January 19th, Interrupted.

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

Normally this is when I celebrate Freedom Day.

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

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

Fast life updates.

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

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

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

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

This is interesting times for my favorite industry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does it mean for me?

I’m a little thtuck here.

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

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

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

That’s where we are now.

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

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

#StoptheSub
#DnDBeGone
#OpenDnD
#DnDONE

Personal-ish Share OGL 1.1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some days I should just avoid social media.

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

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

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

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

Maybe I’m just a bitter old Grognard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freedom Day! 11th Month Edition

Our continuing mission to seek out new opportunities, new wealth and prosperity has hit yet more snags. I’ve been off work for 11 months with no prospects for gainful employment in sight. The government is not helping yet or possibly at all. The bills are starting to creep up.

Captain’s Log. Stardate: 6.19.2022.

Our continuing mission to seek out new opportunities, new wealth and prosperity has hit yet more snags. I’ve been off work for 11 months with no prospects for gainful employment in sight. The government is not helping yet or possibly at all. The bills are starting to creep up.

A family of six surviving on one paycheck in this day and age looks pretty grim. Law of Attraction aficionados would say I chose this. Lord knows I have plenty of reasons to be down these days. Guess I’m choosing depression, too. It wouldn’t be so bad if I could just bury my head in the sand and just pretend things were going to improve.

Site engagement has been up.

THANK YOU!

One silver lining this month has been engagement on this site. I saw a couple of beautiful spikes in views earlier this month. Wow! If you’re here, thank you! I appreciate you stopping by.

A lot of the feedback I’ve received from sources such as #ttrpg Twitter has been extremely positive. I’m still somewhat new to blogging and it makes my heart flutter a bit when I hear a compliment. Thank you! Of course, more site traffic isn’t a sign of positive or negative opinions, but I’ll take the up-tick in views. Thank you!

Then there’s a ton of stuff that doesn’t make much sense yet.

I regularly mull over what I’m doing right in terms of writing, parenting, husbanding, adulting, etc. There’s never a super clear answer to any of my questions. It’s not like life comes with a user’s manual. Kinda wish it did some days. (Like, the ones ending in “y.”)

I keep wondering about how to best monetize myself in the roleplaying game market. Kickstarter? Patreon? Maybe just put stuff on Ko-Fi? I’m not sure I’m ready for DriveThruRPG just yet. That would require a finished larger product.

Someone recently mentioned trying out Fiverr. (Coming Soon!) I have often considered doing piece work, short articles, and social media posts. The same wonderful person mentioned possibly doing some ghostwriting or editing. Terrifying, which is why I’m looking into it.

Then again, am I really supposed to be in the RPG market at all? What about writing a novel? (Not as easy as it sounds, btw.) What about life coaching? (LOL! Not sure if I should be coaching or finding one.) What about becoming some sort of spiritual teacher? (*Don’t worry. Andey Fellowes and others would talk me down off that ledge.) What about a self help book? (Uh… 😐)

Figured out what I’m not doing.

That list goes on forever. The most obvious ones include finding another dispatching job. No thanks PTSD. Not today.

Scrubbing floors is right out. Even if my back and pain levels could tolerate it, my wife would likely shoot me. The hours for that kind of work are not worth the pay and effort involved.

Iowa Workforce Development. There’s a reason I’m no longer looking for a job in this state. They were more than happy to help as long as I wasn’t neurodivergent, in pain, and happy to throw my college degree out the window. Iowa needs dental hygienists and welders. Just don’t come around here being one of those sinister teacher types. (*Love you, wife.)

I’m too old and out of shape for retail, restaurants, factories, and office jobs. I have too many values and principles to ever do sales, especially over the phone. Call center jobs tend to become very stressful and triggering about five minutes in. I don’t even think Wal Mart would take me as a door greeter at this point.

In fact, screw working for any kind of big company or corporation ever again. Even if all the corporate culture head trash didn’t make me want to vomit, I’m pretty sure any review I receive is going to trigger me all over the place. That’s assuming we get that far. “Let’s have a meeting” would be followed by me coming completely unglued on someone. No thanks.

