Power Rangers RPG Campaign

I looked at the character sheet for the new Power Rangers RPG and I can’t help but to want to build a campaign.

I just saw the character sheet for this game…

And like so many other character sheets, it got me thinking. There is so much potential for this particular RPG to be outstanding in my collection as a GM. I have four kids who are all huge fans of the series, plus my wife is a huge fan of the original Green Ranger played by Jason David Frank.

I’m going to walk through some of my design process without a system attached on here just for fun. The first thing I want to consider is the version of Earth’s timeline or alternate Earth. This happens in several Power Ranger series and is referenced throughout some seasons. Personally, I love cameo appearances by rangers from older series. Megaforce was probably my favorite for this reason.

The opportunities presented by this new RPG are just too juicy to pass up.

Looks very familiar. Similar to D&D.

Needless to say, we’re going to probably start with an alternate timeline to Mighty Morphing. I mean, the original characters were cool and all, but why not kick it up a notch? Think about it. The Time Force Rangers knew alternate Earths exist. What’s to keep our old original arch enemy, Rita Repulsa from doing the same? What if she cast a spell that broke the time/space/dimensional barrier?

I’m going to start out with Lord Zed as the main bad guy in Season One of Power Rangers, uh… ooh. We need a name. Power Rangers Lightning Force. Okay, I can work with that. My 12 year old already has his character designed, like the minute I mentioned it. He wants to play Blue Phoenix. Can you tell he’s excited?

The idea here is not to just replay the old scripts.

Hence an alternate timeline. We’ll keep a few things here and there, but let’s mix and match. Gonna try to go slightly more serious than the Bulk and Skull type characters, but not as dark as the 15 minute remake with Katee Sackhoff that got banned. (Loved it for what it was, but yeesh. Dark…)

The characters are still going to start out as high school students in detention together. We’ll have a Breakfast Club type opening with them all in weekend detention together. My wife will probably want to play Tommy Oliver as a girl, if I had to guess. Tommi Oliver it is. I want to minimize the use of NPC rangers, but so far I’m betting I’ll have three or four solid players at the most with my wife and oldest popping in and out. My youngest is still learning how to play games and sit still, so he might get relegated to GMs helper to begin with.

I’m going to plan on the team only having four colors starting out.

We can always add more later, right? The original team for Lightning Force will be Red (Dragon) Blue (Phoenix) Black (Chimera?) and Green (Pegasus?) I may have to recruit a player or two online and adjust. Again, we’re in the development phase, so nothing is locked down. I’m feeling a very magical flying monster vibe so far.

We’re going to leave the gang in Angel Grove but I’m thinking the population might change. Ever notice how monsters regularly rampage through the town, smashing buildings and crushing cars? Why don’t we ever hear about innocent bystanders during these battles? I want there to be some kind of consequences to not leading the giant monsters out of town whenever possible. Who’d want to live in that town? Can you imagine the real estate nightmares? But I digress…

In the next installment of this campaign building series, let’s talk about the bad guys a bit. I want something more than a gold monkey with wings. I’m kinda considering borrowing extensively from a gaming company that is no stranger to trademark lawsuits. Think of it as a tribute to 40K. But if I’m flirting with danger, why not go all in?

Til then, take care. Please stay healthy. Eat your vitamins, drink plenty of water, get some exercise, get some sleep, and avoid giant monsters rampaging through your town if you can. Game on.

Obscure RPGs

There are tons of RPG systems out there besides the standard D&D and fantasy. Go out and explore. Find something new!

“Obscure” being a relative term, I guess.

Today I realized I collect and love a lot of offbeat RPGs. You know, things that aren’t mainstream D&D. I’m not knocking the grandfather of all RPGs or anything. I still love D&D from BECMI on up. But there are so many other RPGs outside of D&D. Heck, there are plenty of genres outside of fantasy to explore.

I see a lot of posts/articles to the effect of “Alternatives to D&D.” I always chuckle at the notion because some of us have embraced this idea for years now. I don’t just mean Pathfinder or Middle Earth, either. I mean alternatives to fantasy rpgs.

Life can be scary away from spell slinging elves with swords.

Personally, I love the mecha genre of anime style games. Good luck ever finding players for that, btw. (I guess they exist somewhere but not around where I live.) WWII gaming has some appeal, but again players seem to be few and far between. (Check out Operation White Box!) Most people go toward Star Wars in its many incarnations because Space Opera is kind of like fantasy’s futuristic cousin.

I think a lot of sci-fi and modern games get a bad rep because “guns are icky.” Truthfully, many of us have had negative experiences with firearms to the point of not wanting to roleplay characters that use them. And there’s also the percentage of the population that knows little to nothing about guns. Swords and spells are easier to figure out, I suppose. The same can be said for modern horror as well, although Call of Cthulhu is still thriving.

I recommend looking into one’s own favorite genre of books, movies, or tv shows for inspiration. Chances are, there’s probably an RPG out there on the market for it or a way to adapt a current system. Generic, universal RPGs are fairly common these days from the d20 System (OGL, D&D rules,) to FATE, D6, Open Legends, Genre Diversion, and dozens more. There are too many to list here and most are adaptable to anything from gritty historical realism to far flung psychedelic future utopian fantasy.

