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Ramblings of an Old Gamer

Gary Con Mentioned on Big Bang Theory

One spoiler I didn’t mind was that Gary Con was mentioned on this week’s episode of Big Bang Theory. In general, I don’t like spoilers. My brother has recited movies in detail that I have not seen. A co-worker talked about the space dock scene in Galaxy Quest. I don’t have TV, so I watch programs online. I like that BBT mentions RPGs as part of the geek/nerd life. I find BBT funny because it is true. I have known people like that, and in some ways, I am people like that.

I missed Gary Con last year, and was very interested in going this year, but things have not worked out.  The closing of the local office and the transition to working at home was not expected, and I am tired from moving stuff from the office to home, moving stuff around in my home office, and sorting and moving stuff trying to find the best use of the space. I am glad it worked out to not be able to go. I am tired. I also am not too keen to travel in winter. Perhaps I can make Con on the Cob in October instead.

 

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Whither the OSR Superstar Contest?

I had this article scheduled to post on March 6th, but Erik beat me to it and announced the resolution here.

Not what any of us wanted, but a conclusion nonetheless.

Below is what I wrote.

In 2014, Erik Tenkar, over at Tenkar’s Tavern, held a contest for the OSR Superstar. It got down to the finalists in July and there were some delays on the final judging. Up until Erik re-organized his page, there was a largish graphic about the contest.

I posted a comment to the OSR Superstar page asking about it a few months back, and I have seen others ask about it in other forums.

It is understandable if judges dropped out, or something else beyond Erik’s control. Did the finalists not submit? He is a NYPD officer, so his job comes with stresses most of us will never encounter.

Erik usually keeps all the Tavern’s readers in the loop. If he has mentioned it, I have not encountered the explanation.

If it’s resolution is dead or will eventually be resolved, I would like to know. I had a submission, I did not win. The submissions that did well were very cool, and I am curious to see what the finalists come up with for the final challenge.

I know that Erik is looking forward to retirement soon, sometime in the next year, I believe. I would ask that he wrap up a soon to be year old contest before then, so he can focus on the good content he regularly provides.

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Working From Home

TL/DR – I am now working from home and have an hour a day I don’t have to do the round trip to and from work Monday through Friday, and will have more time to focus on living life and preparing and playing games.

My company decided to close our local office because there are only three of us and have us work from home. Two other office are being closed, each with two employees, and having them work from home, saving the company over $100K a year in rent. Too bad I don’t get a piece of that. At least I get to save on gas and have an hour more each day for other things since I don’t have to drive to work. I really like avoiding driving in winter and saving money on gasoline and wear and tear on my car.

Last weekend, I packed up my office and hauled everything home except my desk. I will miss my desk. It is just too big for my house. We have three desks to get rid of. At least I got my desk chair. The cheap one I have from Wal-Mart is wearing out.

I spent five hours moving some things out of my home office to make room so I could move in my work office stuff. I got it all to fit. This inspired me to clean and organize. I already had three 5-shelf bookcases in here and a smaller bookcase. I moved in two 2-drawer file cabinets and put my shorter bookcase on top of them. I brought a five shelf bookcase from the office and a little rolling file cabinet with a “desk top” and a small drawer and a big file drawer.

This gave me storage space to make it all fit even better and a half-done job of organizing a few months ago. Of the three bookshelves I had in here to start, one is nearly organized the way I want it, the second is partially organized with two shelves in a holding pattern, and the third has three empty shelves and two for temporary holding. I have my AD&D manuals and some of my campaign notes on one shelf of the work bookcase. They say that you’re only supposed to touch each thing once, but the sorting of getting everything out is not so easy with cats and dogs and other people in the same house. It’s like one of those number puzzles where you shift the numbers in odd ways until you sort them in order. It may not be efficient, but I have found several things I have been looking for and I now have room to speed up the sorting. If you hadn’t seen it before I started, you wouldn’t think the way it looks now is an improvement.

