Category Archives: Blogging

New Art For the Blog by Satine Phoenix

I’m super exited to share my new blog banners and icon/avatar by the talented +Satine Phoenix.

She gave me two versions of each, so I’ll have to put them on rotation, since I can’t decide which I like better. I really like how the image of the avatar is like an arrow pointing to the right. This fits right in with the left to right reading of the blog title.

You can see other examples of Satine’s work here. Her plate is very full, so allow plenty of lead time if you have a target date for art.

Be sure and watch Satine on her live play D&D (Eberron Campaign) show at Maze Arcana on Sundays 12-4 PST.

The new banners:

By Satine Phoenix
By Satine Phoenix
By Satine Phoenix
By Satine Phoenix

 

The figure in the avatar is from my favorite AD&D character, Griswald, and half-elf Cleric/Fighter/Magic-User, I have written about elsewhere on the blog. The shield design is based on one my brother, the DM drew. This gave rise, in game, to his nickname, “The Wolf”. My brother also taunted me with what I settled on for the title of this blog. Read more here, and here, and hear it here, where I attempt to emulate the way my brother says it.

Satine was also kind enough to record an introduction for my inactive YouTube channel at GaryCon 8 last year. Here’s the Blooper reel.

The new avatars:

By Satine Phoenix
By Satine Phoenix
By Satine Phoenix
By Satine Phoenix

Satine suggested the black background for a T-shirt. I’ll order and see how they look. Might be something I offer for sale in the future. Suggestions for online services that don’t require outrageous prices to make money on T-shirt sales are welcome.

I also engaged another busy artist for an art upgrade to the blog, and his preliminary sketch is so on target to what we discussed. I’m pumped to see his final work. I’ll announce who it is with the big reveal.

Blog Reorganization

I’m working on cleaning up the layout and presentation on the blog.

I’m moving and consolidating information from the right sidebar into pages. See links for pages at the top.

It’s a bit chaotic at the moment, and the information on the pages is in rough form. Trust me, I know it needs work.

I didn’t want to take the blog down while making these changes, so I didn’t have to deal with messages about it being down.

I’m debating whether or not to change the theme. However, organizing/cleaning up come first.

I plan to have a couple professional artists do up a new blog image for a rotation. One will be available soon, and the other will be sometime after the first of the year. SO COOL!

Seven Years – I missed it!

July 18 is the anniversary of this blog. This past July marked seven years since I started this journey.

I was reflecting on what to write about next, and the idea of “Why blog at all?” I have written about it before, My Take On Blogging About RPG’s.” I found re-reading that a good reminder of how I do things.

For me, blogging is as much about sharing my ideas as it is cataloging them for later. I touch on a variety of topics, and follow other blogs with ideas that interest me. Reading about how others do things gives me ideas and helps me to be a better player and GM. Interacting with those same people increases the circle of friendship and makes it a cool experience to finally meet and play together in real life at conventions.

I may take breaks from the blog when the well of ideas runs dry for the moment, or hectic times with work, or situations with family that require a change of focus.

I view this blog as the stake in the ground. It gives me a focus to come back to. It invites others to share my ideas and give me feedback. It is a tool that I find helpful. I can search it to find what I have written in the past and read it months or years later with fresh eyes. Even the limited writing I do helps scratch that itch I have to write.

I hope to keep blogging as long as I’m able to play RPG’s. I’m coming up on 39 years of playing D&D in the Spring. Four more decades of life with RPG’s sounds like a good time to me!

Still Alive

The blog’s been quiet for a few weeks. Real life is keeping me busy. Work is unusually hectic for this time of year. Also my oldest son and his family are moving out of state the weekend after July 4th, so I am helping as much as I can plus spending all the time I can with my granddaughter before then. She is about 18 months old and in the last few weeks started calling me Grandpa. It brightens my week to spend time with her. I wish I could afford the gas and hotel expense to drive 9 hours one way every weekend to see her…. I foresee a lot of Skype time in my future….

I had enough energy after work that I wrote and posted a new article on Multiverse, and I drafted two articles for this blog. I have an idea for another article for this blog and will get a draft started for that momentarily.

I’m going to Gamehole Con this year, so I’ll be getting signed up for some games ASAP. I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones, and meeting online friends in person!

500th Post!

500 Posts since I started this blog!

My G+ page has 199 followers and over 255,000 views! If I had a dollar for every view, I’d be out of debt with a huge chunk left over, and seriously thinking of retirement in ten or fifteen years, instead of twenty plus.

I really slowed down posting since the last week of July when I ran out of steam and time for daily posting. I would have hit 500 posts with daily posting the first or second week of August instead of the last.

Daily posting is a major challenge if your buffer of posts run out.

I have had a burst of daily posting the last few days because I went to one day of a con and had some other stuff I did that I posted about.

Doing reviews is also a  way to get a post done and forces you to engage your purchases.

I have some ideas that are too big for a post, other than a post to mention them; such as, a PDF/module/setting idea. Without the time required for sticking to a daily posting schedule, I have more ideas than just, “What can I blog about now?”