DrivethruRPG is chock full of alternative games.

Full disclosure: I am NOT a spokesman for OneBookShelf or any subsidiaries, but I’ve been a customer for years. It’s a good RPG shopping site for indie games. There’s also a lot of good reviews there if you’re on the fence about buying a new game or game system.

I could go on all day naming good systems and specific RPGs for people to try out, but it might be easier just to go on Itch.io or DrivethruRPG and look around for yourself. Your local used bookstore might also be a good resource for RPGs off the beaten path.

Please consult your group before launching a new campaign or system.

I want to emphasize that some groups may not be ready to do something other than good old D&D. I have friends who absolutely refused to do anything besides D&D. It was the only game they knew. It was the only genre they were comfortable it and you could not get them out of that comfort zone for love or money. To those friends, I said, “Cool. See you next week for D&D.”

Challenging though it may be at times, one can always find a group online somewhere for almost any game imaginable. It might take some time, persistence, and effort to find said players or GM. If lockdowns taught us anything, it’s that there’s a niche out there for just about everyone on the internet. Failing that, I would recommend trying some solo roleplaying. More on that here.

Whatever your game or system of choice is, please do enjoy. I hope your weekend is full of good friends and superb die rolls. Game on.

Mighty Powerful “Morphering” RPG

Personally, I have campaigns for a sentai built outside of the Zordon era and a couple of campaigns for Rangers that wouldn’t be part of the Morphing grid, but would easily be Power Rangers games.

The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers RPG from Renegade Games has dropped.

I have to say, I’m excited someone finally dropped an official version of this game. Some of us have been playing various versions of the world’s most famous superhero sentai for a long time or at least have campaigns waiting in the wings. I know the overwhelming concern with many game designers was the fear of being sued by mega giants Hasbro and Saban Entertainment for making an unofficial, unlicensed version of the game.

I was hyped when Renegade announced Power Rangers, GI Joe and Transformers are coming as RPGs. They’re all a d20 based system, probably as to make it friendly to the D&D players. I kind of wonder why Hasbro didn’t simply enlist the folks at WotC to do these games, but maybe they wanted to separate the licensing out.

Power Rangers RPG from Renegade Games.

Personally, I have campaigns for a sentai built outside of the Zordon era and a couple of campaigns for Rangers that wouldn’t be part of the Morphing grid, but would easily be Power Rangers games. I will say FATE Mecha v Kaiju did an awesome job of setting up a similar campaign. I’ve also come up with my own FATE sentai series, played around with Henshin Sentai RPG and have a Cartoon Action Hour campaign that is a fusion of Power Rangers and another popular kid’s cartoon that has its own trademark police. Needless to say, I’ve loved the concept of Power Rangers for years now.

My kids convinced me to watch Mini Force, so I could create a campaign for that any time as well. It’s a cute show. Lil fuzzy Power Rangers from SAMG Entertainment. It might be kind of a short campaign, though. Heh heh.

I grew up watching GI Joe, Transformers and Power Rangers after school. I’ve thought for years that a fusion of all three would be amazing. Take the zords to an all new level and have them be akin to Autobots and combine into a Megazord. Watch out Devastator! Likewise, making the Rangers into a military organization and have them fight terrorists from space would be epic, but a little outside of the scope of a Rangers TV series.

As a side note, I hung onto a lot of my old GI Joe and Transformers figures from back in the day. Still waiting for the crossover movie. Might have to do it as an RPG some day.

Dear Renegade,

Please email me a pdf copy of this game for review jeffcraigmile@gmail.com or drop me a note and I’ll send you my home address for a physical copy. I promise I’ll say good things on every website I can reach. I’ll even put up a YouTube channel just to review your games. Yes, seriously. I’m good for reviews of GI Joe and Transformers RPGs, too.

I’m also available if you’re hiring, especially writers. Thank you!

Your pal,
Jeff

Okay, before I drop any more puns intentionally or otherwise, I’m out. Have a great day. Game on.

Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG Review

Thank you Goodman Games.

DCC RPG isn’t even a new game. It’s not even close! But what it is- AWESOME!

I picked up my new physical copy today. It comes in at a whopping $29.99 for 477+ Pages?!? That is unheard-of in this day and age!

And that’s before we even get into the game itself. It’s like Warhammer Fantasy RPG and Hackmaster had a baby and raised it during the era of 3rd Ed D&D. Which, that is partially true given that Goodman started out making DCC adventures during the hay days of the OGL in Third Ed, making throwback style modules. DCC RPG is basically a cut down, streamlined version of the 3rd Ed rules, with a LOT of exceptions that make it a unique and beautiful baby.

It also borrows from the good old BECMI days of D&D with the character races as classes and only seven classes total. There are also only 10 levels to worry about and an experience point system that is anything but overly crunchy or burdensome. The design theory here was- make characters, go on adventures, and have fun.

