Random D12 Table for the Month.

Pretty much all of this has happened at one point or another.

Roll 1d12 and consult the table below to see what went sideways in November this time:

  1. Someone’s sick. Roll on the Disease of the Week Subtable.
  2. Toilet is backed up, leading to bigger plumbing issues.
  3. Distracted by Internet Drama.
  4. Family issues. Drop everything and tend to one family member.
  5. Crippling Depression and Social Anxiety.
  6. Dirty dishes and laundry pile up. It’s like no one heard I was writing this month.
  7. Car problems. Roll a d2. Odd: Mine. Even: Hers.
  8. Bills start piling up. Family tension over money increases.
  9. Kid gets in trouble at school.
  10. Holiday panic. In-Laws might be coming for Thanksgiving.
  11. Red letter pain flare puts me on the couch for three days.
  12. Multiple internet outages and days on the phone with tech support.
Subtable 1-1, Family illnesses.
  1. Icky Cough-Coughs. aka Covid, or the Beer Virus. We live in Iowa. Go figure.
  2. Strep Throat.
  3. Appendicitis.
  4. Strep Throat leading to Tonsilitis.
  5. Ear Infection.
  6. Strep Throat leading into Covid. (Yes, that really happened.)
  7. Pink Eye. (Euww.)
  8. Stomach bug. Everyone roll a Fort Save DC 14. Usually one person makes it.
  9. Food Poisoning. Usually only one person gets sick, but see Stomach Bug.
  10. Big school project requiring adult assistance.
  11. Fever of unknown origin. There’s a fun day in the ER.
  12. Gnarly cold that’s not strep or Covid. It happens.

Collection of Random Thoughts.

One thing about being around this hobby that should have stuck with all of the old heads out there is COMPASSION! Some people shit on us hard back in the day during the Satanic Panic. The persecution some members of the community felt then are still in play today. At least there was never a “Don’t say D&D” law passed or anything. We older gamers have a duty to uplift and preserve the hobby.

A lot of bits and bobs from inside my head tonight.

TableTop RolePlaying Games (TTRPGs) are my passion. I follow the industry, my fellow fans, and everyone else involved because gaming is my passion. It’s not necessarily the playing of adventures or running an event as a Game Master/Dungeon Master/Judge, etc. It’s about the camaraderie and the friends along the way.

So, I learned what might actually be “wrong” with me psychologically. It’s finally starting to make sense. I think I might have sociophobia or Social Anxiety Disorder. That makes thing interesting for a hobby where there is typically a gathering of 2-7 (or more) players. I have a family of six, so it’s not impossible.

But, yeah. Being around people kinda freaks me out. I try to limit my time and trips out in public. I don’t work and might never work again for all I really know. At this point I’m not sure I would feel comfortable in any job. I start to panic at the first signs of freelance work. (*Longer story, but still comes back to fear.)

The irony, of course, is that love writing for my blog. I love you, family online. Thank you for being here. Fear is not the same as hate. I love my audience. Y’all are awesome.

Along the TTRPG lines.

A couple of things have come up more recently in TTRPG news that I have been meaning to address. Please don’t come at me with your Satanic Panic trauma. I lived through that time, too. Yeah, it kinda sucked. But we survived.

One thing about being around this hobby that should have stuck with all of the old heads out there is COMPASSION! Some people shit on us hard back in the day during the Satanic Panic. The persecution some members of the community felt then are still in play today. At least there was never a “Don’t say D&D” law passed or anything. We older gamers have a duty to uplift and preserve the hobby.

Keeping new players away from Dungeons & Dragons or any game is counterproductive, counterintuitive, and downright sad. Embrace fresh talent in both the hobby and the industry. It’s the best way to keep going and really the only way for gaming to perpetuate itself.

Say “No,” to the bigots, the edgelords and the creeps. That’s not gatekeeping. That’s just the sane smart thing to do. It’s not gatekeeping so much as being safe.

The old gamer worry of the week.

Is Wizards of the Coast going to introduce an Open Game License for the new, upcoming One D&D? The answer to date is: doubtful. The new management in charge of D&D came straight from Microsoft. They know jack and shit about the RPG industry nor do they care. They want to make money, pure and simple.

I think with the obvious push for an electronic platform using the Unreal engine, they are trying to basically turn D&D into Fortnite. Physical retailers and physical D&D books could easily be on the way out as far as WotC is concerned. PDFs or whatever they sell from their app/platform are going to be the way of the future. The Player’s Handbook as we know it might come out as chunks along with other microtransactions on the platform.