I had my office at work mostly decluttered, but had a buildup of stuff to sort and toss. I look forward to having a place for everything and everything in its place. Soon I will have all my AD&D manuals, campaign information and other active game related materials together on one or more shelves of a bookcase for easy access. I am good at decluttering and sorting through files while on hold or if calls ever slow down.

If they will ever get the last few clients off a DOS based series of products, for which I am the main support tech, I can pitch 6 or 8 binders, or rather pitch their contents and re-purpose the binders for game materials.

I will also have room for my few board games so that I can keep all of that stuff together. If the bug bites, I might even sell off the stuff I don’t and realistically, won’t use.

Over the years, I have accumulated a lot of floppies, CDs, and odd bits of computer related tech that is old and obsolete. I can sit here and feed floppies to an old PC in the corner and determine if I need the data. If there is a market for used floppies, I can get something out of them. I would like to avoid the landfill…. I remember when a 1.44 MB 3.25 inch floppy was considered a lot of space. Now all these floppies would fit on one DVD with room to spare…..

As I look around and think about some of this stuff, there is a lot that I have not even touched since I divorced my wife four years ago. I’m finally able to get out some breakables and display them, like my great-grandfather’s pocket watch in a glass covered display stand.

My dog likes it because I don’t need to put her in her kennel while I’m at the office. I can also let her out multiple times throughout the day. If I get stuck and have to work through my lunch hour or work late, I have food here and don’t have to rush out and buy crap. There are not many choices in my village for a healthy lunch, so I won’t be spending money eating out for lunch very often, if at all. No more getting home at 5:30 or 6:00 and not having supper until 8:00 or 8:30.

Once it warms up, I can set up by wi-fi and work outside, or in the garage, or on the deck. I can lounge in my hammock on my lunch hour.

Life is good! The level of order I prefer in my life and living environment is rapidly coming together.

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Gyrphax

Gyrphax

Gyrphax is the largest dragon in my brother Robert’s campaign. He did this piece in high school, a few years before his current campaign started, or rather he started it in high school. It is pen and ink in the stipple style, that is, it is all dots.

He had the dragon and the slain warriors done quickly enough. But it took him a couple years to finish the rest. It is about 18 x 22 inches. He would be working on it and look up and blink his eyes wide, because after a while all he could see were dots.

This is a bad picture of a print I had on the wall in my home office. I wanted a picture before I had to move it. They are closing our small office with three employees and we will be working from home. I had to re-arrange my home office and move it from the wall where I had it. I now have it in a corner where it is more visible in my peripheral vision when I am at my desk.

My brother does not Facebook or Google Plus, so you won’t be able to reach him. He is very talented in many ways. If he ever finishes any of his stories, he will also do the book cover and any other art.

This image is his copyright, all rights reserved. I just wanted to share it here to show off his talent. A few days ago, I shared his maps using pictures of photocopies. If he wants me to take it down, I will.

 

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READ AN RPG BOOK IN PUBLIC WEEK – 2015 – March 1 – 7

As I was working on my daily postings for the next few days, I realized that Read an RPG Book in Public Week starts Sunday.

The Escapist has not yet updated the dates for the three weeks throughout the year for 2015.

I am not sure how or when I will be able to read an RPG book in public. I have transitioned to working from home, since they are closing the local office. The village where I live does not have many good places to go, other than the library, so I’m not sure when I could get there.

Since this snuck up on me (Because I didn’t put a reminder on my calendar.), I don’t have a plan. I will think on this and try to figure out when I might do this. I am not a coffee drinker so going to a coffee shop to read is not my thing. Driving 15 or 20 miles just to read a book in public is a bit much. the local library is my best option in this weather.

Once it warms up, if it isn’t raining, I can do read in my hammock in the shade over lunch.

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RIP Leonard Nimoy

I took a break and looked on my G+ feed and saw Benoist Poiré doing a Vulcan salute with a mention of a #lastsalute, I knew what it meant.

Below is what came to my mind, and my first few thoughts.