Artwork sells games. This is from the interior of DCC RPG. Look familiar?

I’ve said for years that artwork sells RPGs.

The “old Grognards” in the crowd will probably recognize the Easter Egg in the image above as a tribute to the First Ed AD&D Player’s Handbook. The art throughout the book is very much in that old T$R style of black and white (mostly) artwork. Some of it can be a little goofy looking, some more serious fantasy. It really takes me back to the old Tunnels & Trolls or Dragon Magazine era in the 1980’s.

This game comes highly regarded and well recognized. I could go on for hours about it.

Even the guy who sold me my softcover today stopped to chat about this game. He said he wished he could get a campaign going for it. If nothing else, we both got a good chuckle at the 0 Level character funnel. “Oops, character A died in the first five minutes. Good thing I have a stack of characters here.”

It’s very much in that old school dungeon crawl game way of doing things. Kick in the front door of the dungeon, smash orcs in the face with your mace, and rescue the elf girl in the chainmail bikini. If you’re really “lucky” you’ll probably get to fight a dragon on dungeon level eight or nine. DCC RPG lends itself well to beer-n-pretzels roleplaying- not too serious or dramatic.

I daresay Matt Mercer and his Critical cast would be seriously confused by how this game is usually run. Don’t even think about making a costume when your character could get mangled in a deathtrap before third level and the GM has no qualms about doing it.

DCC RPG goes all out with superfluous tables and statistics.

I find it amazing for a game that is basically supposed to be rules lite to go so far into what I consider old school style tables. Thieves get bonuses to their skills based on level and alignment. There are tables for spellcasting, talking to a deity, and various dragon styles. You can create new strange humanoid races and customize your dragon’s fighting style in this game. The amount of tables and the types of things they cover really take me back while still being all fresh and new.

Speaking of unique and wonderful concepts, this game uses some freaky dice! d7’s? d24? Because everyone has one of those lying around. Okay, I have d24’s and d30’s but I still have to go out and acquire a set with d7, d14, and d16’s. That’s strange even for me. You have to see for yourself how they’re built into the system, but they’re there. You can also fake it with regular polyhedral dice or find a dice roller for your device of choice. Personally, I like physical dice.

DCC RPG Dice available from Goodman Games, Amazon, and others.

I’m not kidding when I say I could literally go on about this game for hours. I love how it’s laid out. I love the art! Even the dice are appealing. I think I’m probably going to generate a few characters tonight, or at least a stack of 0 Level neophyte characters to see how many live one session in and become actual classed PCs. I’m also going to pull out the random dungeon generator and Grimtooth’s Traps. Remember a while back when I said dungeons didn’t necessarily make a ton of sense back in the day? Yeah… yeah… I’m pretty excited!

As a GM, the most appealing part of this system to me is the monsters. You can customize all of your standard monster types from demons to un-dead, humanoids and dragons. There really aren’t a lot of cookie cutter monsters in this game and the stat blocks are loose and friendly enough that they can be modified easily. The best part- there’s no crunchy experience point system. No CRs and no encounter levels to balance. The party can either rock it and drop it or run away. Running away still gets experience. Okay, maybe not quite as much, but smart and alive is still better than valorous and extremely dead, right? Hopefully the players see it that way.

I really wanted to talk some about all of the cool spells and magic items, but I’ll save that for another time. I’m also thinking seriously about putting some material together for it. I actually give Goodman Games a lot of credit for not putting out a million sourcebooks. Lots of great adventure modules, though. Personally, I want to do a hex crawl campaign with this system.

The game also includes some inspirational reading material for GMs and players. There are open tributes to everyone including Gygax, Arneson, Moldvay and others.

Overall, I give this game very high marks. It is possibly the best rules lite-ish throwback OSR style game going right now. It’s wonderful for us “old Grognards” and young players alike if you’re looking for a change of pace and style. I highly recommend this product with all sincerity.

Until next time, keep those dice rolling. Stay safe. Game on!

Table for One?

Yes, I am guilty of rolling dice and talking to myself, mostly at home.

Should Role Playing Games Be a Solo Endeavour?

Okay. Please hear me out before I get branded a heretic in the RPG community. I think it’s okay, but with a few stipulations. No, a mental health waiver isn’t one of them, although you may want to keep your solo RP activities at home. Moderation is always a good thing with anything. It’s also probably better to go out and socialize occasionally if you can. Just sayin…

I’m not crazy, but I used to spend a lot of time alone.

Yes, I am guilty of rolling dice and talking to myself, mostly at home. As far back as high school I ran scenarios with my 2nd Ed AD&D characters to work out combats and anticipate what would probably be said by an average party. It filled a lot of lonely Friday nights in high school with Dr Who playing in the background. Back then, I didn’t have minis, so I used painted thumb tacks and push pins on a piece of graph paper tacked to a piece of wood. It’s okay to laugh, really.

Solo roleplaying evolves into story writing.

It’s a great writing exercise!

