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

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What's my hang-up when it comes to traditional D&D, eh?

I need to get something out. Maybe someone(s) out there can be my temporary RPG headshrinker... like a virtual Lucy van Pelt setting up her psychiatrist booth at a moment's notice, whenever there's a nickle to be earned from some Charlie Brown type.

I know I've written several posts recently about my internal flailings pertaining to D&D, but I felt like I needed more catharsis.

Anyway, here's my issue: I can't seem to shake the desire to do straight-up, traditional D&D. What I mean is, every time I think about running a sword & sorcery game using the Crypts & Things rules, or running a cyberpunk or post-apocalyptic future campaign using Savage Worlds, eventually something inside me moans "Oh but that's not D&D! You need to GM D&D!"

Am I fighting against simple inertia? What's my hang-up on D&D? I continually ask myself what I'm looking for, why I can't shake this feeling. What is the genesis of this yearning, this "fear" of branching out from D&D? Does anyone else out there feel this constant internal push to stick with the "original fantasy game?"

My latest yen is to run B/X D&D (with the B/X Companion and Complete B/X Adventurer from JB at B/X Blackrazor included) in the Dawnforge campaign world. It haunts me! Argh!

Look, I know most of you don't really know me and all the inner workings that make me an individual, so I know you can't really diagnose the specific origins of my obsession. I guess I'm just looking for a bit of "misery company." At the very least, you know that I struggle with Gamer ADD, and I'm sure that particular bogey man has something to do with this.

I am still relatively early in my return to the table-top after a long hiatus, so perhaps something inside me has determined that I am not yet done re-exploring my D&D roots, at least when it comes to being a game master. I currently have no problem being a player in games that are not D&D-centered. Therefore, I'm not sure how long it will be before I can run anything but D&D-esque games. There's also the fact of my life situation as a busy husband and father with full-time job and a mortgage, which lends a certain desperation to my gaming activities, as I have little time to prep and play RPGs.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. In the meantime, I'll be struggling internally...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lankhmar Daydreams...

It's Tuesday after Labor Day, so it might as well be Monday. *sigh* I'm SO happy to be back at work. Yeah, right.
Anyway, I've really been dreaming of late about running a campaign in the world of Nehwon, where the legendary Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser dwell, using the cool Crypts & Things variant of Swords & Wizardry. It would be my first sword & sorcery-type campaign, rather than "traditional" D&D with its inclusion of high fantasy tropes (Tolkienesque demi-humans, etc).
Questions for you, good folks, if you choose to respond and share: 
  1. Have you ever roleplayed in the world of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser? If so, please share something of your adventures.
  3. Have any of you used the Crypts & Things rules in any sort of game, and if so, how do you like them? 
I am itching to use the C&T rules, and I am reading the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories I have not yet finished. Good stuff all around. So here I am, daydreaming of Lankhmar, City of the Black Toga...
Ah well, someday I believe I will accomplish this goal. But for now, I slave at work, dreaming of when I can once again sit at the table-top with my fellow gamers (I have to skip game night this Wednesday due to school starting back up for the kids). Mourn for me, dear reader, and may you have more gaming luck than me this week!