Random Tidbits

Just a lot of random thoughts. Some serious, some not as much. Some about the TTRPG Industry, others more personal. It’s my opinion.

I need to slow down a bit today.

March 20th was pretty awful if I’m being honest. I’m just going to throw a lot of random stuff out there today. I originally had a much longer creature feature that I was working on. It’ll keep another day or two.

Content Warning: Suicide

We Almost Lost Someone.
Shortly before the rest of my world went to pieces, I learned a dear friend of mine attempted to take her life last week. She’s recovering in a psychiatric hospital last I heard. Fortunately, she’s still with us.

I’ve made a lot of friends on Twitter and Instagram. Some I get to know through their posts, others via direct messaging. We’ve lost other members of the #ttrpgcommunity , #ttrpgfamily , and elsewhere due to suicide.

I’m usually around if anyone wants to talk. I’m not a professional or a qualified counselor, but I am someone to talk with. All I can do is offer compassion and understanding.

Please, if you’re having thoughts, TALK TO SOMEONE!

Trans People.
I have met many transgender gamers and other folx since being on social media. They are some of the kindest, most sensitive, caring people you’ll ever meet. All the negativity being spouted by the various religious and political factions is garbage. Trans people are people. Please be kind.

(*Onto a completely different subject.)

My Blog, My Opinions.
I would like to politely remind everyone that all of the opinions expressed on my blog are mine unless otherwise noted. It’s the Internet. Chances are, someone has said worse. Also, I’m available on a lot of platforms to chat privately if you’d like to engage in a dialogue.

I Never Claimed to Be the Expert on Everything:
Yeah. Hi. (*I’m not going to degrade myself here.) I will say that if I screw up, I’ll own it. I’m not so arrogant as to believe I know it all and I never make mistakes.

All anyone can ever do is say what they see from their perspective, regardless. That doesn’t make it a fact. It’s all perception.

Kind Intentions Most of the Time.
I’m more than willing to dive back into an article, change text, pics, whatever. I’m not on here to cheese people off. Yes, with opinions it’s going to happen. But there is such a thing as damage control. 😅

YouTube Icons:
Normally, if I mention a YouTube channel or a TTRPG community icon, it’s because I admire their work. That was the case yesterday only it didn’t come across that way in the slightest and I apologize once more.

Wizards of the Coast:
I will not apologize for anything I’ve said about WotC and their corporate drones. I don’t trust them. I don’t like what they’re doing to the game I love. I don’t like their corporate McCulture. Their PR people are doing a wonderful job of trying to cover up their mistakes back in January. (Or are they?)

HOWEVER! That is not intended as a slight toward anyone on YouTube, Twitch, etc. Content Creators/Influencers are the lifeblood of the D&D Community. Please understand some of us little people are nowhere near trusting WotC ever again, and they’d have to go a long way to get me back personally right now.

Please Don’t Believe Everything WotC Tells You.
I know I’m barking in the dark again. I’m just trying to save people from what very well might be the disappointment of One D&D and their VTT platform. Right now their people are trying to put a shiny new coat of paint on a very big pile of bullsh🦆t. Hasbro/WotC just wants us to open our wallets for them again.

The same goes for Kyle Brink. He’s only as good as the script PR feeds him. He can lie through his teeth one day and they’ll find a way to completely spin it around the next. Don’t think I’ve forgotten his quote, whether it was misquoted or not. I have my interpretation.

But don’t take my word for it because-

I’m Small Potatoes.
I’m just one guy with a blog and a few social media accounts. I have some very wonderful regular followers and subscribers. I’m grateful for every last one and know a lot of them by name. I love you all.

Yes, I occasionally drop a name like G***** *i or Matt Mercer. The one damn time someone big read my blog, it blew up in my face completely. Not my best day on the Internet or anywhere else.

Up until recently, I didn’t think anyone such as the big names I do drop from time to time ever read anything I wrote. Holy buckets, that’s cool. Now if we could just have notice taken of something more significant than this WotC hubbub. It’s great to see someone cared briefly, though…

One Thing Wrong.
I’ve heard more than once, “Do a hundred things right and no one bats an eye. Do one thing wrong and pretty much everyone notices.”

Well, that’s super true. I try to say a lot of good things about people, gaming, and other things I’m passionate about. But, I’m always going to call it like I see it whether someone with 183K+ followers agrees or not. I will not be a purveyor of toxic positivity. That said, I’m not trying to be a dick to most people, either. I’m especially not trying to arouse the ayre of 183K+ people on Twitter. (Just sayin… )

I’ve Fought Many Battles Across the Interwebs.

Family, I’ve been around since Usenet News. I’ve been a keyboard warrior, a crusading muckraker, even a fanatical lunatic on some issues. But if getting flamed and trolled repeatedly has taught me anything, it’s when not to pursue an argument.

I will go silent or back off on a good number of things these days. Forgiveness, kindness, and even empathy are a much better road. There are very few things worth slugging it out until the bitter last word (or a until a forum thread gets locked.)

Meditation Helps.
I used to say this a lot. I’m still a big believer in meditation for a lot of things. I need to get my own daily practice back on track. It’s surprisingly difficult with four kids in the house even in the wee hours of the morning. (LOL Not even kidding, though.) If you quiet your mind, everything comes into focus more clearly.

Back to Eating Cheetos in Nacho Cheese and Playing Heroes of the Storm.
Believe it or not, some bad habits can be good if you don’t overdo it. For me, it’s junk food and video games. It takes my mind off of things almost as much as meditation and helps me blow off steam.

We’re Blogging TTRPG Content Tomorrow, Darn It!
I’m dead serious when I say that. I want to get back to writing about monsters and starships instead of all of this more serious stuff. Let’s have some fun.

Thank you ALL for being here. I appreciate you. My foot is not always magnetically attracted to my mouth. Is Mercury in retrograde right now?

Rough Day. Brief Personal Share.

