Monday, March 22, 2010

It Gets Good At Episode 5 & Other Show Notes

Some stuff I would like to say about the show:

-In the beginning, The Escapist and I had a difference of opinion about how to cut the episodes. The original cuts were extremely fast, with lots of jokes and confusion and collage and jump cuts everywhere and were, I thought, highly entertaining.

They were like, hold on, slowwwwww down there, guy, not everybody will be able to follow this avant-garde shit and it gives some people in the office seizures. So now the show is more of the documentary-style thing you will be seeing every week.

Because of this, the early episodes are not exactly what I wanted to do.

But, starting with episode 5, I like 'em all just fine. The Escapist's plans and mine meshed, and it all goes smooth.

So. I ask you to reserve judgment until that one. If you like episode 5, you'll like the rest of the series after that, if you don't, then you probably won't. In the four seemingly endless weeks that will elapse between now and then I am going to plug my ears and ignore all comments about the show. I ask that you be a little kind to it until then.

I'd also appreciate it if the people who post angry screeds about how ugly all the girls are will continue to have screen names like Soul_Shredder and Magnusforce864.

-3-4 people started some internet controversy about the show here in the DIY D&D blogs. It was boring but it was enough of a headache for the Traditional Adventure Roleplaying Games Association,(who linked to the show) that it apparently contributed to one member, Chgowiz, taking his excellent Old Guy RPG blog down which sucks and makes it now officially not funny. For the most cogent analysis, go here.

-There is a small sub-controversy about exactly how "old school" my game is which will probably only grow once people have a chance to fine-toothed-comb every snippet of DM dialogue that appears on TV, I'll say here what I said before:

We use no feats, no skills, no prestige classes, no battlemat squares, no purchasable magic items, and house-rules everywhere.

I don’t know or care whether my game is “Old School” but I do know that the OSR D&D community is the only one that’ll have me.

It's also the only one that regularly produces stuff I like.

-On that note, I would like to start talking about licensing stuff different DIY D&Ders have come up with to use on the show. Fight on/Knockspell-esque stuff like charts, tables, maps, locations, etc. You will be credited and compensated. I'll give more details after episode 5 comes out, so you kind of know what you're in for and to give me time to map out exactly what kind of back-up campaign materials the ladies have sandboxed themselves into possibly needing.

If I end up getting something from you but not using it on TV because the circumstances didn't arise, you'll still get something. I'm sure you all know the fine and secure feeling of knowing you've got that "Things That Can Happen To You If You Eat Raw Troll Meat" table there if you need it.

-I will now go back to the pressing task of analyzing monsters in alphabetical order.


  1. What are you trying to say about Magnusforce864? That guy's a playa. He's hooked up with ALL the (anime) ladies (from the final fantasy series which he plays alone in his room, wearing nothing but his underwear, and weeping quietly when he realizes how lonely he is).

  2. Hey Zak,

    I am just one of the many fans who are catching on to the brilliant fun that is your new show. I hope the internet jerks out there don't get too out of hand; everyone I've shown this to has been very enthusiastic.

    I thoroughly enjoy reading the mind-candy your blog is filled with, while Watching I Hit it With My Axe has reminded me of my love for a game I (sadly) haven't played since high school.

    Also, please tell me there will be IHWMA t-shirts. Pretty please?

  3. A dude on io9 was saying that since the girls playing are attractive, that they don't count. It was...dumb. I explained that to him.

  4. Zak; you have a lot of great material (gamewise) on your blog... the haters and naysayers just wish they had ONE woman in their group as fun and cute as the 4 (or more ?) you have.

    Watched the first "Axe" vid and look forward to seeing (hopefully many) more, thanks for making DnD interesting again !

  5. It's very interesting to see how D&D and table top role playing games are played in the US. Here in Sweden free form and less "dungeon crawler" type games are very popular. I can heartily reccomend checking out Jeep Form, a free form rpg style/technique/manifesto:

  6. Johannes--
    Since the U.S. is about 30 times the size of Sweden, there's room for a little of everything. A lot of people here don't roll like us at all and are probably closer to the Jeepers.

