A Moment of Silence Today.

No full article today. Please take time to remember and honor our fallen.

We Will Never Forget.

Photo by Lars Mulder on Pexels.com

If you served anywhere as a civil servant and you see this, THANK YOU for your service.

In honor of all of those who lost their lives that day and the millions more affected by that loss, there will be no article today.

Take care. Thank you for everything you do. I appreciate you!

What Are We Here For, Exactly?

We’re humble gamers. A lot of us were marginalized by our peers and picked-on while growing up. (“Nerds!”) There are a ton of emerging sociocultural topics that we are being faced with now that the hobby has grown from hundreds to thousands to an approximately 50 Million. I would go so far as to say we’re a subculture now.

Please bear with me, family. This one is as much for my own benefit as anyone else’s.

I see so much injustice in the world. I almost turned this into a poem just now because it goes deep fast. I see all these injustices, lack, and hate in the world. Is that what we’re here for?

I don’t want to come at this from a place of privilege. Yeah, I’ve had it relatively good. I’m super grateful that I got to grow up in white bread middle of the United States. It’s not like I had much of a choice.

I see so much negative crap in the world and it kinda breaks my heart.

Yes. Call me a pansy, bleeding heart, woke, socialist, or whatever. I empathize with a lot of people when they’re hurting. Politics aside, my heart really goes out to a lot of friends and family who have been stuck in the proverbial mud as of late.

Truth: Being poor sucks. Being homeless sucks. Being unemployed royally sucks. Abuse of any kind, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and hate in general are all seriously bad. I’m grateful every day that some of these circumstances don’t apply to me.

BUT, they apply to a lot of people I know and care about a lot in the real world and on social medial. I spend a lot of time in the #TTRPG sphere these days. Unfortunately, just as in almost every community on the Internet, there exists inequity, racism, and other forms of hate. It hurts. It really does.

I keep wondering what I can do to help, like really help.

Don’t get me wrong. I have my own share of health and psychological issues. But, I would really like to do more. I’m not sure what, exactly. I’m just a guy with a blog.

That isn’t to say I’m helpless. I do have a few readers according to my statistics. I love you folx. Honestly, you’re great! We need to spread the word more in the #TTRPG community when we see all these injustices.

More discourse!

The TTRPG sphere has had its share of controversies as of late. The issue with NuTSR’s extremely racist views recently came up again. Wizards of the Coast managed to shock the fan community with their recent Spelljammer flub known as the #Hadozee. Gatekeeping is becoming a hotter topic now, too. Finally, there seems to be a regular uproar on Twitter any time someone tries to give advice involving diversity and inclusion in the TTRPG workspace.

Here’s the catch: We should be discussing these things!

We’re humble gamers. A lot of us were marginalized by our peers and picked-on while growing up. (“Nerds!”) There are a ton of emerging sociocultural topics that we are being faced with now that the hobby has grown from hundreds to thousands to an approximately 50 Million. I would go so far as to say we’re a subculture now.

We should be working as a community to move closer together, not farther apart at least as a culture. We need to talk about our beliefs and values. Most importantly, we should be able to come together as a group and enjoy a roleplaying game for 4-6 hours at a time. Discuss!

We’re committing to spending time with one another once (one-shots, conventions games, etc) or possibly one night per week or whatever can be scheduled. We are going to have some different ideas as people outside the game. Public discourse is healthy for us all.

Maybe we don’t agree. Maybe we do agree. Can we compromise on something?

The Session Zero debate seems trivial enough.

Anyone mentioning Session Zero or inclusivity in their gaming group immediately gets shouted at “Don’t tell me how to run my game!”

Some of us think Session Zero is always a good idea. I like knowing what characters I’m dealing with and a little about their backgrounds when I GM. I like to talk about house rules. We discuss what might be sensitive subjects to some players. Simple enough, right?

Okay. Don’t run Session Zero. If you’ve been playing with the exact same group of people for 20 years, you probably didn’t need one in the first place. You know it’s going to be the same hot buttons and things to stay away from. Great.

Please believe me when I say, no one is trying to tell you how to run your game with your group at home.

Trouble starts when tabletop gamers start acting a fool in public or on social media (see also; in public.) Please don’t exclude people from a public game unless the group is jam packed. If you’re not running a system they like, they probably won’t stick around anyway. At least the offer was made.

Most pro level Dungeon/Game Masters know how to run for larger groups and still make it around the table to everyone anyway. (That’s a different article, though.) My point is- we’re all there to have fun. Please make it happen?

If you’re in a PUBLIC space, please remember there are going to be all kinds of people from different walks of life, countries, genders, preferences, races, and so on potentially present. It’s our job as GMs/DMs to make everyone feel welcome as hosts of a game in a public space. What you do inside your home with your own private group is none of my concern.

Back to my original question.

Why are we here? Is is to fight, bicker and complain about one another? Pffft! Absolutely not!

Are we here on planet Earth on the 4D plane of existence to discover love, peace, joy, compassion and prosperity together? Absolutely! How do we want to choose to treat one another? It’s up to us,

My final thought is, if 50 Million of us can figure out how to get along and coexist in spite of our slightly conflicting values, what’s to keep the rest of the world from following us. Please remember, no matter how bad one thinks one has it, someone else has it worse. Someone also has it better. So, please consider- Can we do it better?

Let’s please try to get along.

Doing What I’m Passionate About.