Bring my Garden Weasel to work day?

A brilliant and beautiful soul put me onto some new avenues of abundance.

Laura is the best!

I can always count on my friend Laura DiBenedetto to set me straight. She recently clued me into a couple of new avenues to abundance. I’m working on it, but it’s taking a little time. More on that as it develops.

I also continue to practice the skills I learned from The Six Habits. Laura’s book legitimately can and will change your life if you work with it. I may still get down sometimes (depression sucks!) but it’s an ongoing process, much like spiritual awakening.

The human brain creates channels of memory like lava carving its way down the side of a volcano. Practice a habit for 21 days and you can change the channel. Brain cells that fire together wire together. Neuroplasticity can modify those channels to improve your life. Look up Hebb’s Law. A constant practice of Kindness, Acceptance, Gratitude, Presence, Goodness and Intention will yield positive results given enough practice.

I’ve been back into the book lately, myself. Sometimes we get out of practice on certain things. It’s good to go back to basics and remember why we came here.

Gratitude is key.

Okay. I’ll buy that one. I’m so happy and grateful I have a roof over my head and a food on my plate. I’m grateful for all of the wonderful things I have in life. I’m grateful for my family’s health. I’m super extra grateful for my wife’s job. I’m super happy and grateful when I find loose change on the street, too. I’m grateful I met Laura, too.

Gonna go off now…

I’d like to say I’m grateful I got canned from that last gig. Look at all the stuff that’s teaching me. I’m grateful to be walking around with not-two-shits to give about anyone working for a large corporation or what they have to say. I’m grateful Iowa Workforce Development was more than happy to help as long as I did exactly what they wanted me to do. I’m extra grateful the government keeps denying my disability because I love being f’kn broke all the time. I’m grateful every time I log into LinkedIn to find out some other scamtastic pile of refuse has viewed my profile, because it reminds me I’m glad I gave up that damn job search crap months ago.

I know I have some things working against me every day.

Silly “Old Grognard” photo

First up, my age. I turn the big 50 in ten days. Even if I wasn’t long in the beard and bald as a cue ball, my birth certificate does not lie. I could shave tomorrow, but I know in my heart of hearts it will do me no good.

But what does that mean? Why is that so bad? Well, first off, employers really don’t want to see me walk in the door because they know I’m old enough not to take any sh*t that they hand out to the younger new guys.

On every given day, especially now that I’m officially “old,” my health comes into question. Which, I know how much they cringe with FMLA comes up. I literally have no choice but to mention it nowadays. I’m happy to be functional three days out of five most of the time.

My back and my pain tolerance make it pretty hard to do a lot of those fun repetitive motion tasks like mopping floors, scrubbing toilets, running a cash register, stocking shelves, standing all day, and a lot of other things y’all youngins take for granted. In fact, writing is one of the few things I can enjoy doing while sitting down from the comfort of my couch. (Too bad it doesn’t pay better, but we’re working on it.)

As bitterly annoyed as I am becoming toward certain entities, one fact remains prevalent.

No clue wtf I’m doing any more.

I have a family to take care of. That hurts on so many levels I can’t even describe them all. I’m very grateful my wife is taking care of all of us. That’s super.

Sorry, kids. Dad’s kind of a deadbeat. Seriously, I know how it looks. I wish I could provide more. I so desperately want to give more financially. And I live here. Your mom and I are still married somehow.

So, yeah. 11 months into this sh*tshow and I still have more questions than answers. I’m still wrestling with finding myself, accepting my own inadequacies, and fumbling around with what to do. I’m still unable to rub two shince together and have not two sh*ts left to give some days. Improvements are hopefully on the way soon.

Thanks for being here, one and all. I would have liked to have glowing things to say, but it’s been another r month. Onward and upward, I suppose.


Personal Share: The Great Juggling Act

I’m venting in rant mode. If anyone needs me, I’ll be wrestling monkeys in bubblegum while trying desperately to stay positive..

