5e, the playtest is free! You can gather a group of friends, go to roll20.net, or join meetup.com to find groups online or offline. D&D 5e, according to my DM and a lot of people on the forums, seems to be compatible with ANY campaign setting and most other rule books. I would be happy to hear about other people’s experiences so feel free to leave a comment below!

Have a great day!

D

D plays DotA 2: Diretide

Hello readers,

I’m back after playing so much Diretide! Diretide is probably one of the most fun things ever. I’m so serious. One of my favorite parts about it is… I can pretty much random and incur no rage when I do kind of poorly! WOOO FOR BEING SO BAD!

For those of you that don’t know, and yet want to read a blog post about DotA 2, Diretide is a Halloween mode that is still available in DotA 2. The goal of the mode is twofold: 1. Get the most candy in the first 20 minutes, because you will win a free vanity item, and 2. Kill Roshan as quickly as you can. The best part about this mode, really, is how adorable Rosh is the whole time. Roshan is the boss creep that carries the Immortality item on him. In Diretide, Roshan is free from his pit and allowed to roam the map. After 10 minutes in game, Roshan will appear to collect treats from the players… and if you don’t give him what he wants he will kill you. I am 100% serious. He’s also dressed in super cute costumes!

Aww! Guys, he just wants candy!

There are three ways to collect candy: some jungle creeps will drop them, Roshan lane babies will drop them, and rob your enemy candy bucket. The third option is super viable, since it will give you almost a permanent lead if you can keep robbing and defend your own bucket well enough. For that reason, Anti-Mage, Furion, Queen of Pain, and other characters with global TPs or blinks are annoying as heck to deal with. Team fight characters are also extremely welcome, because most engagements will be mini to full on teamfights anyway. Characters like Sand King, Omniknight, Dazzle, and Clockwerk to name a few. Sadly, in this mode, the viable characters in the metagame are still all over the place.

If I had a dollar for every Anti-Mage or Furion I have seen in any game… I would probably have at least 50 dollars.

After the initial 10 minutes, Rosh appears for candy as mentioned previously. One thing my boyfriend and I have been doing is picking gangcentric characters and following Roshan. With enough stuns or damage, you too can help Roshan murder innocent people. Try Riki, Bounty Hunter, Spirit Breaker, and other fun characters for it. Its best done with at least 2 total people, because you might walk into entire enemy team. That’s not fun. =,(

After the candy phase is over, Roshan goes over to the team with the most candy and eats the bucket. This begins the third and last phase of the game — Kill Roshan. The competitive part isn’t to necessarily kill Roshan last, because both teams still get items for his death. The competitive part is beating the fastest Roshan kill, because you will get a Golden Baby Roshan. You want it and you know it.

Its so cute. You want it, don’t you? This is like TF 2 hats all over again! But with couriers.

Diretide is simply a Halloween event that seems to be going away on November 12 this month, but I hope they bring it back as a real game mode. Its fun, its fresh, and its low stress. Maybe they will make it creep sacrifices instead of candy, but I would still love to see this mode stick around.

 

D does a lot of stuff! Gaming/Reading

Hello readers,

I have been up to quite a lot of stuff lately. I’ve picked up two new games and finished a few books. To recap what you already know:

  • I purchased Pokemon and X-COM: ENEMY UNKNOWN
  • I finished reading A Storm of Swords, Warm BodiesNeverwhere, and At the End: A Post-Apocalyptic Novel
  • I am finally going to get to read books alongside my book club, Bad Wolf Bookclub at Tumblr — The Night Circus
  • I played actual PvP games in League of Legends and didn’t do so bad

POKEMON

With Pokemon White 2, I’ve beaten the 8th gym. I have to say, Pokemon has a great RPG plot going on. Its target audience aside, I am really enjoying the game. I traded up a bunch of my Pokemon from my Pokemon White game, so my main team consists of: Whimsicott, Galvantula, Braviary, Flygon, Krookodile, and Jellicent. I have quite a few Pokemon on reserve, such as Chandelure.

I love Chandelure, so stylish!

