January 19th, Interrupted.

The last month or so has been tumultuous because of happenings in the TableTop RolePlaying Game industry. It’s a mess that I am drawn to because I’m very passionate about my hobby. But life goes on outside of the TTRPG world. I’d love to talk about other issues, but the #TTRPGIndustry has been in my purview for 4 decades.

Normally this is when I celebrate Freedom Day.

The last month or so has been tumultuous because of happenings in the TableTop RolePlaying Game industry. It’s a mess that I am drawn to because I’m very passionate about my hobby. But life goes on outside of the TTRPG world. I’ll touch briefly on a few things in this life update.

One of the very disturbing things with this whole Wizards of the Coast Open Game License crisis is the number of their employees that have apparently been terminated at their Dungeons & Dragons branch for giving an honest opinion when asked for one. That’s pretty despicable. Turns out I know a guy who was once canned from a McCorporate job for doing something similar. It royally sucks.

Fast life updates.

My kids are currently home from school. Since Winter Break they have been out of school more than they have been in it. Professional Development days for teachers have taken up several of these days off. There was also an incident where all of the school’s servers had to be shut down due to an incident with a hacker. Followed by MLK day and more Professional Development.

You may have noticed some menu items have vanished from my site recently. New and different content is on the way. The rate at which people and businesses come in and fall out of my life varies from day to day.

My SSDI hearing date is finally set. I’m more than a little anxious about it. That money would really help my family right now. My wife is doing the best she can, but turns out a teacher’s salary in Iowa doesn’t really keep a family of 6 afloat indefinitely. If SSDI doesn’t work out, things are gonna get real bleak around here.

You may have noticed the cute little ducky emoji in some of my recent articles. I decided to start dropping the cute little ducky into the middle of certain words in an effort to keep things more PG-13-ish. I know some will say I should just keep using harsh language as I have in the past. I prefer to think of this as editing out the word with a quack. I borrowed this idea from YouTube animator/gamer/content creator Dingo Doodles and others who use the quack to cover various four or five letter words.

This is interesting times for my favorite industry.

[Update: The OGL story is moving faster than I can keep up with it. Please be patient. Full breakdown of WotC and OGL 1.2 coming soon.]

I’ll talk more about this tomorrow, and probably the rest of the week. I’m someone who would like to work as a freelancer in the TTRPG industry or possibly start my own company. This is a horrible time to freelance in that industry because Wizards of the Coast and parent company Hasbro decided to tamper with a 20+ year old OGL that has been sustaining the industry.

The TTRPG hobby/industry is not all about D&D contrary to what some might have you believe. A lot of companies and freelancers bank on that OGL protecting them from lawsuits so they can make 5E content or derivative content without fear of being sued out of existence by WotC and their crack team of ninja hit lawyers. “Lawyers of the Coast/Wizards of the Court” chased down a lot of Intellectual Property infringement cases back in the 4th Edition days and even before that.

The OGL flap centers around the deauthorization or abolishment of what used to be an “Open” Game License meaning game mechanics and terms were okay to use as outlined in the official System Reference Document. This means one can create their own game or derivative based on it as long as one doesn’t use certain copyrighted terms owned by Wizards of the Coast. Everything else is fair game as long as a copy of the OGL is attached and those pesky WotC-owned terms are avoided completely.

This ranges from copying and pasting the entire SRD into a document as a base for an entire game to just using one or two terms in a specific manner such as “ability scores” or “Armor Class.” Back many years ago the Supreme Court of the United States made it illegal to copyright game terms. One can’t simply go and copyright chess or checkers, for example. But with the OGL and subsequent SRD in place since 2000, game designers and writers have come up with all sorts of games, sourcebooks and articles based on it.

It doesn’t have to be a fantasy game, either. I have plenty of OGL Wild West, Steampunk, Cyberpunk, Sci-fi and Horror supplements. D20 Modern from WotC operates under the OGL as well. Entire companies has sprouted up around the OGL. Goodman Games, makers of Dungeon Crawl Classics and Paizo Inc, who created Pathfinder are just two examples of such companies. For those who follow this site, I was making DCC content for free with Goodman’s blessing. I was getting ready to use Pathfinder for #Dungeon23. Not any more, unfortunately.

That’s what happened to literally every company that runs off of the OGL last week. Projects were scrapped or put on hold. Freelance writers and artists were put on hold or not contacted. Layoffs and/or firings from smaller game companies are expected. I suspect a lot of writers are going to move onto greener pastures as a result. Maybe that’s what WotC intended all along?

GRR! Why can’t we have nice things, WotC?

Hope springs eternal, but doesn’t pay the rent.

“Hope” is one of those words Law of Attraction experts say never to use. Basically, it’s already there in an LoA Universe. We don’t have to “hope” because we know it’s coming. Don’t hope, intend for things to happen. But I’m using “hope” here because I’m making some points about what the TTRPG industry is facing.