It almost never fails.

The Universe loves us enough to challenge us. It responds to our emotions and we attract what we feel. Feel the flow and high vibrations, watch more joy and love to you. Get stuck in a lower vibration, and things go a bit more sideways. Such is the Law of Vibration, and consequently the Law of Attraction.

The thing I’ve always had to ponder is why people get physically ill. I don’t think it’s entirely a low vibrational thing. Maybe the Universe does it to teach us something? Or to mind the physical as well as the mental and spiritual aspects of our lives?

People all over the world wonder why terrible things happen to good people. The truth is, we still don’t remember. IFF what we call “reality” is actually a simulation, then why simulate the bad stuff? I get video game reality, but we’re not out casting fireballs and fighting dragons with glowing magical swords. We create our reality, but shit happens in a way we didn’t intend. That part still confuses me. I think the messed up world of Covid proves it.

The Personal Share Part.

I’m gonna vent rage.

My oldest has Strep Throat and a nasty cold or something. Yesterday my wife spiked a 103.9 degree fever. She’s doing a little better today, but we’re not sure if it’s Strep, a cold, or that other thing. Our ten year old got one of his trademark migraines last night. I’m going bonkers trying to take care of everyone, including myself. Our internet connection is haywire, unemployment is a mess this week, and the rest of my kids are acting like little maniacs.

It’s not helping that ALL the kids are home from school today. I mean, yay Martin Luther King Jr Day. That’s great. But this garbage where the Des Moines Public School District has to have two more days after this for “Professional Development?” On top of Friday being a snow day? This is getting out of hand. Get these kids back in the classroom.

I would also like to touch on the fact that our Governor of Iowa, the illustrious Kim “Reaper” Reynolds decided to monkey around in the unemployment benefits this week, making it like pulling teeth just to get a claim filed. I’m guessing if she and her flunkies had to do it, unemployment would get a lot simpler. Obviously she’ll never have to worry about money but I seriously hope she loses her position as governor this next election. Between Gov Kimmie’s meddling with the schools (long saga) and this latest unemployment debacle, the woman just needs to get out of office so we can have some sanity back in Iowa. We won’t even get into the fact that she’s a Republican and has to continue toting the Trump line in front of the Biden administration.

Not the scale of consciousness this time. I’m unemployed and annoyed.

Oh, and why do I need unemployment benefits? Well, a certain employer decided to rid themselves of me back in July for unknown reasons. New employers aren’t exactly beating down my door trying to hire me because I went to college and have the loans to prove it. That degree is doing me so much good these days, let me tell ya. The State of Iowa and their rabid stupidity at IWD are trying desperately trying to fill jobs that require little to no training, pay like dirt, and have employers known for treating people like crap.

No, Covid didn’t help the employment situation here in Iowa. But employers aren’t helping, either. Look at the number of people quitting their jobs right now. Overworked and underpaid for some big, nameless, faceless, emotionless corporation is not the road to prosperity. Why get a college degree if all employers in Iowa want are kids fresh out of high school trained to do one job? But IWD will “help” me get trained to be a welder or a nurse if that’s what I wanted to do. Again, why did I go to college? Oh yeah, because for almost 50 years there was a massive push to “make something of yourself” by going to college and getting that “high paying” job. Which, in my life has turned out to be a big, smelly pile of bullshit.

So, in conclusion, I have other things to do and the Universe has taken a dump on me and my family today. We need to get everyone healthy and back on course. Yes, this particular post was kind of negative. I’m trying to keep my stuff together. Needless to say, times are challenging.

Between Biden’s dinking around with loan forgiveness and IWD’s unemployment nonsense, I’d about like to get the crayons out and explain some shit to these people. (At least that’s the nice way of saying it.) I don’t like to talk about politics, but things are just bonkers from the top on down to the bottom today. If anyone needs me, I’ll be wrestling monkeys in bubblegum while trying desperately to stay positive..

Pretty much sums up my weekend.
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