Shifting What I’m Working On… Again.

I’m putting my Monster of the Week and GI JOE RPG plans on the back burner for the time being. I love both games, but time constraints are kind of an issue and I want to be able to give my full attention to both when the time is right.

In light of recent events, I’m putting a couple of things on the back burner.

I know what it probably sounds like. It’s okay. There’s a plan in motion here.

First, I’m changing my offerings on Fiverr. I haven’t pushed to get my offerings on the page just yet because I’m trying to figure out what Gigs I can use to make money with.

Second, I’m putting my Monster of the Week and GI JOE RPG plans on the back burner for the time being. I love both games, but time constraints are kind of an issue and I want to be able to give my full attention to both when the time is right.

Third, I’m planning to continue working on my OSR fantasy projects for Dungeon Crawl Classics and other Old School material. The Ogrenomicon will be appearing on my Projects Page sometime in the near future. Other plans include a “Book of Lairs” style publication of short adventures and small dungeons playable in one or two sessions.

Fourth, Power Rangers RPG Super Lightning Force Campaign Season 2 adventure highlights and bad guys are on the way. I’m also going to try to showcase some of the new Ranger abilities I’m working on and their new Zords. I can’t go without running some kind of superhero campaign.

Fifth, there is a possibility of me making some videos for YouTube. We’d be talking about current issues in gaming as well as reviews, GM Tips, planning sessions and more. I’ll be posting more on this if/when it develops.

Sixth, I may be finally exploring Patreon. I’m not sure what to produce that people will want to pay for monthly, but we’ll work on it. Patreon is a popular platform and I see a lot of good coming from it. There’s also my Ko-Fi page.

Next, I’ve been wanting to do some Sci-Fi/Space gaming again. While I love Shatterzone dearly and there are so many other possible games to choose from, I may be creating a 10 episode mini campaign for Star Frontiers IF I can get away with it. As long as I’m not charging for it, I think we’re safe? Otherwise, work on my own brand new space game will commence. Alternatively, I might possibly be making it a generic sci-fi game.

Also, I’m putting most of my 5E creator ambitions on hold until we see what the next evolution of the game looks like. D&D is a-changing again. Until then, there’s plenty of Old School Revival gaming to be found.

Fear not, I’m still going to be doing game reviews of new and old products as I get my hands on them. Transformers RPG is coming from Renegade as well as Spelljammer for D&D by WotC. I’m also going to rock out some reviews of a few old favorites and why they mean so much to me.

Last, (then I promise I’ll stop,) I’m going to work even harder to promote myself on Twitter, Instagram and some other platforms. I haven’t been putting myself out there 100%.

Thank you for listening. This list was as much my sounding board as actual planning. I have a lot on my mind. Lots of stuff to explore. Til then, stay safe and keep rollin. I appreciate you.

It’s Awakened, Not “Woke.”

In other words, it’s not about the destination, but about the journey. Cliché maybe? I can’t explain step by step how I got to where I am now mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Sorry, it’s complicated. What I can say is, “I am exactly where I am supposed to be in this moment.”

I went through a process of Spiritual Awakening back in 2015 or so.

What does that mean exactly? It’s a complicated process and personal to everyone who has it happen. Every reverend and guru on the planet has a slightly different take on what it “should” look like. I think the truth is, the meaning of finding your own truth about God/Source/Universe is unique unto the beholder.

In other words, it’s not about the destination, but about the journey. Cliché maybe? I can’t explain step by step how I got to where I am now mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Sorry, it’s complicated. What I can say is, “I am exactly where I am supposed to be in this moment.”

Are we talking religion here?

Absolutely not! In fact I have to be very careful with what I say around a good number of my religious friends. I just know what I have to say about organized religion will get me pushed right out the door of most places of worship. I don’t do organized religion, and they don’t want me around. I’m not a follower in those regards.