Fuzzy little bunnies. It was that sort of a day yesterday. I’m pretty wiped out at the moment. Just stopping to say “Hi” to everyone. Hope your day is going well.

My SSDI Hearing was yesterday.

(Social Security Disability Income for those outside of the U.S.) It took a lot out of me mentally and physically. I spent most of the day prior to said hearing freaking out. I spent most of the time afterward fanning it around to get my kids together for East High Family Night and the orchestra concert that followed.

Our oldest child played the violin quite well. We’re all very proud of them. It was a wonderful concert all around. My 13 year old is going to play the bass next year as well as the saxophone for band. I have no idea where the kids get all their talent. Must be their Mother, because I was a choir kid.

I didn’t realize exactly how much pain, anxiety, depression, and fatigue play a role in my life until I was trying to explain it all to a judge. It also gives me a new appreciation for money however it’s earned. I also have lots of love for all of you who have far more severe and profound conditions than I do. It’s never easy.

Needless to say I’m quite tired as I write this. At least I’m writing in coherent sentences unlike the other night. (*Still sorry about that one, btw.) I refuse to let my publishing streak go down for anything, though. (Lol?)

Please be kind to one another. Every day is full of new experiences. Every experience provides a new opportunity for joy and learning. We’re all on this planet together.

Thanks for stopping by. Lots of fun stuff on the agenda this month. I appreciate you.

Taking a day off.

*Please note I was so tired when I wrote this initial blog entry, it was incoherent. I apologize profusely. The brain fog/fatigue won that round.

Brief personal share. My hearing for Social Security is coming up this week. I’m kinda freaking out. It’s been a bumpy couple of months already this year. Oof.

*Please note I was so tired when I wrote this initial blog entry, it was incoherent. I apologize profusely. The brain fog/fatigue won that round. I’ve gone through and edited this entire post to make it sound like I was at least awake when I wrote it. Sorta.

Thank you for your support. You are all the best audience a guy could dream of. Thank you!

Be back tomorrow. Maybe I”ll have good TTRPG stuff to talk about. Thanks again for stopping by.

Why It’s More Important Than Ever.

LGBTQIA+ people should not have to live in fear. They shouldn’t have to live in fear of who they are. They shouldn’t be afraid to speak of who they feel they are. No government or religion on Earth should tell them otherwise.

To Support Our LGBTQIA+ Family.

This was not the article I intended to write today, but the one I felt I have to write. My lesbian, gay and trans friends/family are in jeopardy tonight- not just in this state, but all over the United States. New laws are being proposed and passed regularly that are setting LGBTQIA+ rights back 25 years in the same appalling way the recent overturn of Roe vs Wade set women’s rights back 50 years.

I’m not going to pin this on SCOTUS or any political party. I’d love to. Scapegoats make things so much easier. Like the idea that my LGBTQIA+ family is used as scapegoats for crimes involving children. Without naming names, I’ll say the real pedophiles are in other organizations, parties, and secret societies. Kids being taken to drag shows would be the least of our concerns if the public knew who the real seriously disturbing sickos are.

Iowa gets worse by the day for my family.

Courtesy of the Des Moines Register.

On Wednesday East High School joined other teens in a march to the Iowa State Capitol to protest a bevy of new anti-gay and ant-trans bills being introduced to the Iowa Legislature this session. Iowa is also looking to ban gay marriage at a State Constitutional level. These changes affect my wife (teacher with trans students,) several of my gay and trans friends, and even my own direct family (not saying who.) The way this is going is so harmful to a community that recently came so far to heal.

Have we learned nothing over the last 25-75 years?!? When people are forced to live closeted, isolated lives so many negative things happen. Suicide rates go up. The quality of medical care goes down for LGBTQIA+ folx gets worse. Homelessness, joblessness and violence can occur just for publicly admitting being gay. It’s not even remotely okay.

This has become a personal problem for me on so many levels.

I have made a lot of trans and gay friends though the #ttrpgcommunity and sharing the hobby I love so much. I don’t understand why people feel they have to be so bigoted against the trans community especially. If you truly got to know some of my trans friends? They’re the most kind, considerate, thoughtful people you’ll ever run into. They’ve been through a lot, too.

My wife has students at her school and in her classroom that will be affected by some of these laws. Imagine having to deadname a student and use only cisgender pronouns to refer to that student who is also prone to self harm? What if that was you? Or your child in question?

We have a member of our immediate family who came out as trans last year. I have lesbian and gay family, too. I was the wedding photographer for one of the first lesbian weddings in Iowa after it became legal. These are people I care very much about. I don’t want to see anyone ever get hurt.

This isn’t me being sex positive or an admission of really anything. It’s not part of any “woke” agenda. (*See It’s Awakened, Not Woke.) This is simply my wanting people I care about be safe and healthy. Peace, joy, love, freedom, and prosperity are pretty key tenets around here.

We are NOT supposed to live like this.

If we’re not careful, many of us are going to be wearing patches on our sleeves again. The same people wearing patches are going to be deprived of jobs, housing, and eventually liberty or even life itself. Are we really going to let it get that damned far?

LGBTQIA+ people should not have to live in fear. They shouldn’t have to live in fear of who they are. They shouldn’t be afraid to speak of who they feel they are. No government or religion on Earth should tell them otherwise.

Just slide in a line about LGBTQIA+ and there we are.

We fought an entire World War to give people the freedom to live their lives being Jewish, Black, or Gay. Those men fought and died to free the oppressed and here we are trying to pass laws in the United States that look a lot like Germany 1933. They weren’t afraid to set national women’s rights back 50 years. What’s to keep them from taking the next step, and the next?

Freedom of expression is freedom from control. I think there are people in religion and politics that are terrified of losing that control. Anything that disturbs the paradigm and shakes up the human collective scares them. People who go against the grain of the old narratives are just terrifying to the old guard.

Does anyone really think Jesus Christ wanted us persecuting and hurting one another?

