Monday, December 31, 2012

End-of-YEAR Elmore Musings (12/31/12)

The horizon of a new year beckons...

There's no need to state how I'm thinking back on the year that was, and looking ahead to the year to come. Most of us are doing that right now, and of course I'm no different.

I missed last Friday's End-of-Week Elmore. So I figured I'd do it today, cleverly call it the End-of-YEAR Elmore, and use it as a vehicle for my New Year's Eve reflections.

With regard to my year in roleplaying, I'm happy with how 2012 went. It was the first full year of my return to roleplaying, and I had a grand old time. I've been going strong since I officially returned to the table-top RPG scene in April 2011. My gaming activities have been fairly regular, and nothing if not intense. By intense, I mean that roleplaying has been my primary pastime for nearly two years, and has consumed most of my spare time, whether it be actual play or planning for sessions.

Adult life being what it is these days, I'm feeling, as Bilbo Baggins said, "like butter scraped over too much bread." I suspect that I'm also feeling a bit "toasty" (see what I did there? ;-) from the intensity of my mental focus on roleplaying. I won't say that I'm officially "burnt out" when it comes to roleplaying in general. It definitely hasn't gotten to that point. Consider it more like the "good tired" that comes after a work-out.

I think I'm experiencing some self-induced exhaustion when it comes to being a GM. The source of this exhaustion rests squarely on my shoulders. When it comes to my recreational interests, I don't do things half-assed. I dive head-first into whatever has caught my fancy. I think I've been so driven to make the most of my return to gaming that I haven't let myself take a breath. I think I need to take a step back from my endeavors and give some thought to my table-top experiences so far.

It's probably time for me to reflect on where I've been, relinquish the reigns for a while, and savor the new RPG memories I've created before I can move on into the new year as a GM. Throughout my gaming career, I've mostly been a GM. I think I was under the assumption that I needed to be firmly and constantly at the helm again during my return to roleplaying. But my current gaming group has some folks that are willing and more-than-able to run games. I need to remind myself that I'm not that kid anymore, the one that was the only person willing to be a GM.

I'm hoping that taking time to muse over the last two years will recharge my RPG batteries. I definitely don't want to keep pushing myself when it comes to being a GM, and risk becoming truly burnt out. I'm pretty excited to take a break and consider the lessons I've learned. I know that I came back to gaming with at least some assumptions and expectations, and I want to take time to sort through my headspace and perhaps purge some of the detritus.

I hope that I will come out of this self-reflection period a better GM and a stronger roleplayer in general, with a clearer picture of what I want out of the hobby. This will hopefully include becoming a better RPG blogger!

To one and all, I hope you've had a great year of roleplaying, and may you have more RPG goodness in 2013!

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Blessed Yule to All!

It's been a tough year, with plenty more of the same-old "humanity's inhumanity to humanity." Hopefully, you and yours have made it through unscathed. For those who've been touched by dark times this year, my thoughts and prayers go out to you. May the coming year be kinder to us all.
I've been becoming more of a pragmatist as I get older, but there's still this stubborn core of daydreaming and hope within me. It's what made me hold out for some sort of miracle shift of consciousness with the ending of the 13th baktun on the Mayan calendar. It's also what never fails to make me disappointed by acts of dickheadedness, no matter how many times I see it or experience it. I never learn my lesson, according to loved ones, when it comes to being surprised by asshole-ish behavior. I guess I just continually hope that people will simply be civil. Well, I'll just keep trying to "be the change" and continue to present a positive face to others.   
But enough of gloom! I'm looking forward to Christmas tomorrow, mostly to see the reactions of my children to their gifts. My son in particular, for some time now, has been asking for a castle play set with associated giant ogre and dragon (sold separately of course)! A chip off the old block, perhaps? Anyway, we did get him those "Imaginext" toys, and he should pass out with joy when he opens them. My daughter, alas, is enchanted by My Little Pony, but apparently a lot of older nerds adore the Friendship is Magic cartoon. Just like LARPing, that particular bridge is too far for me.

Again, happy holidays to you and yours! Perhaps we'll all get some gaming goodies this year?

Friday, December 21, 2012

End-of-Week Elmore (4 Ahau 3 Kankin)

I went looking for a piece of Elmore art that was suitably "apocalyptic" for this day, the infamous December 21st, 2012 (or 4 ahau 3 kankin on the Mayan calendar). But I settled on the above. Why? Because the ritual it depicts invokes the mystical, and perhaps I'm wishing something mystical would occur today.
Yes, yes, I know. What do I keep hearing? "We're all still here!" Yes, I knew we would be here, even though it would have been cool if all of humanity had turned into luminous spirit beings at once. Sad to say, but perhaps we're not enlightened enough for that event just yet. 

Oh, and I would like to point out that the day is not over yet. No one should be breathing a sigh of relieve until midnight tonight!

In all seriousness, perhaps the change is not external. Perhaps a change is already starting in our consciousness. Maybe in the coming years we will evolve in the way we see the world, and each other. A positive evolution.

Anyway, until our mass transcension, we'll still have roleplaying! 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My 7 RPGs (meme response)

I heard about this latest RPG blogosphere meme at The Other Side blog and others.

So here are the RPGs that I've played the most, in roughly the order in which I played them (with some overlap, of course):

1. First Edition AD&D

The game that got me hooked, just like so many other roleplayers! I loved the arcane language of Gygax (as a kid I used to wonder, "who is this mysterious author with the strange name?!"), and the sometimes crude but always evocative illustrations. What times my companions and I had with those books!

2. Palladium RPGs (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ninjas & Superspies, Heroes Unlimited, Rifts)

Ah yes, Palladium! I may cringe a bit now at the thought, but back in my formative years Kevin Siembieda almost loomed as large in my mind as St. Gygax! We created many mutant animals, superheroes, master martial artists, and post-apocalyptic adventurers in those days. But eventually, especially when it came to Rifts, we nearly drowned in the sheer number of sourcebooks!

3. Second Edition AD&D

We "graduated" to Second Edition eventually, and I really liked the more "professional" color illustrations, the different presentation, and the various published worlds that came along with this edition. I don't remember being bothered that they removed/changed the names of the demons and devils, or that the monk and assassin were gone (no one in my teenaged group ever played them). But I hated the Monstrous Compendium (those pages always wore out and fell from the unwieldy binder! we just kept using the First Edition Monster Manual!).