There’s two things keeping me out of church. First, would you like to guess what one of the biggest money making institutions in the U.S, if not the world is? Yup. Religion. Second, philosophically, there are certain things we just don’t see eye-to-eye on. That, and even some religions don’t agree philosophically with one another and I happen to agree with the tenets of most of them.

Am I in a cult?

LOL! Absolutely not. I don’t follow any one leader. Sure I listen to Eckhart Tolle, Lori Ladd, Russell Brand, Anna Brown, and even Andey Fellowes. I don’t think any of the above necessarily have a cult. They all have an opinion about life, the Universe, and everything. Who doesn’t?

I grew up during the 1980’s. The mere mention of the word “cult” brought to mind images of Jim Jones disaster and the Heaven’s Gate debacle. A little while later came that mess in Waco, TX. Please trust me when I say, the cult life is certainly not for me.

What got me going?

There are a number of factors that led me where I am today. The first is the notion that I think for myself. We live in the information age. Research is easier than ever. (Don’t get me going about “false” information.) I look at as many facts and opinions as I can and then make up me own mind. Kinda like politics only deeper.

The other answer I have to that question is Dr Steven Greer. I used to meditate back in high school. I used to be big on Ufology and ETs back then, too. I may have had a few experiences of my own from back then. But when I watched Unacknowledged, it made me stop and think.

There are billions of stars, many with their own planets and moons. How arrogant is it to think we’re all the life there is out of all that occupied space? Mathematically, odds are in favor of us having intelligent life in our own solar system. But here’s where the bend in the road comes- It ALL had to start somewhere.

So, do I worship “little green men?”

No. In fact many higher dimensional beings would probably tell you never to do that. That is part of what brought me to believe there has to be so much more out there. There is overwhelming evidence humans are not alone in the Universe. So then, what do they believe in?

We’re well into what-if land now. If you ponder what it means to be connected not just to each other, but the greater whole consciousness of the Universe the outcome is staggering. What if there is more to life than just these squishy bodies we wear for a time?

Paranormal evidence piles onto these conclusions. I became interested in Jerry and Esther (Abraham) Hicks in my travels. Abraham is a being channeled by Esther Hicks. They talk a lot about the Law of Attraction. That made me think even more.

Then I ran across Daniel Scranton, who channels the Ninth Dimensional Arcturian Council. My wife likes to kid me about this one, but what harm does it do? The Arcturians, perched high above in the ninth dimension, tend to send highly positive messages and advice for the growth of humanity as a species. My question is, why not? There’s no harm in anyone spreading messages like, get along with other humans and stay hydrated.

Darryl Anka is another such individual. He channels a being known as Bashar. Most of Bashar’s messages are pretty positive or minimally honest. He’s an interesting being to say the least.

One of my personal favorites is Kryon, channeled by Lee Carroll. Kryon resonates very deeply with me. He talks about a lot of the same topics as the other beings. There are way too many overlapping statements for some of these things not to be true. Kryon also speaks to the marvels inherent to unlocking the vast human potential. Deep and meaningful stuff.

It doesn’t stop there.

Almost EVERY Near Death Experience (NDE) I’ve ever heard or read goes almost the exact same way. I’ve seen way too much of this type of thing to believe in coincidences. If you’ve ever listened to someone talk about their NDE, it will track consistently with many similar stories out there from all walks of life and levels of education.

If NDEs aren’t enough, try to explain a phenomenon known as Remote Viewing. This has been employed by governments and corporations alike. It’s a psychic phenomenon wherein a viewer focuses their consciousness on a specific place and records what they find there. It’s like flying a drone and astral projection all rolled into one.

Every major religion the world over has iconography and myths relating to beings from somewhere else. Angels, demons, djinn, and otherworldly visitors appear in almost every religion. The number of possible explanations starts to narrow the more you compare notes. We might not even be the first true civilization on this planet.