Want to play a Barbarian? Buy the new shiny Barbarian skin in the item shop. Get your character a big freaky two handed sword bling for another $1.99. Use in-game currency to pick up the fur-topped leather boots. Get the 10th level Barbarian leap of doom feat in a package deal for $4.99. (Yeah, I play Fortnite. I don’t want D&D to look like this.)

WotC isn’t worried about older editions of the D&D game or compatibility because they won’t need to. They’re turning D&D into a video game because that’s what they understand. It’s about big money. Unfortunately, the DMsGuild proved to them that RPG gamers are suckers for smaller transactions. We’ll buy a $1.99 subclass before we’ll shell out $69.99 for Spelljammer’s failed box set. But I digress.

Personal notes:

I’m trying to keep my publishing streak here on the blog alive this week. It’s going to be harder than ever. Thanksgiving dinner got moved to Sunday because our youngest child is getting his tonsils out tomorrow. We figured it was better to do it while he could still eat solid food. Poor kid. Any holiday revolving around food is rough when you can barely talk and are restricted to a popsicle diet.

I’m hesitant to comment on this next part. I have kind of a conflict brewing internally and I just want to vent it a little. Sometimes seeing it on the screen helps sort it out.

I have a dear friend and mentor who I would gladly take a bullet-for who has kinda strayed from the spiritual path a bit. This person is openly promoting a Republican governor who has repeatedly made very anti-LGBTQIA++ statements. As a parent of a Trans child, it’s very hard to stomach. It’s like, I want to still love you but I will always love my child more. It’s not cool and it hurts.

Every person on the Earth plane has free will. Love it or not, it’s how humans work. But how do you reconcile love and kindness with a governor who says brilliant things such as, “Iowans still know boys from girls,” in a bloody political ad! I swear this state and this country have lost their damn minds. WTAF?!? Spiritually, how do I still love someone who supports that?

For God’s sakes, gay/lesbian and trans people were gunned down in a nightclub again. That popped up on my news feed alongside Trans Day of Remembrance. I’m sickened and saddened by this news. It’s not why we came to the Earth plane. I’m sending as much love and healing energy to the survivors, families and friends. When are we going to stop senselessly killing each other on this planet?

On a final note, everyone seems to be concerned about Twitter going belly-up. I think it’s still too soon to tell. Yeah, the Donald and some other dipshits have been allowed back. Hey, if that’s what the Lord Chief Twit-lon and his robotic minions want to do- okay. I don’t have to interact with them. I have other social media accounts where I actively avoid/block idiots all the time. No big deal.

I did start a Mastodon account. I’m going to be updating all of my social media links soon. I’m probably going to become a bit more active on Instagram and elsewhere again soon. Twitter is starting to smell like ozone, burning styrofoam, and marijuana smoke from its owner.

I’m trying to imagine what I would do with $44 Billion. Buying a social media platform is not the first thing to come to mind. I don’t begrudge anyone for having that kind of money. I’m all about prosperity. But let’s think.

That’s roughly $5 for every person on the planet. What happens if you send 8 billion people $5 each? That’s a small fortune in some countries, a cup of coffee in others. $44 Billion is more than the GDP in some countries.

What if that $44 Billion got thrown at agriculture? Or eradicating homelessness? Or clean energy technology? Social media falls way, way farther down on my list of potential expenditures. For that kind of money, I could probably reinvest in some businesses and ideas to truly help people get back on their feet in the US and every other country on Earth. Imagine the good one could do.

Imagine what would happen if someone spent $44 Billion helping trans people get the surgery and hormone therapy they desire? Imagine what would happen if someone spent $44 Billion to assist in migration away from Republican controlled states in the US. Imagine what putting that kind of money into the mental health care industry would do. Suddenly, this country could become way less of a toilet fire.

Thanks for stopping by. I love and appreciate every single one of you who read my blog. We might not always agree on everything, but you’re still here and I love you for it.

Freedom Day, November 19th Edition.

So, here we are. Can I say I’m starting to hate November? This whole damn month has been an exercise in Murphy’s Law. That guy exacts his “legal fee” out of me this time of year almost every year. It’s like 2020 came to pay a visit.

14 Months without a regular job. #Personalshare

So, here we are. Can I say I’m starting to hate November? This whole damn month has been an exercise in Murphy’s Law. That guy exacts his “legal fee” out of me this time of year almost every year. It’s like 2020 came to pay a visit.

We’ve had children with illness/injuries pretty much every week so far. Strep throat, wrist injury, and the common cold (*NOT the Icky Cough-Coughs) round out the list of medical issues. Every time I get settled in to write, I get hit with exhaustion from a pain flare, or my wife’s van breaks down, my car needs repairs, or something goes haywire with our internet. (Can you hear the cat barfing in the background?) It’s always something!

