d12 Tables Terrain for Hex Crawl

The starting hexes for my DCC hexcrawl campaign. These tables have not been thoroughly tested yet. Constructive feedback welcome.

Working on building random Hexes and Events for my Dungeon Crawl Classics Hexcrawl game.

Roll 1d12 or choose as appropriate.
(If the Judge deems necessary, the terrain may match a connecting hex.)

  1. Chaos! Roll on the Elemental Chaos table.
  2. Arctic. Snow and ice everywhere. Sudden windstorms and freezing temperatures.
  3. Tundra/Taiga. Frozen plains with some forested area possible.
  4. Civilization! Roll for size and disposition on Urban Settlement table.
  5. Temperate Forest. Deciduous Trees and conifers. Fairly dense underbrush.
  6. Plains. Grasslands with an occasional tree or pond.
  7. Grassy Hills. Rolling hills covered in grass. Occasional tree or pond.
  8. Water. Could be the start of an ocean or just a lake or river. Roll 1d12 for adjoining hexes. 1-7 = Water (same type.) 8-12 = Land.
  9. Swamp. Thick vegetation. Lots of water. Lots of living creatures.
  10. Desert. Sand everywhere. Very little by way of water or vegetation.
  11. Mountains. Jagged rocks, valleys, canyons and of course, mountains.
  12. Jungle: Vegetation thick and overgrown everywhere. Very warm.

Elemental Chaos Subtable:

  1. Water
  2. Ice (Water/Air)
  3. Steam (Fire/Water)
  4. Mud (Water/Earth
  5. Earth
  6. Dust (Air/Earth)
  7. Magma (Earth/Fire)
  8. Fire
  9. Smoke (Air/Fire)
  10. Air
  11. Aether (Ghost/Spirit World) Keeper may wish to roll terrain above.
  12. Astral! Air is still breathable, but all other terrain effects are completely chaotic.

Civilization and Ruin Subtable

Roll 1d12 or choose if Keeper deems appropriate.

  1. Necropolis: There once was a thriving settlement here. Now abandoned and in ruin. Could easily be populated by any number of creatures, demons, or un-dead.
  2. Empty.
  3. Small settlement, no larger than 100 beings.
  4. Road. May be only traces of an old road or trail
  5. Village. 100-200 beings.
  6. Dungeon! An underground complex filled with treasures and monsters.
  7. Eerily Empty.
  8. Abandoned settlement or village. Why is it empty now?
  9. Hidden settlement. 1-120 beings living in the terrain out of sight.
  10. Town. 200-300 beings with most amenities, trade, and services.
  11. Hidden lair: A dragon, demon, powerful un-dead, elemental, giant, or other huge nasty dwells here out of sight.
  12. City or large civilized area. May include a castle, keep, or fortress.

Personal Share: Healthy Amount of Skepticism.

The Universe is vast and almost unknowable. There are billions of planets around billions of stars. It all had to start somewhere, right? It is sheer folly to think we’re it when it comes to life in the Universe. It is ridiculous to think there aren’t forces at work outside of what our five paltry human senses can detect.

Possibly the toughest part of being open minded is hearing things you know you don’t agree with.

And what’s really rough is when they turn out to be true. I’ve been listening to this very wise person named Andey Fellowes. @andeyfellowes on Instagram. He’s a skeptic when it comes to “New Age” beliefs and the more esoteric end of spirituality. He’s also a pro at debunking a lot of Law of Attraction myths and bringing logic to a space where it’s not as common.

Andey Fellowes. Brilliant guy! https://andeyfellowes.wordpress.com/

Andey Fellowes has made many good points on Instagram, YouTube and elsewhere.

Fellowes has been through a lot of junk in his life. He’s a cult survivor, specifically Teal Swan’s Tribe. He regularly calls Teal’s teachings into question along with those of Ralph Smart and several others. He also suffers from depression, the same as many of us have. He’s also come back to spirituality after being an atheist.

I’ve called some of Ralph Smart’s rhetoric and background into question in the past as well. Most of it has been taken down off of YouTube and Instagram. Fellowes has also called Aaron Doughty and other LoA YouTubers into question and for good reasons. I think this is what has been missing for a long time from a lot of the spiritual/self growth/LoA community that I have been listening to.

I don’t agree with everything he says, which I’m sure he would be the first to say is a good thing.

I’m still very “New Age-y” in my beliefs and practices, although I’ve begun to question some things after listening to Fellowes. I still listen to Lori Ladd, The Ninth Dimensional Arcturian Council via Daniel Scranton, The Spirit of the Cosmos, and others regularly. Anna Brown is still one of my heroes. I’m still very much a fan of Aaron Doughty and Jake Ducey. Honestly, I’ll never abandon my friend Laura DiBenedetto and the Six Habits no matter what anyone says.

But here’s the thing- I don’t believe everything anyone says without question. Laura DiBenedetto will be the first to tell you, I ask a LOT of questions. (LOL! True story.) I never blindly follow any one spiritual teacher. That’s cult behavior and we don’t follow that around here.

But I will say I’ve learned a lot listening to Fellowes. He’s put a different spin on things and said a lot of things out loud that I’ve often wondered about. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve begun to look at certain teachings more critically. However, all it does sometimes is strengthen my resolve and belief in Law of Attraction. Freedom, prosperity and joy are all possible and attainable.

