30.12.13

Gaming for charity?

Can roleplaying help people?

15.11.13

Writing Progress

A cool, and quite thematic, photo by alexkerhead.
Some of you may, or may not, know that I am a writer. Well now you know.

One os my short stories, Priorities, is going out to various magazines (one at a time mind you, since alot of magazines dont do simultaneous submissions. They are usually pretty quick about getting back to you though). If you like  storys about horrible hosptials and redemption with a zest of overpopulation, I suggest you check it out if it gets picked up.

Copper Bracelet is one of my longer short stories (11,000 words) and is soon to be looked at by my editor (my wife). Its takens a while (3 years) to write, but Copper Bracelet was the first real story I have worked on, save for one somewhat futury childrens story that did. With that story, I'm trying to make a spec-fic piece (involving something like superpowers) as literary as possible, without gettign wierd and pretentious. I'm reading David Sedaris' Children Playing before a Statue of Hercules for the literay parts.

That futury children's story, Dome of Flowers, might be getting a revision soon, and I'll try to send it out again.

Finally, I would like to mention that I may publish some of my really short works here on the blog, just becuase I can guaruntee the exposure, how ever large or small it may be at the time.

I will keep you all posted both here on my blog and on my Facebook Page about how I'm doing as a writer.

13.9.13

IDG Connect claims Tolkein would be new media maestro if alive today

Would J.R. have made You tube videos, Wikis, Tweets, Video Games and PDF only Roleplaying games based off his most loved work?


My comment repsonse to an intriguing article by IDG on the infulence of Tolkien on the digital age.

10.9.13

Day Seven - 30 Day D&D Challenge 2013: A funny story about editions...

The 7th post of the 30 Day Challenge. I heard about this through The Other Side Blog. Cred for the origonal idea goes to Polar Bear Dreams and Stranger Things.


Day Six - 30 Day D&D Challenge 2013: The Infulence of the Gods

Bow down and give tithes unto the 6th post of the 30 Day Challenge. Remember, we see lots of Washingtons and Lincolns in the collection plate, but Benjamins are welcome too! I heard about this through The Other Side Blog. Cred for the origonal idea goes to  Polar Bear Dreams and Stranger Things.

Day 6: Fave God



"I am the Law!" from Deities and Demigods  3.5
That would be St. Cuthbert, easily.

St. C does it for me mostly becuase I'm a DM, and Cuthbert is such a wonderful god for me to use.

I got instant hardline oppresion regime when he steps out into politics, without being too evil and drawing up that kind of mess. His dogma creates the perfect law-enforcement for hire industry, where kings and princes can take out big-money contracts to make use of their military trained clerics, paladins and knights to enforce order in their land, for good or ill. Cutherbertians are just the type of people to hear about a city overflowing with thievry and corruption, assemble a expeditionary force (containing one or more PCs), gahter funds from other churches and interested nobles, and police a nation thousands of miles away for no other purpose than creating just a bit more order in the world. These guys could maintain magical prisons, build dungeons to house artifacts of chaotic power, own flotillas of astral carracks to battle sladdi...

I love gods that have active congregations, becuase as we know in human history, relgion can get people to do crazy stuff. Stuff so crazy, it just might work in my game...

6.9.13

Cool Witch Supplement out now!

UPDATE 09-10-2013 The book won't be out till October it seems. Again, perfect H-day present!

Excuse me for a quick interruption of my 30 Day challenge festivites.

This looks awesome, frankly, but I highly suspect that it is as full of substance as it is style. Timothy S. Brannon, who I consider to be an expert on representing witches and their craft in RPGs, brings us another great supplement on witches: this tome is titled Eldritch Witchery, built for Jason Vey's Spellcraft and Sorcery rpg from Elf Lair Games.




Grab it on Drive Thru RPG. Perfect present for halloween, no doubt.

Day Five - 30 Day D&D Challenge 2013: Dice pun!

Short posts aint got no reason to live! Here's the knee-high 5th post of the 30 Day Challenge. I heard about this through The Other Side Blog. Cred for the origonal idea goes to  Polar Bear Dreams and Stranger Things.

Day 5: Favorite Dice

Here's my old bag o' dice. They are a motely crew of multicolored, battle worn peices. These are not your well trained regulars, with their sqare button to keep them from wiping their noses and their phenomenal discipline and pagenrty. No, these are the mercenaries, the rebels, the hometwon milita of rag-tag bandits. Theses are the kind of die that may roll a couple of single digits here and there or even the not terribly uncommon one after a long night of carousing, but these are the kind of die that will drop a 20 for ya in a pinch. Loyal through and through these rough riding ne'erdowells are!

And no, I make no apologies for the bag!

My favorite individual die is this guy. He's wierd, being a sort of double 10 in dodecahedron form, but he's a cool die. And yes, he came out of the bag on a 1: haters be damned.

Here's old blue. I have no idea where he came from, or where he's been. He's just an old double 10 is all...


Day Four - 30 Day D&D Challenge 2013 - All the world's a stage.