  7. I love how they're calling you an anarchist because you donate to Food Not Bombs. Which I guess is anarchist because they're not wild about the WTO? Or something?

    As far as _I Hit It With My Axe_--I'll admit I wasn't wild about the first episode. But I'm still going to reserve judgment for a few and let it get its feet under it. I was going to do that even before your request. It wasn't terrible, mind you. Just not quite what I was expecting. But if its going to be more of a recording of events at the table than that first one, I think I'll like it better.

  8. You are totally old-school.

    You run a simple system which allows you to focus on creativity, spontaneity, and fuckin FUN. And you make it your own.

    Those are the principles of the old-school that make it superior to.. I guess, to more modern(?) game styles - not exact devotion to old game rules.

    Well... those principles PLUS cool, homebrew charts and tables make it superior.

  9. If yer maps ain't blue, you ain't old school!

    (Someday I hope to hear a good explanation for the blue maps. Was blue ink cheaper? Was there some cartographical process that ended in blue?)

  10. This is all so funny to me. I find most thing's your species* does most amusing but this instance is really hilarious. Outside of either being entertained or not entertained, practically nothing addressed by detractors of the program matters or has any validity of any kind.

    How attractive some guy in Missouri who went to the prom with his buck toothed cousin thinks the girls are? Heh. This one kills me.

    Editions? Yeah, that makes me laugh ever time I hear the word.

    Old School and New School only make me think Pre-School these days.

    I love internet blog controversy about PLAYING GAMES. It gives all the morons something to do so they don't bother me.

    Looking forward to checking out more episodes Zak. Rock on.

    *Note: I've come to the realization over the years that I must not be human, as there is no way I could possibly be genetically related to the vast majority of this planet's population. At least I hope not.

  11. Zak,

    Just discovered your blog from the WotC interview and I love it. You have inspired me to join a local S&W game.

    I also am looking forward to more I Hit It With My Axe episodes and would like to second the idea for t-shirts.

  12. Man! I was HORRIBLY disappointed with the show. I expected extremely fast cuts, with lots of jokes and confusion and collages and jump cuts everywhere. I hoped that it would go all avant-garde and shit and give some people seizures. It is so SLOOWWWW and documentary-ey (if that is a word).

    No, not really! Look forward to the next and I can't wait, but will have to, for Ep. 5.

    And I WILL buy a IHIWMA tee-shirt if they show up.

  13. (Someday I hope to hear a good explanation for the blue maps. Was blue ink cheaper? Was there some cartographical process that ended in blue?)

    At the time (late 70's), photocopiers didn't copy that particular shade of blue very well, so the maps were colored that way to discourage people from making copies of them.

  14. Also it allowed a GM to draw a map (or portion there-of), photocopy it to hand to players and presto the hexes or squares would be gone, so that it would like more like a real map.

    As someone with the feet in the filmmaking world (I run a film festival for short films by young filmmakers 25 and under) and the gaming world (my best friend is the GURPS line editor) I really appreciate the difficulties that you are going through launching the series.

    Hindsight being 20/20 and all, I think that I would have been tempted to launch the initial episode as episode -4, the second as -3. That way the fifth episode would be #1. It would have been a good way to let people know that you didn't want to throw away the early stuff where you were figuring your format out - especially since Sasha Grey was in it, but at the same time you acknowledged that you really hit your stride with episode#5

    (Of course, this would raise the question of what episode#0 would be - probably some kind of behind-the-scenes type thing.)

    I guess because I love the premise and I am used to watching a lot of truly awful rough cuts that turn into great films that I could look at that first episode which was really not that bad - just maybe not as good as the quality of the blog - and at least I think I can see the diamond lurking underneath waiting to be uncovered.

    And that was a really bad run-on sentence which makes no sense, but I have to leave and fight Russian gangsters on an unnamed Greek Island and make our getaway just before the Greek Police come thundering in to arrest the Russkies that we just set up to be arrested.

  15. Yay, I have t-shirt backers!

    And you know, if there are t-shirts, there should be action figures, too...

    This idea can't horribly backfire at all.

  16. Best new gaming blog I've seen in awhile. My buddies and I haven't stopped talking about it. Can't wait for the rest of the episodes...