There was also a confrontation with Lord Dennis, as I call him, as well as other cameos. If the Pokemon trend continues, I hope the next generation has even more story elements added to the mix. Maybe even allow us to design our own character? Multiple story line trees? Elderscrolls: Pokemon Edition? I know I am wishing for a lot, but I hope that the writers for the game continue to flesh out the Pokemon world. Its completely possible to have deep subjects in children’s fiction, I know. Have you ever seen Avatar: The Last Airbender? Once I finally gave it a try, cause I was in the anime or bust group before, I came to love it. Such a full and rich world with real conflict. I can always wish!

X-COM: ENEMY UNKNOWN

I picked up X-COM last weekend too. Boy, is that game just SO MUCH fun. The micromanagement of research and equipment, the strategy of whom to take with me on a mission, the complete fear of losing any of my characters (whom are named after IRL loved ones), and, of course, missing a 99% shot while I am right in front of the alien — THAT’S X-COM, BABY! At first, I was totally worried about the remake, because the first thing we were shown was an FPS game. A complete betrayal, as Internet Personality Guy Spoony would say, but the Civilization guys got their hands on the game and worked to bring X-COM to 2012. X-COM was originally a game that came out in the early 1990’s. It was pretty much the best game ever made for the PC for that entire decade. Yeah, I played Doom, Duke Nukem, and other games, but X-COM was the only game that made me actually scared to make a single move.

The original X-COM had two core gameplay elements. The TBS and the spreadsheets.

I get tingly just thinking about it.

The player could see all of X-COM’s expenses right down to what you paid everyone monthly including scientists and engineers. The player could also see which countries were contributing to the X-COM project and which ones seemed to be waning in support. The original X-COM also utilized a system of time units and every thing you did during battle aside from a few small actions cost time units. Some of your soldiers could have a lot of time units or could be totally restricted. Stats seemed to be generated at random, but usually you wanted to make your team have the best of the best. You could also have a squad as big as 20some people, but you could also get majorly boned if the game loaded your Skyranger in a bad place. For example, as soon as the map loads, an alien throws a grenade STRAIGHT into your plane. This causes panic sometimes, but mostly your soldiers are likely to die, because there is not enough room for all of them to make it out alive.

The X-COM remake takes the essence of all that, but streamlines it in a way that is both easy to get into and challenging. Instead of Time Units, there are 2 actions per turn (where attacking first will end your turn, so be wise). Instead of hiring and firing scientists and engineers, you must earn these personnel or build more laboratories/workshops. They also made it extremely clear, at all times, how countries felt about your operation around the world. There was also a reduction in the amount of units you could take with you on any given mission. From 22 to 6 total. WOW! Yet, the game is pretty balanced for the casualcore and diehard fans of the series. Playing on Ironman in any mode is likely to cause balding. Ironman is a mode in which you CANNOT revert to previous saves. Once that team member dies or that country leaves X-COM — its for good. This adds a whole new level of difficulty and drama to the game.

I am having a buttload of fun playing X-COM and trying to 100% every mission I encounter (or at least get away with 15/18 civilians in Terror Missions). I haven’t bothered to do priority missions yet, since I am too busy building enough Titan Armor to accommodate EVERY soldier in my barracks, but so far the combat seems pretty legit. Also, a minimeme has been born from the frustration and nerdrage this game has induced.

BOOKS

I have been reading so many books lately. My head is bubbling from all the fictional knowledge. I feel like I know WAY too much about the geography and history of the Song of Ice and Fire series (alternatively known as the Game of Thrones series). I know where the Twins are located and why its an important, strategic location. I know about how Rhaegar made Lysanna the Queen of Beauty and Love (I believe that was the title) and how it may have been the trigger for starting Robert’s rebellion. I also have a few theories about Jon Snow’s origin, because I have a lot of doubts about him being Eddard’s child.

I have also finished a charming book called Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. The story takes place from the POV of a zombie guy. His name is R, because he honestly can’t remember his entire name. He is lucky, though, because most zombies don’t even have that much to go on. He’s an average guy, married with kids, gets hungry and sometimes eats folks, and enjoys a good laugh with his buddy M from time to time. One of the driving forces behind the story is the REASON zombies eat people. Its not much of a spoiler, but zombies eat the brains of the living in order to feel alive and thrive on the devoured’s memory. Zombies don’t really have memories of being alive. They don’t recall their 8 to 5’s or family, but they can relive ALIVE moments by eating the brain of a living person. This stirs R into a journey of understanding as he rescues a living girl whose boyfriend’s brain he’d just eaten. Its a completely heart-touching story that was a breeze to read! I finished it in a single day, because I simply couldn’t put it down. I won’t tell you more except to buy it or check it out! Its worth your time if you love zombies or strange stories.