We hope Hasbro/WotC don’t put up an OGL that deauthorizes the old OGL 1.0A. No OGL that is truly “Open” includes paying royalties, declaring profits, and signing contracts. We hope we can scramble around and get another TTRPG built and get it on Kickstarter, Patreon, or DriveThruRPG soon. We hope Paizo’s #ORCLicense gets put in place fast enough to save some of our work.

We hope WotC does the merciful thing and leaves OGL 1.0A exactly the way it was. There’s still a minute chance? No?

We intend to have an industry that thrives, but alas WotC and their Hasbro Reptilian overlords are hindering it. The horrible fact is that indie companies, artists, and writers are panicking big time. “Hope we can pay the rent next month” is more of what they’re thinking. YouTubers, artists, and writers alike have quit their regular day jobs to make D&D content under the OGL. A lot of us might be updating resumes and dusting off that interview clothing to go back to a “regular” job (which royally sucks.)

As a side note, why is a company that made a BILLION dollars last year worried about the next largest competing company that maybe pulled in four or five million? Hasbro, are you really that desperate to crush businesses that should not even appear on your radar? What kind of sick weirdo gets their jollies off seeing small companies and individuals suffer as a result of ill-conceived notions? I mean, who does that?

What does it mean for me?

I’m a little thtuck here.

I’m a prospective freelance writer. I’d be good at it assuming I could get over my social anxiety and depression long enough to accomplish something. But if companies were nervous about hiring before, they’re downright skittish now. My only other hope is to grind out my own game on my own system, come up with art, and pray that it sells.

This is a good time to be a blogger, however. We’re not going to stop pounding out determined article after another denouncing the heads of WotC and Hasbro for what they did and what they’re doing. Every leak, every time one of their flaws is exposed, we will cover it.

I’m part of a movement that will save jobs, the game of D&D perhaps, and the industry as a whole. It’s rumored that Hasbro and even WotC execs think the fans are an obstacle between them and more money. Those execs have no idea the kind of obstacles we can put up if their attitudes don’t visibly improve.

That’s where we are now.

That’s all I’ve got for today. It breaks my heart to see others suffer. I hate the fact that people I care about, a game that I once enjoyed, and an entire industry that I loved is falling apart at the seams because one corporation had to try to monopolize it. One nasty, awful, stinking, lousy corporation literally holds all the cards.

Thanks for stopping by. We’ll persevere. We always do. Keep believing in a benevolent Universe and a brighter future. Game on.

#StoptheSub
#DnDBeGone
#OpenDnD
#DnDONE

The Length and Breadth of OGL 1.0a

I know I’m just a simple guy with a blog. I still dream big dreams of writing that award-winning, best selling RPG adventure module, new sourcebook, or a campaign. I want to make a little money to help my family out and maybe invest in more gaming books. Honestly, I’d settle for some street cred amongst my fellow game fans and a bit of side cash.

I was recently reminded how many games rely on this thing.

I’m a TableTop RolePlaying Game nut from wayyy back. I live for TTRPGs these days. Ever since becoming unemployed, they’re one of the handful of things that keep me sane. The recent Dungeons & Dragons Open Game License flap with Wizards of the Coast has me pretty concerned about the future of my hobby.

TTRPGs have really been more than a hobby to me ever since I ran my first D&D game at the age of 10. My friends didn’t want to be Dungeon Master, so they taught me the game and then basically turned it over to me. It just kinda stuck. I was hopelessly and irreversibly hooked. Not in a negative way. I mean, there were way worse things I could have gotten hooked on.

Decades have gone by. Editions of D&D have gone by. I’m still up to my eyeballs in game books both in print and pdf. When the OGL scandal broke, I took stock of just how many 3.5 and 5E books I rely on. Turns out, quite a few.

The fantasy outside of the fantasy.

I’d be willing to bet money a lot of aspiring DMs/GMs probably dreamed of working for T$R back in the old days. (*The good, original T$R with Gygax and Co, not that other new thing we have nowadays.) Seriously, a lot of my heroes were RPG designers back then.

Many of the original T$R crew have moved onto greener pastures. Rest in Peace. But many of the second and third generation T$R guys are still going strong. Unfortunately, some of them passed from the golden embrace of T$R into the hands of Wizards of the Coast, but they’ve since gone onto great things. Sadly, most of the old school crew no longer works for WotC, and it really shows.

It used to be pretty tough to break into the industry as a writer. I’ve talked about this in previous articles. It was kinda the wild west when it came to RPG design. You either knew somebody and got in with an established company or created your own game/publication and hoped to survive. There was not a ton of cash in the industry then. It was more about (nerd) prestige.

Times have changed since the 80s and 90s. The Open Game License from Wizards of the Coast changed everything about the industry and the hobby, too. Entire game companies sprouted out of the OGL back in the day. Many of them are still around in one form or another. The industry went from “Tough break, kid,” to “Look what I made with the OGL, Ma!”

Anything from an entire genre-spanning RPG to a single D&D adventure could be created quick and dirty and thrown up on one of the various distribution sites for a pretty reasonable percentage, even for free. People started making enough to buy more gaming books just by producing their own character sheets and such. Talk about a great time to be in the hobby!

The stuff I want to be creating and for whom.