NaNoWriMo had almost no chance of success this time.

I might be doing JaNoWriMo this year. My temporary goal is to survive November and somehow get through December with my sanity intact. I don’t know why I always think November is going to go by quietly and I can get tons of writing done.

I have seen lots of writers posting progress updates. It looks like there are going to be a good number of interesting novels coming out in 2023. That’s cool.

I’m not sure how I’m doing mine just yet. I’m still bearing the slings and arrows of outrageous imposter syndrome. Ironically, I’m following the Law of Attraction teachings that your tribe is your vibe and living in the dream fulfilled. (*Among others, but those are key here.)

This election has left me extremely sour on Iowa and our political process in general.

I don’t normally vote almost straight down one party line. I’m a registered independent because I believe in making decisions based on my own judgment, not some binary political party system that should never have taken root in this country. Do you realize what some of these candidates stand for?

They stand for, “Not what X is saying about me!”

And it’s just ridiculous. There wasn’t a lot of campaigning. Tell me what you’re going to do for your county/state/country. If wanted to hear what the other candidate thinks, I’ll go listen to them. I’m tired of the mud slinging. Although now that it’s over, I will honestly say Iowa Republicans can eat my ass.

I’m sick of the Republican party and their mishandling of Iowa. We managed to put a anti-trans, anti-gay, elitist, stuck up hag (*my opinion) back in the governor’s office. I’d talk more trash about Kim Reynolds, but I don’t want Homeland Security breathing down my neck.

Chuck Grassley has been in office longer than I’ve been alive. WTAFFF?!? No one should have “a lifelong career in the Senate.” (Bob Packwood.) When are we going to get real congressional term limits? 2 tours in the Senate or 6 in the House and gone. This country needs fresh ideas and new eyes on our problems, not the same old shit that didn’t work back in 1974.

Encourage Congress to make intelligent decisions based on the needs of constituents. Communication is a lot faster these days that it was in 1780. Pretty sure we can handle it. Let them listen to PEOPLE instead of lobbyists.

The Democrats aren’t much better than Republicans, just currently more popular. We had all of one or two Independents on the ballot here in Iowa. When are we going to get a politician in this state who can be authentic, honest, and WIN? Maybe David Icke is right and the Lizards really do run the world.

The Reptilians literally could be out there watching, listening…

Twitter.

November wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the ongoing sewage fire that is Twitter these days. I originally got on Twitter looking for Tyler Glockner of SecureTeam10 fame to write an article about him for this blog. Strangely, Tyler turned up the same week I wrote the article. I still question whether or not someone got to him and well, uh, censored him to some extent. We’ll never know. At least he’s still putting out YouTube videos.

But #UFOTwitter was a flaming hellscape this time last year. It was only compounded when Añjali turned out exactly the way the Ufology trolls originally said she was. At best delusional, at worst a government shill and a bad hacktress. I fell for it, being the delusional wide-eyed ET lover that I am. Regardless, UFO Twitter and most of Ufology has turned out to be frauds, grifters, and propagandists. I don’t trust most of them now and I look upon many with a skeptical eye.

That brought me over to RPG Twitter. Other than a few bad actors, which I enjoy calling out, it hasn’t been too bad. There aren’t government spooks and corporate black budget interests on this part of Twitter. No witch hunts. Just RolePlaying Games and people who genuinely enjoy them.

If Twitter does land in the shitter in the next few weeks, I’m still around on plenty of other platforms. I’ll keep this site updated on where to find me. My goal is to hang around Elon’s Not-So-Magical Bot Farm until it dies though. The only other thing I’m contemplating getting away from is LinkedIn.

If you think Twitter is bad? Try LinkedIn.

Becoming more of a skeptic these days.

This should be a LinkedIn graphic.

So, real talk for a moment. I feel irritable to the point of aggressive when it comes to people spewing corporate propaganda like it’s the Gospel of Christ. People on LinkedIn just make me ill with some of the crack they’re peddling these days. I feel like that particular platform is very slowly racing Twitter to the ground.

I mean, for as awful as people claim Twitter is? LinkedIn is strewn with false positivity and thinly veiled corporate platitudes. It’s like wearing the black sunglasses in They Live. It’s always been pretty bad, but I’ve noticed it a lot more lately.

People on their should just cut the bullshit and put out messages that just say, “Consume.” or “Buy my shit.” Or maybe even. “Fall in line with the brainless masses.” “Conform.” Possibly, “You’re never going to be good enough.” “Learn to be a better team member.” (*But I’m not bitter…)

I originally hopped on LinkedIn to look for a job. I stick around because friends, mentors, and people I admire post on there occasionally. While I may not agree with everyone politically or ethically, usually I can find common ground. Maybe the election just made it seem worse? I dunno, but whatever it is really makes me raise an eyebrow when it comes to LinkedIn content.