I still love Role Playing Games wholeheartedly. I love writing. I like money, but we’re still working on that part. But a friend reminded me once that joy is a way bigger priority than money.

When last we left our hero…

July 19th was kind of a rough day. The day before was challenging because I went round with Imposter Syndrome yet again. I’ve had a bit of time to process. I’ve also had a TON of loving input from friends and and a certain amazing mentor.

Also, a huge shout-out to Space Freighter One on Twitter. He’s been encouraging the heck out of me before I’m even awake most days. I think it’s the benefit of being a sentient starship. Thanks!

Thanks always to Laura DiBenedetto as well. Without The Six Habits, I probably would have lost my marbles completely during the year that was 2020. Thanks for keeping me sane and reminding us it is possible to find joy. Laura on LinkedIn. If you ever need a Life Coach or just a good friend who’s unafraid to give you a swift but caring kick in the butt when needed.

Laura jumped right in with all kinds of suggestions and helpful ideas. I keep forgetting to mention, I own my failures. My successes I owe largely to The Six Habits and lots or great advice from its author.

I still love Role Playing Games wholeheartedly. I love writing. I like money, but we’re still working on that part. But a friend reminded me that joy is a way bigger priority than money. That feeling of being in my own zone every day is worth a million dollars and then some.

I knew it would be less than a day before I became inspired again.

Laura responded to both of my prior posts that went to LinkedIn.com. This amazing, talented, CEO with God-knows-how-much going on took time out to respond to my posts. Knock me over with a feather. Holy crap.

I watch a lot of YouTube when I’m not doing anything else. Or at least listening to podcasts while I’m in the shower. I shave my head while listening to Russell Brand talk about how messed up the world is or my friend @jedion357 talking about Star Frontiers and old D&D. Tom’s YouTube Channels are Table Top Taproom and Star Frontiers Gamer.

The thing I admire most about Laura, Russell Brand and Tom (aka Jedion) is their passion for what they do. Admittedly, Brand has something akin to 5.7 million followers. Tom has maybe 135 total? But regardless of follower count both of these talented and passionate individuals put out phenomenal content almost every day.

Tom is especially passionate about Star Frontiers and just listening to him talk about the game makes me want to run it. He’s been into the game a very long time and I admire his dedication to what is definitely considered part of the Old School Rules family. If he can stand so firmly behind this older game, I can certainly write about/run/play Dungeon Crawl Classics.

Let’s talk about Old School Rules.

Disclaimer: I want to clarify this is not about a specific product, but a category of RPG products. OSR and OSRIC are a line of RPGs that closely mimic rules of original fantasy and other games from the 1970’s, 1980’s and early 1990’s. Dungeons & Dragons is the main focus of many of these games, but not the only one.

My goal in life is not to refresh the infamous Edition Wars of D&D past. Some of us are very passionate about games gone by. Whether it’s Basic, B/X, White Box, 1st Ed AD&D, Star Frontiers, Gamma World, or even something slightly more obscure- you can still find a solid fan base for it somewhere on the Internet.

The #RPGTwitter sphere covers all sectors of the RPG spectrum from OSR to 5E, and more Indie designers that ever. Unfortunately, a lot of the OG, Old Grognard, bitterly jaded, spiteful OSR crowd lurk all over social media. On any given day it depends on who you run into as to the reaction you might get. Some of us are pretty darn friendly.

Huzzah!

I’d run AD&D 1E or Basic from the Rules Cyclopedia tomorrow IF I had players and those players had a copy of the rules. Obviously a fresh 5E PHB is much easier to pick up. But, Dungeon Crawl Classics is firmly rooted in the OSR tradition and it is widely available.

I’d love more opportunities to run DCC. The potential for unexplored territory and old school huzzah! moments is great. But, I ran into my fears of imposter syndrome at the sheer amount of material that exists for this game already. Goodman has been going at it steadily since the 1990’s. Third Party publishers who came over from D&D 3rd Ed or Pathfinder 1E have been putting out their own material almost as long. How can anyone compete?

Competition.

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

This is also why I’m not trying to cash in on the D&D 5E market. Yeah, it’s hot right now. But that’s also why some third party publishers are selling at $.99 or less. Many times it’s Pay What You Wish. Or even free. I can do free here on my blog. Easy.

I firmly believe there is still plenty of untapped potential in DCC and OSR in general, really. Sure, there’s plenty of well-trodden territory out there. But, I think I have some things that maybe haven’t been done as much in mind.

There’s a well known Law of Attraction saying, “There’s no such thing as competition.” I’m a fan of the saying, “There’s plenty of room for everyone.” Quips aside, I believe it’s possible to still create even in a crowded market as long as I’m having fun. The goal becomes having fun. Money is a very welcome side effect.

With that having been said, I’m going to keep making DCC stuff here on my blog for sure.

Love you, Family!

I’m going to stop looking at other third party publishers’ material, though. Just because someone else has done a thing, doesn’t mean I can’t do it differently or maybe better. Right now I just want to have fun with it and strive for personal growth.

Would I like to be the next Gygax or Arneson? Yes and no. Popular to the point of other writers and game designers quoting me regularly- heck yeah! Would I like to be dragging around some serious ethical and philosophical baggage long after I’m dead? Aw hell naw!

Update: New avenues of discovery.

After conferring with some very wise people, I’m going to start looking at >gasp!< non-TTRPG work again. Like it or not, my skill set does apply to more that one occupation. Now if I can stave off sheer terror and existential anxiety, I’ll be fine. Keep on keepin on til then.

