Category Archives: News

Article on Largest Funded Kickstarter in Europe – AND It Failed

I just read an interesting article on the largest funded Kickstarter in Europe. It also failed as the company over promised, and under delivered, and has now filed bankruptcy. It is for the Zano a palm-sized drone.

Especially interesting is the section towards the end of the article that take Kickstarter to task on being a better platform for weeding out the dubious and helping the over funded to be a success. Best of all, Kickstarter paid for this article, and did not have the option to suggest changes. They only got to see it before it was published.

I find this interesting based on the RPG/OSR experience with some well known bad Kickstarters, several by the same individual.

At the end of the article is a TL/DR section with the main points. The author defends the great detail as a service to those who lost money on the never delivered product.

Anyone interested in running their own Kickstarter or other crowd funding drive can learn a lot from this article.

Thanks to +Chgowiz for his G+ post on this article.

+Tenkar may find this of interest in his ongoing reviews of Kickstarters as they affect the OSR.

Earthquake!

I live in Southwest Michigan, about 15 miles south of Kalamazoo. Today, we had an earthquake of magnitude 4.2.

I live across the street from the houses next to the train tracks. It is an active freight line and big, heavy trains can shake the house. This shaking was much different. We have 5 crossings through town and federal law requires them to blow the horn at each crossing. The Wednesday night, AD&D campaign I play in can hear the whistles if I forget to mute my microphone until they pass. If the windows are open in warm weather, I have people in phone calls ask me if I am standing on the tracks.

I was in my house, built about 1920 on sandy soil. The shaking was slightly similar to a big, heavy train going by, but it felt deeper and more powerful, and lasted just a few seconds.

I swore I heard a boom/roar/loud noise that preceded/coincided/followed the shaking. I can’t explain that. It was over so quickly that I didn’t have time to make sense of it. My thoughts were, there is no train, did a tanker truck explode? That has to be an earthquake.

About ten or fifteen minutes later, there was a very brief aftershock.

This is the first earthquake that I know I’ve experienced. My recollection is that an earthquake needs to be a 2.5 to 3.0 for most people to feel it and know it’s an earthquake. What I found using my google-fu is that it has to be a 3.0 to notice it.

A 4.2 was interesting. Since the scale increases an order of magnitude, a 5 would be impressive! A 6, 7 or more would be mind blowing.

My son took his girlfriend and their daughter to a neighborhood garage sale and met up with some friends. He said that he was sitting on the ground and that the ground beneath him felt hollow. His girlfriend said that she was standing up and that her feet were vibrating and she noticed that the trees were moving one direction and the houses another. Their daughter is 3 1/2 months old and she did not seem to have any reaction.

In addition to an interesting experience, I have a better understanding and thus more able to describe an earthquake in my writing and DMing.

Day 10 J is for Joust

J – Joust – games, tournaments, festivals, celebrations. Calendar.

Entertainment is a common way to keep the commoners distracted from their lot in life. In ancient Rome it was “bread and circuses”. What sort of celebrations and contests will there be? Will they be regular events on the calendar?

Is there a spring festival, a harvest festival, midsummer? What seasonal things are a big deal in this culture?

Will any of these elements survive down to the present culture near an ancient, fallen city?

Hippodromes, stadiums, coliseums, jousting yards, etc.

Will there be statues or other monuments to memorialize famous sports stars?

Will elements of the calendar be evident in orientation of buildings, or specific types of buildings? Will the calendar be  a series of buildings, stones, or landmarks? Is the calendar based on the sun, moon, stars, seasons, or seasonal event?

Would their be massive stones used for having the light of the rising, midday, or setting sun to mark the beginning or end of a festival? This would be for dramatic flair. What remnants of such calendars would survive in the towns and villages of the present day in your campaign, if this refers to a collapsed city?

See my article on Calendars And Random Generation, which can be useful for picking random dates for different kinds of festivals.

Humans, demi-humans, and humanoids would all have different days and times for their celebrations.