Big companies do all the thinking, so you don’t have to.

I had more to say, but…

Honestly, I’ve been down this rut so many times lately. It just feels like I’m stuck. There’s nothing new or terribly positive or negative either way. (*so long as all the kids are on the mend.) I don’t have much to say except that I’m tired. Not in a self-deleting kind of way, but just tired.

Heck, the entire planet may have blown up by the time this posts. Who knows? Trying not to sound to negative. It’s just been that kinda year.

I have plenty to be grateful for. I know. I count all my blessings regularly. Thanks, family. I appreciate you.

I know that breakthrough is coming. Somewhere, somehow, things will get to that amazing point I know they can reach. When I get to the peak of that mountain, I’ll see another mountain and so on until I’m out of mountains and have to go look in the ocean. The struggle bus stops eventually.

R.I.P. Kevin Conroy.

Really bummed out about this one.

“Shut down the Bat Signal. He’s not coming.”- Commissioner Gordon.

Not much to post today. Yesterday we lost one of the most iconic voice actors in cartoon, even comic book fandoms’ history. Kevin Conroy, probably best known as the voice of Bruce Wayne/Batman passed away at 66. We’re going to miss him.

Back to regularly scheduled posts tomorrow.

I’m Going to VOTE today.

Just a short reminder to please go out and make your opinion known. Regardless of which side of the issues you stand on, please go vote?

Hopefully we all do the same (if eligible.)

Please note: I didn’t say who to vote for. Nor would I ever these days. That’s up to you. Use your own discernment when it comes to that.

If you live in the United States of America, it is one’s civic duty to vote. Say what you will about this country, but please say it at the voting booth or mail-in ballot. Democracy does not function without the participation of its citizens.

How My October Went.

Don’t be “That Old Guy.” I keep running into these old fartz/codgers/grognards on the internet. They don’t have anything new to say, but they’re damn certain that nothing new can be good. Change is too scary. Shallow, narrow-minded bigotry is a “better” way to go for them.

Personal share today.

It’s gonna be a long month. Truthfully, I’m ready to be done with this reality. I’m tired. Which, yeah, sounds funny coming from a guy that spends a lot of time at home.

#Promptober and #Monstober were both awesome. I had fun and the ideas flowed like a river. I have 20+ prompts to catch up on. It happens. Sometimes it’s rough being creative instantly on demand. Other times it’s a matter of fleshing everything out.

This is the month when I decided the grognards of the #OSR (Old School Renaissance) can pretty much kiss my ass. I’d love to stay positive on this topic had certain individuals not revealed their true nature. I’m still going to use a lot of Old School style games, but I could give a rip less about anyone’s opinion or acceptance.

When I do finally get something in print? Buy it. Don’t buy it. I don’t care if you’re a big-time figurehead in the nebulous, scattered, esteemed OSR.

I’m just gonna leave some random opinions here.

Gatekeeping in the roleplaying game community: Some of y’all need to knock it off. Chasing people away from a hobby is a surefire way to destroy it. If you want to spend all of your time in your specific group with the same old geezers week after week? Go ahead. Keep to ya damn selves and don’t interact with the rest of the #ttrpgcommunity (*This is aimed at gatekeepers not #ttrpg family.)

What isn’t cool is when a bunch of old fartz who’ve been around the TTRPG industry for 30-40 years go out of their way to make sure their voice is the only one being heard. Their opinion is the only one getting out there, and it’s the same half-baked bullshit opinion they’ve had the whole time.

Don’t be “That Old Guy.” I keep running into these old fartz/codgers/grognards on the internet. They don’t have anything new to say, but they’re damn certain that nothing new can be good. Change is too scary. Shallow, narrow-minded bigotry is a “better” way to go for them.

Edgelords can likewise kiss my ass. I’ve pretty much had my fill of Internet trolls on Twitter and elsewhere. If you can’t offer constructive criticism and actually dialogue with me? Hit the road. Keep to your own freaky, trolli self and I’ll do the same in your regards. (*Trolls, not family.)

The bulk of humanity can be litigious and stupid. This is why I stay the hell clear of a lot of it. When I write, I constantly double check myself and what I say to my audience. Is this gonna get me in trouble? Risk factors assessed, move forward. I won’t put down anything online I can’t retract, alter, delete, or edit later.

Everything is perpetually moving forward. That’s the Universe. Energy is motion. Everything is energy. Focus that energy toward what you want to create, not what you wish to destroy. I would love for more people to think of this.