Neverwhere is everything I expected it would be. It seems like it could be a graphic novel on the same level as The Sandman. Its about common man Richard Mayhew. He’s got no spine, but he is fine with what his life is like. He does everything his girlfriend asks of him. Richard’s life is changed forever as he stumbles onto a dying girl — that apparently everyone around him just wants to ignore. Doing her a favor causes everything to go haywire for Richard, so he has to embark on a reluctant journey in order for things to be normal and samey again. People often accuse Neil Gaiman (the author) of writing the same story over and over, but honestly, its just that his style conveys the story of normal vs weird so well. I can’t wait to bite into Stardust. 

At The End: A Post-Apocalyptic Novel was terrible. THE END.

D reviews “At The End: A Post-Apocalyptic Novel” by John Hennessy (Spoiler Alert: This book is self-published!)

Hello Readers,

As some may have noticed from my Goodreads, I have read and finished the self-published novel At The End: A Post-Apocalyptic Novel by John Hennessy. The synopsis on the book’s Goodreads page was enough to sell me on the premise:

Night 1: 12 billion taken.

Day 1: Confusion.

Night 2: 13 billion taken.

Day 2: Panic.

Night 3: 13 billion taken.

Day 3: The fight for survival begins.

In 2048, the human population borders 39 billion after the termination of the birth control industry, and the realities of overcrowding have sunken into the minds of the world, until billions mysteriously go missing. In the wake of civilization’s collapse, a trio of teenage gamers from Washington struggle to endure. Maggy, a strong-willed intellectual, leads Darrel and Félix, two shy geeks, on an expedition down the west coast, as they try to determine the source of humanity’s downfall.

A YA post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller.

The scale of the disappearances, the promise of seeing the ruins of an overpopulated world, and the protagonists being people I could relate to drew me in. I was a teen gamer once and I have a soft spot for post-apocalyptic settings. The premise of a world overcrowded by people via religious orders only to suddenly disappear was fascinating. What was the reason behind the sudden disappearances? What role would religion and the catholic church play (as was originally mentioned in the synopsis I read 3 months ago)? Would these gamers cling to the dark/light humor that tends to characterize gamers as a culture?

The synopsis also portrays Maggy as the strong female protagonist with two men as her co-stars. All-in-all, ATE sounded like a great read. For just $1 as an E-Book on Amazon.com, I decided to take a chance.

Boy was I in for some of the worst writing I had seen since my days of browsing Fanfiction.net.

“My Immortal” was probably the best thing ever written.

ATE starts innocently enough. Darrel, one of two of our POV characters, explains to us the hopelessness of the situation. The disappearances were sudden and his entire family disappeared on one of the first two days. He has been glued to the TV and tries not to consider the end of humanity. He is soon joined by his friend Felix who lost his family on the first day. Felix forces Darrel to change the channel to the news to get a sense of what is going on currently, and they manage to catch some news that featured footage of some figure attacking a woman in a savage fashion. Appalled, Darrel shuts the TV off and complains that he wants to continue living the way he has been. Ultimately, the two decide to leave and run into Maggy. Its all down hill from there.

ATE suffers from having a horrible antagonist protagonist in Maggy. Maggy is that GAMER GAL that takes photos of herself and puts it up on forums for attention. Maggy is that girl that thinks its okay for her to say shitty things to people’s faces because she is cute. Maggy is that girl in your guild that you know is just cockteasing the guildees and loves to start all the drama. Maggy is that girl that gives all female gamers a bad name.

You know a girl approves of a game system when she gets spit all over it.

Maggy’s POV in this book killed it for me. While the book is a modest 228 pages long, this novel took me nearly 3 months to read! While I can agree with the reviews that this book is a ‘fast read’ and I don’t dislike the pacing, I think Maggy’s blatant racism and shitty personality forced me to keep putting the book down. You see, Maggy is Asian. I don’t remember if Hennessy mentioned what nationality, but Maggy seems to believe that being Asian gave her the right to call Felix, someone of South American decent, ‘Tortilla’. I don’t know who gave the OK to Maggy on that, perhaps Felix just doesn’t like confrontation, but Maggy always calls him Tortilla even in the narrative of her POV chapters.