As I grew older, I really found a fondness for writing. I still generated tons of D&D characters, but I started writing their stories out as they leveled. It became more about fantasizing and less about rolling dice for random outcomes. This is something I still shamelessly do today with games such as ICONS and ICRPG. I even have a Pathfinder 2E character that’s kind of going this way.

I’ve written a lot of good fiction for myself this way. It’s a good way to kill time if I’m stuck at my kids’ practices and I’ve already done my meditation for the day. I shamelessly carry a bag of dice and a notepad around for just such an occasion. I also come up with a lot of interesting plot and campaign ideas this way.

These Days, It’s More Common Than Ever.

Thanks to the Icky Cough-Coughs (as my oldest calls it,) a lot of games went indoors, out of the public and online. If online isn’t your thing and your family doesn’t like dragons, giant robots or magical girls, there aren’t a lot of other roleplaying options. Computer games don’t require dice rolls. Most console games have relatively simple characters and no dice rolling.

Luckily, a few companies easily found on DriveThruRPG have you covered. They have tables for NPC reactions to simulate roleplay, approaches to solo combat, and even some adventuring tips related to exploration. Most of these are oriented toward fantasy RPGs, but not all of them. I’m particularly fascinated with solo ICONS and solo Operation White Box (WW2 RPG.) There aren’t a lot of modern or supers solo games, but they aren’t impossible to find.

Again, most of my focus these days is on writing, so I sit down and make a lot of notes or just start banging out stories. It works the other way around, too. Sometimes I make a D&D or Pathfinder character based on something I’m writing. It can help fill in some character blanks that I might not have considered yet.

One of my characters from a novel I was writing has actually showed up as an NPC in three different systems/worlds. It’s the end result of knowing a character inside and out, I suppose. It helped me acclimate to PF2E and WOIN.

I recommend solo RP for writers, GMs/DMs, and game designers who are struggling to work out character design challenges or just looking to boost their creativity. It also helps with designing interesting combats and traps sometimes. If you’re stuck inside on a rainy day and just want to roll some dice because you’ve already made over a hundred characters, it’s good for that, too.

I’m sane. I promise! 😅🤪

Art for this article is courtesy of the Bitmoji app. Too much fun to be had. Have a great day. See you again very soon. Game on!

Hex Crawl Adventures

This style of play isn’t for everyone, but one thing I recommend for players and GMs/DMs who get burned out on the same old campaign world is to drop the player characters onto a brand new planet or sub-plane/demi-plane after an adventure or two in the old world. Much the same way the mists of Ravenloft used to abduct entire groups of adventurers, the PCs could literally just wake up in a new world and have to explore to try and find a way home, if they ever want to go back.

Exploration at its most fun!

Many gamers from back in the day probably still remember the old Expert Set adventure, Isle of Dread. Which is now reprinted here as a deluxe hardcover. My copy came with my original Expert D&D Blue boxed set. I have spent hours pouring over this module. I love it for its simplicity and charm. Not to mention several terrifying adventure sessions running around dodging dinosaurs and cannibals.

Without too many spoilers, X1 Isle of Dread sets up as a shipwreck. Or at least that’s my preferred way of running it. From there, the PCs have to salvage what they can for supplies, pick a direction, and start exploring. Assuming they have time to choose wisely because they’re not being chased by something. Thus, for many of us, began what is now commonly referred to as a “Hex Crawl.”

Small Hex Grid

If you’re running a game, this can be a fast way to put together a campaign world on the fly. Or, for a completely random campaign of fantasy adventure, you can literally roll as you go or roll for any blank surrounding hexes next to the one the party just entered.

This style of game is a hoot because the person running it doesn’t necessarily even know what’s coming next. Personally, I recommend rolling for the adjoining hexes at the end of the session just so the GM can prep accordingly. That, and some landmarks are going to be dead obvious to the group, especially if they can get a bird’s eye view of the surrounding area.

I’ve seen all manner of distances applied to hexes from one mile to ten miles across or more. Some people like to draw on them with colored pencils or mark key land features for future reference. If you’re running a game based on random hexes, you can also have tables for encounters in any given terrain type, or even preset adventures for when the group enters “X” hex space. Ruins are a great example.

Example courtesy of Shieldice Studio’s Realm Fables: Hex-Worlds

This style of world generation is also very useful if designing your own campaign world, especially if it’s set in a time before modern or magical global cartography. (There’s an adventure seed there for someone- Imagine a mage’s guild whose entire job is to teleport to random places, make a quick map, and teleport back before they get eaten by the locals…) I use this generation method myself because I don’t want to give away the whole map at once. Usually, I have a page of the larger hexes as my starting campaign map and then make more map pages as my group ventures out from their current hex.

I usually have some vague, general idea of where I want them to end up and what’s around it, but I certainly don’t have the whole thing lined up all in one week. That’s one distinct advantage homebrew worlds have over premade settings. The group can legitimately say, “We don’t know where we’re going yet. No one has been there yet as far as we know.”

How do I (h)explore if my group is in a premade world?