4. Amber Diceless RPG

I moved to this game when D&D became too "childish" for me. It also helped that Erick Wujcik of Palladium fame was the creator. I considered the game more mature, due to the lack of dice and what I considered a subsequent focus on roleplaying. It also introduced me to Roger Zelazny's body of work. Besides 1E AD&D, I probably had the most fun playing this RPG during my first era of roleplaying.

5. Castles & Crusades

The game that brought me back to table-top RPGs! I owe the Trolls a debt of gratitude. The game is an incredible "reimagining" of 1E AD&D by way of 3E!

6. Savage Worlds

I've only played this RPG a few times, but so far I really love the mechanics.

7. Labyrinth Lord

The game that's made me regret that I never played Classic D&D back when I was a kid. I've only played LL a handful of times, but it's opened my eyes to the wonders of the era when races were classes!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Yes, this is my post about the Mayan calendar and December 21st, 2012

Party like it's 4 ahau 3 kankin!
I'm definitely not trying to brag about this (that would be really lame), but I remember a time when I was one of only a handful of people in my personal world who knew (or cared) about the whole "Mayan calendar-2012 apocalypse" thing. 
As a much younger man in the late 1990's, I first heard about the "end of the Mayan calendar in 2012" theory and the potential for a related apocalypse. Some close friends and I were watching a History Channel documentary, no doubt. At least, I think that's the case...I can't remember the details of the show, really. What I do remember is a dramatic moment where the narrator's voice became very ominous, and we were shown the grinding wheels of the Mayan calendar spinning rapidly. Then POW! It came to a sudden halt on a date that, we were told, corresponded with December 21st, 2012 on the Gregorian calendar.
This was the first time I'd ever heard of the supposed "end" of the Mayan calendar. Up until that point, I'd had a mild interest in Native American/Mesoamerican cultures. But that show really ramped up my fascination with Mesoamerican history in particular. Since then I've enjoyed reading about those cultures, in what was no doubt a way for me to fulfill my childhood dreams of getting into anthropology and/or archaeology (the first movie I can remember seeing in theaters was Raiders of the Lost Ark, if that tells you anything).
Anyway, time (of course) marched on and on. I finished college, got into the working world (hooray), got married, had kids...all that American dream stuff. I also lost my connection to roleplaying for a time, unfortunately.
Flash forward to today, and I'm sitting here feeling quite underwhelmed by the fact that the long-awaited date is only a few days away. And that makes me somewhat sad. I'm sorta puzzled by this underwhelmed feeling. Perhaps it stems from a notion that nothing spectacular is going to happen on Friday.

Over the years, I've witnessed the obscure notion put forth in that late 90's documentary grow exponentially into the "doomsday craze" it is today. I've watched countless other documentaries discuss the topic and posit theories ranging from apocalypse to some transformative event in human evolution/consciousness.
I never believed for a second that the world would end on 12/21/12. Yes, I've been one of those who entertained the thought, irrational or not, that the world would experience some mystical rebirth into...well, a time of greater harmony. Yes, yes, a bunch of hippy-dippy, New Age garbage, right? But a man can dream. If anything, I've enjoyed injecting that more positive possibility into the doomsday talk that usually comes up.
So anyway, here I find myself on the cusp of the event itself. It feels strange that the date is almost here. I guess, for me, this is one of those moments when you step back and go "whoa, where did all the time go?" You know, one of those stereotypical things that occurs to old(er) folks.
Of course, I know that the Mayan calendar in its entirety is not going to "end." Rather, it's the end of a roughly 400-year period called a "baktun." The 13th baktun is coming to an end, and the 14th baktun is going to begin. The date on the Mayan calendar is 4 ahau 3 kankin. Simple as that. 
So, how am I going to celebrate? At the very least, I plan on dancing around intermittently during the day on Friday and singing "Tonight we're gonna party like it's 4 ahau 3 kankin!" to the tune of Prince's "1999." And I'm going to let myself hope, for one more time, that something mystical will happen and humanity will transcend our numerous long-standing psychic afflictions such as hate, greed, etc. 
Either that, or our alien overlords will finally return.

Monday, December 17, 2012

End-of-Week Elmore (12/14/12)

Yes, I know it's the 17th, but it is the holidays and things have been frantic. Therefore, last Friday's EOWE is here today. Better late know.

The above, I believe, is the cover of the first edition of Shadowrun. Loved this one! It inspires me because I'm going through a resurgence of interest in all things cyberpunk, something that happens to me a couple times of year. This includes the possibility of cyberpunk (and maybe extending into space opera) at the game table.

But I'm also dealing with what is most likely an unhealthy attachment to traditional D&D. Actually I've been dealing with that for a while now. I'm still wondering if I'm just an old guy who has calcified into a roleplaying rut. I don't like to dwell on that for too long...

What this boils down to is this: I'm not sure a cyberpunk game will be hitting my game table any time soon. But one can dream...

Maybe the Shadowrun merging of fantasy and science fiction is what I need to overcome my D&D obession! Hmmm, or maybe not. The mix of genres in Shadowrun was always intriguing to me IN THEORY, but I have always had a deep "keep your peanut butter out of my chocolate" thing when it comes to fantasy.

Elves in cyberspace? That'll be the day!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Question: Have you seen that session tracking sheet?

Maybe you know what I'm talking about. There's a certain RPG session tracking sheet, specifically for D&D-type games, that I spotted somewhere on the RPG/OSR blogosphere over the past year. I can't seem to find the sucker anymore. I remember thinking the thing was friggin' awesome. Why didn't I save it back then? Because I'm a d-bag, that's why.
I forget which blog I saw it on. It had a sort-of elaborate border that looked or something. And it was divided up into boxes for areas devoted to treasure found, monsters defeated, etc.
Anyone have an idea of what I am talking about? Or perhaps you know of at least some version of such a tracking sheet? I know, I know. I could make one of my own, or find some alternative. But I'm lazy and obsessive. What can I say?
Help is appreciated. Dumbass signing off.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Status Update: I don't know how to quit you, Dungeons & Dragons!