RIP Leonard Nimoy. I understood your struggles of being identified with Spock. The development of that character through all the TV series and movies mirrored a part of my life. My brothers even nicknamed me Spock for a while due to my own quiet and flat nature of external displays emotions in high school.

I never got to meet you, but I just had to say that I appreciate all your work.

You are more than Spock, you were a son, sibling, husband, father, and grandfather.

It is my hope that you knew, at least in part, what your role as Spock has meant to so many.

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Kickstarter Update – Schlock Mercenary Challenge Coins PDF

Howard Taylor sent an email to update the status of the promised PDF on stories of Challenge Coins, the final piece of the Schlock Mercenary Challenge Coin Kickstarter.

Greetings backers. Some of you have inquired about the status of the Challenge Coin PDF that we promised as part of this project. The PDF is long overdue, and for that we apologize. We were slammed with business and personal things in the past year. We allowed that to push the PDF to the back burner, but we have not forgotten it. I have collected all of the stories and done most of the layout work. It comes in at 30 pages and is full of challenge coin stories both touching and funny. We’ve formatted it as if all the writers were sitting in a bar swapping stories about challenge coins.

The work that remains is for Howard to write a foreword and to draw the illustrations he promised to include. We intend to have this work done in the next six weeks, or sooner. We’re gathering momentum for our next Kickstarter project and we can’t begin that in good conscience unless we have delivered this first.

Thank you very much for your patience. I know that for some of you this PDF was the primary reason you backed the project. We’re sorry we’ve taken so long to get it to you.

Howard has posted daily comics without fail for well over a decade, and completes everything he says he will. The coins shipped on time, it is only this document that was delayed. I was not worried about it because I got the coins. The PDF was a sort of afterthought, as I recall, but I could be mis-remembering. I look forward to receiving it and seeing the art and reading the backgrounds on challenge coins.

The idea of something like a challenge coin or an insignia for a group is interesting and see it applying to RPGs. In my Wednesday night AD&D game our characters came up with an insignia. I know other groups of players that have done this. Further updates as they are available….

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Planning 2015 A To Z Blogging Challenge

A to Z Challenge [Letter Schedule] [2015]

On Saturday evening, February 21, I signed up for the A to Z Blogging Challenge and came up with a theme and a topic for all but Y and Z.

I downloaded all the graphics for each letter and wrote my theme reveal article and scheduled it for March 23, 2015 and signed up for the theme reveal list.

I also scheduled the posts for A through X so that all I have to do is write them and publish them, or wait for the schedule to publish them for me.

By the time I got done scheduling the titles for each day, I had the last two topics for Y and Z and had them scheduled.

I recommend scheduling each of the 26 days/letters, even if you don’t have a topic yet. That will speed up the actual writing if you already have a topic in the hopper.

If you prefer to save them as drafts instead of schedule them, that is OK, but you have one more step. Since it is not simply April 1-26 because Sundays are skipped, I prefer to schedule them. That way all I have to do it write the article and update it and it is already scheduled for the correct date. I set all of them to a time of 00:01, so that they all post at the same time each day.

Automation of your blog by using all the power at your disposal will save you a lot of time.

Of course, do what works for you, just don’t forget to schedule it or go in and change it from draft to published on the correct date.

When I wrote this, I had 32 scheduled posts, because I have a buffer. Last year, I had nearly all of my posts written before April, so all I had to do was wait for the schedule to do its job. I plan to do the same this year, with perhaps a final review before each one posts. Writing them in advance and working them over will make them more beneficial to me and others.

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Posting Frequency

Now that I am past my busiest time of year at work*, my energy and enthusiasm for other things leaves brain power available to get creative. I also was busy wrapping up my hex for Tenkar’s Landing, and getting ready for Marmalade Dog 20.