This style of play isn’t for everyone, but one thing I recommend for players and GMs/DMs who get burned out on the same old campaign world is to drop the player characters onto a brand new planet or sub-plane/demi-plane after an adventure or two in the old world. Much the same way the mists of Ravenloft used to abduct entire groups of adventurers, the PCs could literally just wake up in a new world and have to explore to try and find a way home, if they ever want to go back.

Once they’ve been transported from the old familiar maps they may be used to, the group is going to have to become somewhat more resourceful. If you think about it, food might not look the same. There are no familiar landmarks to go by. Heck, the stars aren’t going to look the same, if there are stars. Different planes have different rules. Maybe there’s perpetual day or night. Maybe there’s no metal as far as the locals know. This makes exploration one of the most valuable pillars in any RPG where the group is engaged in a hex crawl.

One word of caution for using this style of play- You may wish to limit certain types of magic if you’re going to have a good hex crawl. At low levels, it’s not a huge problem. Teleportation can be a regular game wrecker for hex crawls. So can certain divination spells. Even basic flying can get out of hand if the GM doesn’t find a way to reasonably limit it. (Freakish thunderstorms, flying monsters, antiaircraft flora…) Obviously technology can make things rough on the GM and super easy on the party. Look how far humans got with just a telescope and a few simple navigational tools here on Earth.

The nice thing about dropping the group onto a whole new world is they can hex crawl for a few sessions or the rest of the campaign. I do recommend if you’re going to turn the game into this style of play that it be mentioned before characters are made. Obviously someone’s 100 page backstory is going to deflate completely if they’re no longer anywhere near those places and events mentioned therein. Artificers, Clerics, and druids are going to be extremely useful or completely hosed depending on where they end up. It’s also a good time to introduce any major rules changes the GM might wish to impose due to the new environment. Please make sure everyone is on board before the hex crawl begins.

Hope this little foray into the worlds of hexcrawling was useful. I may drop another article similar to this one down the line explaining how to set up the random tables with more examples of adjudicating a hex crawl game. Have a great day. Take care. Game on.

“Old Grognard”

I don’t consider myself to be a grumpy old man gamer, aka “Old Grognard.” Rather, I’m an older, slightly more mature, experienced gamer.

I don’t find this term offensive. Do you?

Yes, I’ve been around a while. Back when I first started using the Internet, there was this thing called “Usenet News” that I got all of my RPG news and reviews on. It was a forum like any other. Many of the same truths and toxic attitudes still prevail today. Thus began my love-hate relationship with forums.

I love Instagram. Every community I’ve joined over there has been helpful, supportive, and fun. I love you guys. Keep up the good work.

My Facebook RPG experiences have been somewhat limited, as have my forays into Reddit and Pinterest. Really not much to comment on there. Is YouTube considered “Social Media?” If it is, I watch a lot of videos on there. Again, I like pretty much all of the content I consume, or I wouldn’t be watching it.

Then there’s Twitter. After the Ufology community showed its true, very ugly colors, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be deleting my account. So I started hanging out over on the #ttrpg side. Thus far, I have found it to be a warm, supportive, positive group of peers 98% of the time I interact with anyone. (Okay, I’ve had one less stellar experience, but it was mostly miscommunication.) I love all you beautiful people over there #ttrpgfamily. I’m grateful for all of my followers.

I’m not that old.

I mean, I’m 49. My roots go back to T$R Marvel and BECMI when it was new. I’ve been in the hobby for almost 40 years. Yes, there were good old days.

But that doesn’t mean I’m stuck there. Yeah, I know guys older than me who will never give up their lead minis and boardgames with cardboard chits. They’re reluctant or downright intragnizent when it comes to learning/playing anything new, even if it’s a reprint. Change is truly frightening for some folks. That’s before we start adding technology to the works. Yeesh.

D&D has plenty of throwbacks, and so do I.

Lately, I’ve been encouraged by a friend to get back into more rules-lite, Old School Roleplaying. I’m monkeying around with Dungeon Crawl Classics, Mutant Crawl Classics (Goodman Games,) and Frontier Space (DwD Studios.) I really like that kind of old world BECMI, Gamma World, and Star Frontiers feeling.

That’s not to say I’m abandoning 5E D&D, Pathfinder 2E, or anything. Still tons of fun to be had with any game. If nothing else, playing older games makes me appreciate both eras of play and those play styles that much more.

RPGs have evolved over the years, and so have I.

Beer and pretzels was a style of play back when I started. We did some goofy things running around in dungeons just for the fun of it. We hacked and slashed our way to finding incredible treasures and fought freaky, sometimes bizarre monsters. Some of those dungeons made very little logical sense to begin with. I enjoyed those games as much as I imagine people do Critical Role now.

As the years progressed and we matured as people and as players, some games turned more dramatic. We still talk about those with the same affection and fondness as we do about the half-crazed dungeon romps. Characters and stories mean more nowadays. That’s cool. I think there’s room for both yet.

There’s room for all.