Greetings and salutations, fellow RPG-philes. Thought I'd check in with a good-old status update.
I've almost managed to shake a lingering monster-cold. Still have a bit of a cough, but the most annoying thing is the sore throat that's still hanging on. Seriously, you don't know how effortless swallowing is until the time when it feels like you're trying to ingest sharp-edged Legos. And I just don't get the sheer "physics" of sore throats. In the space of a few minutes the soreness can move from one side of the throat to the other, while you're just sitting there and not even swallowing. And sometimes the pain extends into the tongue. Ah well, it's almost gone, so whatever.
The good news is that I'm actually going to make it to my Wednesday night game at the FLGS tonight! I haven't run my current C&C campaign since the 24th of October (due to Superbitch Sandy and her crappy aftermath as well as my bout of plague). So I'm finally going to scratch the gaming itch!
Speaking of the itch, let me elaborate on the title of this post. As I lamented in a prior post, I'm still a victim of an unrelenting obsessive attachment to Dungeons & Dragons and its many clones. I'm still dreaming about running other systems and other genres besides fantasy (using Savage Worlds to run a cyberpunk or space opera game is still high on my RPG bucket list, and I'm reading through my copy of Heroes & Other Worlds and liking it a lot.) BUT there's always this rogue thought pattern that comes crashing back to the front of my mind, screaming "How dare you even THINK about running anything but D&D?!"

Yes, it does seem like my subconscious is totally fine with me being a player of other systems and other genres. It's me thinking of running something besides D&D that seems to induce an involuntary brain malfunction. Really strange. I'm trying to ruminate on this personal phenomenon but haven't made any headway. Might be time to head back to the shrink. Just need to find one willing to talk about Dungeons & Dragons. ;-)

All joking aside, I hope to return to some more substantial posting someday soon. As is the case with most folks this time of year, the holidays mess everything the hell up, so who knows when I can make good on that promise. I'll be in touch. Until then, happy gaming to all, and to all a good day!

Friday, December 7, 2012

End-of-Week Elmore (12/7/12)

I've always seen this image as the "on horseback" variation of Larry's famous Mentzer Red Box cover. This always makes me remember to face my fears head-on. I need this inspiration of late, especially today. Why? Because at work the bosses have called a "state of the union" meeting for my whole department. I wonder if we will get the "Pearl Harbor" treatment. Ironic, since today is December 7th. Anyway, enjoy, have a great weekend, and happy gaming!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Laid low by illness...

This is just a short post to apologize for my silence over the last few days. I've been afflicted with the mother of all colds, it seems. Right now I am experiencing the wonderful sensation of pain radiating through my cheeks and teeth, courtesy of some inflamed sinuses! Awesome-sauce, as the kids say these days.

Anyway, I hope to be able to post something of substance soon. I got my hands on a copy of Heroes & Other Worlds and would like to post something about it this week, health permitting. Stay tuned...

Friday, November 30, 2012

End-of-Week Elmore (11/30/12)

*sigh* I haven't been able to roleplay for weeks now. This pic is the closest I will come to a fantastical adventure today! *sniff* Anyway, hope you all have a great weekend. I'm going to try to jump on the meme-wagon (a bit belated) next week, and post some pics of my RPG bookshelves. Until then, happy gaming!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Did 2E AD&D Introduce the Natural 20?

One of the big reasons I created this blog was to be able to pose questions to the RPG blogosphere, and get some feedback from the collective mind we have going on here. I am in no way a scholar of D&D Edition Comparitive Studies, although I would like to be such an expert. I just don't have the free time these days to devote myself to memorizing the similarities and differences between the editions. I'm hoping that someone out there has the edition knowledge to answer my question. 
So anyway, I've been flipping through my recently acquired (or rather "re-aquired" after my old copies went missing ages ago) 2nd Edition AD&D Player's Handbook, and came across pages 90-91 where it says (under the header "Impossible To-Hit Numbers"):

"...a roll of 20 is always considered a hit and a roll of 1 is always a miss, unless the DM rules otherwise. Under most circumstances, a natural 20 hits and a natural 1 misses, regardless of any modifiers applied to the die roll."
Here's my question (again, because I don't really have the time at the moment to dig through all the D&D editions before 2E to figure this out): Is this the first mention of "natural 20" (and natural 1) in Dungeons & Dragons (Basic and Advanced)?

It pains me that I don't know this bit of information. I am sorta ashamed I have to ask it! But I am really curious to get the skinny on this subject. I look forward to your input, folks!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Inspiration: Cities of Mystery

What's worse than a Monday? A Monday that comes after a holiday weekend. Blech. Anyway, due to Thanksgiving goodness I missed my End-of-Week Elmore posting last Friday. So today's Monday Inspiration makes up for that. The above image was created by Larry Elmore for the 1989 Cities of Mystery box set. I've always like this one a lot. To me, it always suggested young adventurers, just starting their careers, stumbling across one of their first encounters with danger.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Holiday RPG Musings

As I’m sure most of us do, I’m thinking deeply about my life during the Thanksgiving holiday. In particular, I’m thinking about my relationship with RPGs. Perhaps my mind is dwelling on this subject because for several weeks now I have not been able to meet with my usual RPG group. So it may be that I’m suffering from withdrawal, and this is making me pine for all things roleplaying. So, here’s what’s on my mind:
I believe that I am prone to fits of RPG assumptions. I think since I returned to table-top RPGs in July 2010, I’ve been focusing on retroclones and other modern recreations of out-of-print versions of Dungeons & Dragons, rather than a re-exploration of the actual Dungeons & Dragons games.
I’ve been assuming that retroclones are the direction I MUST go with regard to my return to gaming. I’ve also been assuming, perhaps in a mostly unconscious way, that retroclones are “superior” to the original D&D versions. This applies in particular to Castles & Crusades, which I’ve allowed myself to believe is “better” than Advanced D&D.
I think I’m moving away from this superiority belief and moving toward deeper and deeper desire to engage in an in-depth study of the Basic/Advanced D&D editions. I’ve been assuming that I know those systems already. I’ve overestimated my understanding of those original rules. I may know the general concepts pretty well, but my knowledge of the finer aspects of D&D is sorely lacking.
I now think my focus on retroclones has been purely a matter of expediency. They are what’s in print and readily available, and they are often more streamlined that the original versions. This, as I’ve mentioned on this blog before, is no doubt due to my current life as a busy adult. When it comes to C&C, there’s also the fact that it makes some changes I like to the Advanced D&D classes, as well as a unified modern mechanic.
Of late, I’ve had a growing urge to study, of all things, Second Edition D&D. In the epilogue to my gamer testimonial, I professed a disdain for that edition. I have to say that this supposed disdain is probably based on a tendency to turn away from a pastime after inundating myself with said pastime. This is especially true when it comes to me and RPGs. I think I just immerse myself so deeply in an activity that I burn myself out.
But this rejection of 2nd Edition AD&D also comes from my weakness for novelty and perhaps a bit of attention deficit disorder. I’m not just talking about Gamer ADD, but just generalized ADD. I think my retroclone focus was based on a tendency I’ve always had to cling to a “newer is better” mentality/habit. I go through phases in life where I cannot focus well on things. But I also labored long under a tendency to assume that prior versions of D&D, or indeed D&D itself, is somehow “childish.” From reading other blogs, I don’t think I’m alone in this. There was a time when I left D&D behind and moved on to RPGs that I thought were more “adult,” such as Amber Diceless RPG and the White Wolf Storyteller games.
I know I’ve been rambling here, but this post is probably more for me to talk things out to myself rather than be a coherent read for others. However I would love to hear feedback from readers. To sum up: I’m going to stop assuming I have a deep understanding of the Basic and Advanced versions of D&D, and actually read up on them. I know I have limited time to do so, but I’m going to make the commitment. I’m also going to rethink my prejudice toward 2nd Edition AD&D and give that system another chance. It is, after all, the version of D&D I played the most besides 1st Edition AD&D.
Wish me luck as I delve into the depths of my RPG motivations!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fantasy Authors Play 1E at ConFusion