Thank you for being here on my journey. I’m staving off the imposter syndrome again. Folks like Laura, Russell Brand and Tom have inspired me to keep going. I am grateful to all of you every day.

My One Year Freedom-versary!

All I can do is speak my truth when it comes to pain. I wake up every day feeling as if I have been beaten with a sack of hammers one at a time.

Yay! or is it yay?

It’s officially been one year since I was um, uh, “released” from my job. On one hand it was a blessing. Spiritually, I’m still grateful for this on so many levels. I still have to be careful with what I say because of all the NDA and Severance Agreements. (Grrr.) On the other hand, being broke is kinda not fun…

This is going to be another bittersweet rant on my part. I’ve still got plenty of emotional and psychological scars that may never actually heal entirely. I intend to put myself on a timeline for my greatest and highest good, but it’s been some serious work getting there so far. Therapy has definitely been super helpful.

Pain. Physical, mental and emotional friggin pain.

The physical pain is one thing, but…

All I can do is speak my truth when it comes to pain. I wake up every day feeling as if I have been beaten with a sack of hammers one at a time. As a result, sometimes I have to call in sick to work, or at least that used to be the case. It got to the point where I had to apply for FMLA. My body has been used and self abused enough over the years that it just doesn’t function as well as it used to.

Fibromyalgia sucks. Arthritis sucks. Exhaustion sucks. Pain pretty much sucks. There, I said it.

I fight depression a lot. It’s been a year long battle not to feel like a total failure. I know I’m not, but sometimes I need to remind myself of that. Not having a job has left a bruise on my ego- a pretty big one.

I think some things may have been said prior to my unfortunate separation from that company that are still gnawing on me even today. Without getting into specifics, I flunked a friggin PTSD survey for crying out loud. Or passed with flying colors depending on how you look at it. (Whichever result we didn’t want? Yeah. That one.) My therapist says I’m still hanging onto a lot of anger and resentment, too.

I still can’t deal with criticism. It’s not pretty. I don’t even like going out in public. I know it sounds terrible.

Healing following the end of any relationship, including a job, takes a long time.

I’m still coping emotionally.

I keep telling myself I’m past it. I’m over it. I’m good. I’m happier without it than with it. For the most part I am over it. Really. I’m good.

Then something comes up to remind me I have zero income. My pride kinda steps in to remind me I’m not a breadwinner in a family of six. My oldest son has started busing tables at a restaurant. My next oldest is mowing lawns all summer. I’m working on… I intend to be a writer.

I turned 50 less than a month ago. It’s been a rough year. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting better. I can almost go out in public sometimes, for a short while. I’m still not big on “people-ing.” as my wife and oldest say it. Criticism tends to start a spiral ending in my poor therapist. Yeah. My therapist is awesome, though.

Some days the bear takes you to therapy.

It’s not all doom and gloom.

My wife, Heather, has been incredibly supportive through this whole thing. I’m pretty happy and grateful every day because I’m living in a house with my family. We have enough to eat. The bills are getting paid. She’s a super mom when it comes to taking care of the kids. She’s also an A+ baker.

I appreciate her a whole lot. She’s very camera shy, so no pic. Thanks, Honey!

My friend Laura DiBenedetto once asked me to draw up a list of 50 things I’m thankful for. It’s a good exercise. When you’re down it’s not as easy as it sounds, though. I think I actually did a hundred once. It’s 25 daily if you’re following The Six Habits Workbook. Regardless, the idea is I have plenty to be grateful for. I really am grateful for each and every one.

This website, my blog especially, has benefitted from me not traipsing out the door to work every day. Once toxic corporate culture wasn’t sucking the creativity and will to live out of me, I became much more productive. This blog means so very much to me. It’s been a daily endeavor for me every day since I rebranded it at the start of the year. I love writing!

Heather, family, Laura, readers, Bimoji, anyone else who I forgot.

It was for the best all around, I suppose.

Large corporations…

Was I the best employee? No. I mean, they did gimme the ax, didn’t they? Sadly, it wasn’t an issue with my skills as much as my attitude and my willingness to call bullshit when I see it. I don’t imagine the FMLA helped, but of course we can’t prove anything or really speak of such matters. BUT, it’s nice not having to be out of the house for 48 hours per week and deal with all the Mcgarbage of corporate life. I guess they did what they thought was “best for the company.”

Personally, other than missing the paycheck, I don’t miss all the bull I had to put up with (no specifics.) One of my main objections to the job, besides having one, was that I was working in an industry known to be incredibly destructive to the Earth. It was tough to reconcile spiritually every day.

In a very general sense, I believe it best to put people before profits. I also think it’s better to promote creation over destruction, which some industries globally are pretty horrible about. Last, I prefer prosperity for all over greed. Despite any company’s lip service, win-win usually doesn’t happen.

Disclaimer: Some people mistake me for a Socialist or a Communist. Now, to be fair, I have studied about both quite a bit over the years. If we’re being honest, some tenets of a socialist democracy do appeal. Unfortunately it’s prone to abuse, corruption, misinterpretation, and ultimately suffering. So, love our government and economic system in the US or hate it? Still better than the alternatives as far as I’m concerned.

My happy place.

Flowers grow in shit, too- metaphorically and practically. I ought to know. I’ve seen enough of it.

I’m grateful I’m no longer working in that awful place, or any awful place for that matter. I love my family a lot more than I hate dealing with big businesses. More importantly, being on my own in the “workforce” has been a huge blessing!