I don’t consider myself to be a grumpy old man gamer, aka “Old Grognard.” Rather, I’m an older, slightly more mature, experienced gamer. I’ll allow pretty much anyone at my table. I’m here to have fun however that comes about. I don’t hold any grudges, and I don’t begrudge any particular play style. Just enjoy the game. That’s what we’re there for. No worries as long as someone’s not ruining it for everyone else at the table.

Yes. I’m sure I’ll still get lumped in with the other old Grognards. I’ll still gladly play Man O War or whatever else they want to pull out when I’m hanging out with those friends, too. Likewise, if I’ve got a group of 20-something 5E players, we’re going to probably be a bit more character intensive.

On the other hand, I’ll offer up some Old School concepts to my younger audience. It’s fun to watch younger players racking their brains to come up with solutions to old school traps and puzzles as long as I don’t overwhelm anyone. There’s also some oldie-but-goodie treasure to be given out and even a few bizarre, somewhat goofy monsters to fight that may not appear anywhere in the newer books.

Lots more to come. I’m going to be putting out some add-ons to old school games that came to mind recently. I’ve also got a few newer projects I’ve been working on for fun that I’ll be putting up somewhere here eventually that are kind of old new school or new old school…however that’s supposed to work. (You know what I mean.) I’m still contemplating various aspects of FATE, Pathfinder 2E and Starfinder, too. The RPG world is never boring.

Next time, let’s talk a little about Hex Crawls. What are they and what do we do with them? Game on!

Already?!? Continued

I am grateful every day, in every way that I am my own boss now.

When last we left off:

We were talking about unemployment and the drudgery of dealing with our friends at Iowa Workforce Development. IWD doesn’t understand or sympathize with much of anyone outside of their narrow agenda. Yes, we understand Iowa needs truck drivers and dental hygienists. It doesn’t mean we’re all in a rush to go beg for those jobs.

I applied for a writing job last week and right in my cover letter had to tell the person doing the hiring, “My resume won’t tell you anything about me.” It’s true. My resume will show I’ve been employed for the last 30-ish years or so. But there’s nothing on there pertaining to what I want to be doing. That’s truly the hard part and where a lot of my personal frustration comes in.

IWD doesn’t seem to understand that not everything is a 9-5 clock punching job. Then again, they’re pretty behind the times on a lot of things with no indication of ever catching up. Like most government jobs, I think IWD employees are mostly in it to collect a paycheck first and everything else second, or last in some cases. They have their jobs. Good for them, I guess.

That’s another thing I don’t get about IWD. I can’t tell if these people treat all of us like we’re stupid, lazy and/or disabled, or if I’m just special. It was particularly hilarious when the lady from vocational rehabilitation literally tried to pass me back to someone else in the IWD office to help me with programs when the IWD case worker referred me to voc rehab for their services. They want to offer me all kinds of services, but they don’t know what. The bureaucracy is comical.

I‘m not even asking for a handout, other than my unemployment check.

I’m jumping through all kinds of hoops for this very simple thing. IWD keeps putting more hoops out there. Their hoops are pretty stupid and we know how well I jump through them.

As for the job seeking itself- I’ve run into so many barriers, it’s really just not worth my time. I know I’m pretty much blacklisted as a dispatcher. No one that hears about it wants anyone who will present them with FMLA. I’m almost 50, so my age is a major turn off for many employers. I’m still paying on my student loans and I have kids, so going back to college is off my list. I have no real world friends, no references, and no experience doing things I want to be doing. SSDI may or may not come through. (I really can’t say much about that, either.) So, basically, in the eyes of employers, I’m a big nothing burger.

I keep seeing a lot of entry level jobs that want 5 years+ experience, a college degree in the field, and references from the industry. Sorry, not sorry. That’s NOT an entry level job no matter what you’re telling me.

I keep hearing from IWD that there are all these jobs open… in fields I don’t qualify for or have any interest in. Yes, I can learn new skills. Not to mention there are a lot of employers hiring, COVID aside, for positions that were abandoned by people who were sick and tired of being treated like shit. Everyone seems to forget that the amount of crap I have to put up with must balance with the pay, benefits, and ultimately fulfillment from the job. People are tired of being overworked and underpaid at jobs they don’t want to do in the first place just to keep a roof overhead and perpetuate the cycle.

I used to be that guy.

I owe Aaron Doughty and Jake Ducey, among others, a big apology. I used to comment on their YouTube videos about how it was utterly insane to quit an unfulfilling job. I’m sorry I ever doubted you guys. I’m not trying to be that Law of Attraction guy that says it, but you can quit an unfulfilling job as long as you do it responsibly. I was lucky. I got canned from my unfulfilling job. I am grateful every day, in every way that I am my own boss now.

It’s another article entirely, but you can be free. Yes, there are jobs to consider. Yes, there are bills to pay. I get it. And I love each and every person struggling just to make ends meet. I’ve been there plenty of times. I will say we live in a kind and loving Universe and if you believe you will receive.

Personally, I’m struggling to keep my vibration up. I’m doing the affirmations. I accept my negative thoughts are going to happen. I turn around the ones that I can. I try to be aware of the subconscious messages. Beliefs create reality. You get a reflection of what you feel. I’m trying to keep the depression monster at bay and the manifestation angel in front of me. Letting go and trusting the Universe is hard, but ultimately it pays off. I do sound like that LoA guy now. Sorry.

