Gratitude.

I’m truly grateful for all of you, my readers. Thank you for being here. I couldn’t do it without all of you. I know I say it frequently, but I really do love and appreciate you, even if we don’t always agree. That’s family, right?

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the USA.

I know this time of year is a time to relax for many, but for some it leads to the same stress many experience on a daily basis. I’m no psychologist, so please understand this is based purely on my observations and understanding. Many content creators whether streaming, social media, YouTube, even bloggers, feel a certain degree of pressure to keep going even when everyone else has a day off.

Some YouTubers who regularly broadcast on Thursday night may or may not have something in the proverbial can scheduled to run the next night. Social media creators are basically always on stage unless they have scheduled posts ready to go out. If it weren’t November, even my own humble blog has posts scheduled up to as many as 10 days ahead. (Right now I’m “pantsing” as they say in NaNoWriMo.)

This leads to, “Dinner’s off the table. Time to go to work.” for a lot of people. I mean, I used to work retail, which was way more stressful, and sometimes meant putting in Thursday night hours. Graveyard shift workers know what it’s like to have to go to bed while their partner cooks, get up early for dinner only to dash out the door the minute the table is clear. When I was in the grocery business, holidays were never a day off. Sometimes it was a week of straight overtime. (I don’t miss it.) Regular 9-5 day people and “regular” folk probably don’t have a good grasp on what it’s like to have to wave goodbye to the family and dash out the door.

This is why I’m grateful now.

I’m truly grateful for all of you, my readers. Thank you for being here. I couldn’t do it without all of you. I know I say it frequently, but I really do love and appreciate you, even if we don’t always agree. That’s family, right?

My appreciation also extends to all of the content creators, third shift workers, retail employees, and anyone else who works long hours on the holidays. It’s never easy. Thank you for doing what you do.

Back with more tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by.

Collection of Random Thoughts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Along the TTRPG lines.

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

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

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

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

The old gamer worry of the week.

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

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

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

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

Personal notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m Going to VOTE today.

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

Hopefully we all do the same (if eligible.)

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

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

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.

Product Volume ≠ Players.

It’s not “Cancel Culture” as some have suggested. We’re not out to ban the OSR. It’s not an active threat. But what happens when we don’t speak up for friends and family who belong to groups that have been put down and marginalized for centuries?

Someone recently commented on YouTube about how many products are listed under the OSR (Old School Renaissance) category on DriveThruRPG.com. I would like to politely point out that just because there are thousands of books, supplements, and adventure modules does not mean people are playing them.

One search of DriveThruRPG for OSR yielded 9,075 results. That’s pretty extensive. My guess is there are a few products in the wrong category and a lot of art or 2D counters. Still nothing to laugh at, however. Then there are companies that don’t even publish on DrivethruRPG.

The question that comes to my mind is, “How well do any of these products sell?” If you really think about what OSR means in terms of product, some of us have had everything we’ll ever need or want for Old School D&D for the last 40+ years or can get reprints. Then we start getting into retro clones and knockoffs. How many times do we need to buy the same set of rules?

Please understand, I’m not here to bash on the OSR.

There are plenty of wonderful people who play OSR style games. I’ve been getting more interested in Dungeon Crawl Classics and Old School Essentials myself, lately. I know plenty of well-meaning, good-intentioned, non-judgmental, caring, inclusive folx who just love to play games. It’s been stated many times over that there are good examples of inclusion and diversity to be found in the OSR community/subculture.

Our values align when it comes to gaming. We can all sit down at the same table for four hours and play our characters. Roleplaying is in my blood. I’ll be running RPG’s long after they wheel me into the old gamer’s home someday. I’m expecting at least one of my kids to really get into the hobby eventually.

We can focus on the “good actors” any time. (Eric) Tenkar has an outstanding YouTube channel and represents the best every chance he gets. Tom/Jedion is another YouTuber who works hard usually two or three times per week and conventions, etc. I’ve listened to both guys during this past year or two with the whole NuTSR debacle.

But is it enough to focus on the good ones?

