Nik Naks are extra ingredients that can be added to any gaming campaign. These won't be found in the Player's Handbook... they're homegrown. This article, a followup to the well received "Nik Naks", includes three new additions: "Played By", "Quote of the Night", and "The Toss Game".

Should you allow a player to play a non-human character or not? In this article I attempt to list some of the pitfalls associated with playing these characters and how to avoid them in your sessions.

The inside book jacket explains that "(t)his book is a celebration of that phenomenon (D&D, natch) and a tribute to the millions of players who brought the Dungeons & Dragons experience to life." When I think of tributes, I think of missing man formations flying over stadiums, of 21-gun salutes and taps played on a lone bugle. As a tribute, this book is the equivalent of a handful of cellophane balloons released from the rooftop of a car dealership just before noon on a Sunday, with Kool and the Gang playing on a cassette deck nearby.

This may come as a shock for those of you who know me or those of you who are familiar with my work, but I like horror. Horror in all its forms, with the exception of lame ass slasher flicks, is something I just really dig. When it comes to my tastes in gaming there's no difference: I just love to freak the shit out of my players.

I'm 15th level. . . now what?

I love level one characters. Love them. Imagine how much you love leveling up in your game of choice. Masterwork that feeling and add a +2 bonus to hit, and that's about how much I love role-playing level one characters. Why, you may mumble incoherently into your computer screen? There are many reasons, one of which is the ideal that players should overcome obstacles with their intellect, tenacity, audacity or luck, not their magical items.

The group's assembled, but you don't have an adventure prepared for them. What to do? Rather than ripping off the plot of some movie or book that everyone has already seen, turn away from the bookshelf and head over to your CD shelf. It's time for a little Rock and Role-Playing.

While your character may be an extremely useful tool for self reflection and growth, the real beauty of the game as a tool for growth is neither we nor our characters are isolated. Our characters interact with other PCs and NPCs and we interact with the GM and other players. Like all groups, there are certain dynamics that take place in the gaming group.

Once upon a time, the gaming world was far different. Once upon a time, the worlds were bright and colorful. Once upon a time, Good was Good and Evil was Evil. Now, that world is gone.

In this film, the main actors play themselves not only in the real world, as geeky gamers, but as the noble characters they are role-playing within the game. It's a brilliant concept, and one wonders why it hasn't been done before now. Considering overall entertainment value, the sheer amount of extras included with the DVD, and the fact that I laughed till I cried even on a fourth viewing, I can do no less than give The Gamers the highest rating possible.

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