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Saturday, January 20, 2024

YouTube Recommendation - The Why Files


As mentioned previously, I started consuming A LOT of YouTube during the pandemic and I came across a multitude of different channels that have peaked my various interests.

Something that I don't think I've mentioned in my past blogs is that I love stories about aliens, cryptids and conspiracy theories. I must admit that I even enjoyed the 1997 movie Conspiracy Theory staring Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, Patrick Stewart.

So when I first found The Why Files channel, I was instantly hooked. It helps that he not only talks about interesting topics, but includes a fair amount of humor with the help of his sidekick; Hecklefish.

So if these type of topics interest you, I highly recommend you give this channel a try. Within a few weeks of originally finding the channel, I had watched every videos that had been posted. I am now forces to waiting until new content is posted on Thursdays. Worth the wait.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

MtG Decklist: D&D (Dwarves & Dragons)


One of my favorite characters/creatures from Dungeons & Dragons is Tiamat and when Wizards of the Coast first announce they were going to publish a card based on her, I had to have it. Even more, I had to have a deck with her in it. This was before I started to play the Commander/EDH format.

I don't remember where I got the idea for running a primarily Dwarf tribal deck, but when Kaldheim was released, I pulled a couple of copies of Magda, Brazen Outlaw in the boxes I purchased. Her ability to not only generate treasure tokens but also cheat-out Dragons got my attention.

The other Dragons in this decklist are in there from my personal preference at the time I created the deck. There are only 5 other Dragons in addition to Tiamat so I can pull them with her ETB effect if I am actually able to cast her from my hand.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

YouTube Recommendation - Magic Arcanum


When Wizards of the Coast originally announced that they were going to start producing cards based from the world of Dungeons and Dragons, I was drawn back to buying, collecting and playing Magic the Gathering again.

I originally started playing around 1994 when The Dark expansion was originally released. Since then, I stopped collecting/playing a few times and sold my collection. The last time I purchased any cards was between 2010 - 2012 when it was suggested I try to get back into playing with some pre-constructed decks. I never actually got a chance to play, so I sold those cards.

I knew there was a deeper story to Magic, but had never really read into it before. I used to collect the early comic books, but that was primarily because they came with cards and I thought they were going to be more than just simple common cards. I was wrong, and I never actually read any of the comics.

Then, a few years ago, I came across the Magic Arcanum channel, and this got me interested into the stories of each set. Thus far, I have enjoyed learning about the various stories and have even gotten interested in watching the videos where they rank cards throughout the history of Magic.

Sunday, January 7, 2024

MtG Decklist - Fatal Furries

 I originally started playing Magic the Gathering in 1994, and have been in and out of playing/collecting several times. When Wizards of the Coast originally announced that they were going to start producing cards based from the world of Dungeons and Dragons, I was drawn back to buying, collecting and playing Magic the Gathering again.

This time, I brought my roommates into the habit as well, and we found that my ex-wife actually had a talent for deck construction. She has built a number of decks that are competitive; at least in our social circle.

One of her decks was a tribal squirrel deck that had a knack of generating a huge amount of squirrel tokens. With that in mind, we collaborated on a squirrel deck for myself that I affectionately call Fatal Furries.

If you take a look at the decklist, you can tell that I don't typically prescribe to following a specific format since I originally learned how to play Magic before there were formats. Also, I do also run this deck with a couple of proxies for high value cards. I will admit that the Mox Emerald is in there as a flex mana rock and you are more than welcome to take it out for something else to your liking.

Saturday, January 6, 2024

YouTube Recommendation - Robo Don't Know


During the Covid-19 pandemic, I started watching a lot of YouTube. This invigorated me to get back into collecting action figures. The first toy hunts I began watching religiously was from Ethan Page's channel. As time when on, I wanted to learn what was new and coming out. That When I first learned about The Fwoosh weekly, which was hosted by a guy who called himself Robo. Recently, he lost his job with Fwoosh and has now started doing Weekly Rewind's on his own channel: Robo Don't Know. Even though I don't really collect figures over 3.75" other the G.I Joe Classified figures, I thoroughly enjoy Robo's weekly videos to let us know what's out there.

Friday, January 5, 2024

Fan Expo Portland - Programming Info


Wednesday, January 3, 2024

G.I. Joe: The Roleplaying Game


G.I. Joe: The Roleplaying Game treads a fine line as an adaptation. The action figure toyline turned sci-fi espionage thriller goes back and forth between the fantastic and the believable at a moment's notice. A group of elite soldiers and commandos using military tactics against ninjas and robots is just another day at the office. And it's a balancing act this TTRPG pulls off with aplomb.

How Does G.I. Joe: The Roleplaying Game Feel To Play?