What happens when a society doesn’t call attention to the “bad actors?” I’m sorry, family. There are bad actors in the OSR community, the broader RPG community, the RPG industry and (news flash) the rest of the world, too!

#DropDaveCon because they’re willing to support bigots, transphobes, homophobes and others who hate. It would be worth going to if/when they change their Guest of Honor. It might be a great convention, but is it great for everyone?

It’s not “Cancel Culture” as some have suggested. We’re not out to ban the OSR. It’s not an active threat. But what happens when we don’t speak up for friends and family who belong to groups that have been put down and marginalized for centuries? I’m often reminded of a poem:

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

Pastor Martin Niemöller

This is the longer version on the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust in Britain. It serves to remind all of us that if we don’t act when we can act, there might not be anyone left to act. Please, family, call people out on their crap when you hear it. One of the things the Nazis, the KKK, and most terrorists count on is indifference. The more oblivious we appear to be, the stronger they become.

It’s not another edition war, either.

Play whatever edition of D&D or whatever other RPG you like. Heck, ask me and I’ll recommend games all day. Take my word for it. Explore on your own and find whichever RPG works best for your group and you as a GM. No one has the right to restrict speech or the press (including the RPG industry) in the US.

As far as I know, no one has said it until now:

If the new One D&D and Wizards of the Coast no longer think in terms of editions, then I guess I can start creating 1st Edition AD&D adventures and they should port straight over into One D&D, right?

What do you mean, “lunatic?” Why won’t it work? OGL? Pfft. We don’t need no license. Stop telling me how to run (or print) my game! It’s fine.

At the rate we’re going, none of it might matter anyway.

Enjoy what you have today. Tomorrow is never promised to any of us. Please be kind to one another. Strive for peace when you can, fight for it otherwise.

Thank you for stopping by. You’re awesome. I appreciate you!

When they came for me,

A Moment of Silence Today.

No full article today. Please take time to remember and honor our fallen.

We Will Never Forget.

Photo by Lars Mulder on Pexels.com

If you served anywhere as a civil servant and you see this, THANK YOU for your service.

In honor of all of those who lost their lives that day and the millions more affected by that loss, there will be no article today.

Take care. Thank you for everything you do. I appreciate you!

Freedom Day +1 Year, +1 Month, +1 Day.

…right up until I look around me or I look in my wallet. I’m cool right up until we have another discussion about bills or my kids want to stop at the Burger King drive-through. I’m one happy sonuvagun as long as I’m out in nature, away from the commercial world, with no distractions.

Everything works out in divine timing.

Despite all of the adversity, all of the struggle, and all of the nonsense that has gone down since- I’m still here. I don’t miss it. I get to spend my time doing what I want to do. To think I chose this. WE chose this.

Earth life can be tiring. As a luminous spiritual being having a physical experience beyond the Veil of Forgetfulness on a 3D/4D planet, we volunteered for this. I can’t definitively say “Earth is ascending.” Maybe it is? It’s no 2020, but after this past year in my life? There’s a lot of things I wonder about.

I try to imagine it other ways.

What if I was still working in that place? (That fired me.) I was about at the end of my rope with them anyway. The PTSD is real, folks. Maybe not war-in-Afghanistan real, but real enough. If it weren’t for all of the NDA crap I had to sign for my severance package, I’d have some four letter words for certain people even now. (But we wouldn’t want someone trawling my social media for lawsuit fuel. LOL!)

What if I had fled town with some meager possessions? What if I had a tuna salad sandwich for breakfast? Who knows what might have taken place in alternate timelines? We may never know. The way time works is a very freaky thing to us. Then again, reality might be a mystery compared to what we <think> it is.

Someone very wise keeps reminding me I’m not a victim.

I’ll admit I’m stubborn. I might be a bit thick headed when it comes to certain lessons. I have to be reminded regularly that life happens as a result of choices we make. Experiences happen for us, not to us. There’s no one else pulling all the strings. It starts and stops with us.