I could literally go for days on this subject, but…

The reason I wanted to discuss this subject was because someone said, “F*k wokeness and cancel culture.” in a post I read earlier on Twitter. Joke’s on him. I’m not “woke” nor do I consider myself to be.

“Woke” has become a cultural phenomenon meaning any number of things (sometimes negative.) If I were to take it as I imagine it was intended? That’s not an insult. In fact, I’ll stand with my “woke” friends all day before I’ll hang with a bigot.

I’m guilty of fitting the stereotype to a certain extent. I do use as much polite terminology and non-discriminatory language as I can. I have several friends and a family member in the LGBTQIA++ community. I think Black Lives Matter.

That’s just it. Lives matter.

I think a lot of lives matter. Jewish, Asian, Hispanic, Muslim, and Trans lives matter, too. If we’re going to meet beings from other worlds, we have to stop squabbling like children over issues such as race, gender, sex, and politics. If we’re all connected and we want to be friends with other planets, we have to show we can make this one work first.

The sad part is, I’m not loved in a lot of communities because I’m perceived as a middle aged, white, cishet male. Yeah, I appear that way. No, I don’t necessarily think that way. I’ve got so much love for anyone who wishes no harm on others. Why do we keep letting petty earthly differences define us if we’re all beings of love and light in an energetic Universe?

Am I crazy?

Depends on who you ask. No, I’m not hearing strange voices that aren’t my own. (Currently.) Do I think beings in the energetic onion layers around the Earth are trying to communicate? Yeah. Probably.

Everything is energy. You, me, the table, what we call atoms. Mostly empty space and filled with energy- different frequencies, different vibrations. Nikola Tesla figured it out. It’s ALL energy.

If I’m nuts, what is CERN doing? They’re experimenting with energy. They are digging into the fabric of the Universe to try to figure out how it works. They’re monitoring energy emissions. (Among other things.)

Some basic tenets of my beliefs.

Be kind to others. Take care of one another as best we can. Spread love, joy, peace, and prosperity for everyone. Try to stay calm and understanding in the face of strife. If we can’t have peace on Earth, how can we ever interact with beings from other worlds?

That’s why I’m here discussing this today. I know of some folx in the Twitterverse that are in need of a lot of kindness and understanding right now. At some point, we have to figure out how to get along regardless of race. There are 8 Billion people here on Earth right now. For anyone to think one particular race is superior to the rest is to deny the Creator. Someday I hope maybe these people will be even a tiny bit awakened to what’s really going on.

Thank you for being here. I appreciate you. More to come.

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.

Side Bar: 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.

Does OSR Create Imposter Syndrome?

I mean, nothing new here, right? The RPG industry isn’t the first to run into this particular dilemma. How many truly original plots are there for movies, TV shows, YouTube podcasts, video games, comic books, and cartoons can there possibly be? The RPG industry is just one of the fresher faces on the block compared to other print media, radio, movies and TV.

Man, I thought this was going to be a gaming article.

Looking at the many various websites that have converted the old D&D material into Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC.) I was looking for old D&D modules from B/X and AD&D 1E that had been converted to DCC. I was also on my side quest for OA material that had been converted to Old School Rules. Turns out there’s a LOT of stuff out there. Like, a shockingly large amount out there.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’m just wondering what am I even doing here any more? OSR already felt a bit like we were reinventing the wheel. Now it’s more like I’m trying to reverse engineer a Lamborghini. It’s like I’m way in over my head AND it’s all been done before only better. I feel like I showed up late for the game, in the wrong season, for the wrong team, not even the same sport.

I get that the definition of “retro clone” means it has been done before.

Photo by Rodrigo Chaves on Pexels.com

But, I was really digging DCC RPG anyway. I still do. I will probably even put some stuff up on the site here. But getting paid for it?

I feel like I’m barking up the wrong tree, in the dark, in the neighbor’s yard, three blocks over, and I’m a canary. Imposter syndrome? This is like a whole freaking plague of imposterism. Imposterishness? Imposteritis? Imposterior?