Renegade Game Studios' Essence20 system shines in G.I. Joe: The Roleplaying Game. The fundamentals are still sound, you roll increasingly higher faces of dice alongside a d20 for ability checks rather than static increases of numbers with situational modifiers changing those faces accordingly.

But what the developers managed was to make the upshifting and downshifting of dice feel natural. You roll to hit a trooper with your laser pistol while he's in cover with a d8 in Targeting? He's in partial cover so you down shift twice to a d4. Do you set up your sniper rifle, go prone to brace your shot and take your time to aim at an unaware target in the open with the same skill? You upshift twice, once for being prone and again for aiming, up to a d12. It's simple, it's understandable, and it adds just the right level of complexity to a game that could have gone too far into pedantry.

This extends to vehicle combat as well. G.I. Joe is a franchise known for its ridiculously toyetic vehicles, and plenty of the classics are touched upon here. There are rules for ramming, crashing, fall damage if your parachute fails to deploy, as well as powerful rockets and mounted machine guns to keep combat interesting.

Which does lead me to what helps G.I. Joe: The Roleplaying Game stand out: the players' ability to prepare. Much like Power Rangers: The Roleplaying Game, there is no in-game economy. If you loot items off defeated enemies, it's only for plot-centric macguffins. Instead, there is a requisition system where your Joes ask for items and supplies needed for the mission. This is how players can get upgrades to their weapons and armor, dictated by an ability roll on a handy chart, as well as specialized gear.

These include field kits, which give bonuses to certain skill rolls. This can do everything from make the group's ninja even more stealthy to giving the powerhouse character a chance to put on a disguise. What helps keep this system from getting too overpowered is that there are prerequisites for the different tiers of field kit, and the party has a fixed number of requests they're allowed per mission.

What Are The Player Options For G.I. Joe: The Roleplaying Game?

As for what kind of characters you can make in G.I. Joe: The Roleplaying Game, there is plenty to choose from. In addition to Influences like Thrillseeker, Nomad, and Gearhead, there are seven major Squad Roles to pick from. Commandos are your covert ops and infiltration specialists. Infantry are your frontline warriors. Officers are the tacticians and battlefield leaders. Renegades are loose cannons with bad attitudes that are recruited in G.I. Joe more so they don't get snatched up by Cobra. Rangers are environmental specialists that are must-haves in their field of choice. Technicians are all about electronic and mechanics expertise. Finally, Vanguards are the dedicated brickhouses that are all about drawing focus and tanking shots.

But what is especially impressive is each of these Squad Roles also have three dedicated Role Focuses. These function as subclasses, emphasizing certain specific playstyles within these Roles. Commando's Focuses are Infiltrator which is all about moving around unseen, the self-explanatory Sniper, and the Spy which turns the Joe into a social chameleon.

These player options even expand to what Perks you can pick up at each level. In addition to an Animal Pet Perk, there is a Multiclass Perk. There are some caveats, you can't double up on any named Perk (so no additional Extra Attacks) and you can only pick a Perk from a different Role equal to half your level or lower. Given how highly dedicated and complex this character creation already is, it's a decent compromise.

How Easy Is It To Run G.I. Joe: The Roleplaying Game?

Aside from things absorbed by cultural osmosis, I didn't exactly have comprehensive knowledge of G.I. Joe. I could tell you the basics and maybe one or two details gleamed from running jokes. But when I sat down to make a campaign with G.I. Joe: The Roleplaying Game, I was given a crash course in why this franchise has endured for so long. The introduction chapter is written as a speech by the head of G.I. Joe, General Hawk, and does a great job setting up this covert organization not just as a branch of the American military with less oversight but a global peacekeeping organization specialized in handling terrorists.

This considerate design extends to the Exploration and Threats chapter. As mentioned in my preview, G.I. Joe: The Roleplaying Game has everything you need to run a campaign all in one book of about 350 pages. Not only are there comprehensive stat-blocks for Cobra's High Command and their many different lackeys and henchmen, there are examples of various locales and environments you can send the Joes to for their next mission. There are even plot seeds, little creative prompts to get your mind thinking, that accompany each of these locations. These can range from preventing Cobra from collecting the parts needed for a weather dominator to stopping them from recruiting teenagers to their ranks in a metropolitan city. With all of these tools and prompts at your disposal, putting together a campaign wasn't just easy, it was fun.

There are two key areas where G.I. Joe: The Roleplaying Game can be a bit daunting for new Game Masters. The first is taking into account your players' requisitioning phase. As mentioned before, this is where the group is briefed on the mission and are given an opportunity to make plans and request gear. Prewritten adventures will have a fixed number of requisition requests, but for homemade operations the rule of thumb appears to be three. It's a tricky phase to set up because you want to give your players a heads up of what they will be facing, but you don't want to give away every single surprise.