Photo by Katie Rainbow ud83cudff3ufe0fu200dud83cudf08 on Pexels.com

I’m no Biblical scholar by any stretch of the imagination. Wouldn’t be surprised if other major religions were similar. “Don’t hurt one another. Don’t kill one another. Don’t oppress one another.” Seems to run through a lot of religions, yes? Yet, in 2023, here we are.

Why is it so hard to live and let one another live? I mean globally, not just the United States. People don’t have to suffer and die just because they want to be something besides heteronormative. People should not have to go their entire lives pretending to be someone they aren’t. No one should be denied basic human rights because of who they want to lie down with at night.

For cryin out loud. If we don’t agree can we at least not sh🦆t all over one another? Can we at least show one another the most basic respect and understanding?

Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it. Probably back to gaming or something slightly less serious tomorrow. Please be kind to one another.

Marching Forth.

March is going to be super crazy for me and my family. Lots of TTRPG plans in the works, too. Creativity is in the air.

Some very big days ahead this month for me personally, my family, and the site.

I have a ton of stuff going on this month here at home. Let’s pray it all goes smoothly? There’s also a very special day coming up in blog history if everything goes well.

My SSDI hearing is this month. Please send good vibes on March 7th? Thank you. It’s going to be kinda tense. Lots riding on it. We made it this far.

What happened to #Dungeon23 ?

Alas, tis not going to happen this year, I’m afraid. It was derailed when Wizards of the Coast dropped the ball and most of us lost the month of January trying to figure out how to salvage the Open Game License, our work, or help the people we care about.

I’m passionate about this hobby. I’m glad the OGL is going to live on as Creative Commons for now. I still maintain my theories as to why. Next year’s #Dungeon24 will have a better start as a Pathfinder 2E project.

There are so many things I want to do. Let’s hope WotC/D&D stays stable for the rest of 2023. Honestly, no news is good news to me on the Kyle Brink front. Hopefully things are going to stay calm until One D&D finally drops.

A lot of us have jumped or added systems.

Dungeon Crawl Classics has grown. I’m excited to still be making content for it. A lot of my stuff for DCC is going to begin to cross over into 5E or Pathfinder 2E territory as well. If Basic D&D gets some sort of Creative Commons SRD, I’ll be doing things for it as well. Quite honestly 5E is looking pretty good, just not the official licensed stuff.

I’m also still pretty enamored with Powered By the Apocalypse games. FATE also still looks good to me. And if I ever need to do something quick and on the fly, there’s EZ D6. I’ve also got plans for some things using the Cypher System.

Game reviews coming in the month ahead.

I have several product reviews for both 5E creators and other companies that I haven’t had a chance to flesh out yet. A lot of great things have rolled in and gotten pushed aside or neglected with everything else going on. I also see some exciting Kickstarter projects that are worthy of mention. I might not be able to back them, but I can discuss what I know.

I’m also going to do a bit of a Friendly Local Game Shop tour in March to a few locations in Minneapolis and here locally. It coincides with some family field trips, so it’ll be nice to visit up North again.

Lots of other loose ends to tie up this month.

We have some random tables to roll dice on. There are a fair number of things that didn’t make #FrighteningFebruary still to cover. I have several alternatives to D&D I’d like to bring up.

I have a lot of adventures and ideas for adventures in the works. Operation White Box is something I’ve been wanting to create material for. It’s distant cousin, the GI Joe RPG is another game I want to work with. Transformers RPG is also due for and adventure or two sometime yet this year.

My own game/game system.

I’m still tinkering around with my own set of rules and a couple of genres for people to adventure in. What started out as mecha in space has turned into a fantasy game. Truthfully, fantasy games are easier to work with, but even that project can go from zero to daunting in the blink of an eye.

I’m also still tinkering around with other various core rules sets. I’m torn between building the world and lore first, or putting out a system and then the flavor text. That’s why I like the dozens of core rules sets available.

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

Freedom Day, a Year and a Half Later.

I’ve been out of work for a full year and a half now. My prospects are nonexistent. Between my physical (pain) issues and my really shaky mental health I’m in no condition to work a “regular” job, not that any would take me. That’s more fact than self pity. Cats and small, fuzzy animals on the Internet keep hope alive these days.

2023 has been a bit intense so far.

I can relate.

I’ve gotta be honest. I could be enjoying it a lot more. It’s been kind of a mopey month. It’s had a few positives. I’ll cover those. Yesterday was pretty bad. I’ll talk a little more about that, too.

This time last month the TTRPG industry was freaking out. That has improved somewhat. Wizards of the Coast has sent D&D Executive Producer on a quest to apologize and spread as much of their PR propaganda as possible. I wasn’t kidding when I called him WotC’s pet manure spreader.

Personal junk first, I suppose.
We love our Nemo.

People seem to take interest in others’ personal drama. Sad but true. I hear misery loves company. So, here goes.

I’ve been out of work for a full year and a half now. My prospects are nonexistent. Between my physical (pain) issues and my really shaky mental health I’m in no condition to work a “regular” job, not that any would take me. That’s more fact than self pity.

I’m not ready to go back to work. This is as close as I ever want to get to being around people. My therapist says I need to start slow and build a tolerance. That very idea makes me want to hide under the couch. I’ve completely fallen off socially and in terms of work. Lots of anxiety there.

The next part is probably worse. I kinda think my wife wants to give me the boot. Can’t say I blame her. I’m pretty mopey as a parent these days. Apparently I’m pretty crappy as a husband, too. I swear if life gets much more depressing…

My wife is doing the best she can. She’s an A+ mom, awesome teacher, super breadwinner. I think her biggest concern is having to do it all by herself, with no Dad support. Maybe things will improve. Otherwise, I’ll be living under a bridge or something.

My blog, this blog, is pretty much my world.

Our little Peekaboo.

You guys are loved, Internet Family. Writing this blog, even if it’s just a quick hello and a few pics, means so freakin much to me. I have a dream to one day publish my own RPG works. Maybe even write a full fiction novel. Right now I’m blogging and I’m happy with it.