I did make some headway on organizing my campaign notes for doing a reset of my in person AD&D campaign online, but between work, keeping up with my yard, other commitments, and some outright just not doing it, it has not come together yet. I did add some links and information to my Roll20 Campaign, but I don’t quite have some things typed up that will speed things for players.

AD&D has been my preferred game for years, but I have in my mind that a lot more prep is needed. For an online game where you are not there to gauge your players, some aspects of improv just need a bit more for me.

It has me thinking if I want to use a different and simpler system for online play, like Delving Deeper or Swords & Wizardry. But for a different system, I would build a different campaign. I have played in a weekly online AD&D game that had session 71 last night, so I know I can handle it as a player, but takes just a bit more effort to DM.

I may also go with a different genre, and do Metamorphosis Alpha or White Star online. Part of me would like to do both, but my best days for doing that keep getting occupied. I think I need to re-think which day or days I might do this.

There is also a local game I play in that is looking to change days and times to be have more regular play. So until that is resolved, I will avoid starting a new game online with a set day and time. Why does the phrase, “Just do it.” come to mind?

So, I will post if an when I have something to review or discuss. The next 500 posts might take a long time….

OSR/RPG Mudslinging

I didn’t attend GenCon, but I watched some blogs going nuts with different bloggers complaining about other bloggers. Why can’t we play nice and turn on our brains and manners?

There were claims of misogyny in gaming, unworthy products winning Ennies, and lots of tearing down.

Here’s my take on RPG’s. There are some RPG’s that I know I won’t like, it is a genre thing. Some genres just don’t appeal to me. That doesn’t mean I hate or despise people who play those games, just those games aren’t for me. For some of those genres, if I played them with a familiar group that I felt comfortable with, I might have a good time, but wouldn’t find that at the top of my list to play.

I agree that it is good to get more people involved in gaming. People includes women. I like women. They make good friends and they see the world differently than I do. I will admit in the awkward teenage days, there were no women in our gaming group. I did not play RPG’s with women until college. I went to a university where women were in the minority, so the women were still a minority in games. I experienced my first male player with a female character in college. While I have never had a female character, I had not thought of running one until I experienced it. Nothing against women, I just never imagine myself pretending to be one. I am sure there are women who feel the same way about pretending to be a man in an RPG. As a DM, I have NPC’s that are women, but that is somehow different, since the DM is everybody and thing other than the PC’s.

That’s my clumsy attempt to say I like gaming with women. At Marmalade Dog back in February, we had one memorable woman gamer and she was a lot of fun to play with in RPG’s. There were two other women at Marmalade Dog in two different sessions of Homlet I ran. They were with their boyfriends, and were just as involved as the guys. One woman was way more into it than her boyfriend, and they were with the same regular weekly group they play with. I think the right environment and the right group of people make the situation more appealing to women. I am sure the GM has a big influence too. I have never played in an RPG ran by a woman. There has never been an opportunity. I know that one of the women I played with at Marmalade Dog will be GMing for the first time at UCon in November, so if her game doesn’t fill up too fast, I will sign up. However, just like with men, not everyone who is excellent at playing a character has the desired, motivation, and ability to be a competent GM. Until you try running a game and see what is involved, if you have played with skilled GM’s they can make it look easy. To a point it is easy, but the prep time and grasp of the material and scenario, and engagement of the players go a long way to making a good GM.

Side Note: Most of my hobbies are mostly followed by men, so it’s not a good place to meet single women. What women are involved tend to be girlfriends and wives of the guys. Sometimes they met through the hobby, or one or the other of them introduced the other to the hobby. Generally, it is the men who introduce the women to male dominated hobbies, but there are women who introduce men to it as well. I’m old enough that RPG’s were for boys and men, and Barbies and dolls were for girls. I’m not saying it was right or wrong, only the way it was. Women either need to jump in and do RPG’s, or be willing to participate when their boyfriends and husbands invite them to join in. Common courtesy should prevail. Don’t treat women like a piece of meat. If some players have poor social skills and so forth, the group should help that person along. Remember, it is a game, and it is supposed to be FUN!

As to the Ennies, I didn’t know what products were nominated until the blogs were buzzing about it during GenCon. To make Ad Hominem attacks against winners and throw public tantrums because someone won an award you don’t think they should have won is ridiculous.

If you don’t like the outcome of an award contest, don’t show your ass to the world. You don’t like someone’s profession, so you equate that with the quality of their award winning entry, that doesn’t make sense. Judge the entry by it’s own merits. Is the person a jerk to people online? Well, I don’t know him, and don’t follow all the drama. Just because he may or may not be a jerk to some people does not mean his product is crap. Is it a product that does not interest you, OK, that’s fine. You have a constructive criticism of the product. By constructive, I mean a comment that will add value to the discussion. I don’t have the product, I haven’t seen the product, I just know what I have read from others. Thus, I have no opinion on the product. NOTE: I know that some consider the art to be adult/pornographic.  If that’s your problem with this game, you better get busy and get all the magazines out of gas stations and stores, and movies and pictures off the internet. Those have a far wider audience than this game.