The second key area is presentation and pacing. As mentioned before, G.I. Joe: The Roleplaying Game takes the luck-based foundation of Essence20 and manages to add some complexity to it. This very complexity spills over into how you build encounters. There's a greater focus on teams of henchmen, standard Cobra troopers have an ability that actively increase the defenses of the guy in charge for example, and there's a bigger demand for spatial reasoning and movement for things like line of sight and area-of-effect explosions.

In some ways, running a narrative scenario of G.I. Joe: The Roleplaying Game can feel closer to a skirmish-based miniatures game than a TTRPG. But what keeps it from being overwhelming is the system's approachable core. This does mean more complex vehicle combat isn't as involved as you think, aerial combat is still grid-based and doesn't include any fancy maneuvers for example, but it does help keep things at a breezy pace. If you're a theater of the mind Game Master, you can manage just fine, but if you prefer maps, miniatures, and terrain, this is a TTRPG that will excite and spark the imagination.

Should I Buy G.I. Joe: The Roleplaying Game?

If you have fond memories of G.I. Joe and wanted to fight for freedom over land, sea, and air, then I highly recommend G.I. Joe: The Roleplaying Game. If you only have a passing knowledge of G.I. Joe and are more interested in just how flexible Renegade Game Studios' Essence20 system is, I recommend this TTRPG even more. Not only is it a great core rulebook for setting up fun missions of exciting pulp action, it is built with such care that it makes new fans of the G.I. Joe property. I should know, I'm one of them now. Yo Joe!

Monday, January 1, 2024

YouTube Recommendation - Ethan Page


For those readers who are possibly looking for a fun YouTube channel to subscribe to, I highly recommend Ethan Page's V-Log

While he currently doesn't have regularly scheduled content, the videos that he has posted over the past several years are very entertaining. He has his regular V-Log which covers his experiences in his career as a professional wrestler that also includes a lot of behind-the-scenes look at a variety of wrestlers.

My favorites are his toy hunts, where he often includes other professional wrestlers. It really opens your eyes to the number of wrestlers actually collect toys and comics.

When he hits 100k subscribers, Ethan has promised to do a special video where he takes fellow wrestler Abadon to Arby's.

Please help him reach this goal, check-out his channel and subscribe.

FanExpo PDX


January 12-14, 2024, at the Oregon Convention Center

I'm happy to announce that the first event I will cover under the new The Nat 20 name will be FanExpo Portland

I hope to see you there and I am looking forward to attending and providing my insight on my experiences.

The Nat 20 - Welcome


Welcome one and all to The Nat 20; a culmination of my work over the past 14 years with both Zanziber's Point of View and RPG4EVR blogs. In late 2023, I decided to combine my love of comic books and role playing together in what you are about to see here. All of my reviews and articles that were part of these blogs are now apart of The Nat 20.

For those new readers to my blogs, let me introduce myself...

My name is John Rogers, but here I go by the handle of Zanziber. This is the name of an old RPG character from back when I was in high school.

Me & "Weird Al" Yankovic from Rose City Comic Con

My avatar of Zanziber

I've been writing these blogs since 2009 and it started as a creative outlet to occupy my free time. Since then, it has become much more than that. I've been honored to be welcomed as a member of the media/press at a handful of local events so that I can share my personal experiences with my readers.

I've been collecting comic books and role playing since 1984. Back then, Dungeons & Dragons was listed for ages 10+ and my older friend waited until I was 10 years old to introduce me to what would consume my life. I have since played a multitude of different TTRPG's and CCG's. (If you're unfamiliar with gaming shorthand abbreviations, please read this article where I work to explain them.)

While I will primarily focus on providing content directly related to comics and role playing games, there will occasionally be the time where I will post something from a different aspect of my life that I enjoy. This is to mean that I have been toying with the idea of writing about my love of professional wrestling (AEW specifically), but have not yet made the decision to commit to this quite yet.

The negative part of rebranding and making a big change to a single blog is that my part stats from my individual blogs aren't going to be captured. Here's what they were at the time of writing this (11/23/2023):

That nearly 400k views from Zanziber's Point of View

And nearly 100k views from RPG4EVR

Please consider following me on social media.

In 2013, I created the Comic Book Covers 4 Cancer non-profit to help raise $$ for the American Cancer Society. As of the writing of this (11/23/2023), we have raised and donated just over $18,500. If you would like to help keep #CBC4C alive, we could always use some financial assistance. Please consider donating here.

Cerebus Vol 3: Church & State Volume I

 Title: Cerebus Vol 3: Church & State Volume I ISBN: 0919359094 Price: $ Publisher/Year: Aardvark-Vanheim, 1987 Artist: Gerhard Writer: ...