I know some people are having a tough time.
Link to the 988 website is here.

I’ve lost or may have lost some friends on the Internet in October. I can only pray some of them are still with us, somewhere, detoxing from social media. I’ve had my own issues, but I’ve held it together with the assistance of therapy, family, pets, and Source. Help is out there. Mental health matters.

November is going to get hectic.

It’s National Novel Writer’s Month. People will be churning out novellas and full-on novels. I plan to work out my own fantasy world. I’m working to create something that’s not entirely Tolkien, but we’ll probably still see a few elves and dwarves.

Will it be a novel? I don’t know yet. I’m going to push myself to see where it goes. I’ve decided it’s going to be rules-agnostic to begin with. (*I’m a gamer at heart.) I’m going to explore places through the eyes of a handful of characters and see where the road takes us. NaNoWriMo is chaotic that way.

We reached a milestone in October. I’m pretty proud of myself and I’ll take my victories wherever I can get them these days. I couldn’t do it without you, my dear friends and family. THANK YOU!!!

I’ve also got this site to think about. I’m not asking anyone for money. My domain renews this month. Luckily it’s not terribly pricey.

That’s about all I’ve got for now. Onward and upward from here.Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you.




200 Days of Game Box Posts

Just wanted to thank all of you who are supporting me. I love this community so much!

I hit a personal milestone yesterday.

I’m going to keep this short. I hit a personal best yesterday. Officially 200 posts in a row.

I don’t expect praise or congratulations. I kinda live for moments like this because it means a lot to me. I think I’m low key hoping to be discovered by someone, but it’s not likely. It makes the pain of depression more worth it.

Thanks for being here. I couldn’t do in without you, my readers. I truly appreciate you!

Freedom Day, Oct 2022 Edition.

I’ve made a lot of gay and trans friends in my forays onto social media as of late. I have to say, homophobes and transphobes are really missing out. I have met some of the most warm, considerate, understanding, and caring folx in the LGTBQIA++ community online.

Here we are again.

I’m just gonna fumble my way through this post by the seat of my pants. It’s been 15 months since I brought home a paycheck. Before anyone rolls their eyes, please understand some of this has been self-imposed.

I’m not entitled to anything. I’m very aware there are people out there in far more need than I. I would love nothing more than to be able to help folx out. I believe in local, grassroots improvements.

I’d probably make a third-rate billionaire, but could we at least slap an “M” on the front of “illionaire?”

I’ve said before I have plans if I can ever get to that million dollar mark. My own family aside, I’d love to be able to help friends out. I’ve met some pretty remarkable people on Twitter, Instagram and out in public who could really use a monetary boost and probably deserve all I could do to help.

Twitter friends are the first people who really come to mind. But it goes farther than donations and small product buys on Ko-Fi, Patreon and Kickstarter. Those avenues are all great, but what if we could do better? What if we could round up a bunch of community members in one place and form a charitable organization?

At the rate we’re going in the US, it might be an underground railroad.

I’ve made a lot of gay and trans friends in my forays onto social media as of late. I have to say, homophobes and transphobes are really missing out. I have met some of the most warm, considerate, understanding, and caring folx in the LGTBQIA++ community online. I almost feel guilty for all the years I wandered around with my proverbial head up my butt.

I thought the #TTRPG crowd on Twitter was pretty cool. Yeah, there are some shmucks out there, but the friends I’ve made far outnumber them. Then, through the very active gaming community, I met a lot of gay and trans folx. I am more than happy to stand up to the bigots, bullies and assholes of the world on their behalf. I feel like I’ve got more family and friends online than here at home in BFN IA. (*Bum Fork Nowhere Iowa.)

The sociopolitical and cultural climate is turning hostile to some of my friends and family. Entire states are threatening to cut medical services and even blatantly discriminate against members of the LGTBQIA++ community. Heck, some states are threatening women’s’ health outright with their abortion ban psychosis. It’s like a big chunk of our politicians have plum lost their damn minds.

Back to my own situation for a few moments.

Race, gender, sexual preference, age, and ability play into everything right now. I regularly get my butt handed to me when it comes to age and physical ability. I would love to rub the noses of some former employers in that particular smelly mess, but I can’t.

What can I say? Big shmucky McCorporate values just don’t match up to helping people and building communities. As long as they’re growing their bottom line, who gives a shit, right?

Lookin at you, Wizards of the Coast. Lookin at you, Paizo. Lookin at you large convenience store chains. I could name companies all day. It boils down to the same old shenanigans. Kick the slightly less “functional” employees to the curb in order to hire younger, more capable ones? Oh, they won’t call it that, of course.