Maggy also calls Darrel ‘Jelly,’ because Darrel happens to be fat. While Darrel does eventually show an uneasiness about being called Jelly, Darrel doesn’t resolve this standing offense with Maggy until the last 2 pages of the novel. Felix, on the other hand, never has a heart-to-heart with Maggy. Oh, did I mention that Maggy and Felix are dating?

Probably because you keep calling me derogatory names, you jackass!

Maggy is the worst thing about this book. Maggy is also the person who came up with the name ‘Alion’ to describe the lion-looking aliens. Classic. She also spends a heck of a lot of time correcting others when they call the aliens what they are: aliens. Maggy always just says “Alion,” when adults are seriously discussing what to do or what is going on.

Aside from Darrel confronting her on the last couple of pages, Maggy doesn’t seem to suffer any retribution about her behavior. Darrel is obviously crushing on her, but she keeps Felix quiet about their relationship. Why? The only thing I can come up with is because she wants to have both boys fawning over her. Maggy also is seemingly jealous of Penelope (a character introduced to become Darrel’s love interest as far as I can tell), but the author never takes these love triangles anywhere. Darrel realizes his friends are dating early on in the novel, but chooses to say nothing even though it clearly has hurt his feelings. Felix clearly feels guilty for the first third of the novel, but Maggy seems to keep him quiet with their promises of secret hugs. Penelope and Darrel get along very nicely and Darrel gets over Maggy quickly, and that’s that. These connections have no barring on the story or character development other than Darrel.

Darrel is an alright character. He’s supposed to be a lovable loser, fat, and geeky all in one. Darrel spends a hefty amount of his POV being hungry, scared, and thinking about blood rushing to his youknowwhere. Okay, scratch that, Darrel’s character could use some rewriting. He’s 17 years old, but he along with his pals act like they are just hitting puberty. Darrel was the only main character I really liked, because he was the only one to experience any sort of growth as a person by the end of the novel. My biggest regret is that Penelope, his love interest, is only a love interest. At first, I really loved Penelope’s character. She was the foil to Maggy’s shitty personality, but the minute she was flirting with Darrel after her cousin had just died… I knew it was too good to be true.

Its kind of like this, except she gets more turned on the more messed up SHE is.

Darrel needed a catalyst to break him out of being a coward. I understand, because having to protect someone and feeling responsible for them is a quick way to mature a character. What I cannot stand is that Penelope stops being a likable female main character (which is desperately needed in this novel) and becomes a prop. There is no reason, not even hormonal reasons, why Penelope would be all over Darrel after losing her cousin, being parted from her siblings ‘for good’, and aware that being stuck on the alien UFO meant they would most likely die. I could go on, but I think my point is pretty clear. Just no.

Felix, on the other hand, has no character. He is supposed to be another main character, but he is just Maggy’s prop boyfriend that responds to the name ‘Tortilla’. Felix doesn’t seem to express any emotions other than ‘I love you, Maggy,’ and ‘Rawr, shoot aliens.’ Even with the latter, Felix doesn’t seem to have that much fun with it or at least I can’t find any of his fun written into the narrative.

Then there is a narrative. The writing itself is like its own character. It often repeats itself or the dialogue, it often makes up words like whisper-scream, and it often makes shit up.

From XKCD.com. I’m pretty sure if the author bothered to read any part of his novel out loud, he’d realize it too.

These teenagers also get into about 5 LARGE accidents. The first one was with a car going over 100 MPH. I would check, but I’m afraid my IQ might drop some more. There is another accident that involves a bus basically going into a ditch, but that’s okay. NO ONE GOT HURT. In fact, the worst pain to come out of these car accidents is a nose bleed. Swell. Michael Bay would be proud if John Hennessy just added explosions.

There are also several minor characters such as Jacob, the Twins, Burnhammer… too bad they are way cooler than the main cast, but got tossed to the side in favor of ‘gamers’ be the protagonists. John Hennessy seemingly kills off the characters that seem to be taking the situation seriously as well. Who needs seriousness in a book about aliens that kidnap and eat people?