I hope everyone reading this - including those outside the US - has a great Thanksgiving weekend! You don't have to be a US citizen to give thanks, right? Anyway, I stumbled upon the video above, so I decided to share. You'll see authors like Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch, Patrick Rothfuss, and others playing 1st Edition D&D! It's edited down to a half-hour video (apparently they played for about three hours or so) but it's pretty entertaining. Below is another video of the authors talking about RPGs. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The House of the Wolfings

I might be one of the last people in the gaming blogosphere to learn about this book, but The House of the Wolfings is apparently one of the books that probably inspired J.R.R. Tolkien. You can download the book for free here at the awesome Project Gutenberg site. You can also get a print copy here.

So, has anyone heard of this book? Has anyone read it? I'd love to get some impressions of its merits/flaws.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mr. Curtis Goes to South Jersey

The requisite table of various and sundry gaming goodies!

So I've finally found the time to get pics off my new phone and write this post! On Sunday November 4th, I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Curtis, the man behind the Society of Torch, Pole and Rope blog and the creator of OSR staples such as Stonehell Dungeon and the Dungeon Alphabet. Despite the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, he drove many hours from New York to New Jersey, South Jersey to be exact (we Jerseyites consider North and South Jersey to be almost separate realms, but that's a discussion for another time).

When I arrived at the incredible All Things Fun in West Berlin, I had a chance to talk to Michael about gaming, the OSR, and the havoc of Sandy before a couple other gamers arrived: Rich of Circle of Dar Janix fame, and Mike from Swords of Legend. Once these fine fellows joined us, we got down to the business of gaming!

The calm before the proverbial gaming storm...

Michael gave us the following choice: he could run us through his Emirikol was Framed! DCC RPG module, or he could run us through one of two unpublished modules. My fellows and I leaped at the chance to playtest something for him! So Michael handed out some 1st-level DCC characters (we decided to take two each) and gave us a quick overview of the system before starting the session. 

I think he's trying to scare me with his GM screen (the "evil" dice bag is mine)...

I thought it was rather hilarious that one of my character's Lucky Rolls (part of the DCC RPG character creation process) was "Conceived on Horseback." I thought such a feat of agility on the part of the character's parents would confer some sort of bonus for the offspring, but alas that is not the case.

My two characters' sheets and associated spell page print-outs.

I don't want to give away anything about the module we playtested, but suffice to say it definitely had a strong old-school feel, with what I thought was a nod to at least one Basic D&D module from back in the day. I'll leave it at that.

I picked up a copy of the revised Dungeon Alphabet signed by the author himself, as well as some other swag that Michael brought along. Bottom line: it was cool to finally meet a prominent member of the old-school RPG community to talk about gaming and get down to some actual play!

This should have at least given me a Dex bonus, thanks to very agile parents...

'Nuff said.

Friday, November 9, 2012

End-of-Week Elmore (11/9/12)

So, I think I'll start a regular posting of inspirational artwork from one of my favorite fantasy artists: Larry Elmore. I know he has his critics, but his art graced the covers of my beloved Dragonlance novels back when I was a kid, and because of that his work has a lot of meaning for me.

I have to tell you that I was inspired by Al at Beyond the Black Gate, because he's been doing his Friday Frazetta series for some time now. Hey Al, I hope you don't mind if I've riffed on your idea! ;-)

So, feast your eyes, and each week I'll be posting more Elmore art that inspires me.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A (Character) Fate Worse Than Death?

This post is a loooong time coming for me. It's a testament to how behind I am with things I want to blog about. Anyway, Tim at Gothridge Manor wrote a post about character creation a while back. In particular, the following struck a cord with me:
"Unlike the current trend of character funneling in DCC [RPG], we put a lot of planning into the creation of characters. It's fun and makes you really invest a bit more. Nothing wrong with funneling and it can be a ton of fun, but so is sculpting a character you want to play for a while."

So, of course, this being the OSR blogosphere, the above statement begs the question: does this investment of time in "sculpting a character" mean there's an associated lessening in character mortality? I'm not asking to be a d-bag, I'm just asking in order to preempt the more hardcore OSR types from getting their grognard comments in ;-)

Seriously, I'm all about style of play, but campaigns that encourage character building/design/ whatever-you-want-to-call-it often get the stink-eye from hardline OSR folks. I'm not one of those folks.
I am asking because I'm just curious. As for me, I enjoy letting characters be a little more hardy if the campaign is one of those types that might be called "character" or "story-driven." However, in those types of games, the characters CAN STILL DIE, but it usually means they did something really rash.
However, I'm getting more and more interested these days in a "traditional" old school D&D game, with the assumption that it is deadlier due to lower hit points, lack of balance concerns, the "letting the dice fall where they may/no dice fudging" attitude/expectation, etc.

ALSO however, I think the OSR worships character death way too much. Come on, folks. There are other fates in the game that can be worse than death: level drain, maiming, imprisonment, becoming outlaws, making powerful enemies, etc. What makes these worse than death? Players characters need to LIVE with these results of their actions. The onus is on the DM to impose these consequences on PCs in order to give characters hazards other than death. I think having threats other than death makes a campaign more of a living, breathing place, not to mention a more fulfilling experience.