The last flobstacle and most recent one.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the #ttrpg community. I have someone I follow on Twitter who literally just quit job. Today is her last day. I got curious about what she was doing. I looked up her portfolio on her website. Holy SHIT! IMPRESSIVE!!!

That’s great. I’m happy for her. It’s no wonder she’s got offers coming out of her ears. Marvelous. Man, do I wish that was me. I really feel like I’ve f*cked my life up.

Okay, I didn’t grow up in the social media/internet age. I know my education/degree is now about 20 years old. There are a lot of things I’m still learning. I’ve been into the #ttrpg industry for almost 40 years. I’ve never taken video or streamed any actual play. God, sometimes I feel old. I can’t help it. But wow, some of these younger folk. I don’t think I can compete. And that leaves me back to doing my own thing.

So, I dunno. You tell me. Do I hit the reset button on my blog? Do I push my gaming efforts whether it’s publishing or video? I’m fighting LoA right now. Do I keep fighting the good fight in Ufology/Spirituality?

I mean I sincerely don’t want to be that guy.

I’ve seen people who have become completely disillusioned with spirituality and become these completely angry, atheistic, argumentative skeptics who do just pick fights with everyone. I get that I have the occasional (LOL!) negative thought. I say things on here, despite trying to stay positive, that aren’t necessarily LoA friendly. I refuse to give up on the Universe. I know all of this happens for a reason.

I can do other things and still have embraced my spirituality. I AM a spiritual being having a physical experience. It seems incredible sometimes that we have this huge world we live in and it’s literally a speck of dust compared to the Universe itself. Now I just have to figure out where I fit it for sure.

Til we meet again, I guess. One way or another, I’ll be here.

D&D Long Rests as Written

For new players especially, I think the rules as written are just fine -n- dandy…

I just saw an post on Twitter complaining that the long rest rules were unrealistic. This makes the Old Sellsword in me shake his head. I think 5th Ed has the most forgiving healing rules of all of the editions. I kind of like it, but I see the point that a lot of Dungeon Masters, writers, and YouTubers are making about it.

Back in the day, some almost 40 years ago, back in the BECMI and 1st Ed AD&D days, healing looked a lot different. Probably why my first real character as a player was a Cleric, but I digress. Healing used to be a game of waiting for the party healer to get his spells back and/or a tedious, boring long wait as I recall. I would dare say most of us have used a homebrew fix for healing between adventures for a very long time. I think 5th Ed has taken strides to fix this instead of the DM just saying, “You’re all healed up now.”

Hit Points used to have a different flow back then.

In almost four decades behind the screen, I’ve seen more versions of health, hit points, wounds, and relative armor systems than I care to remember. I’ve used some of them. I’ve adapted my own from other systems such as Role Master and Warhammer Fantasy RPG. All that experimentation and I still go back to the old notion that I believe Gygax intended with D&D.

Hit Points represent fatigue, exertion, shock, and trauma in combat more than just the squishy red stuff flowing from you gaping sword wounds. So rest and recovery would also take into account the fatigue, shock and trauma from being in a combat with orcs twice the characters’ size. Eight hours of meaningful sleep in a bed maybe should help heal some of that. Not to mention all of the spellcasters get to recover their stuff and isn’t that great?

Do you really want hours and days to go by outside of a dungeon crawl?

To a certain extent, all RPGs are abstract. If/when you look past that fourth wall, crawling around in a tomb full of death traps and horr

Perf- Porf- uh… Perfeshional.

I’m just not professional enough for the rest of y’all. Sorry, not sorry.

Yeah. That’s gotta be it, right?

Photo by Julissa Helmuth on Pexels.com

This is going to be a little more light-hearted and cheeky than my usual postings. Because people who know me will totally tell you I’m oh-so-serious all the time. Yes, I’ve taken three professionalism classes in college. I get all that stuff. But if I have to wear a tie and be super serious all the time? We have a problem.

I have to laugh. No, literally. If I can’t find something to laugh about, I WILL find something to laugh about even if it’s something funny inside my own head. I think people who are in “big business” are in danger of taking themselves and everything else far too seriously. I mean, unless you’re running a health care business or hauling radioactive material for examples, you probably don’t have that much to be freaking out over. A lot of times, people just need to lighten up.

I think people are in danger of taking themselves far too seriously.

I’ve been applying for jobs lately, and it just makes me cringe. Not a direct example, but I’ve seen postings for things like, “Senior Administrative Assistant,” and “Building Sanitation Engineer.” So, we can’t just say, “secretary” and “you’re going to be the only one in the office most of the time.” And we can’t just say “custodian” or “janitor.” For real, these folks aren’t driving the freight train or building the next phase pulse generator. This ain’t rocket science. In fact, I’d be surprised if it’s still called “rocket science.” They probably contrived some new name for it like “Aerospace Dynamics Specialist 1.”

