Surprise!

Just checking in. Giving more thoughts to rebranding everything completely. Someone gave me food for thought on more Indie RPGs we should all be looking into.

Just when I thought I’d seen it all…

Someone approached me on Twitter today with a handful of RPG’s I wasn’t overly familiar with. Admittedly, a couple of them were variations on d20 system and one was kind of a loose Shadowrun/D20 Modern setting. Still, I was pretty impressed. One of my goals going forward is going to be to brush up on more Indie RPGs.

Also, heading into the new year, I’m looking into a couple of FATE related games. Part of me is really starting to miss running Call of Cthulhu and other modern horror type games, too. I see where there is a FATE Horror toolkit and I happen to have a couple of generic zombie apocalypse games that I like. I’m also interested in possibly creating a sandbox style mecha campaign using FATE or The Mecha Hack.

So Many Groovy Ideas,

And I actually have time to work on some of them. Unlike some of my very wonderfully talented friends on Twitter and Instagram, I have yet to land any sort of meaningful employment. My family isn’t in danger of starving in the street and we’re happy, but I’d love to be getting paid for something I enjoy.

I’ll keep everyone posted on my re-branding thoughts. I’ve been considering moving all of my blogging activities over to my main site, Jeff’s Thoughts I’d be separating my gaming ventures out from my spiritual/Law of Attraction/Ufology/conspiracy/self improvement blog over there. The main advantages are I have a better WordPress plan for that site and more tools at my disposal. Plus, I’ve had some branding ideas that have been running around in my head for 20+ years that I’ve been sitting on.

No, it’s nothing crossing over my two very diverse foci in life. There should always be a healthy balance between one’s gaming activities and one’s other beliefs, I think. I mean, the Ufology/spirituality/conspiracy community refuses to take one seriously if they don’t think I can tell fantasy from reality. The gaming community probably doesn’t want me sounding all positive to the point of preachy, either. And we all know the underlying D&D rule about never mixing real world religions with rpgs. I try not to overtly mash spirituality into my games, either.

Anyway, more to come. Happy gaming into the new year! See you again real soon.

Freedom Day, DECember Edition

https://ko-fi.com/jeffcraigmile

Hard to believe it’s December already.

Christmas is right around the corner. I’m still without any kind of meaningful employment if anyone was wondering. Not that I’m bitter, but more on that in a moment. I have started an account on Ko-Fi if you want to buy me a cup of coffee or contribute to my kids’ college funds.

My Ko-Fi Can be Found Here:
https://ko-fi.com/jeffcraigmile

I really do.

I want to share some love with the people who have been here for me through the year. It’s been…

Good at times. We’ve experienced some real abundance. I’ve felt the “Flow” at times as we say in Law of Attraction circles. I’m going to drop a ton of Instagram links below in a movie-credit style roll for those interested in making new friends. It’s been a good year, in many respects.

Then there was the not-as-amazing stuff. Being unemployed is a blessing and a curse. (Again, more on that later.) Our health held up. Our roof stayed attached through all of the wind storms. Christmas is looking very bright this year. We’re still kicking butt as a single income house so far. Ya know, I keep coming up with all these things to be grateful for, almost like my Higher Self is showing me what to say?

Like, maybe you can’t be super high vibe all the time, but the lows aren’t so low, either. I will honestly say, I’ve had some struggles with depression, anxiety, anger, and pain this year. Depression and pain being the absolute worst of it, but I’ve managed to pull through. The valleys aren’t as deep any more and the hills aren’t as tough to climb.

Okay, taking a minute to spit a little anger at a few groups, because duality exists.

First, I’d like to put a big middle finger in the air up to corporate America. I especially have a mean-on for one specific industry that I can’t mention here for the potential of getting sued. But let’s just say it doesn’t bode well for any of the suit-n-tie-wearing, bottom-line-toting, conference-room-team-meeting, SMART-goal-fucking, overinflated, top-heavy, corporate McAssholes of the world when you treat people like absolute shit and then get around to firing them. In an ironic twist, I hear people are leaving some of those corporate jobs in droves because of shitastic working conditions and poor treatment by management, anyway. Good for them!

Second, another KissMyAss award goes out to #ufotwitter. Yes. You’ve earned it. Stop being pompous, overinflated egoic, know-it-all naysayers who allow no one a differing opinion or outlook. For people fighting for Disclosure and want to “believe” in ETs, UFOs, UAPs or whatever you’re calling them this week? Y’all got a funny way of showing it. Probably because you know the minute meaningful ET contact is made or Disclosure ends publicly, you’re going to have to shut up and your book deal will be gone. Meanwhile, all the government funded disinformation agents and shills out there are finally going to be out of their jobs, too. But, take heart. I hear Iowa Workforce Development will retrain you as an arc welder or dental hygienist for free.

Third, the State of Iowa could sink into the center of the Earth any day now for what it’s worth. Hopefully they can build bridges to connect other states over the crater. We’ll probably find some way to blame the Governor Kim Reaper for it. Our Cov-Icky-Cough-Coughs numbers are higher than most Third World Nations and our employment outlook is horrible. Iowa Workfarce Enforcement only cares about one set of uneducated-but-skilled laborers. If you have a college degree, get ready to step down and take it in the butt or go without a job. But if you’re fresh out of high school or suddenly disillusioned with UFOlogy and can follow instructions like a good little drone, they want you.