Sometimes the RPG blog community reminds me of high school, or in some cases preschool. Grow up and get a life. If you spent less time complaining about how bad things are with this or that person, RPG, supplement, etc. and put that energy into either making your own product, or playing more RPG’s then you would be happier.

The older I get, the more I realize that all these kerfuffles are just so much horse $&!#. They stink and some people throw it around like a monkey in a cage. Step out of your cage and look around. If you don’t have a cellphone, computer, or other internet active device, does anyone care that you don’t like something? People like that are the ones whose parents didn’t teach them good manners and the movie theaters have to spend all this time reminding people to turn off their devices so they don’t bother others. You are not the only person in the theater! The world does not revolve around you! What happened to common courtesy?

I think this is true of the world in general. With the internet we can make rapid posts of whatever is on our minds and blast people for not being in lockstep with our desires and beliefs. I know that if everyone was like me, the world would be a boring place. It takes all kinds. Live and let live. As long as someone is not trying to come into your house or on your personal page(s) on the internet and tell you how to live your life, why do you care?

The whole “outrage brigade” thing is a tempest in a teapot. Get over it. Will it matter when you are laying on your deathbed? When you are laying there taking your last breath, if you are still thinking about some dumb argument online, then you have a very small and lonely life. I know that I am working to have a great relationship with my sons and my granddaughter so that whenever I die, they will miss me, rather than be glad I’m gone.

I shouldn’t be surprised and amazed at how stupid, petty, and narrow minded people can be. It is part of the human condition. I don’t know any of these people, I just had this on my mind. I don’t have to post it, but I will. My hope is that someone will see this and realize that they are doing more to hurt others and the RPG hobby than they are to help.

If you think that the only way that the RPG hobby will be wonderful and grow is to only do things the way you think it should be, then you are leaving out a large segment of the population. There are games and genres I have no interest in. If RPG’s were done based on my interests, there wouldn’t be very many to choose from compared to how many there actually are. Is that the kind of reality you think the RPG hobby should have?

For crying out loud, we’re talking about a GAME! It is supposed to be FUN. Not everyone thinks the same things are fun. No problem, don’t do those things! END OF PROBLEM. No need to whine and complain and waste others’ time telling us how miserable your life is because you gave someone you don’t even know in real life the power to control your happiness. SMH. The only one responsible for your happiness and satisfaction in this life is you. The sooner you learn that, the sooner you will find happiness.

/EOL

I Failed My Save Vs. Kickstarter

You may have noticed that I ended my streak of publishing an article a day, my last post was for July 28. I thought I might finish out July with the daily run, but I did not try to come up with any ideas. When I quit trying, I soon had ideas for several posts. So, I will make notes on my ideas, and publish them as I get them finished. No rush. I found that I was spending more effort trying to maintain a daily post that I had little time for other RPG related stuff. So, I will publish something when I have an idea. I will spread them out, so the ideas I have on the back burner don’t all come at once.

So on to my giving in and supporting not one, not two, but three new Kickstarters. I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I was going to say no to new Kickstarters.

The first Kickstarter I gave into is the Remix Mini, Android based PC. I don’t really need another computer, but for the price, I can set up a PC in a different room, and use it for my entertainment PC, so I don’t have to sit in my office chair to watch movies. Not RPG related, but a neat project. This one has the biggest possibility to flop, due to its own success. $50 won’t break the bank, so why not?

Next is the new Metamorphosis Alpha Kickstarter, Epsilon City. I’ve been kicking myself since I talked myself out of the MA re-print Kickstarter last year, $80 seemed a bit much. For $65 I am getting Epsilon City and a softcover of the MA re-print. It would be cool if they had the GM screen as an add on. It is well past its funding goal with 30 days to go.

Finally, the Marmoreal Tomb Campaign Starter by  Ernest Gary Gygax, Jr. with Benoist Poiré. It funded in the first day, and has hit four of the initial seven stretch goals. I was happy that they got the Jeff Easley cover option. The goal just unlocked is for James Spahn to do a Science Fiction conversion. I hear that James knows something about science fiction RPGs. [I keed, I keed.] It has 30 days to go, so it could easily unlock all the goals, and perhaps add additional ones.

I don’t know if any other “must have” RPG kickstarters are coming. Knowing my luck, I am sure there are. I have resisted other cool Kickstarters, so I know I am mostly safe.

Of the four outstanding Kickstarters I am waiting on, the Grimtooth’s Traps just announced an update to the PDF and softcover copies of the printed book, so it is nearing completion.

The City State Kickstarter is aiming for a November fulfillment of the book. I believe that makes it a year late. They are still working on the miniatures, for those that ordered them.

The other Kickstarter only recently funded, and is on track.

The one I don’t expect movement is the documentary, due to the legal wrangling.

There was a lot of kerfuffle about rogue Kickstarters in the lead up to GenCon, but I won’t go into that here.

The thing to remember about backing a Kickstarter is to know who is running it and if they can handle it.