What if Light Language is just gibberish? What if channeling is all just psychological? What if a lot of spiritual teachers just use a lot of colorful language and pseudoscience metaphors to push their products and services? Are we ruled by material capitalism and the almighty dollar?

What good is faith if we don’t question it occasionally?

Skepticism is healthy.

I acknowledge The Ninth Dimensional Arcturian Council is kind of a running joke around here. When I started listening to Fellowes, my wife got all hopeful that I had abandoned my spirituality in favor of cold, hard, logical cynicism. Alas, I haven’t and I won’t. My wife can call me crazy all she wants. We’re still married.

The Universe is vast and almost unknowable. There are billions of planets around billions of stars. It all had to start somewhere, right? It is sheer folly to think we’re it when it comes to life in the Universe. It is ridiculous to think there aren’t forces at work outside of what our five paltry human senses can detect.

To doubt is human. Please don’t ever take the word of any one teacher, guru or expert as pure truth. Please explore, doubt and challenge everything. It’s your sovereign right to do so. But, please- never take any one word for all of it?

Let’s talk Ufology again for a second.

Please come get me? Any time. Please do it in broad daylight so everyone can witness it. Proof is a good thing!

I have had multiple tests of faith over the last year or so. One of the biggest was the whole disaster surrounding Añjali. While I won’t get into my opinion of her here, she is part of the reason I changed this blog and my focus onto other endeavours for a while. But I’m still very interested in the topics of extraterrestrials/extradimensional beings, which by default plays into Ufology.

What I don’t buy into any more is this whole notion of Disclosure. Yeah, the governments of the world lie to us like we’re all stupid. Añjali and another known shill, Lue Elizondo, exist to perpetuate the myth. Many agents working for the government and black budget secret access projects have been sent to infiltrate the Ufology and spiritual communities to spy on us and spread misinformation for decades now. I suspect 1952 was the year that all began in earnest.

The fact that there are hundreds (or more) of beings watching and sometimes interacting with humans is being covered up. Send MIB to my house. Go on. I’ll wait. The truth is, they won’t. I have no proof. All I can do is speculate and ask others to do the same. But I know in my heart, these beings, in whatever form they take, (angels, spirits/ghosts, ETs, and so on) have been around for centuries and aren’t going anywhere.

How do I know?

Peace.

I believe. I don’t exactly know. That’s where skeptics come in. They call those beliefs into question.

If God/Source/Universe is real, then why not beings we can’t see or touch with our little 3D bodies? Who’s to say there isn’t some truth to all myths about the Universe? How does one explain events from history and religion since time immemorial?

Science fact, history, and faith all intersect at certain points. Yes, we can explain away miracles. We can dismiss UFO encounters and ET experiences. Sure, let’s try to thoroughly debunk various “pseudoscientific” studies such as the famous double slit experiment and Masaru Emoto’s study on water. What if it’s all legit?

At some point, humankind must choose what to believe and disbelieve. Skepticism can help us maintain balance. Yes. Please do call things into question. If the beliefs end up being false, then so be it. If I’m wrong, I’m willing to admit it. What if we’re trying to dismiss things that actually do exist?

But if I’m right, it all plays out according to the Universal Laws and everything happens for a reason. Multiple timelines do exist. Beings of every sort imaginable are visiting this planet and watching from the moon. The Law of Attraction really can benefit us in theory as well as practice. There really is no such thing as coincidence. Believe. There is one true Source of all life in the Universe and it wants us to know it’s real!

The best part is, no one has to agree with me. Please, make up your own mind. Believe what you wish to believe.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you. Have a great weekend.

Massive Shout Out!

Please don’t just take my word for it! Please go check out her website. I know I sound biased. She’s a world class coach, professional, CEO, and TEDx speaker among other accolades. She’s done so much and helped many people find joy.

Thank you, Laura DiBenedetto!

Not just a friend, but a force of nature!

Almost out of the blue yesterday, I received a couple of LinkedIn notifications. One was a message from Laura and the other was a comment on one of my blog slugs on LinkedIn. I had commented in that article about wanting to make more money and how I’m a bit stymied at present.

Well, long story short, my very good friend Laura put me onto a couple of ideas that I will be developing further in the coming weeks. I want to expand at my own pace in a way that makes sense for me, but at the same time builds up some financial success for my family.

I’m so ridiculously grateful to know Laura and have had the privilege to work for her a little bit. She’s generous to a fault. She’s always been very helpful. There’s no encouragement like Laura’s. And let’s mention jaw-dropping, heart stopping motivation. Seriously, I get all teary-eyed and speechless.

She’s also honest when needed. I can always count on her to make me face reality and set me straight when I’m all over the place. A more true friend I’m not sure I could ask for in this world and I don’t have that many.

I can’t mention Laura without mentioning The Six Habits.

This book can change your life!

LauraDiBenedetto.com
Please don’t just take my word for it! Please go check out her website. I know I sound biased. She’s a world class coach, professional, CEO, and TEDx speaker among other accolades. She’s done so much and helped many people find joy.

I first discovered Laura on Instagram. Her posts are always off the charts cool. I learned a LOT about life, success, joy and spirituality from her. She’s incredibly wise and still learning. As a side note, she’s the only person I know who retired at 37 years young and then got pulled back into a leadership role many times over.