The idea was simple at first. Find a game I like. Find an OGL I can work with. Create material. Put material up for sale. Advertise and promote the material. Get paid, even if it’s a pittance in credit on DriveThruRPG. I mean, I can still do all of that, I guess.

I don’t remember the part where I discover new information, and then mentally trip, fall, stumble, and hit my head on the wall repeatedly.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Pexels.com

I mean, nothing new here, right? The RPG industry isn’t the first to run into this particular dilemma. How many truly original plots are there for movies, TV shows, YouTube podcasts, video games, comic books, and cartoons can there possibly be? The RPG industry is just one of the fresher faces on the block compared to other print media, radio, movies and TV.

There are probably over 100 different fantasy RPGs alone. Sci-Fi RPGs, Supers, Cyberpunk and Post Apocalyptic games are not far behind. I really feel sorry for folks operating in the Horror genre in any medium, much less RPGs. (Horror- literally competing with campfire stories in verbal tradition since man began creating stories. Yeesh.)

Retro RPGs are not entirely new, either. GURPS and Mythras are two examples of games born from much older roleplaying engines. GURPS isn’t new, either. The RPG industry is chock full of examples of people taking older games and repurposing/rebranding them to make money for themselves. D&D itself was an outgrowth of the miniatures wargaming hobby.

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.

So, why am I here, exactly?

I’ll be in a better mood later.

The whole thing makes me wonder what do I have to offer? Like, at all? Should I go back to mopping floors or pumping coffee? (My back can’t really handle either, but sometimes I speculate. ) I’ve been at this for almost a year now. The self doubt has gone from creeping in to a flash flood. I just don’t know right now.

I’ve been posting daily to this blog in one form or another for almost six months solid. I’m not making a ton of money off of it. (Read: none whatsoever, much to the chagrin of my missus.)

Do I stop writing material for RPGs and about them? Do I just go back to running a game or two on the weekend for a few close friends and family members? It’s frustrating, it’s uncomfortable, and it likely means positive growth is coming in some way, shape or form.

Tonight, I’m upset. Tomorrow, I’ll meditate and be in a better mood. My inspiration will return. It’s just a small setback.

Back to the original question.

Why do we have OSR, anyway? I mean, I know a lot of well-meaning Old Grognards have a hard time accepting new editions of D&D. Okay. Back when reprints weren’t as commonly available, I can see that. But now? I own originals, reprints, pdf printouts, and digital copies of lots of old rulebooks. I also have a ton of bookmarks to sites that still rock the old game.

So, why is OSR a thing? It’s much the same idea as a throwback basketball jersey or reproduction Air Jordans. The idea is to take an old concept or product and alter it slightly and sell it for money. In RPG terms, same old rules, same old game, new title, art, and trade dress.

Where does the creative license come in?

Where’s the creative freedom in copying/rewriting the same old rules and slapping a new coat of paint on it? People like classic cars, too. I’d drive a rebuilt 1984 IROC-Z if I could. BUT… I wouldn’t be able to haul my family in it. In RPG terms, many of us run a current system/ruleset because it’s more widely available, popular and accessible to find a game.

If I walk into a FLGS on a Saturday and say, “Who wants to play in my 5E game?” I’m far more likely to get some takers than if I walk in and ask, “Who wants to play Tunnels & Trolls?” Many times, old fashioned bulletin boards or online groups/apps will help someone find a game for a specialized RPG such as Lancer. Likewise, it’s easy to walk into a club meeting full of Old Grognards and find a AD&D 1E game, Castles & Crusades, or White Box Swords & Wizardry, because those guys probably won’t need any explanation.

Why do I love DCC so darn much?

I chose that particular retro clone of D&D because it’s flexible, reminds me of multiple editions, and is a lot of fun to run. There’s nostalgia, cool dice, and lots of fun charts for everything/anything. It’s like Warhammer Fantasy and Rolemaster had a love child.