A Couple of Other Thoughts While We’re Here.

COVID… I’ve seen so much freakin rhetoric about vax vs anti-vax and mask vs anti-mask. And again, see that bright red state in the middle of the map with the outrageous uptick in reported outbreaks? Yeah… Get your shots or don’t. Wear a mask or don’t. Make the decision for yourself. Just stop talking about it, please. Save our sanity.

Mainstream Media- I have a journalism degree for cryin out loud. (Not that it’s ever made a huge difference.) You know what one of the first things I cut out of my life right after I graduated was? Watching any kind of news broadcast or reading any news outside of the occasional YouTube video or article from an independent website. Even then, I take a lot of it with a grain of salt. Please, do yourselves a favor this holiday season and in life and turn the TV off, stop listening to the bobble headed idiots on morning radio, put the newspaper down, and go outside for some fresh air. Screw politics. To Hell with what the Kardashians are doing now. Fuck COVID. Let the Chinese do whatever they’re going to do today. Ignore Trump entirely. Just go get some fresh air and appreciate the world around you. You’re gonna be so much better off for it.

Let’s talk about that whole “being unemployed” thing for a few.

This is not a dis on people with jobs. We all gotta do what we gotta do. Love ya for it.

Personally, if I never set foot in an office again to work, it’s not gonna hurt my feelings. I’m productive from right here at home. Yes, I’m struggling right now because no one sees my value. I can write. I know I can. I have yet to land a writing gig. Yes, I know what’s on my résumé It says I’ve been beaten more times than your college baseball team. But it doesn’t say a thing about me or what I’m capable of. Iowa Workless Defamation doesn’t see it. The locals aren’t hiring for anything I want to do and finding a remote job is like… Geez, I can’t even come up with a good comparison any more because it pretty much sucks!

Yes, I would love to have a “career” again. Quite honestly, being a stay-at-home dad is starting to feel a little like freeloading. This is not exactly fulfilling my life purpose or seeing my mission as a lightworker out, but it’s not horrible, either. I would love to be bringing in some money for roof repairs, a new vacuum cleaner, or whatever else comes up next. I mean, four kids. It’s always something.

LOL! Did I mention that Ko-Fi link? https://ko-fi.com/jeffcraigmile

People whom I wish to give much credit this year. Thank you friends, family, and Earthly teachers:

First Off, Thank you Heather Craigmile, loving wife and mother of our four kids. (No links.) She’s shy. Sorry folks.

Here’s a list of some of my friends on Instagram in no particular order:

  • Laura DiBenedetto: @lauraldibenedetto
  • Shane: @thespiritofthecosmos
  • Sharon: @candidly_sharonh
  • Andrea Garris: @a.l.garris
  • Dr Julia Colangelo @drjuliacolangelo
  • Alana Weinberg: @healwithalana

I had to leave a few people off for privacy reasons. And if I left you off, please know I still love you! Thank you!

Do I Have to Do it “Their” Way?

If the world was open? If it had its own OGL? If it were free to distribute AND had a good system? Heaven!

Pathfinder Second Edition vs Dungeons & Dragons 5E

Please forgive me. This post is not intended to start an online donnybrook over whose system is best. **Disclaimer:** Play whichever system you like. Decide for yourself what you prefer. Thank you!

Yesterday I was discussing whether or not one should play/run/create content for D&D 5E strictly for rules-as-written or homebrew. Homebrew is awesome! But with 5E being the top dog in the industry right now, it’s also the one most people are playing with/creating material for. I love 5E for this reason.

I used to dog on Pathfinder pretty hard when it started. BUT…

Yeah. I’m guilty of that. I’m sorry family. It’s true. I used to think it was strictly intended for all the Third Edition D&D players that couldn’t handle Fourth Edition. BUT! I came around. Just in time for Pathfinder Second Edition.

Lessons learned, I LOVE Pathfinder 2E! The mechanics are great. The classes are pretty cool. It’s flexible. Paizo learned from their previous edition. The main rulebook is heavy enough to defend my home from burglars… It’s all good. Some day I might do a full review.

There’s another catch with PF2E, though.

If you are playing D&D 5E as written, you’re playing in the default setting of Forgotten Realms. There’s also Eberron, Ravnica, and soon I guess they’re releasing Spelljammer and possibly Planescape. If you go online there are literally hundreds of other campaign worlds and settings along with conversions of older settings. Please don’t panic. There is plenty of room for more. The Open Gaming License literally opened the floodgates for more world building than anyone ever imagined.

Pathfinder 2E, not so much… While Pathfinder Infinite has opened their world to creators, it’s pretty much their world. I don’t mind this, but it doesn’t leave a lot of room for world building. That’s unfortunate. So, yay, I can homebrew PF2E, but then I have to figure out how literally everything translates into PF2-ese. So, yay Golarian.

I will say Starfinder, which is more or less Pathfinder in space, just opened up considerably with the Galaxy Exploration guide. That’s cool. Space is infinite. The Universe is literally infinite and that’s without alternate dimensions. It would be foolhardy to lock players into one star system or one planet for a space game.