Think about it. No job gets me more time with my family. Theoretically a cleaner house. (Still working on that. See also, kids.) I get to go to ball games and roleplaying games that I wouldn’t have gotten to otherwise. My wife loves all the attention she gets these days, I think.

Not to brag, but I get to rest on the pain flare days. No one freaks out when I say I have to stay home. On the days when everyone is in school (my wife is a teacher) I get the whole house to myself. Just me and the cats. Still… I get to meditate, nap, eat stuff out of the air fryer, write, play video games, and run errands. It’s freakin amazeballs!

If anyone thinks I’m ever going back to a corporate environment of any kind, they’re sadly, tragically mistaken.

Startups, small businesses, local endeavors, individuals are more than welcome to invite me in/ hire me. (<gulp!> I guess.) I’ve been known to bend over backwards to help doing volunteer work back in ye olde days. These days, I’d work for credit on the right project. I’m not sure about working pro-bono these days, but I might consider it for the right person.

The one thing I will never go back to, short of a corner office and a six digit salary (LOL!) is a large, unfeeling, uncaring, nameless, faceless, rotten corporation. (Which ones are rotten? Umm…)

About the time anyone started talking yearly performance reviews, big meetings, (forced) peer interactions, or any of that other corporate Mc-culture crap? I’d be out the door. The last thing I want is to put myself in a position where the review makes waterboarding seem like a summer olympic event. I will never do harsh criticism again without going off and I will happily die on that hill before I let anyone tear me down.

That is one nervous breakdown I do NOT need ever again. You could call me into a meeting with six or seven people to tell me I’m employee of the year and I’ll be f’kn absent as Hell or fightin mad. I don’t care. If I even sense it in the air, I’m gone!

Jeffco’s Employee of the Year.

Let’s be honest. Working for myself is where it’s at.

Yeah, my profits have been down since January. It’s easy to claim $0 on my taxes yet. However, we’re into July without any pesky profits. It’s like we’re selling money repellant around here. Oh, wait. Okay, we’re giving away too many free samples of money repellant. Check.

(I WAS JOKING!)

All joking aside, better times are on the horizon. I’m working on new ways of monetizing my endeavors. I intend to have some kind of income flowing within the next year. It’s going to get better. Seriously, that’s the next hill I’m willing to die on so to speak.

I truly love being my own boss. I haven’t applied to work at someone else’s business since February. Really, it’s the best way for me to go. I’m happy like this. I’m free to do just about anything I set my mind to. I wish I had come up with a plan to do this years ago.

I’m going to consider doing some freelance or contract work in the coming year. It’s similar to working completely for myself and it pays better. I’m also going to get something published one of these days, even if it’s small, electronic (pdf) publication to start getting myself out there. Part of the key to getting discovered is appearing somewhere, right?

THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE!

Seriously. I can’t think you enough. I appreciate you being here. I love having readers. I love having people visit the site. You’re awesome! Thank you!

I love you all!
You ARE valued.
Photo by Katie Rainbow ud83cudff3ufe0fu200dud83cudf08 on Pexels.com

Please practice kindness. Embrace joy!

I bet someone scrolled down this far to see if I posted a different picture of me in a unicorn costume. Mmm hmm.

Freedom Day! 11th Month Edition

Our continuing mission to seek out new opportunities, new wealth and prosperity has hit yet more snags. I’ve been off work for 11 months with no prospects for gainful employment in sight. The government is not helping yet or possibly at all. The bills are starting to creep up.

Captain’s Log. Stardate: 6.19.2022.

Our continuing mission to seek out new opportunities, new wealth and prosperity has hit yet more snags. I’ve been off work for 11 months with no prospects for gainful employment in sight. The government is not helping yet or possibly at all. The bills are starting to creep up.

A family of six surviving on one paycheck in this day and age looks pretty grim. Law of Attraction aficionados would say I chose this. Lord knows I have plenty of reasons to be down these days. Guess I’m choosing depression, too. It wouldn’t be so bad if I could just bury my head in the sand and just pretend things were going to improve.

Site engagement has been up.

THANK YOU!

One silver lining this month has been engagement on this site. I saw a couple of beautiful spikes in views earlier this month. Wow! If you’re here, thank you! I appreciate you stopping by.

A lot of the feedback I’ve received from sources such as #ttrpg Twitter has been extremely positive. I’m still somewhat new to blogging and it makes my heart flutter a bit when I hear a compliment. Thank you! Of course, more site traffic isn’t a sign of positive or negative opinions, but I’ll take the up-tick in views. Thank you!

Then there’s a ton of stuff that doesn’t make much sense yet.

I regularly mull over what I’m doing right in terms of writing, parenting, husbanding, adulting, etc. There’s never a super clear answer to any of my questions. It’s not like life comes with a user’s manual. Kinda wish it did some days. (Like, the ones ending in “y.”)

I keep wondering about how to best monetize myself in the roleplaying game market. Kickstarter? Patreon? Maybe just put stuff on Ko-Fi? I’m not sure I’m ready for DriveThruRPG just yet. That would require a finished larger product.

Someone recently mentioned trying out Fiverr. (Coming Soon!) I have often considered doing piece work, short articles, and social media posts. The same wonderful person mentioned possibly doing some ghostwriting or editing. Terrifying, which is why I’m looking into it.