Indeed, I would go so far as to say that a DM who focuses heavily on character death as a consequence is an unimaginative DM. A character living with consequences seems, to me, much more interesting.
Please let me know your thoughts on the matter of fates worse than death in RPGs, especially with regard to D&D (of course).

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday Inspiration: Ruins of Undermountain

I am not feeling it today, folks. Not. At. All. Not feeling the whole Monday morning, back-to-work thing. Shocker, right, coming from the RPG blogosphere's version of Garfield (if you don't know, I complain about Mondays fairly regularly here). Anyway, I went to game with Michael Curtis yesterday at All Things Fun in South Jersey yesterday, and had a great time indeed! I will write a post this week about the event, when I get a chance.

In the meantime, I'm staring at the image of the Ruins of Undermountain box set cover illo, to help me to slog through another Monday. That image never fails to inspire me. It just reeks of potential adventure waiting in the depths.

I really need to get a bumper sticker that says "I'd rather be roleplaying."

By the way, I've decided to start going by my real name here on the blog. Hi, my name's Anthony, and I'm addicted to roleplaying. Nice to meet you!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Where are Matt and Jeff?

Within the last few months, there have been those in the gaming blogosphere who have wondered if the OSR is losing least, the blogging end of the OSR. I've tended heavily toward disagreement with that assessment. Things seem alive and well to me. Yes, perhaps posting for many bloggers has slowed (Grognardia being one of those, which has caused no shortage of nervousness), but I don't think that heralds an impending doom. Popular opinion also states that the rise of Google+ has drawn folks away from the blog format. I'm sure there's some truth to that, but still, I don't see a Grim Reaper headed toward the RPG blogosphere.
However, of late something has grown more disturbing to me: the long silence at Jeff's Gameblog and Mythmere's Blog. Does anyone know how things are going for Jeff Rients and Matt Finch these days? I'm sure both of them are working on OSR projects, but still...when two pillars of the movement are so quiet, it's not hard for some to come to bad conclusions about the health of said movement. Anyway, any updates on how things are going for both of them would be appreciated. Thanks, all.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A blessed 2012 Samhain to you!

I hope all my fellow gamers out there in bloggerland have a great one, especially those hit by that bitch Sandy. May you all find a way to celebrate in some way.
NOTE: If anyone out there has found all of the RPGNow freebies this year, please share the secret of their locations, if you would be so kind!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dispatch from Disaster Area New Jersey

Hey all. I'm checking in from Southern New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and I have to say that my family and I are pretty fortunate. We never lost power, saw no flooding. We did, however, have a dead tree in our backyard topple onto and crush a part of our fence:

I woke up this morning to the sound of a chain saw...a chain saw that was very close to my house. My neighbor was already cutting limbs off of this thing. And of course, here's what I had to say to the hurricane:
However, we made out a lot better than many other folks across the state. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost much, much more than us. When I see images like the following, I can't believe what I'm seeing:
That image, of what amounts to the entire track system of a roller coaster swept out into the ocean, is just a small tasted of the devastation that was inflicted upon the coast of my state. This puts my little tree problem into much-needed perspective. Again, my family and I are very fortunate, and we feel great sadness for those who are much less fortunate.
To all my fellow gamers in New Jersey and surrounding states, I hope you are safe and sound. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

TBBYANR: Dicechucker

Tim over at The Other Side posted recently about "The Best Blog You Are Not Reading" (TBBYANR), which is apparently a series of posts that he has featured on his blog. He likes to profile blogs with 40 or less readers to give them some "air time" and get the word out about them.
Tim has asked that others take up the cause, so I'm doing my part to help!
So, I would like to tell you about DICECHUCKER! This blog is authored by Joel Rojas, and he seems to be a fine fellow! While just a few posts into his OSR blogging career, he's diving right into the subject matter. How, you ask? Well, he decided to run the good old S1: Tomb of Horrors! That's the spirit!

So, I recommend that you do like I do, and keep a keen eye on what unfolds at Dicechucker!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Michael Curtis coming to my neck of the proverbial woods...

That's right, folks! Michael Curtis, of Stonehell Dungeon and Dungeon Alphabet fame, is coming to the awesome All Things Fun! store on Sunday, November 4th! Go here (Michael's blog) and here (the All Things Fun! event page) for more details.

I have to say I'm really excited for a number of reasons. Of course I'm probably preaching to the choir here, and I'm sure you know who he is already. But anyway, Michael is a prominent figure in the old-school gaming scene because of the body of work he's produced. It looks like he'll be running a game session to take players through one of his latest creations, the DCC RPG module "Emirikol Was Framed!"

I can't wait to meet one of the people behind the old-school movement, and maybe have time to chat about the OSR, his upcoming projects, etc. And I also cannot wait to finally play DCC RPG! You know what this means?! I GET TO USE THOSE FUNKY ZOCCHI DICE I BOUGHT! Nice!

This should really be a fun time. Ok, I'll stop with the gushing now. If you can make it, I would love to meet anyone who's been reading my blog. Thanks to the incredible proprietors of All Things Fun!, Ed and Dina Evans, for setting up this event! It should be a great time! I'm planning on taking some photos and blogging about the event afterwards.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On the Near Horizon: Barebones Fantasy RPG and Heroes & Other Worlds

Anyone heard about this yet? Yep, another game system coming down the pike to join the ever-swelling ranks of RPGs from which to choose. At least there wasn't a friggin' Kickstarter for the thing, thank the gods.

I'm definitely more interested in getting a look at Barebones Fantasy RPG than I am with Delving Deeper. Ho hum, Delving Deeper is even closer to OD&D rules than Swords & Wizardry. Oh boy!

Oh, and have you heard of Heroes & Other Worlds RPG? If not, check that out as well. Should be interesting, too. Again, no friggin' Kickstarter, can I get an amen to that?

Friday, October 19, 2012

So What's With the Basic D&D Classes?

OK, I've found some time to blog today, the eve of my birthday! Seems appropriate that I should have this little bit of luxury today, eh? Anyway, some thoughts occurred to me last night and I wanted to put this out there for the gaming blogosphere think tank, to get some comments back (I hope). I'm looking for people more steeped in D&D's creation lore than I am.