Pathfinder 2E. and/or Dungeon Crawl Classics. were top of my list. What’s Old is… would be fun, too. I also love ICONS from Ad Infinitum. (*I’m a big Steve Kenson fan.) Index Card RPG is great. D&D 5E or one of its many derivatives. (No link needed.)

I could literally name companies and/or games all day that I would go to work for tomorrow if they were hiring. Probably not WotC because I hear their management is awful and the employees are miserable. Of the games I listed, Pathfinder and DCC grew out of the OGL.

Why is that a problem? If the OGL gets deauthorized as WotC is incessantly pushing for it, there won’t likely be a free flow of content from any former OGL products or companies. I’m not even honestly sure how much I trust third party product distributors such and DriveThruRPG or even DMsGuild.com any more. It’s not that I have issues with OneBookShelf specifically, but the ability to keep producing D&D OGL 1.0a content might become severely limited in the very near future.

Genuine concern for what lies ahead.

I truly fear for Paizo Inc, Goodman Games, Troll Lord Games (Frog God and Necromancer games included) and even Old School Renaissance companies such as Necrotic Gnome. This is not a good time to have a 5E book or even a retroclone of D&D in the works. Sure, we can still probably print the old stuff, and that’s great. (*WotC has sort of assured us the old stuff will remained untouched for now.)

But what happens when Paizo goes to put out a Pathfinder 2E sourcebook after OGL 1.2 (or whatever they’re calling it today) takes effect? Companies could suddenly find themselves in court with Lawyers of the Coast in a big Intellectual Property dispute. No one wants that, except maybe Hasbro.

The panic created by this OGL mess alone has been enough to cause a downturn in the #TTRPGIndustry. Suddenly massive hoards of product has gone on sale by third party publishers to get what they still can while the OGL is still intact. Meanwhile, other projects are being scrapped or revised to include non-WotC OGL systems. It’s sad because a lot of freelance writers and artists are out of a job. With no money coming in, it’s hard to support a hobby or pay rent on time.

The McCorporate stooges at WotC just don’t get it.

They’re already done some serious damage to the industry with the leak of OGL 1.1 the legal abomination. Now the #TTPRGCommunity is squabbling amongst itself in places over information leaks and who’s telling the truth. Personally, I think it’s all intentional. I think it’s part of WotC’s plan to take over the industry and squash their competition completely.

They don’t see the OSR movement. They don’t see other TTRPGs that aren’t D&D. It’s rumored that one of the WotC/D&D execs has never played the game. He thinks it’s a MMORPG computer game or something. (*Sad.) They don’t see people at other companies or independent writers just trying to get by. I have doubts as to whether or not WotC execs ever dreamed of being anything beyond money-grubbing corporate weasels.

The WotC execs also don’t see all of the third party companies in the industry and the families that depend on their income. WotC execs don’t have to wonder if their next paycheck will come or how much it will be. They don’t see the drop or panic in third party sales. The fans do, but when has that ever mattered to Hasbro/WotC honchos?

Rumor has it that WotC employees are straight-up miserable, especially at the lower tiered echelons. Opinions are solicited, but honesty is not welcomed from the lower ranks. Even some mid-upper level people are allegedly scared to speak up about the OGL or any of the One D&D stuff. Some employees have even agreed that management can be draconian and thoughtless at WotC.

Who’d want to work like that unless nothing else was available? Imagine landing a dream job working for WotC making D&D a reality? Only to find out that it’s just as miserable or more so than working for McDonald’s? It’s bleak.

Maybe the instability was all part of the plan.

Yes, the Tinfoil Hat Society has arrived at the party. Again we see a fine line between absolute intentional genius Machiavellian planning or utter blunt stupidity. I’m banking on the genius side, myself. Hasbro/WotC execs are a lot of things, but stupid ain’t usually one of them. I might not like or agree with them, but I do low key respect most of them.

The other problem that I keep coming back to the OGL on is the WotC rumor mill. $30 subscription tiers to their new Unreal Engine Virtual “Table Top?” Not impossible. Even if the rumor was false, WotC could just as easily circle back around and jack up the price later. All they want to do is drain our wallets. I don’t even think the product matters in some cases.

I think the ground above Mr Gygax’s grave is getting warm from all the spinning beneath it. All of us dreamers are living the disappointment that comes with the OGL controversy and TTRPG market instability. Some people are abandoning their Actual Plays, YouTube careers, and even campaigns over this OGL nonsense. It makes me sad to see fans going from this hobby. But, a certain Wizards of the Coast exec allegedly wants an all-digital platform because he sees D&D as a video game.

If WotC thought the canceled D&D Beyond subscriptions were bad, wait til they see what happens to the new Honor Among Thieves movie. There’s already a boycott movement going for the movie. There are already boycotts going on Hasbro products. It’s going to get worse before it gets… somewhere? (*I can’t say “better.”)

Here’s where I sit.

