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….]
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!
If you think about it, wandering bands of homicidal vagrants seek hirelings to help guard the horses, carry lanterns and torches, fight monsters, haul loot, and most importantly, to die instead of a player character.
The enticements to follow a band of adventurers are all flowers, sunshine, and gold! Tales of success and riches, minimizing, glossing over, or ignoring foul, nasty beasts with mean, sharp teeth, undead, evil sorcerers, hungry trolls, etc.
The mumbled/whispered/assumed end result, “And Die! [So I don’t have to…]”, is never mentioned to potential hirelings, without a cost in treasure, or only the most untrustworthy and backstabby of sorts.
All adventurers do this, moreso with hirelings than with henchmen.
As for the realm of RPG bloggers, you might as well follow me, you’re going to die anyway, so do it, before it’s too late!
After listening to the Drink, Spin, Run livecast and its heavy representation of Michigan residents, I hopped over to the Happy Jacks Podcast for their live broadcast for Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day.
I was paying attention during the DSR session when they explained what the three Swords & Wizardry books are based on, and I was the first with the right answer on the Happy Jacks Podcast and I won something from +James Spahn of Barrel Rider Games. It is one of his recent White Box series of material. I wasn’t clear if it is PDF, print or both.
Once I find out what I get and have it, I will have an article about it. I think it’s the White Box Omnibus.
The winning answer: Swords & Wizardry White Box = OD&D White/Brown Box; S&W Core = “Extras”; Complete = Every Supplement.
TL/DR – I am now working from home and have an hour a day I don’t have to do the round trip to and from work Monday through Friday, and will have more time to focus on living life and preparing and playing games.
My company decided to close our local office because there are only three of us and have us work from home. Two other office are being closed, each with two employees, and having them work from home, saving the company over $100K a year in rent. Too bad I don’t get a piece of that. At least I get to save on gas and have an hour more each day for other things since I don’t have to drive to work. I really like avoiding driving in winter and saving money on gasoline and wear and tear on my car.
Last weekend, I packed up my office and hauled everything home except my desk. I will miss my desk. It is just too big for my house. We have three desks to get rid of. At least I got my desk chair. The cheap one I have from Wal-Mart is wearing out.
I spent five hours moving some things out of my home office to make room so I could move in my work office stuff. I got it all to fit. This inspired me to clean and organize. I already had three 5-shelf bookcases in here and a smaller bookcase. I moved in two 2-drawer file cabinets and put my shorter bookcase on top of them. I brought a five shelf bookcase from the office and a little rolling file cabinet with a “desk top” and a small drawer and a big file drawer.
This gave me storage space to make it all fit even better and a half-done job of organizing a few months ago. Of the three bookshelves I had in here to start, one is nearly organized the way I want it, the second is partially organized with two shelves in a holding pattern, and the third has three empty shelves and two for temporary holding. I have my AD&D manuals and some of my campaign notes on one shelf of the work bookcase. They say that you’re only supposed to touch each thing once, but the sorting of getting everything out is not so easy with cats and dogs and other people in the same house. It’s like one of those number puzzles where you shift the numbers in odd ways until you sort them in order. It may not be efficient, but I have found several things I have been looking for and I now have room to speed up the sorting. If you hadn’t seen it before I started, you wouldn’t think the way it looks now is an improvement.
I had my office at work mostly decluttered, but had a buildup of stuff to sort and toss. I look forward to having a place for everything and everything in its place. Soon I will have all my AD&D manuals, campaign information and other active game related materials together on one or more shelves of a bookcase for easy access. I am good at decluttering and sorting through files while on hold or if calls ever slow down.
If they will ever get the last few clients off a DOS based series of products, for which I am the main support tech, I can pitch 6 or 8 binders, or rather pitch their contents and re-purpose the binders for game materials.
I will also have room for my few board games so that I can keep all of that stuff together. If the bug bites, I might even sell off the stuff I don’t and realistically, won’t use.
Over the years, I have accumulated a lot of floppies, CDs, and odd bits of computer related tech that is old and obsolete. I can sit here and feed floppies to an old PC in the corner and determine if I need the data. If there is a market for used floppies, I can get something out of them. I would like to avoid the landfill…. I remember when a 1.44 MB 3.25 inch floppy was considered a lot of space. Now all these floppies would fit on one DVD with room to spare…..
As I look around and think about some of this stuff, there is a lot that I have not even touched since I divorced my wife four years ago. I’m finally able to get out some breakables and display them, like my great-grandfather’s pocket watch in a glass covered display stand.
My dog likes it because I don’t need to put her in her kennel while I’m at the office. I can also let her out multiple times throughout the day. If I get stuck and have to work through my lunch hour or work late, I have food here and don’t have to rush out and buy crap. There are not many choices in my village for a healthy lunch, so I won’t be spending money eating out for lunch very often, if at all. No more getting home at 5:30 or 6:00 and not having supper until 8:00 or 8:30.