No, it’s not a cult. Just want to put that out there. I know my recent encounters with Andey Fellowes made me really consider that notion and Laura doesn’t tick those boxes. No worries. She’s one of the good ones.

I have, however, discovered many other amazing folks on Instagram as a result. I’ll shout some of those fine folks out in a future article. Laura has a fantastic circle of friends and is so helpful when it comes to networking!

One thing will always blow my mind when it comes to Laura.

She’s very high class. Like, we’re talking she can hang with people who make six digits or more per year. She’s rock star/Hollywood celebrity caliber. (Ammunition pun intended. See one of her newest ventures.) I so totally admire this lady and would gladly follow in her footsteps were that an option.

Alas, I follow in my own footsteps. I can aspire to my own greatness. I owe her that much. Honestly, I’m not sure how the heck I made it from 2019-Present without The Six Habits and some encouragement of my friend. She would likely say that’s the best any of us can do is carve out our own path and find joy for ourselves.

What still blows my mind is the notion that she’s so classy and high powered but still somehow manages to find the time to chat with lil old me out of the blue. Like, wow. Just… wow.

I can’t thank you enough.

THANK YOU, LAURA!

I still contend I owe you like, uh. Okay I lost count. A LOT, okay. I owe you big time! Thanks for being so awesome!

And thank all of you for stopping by. Lots of love and aloha as my friend would say. I appreciate you. More to come.

Power Rangers RPG Threat: Balgor

General Krohn called upon Lt Balgor when Gnarl and Slayn’s minions failed. He is a Dragonoid from the Netherworld. He has a nearly endless supply of magic water to keep him going when the fear of the puny humans isn’t enough to keep him going.

General Krohn’s fierce lieutenant will be back to torment the Rangers time and again!

(Artwork to come.)

Lt. Balgor, Krohn’s most trusted lieutenant.
Resilient THREAT LEVEL: 16
SIZE: LARGE | HEALTH:
TOUGHNESS: 20 (Heavy Armor) | EVASION: 16
WILLPOWER: 16 | CLEVERNESS: 14
GROUND MOVEMENT: 30 ft. | FLY: 40 ft.
General Krohn called upon Lt Balgor when Gnarl and Slayn’s minions failed. He is a Dragonoid from the Netherworld. He has a nearly endless supply of magic water to keep him going when the fear of the puny humans isn’t enough to keep him going.
SKILLS:
Might- (*Axe and Chain Flail) +d10
Brawn +d6
Initiative: +d6
Targeting (*Fireballs/Flame Breath): +d6
Alertness: +d6
Hunting: +d6
Intimidation +d8
Languages: Putty, English

PERKS:
Winged Flight, 40′.
Resistance: Fire
Sanzu River Water supply.
ATTACKS:
Massive Obsidian Axe: (Might) +d10* 2 attacks/turn in addition to ONE of the other attacks listed below. (Toughness, 10′ Reach, 3 Armor Piercing Intimidating, Sharp,

Fire Chains: (Might) +d10* 1 attack/round in addition to ONE of the other attacks listed. (Evasion, 10′ Reach, Maneuver-Entangle or trip. 2 Fire.)

Breathe Fire: (Targeting, 3x/scene): +d6*, Range 30 ft. (Evasion, 2 Fire Damage in a 5′ x 30′ x 15′ Area cone of fire. All targets in the cone must roll Evasion.)

Throw Fireball: (Targeting, 3x/scene): +d6*, Range 40/100 ft. (Evasion, 2 Explosive, Area, 15′ radius, Fire Damage)

POWERS:
Summon 3d6 Dragon Putties (Stats as Z Putty Patrollers.)
Always has 4 Dragon Putty Bodyguards at all times.

Hang-Ups:
Must feed on Human Fear OR Drink water from the Sanzu River.
Failure to maintain his fear level at least once per day results in a loss of 1 Health per day until defeated.
If Balgor is defeated, he will return to the Netherworld to recover at the rate of 1 Health per day.

Gastroendoscopy Round X?

I’ve done this a few times now.

It will never be mistaken for fun. For those who don’t know what this is, basically the nice doctor gets me all nice and anesthetized and sticks a camera down my throat. Good times. They usually stretch my esophagus and probe my stomach while they’re in there.

I get to enjoy this process every couple of years. I have this neat condition called Eosinophilic Esophagitis. Plaque caused by acid reflux causes my esophagus to shrink. Then I can’t swallow stuff like I usually do. It’s not pretty when that happens.

I’m due for my scopin’. So, in I go. What’s the best that can happen, right?

I may or may not be coherent enough to write an article tonight. Time will tell. The procedure usually leaves me pretty incoherent for a day or so.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. More fun gaming stuff on the horizon. I appreciate you, always.

A Tumultuous Time for Part of the RPG Industry.

Then there’s Star Frontiers: New Genesis. I really don’t want to give this product or this company any free press. There are literally hundreds of RPGs that I’d rather invest my time and effort it. Yeah. It’s that bad.

I’ve been following the recent news about a game company that many of us in the community had a world of love and respect for back in the day.

I was genuinely excited when I heard someone was bringing back Star Frontiers. Taken at face value, it’s one of the coolest things to happen since D&D 5E! Freakin Star Frontiers! It’s back. YAY!

Here’s the Bell of Lost Souls article.

The original Star Frontiers cover art by Larry Elmore.