I know I’m just a simple guy with a blog. I still dream big dreams of writing that award-winning, best selling RPG adventure module, new sourcebook, or a campaign. I want to make a little money to help my family out and maybe invest in more gaming books. Honestly, I’d settle for some street cred amongst my fellow game fans and a bit of side cash.

I feel pain for people announcing 5E projects right now. I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. Yes, better now than when WotC ruins the OGL, but what happens if the D&D fan base dries up due to all the McShenanigans going on inside WotC? What happens to the companies that once relied on the OGL as their primary means? Obviously small companies aren’t going to want to hire freelancers right now. That just leaves the other option.

Not gonna lie. It feels like 1996 all over again. The best option for doing much of anything in the TTRPG industry is going to revolve around independent efforts published on my own. I intend to find a workable OGL from another company or work with some sort of core rules tied to a Creative Commons License. The only major difference now is the pdf market makes things a little easier.

#OpenDnD

#DnDBeGone

#StoptheSub

#DnDONE (Emphasis on “DONE.”)

#BoycottHonorAmongThieves

#BoycottHasbro

Thanks for stopping by. You really are part of my #ttrpgfamily if you’re here reading this. Game on. Keep gaming. Things are changing. Let’s stick together no matter what.

Personal-ish Share OGL 1.1

This OGL debacle is going to turn the TTRPG industry back into that Wild West scenario of writers stomping on each other just to get an interview. There’s no sign of stability with the drastic measures some companies are taking just to stay in business right now. People are worried about making the rent in a month or two, not hiring new talent.

I took a break yesterday to talk about something I enjoy.

Soon to be upgraded to OGL 2.0 according to Wizards of the Coast via Gizmodo. Linda Codega (my new personal hero, btw) posted this article. Personally, I’m hedging my bets that OGL 2.0 looks pretty similar to OGL 1.1 with a few changes in semantics. The RPG community has been by and large railing against WotC and parent company Hasbro all week.

I’m still kinda low key disappointed Chris Cocks won’t face me in a steel cage wrestling match. My wife says it’s bad for my back, fibro, etc anyway. I think Cocks just got lucky. (No pun intended…)

My educated guess is WotC is trying desperately to smooth over ruffled feathers after spokesperson/D&D celebrity Ginny Di publicly cancelled her D&D Beyond membership, admonishing Wizards for their foul behavior. In a related note, D&D Beyond suddenly had problems that strangely caused the removal of the subscription cancellation button. (Hey, isn’t that illegal? That’s a monthly renewal.)

Lucky for me I never pay for my D&D Beyond subscription, anyway. I never saw the sense in giving WotC money every month, and I doubt I will after this either. WotC is likely scrambling to retain as many of those players that they so desperately want to milk for cash, right?

So many (former) D&D fans and TTRPG companies have become flustered over the OGL debacle that they have started their own game licenses, systems, etc. Some of the bigger names such as Kobold and Paizo have banded together to create what is being hailed as the Open Roleplaying Creators License or ORC license. Paizo’s website is down, but you can read the Linda Codega article here. (*Linda is probably going to get tired of me using them as a reference, but they’re just so good!)

Some days I should just avoid social media.

So, this gaming celebrity-ish person who I shan’t name and shame said some things I find incredibly ignorant regarding the OGL debacle. After I quote-tweeted the thread with some rather harsh criticism I was promptly shouted down by a bunch of this person’s followers. Drink the Corporate Cool-Aid all ya like, folx. It’s okay.

Maybe I’m wrong, but it wouldn’t be the first time XY person has offended me. In fact XY regularly says things that not only indicate a lack of wisdom, but an overall lack of experience outside of WotC and Critical Role. Look, kiddo. With all due respect, you’re only as good as your corporate programming.

It gets my hackles up when people basically try to pass off obedience to the McMachine as sincere, heartfelt advice. Yeah… it sounded to me like, “Just blindly obey WotC so we can get back to making games for them. Sign your OGL contracts and be good little sheeple. Don’t stress yourself out by making your own games or banding together in solidarity.”

The thing that offends me more than this person taking up space in my head is the level of insensitivity to what is surely going to be the plight of others when half of the industry collapses under an unfavorable OGL announcement. Not that XY has to worry. Their job will be safe. Even with the OGL 1.1 leak we’re seeing all kinds of chaos and disarray in the TTRPG industry. Get a clue, WotC.

Maybe I’m just a bitter old Grognard.

I’ll freely admit I’m a pretty bitter b🦆stard when it comes to dealing with corporations and their well-programmed zombie drone types. I’ve been off work for a year and a half after getting canned by such a company. I’m still not allowed to trash talk the lil sh🦆tz directly due to all the NDA and severance garbage I signed. But I’ve also been around the TTRPG and hobby industry for 40 years.

Y’all youngins should gather around and listen for a minute. I’ve wanted to be employed gainfully by the TTRPG industry for over 35+ years. The closest I’ve gotten so far is on the retail end of things. Even then, selling one D&D book along with a crapload of Magic: the Gathering, boardgames, and other product is just not that darn fulfilling. Sorry, gotta be honest. Not to mention minimum wage retail gets to be a real drag when you know you could be doing so much more in life.