Once it warms up, I can set up by wi-fi and work outside, or in the garage, or on the deck. I can lounge in my hammock on my lunch hour.
Life is good! The level of order I prefer in my life and living environment is rapidly coming together.
Now that I am past my busiest time of year at work*, my energy and enthusiasm for other things leaves brain power available to get creative. I also was busy wrapping up my hex for Tenkar’s Landing, and getting ready for Marmalade Dog 20.
I have been coming up with a lot of ideas and spreading them out to avoid having too many posts on the same day. It won’t be long until I hit post # 300! Wow! I started posting with great regularity in January, 2014 when I read that it was the 40th anniversary of D&D. March/April of 2014 was my 36th year of D&D. I started in 1978 with Holmes Blue Book Basic. So 2015 is my 37th year of gaming/RPGs.
I am now thinking about the 2015 April A to Z challenge, and think I will sign up again this year.
My thoughts are also percolating for a possible 2015 One Page Dungeon submission.
My posting frequency will vary based on my ideas and things I want to say about RPGs. Vacations, personal issues that may arise, and work commitments can all have an effect. My hope is to keep posting a few days in advance to build up a “buffer” of posts so that my missing a day is invisible to my readers.
In addition to daily or near daily articles, and other than the April 2014 A to Z Challenge, I will write about the games I play in and run, cons I attend, and ideas I have or comments & extrapolation on the ideas of others. I will also come up with tables and other game aids as the need or inspiration strikes.
The cons I plan to attend this year originally included Gary Con, but things have changed since last year, so I will have to put that off to 2016. I will definitely be at UCon 2015 in November. I am seriously considering Con On The Cob in October, since it is within a four hour drive. I will also try to attend any online cons, if those work into my schedule.
I have ideas for an adventure based on my hex in Tenkar’s Landing, so I look forward to fleshing that out.
I may also begin posting new areas of my campaign as I develop them, but those may wait until I actually have players reach them. So far, my usual players don’t follow my blog, but if I take the plunge and begin an online game, I will want to hold onto those for later.
I look forward to the rest of gaming in 2015.
*(I support payroll and accounting software. This means that December and January are crazy busy with clients trying to wrap up end of year, print W-2’s and 1099’s, and deal with various state specific reports that have a deadline.)
I had the idea and volunteered to put it together. It is a one page, front & back listing of the GM’s for the OSR track and what games and rules systems they used, plus a listing of the websites for those rule systems and other OSR related information.
This page will be the home of that handout with a QR Code to send you here for the PDF with the clickable links.
I will also have a few handouts available at the con, with enough for each of the 6 slots in the 3 sessions I am running, plus two for each GM. The QR code should minimize the need for most to need a physical copy.
I write this at just under an hour until midnight in the Eastern time zone, her in Southwest Michigan.
2014 was a great year for RPGs and me.
I went to my first Con in thirty years or so at Marmalade Dog in Kalamazoo, and I did nearly daily posting and many days multiple posting for over half the year. There was a great start to blogging with the D&D 40th anniversary in January, and the April A t0 Z challenge.
I got involved in a weekly online AD&D game every Wednesday in March and it is still going, only the DM and three players with two characters are left from the initial group, we have added replacement players and look to add a couple more when we resume play after a two week break for Christmas and New Year’s. I have only missed a couple hours of one session and family interruptions for a few others.
I finally made it to GenCon for the first time, something I had wanted to do since the 1980’s when it was still in Lake Geneva. GenCon is too big and requires much more planning. In November, I participated in UCon and had a great time. UCon is much smaller, but has enough for everyone. I would like to do GenCon again, but don’t know if it will be in 2015. I will be at UCon and plan to stay in the hotel so I don’t have to chance driving on ice and snow for a couple hours or more to get there and back. There was AetherCon and another online Con the same weekend as UCon. If AetherCon is not the same weekend as UCon, I may participate in 2015.
A personal milestone, I finally re-built my original collection of AD&D manuals when the same day I ordered a Dieties & Demigods from Wayne’s Books, my son presented me the same volume as a belated birthday present. I also had several weeks in a row where I DM’d for my oldest son and his girlfriend and built up my long designed and little played campaign world.
I also participated in several Kickstarters. So far, I am not disappointed in the ones that funded, other than the D&D movie on hold due to litigation. Follow ups are planned for the ones yet to deliver in 2015.
I also jumped in to take part in the Tenkar’s Landing OSR design project, for which I need to wrap up my hex. I had planned to have my part done before today, but life happens. Thankfully, the milestone was moved to the end of January.