So, it seems the common wisdom regarding the Classic/Basic D&D classes is that there was no attempt to give them balance. Is this something that was confirmed by Gygax/Arneson? This whole thing seems counter-intuitive to me. It appears that, when looking at the classes, a party should really have a mix of classes, including the demi-humans. I mean, sure, you have the human classes that all serve distinct purposes. But I have to think that the demi-humans were in there for a reason other than to give people more fantasical character choices.

The inclusion of demi-humans, to me, takes away from the argument that Gygax wanted a human-centric game. I'm not as familiar with all the ins-and-outs of the demi-human classes, but I think they generally have better saves (especially the halfling), right? And the elves are the ur-version of the fighter-magic user combination in the D&D system, correct? Sort of the first occurance of dual-classing in the game, right? And sure there's the ability to see in the dark, being better at finding hidden doors, etc.

I guess what I'm saying is that I think the game's creators wanted players to see ALL the Basic classes as viable options, and therefore all the classes can play integral roles in a party. Some blog posts I've read over the last couple of years seem to poo-poo the demi-human classes as being bastardized versions of the human classes (with the exception of the cleric, which doesn't have a demi-human counterpart) that were shoehorned in so that the game would have more "fantasy" to it. I find it hard to believe that Gygax/Arneson would put the demi-human options into the game if they weren't intended to be of equal value during play. I think seeing the non-human classes as being second fiddle to the human classes is wrong-headed.

Now, I could be totally wrong. Maybe there's a Gygax interview out there where he explicitly states that the demi-humans were sort of bolted onto the game at first (in OD&D/the LBBs?) and then became solidified as the system was edited/revised.

So, there's my bit of rambling for the day. Sometimes I shock myself with how little I know about D&D lore. Any insight is appreciated. If there's a good blog post that someone's already written about this, please let me know. Don't want you all to have to reinvent the wheel to answer my questions.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Blogus Interruptus

I'm beat, folks. The orcs have stormed the walls. As depicted above, the giant got a good shot on me with the old club. The giant's name? Life. T'is the season for me to get outflanked by, well, everything. It always seems to happen around my birthday (coming up this weekend). I've got a lot of iron in the old forge fire these days, and I've finally reached the breaking point. The anvil has cracked, and I'm searching for a new one. Until I find a new one, things will have to be sacrificed. The first victim, unfortunately, is the blog.

I will post when I can, folks. I can promise no more. I hope you'll stick around. Once the current assault on my free time abates and the smoke clears, I am planning on returning to a more regular posting schedule. I know there's a couple of trolls currently wandering the gaming blogosphere who are giving people grief for not posting as much as they used to. They can piss off. Real life trumps all, if you're a sane adult.

I have to prioritize even more these days. Since I started this blog, I've promised myself that actual gaming would always trump blogging about gaming. With my limited time getting even more, er, limited, I'm transferring all remaining time to the table-top. My prayer is that things won't get even more limited, and therefore cause me to suspend even my gaming activities.

I give you my promise that the blogging fire is still strong, but time is not a luxury right now. So, I'll be focusing on rolling the sacred polyhedrals. Again, if time permits, I'll be posting here and there for the rest of the year. Once things alleviate, I'll pick up the pace. In the meantime, I hope you'll stick around for what is sure to come.

Until then, happy gaming!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The System Mastery Grail

I want to "master" a system. A roleplaying system, to be precise.

I read a certain post over at The RPG Corner a while back, and it's been on my mind ever since.

What do I personally mean when I talk about mastering a system? For me, the ultimate type of system mastery would be memorization of nearly all the core rules of a system. I have a strong desire to be an "encyclopedia" of a system, or should I say a living "core rulebook."

Now, this isn't because my ideal game system would have a rule for every situation, or that I think all players and GMs should strive to memorize a system. Memorization is NOT a prerequisite for good roleplaying. This is just a particular quirk of mine, I suppose. I have always been most comfortable at the table-top when I could rattle off rules without having to refer to a book or a referee screen.

Right now, I feel like I have a different, "lesser" type of system mastery when it comes to Castles & Crusades. I may not have every character class ability or racial ability memorized, for example, but I have a solid grasp of the core mechanics for ability checks, saving throws, combat, and the like. And this, to me, is perfectly fine and is more than enough for me to run a good game.

BUT I would REALLY love it if I could muster up the time and brain power these days in order to memorize character class abilities, racial abilities, poison creation rules, etc.

I am currently not what I would consider a "living core rulebook" for any system. Perhaps in my teenage years I was a near-master of AD&D or the Palladium RPG system. But this is just not possible for me at this point in my life, at least not when it comes to games like Castles & Crusades.

But of course, in typical "me" style, that darn system mastery urge won't go away.

So I've been looking at Basic D&D (B/X to be precise) as my most likely candidate for system mastery. I think the rules are short enough for me to have a good shot at memorizing most of them. And more importantly, it's D&D and I've got years of using that system under my belt.

But it seems that system mastery may come at a price: most likely, mastering a system takes all of one's mental and temporal gaming resources (or at least, this will be the case for ME). So forget about becoming similarly erudite in any other system. Unless you have unlimited free time (that's not me), have an eidetic memory (my memory is still pretty good, but not photographic by a long shot), or some combination of the two.

Now, combine all this with my sometime-desire to run games in genres other than fantasy, such as cyberpunk, post-apocalypse, Cthulhu mythos, etc. This makes me think it would behoove me to master a more "universal" game system that lends itself more readily to different genres of play. Yes, yes, you can of course remove the fantasy from the D&D engine if you tried, but that's just more work for which I don't have time.

The only universal game system with which I have current experience is Savage Worlds. I suppose the Palladium system is universal, but I've got a "been there, done that" relationship with Palladium from my teen years and I really have no interest in picking it back up. I've never played GURPS, but I've dabbled in the rule books and was never really drawn to it.

So would the solution for me be to dedicate myself to mastering a simple-enough universal system, so when I get the genre "switch itch" I wouldn't have to change game systems as well? That is appealing, not having to learn a new system all the time, as well as not having to ask players to learn new systems.

Anyway, here are some questions for you:

1. What would you define as system mastery?

2. How important is system mastery to you?

3. Is there a system (or systems) that you can confidently say you have mastered, or that you would like to master?

A final thought: all of this makes me wonder if the system mastery desire is part of the reason many OSR gamers, especially GMs, seek to create their own versions of the old D&D systems. A system that you tweak yourself may, by extension, become one that you know very well.

