Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happy B-Day to Gary and Other Things...

I would be remiss if I didn't check in today, to add my voice to the chorus of happy birthday wishes to Gary!

I hope St. Gygax is looking down over me this week, as life has taken away my gaming activities on this particular Wednesday (my usual gaming night, as you probably know). But that has just made me all the more determined to get my game on next Wednesday, and has given me more time to refine my devious plots to unleash on my unsuspecting players...

Other random thoughts:

I'm missing being able to read blogs of late, and missing conversing with other bloggers I have grown to respect. I'm also missing being able to blog myself.

I'm looking forward  to learning more about a couple games that are in the works: Adventurer Conqueror King and Crypts & Things.

Well, folks, that's all I have time for right now. Hope all is well out there in the blogosphere, and until next time, happy gaming!

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Voice from the Void: Checking In...

Hello all out there in the blogosphere. I apologize for my long silences of late. I am still getting used to the demands of the current stage of my career, the excessive heat that is gripping the United States has moved its evil influence over my state, and the need to focus on my family life as a husband and father is as always of the utmost importance. All of this of course means that things such as blogging and other hobbies have been once again compromised, and rightly so.

Just know that I am focusing on what all of this blogging we are doing is about: actually gaming! What small spare time I have these days is going into my Wednesday night table-top game. I just had the first session of my Forgotten Realms campaign (which transitioned from a Dragonlance campaign for several reasons) and by all accounts my players were very happy with it. I am looking forward to getting a lot of sessions under my belt in the coming weeks.

It is summertime, however, and the number of players we have in our group fluctuates weekly. One of our gamemasters/players (and also the founder of our group) has moved away to other realms, sadly. Another player has had some life issues that have taken his gaming time from him of late. And yet another player is away working at a summer camp. That leaves, for now, myself and two players to forge ahead. Our hope is that our other two players will be able to join us again soon. But any gaming is great gaming, as far as I am concerned, and the three of us that were there this week put in some good adventuring. I hope to give you a good recap soon. But for now, I'll just give you one tidbit: a very upset owlbear was involved!

Anyway, that's where things stand. I am not blogging much at the moment in favor of roleplaying. I hope you can see that I have my priorities straight! Hope to write more soon. Until then, game on, my friends!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Paragons of Waterdeep: Moving Worlds

So, my non-gaming life has asserted itself of late, specifically as it pertains to my work. I'm several months into my new job, and my workload is of course increasing all the time as I get the hang of things. So, this of course is putting more of a pinch on my time. And this of course means that something in my life has to give. As is all too often the case, one's hobbies are the sacrificial lambs.

However, this does not mean that my roleplaying days are over, not by a long shot. But, it does mean that I've had to re-evaluate the campaign I started very recently. I had set the campaign in the Dragonlance setting. This had been a long-time dream of mine: to run a game in the world that introduced me to fantasy fiction and Dungeons & Dragons. However, I have very limited resources when it comes to Dragonlance. I only have a couple of books to use for the setting. And there's also the urge in me to do it right. Meaning there's that certain flavor that makes Dragonlance what it is, and with my limited time I can't get that flavor right. I know, I sound like a perfectionist. And I guess I am.

But mostly I just want to run a good game for my Wednesday Night C&C group. So, in thinking about the future of my campaign, I realized that I needed to fall back on a setting with which I am more familiar, and for which I have many more books and other resources.

For me, that fallback world is the continent of Faerun on the world of Toril. I have more familiarity with the Forgotten Realms setting, having run some play-by-email games set in that world over the last couple of years. I've collected a lot of Realms materials in that time. It hit me that, while it would be great to run my long-awaited Dragonlance game, I need to return to the Realms.

But this is not a grudging return. Not at all. I really love the Forgotten Realms setting. I'm very comfortable with it, and I feel that it has a lot of potential. It never fails to inspire me, and I always seem to have good ideas for game sessions.

So, last night after our friend Rich ran his last City State of the Invincible Overlord session for the foreseeable future (he's moving away, unfortunately), I asked the rest of the group if they would bear with me and agree to shifting their characters from Krynn to Toril. They were very open minded and agreed! The good news is that there were only two sessions in the Dragonlance campaign with the current player characters. So there's not going to be much pain in the transition. Just need to do some minor tweaks, set up a new skeleton of back story, and have the cleric pick a new god ;-) I'm letting the characters keep the experience points they earned in the first two sessions, of course.

I have to say that I'm really excited about getting my campaign rolling full steam ahead! I am really looking forward to establishing a long-running game with our great group of players. I've decided to name the campaign Paragons of Waterdeep. Why? Well, only time will tell...

