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Review: UberPong "Bear" Table Tennis Racket

Sep. 16th, 2013 | 04:51 pm

I recently bought a table tennis racket from former kickstarter project turned internet business, UberPong. Their business model is pretty simple; Sell quality ping pong rackets with quirky designs on them for around $40.

Having recently taken up the game as part of my new office culture, I decided to give the quirky designs presented by UberPong a try in order to distinguish myself among my colleagues.

At first glance the sharp design and intimidating look of the "Bear" is certainly distinguishing.
Bear-730

However, upon holding and swinging the racket I immediately noticed that its stylish look comes at a price of practicality.

First, the good. The bear paddle is lightweight and has a nice cushion to the padding. This gives the racket good control and makes for a fine defensive instrument. It also looks fabulous and gets the other players excited, and perhaps a little intimidated, to play against you. The Bear Paddle can take on a mythical aura if you start playing well with it. Almost like a good luck charm.

Now for the bad. The surface of the paddle is very slick, making any type of spin on the ball very hard to achieve. This is particularly frustrating during service. The drawback of the nicely cushioned padding is that the paddle has very little pop and makes generating speed very difficult on offensive shots. As far as construction goes, the light weight seems to come from using basic plywood for the blade instead of one solid piece of natural wood. Also, the handle came unfinished, just bare wood, and with edges that were not sanded down. I would have expected a little more polished product for $40.

Overall, the UberPong Bear Paddle is a fun beginners racket that is decent for a control/defensive game, but is very lacking in offensive capabilities such as spin and speed.

Side Note: The rubber that the bear design is printed on is grey on both sides. It would have been nice if one side used red rubber and the other black to make the racket technically a legal racket. Not that you would want to use this in a tournament, but even recreation players can get fussy when faced with "illegal" rackets.

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New Campaign

Jul. 27th, 2013 | 06:23 pm

My newest D&D campaign is going to be featured on the Troll The Dice podcast starting in August.

Troll The Dice is a real play podcast where we sit around and play D&D while you get to listen in on the fun. The players are; myself, Jay, Shag, Will and Jake.

Jay, Shag, and I sit around my dining room table and talk into microphones while Will and Jake join us via Skype. It's a fun time and you can hear it at trollthedice.com.

The new campaign is still using D&D 3.5 in a modified version of The Forgotten Realms, but it's unlike any campaign I've done before because it takes place in a traveling carnival. That's right. I said traveling carnival.

The guys are playing adventurers who have joined on as workers for Amazing Rondo's Traveling Carnival. The players are as follows:

Jay - A Dwarf fighter named Red Hammertoe with aspirations of being a carnival Strongman.
Shag - A Human Monk named Sterling who is trying out his arrow catching act under the stage name "The Great Bandini."
Jake - A Human Sorcerer named Roscoe Toscobble who wants to be a carnival magician and escape artist.
Will - A Human Ranger named Helios with a mysterious past who joined the carnival as a caravan guard.

Amazing Rondo is just a character who acts as the ringmaster for the main attractions and is played by one of the several Bards in the carnival. A 7th Level Bard named Barney Bailey is the actual leader of the carnival.

The carnival originated on the Sword Coast, around Waterdeep, and has been traveling up and down the coast for several years. Recently, the carnival has been heading east in search of new audiences and new attractions, especially for its exotic animal show. Most recently, the carnival was in the city of Secomber but it was too small to support it for very long, so the tents were packed and the show is now moving to the larger trade city of Loudwater.

Loudwater is a large and important trading town on the Delimbiyr River home to around 8,000 humans and half-elves. The city is known for its large harbor, beautiful gardens and a massive Dwarven bridge that spans the mighty Delimbiyr River. Other attractions are the All-Faiths Temple and the Elfish Architecture of some of its older buildings. The people are relatively friendly and open to newcomers, as long as they have gold in their pockets, skills to barter, or goods to trade. The town guards are usually fair and honest and the local Lord is well liked by the townsfolk. Crime is a minor problem in the city. Orc and Goblin attacks are a growing concern in the surrounding areas.
Although the city itself is a civilized place, it is surrounded by wild and dangerous places that often attract adventurers seeking fame and fortune.

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Armor

Jun. 12th, 2009 | 08:26 am


So, I've always hated D&D armor and armor class because it goes completely against the way armor is supposed to work. Armor is supposed to make you harder to kill, not harder to hit. In fact, wearing a gleaming suit of full plate armor with a huge shield actually makes it easier for a warrior to get hit.

No one missed a Roman soldier, they just couldn't get past his shield. Same goes for knights. They could take a pounding and keep fighting because their armor was designed to deflect blows and absorb damage.

In D&D it's always, "well, just pretend that it bounced off". Uggh. I hate that. I want to know if something actually hit me or not. Other systems like Gurps and Palladium have more realistic armor systems, why can't D&D?

Also, characters in my adventures don't have ready access to healing magic so they don't really have the option of sucking up damage with their HPs.

Read more...Collapse )


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Dungeon Adventure: Part 2

May. 14th, 2008 | 04:12 pm

Another day, another dungeon for two intrepid monks and a sorcerer.

 

Day 56: Though it’s tough to discern day and night when underground, the PCs rest until they believe it to be morning and then venture out into the dungeon again.

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Dungeon Adventure: Part 1

May. 12th, 2008 | 03:04 pm

Continuing adventures of two monks and a sorcerer.

Day 55: The PCs follow the dry riverbed and eventually discover a dilapidated stone structure. They climb crumbling steps up to the structure and discover that the place is a raised burial ground with several mausoleums and above ground tombs. 

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Criminal NPCs

May. 2nd, 2008 | 10:22 am

Here's an example of some criminals that my PCs have run up against.

The Fist Gang

The fist gang is an organization of low-level street gangs that are controlled by a mysterious Crime Lord. The crime lord has various Captains placed in cities across the realms that recruit and control the rank and file. The leader of each individual street gang owes allegiance to the Captain and pays him a percentage of his earnings. In exchange, the captain ensures that no other gangs encroach on their territory.

                When the Crime Lord issues orders, the captains relay those orders to the street gangs who carry them out. No one is quite sure who the Crime Lord is or what his goals actually are but there are rumors that he is somehow tied to the Zhentarim Empire.


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D&D Farming

Apr. 23rd, 2008 | 12:52 pm


Ok, so nobody plays D&D to become a farmer but I needed to work out some economic ground rules for my world. Since most medieval economies are based on agriculture I decided to find out how much the average farm can produce.

In a nutshell, I calculated that the average farm can produce goods worth 254gp per year.

This is for an average year and does not take into account taxes, expenses or consumption by the farmer himself. So, if you are looking for a quick estimate you can take that number and do what you like with it. However, I have provided calculations if you want more details.

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Continuing Adventures in a Low Magic World

Apr. 22nd, 2008 | 02:22 pm


These are the continuing adventures of two monks and a sorcerer in a low magic world.

When last we left, they had just traveled to the city of Llorkh as part of a small caravan.

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Orc Cavalry Tactics

Apr. 18th, 2008 | 01:38 pm

I decided to come up with some basic ground rules for Orc raiders and Orc cavalry because a portion of my campaign has a lot to do with Orcs raiding a caravan trail between two large towns.


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Random Encounters

Apr. 16th, 2008 | 04:08 pm

 

This is a random encounter generator from a very old AD&D adventure that I updated for use with v3.5. This is for Level 2-5 characters traveling through temperate or warm hills.

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