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

Monday, October 1, 2012

Film Review: Game of the Year

I watched the mockumentary entitled "Game of the Year," and I have to say that overall it was not bad. I guess that's not necessarily a ringing endorsement. While the film had its moments, I felt there was something missing. I'll try to elaborate on this feeling by the end of this review.

Ok, initial impressions included "it's cool that someone made a film we can add to the small pantheon of D&D/RPG-related movies." I also thought "it's awesome that the DVD cover is a play off of the old D&D module covers."

Then I started watching. The film's premise is that there's an RPG reality show called Game of the Year. It's sort of a Survivor for roleplayers, right down to a slogan of "Strength, Wisdom, Dexterity" replacing "Outwit, Outplay, Outlast." I thought the whole concept was pretty clever and funny. Roleplaying groups selected for the show compete to win the privilege of running a game company for a year. I have to say it I found myself wishing there really was such a reality show. It would be the only reality show I would watch, as I normally hate the genre.

It occurred to me, however, that the criteria for selecting a winning team for Game of the Year are never clearly defined in the film. What are the contest's judges looking for? How well a group plays together? That seems really subjective. Do they want the most messed up, drama-filled group, or the most cohesive? This omission of contest details was baffling.

As the film went on, I found myself thinking "I wish they would have played some of the characters straight, rather than reaching for comedic moments based on gamer stereotypes." Especially the GM character, Richard, who sometimes came off as that cliched "goofy and bumbling nerd" type. And what's with the clothespins holding stuff onto his screen? Lame. I can't take this guy seriously!

Overall, I felt that there was some excessive stereotyping with regard to most of the characters. Now, I expected the film to offer up a bit of education for those not familiar with gamer archetypes. But I couldn't help but feel that the character's behaviors came across as a bit heavy handed. Again, this was especially evident with the character of Richard, who I saw as the central character/linchpin for the whole story.

There were definite moments where I said to myself "I wouldn't pick this team to win a reality TV show." I have to admit that I found them sort of annoying. Maybe it wasn't just the characters themselves, but something about the tone of the film. The characters seemed, I don't know...sort of desperate all the time.

Which leads me to my biggest question: who is the intended audience of the film?

Was it just a love letter to gamers? I don't think the creators wanted it to cater just to roleplayers. Perhaps they wanted to make it a hybrid, with nods and inside jokes/references for gamers but also accessible to non-gamers?

But if non-gamers are to be part of the audience, then I think the movie served to reinforce bad stereotypes instead of showing that gamers really are normal folks. I think the film makers were attempting to tread a fine line between respect for gamers/the roleplaying hobby and lampooning gamers/the hobby, and they didn't really succeed.

The "linchpin" Richard says at the film's end that (I'm paraphrasing) "people think gamers are normal and solid and stable, but in reality we have problems just like everyone else." I am not so sure outsiders to the hobby think that gamers are normal and stable, with their act together and priorities straight. On the contrary, I think that the wider world has bought into the view of gamers as nerdy losers who shirk adult responsibility (i.e. "still live in their parent's basement") and who can be a bit unstable (i.e. "always living in a fantasy world of elves and goblins"). If the film was supposed to argue against these viewpoints, I think it missed that opportunity.

All of this made me wonder if the film makers really had a good idea of what gaming is all about, be it shared storytelling, expressing creativity and imagination, escaping from reality, having a good time with friends, or even getting in some good old hack and slash. There were moments where I, as a gamer, wondered at the decisions made by the creators, and thought that perhaps the creators weren't themselves gamers. This just seems like a film that should have been made by gamers. If the creators are in fact roleplayers, then their creation missed the mark, IMHO, when it comes to a fully-accurate depiction of roleplayers as more than just the stereotype.

I think the film is worthy of a gamer's time, for its nods to the hobby. But I am wary of putting this forward as a good film to introduce non-gamers to the realities of the hobby and being a roleplayer. The film is just too vague and, frankly, "bipolar" about the subject matter that I fear non-gamers would come away from it even more confused about what roleplaying is really like. Or worse yet, those who may be cynical toward the hobby may find their cynicism amplified.

What I would really love to see, someday, is a film that is an actual documentary showing how there are gamers out there like me: a regular guy with a real life, a person who has a typical adult life (and all accompanying responsibilities and duties) and finds time to roleplay. If there's such a film out there already, please let me know! Because, sure, there are the fatbeards and catpissmen that non-gamers would mock as typical RPG nerds. But when will someone portray the RPG hobby as being peopled by a diverse cross-section of lifestyles?

More Thoughts on Game of the Year (Spoiler Alert!)

The following are some other thoughts that came up while I was watching the film (WARNING - what follows may be considered spoilers):

Ew, someone said "five foot step" during a game session. The old schooler in me cringed.

Is is just me, or were they using a strange mix of books from different D&D editions and other game systems at the table? That's weird to me, but I guess it wouldn't phase a FLAILSNAILS player. Seriously, there was a moment when I saw someone using a Conan RPG screen with D&D 3rd Edition books on the table. What's that about? This is one of the things that made me wonder about the gaming pedigree of the film makers and who the film was geared toward. Wouldn't real gamers watching the film notice such a thing and question why a hodgepodge of different game system materials were used all at once?

I thought the portrayal of the married couple's troubles was a bit over the top. They were way too angry over a game, IMHO.

The camera work in the film is a bit too much on the choppy side. I know that shaky camera style is supposed to be new norm, but it can be done wrong.

Wow, am I jealous of this group's game collection! You have to see it to believe it. Shelves upon shelves of game books, board games, etc. A thing of beauty...

I think they definitely nailed the awkwardness that arises when you are in a new roleplaying group. The scenes where players were trying to find new gaming groups to join were spot on.

It was a funny idea for the players to put their hands on their heads to indicate when they were speaking out of character.

I thought the love triangle aspect was a bit hackneyed. The way that several male characters were smitten with the female character Jennifer seemed like a rehash of the old "gaming nerds are desperate to get girlfriends" cliche.

The Gary Elmore (heh heh, his name is like Larry Elmore) character was funny, with his over-the-top, confrontational, frustrated novelist style of DMing.

So, the character of the "cool" roleplayer that doesn't want his girlfriend to know he's a gamer goes to a con? That might tip her off, eh?

The deleted scene where they play Axis and Allies is great. The Asian guy who is always asked to play Japan? Even though he is actually Philippino? Good stuff.

The deleted scenes were some of the best stuff on the disc, actually. The trip to the Miniature Market store was a highlight. The special features in general were great, such as the short film called "The Game."