However, there is a dilemma on the horizon. My site dues to WordPress are going to come up in May. It’s only about $100, but no plan, no site. Is it possible to start a GoFundMe for that little? Otherwise I’m going to have to start selling on Ko-Fi, maybe Patreon?

At the rate things are going, I might have to start finding money just to get by. It’s possible at this stage. My biggest concern is making sure my wife and kids get by. After that, I love my cats.

This is Snoopy. He’s named as such because of his curiosity.

Now for the TTPRG scene.

No matter what WotC says, WE won.

Last month we (theoretically) fought a massive battle across multiple social media platforms to save the D&D OGL. With SRD 5.1 now under CC-BY-4.0, we can rest easy with our right to publish 5E content for a very long time to come. OGL 1.0(a) is also remaining untouched for the time being as well.

It was like the whole #ttrpgfamily came together under a common banner for the singular purpose of saving our ability to create new and exciting content under the OGL. This one single document is the key to several lines of TTRPGs. Entire movements such as the OSR rely on the privileges afforded by one document. Then, after our fleeting victory, everything started to come apart at the seams again.

WotC Executive Producer of D&D, Kyle Brink has given interviews to selective YouTubers. 3 Black Halflings, Ginny Di, and Mastering Dungeons (Teos) have been granted interviews so far. They wouldn’t touch me with a 10′ pole because I tend to ask raw questions and take no nonsense for answers. Although I am low key disappointed Kyle “Jar Jar” Brink won’t meet me in the squared circle for a little pro wrasslin action. 😋

The interviews so far have been edited or scripted in a fashion that’s pretty favorable to WotC’s PR efforts. Ginny Di is not a WotC shill, but I’m curious what got edited out of her video. She’s a good kid, though.

Teos from Mastering Dungeons sent the questions ahead of time and played right into WotC’s strategy. That interview had me screaming “BULLSH🦆T!” for about 3/4 of the video. Everything that rolls out of Brink’s mouth is either a carefully crafted PR response or further evidence that some of my wacky WotC conspiracy theories will be true. Tom at TableTop Tap Room did an excellent video covering Teos’ interview with Kyle Brink.

No one has gone out of their way to refute the pitifully stupid statement made during the 3 Black Halflings interview. I noticed good ol Kyle hasn’t left the hobby yet. All the old Grognards are still around. I’m still here, too. I see WotC is still pretty pale and monochromatic at the top. Hmm…

If I thought I could stand WotC’s obvious toxic corporate culture, I think I’d probably be a good replacement for Kyle Brink. I probably wouldn’t last long at WotC or Hasbro, because they don’t seem to like hearing the truth. Kyle Brink should probably thank the Forgotten Realms gawds that I don’t have an active YouTube channel to put him on blast. I’d probably hurt his feeling and give their PR people nightmares for years to come.

I don’t care if people go back to WotC. I’m done buying official D&D products. (It’s easy since I’m without funds currently.) I’ll support any number of creators making indie games and Third Party Products for 5E or 3/3.5E. As much as the OSR grinds on my nerves, there are some really good games out there. And as dozens of people have mentioned, Pathfinder 2E is a pretty good game. My point is, there are hundreds of good TTRPGs out there. Screw WotC.

I’m also working on a handful of projects in addition to my daily writing prompts. I have a campaign or two in the works for the Cypher System. There’s also Monster of the Week, FATE, Call of Cthulhu, and the Renegade games. (Transformers, GI Joe, and Power Rangers RPGs.) Plus a city setting for ICONS.

This time next month I might be living in my car.

Or things might be looking pretty good. I choose the good stuff. My wife thinks I’m crazy, delusional, and wearing a tinfoil hat too often. I have faith that the Universe is benevolent. I can rise above the gloom and doom. It’s a matter of willpower and time. Things will work out eventually. They always do.

Thanks for listening to my rants. I appreciate you. Stay safe. Have a good one. Hopefully see you tomorrow.

TTRPG Safety Tools: Beyond Convenience.

This person’s group recently ended their D&D 5E game citing a good number of “woke liberal factors” drove them out of the game. One of the specific “rules” they took issue with was the “5E need for Safety Tools.” I was pretty stunned when I heard that

I recently heard an Old School Renaissance YouTuber speaking ill of 5E safety tools and how players can abuse the X Cards for Metagaming advantages.

I’m continuing my policy of not naming and shaming, but this comment blew my mind on multiple levels. First, Safety Tools and Session Zero are NOT unique to D&D 5E. That notion is preposterous. Second, I seriously doubt anyone would metagame an X Card strictly to squash a specific monster encounter. Last, if you as a DM or your group are so dead set against the “wokie liberal gamer politics being inflicted on you?” Uh. Maybe you should stick to Moldvay B/X in your basement with the same old group you’ve had for 40+ years and not broadcast it on YouTube…ever?

Part of me hates being on this rant, and part of me feels the need to tap the sign again for the umpteenth time. Have we learned anything from the Wizards of the Coast Open Game License 1.1 debacle? Is there cause to think that just maybe our TTRPG community and specifically the D&D space might be under particular scrutiny in regards to things like ethics and morals right now? Maybe? Let’s also reiterate that the alleged DM shortage for 5E does not exist (because of issues revolving around Safety Tools.)

Safety Tools are NOT unique to D&D.

This person’s group recently ended their D&D 5E game citing a good number of “woke liberal factors” drove them out of the game. One of the specific “rules” they took issue with was the “5E need for Safety Tools.” I was pretty stunned when I heard that. There’s three things wrong with that statement.

First, Session Zero and Safety Tools are NOT unique to D&D 5E. I’m pretty sure making players comfortable at the table has always been around even before we called it “Safety Tools.” It used to be a common understanding with the group. Most DMs were smart enough to know if a player was claustrophobic not to trap their character in a dark coffin 20′ underground with no way to escape. (*Real example, btw.) It was just a matter of showing compassion and empathy for your fellow human instead of making a complete ass of oneself while hiding behind the DM screen and the rules.