Did I mention it looks awesome on the surface?

I keep my somewhat banged-up copy of the original with my D&D boxed sets. I’ve kept up with the game on and off. It’s a really amazing classic Sci-Fi RPG. It’s been available in reprint form on DrivethruRPG. That in and of itself is enough for some of us old school gamers.

Then there’s Star Frontiers: New Genesis. I really don’t want to give this product or this company any free press. There are literally hundreds of RPGs that I’d rather invest my time and effort it. Yeah. It’s that bad.

There are two notables among many out there fighting the good fight.

In case anyone wonders, I always type it out as T$R to honor this old logo. It’s a dragon, not a dollar sign.

Tom (Jedion) at Table Top Taproom on YouTube has been embroiled in an ongoing conflict with the person behind this revival version of T$R. Another soldier in this battle is Tenkar of Tenkar’s Tavern. They have both been up to their proverbial eyeballs in harsh trolling on Twitter. (Gonna leave those links alone, because it’s pretty brutal.) They have both been making videos in support of one another and are very critical of these guys at the “nuTSR.” From what I’ve seen between Tom and Tenkar, there’s no way I’ll touch the new Star Frontiers.

In fact, from all of the internet brawling I’ve seen over Star Frontiers: New Genesis and other “nuTSR” properties, I won’t touch anything the authors do. Ever. Please note, it takes a lot for me to be openly offended this way.

I’m just peeking in on this insanity that is “nuTSR.”

The old T$R had its flaws before and after the Lorraine Williams era. Gary Gygax, (Rest in Peace) had his own personality quirks and flaws that people have called out. It’s all water under the bridge now, but we do owe Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson and others credit for putting RPGs on the map.

There are so many award winning authors and RPG designers who passed through the hallowed halls of old T$R, I can’t name them all or we’ll be here all day. Some of the luminaries from the T$R golden age of prosperity and even a few of the later hires are still HUGE names in the RPG business.

Despite the popular culture overtones of the time, many of the games from the 1980’s and 1990’s are still thriving in one form or another. Some of them are five, maybe six editions in. (It happens.) Many old campaigns and modules in reprint now come with a disclaimer from Wizards of the Coast.

The disclaimer as it appears on DriveThruRPG and DMsGuild.

I would bet my collection of Polyhedron magazines none, absolutely none of the old T$R crew would sign off on anything these “nuTSR” guys have been doing. From everything I’ve seen, most conscientious gamers won’t touch the stuff these new guys are putting out. We feel bad for the ones who have.

It’s not just Star Frontiers, either. This “nuTSR” has acquired the licenses for Dungeon Crawl and Cult of Abaddon (module.) Apparently they have not shipped as promised. Seems a bit suspicious at best. At worst, it’s awful customer service. (*Here’s a thought- don’t screw people who are giving you money in exchange for your product!)

Crowdfunded efforts unfulfilled. Designers/Writers blasting fans publicly on social media. One incident on social media involved threats against someone’s family. Star Frontiers: New Genesis is a hot mess from what we hear. Lore and backgrounds aside, it is rumored the editing is a total disaster. The museum and several old T$R intellectual properties are on the line, too. Oh, and apparently WotC has issued a Cease and Desist order and set their crack ninja death squad of elite hit lawyers on the perpetrators from this “nuTSR.”

Trauma and drama aside, the true disservice is done to the fans at this point.

No offense to Tom and Tenkar, but that’s what hurts most about this entire debacle. There are some real Dungeon Crawl fans out there. If there was a successful, well thought-out, well edited remake of a classic game, who knows how many fans could have been introduced? The same can be said for Star Frontiers.

Old school T$R fans from all over are shocked and appalled at what has gone down with “nuTSR.” No matter how freaky and controversial the old guard T$R might be, they would never have stamped their imprint some something shoddy, undeliverable, unedited, blatantly offensive, or promised but not delivered. Then to go on social media (*sorry, not much 1980’s or 1990’s comparison,) and treat fans and buyers like absolute dirt? Ouch.

My humble advice regarding “nuTSR.”

I sincerely hope this all dies down soon and we can get back to gaming. Star Frontiers really was a good game. Please, my advice will always be, put your energy toward that which you love, not creating more hate. Love Dungeon Crawl. Love Star Frontiers. Please give Table Top Tap Room and Tenkar’s Tavern a listen over on YouTube.

My other earnest advice, from someone who used to be somewhat anti-WotC, please watch the manufacturer listed on the product! If it comes straight from Wizards of the Coast or old T$R via WotC, then you can reasonably assume it’s authentic. I also find that knowing a little of the product history helps when I’m looking at older modules. There are plenty of other companies reprinting or revising old T$R modules and they’re fine.

Good times are on the horizon. Please stay hydrated. Stay safe. Thanks for being here. You are appreciated.

Personal Share: Things I’m Avoiding

I’ve had more ups and downs that a yo-yo on a roller coaster this past year. Some days, I know my vibration is pretty stinkin low. Other days, I’m floating on the clouds happy. I think psychologists call that “bipolar” but it does fit…

Procrastination can be productive, but that’s not what I’m here to discuss right now.

Could be better.

We’ll talk about procrastination later. Right now, I want to discuss some things that have been on my mind as of late. My intent is that someone else may benefit from my time on the struggle bus or maybe the fail plane. Not sure yet.