By the way, the entire synopsis was misleading. The ban of birth control came up ONE TIME, overpopulation of Earth prior to the mass exodus of humans has UNSEEN effects in the book (no evidence of slums, discontent, shortage of food), and this novel is not post-apocalypse. This novel is DURING apocalypse sometimes also called pre-apocalypse. Here is a major spoiler: In the later part of the book, you find out the global defense system for Earth was lifted by some senators so that the aliens, who were fighting and losing some other war, could come and take some humans from Earth as a meal. Of course, the entire plan went wrong and now humans are nearly extinct cause of these idiots. They SAY that the Earth was suffering from such a massive population, but Hennessy never SHOWED us anything. The kids were in a nice neighborhood and the most we saw, affect wise, was how green energy is the only energy for Earth now. Everything is solar or wind powered. Oh, and everyone has asthma. That isn’t what I expected. I could have lived with the awful characters if the setting had been CORRECT to the description given.

In my opinion, since the author has been through some revisions already, I believe these things will make the book better:

  1. Don’t call this post-apocalypse. Its a pre-apocalypse. You might get less negative reviews from die hard genre fans if you fixed this.
  2. The characters should be de-aged. They don’t act like 17 year olds. They act like 10 year olds, but you could get away with 12-13. Jacob + everyone else can remain their ages. It would make the dialogue between everyone make WAY better sense.
  3. Stop saying URHM. Entirely. I don’t care how many urhms you already cut out of this novel, because it ALL needs to go. Also take out ‘Melted’. I just can’t stand it when its said in the narrative.
  4. Make the crashes in this book less severe in their occurrence. It takes me completely out of the reality of the book whenever I see one. I don’t mind that this is like a Michael Bay book, but Neo-Plastic doesn’t negate physics. It doesn’t matter how soft the inside of the car is, if you hit something going 100 MPH or more, you go splat. Hell, even at 30 MPH, with no seat belt, bad things happen to you.
  5. Stop calling them Alions or force some characters to shrug Maggy’s stupid name off. An army officer isn’t going to start seriously calling them Alions. Most people will not take that name seriously. Maybe Maggy’s little boytoys will, but she doesn’t have everyone wrapped around her finger.
  6. Drop Maggy’s POV from the book and rewrite it from Felix’s POV. Have Felix confront Maggy. Have Darrel confront Maggy during their time in the Mall. Anything other than the last 10% of the damn book. Either do these things or don’t let Maggy call them those idiotic names at all. ESPECIALLY TORTILLA. Its stupid and racist.
  7. Change Penelope into a real person. She becomes so boring to read after she becomes a prop for Darrel to grow the hell up. She wouldn’t try to make out with him after all she’s been through and you know it. Darrel should at least not accept her advances because the only reason she WOULD act that way is because she feels completely MESSED up.
  8. Proofread your novel out loud. I am not the master of English when I write blogs and stuff, but damn, you let just you and your closest family and friends read this. Probably not out loud either. Get an editor, post this novel on the internet and ask for revisions when it comes to your writing with regards to: structure, word choice, redundancies. These are your weakest areas in the narrative.

When it comes to this author, my biggest issue is that he’s a defensive guy. While reading this book, I found the author pestering people that gave him low star reviews. What follows will be a quote of the review in question, with a link, followed by a screenshot of what the author replied to that review. Screenshot because for all I know this author might go into “delete fucking everything” mode. Just kidding, he has already deleted most of the comments and stuff I had found on the internets a couple months ago. They were all basically like this.

Some have written that this is a valid book for adults and kids, but I can only recommend it for kids – and under 13 at that.

While the initial premise – disappearing population that takes place only over a couple of days – is intriguing, it’s quickly apparent that the author only wants to rehash various plots and problem-solving puzzles from the video games he’s played as a teen. (An apparently asthmatic teen, as the author weaves a world in which everyone is addicted to inhalers and speaks Universal Standard Phlegm.)

Our “hero” is a chubby asthmatic himself that spends almost all of the book wondering where his next meal is coming from and/or whining about not getting enough to eat. I’m just guessing that, in an actual world of danger set up the way the book does, I’d be a little less worried about cheese crackers and a bit more concerned about staying alive.

When not agonizing over food and eating up every scrap presented to him (even at the expense of others), our “hero” also gets “tingly sensations down there” when he meets a new girl. Honestly. That’s essentially how it’s written. Another reason why I think anyone who has actually gone through puberty will want to pass this book by.