Second, please let me reiterate there are no TTRPG thought police who are going to come to your game table and confiscate your DMG for playing the game all “wrong” in a private space. Actual Play podcasts and games in a public space are also not really subject to scrutiny unless someone is making an absolute ass of themselves. You do whatever you want with your group. Pretty sure that’s been an unofficial D&D rule from Day 1 of Gygax’s first game.

Third, if your private group hasn’t had a Session Zero or Safety Tools prior to playing 5E? Hey, if you and your group are comfortable that way? Great. Personally, if someone told me that walking into their game for the first time, I might turn around and walk right back out, but that’s okay.

The second preposterous notion is hiding behind an X Card to gain a metagame advantage over the DM.

I’m still trying to digest this concept. Session Zero is not perfect. Sometimes things slip through the cracks. We miss something on a questionnaire or a player forgets to bring it up. We’re human. Stuff is going to happen. That’s why we have Safety Tools.

Here’s how it should go:

The DM throws down an encounter with a giant venomous Anaconda. A player with a serious, deadly fear of snakes and trauma from a snake bite as a young child puts up her X Card immediately. We forgot to cover it during Session Zero. “Oh crap. I’m so sorry,” says the DM as he quickly gets the miniature for the snake out of sight..

Play is halted. We might even take a 10 minute break to help the traumatized player calm down and come back to the table. The DM needs a minute to pop out a new encounter without a snake. Maybe some nice Kobolds or something? As the DM quickly looks over the Session Zero notes for anything else he might have forgotten or even missed. An apology after the game might be nice, too. Definitely no more talk about snakes. That’s how it should go.

Then there’s the example from the video:

DM throws down an encounter with a spider. Player claims arachnophobia and throws up an X Card. Encounter is immediately cancelled. Free Experience Points for everyone, and the DM’s plan for the encounter is screwed. Players get a free pass any time they see something they don’t like. It’s like getting experience for free without having to do anything.

Apparently we just treated people like crap back in the Old School Era. Oh, wait. That’s right. I’m so Old School I fart chalk dust. And, no. We don’t treat people like dirt. I’m also old enough to know better.

If someone is found to be abusing their X Card? That’s not okay. It undermines the entire reason we have Safety Tools. They’re in place so people aren’t afraid to speak up if something is really traumatic. In short- DM’s, don’t be a d🦆ck. On the other hand, if you have a player willing to abuse an X Card to gain metagame advantage? You probably either need to have a long chat about Safety Tools, or decide your group doesn’t need them.

No one is going to cry if said YouTuber and his group abandon 5E.

No lie, I’m still irritated with the Kyle Brink comment about how “old white guys can’t leave soon enough.” People keep trying to say the quote is taken out of context. Then some old, white, (presumably cishet) guys come along and run their mouths about how the OSR is so much better than the new “woke” 5E way of doing things with our Safety Tools and X Cards. I won’t even get into all the talk about how 5E is supposedly too easy on the players and how combat encounters are broken. The game is allegedly lopsided in favor of the players with all the power creep, etc. Probably stuff that should have been covered in their Session Zero… oops?

If you ever wonder why there’s a DM shortage for 5E, look no further than the OSR community on YouTube and Twitter. It’s almost as if these crotchety old farts in the OSR want people to abandon 5E and move over to older editions of the game. Ironic, given they also act as gatekeepers to the hobby. Sounds indecisive as well as incredibly divisive to me.

But hey, if an OSR YouTuber wants to abandon 5E and his whole group goes with him back to Castles & Crusades or some other retroclone- Great! Go right ahead. Please be a good example. Don’t buy any more 5E and do the D&D community a solid and STFU about it!

Something a lot of the more vocal proponents of the OSR don’t seem to understand is that we don’t need them in the hobby if they don’t want to be there. If they were never going to spend money on 5E official or 3rd party, then they can just as easily do their own thing and shut up about 5E and everything that comes after.

Hey, old dudes- you have your OGL and CC-BY-4.0 SRD. Buh-bye. Go back in your basement and play Moldvay B/X until the end of time and let the rest of us enjoy the hobby. Thank you.

This is where I stop for now.

The WotC OGL debacle left a bad taste in my mouth. People want to complain about morality clauses in future game licenses. If people are so worried about morality clauses, maybe the problem isn’t with the game license or its holder. Maybe the problem is the ethics of the person complaining about the clause.

For cryin out loud, people. We’re talking about tabletop roleplaying games here. If you’re not here to have fun and get along with everyone at the table, please- Nintendo wants your money. If you want to be toxic, there are plenty of other hobbies out there. Meanwhile, can we please just get back to gaming with Safety Tools, including Session Zero unless the group decides together that they don’t want to go that route? It’s not rocket science.

If you made it this far, thank you. I appreciate it. Please be kind to one another.

Random Rants Today.

Why can’t we live in a world where we just treat one another with kindness? Does corporate greed have to run so sick as to have one person be unemployed so someone else can make as much or more money for making the same mistakes over and over? Seriously, I’d love to understand that. Why does that seem like a good plan?

We interrupt #FrighteningFebruary because your humble narrator is tired and full of questions.

First up, Kyle “I-get-to-work-for-D&D-and-you-don’t” Brink. The thought occurs that I was so focused on his comment about us old white dudes that I completely missed the fact that he did a massive propaganda dump for WotC and managed to bring back much of the divisiveness in the TTRPG community.

Was it a plan by WotC? I’ll credit someone at Hasbro because I don’t think most of the execs at WotC can rub two brain cells together and come up with a good idea. Regardless, ol Kyle “Jar Jar” Brink had every question answered before they were asked in the interview with 3 Black Halflings. Once again WotC’s pet manure spreader did his job perfectly and managed to p🦆ss off half the community in the process. So sad, really.