I see this happen with other games.

I collect RPGs like mad. I love games. I love mecha and anime games especially. Alas, many of them seem to fall into one of about three categories. 1. They have their own very specific campaign setting/world. Again, yay, but it’s not what I’m looking for. 2. They’re too generic. A lot of games have great mechanics, but just don’t go far enough into what I was looking for in their game. 3. Last, they don’t have any kind of OGL attached. Which means they’re literally the only source of material for that game.

I understand companies having exclusive rights to certain properties. Ask anyone who used to work for T$R or West End Games about Lucasfilm. They’ll probably cringe. Star Wars was especially tough to work with, from what I hear. Ugnaughts anyone? Margret Weis Productions had a deal with Battlestar Galactica RPG. A lot of established properties don’t want people willy-nilly adding to their setting and then publishing it, which thoroughly wrecks the official canon and creates all kinds of plot holes. Seems fair to limit creative access, right?

But why lock an indie game possibly with its own unique system, into a specific setting? Seriously, I would love to work for just about any game company on almost any system. (I have a few disclaimers, but we’ll leave that for another day.) But if the world was open? If it had its own OGL? If it were free to distribute AND had a good system??? Heaven!

I might not exactly love D&D 5E for certain mechanics.

But at least the OGL lets us create our own worlds, classes, characters, and so on with an established system that actually does work pretty darn well. Ironically, PF2E is based on roughly the same mechanics. There are a LOT of d20 based games. At this point, if I’m publishing on DrivethruRPG, my intention is to do something d20 based or a superhero game like ICONS. The only other generic systems I’ve really enjoyed so far have been FATE and Open Legends. Again, I’d have to spend some serious time developing within those systems because there are certain things kinda missing that I’m looking for mechanically. (Again, that’s another discussion.)

I love Paizo’s take on d20. I think the Starfinder/Pathfinder mechanics are well thought out. I think PF2E is loads of fun. I almost taught my kids to play it before D&D 5E. PF2E has not become the runaway train of supplements that its predecessor did. I look forward to their upcoming releases and writing some adventures set in Golarian probably just for fun. Maybe not for publication. Starfinder Infinite material might be a possibility, depending…

I love D&D 5E because I’m building my own very odd, wacky, very fun (hopefully) campaign world. With some help from the Universe, I might even publish it. And I have some “generic” fantasy stuff that I’m again planning for DMsGuild hopefully in the near future. Pathfinder Infinite might be another story. I don’t know yet.

I’m also working on a more solidly constructed portfolio to show off some of my writing talents. In the meantime, if you are interested in hiring me as a writer I am quite available. Heh heh. No seriously! LOL! Please hire me? Heck, if you’re local I’ll even walk your dog or something.

Until next time, take care.

Does It Have To Be “Official?”

No one, and I mean NO ONE should ever tell you what you can and can’t do with your campaign, your world, your ideas, or your content. If it’s your table and your world and they don’t like it, they can go kick rocks.

My friend Elzie recently posted an interesting thread on Twitter that I wanted to comment on in depth. Sometimes replies and Tweets don’t cover it all.

So, my short answer to all of this is- Absolutely NOT!

My long answer is: there are a LOT of variables here. If you’re trying to publish official content on www.dmsguild.com, then yes, you need to stick to the rules as written for the most part. Otherwise, if it’s your campaign, at home, or published anywhere else under the SRD, then- freakin party on!

Seriously, if you want to re-skin your orcs to look like pink bunny-eared primates, then go for it! No one, and I mean NO ONE should ever tell you what you can and can’t do with your campaign, your world, your ideas, or your content. If it’s your table and your world and they don’t like it, they can go kick rocks. The Tolkien people are not going to sue you for altering orcs and neither is Wizards. Run the game you want to enjoy.

Descriptions go a long way!

I have mostly new players. I’m pretty determined to ban access to the Monster Manual and other such books during play these days. I’m going to describe the creature the party is facing in detail and let the group decide how they want to handle it.

The trees around the road go dead silent. The group’s horses stall and become skittish looking toward the large tree with a long, thick branch over the road ahead. They see a large beast, perched in the tree, with the body of a panther only having leathery, bat-like wings, and a long spiky tail. It stares out through the dusky twilight at them with its red, glowing eyes and long, protruding fangs gleaming in the last little bit of remaining sunlight, watching them approach. Its talons are spread wide and its tail is wrapped around the tree for balance. This predator looks like it means business. What do you do?

That description will probably have the intended effect much better than “You see a Wyvern perched atop the tree over the road ahead. What do you do?” Because if I ran it as an official Wyvern, it’s not going to be nearly as memorable or potentially terrifying. Not to mention it’s a re-skinned Wyvern, with a few added features that aren’t listed with the original.

Now, my wife, who loves all things feline both in character and out, is probably going to try to tame, befriend or otherwise not kill this creature seeing it isn’t overtly evil or aggressive. Which, I’ll possibly allow the attempt because it’s good roleplaying opportunities and more fun than a straight combat encounter.

In the past, I’ve had groups that would have dug into the Monster Manuals trying to find out how much XP the thing would be worth. I mean, it’s literally XP with wings! Heck yeah we go all murder hobo on it.

