Category Archives: Blogging

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.

Thanks For Buying Stuff Through My Affiliate Links!

I signed into RPGNow to check out +Jame’s Spahn‘s new supplement for White Star, White Box Options: Psychic Talents. It’s less than $2.00 (1.99), so I figured I would use my accumulated credits to get it. Since this credits is not actual cash in the bank, I don’t feel bad about spending it. This first supplement from James was just announced yesterday and was in the top 8 at RPGNow at the time I wrote this the night before last. I’ve been trying to come up with my own ideas for psionics and not making much progress for something coherent.

I was amazed! It was $48.09! Holy fiduciary increase, Batman! Last time I looked it was less than$5.00. Once it got up to almost $10.00, but I spent it on a few things.

I just want to say thanks to everyone who has bought something through one of my affiliate links through RPGNow, DriveThruRPG, or D&DClassics. I will use the money to add to things that interest me, and will share my opinions in a review, as time permits.

Six Years!

Today marks six years since I started this blog, way back in 2009. I had 29 posts in July and August that year, most of my posts were about past experiences as a player, more of a player’s journal. I was reading blogs of all the various OSR bloggers, several of whom ceased to blog, and decided I wanted to record my recollections and ideas. I didn’t pay attention and only a few weeks ago realized that last year was the big 5. Lots of bloggers seem to do that – get surprised when they hit certain milestones of time or number of posts.

2010 and 2011 were completely ignored – no blog posts. I got divorced in 2010, and had a lot of other things going on for a while there. I managed to read a few of my favorite blogs, and some disappeared in that time frame.

In 2012, when I finally dusted off my campaign notes and started playing with my sons, I managed a post that mentioned it. I also managed a post about random directions. It even had some tables!

2013 was ignored again. I played a time or two with my sons, but was not in or running any other games, and wasn’t following RPG blogs much.

Finally in January, 2014, I read about the D&D 40th Anniversary Blogging Challenge, so I signed up. Something about it being the 40th anniversary of D&D and my 36th year since I started with Holmes Blue Box, lit a fire. I posted blog posts in every month except January and September. My posting slowed in the summer when I was outside enjoying the short period of warm weather and sunshine we get in southwest Michigan. 2014 saw 226 posts, that’s almost 62% of the year. I hit 100 posts on March 17th, 2014.

I managed 27 posts in November, 2014 when I also participated in NaNoWriMo and over 60,000 words on a first draft of a novel. When I drafted this article in late March, I still had not written the last few chapters so I can start the second draft. I slowed to 8 posts in December, as it is the start of my busy time of year at work. [I still have to finish that first draft….]

January, 2015 saw 10 articles posted, and I started posting daily on January 28th. I reached 300 posts on March 4th., and 400 posts on May 9th. I did not pay attention to what my 200th post was.

So here I am, six years, almost 480 posts, an infrequent AD&D game with my sons, a Wednesday night AD&D G+/Roll20 game that has been going since March, 2014, and have played the last few sessions in +Roy Snyder’s DCC campaign. I have made a few contributions to the OSR and participated in some contests, and collaborative efforts. I ran my first session at a convention, made some new friends. Some I see somewhat regularly, and others I touch base with online.

I look forward to more games, more cons, more friends, and sharing and learning online!

 

Treasure Needed

Why can’t the real world be more like D&D? I’ve been helping my son and his family and have some funds tied up that I could be spending on fun stuff. What I need is a dungeon to loot and get rich enough to not have to work for awhile.

So I have to cut back on some purchases, like Mythoard, and buying stuff online as it strikes my fancy. I need to make sure I have the funds for the two conventions I plan to attend in the Fall, Con On the Cob, in Ohio, and UCon, in Michigan.

I will have fewer reviews of new stuff. I guess that means I need to finish up reading things I have bought recently and get my reviews posted. I will have more time, now that my son and his family are not living with me. Not seeing my granddaughter every day and enjoying her smile is tough, but they’re close enough I can visit every day, if I wanted.

I’m looking forward to a slow weekend in a few days, when I don’t have to travel for work, or help do a move.

I’ll be doing a staycation the weekend after this coming weekend, so I can get more done on getting my AD&D campaign ready to go for online play. Hopefully, getting caught up on some projects around the house doesn’t take up too much time.

The Growing List

As with much else in life, I find that the things I want to do related to RPGs and the new ideas that come into my head keep growing, and the available time to focus on those ideas is shrinking.

I have found that my summer “TV” watching is much less than the rest of the year. I don’t have regular TV, and only watch shows that I can get on the free version of Hulu, NetFlix, and YouTube. This is good, since I also spend more time outside, when Michigan finally thaws.

Coming to a focus on an article for today seemed harder than usual. I persist in writing a daily article for this blog, because I made a commitment to do so at the end of January. So far, I have not missed a day, since I decided to blog every day.

Some days and article seems like a stretch, and other days, I am able to write multiple articles in one go and schedule them out.

It has been chaotic around here the last few weeks, and traveling for work, trying to keep up with mowing my yard and weeding my garden, and recovering from a summer cold seem to have tapped out my creative reserves. I managed to build up enough posts to get me through last week when I had to go out of town for work, but for the last few days, I have been getting in a blog on the day it’s due. A few times it has been minutes before midnight when I post the final draft.

I won’t stress it, if I don’t have something to write about. I want to add value to my readers, not just drone on and one with no real point.