They’re “optimizing.” They’re “economizing.” They’re “maximizing their opportunities” by outsourcing entire departments and firing anyone who doesn’t walk lock-step with their corporate culture. Sorry, my McIdiot doublespeak skills just aren’t in tune with their bullshit corporate culture. At the end of the day, it boils down to a bunch of older, usually white, healthy, cishet, wealthy men making decisions that affect (screw) the rest of us.

Prove me wrong. I’ll wait. What? Oh, that’s right. I’m basically correct.

That 1% (rich people) of the population is pretty monochrome, cishet, and ableist from what I can see. What really blows my mind is that more of the mighty 1% seem to have very little regard or compassion for anyone but their own kind.

I’m happy for you if you’ve got piles of money, honest.

I don’t begrudge anyone who “makes it” in this world. That’s a pretty big statement, all considered. One of the people I admire most in this world, Laura DiBenedetto, totally broke the mold more than once. That’s amazing!

I’ve never asked my friend how much money she’s sitting on. Not my concern. I know it’s likely not chump change. And the major difference is- she’s helping people. She’s making a difference in the lives of other women and even guys like me. There’s one exception among thousands, maybe millions of people.

I was talking to another friend on Twitter about the infamous JK Rowling. The comment about how well she deals with the pain of alienating a portion of her audience with her transphobic views. Rowling replied, “I read my recent royalty cheques and find the pain goes away pretty quickly.”

Needless to say, that comment makes me a bit queasy. I love money. Money can do a lot of wonderful things for people. I think it turned JK Rowling into kind of a bitch. It’s sad but when some people hit the big time, they forget that so many others are struggling with the day-to=day. It sucks.

I’d rather see my next royalty check (*if I had one) as a way to feed my family and maybe help some friends out. Why couldn’t Rowling say something like that? Maybe she could have even gone so far as to say she hates losing fans and she’s grateful for all they’ve done to support her? I know, I’m an idealist at heart.

I’m happy for celebrities that went from living out of their car (Lizzo) or being otherwise homeless (Rowling) to making heaps of money. God/Source/Universe bless each and every one. Awesome. But I’ve come to realize I relate more closely to the person they were before that first big break came along. I love them now (Universally speaking,) but I’m rooting for who they were when that first check rolled in. The gratitude, the love, the joy and the excitement were all there! That’s what I think many of us are aspiring-to.

That’s my rant for now.

I had way more I wanted to discuss, but this is getting kinda long. There’s a lot going on in the RolePlaying Game industry worth discussing. I see a lot going on in the world, or at least in my world that is worthy of comment. There’s more to come.

Thank you for being here. I appreciate you stopping by. Carry on.

WELCOME TO SPOOOOKY MONTH!

UPDATE: This month has changed!

With the introduction of #Monstober and #Promptober, several of my other writing projects are being moved up a month or two. I’m still using many of my selected game systems in addition to some D&D 5E stats for the involved games. This month has taken me by surprise with these two idea-generating inspirational posts.

This month we’re going to do a few different things as we get ready for the Hallow’s End festivities.

I usually spend a lot of October watching horror movies, drinking pumpkin spiced everything, and putting together Role Playing Game stuff of various kinds. This is about the time of year I really start jonesing to play D&D again.

This year is probably going to revolve more around Dungeon Crawl Classics and/or Old School Essentials by Necrotic Gnome. I’ve kinda decided to leave 5E alone to a certain extent for now. Sorry, family. I’m just frustrated with 5E right now.

My rough schedule outline.

Photo by Joy Marino on Pexels.com

Medieval fantasy aspirations aside, I’ve got a few other ideas in mind. I’d like to create an adventure for Monster of the Week. I just love this game too much to put it down. It might relate to a larger campaign at some point. I might also take some time out to work on more of the backstory arc for the Des Moines Remote Viewing Society. Dan, Brenda, and Tom aren’t done by any stretch of the imagination.

I’ve also got ambitions to possibly create a found footage adventure for Slasher Flick by Spectrum Games. Again, something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m a big fan of Blair Witch Project and several movies that came after. It’s a fun genre and the system/style of Slasher Flick is perfect for it.

Some of the best episodes of TV shows and issues of comics revolve around Halloween.

The superhero genre is awesomesauce this time of year. Think about it. A bunch of people dressed in spandex, wearing capes and domino masks fit right in this time of year. It’s also right around the time of year I used to work on a lot of stuff for game days and conventions.

I have a couple of adventures written for other games back when that I’m planning to bring over to ICONS. If for no other reason than I’ve been missing true supers adventures as of late and it sounds like fun.