Then again, as a DM, I get to have fun with a large, winged, apex predator with stealth and a breath weapon in mostly open ground in poor lighting conditions. That’s going to suck for the murder hobos. Especially if it flies off and comes back to torment them in the dark. Gook luck trying to take a long rest with that thing lurking nearby. heh heh heh…

Who’s to say what’s considered “official?”

Even the designers of Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons could sit at your gaming table and play a character fully aware that it’s not Rules As Written, and be just fine with it. Are we there to have fun or bicker over official content? Again, if you’re not attempting to publish anything, does it really matter? Personally, I think not.

Now there are a few exceptions and exemptions. Obviously if you’re running a game for Adventurer’s League set in a specific world you probably want to stick to “their” descriptions as written because those players are likely expecting “official” content and will go onto other games in the series. The players could get lost if you change/alter the settings and descriptions too much in an official module. Convention games are also kind of a sticky wicket depending on the expectations of the players.

That having been said, if you tell your players at your table for your home game, “Hey, my world is different than anything in the published settings. Here’s some of what you can expect…” Then, yes. Absolutely homebrew whatever you like. I know I do it all the time.

I regularly adapt all kinds of things I will never attempt to publish.

I watch a lot of anime. I’ve been a huge fan of Rouroni Kenshin, Inu Yasha, Chrome Shelled Regios, and Ninja Scroll for years. I’ve had players come to me and ask for homebrew versions of Sango’s boomerang, the Tetsusaiga, and the giant wolf demon from Inu Yasha and I gladly obliged. I’ve statted the Wing Blade Sword among other things in the past from various samurai anime. I’m absolutely in love with the dite concept in Chrome Shelled Regios and will be resolute when it comes to implementing that style of weapon in the campaign I’m working on.

Heck, I have plenty of ICONS characters that are knockoffs of DC, Marvel, Image, and various anime characters. I’ve translated my own personal DC Heroes (First Ed) character into a half a dozen different systems. His concept was based on Marvel’s Iron Man. Admittedly, I’ve had my own spin on the character for 30 years, and he looks very little like Tony Stark.

I’ve used and borrowed from Avatar: the Last Airbender and Satelizer Bridget in the past, too. Had an absolute blast with it, but could never “officially” publish any of it for fear of getting sued. I’ve even created derivatives from Super Why (Kids TV show,) Teen Titans, Young Justice, and the Outsiders. Nothing is off limits at my table when it comes to creating adventures and settings. However, there are plenty of restrictions when it comes to publishing.

Publishers, designers and media lawyers expect you to respect their copyrights and trademarks. It’s much the same going the other way. Obviously I want my ORIGINAL material to be mine, to my own credit and never stolen. It’s only fair to everyone to do your own thing and get credit for it. But this all applies to published material, not what goes on at your table at home, or even during an actual play podcast.

So many good points!

This is one of my favorite topics, if it’s not obvious. I’m not even a lawyer, but I have found this topic to be fascinating ever since I took Media Law in college. It’s amazing what you can and can’t do.

Again, if you’re working on something for dmsguild.com or planning to publish your material anywhere, you have to be somewhat compliant to the “official rules.” If you publish to the DMsGuild, then yes, you are literally doing R&D for Wizards of the Coast and they can/will take whatever they want, rewrite it, publish it, edit it, whatever and they >might< even give you credit. If you publish elsewhere as a third party publisher under the Open Gaming License, WotC can latch onto your work and/or tell you to cease and desist if you’re violating the OGL and/or going beyond the bounds of the SRD and trying to pass it off as “official.”

Personally, I love the notion of publishing to the DMsGuild because it gives us a chance to show off. You can put work out there in an official way as a portfolio piece. Everyone, WotC included, gets to see what you’re capable of. You might not get hired to be one of the big guns in their office, but wouldn’t it be terrific to be acknowledged and asked to work on more, possibly commissioned projects? There are benefits to proving you can do things in an official capacity.

My personal goals are to get to that Electrum and Mithral rating on both DMsGuild and DriveThruRPG some day. I would love to get an email from any company that effectively says, “Hey. We really like your stuff. Come work with us.” I can do all these things. Name a system. It doesn’t have to even be D&D. We can play within whatever official rules you want to name. I’ll make it work.

Anyway, until next time. Take care.

D12 Tables

I have more d12s in my bag than d20s. Yes, I rolled a Nat 12!

I could make a 1d12 table of 1d12 tables I want to make. That’s how much fun they are. I won’t bore you with that one here, but it could be done.

I make 1d12 tables for a lot of odd random things as a DM, though. They add all kinds of spicy goodness to bland encounters. They work for weather, travel, global events, some NPC attitudes, and of course, random monster encounters. I know I’m old school, but I still believe in the old wandering monster table. Because maybe the troll down the hall decides to go for a stroll about the time the party thinks they’re going to rest. Bwah ha ha! Rolled an 11. Meet the troll.

I think the d12 is the most underrated dice in any game, except ICRPG. Yay! I suppose they’re good in SWADE and EGS, too if I remember right. But D&D and Pathfinder are very reserved in their use of the d12. My solution is to use them for any and every thing I can think of. I carry the things for fun every day. Really.