Second, we were ALL so united against Wizards of the Coast just a couple of short weeks ago. Now we’re back to grooveless sayings being tossed about at one another such as, “Go woke, go broke,” and “…y’all can’t seem to tell the difference between celebrating diversity and denigrating white men.”

I’m very much in favor of diversity and inclusion in gaming. When it comes to that, I’ll make room at the table or give up my own seat if I need to. I firmly believe all are welcome so long as they do no harm. Somebody on the worldwide interwebs might think that makes me a racist somehow. I think having a welcoming, respectful, understanding attitude just makes for a better gaming space. So, just do it.

Third, I know a lot of the old white guy brigade is bragging up how awesome the #OSR is right now. Yes, let’s welcome new players, many of whom came in under the banner of D&D 5E. So DON’T DIS ON 5E! Simple enough? Yes?

Fourth, Patreon seems to be trending these days. Gaming luminaries such as Ed Greenwood and Sean K. Reynolds just recently started up on the subscription site. That’s great for them. I’m a little puzzled why two guys that put D&D and other games on the map need a Patreon, but that’s cool. The bigger question in my mind is: how do they have time to keep up on it?

I’m still on the fence about Patreon. Part of me wants to do it, and part of me thinks it’s never gonna fly with me. For one thing, I’d have to limit myself to one game, one setting, one genre, and so forth. The ADHD hamster in my brain won’t let me do that for any serious length of time. And for another thing, I like putting out stuff for people to enjoy on here for free. I think it almost feels disingenuous to charge a monthly subscription.

Still, plenty of TTRPG YouTubers have their own Patreon thing going. Not just gaming, either. I hear it from dozens of other people in all walks of life and communities. I hear, “Come check out my Patreon for exclusive content and amazing downloads,” quite often in various videos and on websites. It’s become more common than I’m comfortable with, personally. If I were a millionaire, I’d support everyone in the TTRPG field. There’s a lot of great product out there.

But, Patreon is a pay wall, too. That’s what our humble TTRPG industry is rapidly becoming, I’m afraid. I still wonder what kind of negotiations have gone on between WotC and Patreon. TTRPGs were a cottage industry with indie contributions to fan magazines. Now they’re Patreon for dozens upon dozens of indie creators including fan zines. There are entire game companies operating almost exclusively on Patreon. (Kinda makes me sad because I really love some of those games, but they’re out of financial reach.)

Next, Let’s go back to good buddy Kyle Brink for a minute. Cynthia Williams, Chris Cao and Kyle Brink have pretty solid job security as far as I can tell. I’m sure none of them are hurting for money. They’re living high up in that corporate tower of theirs every day looking down on the little people at WotC.

And is it any wonder why the OGL 1.1 happened? Don’t let them fool you. They don’t care about us regular gamers, third party content creators, YouTubers and social media influencers. (Although I do still think certain people are well in WotC’s pocket and will do whatever they’re told in exchange for free swag, convention appearances, D&D in a Castle, etc.)

I’ve said it before- Who wouldn’t want a job designing D&D? Other than the fact that we’re finding out many WotC employees are allegedly miserable as Hell with their management. It’s not like the 1980s when the game was still in its golden era. Now it’s all cubicles and team meetings. (*Kinda stomach churning if you ask me personally.)

So designing third party content with the OGL or CC-BY-4.0 License is a pretty good deal for many of us. The thing that eats me about the whole situation and Kyle Brink’s bullsh🦆t comments are that he will never have to worry about where his next paycheck will come from. Williams and Cao came from tech sector jobs. They’re going to be able to find work even if they get canned from WotC tomorrow. Meanwhile Hasbro lays off 15% of its workforce. Do you think the clowns at the top are taking a pay cut?

Why can’t we live in a world where we just treat one another with kindness? Does corporate greed have to run so sick as to have one person be unemployed so someone else can make as much or more money for making the same mistakes over and over? Seriously, I’d love to understand that. Why does that seem like a good plan?

The grass might be greener, sure. I love making money from what I remember of it back then. I love supporting content creators for several games. I’d love to be able to go out and pay for a latte after I cover my yearly site renewal fees. But if I was sitting in the office of CEO at WotC or even Executive Producer for D&D, would I be willing to make even 15 or 25% less this year if it would keep someone else working? I’d do it without thinking twice. I kinda doubt Williams or Brink would. They can feel free to prove me wrong.

My point is, there’s enough room in the TTRPG industry and really any industry/community for growth and prosperity. It doesn’t have to be politicized or divisive. If we can come together over #OpenDnD, why in the actual Hell can’t we do it for other things? Imagine how far we could all take even the simplest things such as basic human rights if we all pulled together. But we don’t because we have to stop and squabble over skin color, what edition of D&D is best, and pizza toppings. We could all be doing so much better.

Last, (*This went wayyy longer than I intended, btw.) I’ve been doing a lot of socioemotional learning and other therapeutic endeavors. This blog is one of them. I will probably never trust a large, stinking, rotten corporation ever again. Seriously, I’m having a hard enough time saying hello to people in public right now.

This state, country, even this planet make me ill sometimes. Not just the TTRPG industry, but the whole enchilada. Everything. I have my share of mental health problems, and I’m not in a good headspace many days. My physical health is likewise pretty hot trash sometimes. The worst part is knowing there are people out there with a lot more resources and far fewer problems who wish nothing but death and destruction upon me and my family. (*Literally, not #ttrpgfamily.)

I hear a certain political party talking about shutting down Social Security here in the US and I just want to cry. Not only am I concerned for myself, but the sheer volume of people who depend on that money to live day to day. It’s another nauseating case of people with too much dictating woe upon those who have far less. Who needs horror gaming when real life is far more frightening?

I know I said a lot for what was supposed to be a brief venting session. Thank you if you made it this far. I appreciate you. You’re awesome. See ya tomorrow.

“Old White Guys” in Dungeons & Dragons.