Let’s drop some Law of Attraction knowledge into all of this. In the end, I still believe in the Laws of the Universe, difficult though it is some days. Skepticism is helpful, I suppose. I’ve been avoiding writing this article for a while now.

“Just get a job, deadbeat!”

That’s really the very painful nitty gritty of it all, I guess. I don’t identify as “deadbeat,” “loser,” or “failure.” It’s difficult sometimes. I still hear it, even if someone isn’t saying it out loud. Maybe I’m paranoid and slightly delusional. Who knows? Maybe I’m projecting my insecurities onto others? But identifying with the negatives puts us into a state of lack. Lack mentality is to be avoided if we want to live in the higher state of abundance.

Welcome to the grand struggle of the Law of Attraction. There’s always duality and separation. Light and dark, hot and cold, rich and poor, etc. I’m currently feeling that downward pull of some of that lack in my life.

We’re all reaching for the stars in some way, shape, or form. Right? Show me someone who doesn’t strive for stability (minimum) or prosperity (maximum.) Even billionaires have some sort of goal, right?

So, I’m avoiding the lack mentality by embracing the abundance mentality. It’s the whole concept of “Living in the dream fulfilled.” Okay, what does that look like?

Everything is Energy

Meditation: tapping in.

Atoms are energy. It’s a miracle anything is solid there’s so much energy. We’re swimming in a sea of it. The human eye can only perceive so much of it. Otherwise, we’d probably overwhelmed by all of the differing wavelengths and vibrations around us.

So, the vibrations we emit are of the wavelength we are on. I know. It’s complicated. We receive what we feel if LoA is to be believed.

I’ve had more ups and downs that a yo-yo on a roller coaster this past year. Some days, I know my vibration is pretty stinkin low. Other days, I’m floating on the clouds happy. I think psychologists call that “bipolar” but it does fit…

Am I avoiding prosperity and embracing lack? I think the idea here is to have more good days than bad. I mean, sh*t happens. Sometimes the Universe challenges us with a bad day. Literally God/Source/Universe knows why. Of course, there is no such thing as a coincidence.

Okay, then the hardest part.

I’d be pretty much hosed without my wife.

So, we can not have two shince to rub together and still have to live in the millionaire dream fulfilled. I’m avoiding admitting to myself that I’m as broke as a joke. I avoid identifying as a jobless bum who could literally be one marital disagreement away from living under a bridge somewhere. I’m avoiding the notion that I’m literally depending on my wife for everything. (Man card is on fire again…)

I’m super grateful my wife keeps me around. I’m no Martha Stewart, but I do some housework around here, especially anything to do with the kids. I’m trying not to identify myself as taking advantage of my loving wife. Sometimes I feel like I should do more, but the answer is not always clear as to what.

I get tired a lot. Some mornings the pain is, well, a lot too. I still keep going.

Makes it a little hard to just run right out and get a day job, though. Especially knowing at some point I’m going to have to call in sick to said new job, whatever it is. Most places really start looking at you sideways when you mention FMLA. Suddenly they don’t want to keep you around as bad.

Then there’s the thought that out of over 100 job applications I had one actual interview and one legit callback before rejection. I’m turning 50 this month. I’m sure that has something to do with it. Got fired from the last job after nearly seven years. I’m sure that has something to do with it, too.

So, yeah, I’ve been avoiding admitting that to myself, too. They just don’t want me. And I’m not really young enough to start all over at some damn 9-5, 40+ hours per week scrubbing floors and cleaning toilets again. I’m literally too old and too broken for that crap. Not to mention I damned well deserve more.

Not because of some perceived entitlement or privilege. Not because of my age, gender, skin color or sexuality. Because we ALL deserve better. Every last one of us. Life has kicked us all in the ass too much. Good times are overdue.

As a complete side note- Screw college. That’s right. I’ll freely admit it. Higher education has left me with a degree and a bigger stack of bills to pay. What good has it done? Not very damn much. Especially now that the Internet can make anyone just as smart in far less time without all of the bullsh*t.

Income is Outcome.

Snoopy and I really would.

Here’s where the rubber meets the road. It’s the same LoA question I’ve had from literally day one. How do I increase my wealth? I’m not a life coach, a shrink, a doctor or a lawyer. I don’t have any inventive new product or service to sell that is relatively unique to me. I’m not a craftsman, artisan, journeyman or service man, even. I’m not even a good scam artist (*not that I’ve tried.) So what good and/or service do I have to sell?

I’ve asked that question literally hundreds of times and dozens of people. You know what? They all avoid answering it. Not one guru, expert, or leader wants to touch that one. At least, not for free. (Plenty of life coaches and LoA experts will charge me out the butt for whatever magical secrets they have.)

What saddens me is that even this website, that I love dearly, is costing me way more than it’s bringing in. My wife was generous enough to fund another year of my blog back on May 25th. She keeps getting on my case about how broke I am whether she knows it or not. Or maybe I’m projecting again? (*my therapist would be having a field day with this article.)

What really eats me, though- what really gets to me more than probably anything, is I have all kinds of things I want to do with money. (Not just the usual consumer nonsense, although maybe a little indulgence.) But more than about anything, I want to make sure my family is taken care of. Then I want to start helping people out. Problem is, I can’t do it without money.