Now, if you'll excuse me,  I'm going back to work and finalizing my plans...

Happy gaming, indeed!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Let's Dance!

If you're like me, and probably millions of other addicts, tomorrow is something of a religious holiday. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you're not one of the lost souls who have been waiting in purgatory for a certain novel.

Yes, I'm talking about A Dance with Dragons.

It hits the US tomorrow. I pre-ordered mine months ago, of course. Mine is coming direct to my door. But tomorrow, I will stop by the Barnes & Noble near my work and see if I can't find a copy to thumb through during lunch. Just to see what I can expect when the tome gets to me.

So, is it safe to assume that the RPG blogosphere has more than its share of Song of Ice and Fire fans? If you're out there, please chime in and share your personal tale of obsession. What does the series mean to you? What is your favorite or least favorite book in the series? What did you think of the HBO series? And perhaps the most important question: are you or have you ever been involved in a campaign based in the world of Westeros?

For me, this series has been a huge part of my life for years now. It's been at times both a love affair and a bit of frustration. I'm not one of those who thought A Feast for Crows was far inferior to the first three novels. But at the same time, I can tell you that there were times that books 2 through 4 felt a lot like the author was almost too in love with his creation. I'm holding out hope that Martin will carry this series through to the end in a manner that delivers on the promise of the books. I await the fifth book with an open mind, and I am trying to temper my expectations. The HBO series did a decent job, but it's hard when you know how much detail had to be left out. And as for gaming in Westeros, so far I've only played the Fantasy Flight board game. But you can be sure that I've contemplated roleplaying in Martin's creation.

Anyway, I look forward to hearing from you crazy kids out there!

And for those of you who actually came here for the Bacon, here you go:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Inspiration: Invictus

This one is for Christian:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Status Update: Sturm und Drang

"Oh noez! Bloggerz takin stuffs too seeriuz agin!"
So, there was the fairly recent temporary ostracism of Greg at Dark Horse Game Design. Then there was the very recent attack by the Your Dungeon is Suck person on Christian of Destination Unknown fame. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I will say this: don't worry about it and you're the lucky one, because you didn't have to experience the utter non-issue.

The one consolation for me personally during the recent stupidity is that no one, at least on the blogs I read, used the word "kerfuffle." That word drives me insane in the way that Curly goes crazy when he hears Larry play Pop Goes the Weasel on the violin.

Look, I'm not heartless. I felt really bad for Christian when he got upset at what YDIS Guy posted about him. I'm not sure why Christian took it so hard, but we all have our breaking points and sensitive spots. But the YDIS Guy is seriously just filling the cliched role of "personified antithesis." Every movement has one. There is that person that has to be the one who hates everything said movement stands for. And that person, or even persons in some cases, step into this role for any myriad of reasons. I'm not really interested in exploring any of those reasons.

Can we just agree that getting upset over something like Your Dungeon is Suck is like getting upset at the sky being blue. Blogs like YDIS are as common and par for the course as any other thing that you take for granted every day. There are these niches that exist in any human collective that we as creatures of habit slip into, whereever our species congregates. This is no different in this little virtual playground of ours. YDIS is filling one of many bland, vanilla, not really original at all roles. Again, this is such a non-issue.

I'm glad that Christian is back. I've been a follower of his for a while now, and he's been on my blogroll for the same amount of time. I applaud him for his candor on his blog, and for sharing so much of his real personal life in addition to his ups and downs at the gaming table. I say this as a person who likes to use blogging to share my gaming experiences with like-minded folks. But he, like the rest of us, has to be prepared for stray d-bags using our words against us. I have faith that Christian has come out of this wiser and stronger.

Now can we all go back to shaking our heads and chuckling lightly at blogs like YDIS for the silly curiosities they are?

As for me, the Wednesday night gaming has been going well. I've had to give over the GM chair to my friend Rich for the next few weeks, as work has been kicking it up a notch. But I intend to get back in the saddle by the end of the month at the latest, after I take some time to adjust to the new speed of the job. It still sucks to be the new guy at work, but it's sucking less all the time.

It turns out to be a good thing to have Rich take so much time to run his Invincible Overlord campaign, since he's leaving indefinitely around the end of the month. He's moving out of state for a great job opportunity. He's going to try and come back on occasion to game with us. He will be greatly missed.

There's also a new fellow named Glenn who joined us for a couple of sessions recently, and he's been a great fit. But he's unfortunately had some medical issues arise that have taken him away from our table. We're all hoping he gets well very soon.