My players have called me out on it in the past. I have a pattern for most of my tables. You can probably guess the pattern. 1’s are, of course going to be catastrophically bad or unwanted news. 12’s are, naturally, something favorable or at least more favorable. 2-3 are usually something unwanted but not scary bad. 10-11 are usually the pretty good end of whatever the table is. Everything else is likely meaningful but random. I’ve done more random variants, but that’s the gist.

I have more d12s in my bag than d20s. Yes, I rolled a Nat 12!

Let me throw down a sample:

Roll 1d12. Average Night at the Stable:

  1. The stable catches fire! If the group has mounts there, the animals are in danger! One of the stable hands running into the inn a major panic to get help and save the animals.
  2. Horse thieves! Choose a random party member who had a mount in the stables. Their mount is now missing.
  3. Oops. The stable boy accidentally left the stall door open when he was cleaning. Choose a random party member. Their mount is now out wandering around somewhere.
  4. Asleep on the job. Stable keeper accidentally loaned one of the characters’ mounts out to a local merchant. The animal is treated well, but won’t be in the stable until the next night.
  5. Where did they find this kid? The stable boy decided to ignore his chores. The animals are not fed or watered, and stalls are not cleaned out. This will lead to somewhat moody, fatigued, smelly mounts the next day.
  6. All is well. The stable keeper feeds the all of the animals a treat! Unfortunately, it doesn’t agree with one of the mount’s tummies the next day. (Choose a random mount.)
  7. All of the mounts are well fed, well treated, and are ready for action the next day.
  8. The stable keeper notices an issue with a horse shoe and takes care of it, free of charge. He lets the group know the next morning.
  9. The stable keeper chases off a predator outside the stable. He lets the group know about it in the morning. One of the characters’ mounts is still skittish. The stable keeper will offer to loan out his personal thoroughbred for free if desired.
  10. The mounts are well-loved. They receive a +1 discretionary bonus to any one given roll during the day.
  11. What’s in that feed? Whatever the stable keeper fed the mounts, is working very well. The group receives an Advantage on any ONE given roll related to travel or the mounts.
  12. Holy buckets! The mounts are well fed, loved and ready to go! ALL mounts gain a +1 discretionary bonus and Advantage on one travel/mount related roll. They will also automatically pass the first morale roll within 24 hours automatically! The mounts are happy.

A Man without a Country

Every time I see one of those cute concentric circles on Twitter with everyone’s massive friends groups and it brings back that tired old feeling left over from grade school. You know. The kid that’s always the last one picked? That’s me. Story of my life. No lie, I remember a couple of times in middle school and high school when they completely skipped me, leaving me without a team.

We humans are social animals. I guess.

It’s funny. Every time I see one of those cute concentric circles on Twitter with everyone’s massive friends groups and it brings back that tired old feeling left over from grade school. You know. The kid that’s always the last one picked? That’s me. Story of my life. No lie, I remember a couple of times in middle school and high school when they completely skipped me, leaving me without a team.

I’m here to tell you. That sh*t hurt! It’s one thing to get picked last. I get that. I mean, someone has to be last, right? Sure. But not to get chosen at all? Ouch. That was somewhat trauma-inducing. Science is now showing that stuff stays with us all the way into adulthood.

I’ve always had trouble making friends.

Maybe it’s astrological. I’m a Cancer. We don’t necessarily socialize well.

Maybe it’s divine. Maybe it’s just in my soul contract that I’m not designed to be super popular or even have a ton of friends. Why did I sign up for that? Who the heck knows? I’ll let you know when I see my Akashic Record. There’s bigger mysteries out there, I suppose.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m in plenty of communities, at least on social media. Plenty of people know me on social media, or my persona, anyway. I just always have to wonder, if I closed my accounts today, would anyone notice? I’m still around, but it makes me wonder.

Ufology is kind of a split community. You’ve got the nuts-and-bolts crowd, the spiritual crowd, and the conspiracy crowd. There’s also the “abduction”/contactee/experiencer community, which is almost a group unto itself. There are some overlaps. We all want the government to cough up what they know. Everything else is pretty much up for grabs as to how and why. After the Añjali thing, I’m not sure if any of us will ever be right again.

The “New Age” spiritual community has its own special share of differing opinions. There are so many variations on how, what, and who to believe it’s hard to pin anything down beyond a mutual love of each other and Source. Again, there’s a lot of overlap, but then it gets wild.

Writers are a funny lot. Sure, we encourage each other. But at the same time, there’s always a subtle air of mistrust and competition. It’s like I hope you do well, but don’t steal my stuff! Overall, writers can be a pretty aloof bunch. Not really my jam, but I like NaNoWriMo.

Back to my own roots.

After a somewhat rocky couple of months in the Ufology community, I took an extended break. I went back and visited my friends in the worlds of tabletop roleplaying games. The Dungeons & Dragons crowd is relatively warm and welcoming. I guess 40+ years of being mocked, picked-on, and called names makes for solid bonding amongst fellows. I know D&D is currently riding the wave of popularity, but even after the wave subsides, we’ll still have a hobby.

Sure, conflicts arise in any group, but how they are handled within the community is what defines it. Gamers eventually forgive and forget most offenses. It’s just easier to move on and keep having fun than hold grudges over what is supposed to be a social exercise.