Then again, am I really supposed to be in the RPG market at all? What about writing a novel? (Not as easy as it sounds, btw.) What about life coaching? (LOL! Not sure if I should be coaching or finding one.) What about becoming some sort of spiritual teacher? (*Don’t worry. Andey Fellowes and others would talk me down off that ledge.) What about a self help book? (Uh… 😐)

Figured out what I’m not doing.

That list goes on forever. The most obvious ones include finding another dispatching job. No thanks PTSD. Not today.

Scrubbing floors is right out. Even if my back and pain levels could tolerate it, my wife would likely shoot me. The hours for that kind of work are not worth the pay and effort involved.

Iowa Workforce Development. There’s a reason I’m no longer looking for a job in this state. They were more than happy to help as long as I wasn’t neurodivergent, in pain, and happy to throw my college degree out the window. Iowa needs dental hygienists and welders. Just don’t come around here being one of those sinister teacher types. (*Love you, wife.)

I’m too old and out of shape for retail, restaurants, factories, and office jobs. I have too many values and principles to ever do sales, especially over the phone. Call center jobs tend to become very stressful and triggering about five minutes in. I don’t even think Wal Mart would take me as a door greeter at this point.

In fact, screw working for any kind of big company or corporation ever again. Even if all the corporate culture head trash didn’t make me want to vomit, I’m pretty sure any review I receive is going to trigger me all over the place. That’s assuming we get that far. “Let’s have a meeting” would be followed by me coming completely unglued on someone. No thanks.

Bring my Garden Weasel to work day?

A brilliant and beautiful soul put me onto some new avenues of abundance.

Laura is the best!

I can always count on my friend Laura DiBenedetto to set me straight. She recently clued me into a couple of new avenues to abundance. I’m working on it, but it’s taking a little time. More on that as it develops.

I also continue to practice the skills I learned from The Six Habits. Laura’s book legitimately can and will change your life if you work with it. I may still get down sometimes (depression sucks!) but it’s an ongoing process, much like spiritual awakening.

The human brain creates channels of memory like lava carving its way down the side of a volcano. Practice a habit for 21 days and you can change the channel. Brain cells that fire together wire together. Neuroplasticity can modify those channels to improve your life. Look up Hebb’s Law. A constant practice of Kindness, Acceptance, Gratitude, Presence, Goodness and Intention will yield positive results given enough practice.

I’ve been back into the book lately, myself. Sometimes we get out of practice on certain things. It’s good to go back to basics and remember why we came here.

Gratitude is key.

Okay. I’ll buy that one. I’m so happy and grateful I have a roof over my head and a food on my plate. I’m grateful for all of the wonderful things I have in life. I’m grateful for my family’s health. I’m super extra grateful for my wife’s job. I’m super happy and grateful when I find loose change on the street, too. I’m grateful I met Laura, too.

Gonna go off now…

I’d like to say I’m grateful I got canned from that last gig. Look at all the stuff that’s teaching me. I’m grateful to be walking around with not-two-shits to give about anyone working for a large corporation or what they have to say. I’m grateful Iowa Workforce Development was more than happy to help as long as I did exactly what they wanted me to do. I’m extra grateful the government keeps denying my disability because I love being f’kn broke all the time. I’m grateful every time I log into LinkedIn to find out some other scamtastic pile of refuse has viewed my profile, because it reminds me I’m glad I gave up that damn job search crap months ago.

I know I have some things working against me every day.

Silly “Old Grognard” photo

First up, my age. I turn the big 50 in ten days. Even if I wasn’t long in the beard and bald as a cue ball, my birth certificate does not lie. I could shave tomorrow, but I know in my heart of hearts it will do me no good.

But what does that mean? Why is that so bad? Well, first off, employers really don’t want to see me walk in the door because they know I’m old enough not to take any sh*t that they hand out to the younger new guys.

On every given day, especially now that I’m officially “old,” my health comes into question. Which, I know how much they cringe with FMLA comes up. I literally have no choice but to mention it nowadays. I’m happy to be functional three days out of five most of the time.

My back and my pain tolerance make it pretty hard to do a lot of those fun repetitive motion tasks like mopping floors, scrubbing toilets, running a cash register, stocking shelves, standing all day, and a lot of other things y’all youngins take for granted. In fact, writing is one of the few things I can enjoy doing while sitting down from the comfort of my couch. (Too bad it doesn’t pay better, but we’re working on it.)

As bitterly annoyed as I am becoming toward certain entities, one fact remains prevalent.

No clue wtf I’m doing any more.

I have a family to take care of. That hurts on so many levels I can’t even describe them all. I’m very grateful my wife is taking care of all of us. That’s super.

Sorry, kids. Dad’s kind of a deadbeat. Seriously, I know how it looks. I wish I could provide more. I so desperately want to give more financially. And I live here. Your mom and I are still married somehow.

So, yeah. 11 months into this sh*tshow and I still have more questions than answers. I’m still wrestling with finding myself, accepting my own inadequacies, and fumbling around with what to do. I’m still unable to rub two shince together and have not two sh*ts left to give some days. Improvements are hopefully on the way soon.

Thanks for being here, one and all. I would have liked to have glowing things to say, but it’s been another r month. Onward and upward, I suppose.


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.

Using the Fantasy to Its Fullest

I can’t stress this enough. TTRPGs are a great way to blow off steam. Think about a bunch of carefully painted miniatures on a battle map, slugging it out with sword and spell. D20s and damage dice going back and forth. I would dare say that is far healthier mentally and physically than, say, ambushing and beating the unholy living sh*t out of some kid who bullied us on the playground last month.