A bunch of us tuned into the 3 Black Halflings interview in the wake of the OGL crisis to see what WotC’s pet manure spreader was going to say. It was interesting to hear what Kyle would say when PR wasn’t whispering in his ear or telling him what to type. Wow, it’s obvious WotC execs really are a bunch of clueless twonks who probably should be about as unemployed as yours truly right now. Sh🦆t floats to the top at WotC. For real.

D&D Exec Kyle Brink sticks his foot in his mouth. Repeatedly…

Here’s the link to the interview: 3 Black Halflings interview Kyle Brink.

Polygon also did a very good job with this issue: Polygon.

For those who don’t know yet, Wizards of the Coast Executive Producer of Dungeons & Dragons Kyle Brink was the face of the Open Game License debacle. He came on the scene after Wizards’ first failed attempt to address the fans. Kyle was slightly more personable with the fans and has allegedly actually played the game. He’s definitely been coached thoroughly by whatever PR experts WotC/Hasbro hired to contain the damage of thousands of fans cancelling their D&D Beyond subscriptions.

WotC was literally hemorrhaging money in the wake of the OGL debacle. Hasbro stocks are down to where they’re laying off as much as 15% of their workforce. Kyle Brink should have been part of the team that brought fans back to D&D.

That would have been cool until he went on 3 Black Halflings and gave some pretty uncoached comments that are very likely going to cheese off a bunch of fans. Just what WotC needed, right? I can’t figure out what this guy was thinking, but if you listen to the whole interview, he sounds about as ignorant about the TTRPG fandom as CEO Cynthia Williams or VP of Digital Development Chris Cao. WotC is sorely in need of an executive purge.

(*Hey, I know this guy– me- who’d be happy to work there once all the stooges have been cleaned out. I promise I’m the most laid back boss ever. LOL!)

I’ve been talking about this on and off for two years and then THIS GUY comes along.

Transcript from 3 Black Halflings Interview.
Kyle Brink’s exact comments.

If you have read this blog for a while, you know I’m not a big fan of naming and shaming specific individuals. Believe me, there have been a few I would have loved to have called out on their bullsh🦆t in the past, even recently. I don’t have a problem calling Kyle Brink out. If this clown thinks I’m leaving the hobby that I’ve been involved with for 40 years? They’re going to be burying me with my dice some day.

I hate to tell Kyle Brink and WotC this, but they’re barking up the wrong tree again! For crying out loud, he’s their spokesman! WTAF made him think that comment was going to fly?!? “…guys like me can’t leave soon enough.” WHAT?

Kyle Brink’s LinkedIn photo

Honestly, I’ve talked about this so much. Kyle can leave the TTRPG hobby or WotC. That’s on him. His context is a little blurry from his quote, but I’m pretty sure he meant TTRPGs and he did say it was his opinion. Good for him. I wish him the best of luck wherever he ends up or whatever he ends up doing.

That having been said? If you’re not passionate about D&D and/or tabletop gaming in general, Kyle- GET OUT OF D&D NOW! For God’s sake, do us all a favor and get the sam-sh🦆ttin-Hell out of the hobby before you do any more damage. It’s bad enough WotC has two other clueless clowns running around posing as management. Kyle, do the whole industry a favor and walk away! No one will think less of you after that bullsh🦆t comment.

Hey dude, I resemble that remark. I ain’t happy.

Your humble narrator.

News flash: I’m NOT going anywhere. I’m in the TTRPG hobby to say. I’m really, truly, in the depths of my heart getting sick of WotC and their paid goons like Kyle “Jar-Jar” Brink trying to get rid of anyone and anything older than they are. WotC took over before the 3rd Ed years. For some reason, they seem to have an attitude malfunction toward anything and everything older than that. That tends to piss off a LOT of us older white guys. Yeah, Kyle- ya done stepped in something.

I’ve tangled with the #OSR. I’ve also sided with the OSR. Like it or not, I’m a part of the Old School Renaissance crowd. FYI, it’s about to become the Old School RESISTANCE or Old School REBELLION, Kyle. That’s right, brother. I’m still gonna be doin this when I’m a hundred and two years old and there ain’t nothin you’re gonna do to stop me, WotC. Oh Yeah.

We can step into the squared circle, Kyle Brink. Oh yeah. I’m callin you out, brother. I’ll show ya what an old man with a bad back and chronic pain can still do to your clown 🤡ss. I will hurt your feelings. You better bring your A game, brother. Oh yeah. I still got mad skillz. Falls count anywhere. Somebody ring the bell. (* I was a fan of the Hulkster and the Macho Man Randy Savage. Oh Yeah.)

Pro wrestling analogy aside, I’ve already been here.

Seriously. All joking aside. Let’s talk about inclusivity.

First off, at no point in time am I dissing on 3 Black Halflings. Their efforts made this interview possible. Big THANK YOU to them!

Next, I’m really a fan of both diversity and inclusivity. We all have a seat at the gaming table. Brink is right about one thing. It’s not just a bunch of old white guys sitting around their parents’ basement any more. It hasn’t been since around the 1990s. You’d know that if you were really into D&D, Kyle.

WotC is propagandizing their struggle with the likes of NuTSR, aka Justin LaNasa and Dave Johnson. They tried to make a very racist revised edition of an old original T$R property owned by WotC. It was going to be called “Star Frontiers New Genesis.” Unfortunately Cynthia, Chris Cao, WotC’s lawyers, and apparently our friend Kyle all heard about it. The judge basically laughed LaNasa and NuTSR right out of his courtroom. Suddenly WotC got bit by the inclusion bug.

#Hadozee comes up a lot in this discussion, too. The old 2nd Ed Spelljammer included some pretty messed up racist sh🦆t. Then WotC came along with their schlocky version of it, without editing whatsoever, and reprinted it line by line. Don’t they feel smart now.