I have been coming up with a lot of ideas and spreading them out to avoid having too many posts on the same day. It won’t be long until I hit post # 300! Wow! I started posting with great regularity in January, 2014 when I read that it was the 40th anniversary of D&D. March/April of 2014 was my 36th year of D&D. I started in 1978 with Holmes Blue Book Basic. So 2015 is my 37th year of gaming/RPGs.

I am now thinking about the 2015 April A to Z challenge, and think I will sign up again this year.

My thoughts are also percolating for a possible 2015 One Page Dungeon submission.

My posting frequency will vary based on my ideas and things I want to say about RPGs. Vacations, personal issues that may arise, and work commitments can all have an effect. My hope is to keep posting a few days in advance to build up a “buffer” of posts so that my missing a day is invisible to my readers.

In addition to daily or near daily articles, and other than the April 2014 A to Z Challenge, I will write about the games I play in and run, cons I attend, and ideas I have or comments & extrapolation on the ideas of others. I will also come up with tables and other game aids as the need or inspiration strikes.

The cons I plan to attend this year originally included Gary Con, but things have changed since last year, so I will have to put that off to 2016. I will definitely be at UCon 2015 in November. I am seriously considering Con On The Cob in October, since it is within a four hour drive. I will also try to attend any online cons, if those work into my schedule.

I have ideas for an adventure based on my hex in Tenkar’s Landing, so I look forward to fleshing that out.

I may also begin posting new areas of my campaign as I develop them, but those may wait until I actually have players reach them. So far, my usual players don’t follow my blog, but if I take the plunge and begin an online game, I will want to hold onto those for later.

I look forward to the rest of gaming in 2015.

Game on!!!

*(I support payroll and accounting software. This means that December and January are crazy busy with clients trying to wrap up end of year, print W-2’s and 1099’s, and deal with various state specific reports that have a deadline.)

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Who Knew? – Dice Sets Arrive

Last week I ordered two sets of Who Knew? dice by Koplow Games, the black with white numbers and the red with white numbers. This is in time to game in the next session of Roy Snyder’s DCC game.

I also ordered a d12 Body Parts die, officially known as a d12 28mm Critical Hits Location Body Hit Dice. Each right/left body part is not quite on the opposite side of the dice from each other, i.e. Right Arm/Left Arm. The locations are Right Arm, Left Arm, Head, Stomach, Left Leg, Right Leg, Right Hand, Left Hand, Chest, Full Body, Left Foot, and Right Foot. One can easily use a table with a d12, but this dice is the table! I don’t do critical hits in my game, but I am sure I can find a use for it. Some ideas: What part of a statue is the trigger for a trap, or to open a door, or release a treasure? What part is stung by a giant insect? What body part touched the mold/fungus/slime/acid/poison/undead? What body part has the king’s birthmark? I am sure there is probably some place that prints custom dice. One could easily get a set of dice printed with parts of a table for a roll all the dice table without needing a separate table.

The Koplow dice seem rounded, much like Chessex dice. The d30’s rolled like crazy, but not quite as bad as a d20 from back in 1978 that is so chipped it’s almost a sphere. Yes, I’m a Game Science fan.

The Koplow d3, d5 and d7 are actually doulbe the number of sides, just repeating after 1-3, 1-5 and 1-7. The d6’s are numbered 1-3 twice, the d5’s are actually d10’s numbered 1-5 twice, and the d7’s are really d14’s numbered 1-7 twice. There is no d14. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the d7 and d14 are the only dice that can’t be simulated with a combination of other standard RPG dice. So roll a control die with the d7 if you need a d14. I must have mis-read when I ordered, I thought there was a d14 in the package.

I like the black with white numbers. I would use the red ones on my mom’s birthday, since red was her favorite color. I already wear red on her birthday.

I read a review on another dice set a few days after I ordered this shipment from Amazon, so I have another package of dice coming in a few days, so look for a few words and pictures.

Every gamer likes dice pron, right?

Opening

Opening

Koplow Packages

Koplow Packages

Koplow Sets

Koplow Sets

Black

Black

Red

Red

d12 Body Parts

d12 Body Parts

 

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