There was a time when all I wanted to do was roll dice to punch Orcs in the face and hack Skeletons to tiny bits.

Okay, if we’re being honest, that was yesterday? Earlier this morning maybe? And don’t get me wrong, rolling dice to burn things and blow stuff up still really appeals. It probably always will. (Oh, there’s a “but” coming.)

But, I think the psychology behind some of the more destructive fantasies is worthy of examination. No, I’m not in danger of attracting police attention. Rolling dice and using spells to level buildings is plenty sufficient to keep me off certain watch lists.

So, why all the harshness within TTRPGs?

Maybe it’s an imbalance in the Divine Masculine? Maybe my chakras are misaligned. Maybe it’s an imbalance in my Sacral Chakra? It could possibly be something deeply psychological, and little more.

See, your humble narrator used to get picked on a LOT from the time I was in elementary school all the way through high school. Bullies would ride up to little Jeff and steal his book bag, pull his coat up over his head, or count coup as they rode by to just punch me. Middle school kids can be the most cruel little heathens you can imagine. (I will attest to this now that I have kids of my own at that age.)

That was about the time I discovered roleplaying games. I was 8 or 9 when I was introduced to Marvel Superheroes and Dungeons & Dragons. Ah, good times. That’s where the fantasy took root.

I still got picked on regularly, but now I had a mental outlet for all the pent-up aggression.

Now that I’m older, I think I would have benefited from meditation and all the Zen Buddhism I discovered in high school. I still admire those monks to this day. But, a d20 roll and 1d6 damage had to suffice back then.

The friends I discovered from gaming were true friends. We kinda shared that common “nerd” bond. We played all manner of games where the bad guys got beat sometimes in the most brutal fashion possible. Every one of us enacted some sort of revenge fantasy on orcs (bullies,) goblins (kids teasing us,) and skeletons (general childhood frustrations.) I forgot to mention, Drow were the girls who turned us down and openly mocked us asking for a date. (I had two friends who were big on that one. <cringe>)

The good thing is, NO ONE WAS HURT IN THE REAL WORLD!

I can’t stress this enough. TTRPGs are a great way to blow off steam. Think about a bunch of carefully painted miniatures on a battle map, slugging it out with sword and spell. D20s and damage dice going back and forth. I would dare say that is far healthier mentally and physically than, say, ambushing and beating the unholy living sh*t out of some kid who bullied us on the playground last month.

I hate to use school shootings as another example, but it’s true. Teenagers tend to make a lot of heated emotional decisions that have permanent consequences. Thinking back on it, I could have been one of those kids. Literally. If we’re being totally honest, it’s not like I never thought about it. But I never did it. Cooler heads always prevailed. That was 30+ years ago.

Obviously, that would never, ever happen now. I truly weep in my heart for the kids and families who have suffered at the hands of school shooters and unwarranted gun violence in America. Thank God I and my friends found better ways to channel that aggression without hurting anyone. I sincerely wish more kids would pick up a d20 instead of a gun.

If I’ve learned anything from being an “Old Grognard” it’s that roleplaying can be a good outlet for heroic fantasy.

Supers RPGs such as ICONS are fabulous for making bullies pay for their wrongdoing and making the little guy the hero of the story. That’s sort of the nature of comic books, isn’t it? Science nerd Peter Parker gets bitten by a radioactive spider and gradually becomes a force for epic good. Little Billy Batson says “SHAZAM!” and transforms into a guy with powers rivaling those of Superman. It’s not just about beating up bad guys, but learning what being a hero is all about!

I think that’s the other lesson to be learned here. Our fantasies in any RPG are also a wonderful way to explore all the good things of which we’re capable. Truth, justice, friendship, compassion and freedom are all possible within a game session. Through roleplaying, we can experience life the way we desire it to be. We can try out new personas that are somewhat like our own, but in a way that helps us explore and no one gets hurt.

Have a great day/night wherever you are. Please be kind in the real world. Please be the change you want to see. Thank you for being here. I’m grateful for you.

Note of Gratitude and Congratulations!

Congratulations to April Kit Walsh, Whitney Delagio, Dominique Dickey, Jonaya Kemper, Alexis Sara, and Rae Nedjadi and the folx at Evil Hat Productions! Their game, Thirsty Sword Lesbians became the first RPG to win a Nebula Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Holy buckets! Is this awesome or what?

A member of the gaming community recently hit it big.

Congratulations to April Kit Walsh, Whitney Delagio, Dominique Dickey, Jonaya Kemper, Alexis Sara, and Rae Nedjadi and the folx at Evil Hat Productions! Their game, Thirsty Sword Lesbians became the first RPG to win a Nebula Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Holy buckets! Is this awesome or what?

Nebula Award for Thirsty Sword Lesbians. Neat!

I think this is going to put Evil Hat on the map even more than before.

Thirsty Sword Lesbians RPG.

One thing I will say about Evil Hat Productions is they seem to really know how to pick them. FATE RPG is an amazing game with several successful spin offs/settings. Monster of the Week by Michael Sands is outstanding in the horror RPG genre as well as being an amazing game in its own right. Now, Thirsty Sword Lesbians by April Kit Walsh has hit big on several fronts. The good times are rolling for our friends at Evil Hat.