Meanwhile, our “hero” and his friends spend approximately 4 seconds in angst, sadness, disconsolation and wonder about their parents, families, cousins, everyone else they ever knew, who are suddenly gone. Indeed, there’s little more than a “ho hum” about their fate. But of course, who cares about Mom and Dad when there’s a new gun to be shot?

The aliens (and I refuse to use the too-cute-by-half name the author literally forces down the reader’s throat) are unsophisticated, apparently easily fooled and killed, and essentially contrived. Oh, and one note to the author: You do realize that there is no gravity in Earth orbit, yes? I mean, with so much attention spent on the vacuum of space, you surely didn’t forget about weightlessne — oh, I guess you did.

There are glimpses of good writing here, although like most indie authors in their 20s, there are the painfully obvious homonym and grammar errors scattered across the text. These combine with the plot holes and unexplained subplots (the “hero” gets weak in the third act, then it goes away – ?!?) to produce a story that might hold the attention of a pre-teen, but is far too incomplete to recommend to anyone over 13.

Two “uhrms,” which would have been plenty of use of this gross throat-clearing sound for the whole book, although the author sees fit to make SURE we know the main character has gunk in his throat by using this construction 36 times. Yeesh.

From Amazon.com, review by Denver Brian. John Hennessy’s response:

I like his use of ‘…’ Clearly, he is William Shattner.

I’ll say it here. I don’t hate the author or anyone that likes this book. I just really hate the book. Its poorly written and needs a complete rewrite. On Goodreads, this book has been changed to be book # 1 of a series. The author wants to make a sequel. I implore him to fix the issues with this first book, because its seriously on 13 year old boy fanfiction level.

Then again, E.L. James wrote a fanfiction and made millions…

This book was used for a Twitter based book club: http://www.twitter.com/3girls1book

D plays Pokemon White 2: The First Gym! (SPOILERS: PIKACHU EVOLVES INTO RAICHU!)

Hello readers,

As some of you may know, Pokemon Black and White 2 came out yesterday. These games are the first ‘true’ sequels in the Pokemon franchise that take place two years following the events of Pokemon Black and White. I’m going to talk freely, so avoid if you for some reason are reading this but haven’t played Pokemon Black and White yet. Pokemon Black and White is probably the ‘best’ games in the series not counting the new games, because I haven’t beaten them yet! The Pokemon battles with trainers and Gym Leaders seemed a lot tougher with NPCs employing a modicum of strategy as well as possibly having awesome EV values figured into their stats. Of course there were still some Pokemon you could steamroll, lolol Patrat, but for the most part the game had a scaling difficulty. If you are like me, your Pokemon are just at the right level most of the time. I don’t grind too much in Pokemon anymore, so Black and White kicked my butt towards the end. The final boss of the game also had the most cheesy dragon-type ever — Hydreigon. He was like a mid-high level 50 Pokemon whereas all the Pokemon trainers I had fought before him only had Pokemon ranging between45-50.

I think his name was Dennis.

There was also the story of Black and White. Yes, a story… IN A POKEMON GAME! I know, right? Mind blown. Instead of generic evil group trying to generically do evil things with Pokemon, or argue about more water vs more land, Team Plasma was about Pokemon Liberation. The leader of the group, N, was a young man that had a gentle heart… and it was really hard to see him like a bad guy. He had some good points about the relationships between Pokemon and the humans. Trainers use their Pokemon to battle other Pokemon for sport. N and Team Plasma were basically the Pokemon PetA of the Pokemon world. There is also the IRL eeriness of how illegal dog/cock fighting is in the United States. That’s simply animal abuse, so isn’t Pokemon battling Pokemon abuse? I was actually interested in seeing how the game tried to combat the allegations of Team Plasma.

Did anyone else feel that way too? I know L in Death Note is totally different from N in Pokemon… but it just… kind of seems like a nod.

Annnd they resorted to making Team Plasma an evil organization under the guise of loving Pokemon. N was an unsuspecting innocent being used as the poster boy for a false cause. N does realize, however, that Pokemon want to protect their trainers and develop deep bounds with them. That was kind of a let down to what could have been a very philosophical debate about the nature of Pokemon battling… then again this game has an intended audience of 11 year olds.