That having been said, do I have a group? Yeah. My family. I’m happy, grateful and proud my kids are picking up the hobby. I have plenty of folks I know on Twitter and Instagram in the hobby. But, again… besties? Well, not so much.

The lesson here is: Don’t put too much stock in what people on social media think.

I like social media, generally speaking. I spend some time on there. Sure, who doesn’t? I mean, there are probably plenty of people, but I think a lot of folks do have some contact with one of the big social media platforms.

It’s not the end-all and be-all of modern existence. A lot of spiritual folk will tell you to detox from social media by taking some time off or deleting it altogether. Ironically, they usually spread the word using one of those social media platforms. But do as they say, and not as they do, right? It’s good advice. I take week long breaks from time to time.

At the end of all this, I’m still a beautiful divine being having a (somewhat mediocre, shitty,) physical experience. I don’t 100% need or even want social acceptance or even contact of any kind some days. Sorta makes me wonder if I have a form of undiagnosed autism or something… I wonder if I’ll ever have any kind of meaningful impact on society or anyone, ever as far as that goes. If a light goes on in the forest and there are no squirrels around to see it, do any woodland creatures notice?

There is more to this acceptance story as it relates to work. We’ll examine that idea in another article this week. Wait until I get on a tear about being hired… Until then, take care.

See you in another article real soon!

Already?!? Continued

I am grateful every day, in every way that I am my own boss now.

When last we left off:

We were talking about unemployment and the drudgery of dealing with our friends at Iowa Workforce Development. IWD doesn’t understand or sympathize with much of anyone outside of their narrow agenda. Yes, we understand Iowa needs truck drivers and dental hygienists. It doesn’t mean we’re all in a rush to go beg for those jobs.

I applied for a writing job last week and right in my cover letter had to tell the person doing the hiring, “My resume won’t tell you anything about me.” It’s true. My resume will show I’ve been employed for the last 30-ish years or so. But there’s nothing on there pertaining to what I want to be doing. That’s truly the hard part and where a lot of my personal frustration comes in.

IWD doesn’t seem to understand that not everything is a 9-5 clock punching job. Then again, they’re pretty behind the times on a lot of things with no indication of ever catching up. Like most government jobs, I think IWD employees are mostly in it to collect a paycheck first and everything else second, or last in some cases. They have their jobs. Good for them, I guess.

That’s another thing I don’t get about IWD. I can’t tell if these people treat all of us like we’re stupid, lazy and/or disabled, or if I’m just special. It was particularly hilarious when the lady from vocational rehabilitation literally tried to pass me back to someone else in the IWD office to help me with programs when the IWD case worker referred me to voc rehab for their services. They want to offer me all kinds of services, but they don’t know what. The bureaucracy is comical.

I‘m not even asking for a handout, other than my unemployment check.

I’m jumping through all kinds of hoops for this very simple thing. IWD keeps putting more hoops out there. Their hoops are pretty stupid and we know how well I jump through them.

As for the job seeking itself- I’ve run into so many barriers, it’s really just not worth my time. I know I’m pretty much blacklisted as a dispatcher. No one that hears about it wants anyone who will present them with FMLA. I’m almost 50, so my age is a major turn off for many employers. I’m still paying on my student loans and I have kids, so going back to college is off my list. I have no real world friends, no references, and no experience doing things I want to be doing. SSDI may or may not come through. (I really can’t say much about that, either.) So, basically, in the eyes of employers, I’m a big nothing burger.

I keep seeing a lot of entry level jobs that want 5 years+ experience, a college degree in the field, and references from the industry. Sorry, not sorry. That’s NOT an entry level job no matter what you’re telling me.

I keep hearing from IWD that there are all these jobs open… in fields I don’t qualify for or have any interest in. Yes, I can learn new skills. Not to mention there are a lot of employers hiring, COVID aside, for positions that were abandoned by people who were sick and tired of being treated like shit. Everyone seems to forget that the amount of crap I have to put up with must balance with the pay, benefits, and ultimately fulfillment from the job. People are tired of being overworked and underpaid at jobs they don’t want to do in the first place just to keep a roof overhead and perpetuate the cycle.

I used to be that guy.

I owe Aaron Doughty and Jake Ducey, among others, a big apology. I used to comment on their YouTube videos about how it was utterly insane to quit an unfulfilling job. I’m sorry I ever doubted you guys. I’m not trying to be that Law of Attraction guy that says it, but you can quit an unfulfilling job as long as you do it responsibly. I was lucky. I got canned from my unfulfilling job. I am grateful every day, in every way that I am my own boss now.

It’s another article entirely, but you can be free. Yes, there are jobs to consider. Yes, there are bills to pay. I get it. And I love each and every person struggling just to make ends meet. I’ve been there plenty of times. I will say we live in a kind and loving Universe and if you believe you will receive.

Personally, I’m struggling to keep my vibration up. I’m doing the affirmations. I accept my negative thoughts are going to happen. I turn around the ones that I can. I try to be aware of the subconscious messages. Beliefs create reality. You get a reflection of what you feel. I’m trying to keep the depression monster at bay and the manifestation angel in front of me. Letting go and trusting the Universe is hard, but ultimately it pays off. I do sound like that LoA guy now. Sorry.