Types of Festivals/Celebrations/Events:

  • Planting
  • Harvest
  • Calving/Birthing
  • Spring Roundup
  • Party (Birth, Birthday, Wedding, Anniversary, Death, Victory, Just Because, Special Day, etc.)
  • House/Barn/Church Raising (The whole community gets together to build something and has a big feast at the end.)
  • Seasonal Event determined by the calendar, season, start alignment, eclipse, comet, etc.
  • Civil Holiday (Foundation of the city, kingdom, king’s birthday, etc.)
  • Religious (significant day in a given faith, holy day, etc.)

Types of Contests:

  • Cooking
  • Eating
  • Wrestling
  • Archery/Spear/Javelin/Dart
  • Jousting
  • Fencing/Swordsmanship
  • Lumberjack
  • Harvesting/Plowing
  • Drinking
  • Gambling
  • Feats of Strength
  • Poetry
  • Riddle
  • Races (Foot, horse, chariot, wagon, cockroaches, etc.)

Contest Resolution:

  • Roll to hit vs AC for Archery – Can be tedious. Quick resolution for speed of game play. If there are 20 contestants, rolling to hit for all 20 for three shots each will take a lot of time.
  • Flip a coin
  • Pick high/low card
  • DM/Player story interaction
  • DM Tells the Story
  • Player Tells the Story
  • Players Tell the Story for what other players do
  • Mechanic from other system, like Fudge/Fate, Apocalypse Engine, Advantage/Disadvantage from 5e, etc.
  • Roll vs. Ability Scores

In addition to festivals, or even as part of them, other forms of entertainment were gladiatorial combat, as in ancient Rome. In the Middle Ages, and at many other times, putting animals in a pit or other structure and letting them fight, either like animals or dogs vs. bulls, i.e. bulldogs, or cockfighting, or people vs. animals or monsters. I have been in some campaigns where you start off as a slave fighting for his life in the slave pits. This was common after Conan The Barbarian came out in the early 1980’s. It was one of those tropes like you meet in a bar. Every new group of characters in our various games, if they met in a bar, we had to have a bar fight. I haven’t played or GM’d in a session where the players got in a bar fight since high school.

Players will ask what is there to do in this town for fun? Gambling, wenching, drinking, eating, fighting, etc. are all common for some players. In my current campaign, my players haven’t asked that question. They are content with the tavern that caters to adventurers. They happened to be in town when there was a festival and took part in that. I determined on my game calendar when certain events would happen, and if the players are not in town, they only hear about it, if it is shortly thereafter, or if they ask about the time since they were last in town.

Posting Frequency

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.

Game on!!!

*(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.)

RIP Robin Williams

I wrote the following on my IRL Facebook page:

With all the terrible things in the world, we can always use those who can help us laugh.

We lost a man who had a great gift in helping us laugh.

We need to find the joy in life and never forget to laugh.

There are no fancy words of wisdom to answer all the whys.

The world can be a shitty place.

People can be mean, nasty, and evil to others.

There are problems much worse in other parts of the world and in someone else’s shoes.

Don’t let the darkness win.

Stand up for what is right, and fight when you must; but don’t forget to live, love, and laugh.

Busy Weekend

I have plans to play with my oldest son and his girlfriend again on Sunday. Plus they want me to make my nuclear chili. [NOTE: I finally wrote up the story behind that.]

My laptop is acting like the hard drive is going to fail, so adding to the preparations I need to do for Sunday, I have to have a good system backup disk and make sure all my data is backed up.

I need a new computer. I had a really nice desktop, but a few years ago during a thunderstorm, the boys didn’t unplug it like I told them and it got zapped. The hard drive is still good, but the motherboard or something got fried.

I got a laptop before that happened, but now the laptop is a few years old, it came with Win7, so it’s not that old, but hard drives fail.

I have other older computer about, but all with WinXP, which is not secure, and I need to get online. One of them dual boot Linux, but it is still an old and slow computer.