I’m also working on a Halloween adventure for Power Rangers Super Lightning Force. Most of the Power Rangers series seem to have a solid Halloween themed episode, so why not? This year’s villain is going to be bigger and scarier than a skeleton with some neck problems, though.

A lot of my usual stuff will be getting the October treatment, too.

Skeletons.

I’m still working on my Hexcrawl campaign, the Ogrenomicon, game reviews, d12 tables, my DCC adventures, new monsters, campaign world building and a lot more. Plan to see a lot of skeletons, zombies, vampires, liches, and all new Un-dead.

I’m also working on a quiet project when no one is home that I’m hoping to launch in the near future if it comes together. It’ll be a lot of fun. I also acknowledge it’s a lot of work.

This is also my favorite time of the year in terms of weather. I plan to walk outside more. I usually meditate outside more.

Speaking of real-life stuff, we might even sneak in an article or two about real life paranormal experiences. I was into ghost hunts and UFOs years before I got back into RPGs heavily again. I still have plenty of interest in beings we can’t see or hear with our meager human senses.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

November is NaNoWriMo.

Oh, this is also when I usually prep for NAtional NOvel WRIters MOnth. NaNoWriMo is usually kind of a big challenge for me. I wasn’t feeling the groove last year in the wake of my “perfeshunall” and personal life being turned upside down after my untimely release from that place.

Having to look for employment, deal with the government, and cope with the stress was just too much. After February’s short fiction exercise, I kinda think I’m ready to give NaNoWriMo another go. Even if I don’t finish, it’ll be a nice project for November.

October is when I begin thinking of plots, creating characters, writing bios and getting some kind of outline together. My strategy is to ease into it this year. While I have a schedule already in the formative stages,

I still don’t know what I’m going to write about. More on that to come. I always have mixed feelings about the darn thing. Augh the angst. 🤪

You can head on over to NaNoWriMo.org for all the details.

We’ll see what else pops up in the month of October. It’s going to be exciting. Thanks for stopping by, as always. I truly appreciate all of you with all my heart.

The Continuing Evolution of the RPG Industry.

I’m pointing all of this out to make it clear that D&D was born in a different time. People spent more time talking to one another and less time staring at a small screen in the 70’s and 80’s. Games were more of people interacting with people then.

Dungeons & Dragons is going into a new era.

Some of us just aren’t ready yet. Let’s hop into the time machine. See, there was a time here on Earth when we didn’t have solid global telecommunications via the Internet like we do today. Newspaper, TV, radio, and movies were pretty much it. We had telephones attached to a wire that came out of the wall. Wires everywhere.

So, back in the 1970’s and 1980’s, we wacky kids had to find ways to entertain themselves. Some played miniatures wargames. Some of them even painted lead figurines. Still others yet played all kinds of boardgames. Others yet tried to figure out how to crack open golf balls with explosives. I guess some kids read books and stuff, too.Then somebody got a great idea.

That idea was taking the miniatures off the larger battlefield and putting them in a dungeon environment. Thus giving birth to Dungeons & Dragons, and also modern Role Playing Games. We had pencils, paper, funky dice, and a boxed set of rulebooks. Some of us had lead minis, others had imagination.

But times have changed.

Part of where TTRPGs came from was a lack of electronic entertainment. Computers went from taking up entire rooms, down to filing cabinets and then finally home computing took off. Phones went from bulky, wired, and awkward to cordless and eventually the modern cell phone. Even TV and movies have evolved into the cell phone era. Computers have evolved as well.

I’m going to sound old and cantankerous for a minute. These kids today have no idea how good they have it. Console games, MMORPGs, Virtual TableTops have all invaded the TTRPG space. It’s really a case of “anything you can do, I can do better” between technology and old school pen-and-paper games. Please understand, I’m not saying one is better than the other.

I’m pointing all of this out to make it clear that D&D was born in a different time. People spent more time talking to one another and less time staring at a small screen in the 70’s and 80’s. Games were more of people interacting with people then.

True story.

Then the year that shan’t be named came upon us all.

Fast forward 40 years into the future. Global telecommunications became a thing. The Cyberpunk future we thought we were getting didn’t quite pan out the way futurists predicted in the 1980’s. Computers, tablets, cell phone apps and the Internet changed the way we do everything.

The Icky Cough-Coughs pandemic shut the whole world down. Suddenly, all the face-to-face gaming action had to grind to an abrupt halt. Before we knew it, we were doing everything online. Work, family (assuming they weren’t locked down with us,) and yes- even RPGs became conference calls. It was kind of a love-hate relationship with technology. We hated being cooped up in the house, but at least we had the Internet while we waited for the rest of the apocalypse to go down. (Luckily, it didn’t.)