One example I’ll give, albeit a minor one, is Kickstarter. When I was employed, I started backing some roleplaying game projects that I believed in. Nowadays? I look at new projects by some of the same folks longing to be able to help out. In some cases, one project might be a major source of income for one year for all I know. Of course, no nothin moolah to help, so not much I can do. “Heh heh. go team. yay…)

Is most of the support I can afford these days.

What about joy?

I have this blog. Yeah, I drop a pretty wide range of stuff from roleplaying games all the way through things like LoA and UFOs. Now that I’m on a roll with it, I really don’t want to let it go. It’s been keeping me sane and then some. I actually enjoy writing. But, as someone likes to remind me, all of my “journalism-ing” isn’t paying the bills. (Her term, not mine.)

The operative theory here is that success is defined by happiness (joy.) If I’m truly happy, I don’t need income. But I feel pretty miserable being a burden on my wife and family. There’s lots of things I want to do for the community and people I care about. Some of them might not even know I exist yet.

So where does that leave me? No, really. Where does that leave me? Can anyone tell me? Anybody?

I hear the crickets chirping again. It’s just me barking in the dark. I’m going to leave it here for tonight. I feel a bit lighter already.

Thanks for being here. I appreciate you, especially if you made it clear to the end of my rantings. More to come. Have a good one.

Open to feedback if you have any.

5 RPG Genres That Aren’t Medieval Fantasy

There are other genres I love and adore more than fantasy. I’m going to do a quick rundown on some of the pros and why I like them so much.

I have shelves upon shelves of D&D and other fantasy games.

But, believe it or not, there are other genres I love and adore more than fantasy. I’m going to do a quick rundown on some of the pros and why I like them so much.

  1. Mecha.
  2. Supers.
  3. Cyberpunk.
  4. Space/Sci Fi/Space Opera.
  5. Horror.
  6. (Steampunk.)

1. Mecha!

Okay, who doesn’t love giant robots? This is a sort of subgenre of Anime roleplaying. I didn’t include anime on this list because as I’ve said previously, you can anime-up just about any campaign. Mecha is it’s own animal because um, giant robots, transformable cars, and cool starships. Stories in mecha games usually focus more on the pilots than the magnificent tech.

I think mecha get stereotyped as giant robots, but it really applies to multiple vehicles, powered armor suits, and other mechanized items including robots. There are some very well-known titles in this genre such as Robotech/Macross from Palladium Games, Mekton/Roadstriker by R Talsorian (IF you can still find it,) and Mechwarrior (Battletech) by FASA. Honorable mention goes to Heavy Gear and Jovian Chronicles by Dream Pod 9.

Some titles that may not have made everyone’s list, but I love dearly include Mecha Hack by Absolute Tabletop, Chris Perrin’s Mecha, and Lancer from Massif Press. I would also mention mecha tales work excellently with many anime games such as Big Eyes, Small Mouth and OVA the RPG. There are also a couple of really awesome FATE campaigns tooled for mecha usage.

2. Supers:

If you look on DriveThruRPG.com, there are dozens of superhero RPGs, making it one of the most prevalent genres in gaming. I think the essence of supers is to step outside of ourselves to put on the cape and be the hero we’ve always wanted to be. I’ve personally played and GM’d more superhero RPGs than I’d care to admit. Everything from Marvel and DC all the way down to Tiny D6 Supers.

My current and possibly all time favorite supers RPG is ICONS by RPG luminary Steve Kenson. Ironically, Steve is also one of the brilliant minds behind the original Mutants & Masterminds. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t at least mention good old Heroes Unlimited from Palladium.

If you want a few other names to look into for supers gaming, I suggest Capes, Cowls, and Villains Foul by Spectrum Games. It’s got a lot of the same zing as Cartoon Action hour. There’s also the HERO System/ Champions line of games that practically defined the industry and the genre. Last but not least, there’s (my other favorite) Power Rangers RPG by Renegade Games. Sentai games such as Power Rangers cross the borders between mecha and supers.

3. Cyberpunk:

In recent years, I’ve backed way, way off of running Cyberpunk. I’ve had tons of hours running CP2020, which let’s face it, has become somewhat anachronistic. I also fell out of love with the RPG when it became a mainstream video game. Not because I play the video game, but because running the TTRPG feels a bit redundant and outdated.

Noteables in this genre include Shadowrun (FASA or whomever has the license these days,) OGL Cyberpunk from the D&D 3.0 days, and any number of anime games. Much like mecha, cyberpunk and anime go hand-in-hand. Cyberpunk games are easily adapted from generic systems such as FATE, D20, and Cypher systems. Cortex would also be one of my first choices for a newer cyberpunk game.

4. Space/Sci-Fi/Space Opera:

This is another fantastically huge category. Options range from hard science, such as Traveler to space opera such as Star Wars or Battlestar Galactica. I could write entire articles about RPGs and RPG subgenres within this category and talk about it all day.

I’ve been missing and reminiscing about Star Wars as of late. I miss the space opera/space fantasy vibe. I miss cutting down armies of battle droids, awesome lightsaber fights, intense starfighter battles, comedy involving “Gonk” Power Droids, and all kinds of different species throughout the galaxy. Sometimes the conversations between sessions were as much fun as running this genre.