Choices lead to suffering. Suffering leads to depression. Depression leads to sitting on the couch for days not wanting to make any more choices that could potentially hurt again. Yup. Being honest. Do I choose to feel depressed? Hell no!

Maybe brain chemistry plays into depression cycles a bit. Sleep, stress, and other physiological concerns affect hormones and brain chemistry. Depression is an ugly cycle that feeds on itself in a downward spiral. The only way out is through. Getting out of an old pattern usually involves making a choice to start a new habit or rework an old one.

Previous generations hid their physical and emotional pain.

Not me. My generation grew up with way more psychological education. Good old Gen X with our Ritalin and Prozac growing up. The stigma of being labeled as “crazy” was just starting to come off. That nice President of the US during the 1980’s was even nice enough to deinstitutionalize a lot of people.

I don’t have all of the numbers in front of me, but I know mental healthcare is on another rapid decline in this country and in Iowa specifically. It might be the only thing going downhill faster than education, and that’s a sad state of affairs.

My dad’s generation never talked about their feelings. They drank, smoked, gambled, did dope, and had sex to distract from all of their problems. The men of that era were badasses. Unfortunately that meant we, their children, never learned to talk about our feelings in a meaningful way and inherited all those distractions.

It’s not that they didn’t feel pain. I’m sure the problems may people in older generations experienced were more harsh than the ones we face today. Sometimes the farther back one goes, the worse it seems in terms of physical labor, political strife, emotional trauma, and so on.

Depression is real.

Just ask my therapist, or really any therapist. I am not my feelings. I am a person who feels things. It’s tough to remember that sometimes. I choose how I feel. And yet, I still feel depressed? Can’t I just choose to be happy all the time?

Yeah, right up until I look around me or I look in my wallet. I’m cool right up until we have another discussion about bills or my kids want to stop at the Burger King drive-through. I’m one happy sonuvagun as long as I’m out in nature, away from the commercial world, with no distractions. Peaceful, quiet times are truly some of the happiest times for me.

I can’t just go live in a cave off the grid somewhere or I would have probably done it by now. Sometimes life is about choices we didn’t make. I could choose to be in physical and emotional pain every day at a job I don’t care about that leaves me incredibly unfulfilled. But I’m a heck of a lot happier this way than I was then.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

I’ve been at this human business for 50+ years now. The more answers I find, the more questions I have. It’s a never-ending cycle of experiences and discovery. I’m not going to have it all figured out in one night.

Thanks for listening to me vent. I’m grateful you’re here. I appreciate you! Back to more gaming content after this. Deep discussion again soon, too.

Only Show Respect.

Only Show Respect, the other abbreviation of OSR. The one that we all know and love is Old School Revival. It basically just means all of us OG’s like to play original or first edition D&D and other classics from the early days of RPGs.

I wish I’d thought of this one.

I’d been kind of kibitzing with Tom from TableTop Taproom in his YouTube comments about doing a “No Hate in the OSR” logo. I had one that I was working on, but I’m not maybe as artistic as the folx Tom has access to. I’ll start using this on my OSR content as soon as I can. Love it!

Only Show Respect, the other abbreviation of OSR. The one that we all know and love is Old School Revival. It basically just means all of us OG’s like to play original or first edition D&D and other classics from the early days of RPGs.

“We’re here to game.” – Tom/Jedion.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com
The divine in me recognizes the divine in you.

Due to some seriously negative horse crap in the RPG community, a lot of us older fans really want to drive the point home that we’re NOT HERE TO HATE! I agree entirely. I’ve rallied behind this movement. Everyone is welcome, so long as they do no harm in the real world.

I’ve mentioned in other posts that a lot of us older gamers were raised in a different era. An era when treating some people with disdain, disrespect, and even hate was considered okay. Now, culture in the US and other countries has evolved. Some of us OGs are still evolving with it.

We’re taking charge of a narrative with this.

It’s no secret there are people in almost every community that hold some kind of bigoted beliefs or some personal ideals that seem a little sketchy. I shamefully fell into this category at one time. People can change! People are capable of opening their hearts and minds.