The anticipation and liberty of worldbuilding thrills me endlessly.
Landscapeby ~JoeDiepstraten at www.deviantart.com
They just .... don't.... DIE; here comes the shambling 4th post of the 30 Day Challenge. I heard about this through The Other Side Blog. Cred for the origonal idea goes to  Polar Bear Dreams and Stranger Things.

4. Favorite D&D setting.

To tell the truth, I have only played as a PC a handful of times and never played more than two sessions into a campaign. I stand in solidarity with the bridesmaid: always a dungeon's master, never a dungeon crawler.

Also, I haven't ever ran any campaigns in an established setting. I'm a cheap player, so I never bought any setting tomes. I have always run homebrews.

Yet even if I had all the jingle in the world burning holes in my pocket, I still probably play in those published worlds (except Gamma World, maybe). The sheer power trip of being able to say "I made this" is too delicious and the opportunity to experiment is too tempting.

Plus I get to brag about what I built in this months blog challenge! Here’s the plug:

My  world is called Nexus, named after the dark god who created it. His godling children constantly vie for the worship of the mortals they helped to create; for many of them, their divine power, and their life forces, stems directly from worshippers. The good gods pool the faith of their followers into metaphysical wells, and energies naturally flow to paladins, clerics, mages, and items that meet those god’s written standards for “good”. The evil gods do the same, also handing out energies to those they collectively decide are “evil”. Chaos and Law, apart from the divine forces of holy and unholy, regulate the flow of history throughout the world, while men and women serves as both pawns of the gods and rebels against those upstairs.

As far as the D&D setting I would LIKE to try, that question has an equally inappropriate answer: all of them! The one I want to try first though is Ravenloft. The idea of the very setting working against the players and making their lives tragic and short sound all types of exciting and scintillating.

I ask you: what NOT to love about this image? If only I could find a less grainy one... Clyde Caldwell's classic painting "Ravenloft".



5.9.13

Day 3 - 30 Day D&D Challenge: The High Class

Girl MONKby *el-grimlock on www.deviantart.com.
Copyright 2011 Paizon Publishing LLC (please dont sue me oh golem!)
And Lo, comes the 3rd post of the 30 Day Challenge. I heard about this through The Other Side Blog. Cred for the origonal idea goes to  Polar Bear Dreams and Stranger Things.

Day 3: Favorite playable class.


There are those adventurers who swing swords, those who pray for help, those who skulk, those who sing songs and finally those who do silly flips when they fight.

That doesn't do anything for me. 

Day 2 - 30 Day D&D Challenge 2013: The Amazing Race

Time is running out. Awesome cover art by Ciruelo Cabral, for Micheal A Stackpole's Fortress Draconis
Behold the 2nd post of the 30 Day Challenge. I heard about this through The Other Side Blog. Cred for the origonal idea goes to  Polar Bear Dreams and Stranger Things.

2. Favorite playable race

My favorite race is human, easily.

I have seen that many of my contemporaries agree that human is best for them, and I applaud their good taste. But while some enjoy humans for versatility, and others for the extra feat or faster XP in 3rd edition D&D, I play human because I like one of their more negative traits.

2.9.13

Day 1 - 30 Day D&D Challenge 2013: How it all began...

This is my first post in the 30 Day Challenge, brought to me by The Other Side Blog, brought to the Internet at large by Polar Bear Dreams and Stranger Things.

1. How you got started.

All of our stories begin with our mothers.

My story begins with a certain collector's edition of a video game, a game infamous in the gaming community...

30.8.13

Challenge accepted...

I'm not sure how many I will get to, but what the hell. Surely I can do one short post on each subject. Stole this idea from friend blogger +Timothy Brannan at The Other Side Blog.

In the parphrased words of the Dwarven Mortar team in Warcraft III (the RTS foo!)....

"Let's get ta typing!"

The Other Side blog: 30 Day D&D Challenge

7.8.13

Do you have to be a snob to play V:tM?

Do you ever insist on doing something you suck at, over and over again? Have you ever had fun doing it, even though you knew your going to fail? Ever feel so challenged by an endeavor that you become determined to conquer it, like its a weak spot in that must be exercised out of you?

That's how I feel about real-time strategy games, like Warcraft (the RTS) and StarCraft. I haven't played these games in ages, although you never know... I just might get that nostalgia bug and pick them up again.
However, I also this way about Vampire: the Masquerade, sort of. StarCraft and RTS's in general are frustratingly fun, yes, but pay note: I said I haven't played them in years, and don't really intend to. I do intend to play V:tM.

V:tM, for me, has the same frustrating addictive nature as writing. While I suck at writing, I have every intention and every confidence that I will not suck, one day. In the near future, you will pass by my name on the bookshelves and see me on Amazon. However, you may never, probably never, see me win it big at a StarCraft tournament.

And just as I fully intent to become a great writer, I have every intention of becoming an awesome V:tM player. Am I bad at roleplaying? Fuggles no! But, compared to all the other games I have played in or ran, V:tM is the hardest for me, mostly because of book quotes like this...

3.7.13

Old School

Nostalgia... hmm.