    Two questions:
    #1 - It seems you have several drop-in (guest) players (Sasha Grey is great). How does that affect the continuity of your campaign?

    #2 - In your opinion, how does an all female group's play-style differ from the traditional (male) group's?

  17. You're definitely old school - no doubt about that. The first episode was cool but...I'm holdin out for episode 5. Not like I wouldn't watch it, regardless.

  18. Hi Zak,

    I just want to say that I like what you are doing and I wish you and the girls all the best.

    If anyone gets on your nerves, let me know. I'll fight them after school by the bike rack or something.

    Rock on,

  19. Oops. signed in as my wife. She, um, loves you too. :)

  20. if you bundled up this blog and published it in paperback form, i'd buy it. the esoteric references, the intelligent and honest insights, the humor, the love of unabashed 'fun-in-gaming' and old school sensibilities of creepy danger is just plain awesome.

    thanks for sharing all this stuff, really. well done.

  21. > OSR D&D community is the only one that’ll have me.

    That is the best "test"/"condition" of what is old school I've yet seen.

    Like I posted somewhere else, no can exclude you (or anyone) from the community. They can only exclude themselves.

  22. For sure didn't get much sense of the game from that first episode, so hopefully see more of that.

    I'm in LA, so if you ever want a non-porn related, old school California D&D'er at a session, just holla!

  23. Zak, enjoying the blog immensely. Liked Ep. 1 of the show, and happy to claim you as OSR.* Appreciate you summarizing events with this post for us who weren't privy to the happenings.

    * Feels a bit like the Chapelle's Show racial draft episode.

  24. The bright point in all this 'controversy':

    I have now been introduced to the wonderfulness of Joesky. Thank you Zak.

  25. Zak, love you, love your friends, love your D&D insight, your writing and your humor. Your group is a Renaissance bunch that crosses the OSR/"New Edition du jour" lines with style. Looking forward to seeing more of your creative say-so in forthcoming IHIWMA episodes. :D

  26. I enjoy your blog, and I am an "old school" gamer. I started way back in '75. Yup, I started gaming in the last century, or is it the last millemium? Heck, I forget... I'm old. Anyway, if you get the chance check out my blog. It's guaranteed 100% controversy free!

  27. Waiting for episode 5...
    Meanwhile, KK is the cutest.

  28. Do we get to hear KK deliver a war cry in episode 5? For some reason the thought of that makes me a happy camper. As for fitting into an "old school" mold, screw 'em...roll some dice, kill things, take their stuff, and have some laughs around the table; that's as old school as anyone needs to be.

    If you can make it out for Gen Con I would so sign up for one of these sessions.

    GRATRAT...another verification thingie that sounds like it should've made it into the Fiend Folio.

  29. Zak,

    Old school, new school, whatever. I like the stuff you write, and I identify with your gaming style.

    I wish you and your gaming group the best.

    Don't mind the haters and keep on truckin'.

  30. Zak -
    I just saw the first episode, and was linked to your blog... which Ive perused only briefly so bear with me if the comment touches on areas already touched upon.

    You guys play in a very crowded place it seems. I mean, I play in my living room with about 6 friends around a table and that seems pretty crowded to me but it just looked like in the video there was stuff EVERYWHERE! May I suggest a bigger play area?

    Hah and that was the 'not making people dizzy' version? I dunno, it seemed pretty rumbly tumbly to me.

    Still, all in all I liked it. Good humor, funny stuff, and hey D&D wooo. Its always nice to watch others play so I dont feel so weird when I try to roleplay.

    ANyway, fan of your stuff. Continue!

  31. @banesfinger

    1 - It seems you have several drop-in (guest) players (Sasha Grey is great). How does that affect the continuity of your campaign?

    We deal. Sometimes I have clever solutions (see the upcoming Justine Jolie episodes). Sometimes I don't and, whatever, fun happens anyway.

    #2 - In your opinion, how does an all female group's play-style differ from the traditional (male) group's?

    They tweet about their fights during them.

  32. Hey Zak, Just watched episode 3. Good stuff. I know you guys have (or had) custom reaper minis on the way at that point, but I just saw this mini today and thought about KK. Check it out.