There plenty of people out here in the real world who don’t mind being referred to as custodians, telemarketers, or secretaries. Heck, some of us would just be happy to have one of those jobs.

The door greeter at your local big box store is still literally the guy standing at the front entrance greeting people as they come in. You can call mushed apples anything you like, they’re still “applesauce.” For the life of me on this 3D Earth, I have yet to truly understand why human beings go out of their way to overcomplicate things. So, this leads me to my big conclusion.

Get in the moon buggy and don’t ask!

I’m just not professional enough for the rest of y’all.

A-hem… Sorry. You’re just going to have to learn to cope with my very bizarre, very off-the-wall, pretty much boundless sense of humor. You’re going to have to live with my sometimes bizarre conspiracy theories. Dress code? I wrote my own. If I can’t be comfortable in my hoodie and cargo pants? Sorry. I’ll never put on a uniform or a tie again if I can avoid it. I’d rather eat a spoonful of fire ants than wear a suit to work. If that’s your thing, good for you. It’s just not mine.

For the 115,000th time, I DO NOT DO SALES!!! I have had my fill of retail experience and upselling product to last me the rest of this incarnation and probably several more. It’s not “customer service” if you’re asking me to push more product. I’m not “helping customers internally and externally” by cramming more product down their throats or up their… you get the idea. I have yet to see a “Customer Service Representative” job listed locally, especially here in Des Moines, IA that wasn’t easily re-labeled as “Telemarketer.” Only most of us will bypass what is easily considered the slimiest of slimy jobs short of cleaning gutters or hosing out public restrooms.

While I’m on the subject…

Something else that just drives me batty, that I’m sure most people can relate to is: Temp Agencies. I apologize in advance if this is you. Seriously? Like, y’all have it relabeled everywhere as “human resources specialist,” or “recruiter” or even, “staffing experts.” Nuh-uh. Y’all are collecting resumes and acting as headhunters to fill up office pools for your corporate overlords. Here’s a thought- some of us can see you coming a mile away. I ain’t down now or ever. I’ve had way too many bad experiences and wastes of time and labor just so someone could latch onto a percent of my check, put my name on a list, and shuffle papers from one side of their desk to the other. I dare say I’d rather be locked in a broom closet full of coral snakes than ever go near a temp agency ever again. No thank you that is not part of my belief system. Keep on truckin.

Look to your left. Now to your right. Wonder why your business is short on help?

This is a no-brainer for some folks. Have you seen the skill requirements some of these employers are looking for? Chances are if the list is a mile and a half long, they’re looking to replace someone who retired after 30 years. Or, maybe they’re just not actually serious about hiring. Another possibility is, they cooked up a bunch of corporate Mchorseshit for a description that looked good on paper when all they really wanted was to get someone to stock shelves or clean floors. Again, humans overcomplicate their lives. I’ll let you know if I find a definitive answer as to why.

The other one I laugh about often, having been in short-staffed jobs many times, is high turnover. Usually because management is (Fill in the Blank:) ______. (A.)Inept. (B.) Bad about playing favorites. (C.)Clueless. (D.)Downsizing. (E.) Ignorant. (F.) Greedy. Or All of the above. There are more that I’ve left off but you get the picture. Most of these situations revolve around bad management, horrid business practices, and/or chaffed staff because of the first two. I always raise an eyebrow when I see a business perpetually looking for help, especially if a temp agency is involved. If you have to hire entire classrooms full of 25-30 people in the vague hopes a couple of them might stick around? Chances are, somebody is F’d up in management and the turnover rate is far too high.

Before class is dismissed:

Photo by Max Vakhtbovych on Pexels.com

I kinda ended up being in rant mode for this one, but I gotta level with you. I’m not going to shave my beard and (gag) actually put on a tie (euww) for an interview if I know it’s a waste of my time. And after countless crappy interviews and 30+ years of being in the workfarce, my bullshit detector works very well. In conclusion, here’s some of my advice if you’re looking for help.

Honesty: List what you NEED from an employee in plain , simple language up front. Are you with a temp agency just looking to fill lists? Don’t call people and make it look like you’re for real hiring.

Authenticity: Honesty’s cousin. Don’t beat around the bush about what it is your company represents. If you’re selling luxury designer custom toilets, say it up front. (There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve been hired as a front desk receptionist at a hotel and then ending up in the kitchen. True story.)

Simplicity: Don’t put 20 words in a job description if 10 will get the point across. Don’t add a bunch of things to a job description if the employee will rarely ever have to deal with it. Lastly, don’t throw a bunch of requirements out there for the “perfect” or “ideal” candidate if you are willing to accept way less. Do I really have to have a Master’s Degree and 7 years of experience if I can still do whatever it is with a High School Diploma and straight off the street for the first time?

Expediency: Do not drag applicants in for three interviews just to go with the first gal you were going to hire. Temp agencies- do not just call me in just so you can shuffle the paperwork with my name on it from one side of the desk to the other.

End rant here for now. Hope you’re all having a lovely week. Stay safe. See you later.

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