From Wiki: The term nostalgia describes a sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. The word is a learned formation of a Greek compound, consisting of νόστος (nóstos), meaning "homecoming", a Homeric word, and ἄλγος (álgos), meaning "pain, ache", and was coined by a 17th-century medical student to describe the anxieties displayed by Swiss mercenaries fighting away from home.

So, in a way Nostaliga is sort of an illness, a debilitation, something in between you and better health.

If you think about it, with all the people saying that you should "live for today" and live as if every day were your last", nostalgia (in the sentimental definition) is, indeed, a wrong way to think.

I agree... to a point.

I bring this up because, lately, I have been a "victim" of nostalgia. I looked at my old video games that I never finished and got all kinds of Velveteen Rabbit type feelings about them; "If I would only play with them, maybe they would come to life!". I figure a game that has been bought but never played is a form of waste (which is IMO the red headed cousin of the 7 cardinal sins). So in order to redeem myself, off I went, trying my damndest to find some way to play these old games.

Nostaliga is both a wonderful motivation and a terrible crutch, depending on context, and is lovely to abuse in writing and roleplaying. Vampires may be immune to all kinds of disease, but nostalgia may as well be ebloa for them. Imagine living so long that you have accumulated all manner of toys you have yet to play with: anything from books of science you never read, to tomes of black magic you never studied, swords that have never tasted blood, wood that was meant for a fine piece of furniture, etc. Even the most predicatble, stable long-lived creature (Tolkien-esque elves can suffer this as well, even in Shadowrun) can suddenly, without warning, quit their cushy CEO position to go become a professional fur trapper in the middle of Montana, just like they wanted to when they watched Jeremiah Johnson back in the 70's, just because they were cleaning out their attic one day.

The harder it is to "relive the magic" of a particular past-time or age, the harder people will need work to get it back. Groups of people can be nostalgic (OSR, the Old School Renaissance, is the gamer's strain of nostalgia), couples can be nostalgic ("Remember how you used to hold me, John? I do."), even entire nations can be nostalgic. Just sentiment for the past can be all the motivation your character needs. Bad guys are especially susceptible to nostalgia as a motivation.



Is there some bygone something, whether its a game, a fashion, a music genre, or a whole day and age that your sentimental about? If you are comfortable, tell us your age too.

I'll get started. I really got a hankering to finish Baldur's Gate II: Shadow's of Amn, and it would be wonderful to watch all my old anime from the millennia again. Im 27 yo.

23.1.13

What do I need to come up with an idea for a Chronicle in V:tM?


Photo Credits: ("Shh... this might hurt" by Carolyn Violet on DeviantArt)


All you need are two sentences.

This idea must establish the main character and who or what is causing trouble in her life, and perhaps alludes to some way to win. Here's a two liner for V:tM:

"On her first night on the job, a freshly graduated RN finds her first patient dead, utterly bone dry. She rushes to tell her doctor, reliving the trauma of watching both her parents waste way from their cancers and unaware that Dr. Halitz is waiting in his office, waiting for her to rush into his room and die in his hands, so that her real job may begin."   

Quickly, we establish the RN as the main character. Think a little further, an we find that a Registered Nurse is a designation of nurse with more schooling and status than a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) or a Certified Nurse's Aide (CNA). So before the game even starts you can have handful of characters, like rival RN looking for more attention, a naïve CNA that will so be a victim, a LVN that might have caught wind of what was going on, and maybe even a Head Nurse whom is closer to the Dr Halitz.

Dr. Halitz is obviously doing something bad at the hosptial. Is Dr. Halitz just using the hospital as his hunting grounds, or does he "charge admission" for other vampires to get blood (think in Kill Bill Vol. 2, where Buck sells comatose women's bodies to horny truckers). This can create a huge number of NPCs, since every "customer" has a story themsevles. What other minions does Dr. Halitz have helping him run his racket at the hospital (perhaps some meat-head orderly that help him dispose of bodies, maybe an accountant to keep track of the money). But more importantly, what kind of staff is Dr. Halitz lacking, and how can the RN be forced fill that role.  And another thing, how does the Prince of the city feel about this racket, or does he even know, or was it his idea and money (or blood) is flowing his way? What about Dr. Halitz's clan? Does he even have one?

The conflict the RN faces is obvious: will she get away from the Dr, and if she does will she be hunted down? She has obvious internal conflict too: she has a past that probably motivated her career choice (seeing cancer suck the life out of both her parents). If she becomes a vampire, how will her Vampirism conflict with this drive to help people? How quickly will her Humanity fall? (big time humanity rolling going on here), or will she have to change philosophies? What kind of vampire will she be, and how will she interact with her clan, or will she even have one?

A Vampire Doctor, a RN, a LVN, a CNA, one or two meat-head orderlies, an accountant, at least one "customer" and one prince (and his court which includes one Seneschal, at least one harpy, a few Primogen) make at least 9 characters. Man I wanna take off and run this myself...

Can you come up with more NPCs for this game? What other angles do you see coming out from this 68 word Chronicle starter?


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