I have some half formed ideas for some tables and other ideas, but nothing worthy of sharing. For some reason, distilling tables down to their essence and making them a quick and easy to use tool, I struggle. Sometimes the struggle is coming up with multiple pieces. Sometimes the struggle is completing the idea. I have some all the dice style tables that need more polish before I share them. My ideas are to help me focus and plan out my own campaign(s), I hope others can getsome use out fo them also.

Work, Work, Work

Last week got crazy with last minute preparations to go out of town to train a client, and trying to get over the bug that’s going around.

I don’t have much to write about for the blog, except that I have more ideas and things on the back burner than I seem to be able to get to. The internet at the hotel was particularly difficult to connect to so I could write this post and maintain my daily posting.

I am finally mostly over the cold or whatever it is. My ears are still a bit full, but I’m not coughing so hard I pass out when I do cough. I’m still tired, but now I actually feel like doing something.

Training today went well, and the data entry the client did is done and we verified it and I didn’t have to bring any work back to my room  tonight!

I ran by the local Wal-Mart and they had sheet protectors, so I got a package of 100.

I picked up some other odds and ends and had some ideas for the various games/campaigns I am working on/thinking about/planning.

I tried watching TV in my room. I don’t have regular TV at home. It was all ads and very little worth watching, and to think I was contemplating giving cable another try. I don’t miss it. It gives me more time to do other things.

Well, time to wrap this up and see how much I can get done before I need to get to sleep.

Travelling For Work

I have to go out of state for a few days, the week after next week, to train a client. I will build up a log of posts so that my blog updates each day, but I may not get my posts shared to all the appropriate G+ communities on the day the post goes live.

I am glad sales sold something to an existing client that they probably should have tried harder to sell years ago. I just wish they had us in the loop BEFORE the signed contract came in. We have a week’s notice to jump on the situation and work like maniacs for  a go live date of July 1, when normally we consider a bare minimum lead time of six weeks as pushing it.

From past experience, I feel that this is one of those where I end up taking crap back to my motel each night to work into the wee hours so I can get it all done in the time allocated by the contract.

It would soften the blow a bit if I knew I would have time to work on my campaign to get ready for online play. I made a good start last weekend, and got a bit more in the past week, but there is still so much to do! I didn’t get anything done on my campaign today, because, well, Free RPG Day! This post is only going up today because I wrote it ahead of time.

What makes it sting all the more is that my son and his girlfriend have been living with me since September, and my granddaughter was born in January. They finally are ready to move into a new apartment, and can move anytime after July 10th. I have to give up five of the last few days of seeing her every day. I have been working at home since late February, and when I get stressed from some work issue, I can just see her smile and hold her a moment and work crap doesn’t seem so bad.

They are only moving 10 or 15 miles away, close to the neighborhood in Kalamazoo where they lived before. Most likely, I won’t see her but once a week, maybe less frequently, depending on her parents’ schedules.

I’m the senior member of the team, and I really shouldn’t have to do this, but because the company has what they call a “lean business model”, and we have just enough people on the team to scramble and make it all work, it only makes sense to send me.

I wrote this post on the 13th and scheduled it for today. I am curious to see how things work out between now and then.

I just found out Friday the 19th, that I am not travelling next week, but the following. That is good! I am tired from a crazy and mentally stressful work week! I am so ready for something different today!

Farewell to the RPGBA

The RPG Blog Alliance, of which my blog belongs, is shut down at the end of April. There is a G+ replacement for the RPGBA site, here.

It arose to give an easy and quick method for RPG bloggers to get the word out about their blog, due to the RPG Bloggers site requiring manual entry of the RSS feed information. It served a purpose, but I find, like many that G+ and its communities make getting the word out about a blog very simple. In fact, many people are relying more on G+ and not so much with blogs. For me, I have a blog that I control, so I always have access to my notes and ramblings.

Time will tell how long RPG bloggers keeps going and if they ever become automated or quick to respond. I scheduled this posting for 45 days after I submitted to the RPG Bloggers site, many have said that they have waited a year or longer.

Not all the RPG blogs I follow post in the G+ RPG related communities that I follow, but do use RPG Bloggers. I don’t follow RPG bloggers regularly, because I don’t have a dedicated RSS reader, other than one I have on an old computer as an add-on to Firefox. Yahoo and Google dropped support for RSS, that was a nail in its coffin. I liked and used RSS, and losing it changed how I interact with communities and forums that I have been involved in since the email only days of sharing information, back in the 90’s.

FB keeps changing their algorithm to hide stuff you want to see, and it is nearly impossible to find something more than a day or two old.

G+ is easy to use, and far from a wasteland. If you find a community that focuses on something you are interested in, whether it is RPGs or anything else, you can find active communities with lots of posting. Some communities have a lot of noise and spam, but I tend to sever my connections to those communities that don’t have good information or helpful and courteous members.

Just like in my early days of being connected to the world with email, I have connections with people around the globe. For someone who grew up prior to such instant communication, it is like the world has shrunk in my lifetime. Even more cool is to find that some of the people I interact with online are in my area or relatively close, and we can get together for regular play, or meet up at local and regional conventions.

As long as I have a way to interact with others for actual online play, or for getting interesting ideas, maps, and so forth, the internet will continue to be a place of benefit to me and RPG fans.