Creative

Printmaking Excuses

I am sorry that I didn’t post last week. I have one excuse and it isn’t a good one. I wanted to wait until Saturday to post because the D&D sessions I have been running would be over and then I would be able to write about those.

The problem was that I got really busy Saturday and then I was also trying to think back to the sessions to see if any of the content was extraordinary. It wasn’t really. There were funny parts but nothing I could make an entire blog post about.

Although, one of the least foreseen and most interesting parts of the sessions was a part where I added a bandit encounter.

Now I’ve been playing D&D for almost a year now and I don’t think our party has ever fought just a random group of bandits. We’ve never had to face the moral dilemma of killing someone vs. sparing their life with the chance that they might keep their bandit ways.

A day or so before one of the sessions began I added a bandit encounter and it became one of the more pivotal parts of our campaign. I did not intend for this. In the middle of the fight our rogue convinced the bandits to stop fighting and we could spare their lives. It worked.

There were two bandits left. Our barbarian immediately dispatched one of them right after they surrendered. Kind of cold blooded, but in his defense he was raging at the moment and he’s a stupid barbarian.

Now there is only one left and one of the party members decides to interrogate him. Then after the interrogation he decides to shoot an eldritch blast at him. No questions, no hesitation, no resistance, no justification, just murder of a now defenseless bandit.

So after what was supposed to be a meaningless bandit encounter our “good” party had to come to terms with the fact that they are evil, or letting evil get away with it.


That was the only truly significant snippet from the campaign.

Aside from that, a couple of weeks I made a new print.

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I made this print with the idea that the phrase that you can find everywhere “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee” was always a little too aggressive. It might as well just be “excuse my bad behavior I haven’t had coffee.”

Since when has lack of coffee ever excused anyone from anything serious? In what cases would that phrase ever be fine?

“Sorry for yelling at you, I haven’t had my coffee.”

“Sorry for speeding officer, I haven’t had my coffee.”

“Yes I do plead guilty for premeditated murder but in my defense I hadn’t had my coffee.”

And it became such a terrible excuse that I just had to print it.

So I made the block and I wanted to print it on bloodstained paper, to help point out how aggressive really is. So I got some red food coloring, and colored some water and put it on the paper.

All in all, the process to make the print was much more fun than a lot of the other prints that I’ve made, my only complaint with it is that the “blood” really just looks like Kool-Aid.

That’s all I really have to say for the rest of this blog post. I intend to host more sessions of D&D sometime in the future and I intend to make more prints. If I do either of those I’ll make sure that I keep the blog up to date.

Sorry I didn’t make a blog post last week, I hadn’t had my coffee.

D&D and the Greatest Story Ever Told

A couple of years ago my friends and I started playing a little game called Dungeons and Dragons. I would be surprised if you haven’t heard of it. It is used for every nerd trope in every form of media ever.

You have a nerdy group of misfits? Make them play D&D.

You have an episode where everyone needs to play a nerdy game? D&D.

You ate too many nerds and now you have a stomach ache? Don’t eat more candy & Don’t eat more candy.

But seriously, this game is way better than a nerdy board game.

It is a collaborative storytelling experience.

If you don’t know how D&D works, let me explain.

Every player creates a character, a completely unique entity that you get to make decisions for. You want to play a kleptomaniac gnome? What about a wizard that just wants to build AC units for the local towns? Have you ever considered how fun it might be to play an orc that loves treasure more than anything else? All of these can be options.

Next you need a Dungeon Master. Now this might sound like a super nerdy position, but for all of you English majors this is spot for you. DM is really just a fancy term for the storyteller. Since Dungeons and Dragons is a collaborative storytelling experience, and since people are inherently dysfunctional, there has to be some mediator calling the shots. The DM crafts the world around the players, creates characters for them to interact with as well as facilitating the battles and challenges along the way.

So we have players and characters and an environment and a narrator, now all we have left is actually playing.

Combat has different rules depending on what edition you are playing, so I really won’t get into that. When your not in combat the game plays out almost exactly like a book.

The DM will fill you in on the surroundings, I.E. “You walk in to this town and you notice three buildings. There are two guards outside of the first one on the far left, and the other two houses look desolate.”

Then the players react to this scenario. I.E. One might ask “What kinds of weapons are the guards holding?”

And so on and so forth.

Finally let’s say the players are trying to get inside of that building with the guards. They might try different actions…

They could try to convince the guards to let them in. A player might say “I walk up to the guard and tell him that he left his roast in the oven.”

They could try to eliminate the guards. A player might say “I walk up to a guard and try to hit him with my sword.”

And then the DM will make them roll to see if they were successful in doing it. The number they have to roll higher than will be determined by how good the player is at persuading or fighting or whatever action they are attempting to do. On top of this, it could also be determined by how well they presented their action, and how reasonable that action is.

And then it’s just rinse and repeat.

So it truly is a collaborative storytelling experience, but one that has an impressively human element to it. No matter how well the DM writes the story beforehand the unexpected actions can rewrite all of it.

I’ve had sessions where all of my friends and I make efficient decisions and walk through towns and fight monsters. I’ve had sessions where my friends and I discussed the logistics of moving a shipping crate 40 feet.

This leads me to the conclusion, I’m finally going to DM my first session in a couple of weeks and I’ve written what I believe to be a pretty great story for my players to play a part in. I’ll update how they act in it and hopefully it will be worth a good laugh.

I would definitely suggest playing D&D if you and your friends are looking for a creative outlet.