You don’t have to be a bitter, spiteful, Old Grognard forever! There is love in all of us. Open your heart and hopefully your gaming table up to new people. Leave ego and politics at the door and roll some dice together. It’s easy.

It’s not “Woke” culture.

Keep it warm and fuzzy out in the real world.

Please be respectful. Please be kind to others. Play nice. This is not new information. We didn’t just wake up one day in a world where people expect to be treated the way we want to be treated.

If one finds oneself on the receiving end of “Cancel Culture,” maybe it’s a signal that mistakes were made. In other words, if someone is getting pounded on social media for being rude, insensitive, or acting like an ass- some reflection is in order. That’s simple matter of social sanctions within a community against someone who is violating an unwritten or even sometimes written code of moral conduct.

Lovingly submitted, it’s not 1983 any more. The cultures we live in are changing. What was once considered socially acceptable is changing. It’s not a written law, it’s what others find ethically and morally acceptable now.

Hot take: What was acceptable in 1776 United States might not be so popular now.

They did what, exactly?

The Founding Fathers of the United States weren’t exactly angels in some respects. Some of them owned slaves, committed various crimes by today’s standards, and did some pretty reprehensible things back then. If someone acted that way in 2022 and got caught? They’d be going to jail for a long time.

I’ve seen many similar lists to this one from Ranker.com. While the history books paint pretty pictures of the Founding Fathers, they were not all sunshine and rainbows. My point is: what we think of as “right” and “wrong” today looks nothing like what it did in 1776, 1863, or even 1983.

RPGs written in 1980 or earlier are pretty cool, but remember from whence they came.

Even RPG designers of yesteryear are guilty of having some sketchy ethics and beliefs. I’m not going to name anyone specific. I think we all respect and admire certain RPG royalty in much the same way we admire the Founding Fathers. (Sorry, gotta go with what I know. I’m sure Canada, Great Britain, and other countries have their own versions.) None of our heroes are completely untarnished.

Pathfinder 2E (Paizo) and D&D 5E (Wizards of the Coast) are even changing what they are doing with what we called races back in the early days of gaming. We can change the way we look at our hobby and still have fun. Conflict in one form or another still drives a lot of RPGs. Those older games are still great, but we have to remember that morals and ethics were different when they were written. Things that would be considered racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic and ableist now were overlooked as the norm then.

The disclaimer that has caused so much uproar in the OSR RPG community.

That’s not to say that being a jerk is okay any time.

The “Old Grognard” in me wrestles with some these concepts regularly. Sometimes ethical and moral dilemmas are at the very heart of RPGs as well. I like a little deeper roleplaying when I’m not slugging it out with superheroes or blasting giant robots. Some of these very deep concepts can lead for epic storylines in RPGs assuming everyone at the table is cool with it.

Just because there’s literally a race reaction table in the Unearthed Arcana AD&D 1E, doesn’t mean we have to play it that way in Old School Revival. Part of the beauty of OSR is that it’s a revision or even a rewrite of the old rules. We can have the nostalgic old school feel without the messed-up old school racism, sexism, -phobia, etc.

Photo by Katie Rainbow ud83cudff3ufe0fu200dud83cudf08 on Pexels.com

I’m all about that OSR way of doing things because that’s my generation’s way of gaming.

Heck yeah! Let’s go romp through some dungeons the old beer-n-pretzels way! Slay that dragon. Grab some cool loot. Just leave the negative stuff toward other people out of the games we write and the way we play.

Then carry that attitude to our Friendly Local Game Stores. Let’s bring the fun with us to conventions. Let’s bring people into the hobby and show them how awesome roleplaying games can be. Please convey that positive, welcoming message everywhere we go.

O.nly S.how R.espect.

Thanks for stopping by!

For Free Speech, Against Racist Publications.

The same could be applied to someone in the RPG industry who have hardcore racist opinions. Sounds crazy, but think about it. Create it, print it, and distribute it among the “we-hate-everybody club” meeting. That’s perfectly legal, Constitutional, and I’d even say reasonable. (Again, assuming it doesn’t espouse violence against anyone or any specific group.)