I fired up an old Dell desktop I got used and the CMOS battery is old, perhaps shot and it won’t boot. I can’t find my Knoppix boot disk, so I’m downloading a new one, but the latest version is not online yet….

I have another old desktop with WinXP, but it doesn’t want to boot.

I have another old desktop that I think is WinXP, it will be the next one I try after I see if I can get these others working. It may just be cards have wiggled lose and need to be re-seated.

I used to work on computers on the side and picked up a few spares. only two are old computers we used regularly.

I think it’s time to make sure I’ve got all the hard drives and scrap some old PCs. It will make a lot more room around here. At least I finally have a couple of flat panel monitors so it doesn’t generate so much heat in the warm months.

I am hoping to get something functional so I can avoid buying a new computer for a while.

Ah well, the best laid plans.

I am making such great headway on knocking off my debt. I’m only two years from only having a mortgage. I hit the big 5 – 0 in September, so I’d really like to have my debt dwindling faster and my savings growing even faster.

Anyway, if I go dark online for a bit, you’ll know why.

I hope I don’t I really want to keep playing in my regular online AD&D game on Wednesdays. It’s a blast and most of us are ready to train for third level, but we want to wrap up a dungeon that has a time limit before we can’t get at it easily.

Well, my Knoppix image is about half way. Time to get out my computer tool set. I need some new tools because the dog chewed up my case and some of the plastic tools and rubber handles…. I just remembered that happened a couple years ago when she was younger. UGH….

List of Those Signed up for the April, 2014 A to Z blogging challenge

I have been following along and adding to my list as I check back every day to review and see if anyone has joined the list from the RPG Blog community.

It is easy to search for the (GA) gaming tag, but some have not used the tag, and you can’t change the way you have signed up once you sign up for the challenge, since it is automated and uses a third party tool that does not allow for edits. I did find one that used the (GA) tag, but is about computer games, so I don’t have it on my list below.

Anyone who signed up without the (GA) tag, I have come back each day to look through them and if a blog name sounds like it might be an RPG blog I go look at it. It is still possible that I missed one. If I missed you, please let me know your sign-up number for the challenge, and I will add you to the list. With 2,000+ blogs in the challenge and growing, I won’t have time to look at all of them, so I will focus on the RPG blogs.

I have all 26 of my RPG blog posts done, so can devote my time to reading the RPG posts of others.

I added a widget on the right of just the A to Z Challenge RPG Blogs so you don’t have to come to this post for the list.

RPG blogs signed up for the April, 2014 A t X challenge:

  1. 139. The Dwarven Stronghold
  2. 181. d20 Dark Ages (GA)
  3. 296. The Open Hearth (GA)
  4. 341. Tower of the Archmage (GA)
  5. 499. Follow Me, And Die! (GA) (That’s me :D)
  6. 519. Another Caffeinated Day — d100 cups of coffee
  7. 678. Stacking Limits-(GA)
  8. 691. Cirsova (GA)
  9. 702. The Other Side (GA) Tim is also the A to Z Challenge Ambassador
  10. 708. Cross Planes
  11. 985. Start My Quest (GA) – gamify life
  12. 1067. Lloyd of Gamebooks (GA)
  13. 1332. Halls of the Nephilim (GA)
  14. 1540. Keith Davies — In My Campaign (GA) [NOTE: I can’t leave a comment on his site, I get a 403 error, and his contact page uses the same format.]

R.I.P Dave Trampier

As is all over the RPG blogosphere today, we lost another of the greats from the early days of D&D.

He was one of my favorite artists. I like nearly all of Trampier’s art. Emirikol the Chaotic is one of my favorites.

Like so many others, I was disappointed the Wormy ended mid-story. He definitely left us all wanting more.

Castle Perilous Game & Books has this article about his plans to return to his art and make a convention appearance.

If his executor’s are paying attention, I would pay for a Wormy collection and a DM screen.