Friday, September 28, 2012

Can a fella get a barbarian horde over here?

It's Friday after a busy week in the life of yours truly. And I'm feeling disgusted by our little "civilization" here in the United States. I am tired of the mewling and whining and excuses from mollycoddled weaklings. These weaklings are weak mostly in spirit. Why? Because the culture promotes backstabbing, finger pointing, brown nosing, and the like...all of which are the last resort of those unwilling to do right by their fellow citizen. Because doing right is hard work, and the corpulent and lazy in power can't be bothered with hard work. The lickspittles are in charge. The land is rife with fearmongering.
Conan was right to mock civilization. It allows criminals and cowards to take advantage of things by manipulating and corrupting the systems of government, finance, etc. The actions of the snivellers and villains may not often be illegal in the eyes of the law, but they are not moral. Those with a moral compass suffer because they do not seek to gain advantage over others through deception.
I so want a horde at my disposal today. I want a tide of furious folk who are untainted by my civilization's corruption to sweep away the old and broken order. And if I can't get that in reality, I sure wish I could get it at a table-top somewhere right now. Either way, I need me some so-called "barbarians."
As Walt Whitman might say, "Yawp!"

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Game Table Traditions: The Crown Royal Dice Bag

Roll to save versus intoxication...
I'm sure many of you have had these make an appearance at your game table: a Crown Royal bag used to carry dice...and usually a lot of dice, at that.

I'm curious: where did this tradition begin? Was it something that came about in one gaming group and spread across the whole RPG community? Or did the use of these bags spontaneously arise among multiple groups with no connection to each other? On the surface, it's not surprising that gamers would gravitate toward using these bags. Purple is after all a color oft associated with royalty (thus its use in conjunction with a product called "Crown Royal"). Add to that the "royal" velvet fabric and you have a ready-made dice bag fit for a monarch! Not to mention that those who like to collect hoards of polyhedrals probably could not find a bigger container as beauteous as this bag!

I wonder, though: was there also a bit of the rebellious about the use of such bags, something that goes beyond mere utility and the royalty gravitas? Was there something about the fact that the bags once contained a bottle of an alcoholic substance? I can see this being a selling point for underage gamers: "Yo, look what I got my hands on! This used to hold a bottle of WHISKY! Yeah, I'm the man."

At any rate, one of the guys I current game with has one of these bags exploding with a mountain of dice! It's awesome, and brings a smile to my face every time I see it.

Please, dear reader, share your own experiences at the table involving this beloved purple bag!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Feeling Disconnected from Roleplaying

Yeah, I'm suffering from withdrawal. I'm going to miss game night again tonight, after a couple weeks in a row of RPG goodness. Just getting slammed by work, ramping up the kids for the new school year, refinancing our mortgage, home repairs, on and on and on.

All of this has me feeling like I'm clinging to my current roleplaying career by a thread. I'm not giving up, but I'm also feeling a bit stretched. I haven't been able to give my roleplaying efforts (specifically my GMing efforts) a goodly amount of my brain power for some time now. And it's frustrating as all hell. Even my blog posting is down. That's what I get for having my priorities straight, right? ;-)

I'm feeling a bit dissatisfied by my GM performance of late. I am not being too hard on myself about it, but I'm lamenting the fact that I can give the level of detail I want to the setting: I'm using the Greyhawk world, and it has so much potential to be a rich and deep setting, of course.

I could be off base, and I'm sure my players will tell me different. And I know there's more to a campaign than injecting setting flavor into player's minds. But I always hold myself up to a high standard, and my current efforts (to my perception) are not able to make the rich Greyhawk setting more than just another medieval Europe-style campaign world.

Ok, that's enough bellyaching for now. Thanks for listening as usual. Now back to the grind...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Numenera and The Kickstarter Blues

(First, apologies. I had no intention of my last post being the only thing from me for over a week. I know the world must have stopped turning without me ;-)
So I did it. I put in a pledge for Monte Cook's Numenera RPG Kickstarter. Anyone else chip in for this bad boy? The project garnered over $500,000 for the love of Gygax! I'm pretty excited, it seems like a really cool project and I'm glad to have made my own humble monetary contribution. And, as Monty said in a video that he made after the end of the Kickstarter to thank the backers, (I'm paraphrasing here) the amount that was raised and the number of backers (well over 4,000) show that the rumors of the death of RPGs is greatly exaggerated.
However, amid the anticipation, I am sort of upset with the Kickstarter process. Why? Well, originally I pledged $60, but then decided to change my pledge to $50 for several reasons that I won't go into. Anyway, the Kickstarter ended and I received a message that there was a problem with my transaction. I am using a prepaid card with just under $60 on it. Well, I thought that wouldn't be a problem since I changed the pledge to $50. However, Amazon Payments, the service that is the Kickstarter default, didn't seem to get the memo. They're still trying to charge me for the original $60 pledge.
Has anyone run into this problem? I've tried to contact Kickstarter, Amazon, and Monte himself. No responses as of yet. I know what you might say: just change the payment to another card, right? Well, I'd much rather use up this prepaid card I have on hand. The rest of my budget is really tight...yes, even for $10. This is because of all the other RPG purchases I've made of late.
Advice in this matter is welcome, folks.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The first cool breaths of Autumn...

...have blessed the East Coast of America today, my friends! Their soothing caress has even served to alleviate my normal Monday blues, miracle of miracles. Thus begins my favorite season, friends. Though in recent years, due to climate change no doubt, I feel as if the season is getting all too short, with Autumn shifting to the bitterness of winter all too swiftly. Ah, but I am determined to enjoy every Fall day this year, and not squander them as I have in years past.
I look forward to the pumpkins (giant ones have already appeared in the local grocery store), my October birthday, Halloween (and I don't even mind the fact that Halloween paraphernalia started appearing in stores during the last days of August...though I've balked in the past at how early Halloween was being pushed by retailers, it's actually cool that the holiday is "celebrated" for about two solid months). I'm going to be reading scary stories to my daughter's first-grade class in late October, and of course there's going to be hikes in the woods, pumpkin picking, and all the other goodness that comes this time of year.
Can you tell I feel rejuvenated already? Here's hoping no more heatwaves are in out future, eh? Anyway, hope there's some touches of Autumn already hitting your area, where ever you may dwell!

The Elmore cover art for Dragons of Autumn Twilight