The last flobstacle and most recent one.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the #ttrpg community. I have someone I follow on Twitter who literally just quit job. Today is her last day. I got curious about what she was doing. I looked up her portfolio on her website. Holy SHIT! IMPRESSIVE!!!

That’s great. I’m happy for her. It’s no wonder she’s got offers coming out of her ears. Marvelous. Man, do I wish that was me. I really feel like I’ve f*cked my life up.

Okay, I didn’t grow up in the social media/internet age. I know my education/degree is now about 20 years old. There are a lot of things I’m still learning. I’ve been into the #ttrpg industry for almost 40 years. I’ve never taken video or streamed any actual play. God, sometimes I feel old. I can’t help it. But wow, some of these younger folk. I don’t think I can compete. And that leaves me back to doing my own thing.

So, I dunno. You tell me. Do I hit the reset button on my blog? Do I push my gaming efforts whether it’s publishing or video? I’m fighting LoA right now. Do I keep fighting the good fight in Ufology/Spirituality?

I mean I sincerely don’t want to be that guy.

I’ve seen people who have become completely disillusioned with spirituality and become these completely angry, atheistic, argumentative skeptics who do just pick fights with everyone. I get that I have the occasional (LOL!) negative thought. I say things on here, despite trying to stay positive, that aren’t necessarily LoA friendly. I refuse to give up on the Universe. I know all of this happens for a reason.

I can do other things and still have embraced my spirituality. I AM a spiritual being having a physical experience. It seems incredible sometimes that we have this huge world we live in and it’s literally a speck of dust compared to the Universe itself. Now I just have to figure out where I fit it for sure.

Til we meet again, I guess. One way or another, I’ll be here.

Already?!?

God bless my wife for keeping the family going. Thank you, Heather, if you see this, for putting up with my antics for this long. You deserve a medal.

It’s the 19th already?!? Where does the time go?

This might be my last post on this blog. I haven’t fully decided yet. I guess I’ll let you know. It’s Freedom Day for me. It’s been four months since I had a “real” job.

God bless my wife for keeping the family going. Thank you, Heather, if you see this, for putting up with my antics for this long. You deserve a medal.

Time to get a little more vulnerable than usual. It’s been a rough month for me emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Let me try to put this together in a way that will make sense. Please pardon my ramble in advance.

To the handful of people that read this, I thank you. You are truly appreciated.

Me.

This blog has been a kind of learning lab for me. Figuring out what to do, what not to do, and what all is possible. It’s been a labor of love. But I’m here to tell ya, family- this last month has really made me question a good number of things in my life.

First setback of the month was:

Let’s start at the top with the Añjali debacle. She announced that the Mojave expedition is permanently on hold due to the health concerns of the man who owns the land that the tunnel to the underground base sits on. It was a huge disappointment for some and an even bigger I-told-ya-so for the asinine turds of #ufotwitter. I guess yay for them, but it’s a huge setback for some of us.

It’s big old double whammy for those of us in the UFO and Spiritual communities. I mean I’ve been called a “New Ager woo-woo freak” by the nuts-and-bolts guys before because I’m spiritually active and listen to channelers, CE-5, meditate regularly, and so on. I really think someone should unite the communities. Añjali could have been that link, but too many people were protecting their vested interests and cash cows to listen. So, any credibility some of us freaks had in the UFO world is more disrupted than ever. ETs could land on my front lawn complete with video and #ufotwitter would say it was fake.

Añjali wasn’t necessarily the great white hope. We knew there was a possibility that she could be involved in a psyop to discredit, dismantle, and disrupt both the Ufology and spiritual communities. Personally, I don’t think she is, but I acknowledge that it’s possible. Then again, Lue Elizondo could be doing the same thing and there are plenty of people eating right out of his proverbial hands, too. I’ve said on Twitter and elsewhere that Añjali should have gone to the experiencer/contactee or spiritual channeling communities with her information instead of UFO (a$$holes) Twitter. But hey, like so many others, she shut me down and refuses to answer my Direct Messages. Again, the skeptic in me sees a false flag operation, but who knows…

It was NaNoWriMo Month again, too.

I’m unemployed. Technically every month could/should be NaNoWriMo. Family support is important if you intend to bang out an entire book in one month. I have five other people and three cats that all need love and attention on any given day so it just didn’t come together. I may actually start a novel yet this month, but there’s no pressure, no writing buddies, or any of the usual NaNo flair. It’ll be okay.

Found me a new community.

My English teachers and editors would be losing their ever loving minds over that header, but whatever. I have gone back into my #ttrpg roots, and that may be what this blog changes over to soon. Again, I guess we’ll see. I kinda like having a place for personal shares, but I have only this humble paid-for space and I would really love the Premium package for my gaming ventures. TTRPG stands for TableTop RolePlaying Games, for those who don’t know.

So, yeah, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge Dungeons and Dragons fan and have been pretty much my whole life. I started gaming back in the early 1980’s and have been at it for almost 40 years. But it’s always been a hobby and a writing venture. I have yet to sell anything in the industry. I’ve worked in game stores. I’ve sold a lot of games over the years. But, always a bridesmaid, so to speak.