Once upon a when, breaking into the TTRPG field as a writer seemed to be a matter of who you knew or, uh, who you bl- did certain favors for behind the curtain. I’ve written a few magazine articles and such for publications that no longer exist but they never really got me noticed. Before OGL 1.0 there was little to no hope of getting hired because there was really no good way to get noticed. The line I got from an original T$R editor once was, “Come back when you get published somewhere else in the industry, kid.”

Sigh. This OGL debacle is going to turn the TTRPG industry back into that Wild West scenario of writers stomping on each other just to get an interview. There’s no sign of stability with the drastic measures some companies are taking just to stay in business right now. People are worried about making the rent in a month or two, not hiring new talent.

I’d like to think I haven’t squandered the last 20+ years.

I’d like to think that, but it’s sorta true, I guess. I’ve always tried to stay on top of the happenings TTRPG industry minus a couple of years when I checked out almost completely and only wrote things for some of my ICONS characters/campaigns. Meditation and enlightenment took priority for a while. But otherwise I’ve always kept an eye open for the one niche I could fill in a way that only I’m meant to fill.

It’s not like I love being unemployed. In fact, this OGL 1.1 business has taught me how much I truly miss having money for Christmas presents, food, gasoline for my car, and disposable income to spend on friends. I miss having an excuse to occasionally get out of the house. And then I remember how much is sucks being around people, how much pain I’m in on any given day, and how crippling depression really can be sometimes.

But hey, it’s Monday. Let’s see what new corporate McBullsh🦆ttery this week brings from our friends at WotC. I mean, what’s the best that can happen? (nervous chuckle)

I’ve probably chewed on everyone’s ears long enough for one night. I had a lot more to say, but it’ll keep until the 19th or my next personal share. Thanks for being here, fam. Love you all in a Universal way.

This Blog is…

The community has become polarized down political and sociocultural lines. Safety Tools, Session Zero, diversity and inclusion can be hard and scary for some people in the OSR that have insisted on playing the same edition of D&D since 1977. I get it. WotC and D&D 5E seem like a natural scapegoat for their rage rather than learning something new or expanding their repertoires.

Pretty much the only thing keeping me sane.

Physically, I’m not doing so well. Mentally/emotionally, I’m not doing very well, either. The exhaustion from the last couple of days being in pain has drained me pretty bad. It’s also sucking the life out of me creatively at the moment. Hoping that will improve soon.

I’m halfway avoiding social media for fairly significant spans of time. I think the natural tendency, for people who spend a lot of time on Twitter especially, is to mock or troll others. I’m seeing a lot less productive discourse these days with a few exceptions. (You know who you are.) Things have been kinda brutal since Elon, Lord of Bots took over Twitland.

Of course when people aren’t starting arguments on social media, they’re showing off how fabulous their life is in relation to all us little people. All in all I’ve even seen a few people in jobs I wouldn’t mind having. Just short of a truly manifested miracle I don’t see those happening for me, though. So that just leaves feelings of inadequacy and good ol Imposter Syndrome. All the more reason to take social media in small doses or post-n-go. Fewer hassles that way.

The TableTop RolePlaying Game blogosphere is fun and all.

I’ve been doing this thing solidly for almost a year now. I did some rebranding of my blog last year and shifted from mostly spiritual (New Age) content and self growth over to TTRPGs. It was overall a good shift and I’ve been able to write every day on some topic on or off the RPG table.

I’ve had some struggles in the #ttrpgcommunity or culture more recently. My mental health waxes and wanes on its own without some industry or community drama dragging the vibe down. That’s true of any hobby one can be passionate about, though. I really am passionate about gaming. Now if I could just get it monetized…

I feel caught up in this never ending struggle between Dungeons & Dragons 5E and the Old School Renaissance/Revival/Renewal/Re-whatever-this-week.

I used to feel obliged to stand up for some of the benevolent Old Grognards. I’m starting to realize that the #OSR is largely populated by some bitter, jaded, angry, anti-anybody-who’s-not-them people and hateful edgelords. The OSR may not be dying, but it might do well for parts of it to segregate themselves back into the spiteful, dark corner of their mom’s basement they crawled out of.

Without naming names, I’m becoming increasingly irritated with certain OSR YouTubers. They can’t figure out how to go five minutes without telling us how great the OSR is and then promptly sticking their foot squarely in their mouths. What? They can’t go five minutes without hating on something?

Here’s a thought. If the #OSR is so great, why do people keep putting out new editions?

“But it’s all about staying in business,” they cry.

But if the OSR is so great and playing older editions of D&D is so much fun, why even bother to look at the new material? Has anyone considered that they don’t need to look at D&D 5E or the One D&D playtests if the touted Moldvay B/X original edition is so amazing? How about if you’re not going to ever run it, play it, buy it, or recommend it- shut up about it? Please shut up about it.

D&D 5E and Wizards of the Coast have their own share of screwball issues.