ON TO THE SEQUEL FINALLY GOD

I purchased Pokemon Black and White 2 for my boyfriend and myself yesterday with a couple of friends. We all started our journeys together in Aspertia City like a bunch of dorks and spent a good amount of time making fun of the loooooooong tutorial. I was wondering if Bianca, the main tutorial NPC and character from B&W, was going to ask me if I knew how to poop and if I wanted to be shown how.

I chose Snivy as my starter and started playing the game. I did name him Smugleaf and I know you all know why:

Not only does he look smug he also looks like Excalibur from Soul Eater. More outside Anime references or just coincidence?

Route 19 doesn’t have any interesting Pokemon. Just full of Patrat and Purrloin. Nothing against Purrloin, because I can see how it would appeal to some Pokemon trainers, but Patrat looks like he’s on drugs. All the time. You get ambushed by the former champion of Unova, Alder. He literally jumps off of a cliff just to stop you in your tracks and tell you to go help your rival, Hughes, go do whatever. I was half paying attention since I was still contemplating how the heck Alder survived jumping off of a cliff. You walk through a little town called Floccesy Town. That name was so weird that I did a little research, aka Bulbapedia, and learned that the name derives “From floccus, a type of cloud whose name is Latin for “a tuft of wool…” This is awesome, because there is a Lon Lon Ranch on Route 20 called Floccesy Ranch which has tons of Mareep in it. I was so excited to see and catch one, because Mareep is one of those Pokemon I wish I could use competitively. Ampharos, Mareep’s final evolution, would have so much potential if its speed stat wasn’t so abysmal. Maybe if my friends want to run some UU/NU battles, I will finally have my dream come true.

I also caught myself a Lillipup, cause its cute and looks like my IRL dog except brown, a Psyduck, a Huge Power Jolly Azurill (which I will be saving until I can turn him into something amazing), and a Riolu. YOU HEARD ME. You can catch two baby evolution Pokemon in the wild at the Lon Lon Ranch. That blew my mind so hard when I saw the Azurill the first time. It makes me excited about what else you can catch in the wild that traditionally someone had to give you or you had to breed. I heard you can catch Eevees in the wild… and that just tickles me. Veterans of the series will know why.

After helping my rival rescue a Herdier from a Team Plasma member (HEY, I BEAT YOU GUYS ALREADY) I got access to the first gym! All the way back in the starting town of Aspertia City. I made the long trek back training my Pokemon to all be about level 13 except the Psyduck. Lon Lon Ranch is filled with Mareep and I didn’t want to take the chance. I found out the first gym is a normal-type gym run by our former rival Cheren from B&W. That was pretty awesome and his Lillipup almost gave me a run for my money. Lillipup, why you so strong???

(⌒▽⌒)

My Lillipup also has the Pick Up ability… and he’s given me like 5 Revives now. That doesn’t seem all that great to some people, but man, I am pretty stoked about this development. I might keep him as Lillipup a little bit past his evolving state just to keep the ability. I want to find rare candies for later use in the game. Like Azurill.

With the first badge unlocked, you can progress past a mean Mountain Climber on Route 20 to head toward Virbank City. First he fights you to demonstrate how tough it is out there. Like honestly!? He prevents me from going further to the right on Route 20 until I get the Basic Badge, and now he wants to battle me to show me how unfair stuff is? He pulls out a Riolu, which you only had a 5% chance of finding at the Lon Lon Ranch, so for a lot of people this might be a moment of “woah… woah…” Luckily I Thunder Waved him with my Mareep and switched to my Lillipup to clean up after some Work Ups.  Lillipup is basically 5th Gen’s Starly.

Moving past the Mountain Jerk, you can find Dark Grass… and get bugged by Bianca again to learn about the properties of Dark Grass. Basically you get into double battles with wild Pokemon sometimes. It was there I caught a Venipede, simply because I find it very adorable. Venipede is similar to Mareep in my mind. They have decent stats ish, but there is something missing.

All in all, I’ve been having fun playing Pokemon White 2. I am excited to see what other Pokemon are available to me so early in the game. Catching a Riolu, the first Riolu I ever had in a game, is just so amazing to me. I want to be able to replace my Psyduck, Venipede, and possibly my Mareep later on.

Have fun and take care of your Pokemon!

I will never catch a Patrat.

 

D talks about Guildwars 2 Drama: WvWvW = hacks!?