Last, a bunch of us tuned into the 3 Black Halflings interview in the wake of the OGL crisis to see what WotC’s pet manure spreader was going to say. It was interesting to hear what Kyle would say when PR wasn’t whispering in his ear or telling him what to type. Wow, it’s obvious WotC execs really are a bunch of clueless twonks who probably should be about as unemployed as yours truly right now. Sh🦆t floats to the top at WotC. For real.

In conclusion.

Again, Kyle- now’s a good time to get out of D&D if that’s how you feel. WotC employees are ready to flee like rats off a sinking ship last we heard. That’s cool because I also imagine Paizo and other real game companies are going to need that extra help soon. I bet there’s even a place for Kyle Brink scrubbing toilets and mopping floors at one of them.

Thanks for stopping by, #ttrpgfamily. I love you all so much. We wouldn’t get this upset about a hobby if we didn’t care. That passion showed all during the month of January battling for #OpenDnD. We’ll weather this storm, too. Back tomorrow with more #FrighteningFebruary.

Wizards of the Coast Gave In. WOW!

Wizards of the Coast finally gave the fans what they want and content creators what they deserved after a hard-fought #OpenDnD campaign. Thank you all for your hard work. Happy gaming.

Honestly, I’m still in shock and cautiously optimistic.

I want to wait until the dust settles a bit and take a little time to rest before I get into why I think they capitulated to the fans’ demands. I don’t think it’s all as black and white as some would imagine. Yes, I still have some theories I want to test, but that can wait.

Today we celebrate! Let’s get back to gaming. Let’s get back to writing TTRPGs and talking about them. There is peace across the realm. Rejoice!

My plans for 2023 and this site are changing.

I’m still going ahead with the Des Moines Remote Viewing Society campaign for Monster of the Week. I have developed a new sort of fondness for this game over the past month. I feel like experimenting outside of the fantasy genre might be nice once in a while. DsM RVS will also live on in fiction and possibly an SCP RPG crossover.

SCP is one of my new obsessions. I’ll be putting up a review soon as well as creating a branch office for the SCP Foundation in my Des Moines Remote Viewing Society fiction. The systems might not mesh up, but the game concepts still can. SCP works just as well in Monster of the Week as it does its own game.

Horror gaming aside, I have some new and old TTRPG ideas.

I’m excited to be continuing my space game with giant robots and new frontiers. Still working on a name. I think I might be switching back to an old, familiar base system for some things. I learned some things while attempting to build my own game system. I might be bringing back some ideas from the Big Robots, Cool Starships game I was working on 25-ish years ago.

I had also been working on a Mekton Zeta campaign setting back in the day. I also stumbled upon a classic TTRPG called Marauder 2107 while I was looking for some things in my archives. I might be building a Cypher System game based roughly on a combination of Appleseed and Chrome Shelled Regios anime series. Cypher System gained a lot of my love and respect during the whole OGL crisis.

I may never trust Wizards of the Coast again, but they’re not Renegade Studios.

It’s true WotC and Hasbro are still the big slimy megacorp they always were. Hasbro might own Renegade and several associated Intellectual Properties such as Power Rangers, GI Joe, and Transformers, but I’m ready to ease up a little bit.

I still want to make some GI Joe and Transformers RPG content for free and put it up here on the site. As I stated recently, we waited 30+ years for those two RPGs. I’ll be darned if I’m passing up an opportunity to enjoy them. Essence 20 is still a really good system.

I’m also still bringing back Power Rangers RPG campaign Super Lightning Force. I want to do some sort of Tommy/Jason David Frank tribute. I think it’s going to involve retiring the green or white Ranger costume with honors.

Going back to my superhero gaming roots a bit.

Even though January royally knocked the wind out of my sails in terms of RPGs and wanting to work on them, I am still looking forward to some ICONS RPG action. I am working on creating a campaign similar to the DC Batman Animated Universe. Anyone else miss those cartoons? Imagine a small, newly formed team of superheroes dedicated to stomping out injustices and keeping the city safe from costumed super villains for the first time. Until recently all of my supers games contained the notion of the characters being legacy heroes.

Back to Fantasy RPGs, too.

I’ll still be putting out magic item and creature goodies for old school D&D, Dungeon Crawl Classics, and even Pathfinder 2E . PF2E is going to be the basis for my #Dungeon23 game. I hear it’s getting popular now for some reason… hmm. (*LOL!) As much as I despise what WotC did to the OGL and turning the entire industry upside down for a month, I can’t deny I still LOVE D&D.

That said, I might never touch One D&D again. (*More on that later. I’m done talking about WotC for a few days.) I’ll still run 5E for the kids. I think we, the fans and content creators, are still going to be using 5E for a very long time to come. I’m not going to tempt Law of Attraction by saying more than that.

I’m also digging out one of my quiet favorites, Operation White Box from Small Niche Games. I really enjoyed this when it came out. Now that the OGL crisis has abated, I think I’ll go back to using it. I had been considering a WW2 game using the Cypher System. I like WW2 gaming because there are hundreds of stories to tell. Plus the good guys and bad guys are pretty easy to identify.

It’s good to be back in the saddle writing games again.

I’ll still be talking about happenings in the TTRPG industry from time to time. I think there was a lot of low key bonding going on during the month of January. I know I discovered a half dozen new YouTubers I want to watch as a result. There are still stories to cover and fallout from the licensing talk. #ORCLicense #BlackFlag

I’ll also be coming at you with monthly writing prompts. Fantasy February is still on the way. I’ll also be dropping some free scenarios for various games. I have yet to write a d12 table this month. Gotta fix that. I love any excuse to roll d12s.

I’m also reworking parts of my site. My goal is to make the site easier to read. I’m also changing up logos, banners, etc. I hit a huge milestone yesterday and another big one is coming tomorrow.

Thank you so much for stopping by. We couldn’t have done what we did in January without dedicated, hard working TTRPG family. If you’re reading this, you probably ARE family now. I appreciate you. Happy gaming.

Please continue to be kind.
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