There are a couple of things that really stand out about this award as an event in the RPG community that I want to discuss. Aside from one of “our” own, (ours as in an RPG writer) making some headlines, I think it’s great that it’s not one of the big names in gaming for a change. It’s also remarkable to be recognized outside of the usual RPG industry awards such as Origins, ENnies, or Gen Con. Finally, this game uses Powered by the Apocalypse (*Apocalypse World Engine) as its core rules. I’ve been critical of any game using PbtA in the past, but my mind is changing fast.

Confession, I haven’t played this game yet.

Honestly, as much as I uh, love lesbians, I’m still a guy. That’s not to disrespect the gay community. A couple of my best friends are lesbians. Before anyone starts blasting this “Old Grognard” in the RPG community, let’s be clear- I fully support and encourage members of the LGBTQIA++ community. I honestly admire the fact that Thirsty Sword Lesbians was chosen over other industry notables such as D&D, Pathfinder, Star Wars RPG, Savage Worlds, and others.

That’s actually the first thing about this particular award that blows my mind. There have literally been decades of RPGs out there that could have been chosen in years past. I sincerely hope the marketing people at Hasbro had kittens when they found out about this. A little “indie” game did something D&D has never accomplished. Critical Role hasn’t even broken some of these barriers yet. Woot!

I think the rest of the RPG industry should be taking notes over what has been done here.

For any RPG to win an award outside of the usual circles is truly fantastic!

I used to be critical of PbtA. Then I was introduced to Monster of the Week RPG. After making four or five characters, I’m really liking the simplicity of character creation and the playbook style. It’s especially easy on new players. It lays out what characters can do well and helps build backstory in a few easy steps.

Usually one would expect an RPG to be given an award at some event such as Origins, Gen Con, or EN World. (love the ENnies!) For the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America to take notice? Thirsty Sword Lesbians must be a truly outstanding game. Whatever awards this games wins going forward, let’s consider this Nebula Award to be a good step in success.

Like I have pointed out here on my blog before, other Evil Hat games are pretty remarkable in their own right. I think part of what sets Thirsty Sword Lesbians apart is the subject matter. Fabulous art and talented writing help quite a bit, too. Again, I am grateful and really admire what this game has accomplished. Keep up the good work!

I hope someday I manage to put out an RPG product that makes money, wins awards, and raises awareness. I really admire what has been done here. I’m happy and grateful that members of the RPG family are being acknowledged for their hard work.

Congratulations again, Thirsty Sword Lesbians!

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you. Take care.

Please be kind to one another!

Getting Communities Together Pt 3.

We have what are two separate communities under one banner. I’d love to think the RPG crowd on Twitter or really anywhere is one big, happy family. Some things happened recently to remind me that even though we might be family, we still have plenty of duality and separation to go around.

I promise I am going somewhere with all this.

I’m speaking from my own experiences as an OG (Old Gamer.) All of the opinions are mine. I’m not the world’s expert on all things Old Grognard, but I do sort of identify with that label. Labels are a lot of what this all boils down-to in the end.

We have what are two separate communities under one banner. I’d love to think the RPG crowd on Twitter or really anywhere is one big, happy family. Some things happened recently to remind me that even though we might be family, we still have plenty of duality and separation to go around.

“Those darn kids…”

Those “kids” are pretty great, actually.

I think that’s pretty much the battle cry of the Old Grognard online. “Those darn kids” or whatever synonyms are used, is usually the start of some real polarizing arguments. It’s not always wrong, but it’s an attitude that usually leads to trouble of some kind. It’s not fair to the younger generation and quite often speaks poorly of the older person saying it.

We have this up-and-coming crowd of young gamers. Many of them were brought into the hobby through an interest in Critical Role or some other actual play podcast. Many of them got with a group and discovered they like D&D as a hobby. Great!

They learn to make characters. They play their characters with zeal in many cases. They roll dice and eat snacks, too. Many times they breathe new life into old campaigns or allow us to start new ones. We should be celebrating this! “Those darn kids” are keeping the hobby alive. Screw what edition they’re playing!

Some of us old guys are figuring out that if we want new players, we have to change up the paradigm a bit.

This newer crowd/rpg subculture comes with some new and different rules, however. Not necessarily RPG rules, but socio-cultural rules. It’s similar to trying to understand today’s teenagers. In fact, my own kids fall into this category. It requires a lot of patience and understanding to get to know these “kids.”

Session Zero is a great example of this. Prior to a few years ago, I don’t remember it ever actually coming up much. Sometimes we ran a game session where we made new characters and introduced ourselves, but no one ever discussed “red flags” or “X cards.” Most of the time we discovered one another’s sensitivities after someone got offended. Turns out I actually like Session Zero discussions. They’re useful in so many ways!

“Back in my day…” redux.

Pretty sad that some people were like this back then.

Back in the 1980’s and 90’s, we had a much different political, social, and cultural climate here in the United States. The AIDS scare had people paranoid about sexual relations (ironically it turns out the heterosexual community was most affected.) The Satanic Panic had people extra jumpy about RPGs. The religious right was consistently bombarding America with their often pretentious “values.” Cocaine had half of Hollywood, the music industry, government officials, and corporate executives stoned off their asses and making sketchy decisions. (New Coke, anyone? Reaganomics maybe?)

A lot of us growing up back then were taught to shame gay and trans folk. Gamers got “The lecture” about burning their books and throwing away their “evil” dice. Women were still fighting the glass ceiling and trying to be treated as equals in the workplace. Being sensitive to the needs of others was relegated to “political correctness.” Conservatives ruled the US for over a decade. Eesh.