I would argue the two are not mutually exclusive.

In light of recent events in the Role Playing Game industry, I feel the need to clarify some things. I’ve recently spoken out against what appears to be an overtly racist publication. Whose job is it to police such publications? Where does “Cancel Culture” fit into all of this? What does it mean to be an “Old Grognard” in relation to all of this?

It so happens I have a print media journalism background. I absolutely, positively LOVE the Constitution of the United States, specifically The Bill of Rights. I’m a huge fan of that whole First Amendment.

Constitution of the United States. First Amendment.

We might not like “hate speech,” but…

It’s a slippery slope. If the Supreme Court were to rule something to be considered “Hate Speech,” and said speech warrants government interdiction, our country is going to get ugly in a hurry. Well, if “X” is considered hateful, then why not “Y and Z?” Historically, the Supreme Court has been very hesitant to go anywhere near this issue.

What it basically means to any publisher of any document or broadcast, is it might be legal to say it, but that doesn’t mean one should say it. There have been certain exceptions to the First Amendment over the years. The age old example of yelling “Fire” in a crowded movie theater comes to mind. Anything involving child porn would be another example.

A more awkward position than playing Twister with a giant octopus.

I might not like when people spew ageist, ableist, racist, transphobic, homophobic crap in their publication. But, as much as I might hate it, I’ll still defend their right to say it all day. However, I’ll also defend those who would shout it down just as vehemently, maybe more so.

You might not like what I have to say. I get it. But I’ll still respect your right to say it. We can’t have the government stepping in every time someone takes offense to another’s print statements. This country would have never made it this far if one ruling party could put the smackdown on something they find disagreeable.

But we live in the age of social media.

If you ever think no one cares about your social media posts? Try saying something half your friends are going to disagree with. It can be the smallest most innocuous thing.

“Chocolate is the bestest flavor evity-ever!”

Watch twenty people out of hundreds become very vocal about vanilla, strawberry or butterscotch.

“What about mint?” because there’s always some troll that doesn’t even follow you normally that has to chime in.

Where it gets sticky fast is when the people running the platform get involved. For example, my wife recently commented on a senator’s post on Facebook and then got hit with a 24 hour ban for allegedly violating the Terms of Service. They couldn’t tell us which rule, but she was banned anyway. She didn’t espouse anything violent or immoral. All she did was disagree with someone. (*Eighteen hours later, her comment was restored on review.)

Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you did. If you get reported, the automatic ban for review can be bad enough. The point is, you have the right to free speech as long as you are using your own platform. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc are all platforms. When one signs up for a platform, they agree to the terms of service. Shockingly, the same thing technically applies to Internet Providers and Web Hosts. If they take offense to someone’s site and their TOS says they can ban it? The whole site can be taken down.

Self censorship is the best way to go.

TVs can be turned off. Phones can have apps uninstalled. If there’s something you don’t want to hear? You can ignore it. I’ve been ignoring the mainstream news for years. It’s easy. Living off-grid is not unreasonable sometimes.

For example, if I belonged to a club that exclusively talked about one specific type of flower and I knew all of my friends and family have heard absolutely enough about this orchid, I might create and print a specific newsletter and email/snail mail it out to the fan club. This is more discretion than censorship.

The same could be applied to someone in the RPG industry who have hardcore racist opinions. Sounds crazy, but think about it. Create it, print it, and distribute it among the “we-hate-everybody club” meeting. That’s perfectly legal, Constitutional, and I’d even say reasonable. (Again, assuming it doesn’t espouse violence against anyone or any specific group.)

Where it gets really ugly is when someone tries to sell something that includes hate speech. First, who’s going to want to buy that? Second, how many people are going to call someone out on social media for doing that? No major publisher online or elsewhere in their right minds is going to take a chance on that because they’re afraid of losing other paid clients and customers.

Cancel Culture is kind of a misnomer.

It’s actually a subculture last I checked. I would argue anthropologically that it’s a subculture containing members of the Internet, political, media, and business communities. I would argue the majority of people at a local or even national level might not entirely agree on what to cancel or why.