Hello readers,

As some of you might know, I play Guildwars 2. Guildwars 2 is everything I wanted from a Guildwars 1 sequel. Its casual, has fun classes, let’s me jump and move over most terrain (GW1 vets will know what I mean), and continues to have NO monthly fee! Wooo!

Let’s be honest… most of us don’t really want to fork over $15/mo if we don’t gotta.

I’ve been server jumping somewhat, because I don’t have all my pals located on the same server. I also wanted to move into a big guild so I had a crew to roll with whenever I finally hit 80. Yeah, I’ve been playing since a pre-release and am still level 45 on my main. The main point is I am finally nested onto Northern Shiverpeaks in the guild called Angry Army [AA]. Its a guild that was formerly on the Henge of Denravi and fronted by internet personality Angry Joe. I’ve watched some of Angry Joe’s stuff before on Thatguywiththeglasses.com and found he was a pretty interesting and energetic guy. Given his love of Guildwars 2 in the review of the same name, the Angry Army seemed like the best guild to join. The member count is anywhere from 500-700, but its hard for me, a mere member, to count exactly how many are in [AA]. [AA] spawns over 2 guilds currently, so its hard to pinpoint an exact number count.

They moved over from Henge of Denravi to Nothern Shiverpeaks for two reasons, from what I read on their forums:

1. They hated how long the queues were. They had to wait hours before they could play.

2. They felt like Henge of Denravi was stomping the compet. without their help. They wanted more of a challenge.

Ultimately the AA joined Northern Shiverpeaks. Just my assumption, but, I believe that Nothern Shiverpeaks was losing WvWvW mostly and that one or two major guilds had server transferred some time before AA even showed up. I won’t say that AA is singlehandedly responsible for making NS into a winning server, but supposedly it coincides around the same time.

I server hopped from Sorrow’s Furnace to Northern Shiverpeaks. I did try to WvWvW, but my computer hates more than 10 PCs on the screen, so it quickly led to me being banished to PvE until I finally upgrade my PC. For a short time after I failed at WvWvW, I hadn’t really heard anything about WvWvW. I knew we were getting our butts handed to us by… some servers. I can’t remember now, but then we moved into the rotation of NS vs Anvil Rock vs Ferguson’s Crossing. For those two weeks, all I knew was that NS was apparently steamrolling the other two servers. I thought that was pretty great, because when I rolled on the server just a few days prior the server was listed as ‘medium’ pop and Anvil Rock was listed as ‘full pop’ in the server list. I was really certain we would be the ones getting steamrolled. There wasn’t too much banter in guildchat about it or boasting. AA is pretty chill and pretty much plays for fun, at least I do.

I’m pretty sure this is what my character looks like in game.

At my job, however, one of my co-workers also plays Guildwars 2. She happens to be rolling on the Anvil Rock server too. From what she told me, there has been massive cheating from my server with regards to Northern Shiverpeaks. Further investigation online shows that a lot of people from Anvil Rock seem to have reached the same conclusion. There are also rumors or statements that NS was a full server and the other two were low/medium pop, which could be the case now, but without solid data its hard to say. The server population given on the list is just how many people happen to be playing at that one time. The clear thing was Anvil Rock had some people that thought we were cheating and some other people (from all 3 servers) claimed it was bugs going on.

Here is what I could discern:

1. Someone, possibly on NS, is hacking the Orb(s) so that its being used for NS and not for Anvil Rock.

2. Someone, possibly on NS, is using speed and flying hacks to do weird things, probably has to do with the orb.

3. Some exploit or hack that NS players used once? twice? to enter a CLOSED keep.

While I have heard of number 1 being talked about on the forums (Guildwars 2 official forums), the other 2 and 3 don’t seem to ever get mentioned specifically about NS. The search feature on the forum is pretty terrible though, so maybe if they fix it anytime soon I will edit this post to reflect anything new.

We believe the culprits look something like this, except with mustaches.

So far this is all I can report on in terms of the supposed hacks and exploits being done by my server. I’ve heard accusation being tossed around that its the guild [TBH], but I haven’t seen anything substantial. I will report more about this when I learn more about what is going on exactly. Are there really people on my server doing orb hacks? I have heard there are screenshots around of some of these perps committing the bannable offenses, but I haven’t seen them yet. Hopefully we will learn more about what is going on and see hackers and exploiters come to justice.