I love DCC because I can (re)create classes and concepts that I used to love. I can pump out new and different monsters or port them over from other games, D&D editions, etc. I own a sickening number of old monster books, especially from D&D 3rd Ed. They happen to work very well with DCC/MCC. So does Gamma World, strangely enough.

I’ll admit, I also have a strong sense of nostalgia and that’s present in DCC more than other games. I would still run Basic D&D per the Rules Cyclopedia if I didn’t have to come up with 5 copies of the game to distribute to my players. DCC is relatively cheap and easy to find, so is D&D 5E. Either works. One is easier to explain thanks to Critical Role.

The “Old Grognard Effect” does more damage to new players than Matt Mercer ever could.

Old Grognards of the world, OG roleplayers of the world, hear me please. There is a very ugly tendency amongst older gamers to exclude or act as gatekeepers to the hobby. The ugly act of discrimination affects the gaming table the same as anything else. Simply put- please treat people with kindness and understanding?

I hear a lot of stories about OGs gaming in public. Why do you go play at a game store with the same old group and the same old game if you’re not going to let other people join or even watch? Go hang out in the DM’s mom’s basement for five hours and continue to ignore the new players entirely.

Part of the appeal of D&D 5E is its current popularity. Please, let them learn about the “good old days” elsewhere after they’ve had a few sessions under their belts. Keeping new folx excluded from the hobby is ultimately self-destructive toward the hobby and industry. Please, don’t do it. Gatekeeping is unnecessary and kinda stupid.

The homebrew factor.

People have been hacking the rules and creating their own material for games since the dawn of D&D. B/X and AD&D 1E were a glorious and wonderful proving ground for funky new game mechanics, previously unseen or unheard-of monsters, and freakishly cool magic items. Some of us feel like D&D 5E is tied very heavily to the rules, even when they’re broken and dysfunctional.

We never needed a “Rule of cool” back then because all you ever needed was DM approval. It was the DM’s table, his rules. (I use male pronouns because unfortunately ladies were rare in the hobby back then.) Likewise, DMs could cook up some new, weird idea for a class, spell, magic item, or monster they could run it. If it flopped, it could be gone the next week or revised.

Heck, back then we didn’t have “Based on X Edition” mechanics. If someone built a game based on D&D, but set entirely in space? It was a “NEW” game. Most designers had the sense to rename the attributes, classes, abilities, magic and add spiffy rayguns. They wouldn’t rip the game off directly, but they could definitely steal concepts to make money. Sounds like what OSR games do. Hmmm….

Plenty more to discuss next time. Thanks for letting me rant. Feeling better now. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you.

On Turning 50.

Today’s the day.

Wow. I’m not sure I ever thought I’d make it this far. Half a century ago, Donna Craigmile gave birth to a bouncing baby boy ahead of schedule. Somehow I survived.

Here I am, 50 years later. I often ponder how my dad felt when he was this age. I probably should have asked him at the time. Alas, I was a rebellious teenager. Always arguing with the old man about something. I didn’t appreciate what he went through until long after his passing.

Some things haven’t changed much, oddly.

Back when I was 10, I was introduced to tabletop roleplaying games in the form of Marvel Superheroes and Dungeons & Dragons. I was totally hooked. I still am to this day. I have a lot of treasured, beloved memories of those games and many since.

Along with D&D and comic books, came my love of all things strange. I mean, I was already kind of an outcast amongst my peers in a small Iowa town. I wasn’t terribly athletic or interested in sports. (Sorry, Dad.) May as well read the National Enquirer and learn about aliens, demons, and bigfoot, right? Ah. Good times.

I think my love for Star Wars really got the whole ball rolling.

I plum lost my marbles when the original Star Wars RPG was released. That game is still like a second language to me. I’ve logged an insane number of hours creating starships, droids, races, characters, and so many other things for that one RPG.