This again seems to be a phenomenon that centers widely on social media. One person decides someone is a bigot so now all of their “true” friends must ostracize, block, and ignore this person. Sometimes it’s well meant and legitimate. Other times, maybe it’s personal or political. Personally, I check people over if someone says, “Hey. Unfollow this person.”

Admittedly, my friend is usually right. If I dig into a person that has been accused of being a bigot, I find the evidence that makes me wonder why the heck I ever followed that person to begin with. I recently went through and cleaned out my Twitter list when I found a lot of people I followed when I was new on the platform and looking for friends. Oops.

Not everyone looks into the accusation as well as I do. Sometimes someone gets shunned by an entire community for making one or two offhanded, untoward comments. Sometimes people end up backing a loser and become guilty by association. I’ve seen it happen on Twitter. Not everyone exercises discernment the same way.

On the other hand, if someone does prove they are a card-carrying Nazi? Well, they’ll retain their like-minded friends. That’s on them. I’m a fan of unfollow, block and in many cases reporting racist statements. Most social media platforms don’t tolerate that sort of thing.

Another example is if someone is outed as being physically or sexually abusive toward women in the RPG community. Word gets around freakin fast. I can’t get into specifics (sorry,) but I have seen it happen on Twitter. The “alleged” abuser was pretty much gone from the platform within 24 hours of his misconduct being reported by multiple former female players in his group. The moral of the story is: be nice or be gone.

The “Old Grognards” are beginning to police themselves.

This is a sticky subject for me as I kinda fall into this particular subculture of the RPG community. A lot of us OGs have a bad reputation for being old fashioned, bitter, gatekeeper types and very unaccepting of anything new. It’s make life hard on people who don’t generally deal well with changes in their society and its overall culture.

I’ve heard well-known, long time gaming celebrities basically admit to being racist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist, and sexist. For crying out loud, the 1980’s are gone! Let them be gone. We don’t have to think like that any more. OR, if that’s too much to handle- stay in your basement with your same, likeminded, narrow minded little group that probably hasn’t changed much in 30 years.

If we’re talking about people who don’t accept change well, or at all for that matter, why would they want to run games in public? Again, I say you can tell your views on the real world all day. Just remember, the venue you’re in may have rules against racist, anti-LGBTQIA++, and other such speech. They can ask you to kindly pack up, leave, and never return.

Personally, I welcome the opportunity to engage in conversations about RPGs with just about anyone genuinely concerned with the topic. We can talk new editions, older editions, indie games, mainstream games, or even house rules. I love roleplaying. As long as I’ve got time to spare, we’re good. What I won’t put up with is people who hate.

This all comes back around to the notion that if one wants to hate, that’s on them. Keep it in their own little groups with their like minded friends. Great. Just keep it away from the rest of us who don’t appreciate that crap.

People can change.

I used to say some things that I regret now. My opinions have even changed a lot over the last six months or so when it comes to gaming. My opinions of people have changed a lot over the last six or seven years for the better. I’ve even become more accepting of opinions differing from my own.

I’m more than happy to give people second chances most of the time. I still have my limits. But if they can demonstrate and continue to demonstrate new behavior, then welcome back. Carry on.

I still steadfastly denounce those wishing to harm others, especially children. The same can be said about people who are intolerant based on race, sex, gender identity, age, ability, and so on. I firmly believe we weren’t put on this planet to hate and hurt one another. We’re here to learn and maybe find joy before we move on.

Everyone in the US is free to speak their opinion out loud. But, any given platform can drop the ban hammer. The lesson here is: be careful what you say because your audience is listening!

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you! More tomorrow.

It’s Awakened, Not “Woke.”

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

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

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

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

Are we talking religion here?

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

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

Am I in a cult?

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

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

What got me going?

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

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

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

So, do I worship “little green men?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

It doesn’t stop there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s just it. Lives matter.

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

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

Am I crazy?

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

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

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

Some basic tenets of my beliefs.

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

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

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

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