I also love Star Trek as an RPG, but it’s had more licensees than I can easily count. I have FASA, Last Unicorn, and a couple of other renditions of the Star Trek Universe. It’s also easily adapted to FATE or D20. Some people refer to Star Trek as “science fantasy” because of the <poof> it’s there technology and freakishly powerful extraterrestrial beings.

Aside from my fondness of all things Galactica, I have a real love of Starship Troopers and Aliens. What’s Old Is N.E.W. by EN Publishing actually encompasses both and was lots of fun to run. I still love Mongoose Publishing’s old Starship Troopers and it remains on my shelves to this day.

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5. Horror:

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Not gonna lie, I love this genre. I struggle the most with this genre. It’s been a gnawing bone of contention in my mind for over 30 years.

How do you scare your players without psychologically damaging them for life? At what point does the campaign devolve into horror comedy? Would it just be easier to watch a movie? My mind can go to some pretty dark and creepy places if I’m really trying. Many of us have had worse real life trauma.

True story- we nearly got kicked out of our weekly Werewolf venue once because I was chanting as one of the NPCs. A passing custodian heard me and got spooked. We were allowed to stay as long as I didn’t summon anything. Eesh.

World of Darkness games are probably the forefront of horror RPGs, followed closely by Call of Cthulhu in all of its many forms. After that, much like anime, you can insert horror themes and thematic elements into any RPG out there for the most part. (Magical Girl Anime Horror? See also creepy Hentai.) Likewise, FATE and several other generic systems are adaptable to various horror settings.

I’d like to give a shout out to Spectrum Games’ Slasher Flick. It’s a game where you get to be on the losing end of a Friday the 13th type scenario and still make the best of it. Spectrum makes a lot of really cool horror games.

I’ve recently become enamored with Monster of the Week by Michael Sands and published by Evil Hat. This game has not only inspired a campaign, but has encouraged me back into the genre. I love the idea of putting the smackdown on all kinds of baddies.

6. Steampunk:

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Sorta. Ish. Like, this could be an extended subgenre of fantasy, mecha, or even anime with a little work. I feel this is an underappreciated subgenre of roleplaying that deserves special attention. I have several steampunk RPGs and setting guides that I will review and/or discuss later. Steampunk’s smoky cousin, Dieselpunk is also a subgenre worthy of more exploration.

Thanks for hanging out today. I love RPGs. I love exploring different systems, worlds, settings, tropes and characters of various RPGs. I appreciate you being here. Have a good one!

Tales of the Des Moines Remote Viewing Society.

This is night number two of the fairgrounds case with the missing chainsaw carver statues. We’re going back today to see if we can set up trap cams after they shut the booth down for the night. The footage from last night is pretty compelling stuff. Dan and I believe Tom may have gotten distracted while on duty.

Case 2. Dead Wood in Des Moines.

From the Journal of Brenda Hart, Secretary/Treasurer of the DsMRMVS.

Wanted to jot down some findings on our first two “cases.” I had to remind the boys that we’re not detectives and we’re not getting paid for any of this yet. I don’t think any of us are doing this for profit. More for truth, justice and disclosure.

This is night number two of the fairgrounds case with the missing chainsaw carver statues. We’re going back today to see if we can set up trap cams after they shut the booth down for the night. The footage from last night is pretty compelling stuff. Dan and I believe Tom may have gotten distracted while on duty.

Dan is replacing Tom on the fairgrounds stake out. We’re also rearranging some of the cams from the cemetery to the fairgrounds and vice versa. The cemetery has been a huge bust so far with some minor electromagnetic phenomena and a few notable EVPs. It will be exciting watching both locations from the van as long as Dan doesn’t get arrested.

Additional note from Dan about night number two:

Re: Cemetery next to the fairgrounds- we’ve gotten a few significant EVPs and a few electromagnetic hits, but no sightings or other activities. It’s Tuesday of the Fair and we’re hoping activity will pick up soon.

I’m swapping out with Tom on the stake out of the Chainsaw Carver’s booth. We got permission to put up trap cams under the guise of trying to catch the thieves. Noticed Sutton’s sales assistant, Julie, is big into Wicca. Could there be a connection?

Additional note: Someone removed all of the locks from the mausoleums in the cemetery today. Not sure who it is. His back was to the cameras in every shot. It’s kinda creepy and strange, but so far no other activity to report. Tom and Brenda are going to have their hands full tonight in the van with both sets of cameras reporting in constantly. Doubt we’re getting a lot of sleep.

The next morning, Dan returned to his van, the monitoring center for the operation. Both the driver’s and passenger’s side windows had been smashed with considerable force. There were fist sized dents down the passenger’s side. Brenda and Tom were huddled in the back with rear doors bound tight. Somehow the equipment kept recording.

Tom and Brenda were pretty shaken by what had transpired during the night. It was if two entities wanted into the van. Tom described a wooden fist going through the driver’s side window. Brenda went into shock and needed medical attention, claiming some force wanted her to leave. Tom’s Gopro didn’t capture anything beyond the van shaking violently and windows being smashed. It really did look like a wooden fist with black feathers went through the window.

From Tom’s Journal:
Brenda and I were nearly taken out last night. At about 3:00 AM Brenda suddenly went into deep trance and began bleeding from the nose. A short time later the van started rocking and the windows up front were smashed. Had Brenda been functional, I would have stepped out to confront whoever it was. At least the cameras in the fairgrounds and the cemetery kept going. Hopefully something productive will come from this.