The triumph of over 60,000 words towards the first draft of the novel for which I had the idea back in college in 1984 or 1985 was sweet. I finally got my winner’s shirt this past week. I still have the last few chapters to do. Since Thanksgiving, things have been hectic at home and work. A complete first draft was my goal by now, so one more thing I didn’t think would bet delayed.
Last week, I volunteered to run one slot each day at the 2015 Marmalade Dog in Kalamazoo with The Village of Hommlet. Hommlet is one of the two modules I own, however, I have never ran it. I bought it for an example of a low level started adventure. I bought the PDF from DriveThruRPG so I can read it on my tablet on lunch breaks at work. I think I will have to recruit some people for a play test.
I support payroll and accounting software, so December and January are my busiest time of year at work. Every client calls at least once trying to either do the year end procedures or process their W-2s. It leaves me little time to sneak a moment to think about something else while at the office.
January also sees my youngest son, who lives out of state with his mother, turn 18; and my oldest son and his girlfriend expect a baby any day, making me a grandfather.
I turned 50 at the end of September, wow, where did the time go!
I did make it to Las Vegas in December, for the first time. I had a lot of people incredulous at the idea of me never going there before. I don’t know why that is so hard to believe, most of the world has never been there. I did try my luck with the one-armed bandit and roulette, and lost, but only the amount I set aside, so that I could say I did it. I bought two dice that say, “Fabulous Las Vegas.” After I got home, I realized I should have bought more, as you need at least three to roll up a character. the shop in the hotel where I bought them sold them for a pair for something like $1.99, so I should have bought another pair. Oh well, something for my list if I am every back in Vegas.
2014 was a good year over all and a great one for me in the realm of RPGs. I look forward to reading the musings of others, more playing, more DMing, and building more friendships with fellow gamers both online and in person.
The only way 2014 would have been better would be to have a woman in my life, but I want it to be the right woman, so maybe I’ll find her in 2015.
Happy New Year and Game On!
As I explained in the About and here and elsewhere, the name of this blog comes from my brother, Robert, the DM mocking my character in his game, who hired all the mercenaries he could to deal with the large hordes of orcs in his territory and all of the troops dying, making it very difficult to hire more troops. It’s a bit like “going over the top” in WWI.
It is not lost on me the irony of the term when it comes to social media, as one wants to encourage and attract followers.
But if you think about it, whether you follow my blog or not, you will die, so don’t be like all the others who die without following my blog, join the few who die valiantly (?) in the pursuit of role playing fun!
Follow me! ….. and die!
Or as best as I can imitate the way my brother says it:
I just got an email, a follower on my Google+page, and a like on my FB page seeking a plug for a Kickstarter. It is one that has been mentioned over at the Tavern. NOTE: I am not mentioning which Kickstarter it is. I am sure Erik will have his own post about it.
Little ol’ me?
My attempts at blogging and going on about my experiences and ideas with the RPGs I play is good enough for them?
There is no offer of remuneration for my time to plug the product. It is not one that I would use, so even if they offered it to me for free, I would not use it. I find using devices, such as computers/laptops, tablets, or phones are not much use to me.
I may fire up my phone to use the calculator, if I need one.
If I am playing in the weekly Wednesday night Roll20 AD&D game, I have rarely needed my tablet, and my computer is busy with showing the Roll20 interface. I occasionally use the calculator program on my computer during play, usually to make sure I add up or divide coins or experience correctly. When I did try to use my tablet during a game, it was to display my character sheet or a map my character bought. I haven’t used my tablet in the last several weeks. This past Wednesday was session 30. We had a two week break for the DM to go on vacation, and I was late to one session due to work.
I have manuals for AD&D that I bought via DriveThru RPG and manuals for free and fee OSR style games on my computer and my tablet. I find having them on my tablet useful for reading while at work, so I don’t have to lug them all around. I also have dice rollers on my tablet so I can do adventure/game prep away from home.
If I were going to run a module, I would print out the pertinent parts.
I am a paper using guy. The one struggle is finding what I want. Even with an electronic format, I usually need to look at more than one thing at a time. If I can’t look at the player’s version of the spell and what the DMG says about it at the same time, I have to remember what the one I can’t see says. Yes, the books take up more space, but I can’t change who I am or what I am used to and most important of all, what works for me.
I am at a point in life where I should have more disposable income. My children are older, one on his own, and the other nearly on his own. Neither are going the college route. However, due to the financial condition I was left in by my ex and her love of credit cards, I still have some large bills, so I have to be selective on what gets my money and attention.
Kickstarters that I support with my money tend to be things that I will use or the geek factor is to good to pass up. For RPG stuff, something that has an option for both a PDF and a softcover or hardcover book is the most useful to me.
Kickstarters that I will support by sharing their link will be those that I find appealing and if I had more money to spare, I would pledge my dollars.
No ill will to these fellows, just not something that I can support.