I kinda get what the OSR guys (mainly old, bitter, heteronormative, white guys) are complaining about when it comes to D&D 5E and beyond. I’ve said some of the same things. Sometimes WotC goes a bit overboard with the fluff of D&D and not enough crunch. They expect Dungeon Masters to make up for the shortcomings in the rules. Every book has tons of player options and leaves DMs to fend for themselves.

The community has become polarized down political and sociocultural lines. Safety Tools, Session Zero, diversity and inclusion can be hard and scary for some people in the OSR that have insisted on playing the same edition of D&D since 1977. I get it. WotC and D&D 5E seem like a natural scapegoat for their rage rather than learning something new or expanding their repertoires.

Cultural and interpersonal sensitivity aren’t something WotC or anyone else can teach. WotC’s big corporate (possibly overpaid) editors couldn’t even prevent the #hadozee debacle from happening. WotC is allegedly hiring new Head of Creative Content and writers in some sad sauce effort to make it look like the actual game itself isn’t going to be just a tiny part in the four quadrant brand that Hasbro is shaping D&D into. Hopefully the sensitivity readers for One D&D will be paying better attention than they were for Spelljammer.

The tired phrase of “Just play Pathfinder instead” has turned into “The OSR is so much better.”

Pathfinder still has a solid following and I like the game. More and more each day in fact. The old answer to people complaining online about D&D 5E was, “Just play Pathfinder 2E instead.” It got to the point where well known Pathfinder YouTubers were begging people to stop.

As someone who loves every edition of D&D for one reason or another (Yes, even 4th Ed,) I’m begging people to stop trying to convert everyone back to the OSR. It’s like downgrading a computer or video game console. Yeah, there are some good points to be made with familiarity and simplicity, but they’re also re-hashing the same old sh🦆t that made us seek out new editions and other games in the first place. Don’t brag about a game if you’re not going to welcome new players into it.

#OSR, say what you like about D&D 5E, but don’t knock the fact that it has brought so much fresh life to the table. It’s done more for the hobby in terms of bringing in new people than the OSR ever could have dreamt of doing. Also, stop trying to shut out the new people. Good grief.

Mental health matters.

Officially tired and putting the blog to bed for the night.

Thanks for letting me rant. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you.

This Can’t Be Real

Yes, I’d rather be running a game or writing one. Sure, who wouldn’t like a big ol’ salary and an office. That’s what we’re told is the dream in capitalist society at a very young age. It’s just not my particular jam. But this job is supposed to be “Head of Creative (Dungeons & Dragons.)” For cryin out loud, the last three words in that title say it all. Creative. Dungeons & Dragons. That’s my dream.

This job would be a dream come true for someone.

I’m still not 100% certain this isn’t a hoax or some kind of ruse to get people hyped up about One D&D. Something seems terribly off to me about this. My other thought is that they’ve probably already made their selection, but had to post the position publicly as some sort of McCorporate legal formality.

It’s been suggested by a former WotC employee that the public posting is just a formality and that the post is already filled. As a former employee of a big, scummy company myself, I’ve seen this type of behavior already. I feel it’s somewhat sickening. Why torment potential job seekers in this manner? It borders on cruel, even sadistic.

Here’s a link to the full posting:

https://boards.greenhouse.io/wizardsofthecoast/jobs/6517250002?fbclid=IwAR100Ed4L65Rxva5bnenZryLFn1FlikyBPAwNlbK0rbDKG2GYFNuI0dkFNM&mibextid=S66gvF&s=09

The posting describes a lot about the job, and some of what they’re planning for One D&D.

I’m fortunate in that I’m a small blog, of no real consequence to Wizards of the Coast or Hasbro. I doubt they’ll notice a tiny mite like me nipping at the heels of the McCorporate mega giant that they are. It’d be just short of a miracle if I hear back on the application I sent. I’m sure I’m one of hundreds, if not thousands of would-be applicants.

I wonder if they even blinked before they deleted my application. I mean, tell me they didn’t already have this filled. And what tabletop gamer in his/her/their right mind wouldn’t want this job? Here: put together One D&D and possibly a bunch of stuff to go with it.

The last bullet point on the list makes me crazy above all the rest. I’m sure every Old Grognard in the gaming community probably thought much the same. Tell me you’re discriminating based on age without actually discriminating based on age.

“Grow and evolve our IP to attract new audiences, including younger demographics…

Maybe my grasp of McCorporate speak is rusty, but that sounds a lot like they don’t want anyone over the age of 35 in charge of this thing. I’ll be curious to see who they had picked out for this thing. I’m sure it’ll be a fresh young face, right? Maybe I’m old and going a bit daffy with age, but I really don’t feel like I’d be a good fit.

That line about “Create a team and IP that is rich, diverse and constantly evolving…” made me laugh, too. In other words, they don’t just want the same old white guys doing the same old medieval European stuff we’ve been doing for the last almost 50 years. Which is great, but in terms of a hiring qualification? WotC was an Equal Opportunity Employer last I checked.

It’s the Internet, I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong.