It meant the RPG industry took off like a rocket! WotC made exceptional profits on 5E. More people home watching podcasts meant more people learning about D&D through Critical Role. It was a good time to be in the industry all around.

Content creators of every kind profited. Artists, writers, editors, YouTubers, and other streamers became even more vital to the RPG industry. Then there was social media, where everyone got to hear about what everyone else was doing constantly, including playing D&D or some other RPG.

We can’t put the genie back into the bottle.

(But we can be careful what we wish for.) We’re only two short years out of the pandemic. People are finally getting back to gaming conventions, game shops, and in-person games. There’s a catch, though.

Now that some/most of us have gotten used to playing online, we’ve kept some of those games going too. Why not embrace the technology, right? I mean, it worked so well during the pandemic we may as well keep rolling. Right?

Entire conventions have moved online and stayed there. Amazon or any other number of online stores sell books, dice, dice accessories, and other gaming merch. Groups that thought they would never play with each other again got back together online. Why do stuff in person in 2022?

Somebody at Wizards of the Coast was taking notes.

DMsGuild Logo.

Best type of sales for a game company? Direct sales are mostly profit. Selling to distributors and indirectly to Friendly Local Game Stores cuts profits down to maybe 20-30%. WotC likes making money. It looks as if One D&D might be edging out all of the proverbial middle men in the industry.

DriveThruRPG/DMsGuild makes a ton of money on PDF products. WotC has caught onto that as well. Now instead of charging print prices for PDFs on D&D Beyond, they’re going to do it directly along with physical sales straight from WotC’s own facilities. Instant higher profits! Who wouldn’t want that?

It’s good for them. I never fault anyone for making money as long as no one gets hurt. The rest of us are going to have to adapt to the new way of WotC doing things. It’s not going to be as easy for some of us old codgers. It’s most certainly a different way of doing things.

RPGs are evolving.

RPGs came from a time when everything was in-person. Now they’re rapidly becoming more like an interactive audio/video experience or even like a video game. While I don’t think the old fashioned way of gaming is going away forever, it’s definitely going to be seen less in coming years.

The big shift which is already in motion is the move to VTTs and other online game platforms. We’re also going to see even more Actual Play Podcasts on platforms such as Twitch and YouTube. The final fate of PDF sites such as DriveThruRPG have yet to be determined. Personally, I’m still pretty concerned about WotC’s intentions when it comes to OneBookShelf, the parent company of DTRPG. We’ll see.

Why DO I care so freakin much?

As I mentioned early on, it’s always been a dream of mine to see my name on the cover of a well known RPG publication. I’d love to change my LinkedIn profile all around to say “Game Designer” or “Lead Writer at X Co.” A lot of my heroes growing up were guys such as Gary Gygax, Bill Slavicsek, and Mike Pondsmith. A lot of the original T$R crew were heroes to me. (All of their negative views aside.)

I still to this day want to write for something as epic as Dragon Magazine, Star Wars RPG (WEG,) or even ICRPG. Yes, it’s a huge ego boost to see something you’ve done in print. I just want the satisfaction of leaving something behind on this Earth that I can proudly say, “I wrote that and it’s amazing.”

But it’s still difficult to get a foot in the door properly. I just saw on Twitter now there’s a bit of #gatekeeping going on amongst the well-paid “professional” writers and the “hobbyists” who write mostly free content for the love of the game. (*More on that in another article.) Imposter syndrome on steroids with a big old dose of depression on the side for me. Sigh.

Writers trying to break into the RPG industry, especially guys fitting my description, are going to find it harder and harder to fit into up-and-coming RPG companies. BIPOC, LGTBQIA++ and women writers are openly preferred in a lot of writing positions now. Honestly, it’s about damn time given that (old) white cishet guys started the industry for the most part. (Although props to a lot of the ladies who worked at T$R back in the day.)

I intend to make it happen.

I think one of the best pieces of wisdom I ever got about the RPG industry was during a West End Games’ Star Wars seminar at GenCon. “You’ll never get rich writing RPGs.” I’ve heard this sentiment echoed numerous times over by other RPG writers, publishers, and my parents. I don’t need to be rich, but would pocket change to fund my hobby endeavors and free admission to conventions be too much to ask?

I’m going to keep working on it. I know a couple of the authors I mentioned in this article worked tirelessly on projects for years before they got noticed. Maybe if I adapt to some of the changes that are coming, I’ll get somewhere. Maybe I can even bring a little of that old school charm in with all the stuff these “kids” are working on these days. Who knows?

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you. More to come.



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