Before roleplaying was my love of Star Wars action figures. We didn’t have tons of money back in those days, but I still managed to have a fairly okay toy collection. Spaceships and aliens were really my thing then and now. And the whole Jedi thing is cool, too. Plus Boba Fett, because back then he was a Star Wars icon.

From Star Wars fandom to RPGs, my interest in many other things blossomed. Science fiction, fantasy, and horror were my mainstream escapes growing up. Somewhere in there I also learned a little about Zen Buddhism and meditation. I also developed an interest in the paranormal and psychic phenomena.

Then college happened.

I started out as a Theatre/Speech major with a minor in Journalism/Mass Communications. Acting- Star Wars again. Journalism because I shadowed a reporter for the local newspaper when I was in Eighth Grade and thought it was pretty cool.

I bounced around majors a LOT back in those days. I had fallen in love with Sociology in college. Sociology + Theatre + Writing = RPGs. But I also tinkered with my major repeatedly and considered becoming an Alcohol/Drug Abuse counselor, a History teacher, a parapsychologist, and a Public Relations specialist. I ended going back to Journalism/Sociology. Theatre is awesome, but in the end most of us end up eloquently asking, “Do you wish to have fries with that?”

Good times were had in college.

I got to work in a game shop, Mayhem Collectibles. Truthfully one of the best times of my life. I wish I had been a better employee back in those days, but I was a dumb kid. What did I know, right? Gotta learn sometime, I guess. Thanks Rob and Dave for giving me a chance. You guys rocked!

I also discovered even more RPG experiences, and wargaming. I even did LARP for a while. I met so many awesome people and had so much fun gaming back then. It eventually led to me meeting my wife, Heather at a convention.

She came back to Ames and found me at my all time lowest some years later. She sorta rescued me and brought me to Des Moines. She divorced my former best friend. (Messy, ugly story.) We eventually started dating again and low and behold we ended up married.

About 16 years flew by after the wedding.

I’d be lying if I said I remembered all of it. I’ve had different jobs. For a while there, I ate, slept, worked, played World of Warcraft and raised babies. I love the life I have now, but there are definitely some gaps where nothing seemingly nothing happened between then and now.

About seven years ago, not long after my fourth son was born, I really got into Ufology again. That led to a major spiritual awakening. Then things got really weird.

For a brief time, I almost did the unthinkable.

Yeah. I nearly gave up on all of it. RPGs, science fiction, movies, TV, non-spiritual books, almost everything nearly went by the wayside. It really mellowed me out. I’ve learned to love the connectedness amongst us all.

I have a bit of an obsessive personality (disorder?) which led me into a deep dive down many rabbit holes. Some of those things weren’t bunnies, either. Turns out some of the stuff written in the National Enquirer back then actually had a basis in fact. Like, some of that sh*t is real!

I have to thank Dr Steven Greer for getting me interested in meditation again. That drew me further into spirituality. I’m one of those wacky “New Age” kids, I guess. I don’t do organized religion, so we have to call it something.

I also want to again thank Laura DiBenedetto for being my self-growth, self improvement seifu. I don’t know what I’d have done without her exactly. Oddly enough, my obsession with Law of Attraction led me to her. It’s all one big cycle.

I have to thank the entity known as Añjali as much as it pains me to do so. If it weren’t for the debacle caused by her sham event and false extraterrestrial contact, I might not have gotten back into RPGs at all. It’s not that I’ve given up on Ufology, ETs, extradimensional beings, spirituality or the paranormal. I’m just a LOT more skeptical of certain sources because Ufology is a rat’s nest of government spooks and black budget special interest corporate operators.

So, here we are now.

I plan to out live other men in my family. The death clock starts ticking pretty loudly at about 65 in my family. My goal is 100. Guess we’ll find out when I get there where the end was supposed to be.

I love you all, family. Thanks for being here. I appreciate you every day. Please be kind to one another. See ya tomorrow.



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.


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.

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.

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.

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!

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