Let’s Talk About: More Classes in DCC RPG.

Here are some classes I’d like to see come into DCC RPG. Please remember Races have their own class in DCC, just like Basic D&D and some other OSR games. Some classes deemed mention in order to be ruled out or suggested as variants within preexisting classes.

One of the few issues I have with Dungeon Crawl Classics and some other OSR games is the lack of variety in the character classes/races.

I know. I know. It’s the Interwebs. I’m sure if we can think of it, someone out there has already done it or something similar. With enough time and digging, I’m sure I can find the magical answer to the question: Has this already been done? I will do that digging later. Then again, “Do yer research,” has some people believing the Earth is flat, so…

Here are some classes I’d like to see come into DCC RPG. Please remember Races have their own class in DCC, just like Basic D&D and some other OSR games. Some classes deemed mention in order to be ruled out or suggested as variants within preexisting classes.

Let’s start with some of the classes from AD&D:

Acrobat: They’re nimble, dodgy and athletic. They may excellent second story burglars. This simple adaptation of Thief would focus on Strength, Agility and mobility in combat.

Assassin: I feel to properly capture this class it would need to be a blend of Warrior and Thief. The variation on this would be Ninja, much as Samurai are an adaptation of Warrior.

Barbarian: Is pretty much just a Warrior with a gnarly attitude and usually some sort of large weapon. Strictly a roleplaying choice unless the Judge wishes to modify it.

Cavalier: Cool as it might be, this class would only be a fit for certain campaigns and maybe be better relegated to a variation on Warrior. Originally I did consider it.

Druid: I have two schools of thought on this and the Shaman. One is they’re just dressed-up Clerics. The second one is, heck yeah. Separate class! Shapeshifting, different spells, different social orders, exciting spellcasting restrictions. Let’s do it! Druids are in tune with nature more than their gods. Maybe they would require a different casting table with new and exciting consequences?

Monk: This is somewhat the Mystic from D&D Rules Cyclopedia. It’s a freaky cross between the Shao-Lin tradition and like a Benedictine monk. I think it has a place in DCC. I suppose an argument could be made for making them a roleplaying variation of Warrior or Cleric. I would give them a little of both.

Paladin: Again, seemed like a cool idea at first, but maybe not. This can be played as a slightly holier-than-thou Warrior or a zealous, more aggressive Cleric. Probably not a good basic OSR choice overall.

Ranger: As I love this class is other games, I’m really tempted to convert this. But, it could just be a very woodsy Warrior or Thief. Again, somewhat like the Mystic from D&D Rules Cyclopedia, living alone in the woods, studying Wizard spells while practicing with a bow and two-weapon fighting, stealth… Yeah. This one has the potential to get out of hand real quick, so probably no.

I think a good case could be made for less powerful versions of the Ranger such as Scout, Archer, or some sort of Dual Wield specialist. It’s ultimately up to the Judge as to whether or not to allow a class to make Warriors almost completely obsolete overnight. Maybe it is best left as a simple roleplaying variation on Warrior, Thief, or Elf.

Shaman: “But Jeff, that’s just another Cleric!” Yes, it could play out that way. But I think it’s a very viable class. For those who remember 2nd Ed AD&D, there were some pretty cool Druid and/or Shaman spells. Shaman would also tap into the spirit world a lot more and their spell table would reflect it. It seems a very viable option to me, but could be a roleplaying variation of Cleric or maybe even Wizard.

Porting a couple of classes in from video game land.

I’d like to see a few classes brought over from newer editions of D&D and/or a couple of my favorite video games.

Necromancer: I would dare say there are a fair number of players from Everquest, Diablo 2 and 3, as well as other games who would eat this up as a class beyond Wizard. A similar argument could be made for Enchanter/Artificer with automatons or suits of magic armor.

Warlock: Take the magic table and make it super harsh. Have some sort of Void beings, Fell hounds, Succubi, or other nasty demons as servants. (*ala World of Warcraft.) Give them supernatural patrons that would make the player’s skin crawl a bit. With great power comes great sacrifice. Maybe not quite so evil, just creepy.

Things I think would be fun to bring in from Blizzard properties:

(Oh don’t sue me. Please don’t sue me…) I would like to see the Diablo 2 AD&D magic item tables converted for DCC. I think it would be fun to give players the Wailing Fiery Broadsword of the Whale, as a made-up example. That way if they find a really cool item, they know it’s legendary. I might work something similar into my game. I also like the idea of using green, blue, yellow, purple, and gold sticky notes with the items on them to denote rarity. Could be fun.

I also think it would be cool to bring in a lot of the spells from both Diablo games and WoW. They’re mostly quickly cast offensive spells for Wizards. The only downsides I could see to this would be failed casting checks and the poor Wizards wearing out rapidly from repeated casts.

“Third wizard this week that had to be put down because he sprouted extra tentacles and an eyeball in the middle of his forehead.” –Bob, Warrior Extraordinaire

I’m sure there could be cases made for bringing in all kinds of things unofficially from other RPGs, video games, and even movies/tv. (Krull’s spiky blade thing, for example.) I’m also giving thought to making my own campaign world where I can slip in a bunch of these character concepts, spells, and items.

Next time, I’ll cover races and possibly a few other class options that might be fun. I appreciate you! Thanks for being here!

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