One of our other players is working at a sort of summer camp and has been away. He's been trying to spread the good word of Castles & Crusades to the young folk at camp, but they've sort of been giving him blank stares. Kids these days. But at least he's fighing the good fight.

But our group is a resilient one,  and I have no doubt that we'll somehow keep the gaming goodness going strong! I'm thankful to have found a great bunch of people to roleplay with, I'll tell you that much.

Anyway, thanks for listening as usual, and here's wishing happy and peaceful gaming to you all!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dragon Age for free! DCC...not so much...

Just thought I'd point something out:

The Free RPG Day offering for Dragon Age is available for free (35-page PDF) on DriveThruRPG.

The Free RPG Day offering for Dungeon Crawl Classics is available for $4.99 (16-page PDF) on RPG Now.

Hmm. Funny how some things are no longer free now that Free RPG Day is over. You get much more RPG goodness from the Dragon Age offering, including over twice the page count, for zero dollars. 'Nuff said, as far as I'm concerned. I have to say that I continue to be underwhelmed by the hype machine that is DCC. The system may be innovative and playable and have a great old school pedigree and flavor, but there's just something about how Goodman Games is going about "selling" the game that just rubs me the wrong way. I'd be interested in hearing other people's thoughts on this...

Monday, July 4, 2011

I am not a patriot, but I love my country

To me, the word patriot, at least how it is used here in the United States, has become tainted. Tainted and hijacked by religious fundamentalists and partisan demagogues who simply pander to a constituency. These deviant elements in my society have corrupted our vernacular and twisted precious words to fit their agendas. Fuck them. I despise the politicians and the pundits and lobbyists and all the rest for what they have done to this country, despite my best efforts to use my vote to change things. No matter the politcal party, the little people get screwed. Plain and simple. And I hate it. Every day, I hate it.

So I am not a patriot, but I love my country. I hate how the aforementioned a-holes have caused many of our current and former allies to look down upon us. I wish there was something I could do besides plead with those in other countries like Canada and Great Britain to not think that all of us in the US are fucking retards. The state in which the US finds itself these days makes me deeply sad. But let me assure you, we are as diverse here as you are in your countries.

I may not be an "America can do no wrong" nut, but that doesn't mean that I don't love my country. You can simultaneously love and hate aspects of a thing.

Again, I ask that you not hold anything against my country. I know I can detect what I think is some cynicism toward the US out there in the blogosphere. I can't give you every example, but there's at least one example that makes me scratch my head. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to take away from that one.

To my fellow Americans, I want to give you my sincere hope that you have a great Fourth of July. I want you to all feel as proud of our country as I do. And our country is really the people, the little people, the ones who go to work every day to provide for our families, the ones who fight in our wars. Not the fucking celebrities, the talking heads who try daily to instill us with fear over multiple media, the politicians who will betray us every time.

To  you who are not Americans, I ask again for you to remember that we are not some mindless mass of drones that march in lockstep with what our leaders do in our name. We are individuals, just like you. Hell, we all love these games that we play, right? That's our lingua franca. I want you to know that the vast majority of us want a fellowship with you in other countries. We want you to know that we respect you and look to you for comradeship, even if our leaders make it seem that the US wants to give you all the cold shoulder.

Thanks for listening. As always, game on!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Another one slipped under my RPG radar...

Welcome to July, everyone! Hope you fellow Americans are as excited as I am to be heading into a nice holiday weekend!
I am kicking off the new month with a "Doh!" post regarding another RPG that I did not know about until a day or so ago. First there was The One Ring, and now it's...


While I will stick to my guns when it comes to "there's no such thing as too many RPGs," I have to say that I personnally am not interested in trying to play most of these new games coming out. Sure, I will probably take a good look and may even steal some ideas from them. But what it comes down to for me above all is time. That is my most limiting factor in this stage of my life. I need to focus on the systems I know well enough to GM/play, and that's D&D for me. I need time to prepare for games and maybe throw some blogging into the mix.

Maybe the cause of AND cure for my gamer ADD is time limitations. I need to continually remind myself of my limitations, and not let them drive me insane and cause me to flail around from one new shiny game to another. I have to focus on what is GOOD about my current game situation: I have a great core of dedicated gamers that I have met, we are able to meet pretty regularly, and we have a pretty good venue to play at. That's really all I could ask for at this moment in my life.

So count your roleplaying blessings if you are fortunate enough to be able to actually participate in games! As always, happy roleplaying and GAME ON!