But wait, there’s more:

If the job description wasn’t nauseating enough, you should see what they want for qualifications. Dear God, they practically want someone ready to step in as head of Hasbro, much less D&D. You know what they say about the Internet- If it sounds too good to be true, it is. This is a fabulous example:

The thing I find most incredulous about this whole list of requirements is that they want qualifications that none of the original founders of T$R could have possibly possessed. It almost sounds like they want a PhD in Business and 10+ years in charge of a Fortune 500 company and oh, have you maybe heard of Dungeons & Dragons 5E. (*Notice not a word about prior editions.)

It sounds to me as if WotC doesn’t want anyone they haven’t already groomed for this position within their own ranks. Disgusting, if you ask me. McCorporate favoritism or even nepotism at its most nauseating. It’s almost as if the “Creative” part of the job is the furthest thing from their minds.

If this is what WotC wants for their company, that’s on them. It’s their call to make, sure. What I find most disturbing about everything in this job listing is what it says for the game. To me it sounds like screw anyone who isn’t totally up-to-date with their corporate mindset, culture, and part of the new generation of D&D. (*Again I say tell me you’re discriminating on basis of age without telling me you’re discriminating on basis of age.)

Damnit. It’s about the game. The GAME of D&D.

I’m passionate about TTRPGs in general and D&D as well. I eat, sleep, breathe, and write about gaming every day. Every. Day. I make no pretensions about being qualified for any position at WotC, much less this one that’s posted.

Do I really want to see D&D go down the path it’s currently on? Hell naw! Basically, they’re telling us they want something that looks vaguely like D&D only completely integrated as a phone app, social media platform, website, and PC game (*possibly console, too.)

They might be willing to put out rulebooks? Maybe? But fear not, they’ll only sell the physical books and electronic copies through their exclusive website. One D&D is starting to sound a lot less like D&D all the time. (Just my nutty take, though.)

IF there’s an up side to any of this, it sounds like someone might finally give us a new setting for the first time in decades. Maybe, just maybe someone will finally abandon Forgotten Realms as the main D&D setting. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if they put out something completely new? Bring exploration back to the game.

Parting shots of a defeated old guy.

I understand now, probably more than ever, why so many older avid roleplayers are shying away from D&D than ever before. I am starting to understand the amassing heaps of criticism and negative banter about Wizards of the Coast and D&D in particular. This job posting, with all it indicates about the company’s attitude, is part of what makes me want to go back to retro clones and other editions of the D&D game. Or just go back to focusing in gaming, period.

I’m a tabletop gamer first and a businessman last. (*Or not at all business anything.) Sure, who wouldn’t love to be at the reigns of the next rendition of D&D? Seriously. How many of us dreamed for years of filling the shoes of Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson, or Ed Greenwood? (*I’d even say Monte Cook, Sean Reynolds, or any other noteworthy T$R/D&D alumni.)

Yes, I’d rather be running a game or writing one. Sure, who wouldn’t like a big ol’ salary and an office. That’s what we’re told is the dream in capitalist society at a very young age. It’s just not my particular jam. But this job is supposed to be “Head of Creative (Dungeons & Dragons.)” For cryin out loud, the last three words in that title say it all. Creative. Dungeons & Dragons. That’s my dream.

That was my dream, anyway. I’m working on coming up with a slightly newer improved dream for myself. I’m always going to be a TTRPG guy for however long I’m still on the Earth in this adorable, loveable, physical form.

I hope whoever gets the big title at WotC does right by it. I’d be low key impressed if I heard back from WotC on my application, but I’m not holding my breath. It’s really a neat idea for a job, no matter how far-fetched.

I’m still working on that million dollar idea. I’m still innovating and creating here. Maybe I’ll hit Gygaxian status someday.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a good week. Good luck if you applied at WotC for anything.

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.

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.




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.

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.



It’s Freedom Day, 14 Months In.

There’s a few other minor tidbits to share. I find myself constantly burned out on depression. The only thing more disappointing than my career aspirations is the lack of funds in my wallet. (LOL!)

My monthly personal share. This month I learned…

New psychiatrists ask a LOT of questions. New to me, not new to the profession. He’s a nice guy, though. Hopefully I’ll stick with seeing him. Or he’ll want me to? However that works.

There’s a few other minor tidbits to share. I find myself constantly burned out on depression. The only thing more disappointing than my career aspirations is the lack of funds in my wallet. (LOL!) I’ve even been staving off writer’s block and I never thought that was possible. Finally, summer vacations are nice for the teachers and kids but school starting is priceless when I’m home all alone with just the cats.

Nemo (Left) and Snoopy (Right) just snuggled up on the couch.

I’m looking for positives here.

“Pain. All I know is pain.”
Pain Bot- Teen Titans Go!

I wake up in pain every morning. I go to bed in pain every night. Somewhere in the middle, there are a lot of ups and downs. Usually pain, too.

Anybody who tries to convince me I stupidly chose this? Is probably crazier than people accuse me of being. Oh, I hear plenty of “It’s all in your head,” and “You’re making it all up,” from doctors and nurses who I thought were supposed to be helping me. Well, if I’m nuts, then it’s from the pain on top of why ever else I might be crazy. I know what I go through every day.