That brings us to the next point.

I’ve had to spend lots of meaningful time with my friends at Iowa Workforce Development this month to ensure my unemployment check didn’t get cut off completely. I’ve gotten to attend all kinds of fun meetings to make sure I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I guess that’s what they get paid the big bucks for, but at the same time, they’re not actually doing anything for me, aside from my unemployment check.

I also got an anonymous message from a former co-worker with a juicy tidbit that confirmed some of my suspicions. I wish I could say a LOT more without jeopardizing my severance and NDAs, but I can’t. Somebody should, though. To quote the Matrix, Cypher told Morpheus “If you’d told us the truth, we would’ve told you to shove that red pill right up your ass.” That’s true of my severance package, but my family needed the money, so it’s a tough choice and I ultimately made the right decision.

That said, my job search has thus far been a running joke with me. Honestly, if I never work a “real job” again, it’ll be too soon. I like being my own boss, setting my own hours, and giving myself a pat on the back for being my employee of the month. Unfortunately, IWD has a hard time seeing this. They have an obvious agenda. I’m not part of that equation.

They told us in one of their little “classes” that they want people to fill what they refer to as the “middle skills” roles. In other words, they want people who have completed high school, but haven’t been to college. They want dental hygienists, welders, truck drivers and nurses. Do I fit that description? Hell no! Do I want to take a pay cut and do something I’m going to be absolutely miserable doing? F*ck No!!! I will literally embrace homelessness for myself (and only myself) before I will ever go back to the 9-5 grind doing something just for the sake of doing it.

And they keep trying to tell us “Oh, it’s so meaningful. So many people find their life purpose doing this…” No. No, people really don’t find it meaningful or fulfilling. In fact, it makes me sick to my stomach to hear the IWD people rattle on about fulfilling it is to sleep, eat, work, repeat and how everything else is just a fun hobby. Again, I get that it’s what they’re paid to do, but it’s not an enlightened, spiritually aware thing to do.

My whole resume is disgustingly full of the kinds of jobs they’re talking about. No offense to anyone, but I think I’d rather die than go back to just about any of those jobs. The pay is mediocre. The hours are long and unfulfilling. There is no appreciation from management most of the time. The benefits are crappy. Worst of all, my health will not support that kind of work ever again in an office or any other environment.

Lol! This is getting long. To be continued…

D&D Long Rests as Written

For new players especially, I think the rules as written are just fine -n- dandy…

I just saw an post on Twitter complaining that the long rest rules were unrealistic. This makes the Old Sellsword in me shake his head. I think 5th Ed has the most forgiving healing rules of all of the editions. I kind of like it, but I see the point that a lot of Dungeon Masters, writers, and YouTubers are making about it.

Back in the day, some almost 40 years ago, back in the BECMI and 1st Ed AD&D days, healing looked a lot different. Probably why my first real character as a player was a Cleric, but I digress. Healing used to be a game of waiting for the party healer to get his spells back and/or a tedious, boring long wait as I recall. I would dare say most of us have used a homebrew fix for healing between adventures for a very long time. I think 5th Ed has taken strides to fix this instead of the DM just saying, “You’re all healed up now.”

Hit Points used to have a different flow back then.

In almost four decades behind the screen, I’ve seen more versions of health, hit points, wounds, and relative armor systems than I care to remember. I’ve used some of them. I’ve adapted my own from other systems such as Role Master and Warhammer Fantasy RPG. All that experimentation and I still go back to the old notion that I believe Gygax intended with D&D.

Hit Points represent fatigue, exertion, shock, and trauma in combat more than just the squishy red stuff flowing from you gaping sword wounds. So rest and recovery would also take into account the fatigue, shock and trauma from being in a combat with orcs twice the characters’ size. Eight hours of meaningful sleep in a bed maybe should help heal some of that. Not to mention all of the spellcasters get to recover their stuff and isn’t that great?

Do you really want hours and days to go by outside of a dungeon crawl?

To a certain extent, all RPGs are abstract. If/when you look past that fourth wall, crawling around in a tomb full of death traps and horr

Found a Community

People on #TTRPG Twitter are KIND to one another!

I came to #ttrpg Twitter at a time when I was pretty frustrated with the internet in general, social media in particular, and Twitter specifically. We had a lot of a fiasco over on #ufotwitter that really left a bad taste in my mouth when it came to community participation. The Añjali drama was just too much and the UFO Twitfologists proved to be by-and-large a toxic, egotistical bunch. Truthfully, after the last few months in my life, toxic people are not something I choose to include in my life.

So I went back to my roots in the world of tabletop roleplaying. Do you know what I found? A LOT of very warm, welcoming, caring people who look out for one another. They don’t judge. They don’t get nasty. They support one another. They’re kind. Read that again.

People on #TTRPG Twitter are KIND to one another!

I have found it to be a safe space even when people are having a rough day. We’re all-inclusive of neurodiverse, LGBTQIA++ folks. I regularly see people lifting each other up and doing shout-outs to one another! Holy buckets! I’m home! It’s a real community. Other groups on Twitter could learn a lot from the #ttrpg family.

THANK YOU ALL for being so AWESOME!

Game on, my friends!
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