This is not to excuse the bad behaviour of some of the older generations of gamers. There’s never a good excuse for hate, intolerance, or even really bad behaviour. But it does signal a need for change in some of us as people, and should serve as a wake up call for those engaging in such radical nonsense. If you’re old enough to become bitter and jaded toward someone, you’re old enough to figure out how to get your shit straightened out.

These “new” kids…

Respect will get you success!

Learning is an ongoing experience at any age. Change is inevitable at any age. Cultures and societies change mores and values all the time. It’s not always an instant change. For us “old” guys, some of us wonder how change occurred overnight.

If we “Old Grognards” can put our edition differences aside and sit down with these fresh-faced younger players and DM/GMs, we can accomplish so much together. Gaming is supposed to be fun! For crying out loud, have fun with it.

We should all be rolling dice together and yelling “huzzah!” not bickering over whose edition is best or whether we should be concerned over someone’s pronouns. Yes, we should be sensitive toward one another’s feelings, don’t get me wrong. But pronouns should have been agreed upon probably during Session Zero if they weren’t already established.

Please do everyone at your gaming table a huge favor- leave politics, real world religion, and all of your old baggage at the door. There’s plenty of time to find things to argue about on the Internet. If you’re playing a virtual game, it works much the same way when you sit down for Session ONE onward. The bottom line is play nice. RPGs are a cooperative experience, so uh, please cooperate okay?

There may yet be a Part 4 to this discussion.

I feel like Old Grognards still have a bad rep in the RPG community. Maybe some of us have earned it on an individual basis. Unfortunately, the labels and/or stereotypes run both ways. Sometimes we older players and DM/GMs have a hard time finding a pickup game online, at a convention or even at our local FLGS. Sometimes the discrimination runs both ways. Labels, good or bad, run both ways.

I can’t say I entirely blame the younger crowd for not wanting grandpa or grandma at the table. Sometimes we do tend to bog the conversation down with tales of the days of yore. Yesteryear was a very long time ago for some younger gamers. Some of these younger folks don’t quite get the difference between beer-n-pretzels gaming vs a serious campaign, either.

Thanks for stopping by today. I have a ton of good stuff for Power Rangers RPG, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Monster of the Week , and maybe even good old 5E in the works. This topic of the generation gap in gamers and my friend’s battle with “old cishet white guys” has been occupying a lot of my thoughts lately.

Regardless of what edition you play or who is at your regular table, please have fun. Please treat one another with kindness and compassion in real life. I appreciate you for being here. Thank you!

Why I’m Still Blogging.

My point being, I get there’s no profits in simply giving people money. But building a community, planting trees, and creating jobs for people can be profitable. If people can throw $40+ BILLION at something, why not have it be locally owned farms? Why not have it be community centers and housing for the homeless? How about we encourage people to embrace joy and prosperity?

I spend a lot of time behind this computer screen.

Every day I come to this blog to pump out fresh content of some kind. Not gonna josh anyone, it keeps me sane. I’m super grateful for you if you’re reading this, whoever you are. Thank you!

I’ve been through a lot dealing with unemployment and health issues. It’s getting better, slowly but surely. I think the Universe likes to test us to see if we’re ready for more joy, love, freedom, prosperity, peace, and harmony every day. It’s not always easy.

We don’t learn as much from easy.

These billionaires, God love em, who have so much money to throw at buying major social media entities just blow my mind. I don’t envy their riches. Good for them for getting where they are today. (I would love to join them.) I mean, they literally have the power to do so much for so many and yet…

It’s true since the first epoch of mankind on this planet that life isn’t easy. We’re here in the physical to learn, remember, and grow. Overcoming challenges and trauma ultimately lead to joy and love. Where would we be without duality and contrast through it all?

I keep coming back to this notion that if I were a millionaire, things would look different.

What would I do with that kind of money? First, take care of my family. Get all the bills paid and make sure the kids are pretty much set for life. I’d teach them what I did to hit millionaire status so they could do the same.

Next, I’d make sure my wife could retire happily and maybe sell real estate or just hang out at home with the cats all day. As long as she’s happy, it’s okay. My wife, Heather, has truly earned a rest after everything she’s done for us.

After the personal stuff comes the investments. I’ve blogged about this before. I want to build my personal empire by helping people. I want to pay it forward as much as possible. Heck, I’d start my own commune if I thought it would help people. (*commune? Collective might be a better choice of words. Not trying to set myself up as any kind of cult leader.)

My point being, I get there’s no profits in simply giving people money. But building a community, planting trees, and creating jobs for people can be profitable. If people can throw $40+ BILLION at something, why not have it be locally owned farms? Why not have it be community centers and housing for the homeless? How about we encourage people to embrace joy and prosperity?

I’m not there yet. I dunno if I ever will be.

With the way things have been going this past year, I don’t know if it will ever happen. Right now I’m planting that seed. I’m doing the few things that bring me joy throughout this struggle, like my humble little blog here.

I’ll take the joy as it comes. I’ll look to expand my resources when the time and the opportunity come. The prosperity will come in many forms and I absolutely know it’s there. Right now, I’m just working on getting out of neutral in my life to get the prosperity flowing into it more. I believe love, prosperity and joy are out there waiting for us. ALL of us.

Thanks for stopping in today. I truly appreciate all of you. Happy Cinco de Mayo if that’s a holiday you celebrate. Take care.

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