Each morning I get to wake up in pain is still another morning I get to wake up. I’m grateful for that. There’s a roof over my head and a warm cat by my feet. I celebrate any time I find a quarter in the laundry or a dime on the ground. (It adds up.) There’s a bumper crop of abundance in each day if you know where to look.

I’d be happy if corporate America shriveled up and blew away tomorrow.

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

Yeah, I know. I’m anti-capitalist. I’m what the crazier half calls crazy. I’m a lunatic, a socialist, and a dreamer. I’m just “woke” enough to believe there’s maybe life outside of chasing the almighty dollar. Not that I trust my government any more than I trust corporations. They’re all corrupt and greedy as Hell. Prove me wrong.

Okay, admittedly I’m pretty bitter. I’ve tried like mad to get over it, pretend it isn’t a thing, even spiritually bypass the fact that I’m unemployed. I’m still pretty pissed off over a year later. It’s just like any relationship ending suddenly, really.

I still can’t give specifics because ya never know when one of the shifty lil shitz might be reading my blog in an effort to hang me with my own words. I’ll just say that if I ever hear “It’s what’s best for the company” ever again? Well, friends and family will be visiting me in the nut farm for a while.

F$@&%x*

You hear about “quiet firing” and “quiet quitting” these days more and more. I think there’s some truth to it. People are getting fed up with being mistreated and undervalued in the workplace. And, strangely enough, large corporations are usually the workplace in question. I never want to find myself tied up in that position again. Any employer lacking in compassion should be… Well, uh, trying to think of something at least Rated R to say right now. Yeah.

I still stand by the notion it’s better to suffer the lack of free spending cash and a lavish lifestyle than to go to a job where my values don’t match my employer’s. I think it’s better to breathe fresh air than show up to a stuffy office building every day and hate it. I firmly believe I’m better off writing blog articles about my unemployment and the inconveniences it has caused than blindly trudging through life every day just waiting to kick the bucket.

My psychological journey has been in the forefront of my day-to-day life these days.

It ain’t pretty. I’ve been in a pretty dark place. I haven’t tried to delete myself or anything, but I ain’t happy. Not kidding, I really feel like a failure most days. I don’t know where I’m headed, but I sure know where I’ve been.

I had quite a day a couple of days ago. There was a big shift from my sort of quiet, stagnant state to an overwhelming amount of domestic productivity and creative energy. It’s a little freaky, but I like it. Then, the next day I crashed- hard. Suddenly I was back to being exhausted, sore, and somewhat unmotivated.

Even my beloved hobby, TableTop RolePlaying Games, has had it’s shares of ups and downs as of late. We spend a lot of time in the TTRPG community discussing racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, transphobia, homophobia and other negative things. Sure, it would be more fun discussing books, settings, dice, Game Master advice, Player advice or really anything game related, but a few rotten dipshits have wrecked that for all of us. Someday down the road I hope people will embrace what they love and joy instead of criticism and hate.

Life is full of ups and downs. Learning experiences come in all sorts of sizes, shapes and forms. Sometimes we don’t know what it all means until ages down the road. I’d throw my hands up and say. “It’s all part of God’s plan,” but we all know that’s not how I do things.

Speaking of my favorite hobby.

TTRPGs have been a big part of my life for 40+ years. Yeah, I take my gaming pretty seriously. I’ve been a collector, player, DM/GM/Judge/whatever, designer, writer, and critic for most of those years. I still have a lot to learn. The hobby has only really been around for a little over 50 years in a way we would recognize it.

Modern Dungeons & Dragons (Fifth Edition or 5E) has failed some of us. This has led to the creation of the Old School Renaissance movement. (Or Revival, Rescue, Revision. Just insert your favorite “R” word after Old School.) Some of us in the #ttrpg community really enjoy running older versions of D&D or even other games developed in the 1980s and 90s.

The problem arose when a lot of us older, white, male gamers gained a reputation for bigotry and other negative behaviors. It may have always been there, but this modern crowd of gamers is far more sensitive (in a good way) than those in the past. It’s not going to fly now.

If new players are discouraged from joining in at the game table, turned away from conventions, or shouted down on social media? Those are players that might never come back. New players are the lifeblood of any game system. For the Love of God, please consider inclusivity and diversity in all things hobby related. We (humanity) have got to get past the hate and the negative rhetoric or we’re never going to evolve as a species.

This takes a toll on my mental health. I get that we old, white, (presumably cishet) males have been screwing up the US for centuries. It’s finally coming back around to haunt us in our own socio-cultural interactions. I’m pretty saddened that people behave so poorly toward one another.

The TTRPG/boardgame industry is just one tiny example. It’s not even that many of us OGs have these hateful feelings or are bigoted in some way. It’s the perception that we’re bad news. That stereotype is going to kill the OSR despite our best efforts. And trying to break that negative stereotype through love and positivity can be exhausting mentally as well as emotionally. Then we go out into the rest of the (“real”) world and see it even more prevalent out there.

This seems like a good stopping point for now.

Please remember to be kind to one another. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate you, always. Take care.

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