My month of change

My Dad 2010

This month has proven to be an opportunity for change, doors have closed and others have opened and from the beginning to the end of this month my life is forever changed.  I won’t say for the better or for the worse, as the reality that the answer is both just like any change is really both.  It is in the end the Yin and the Yang finding a new balance in our lives.

The month started out with my father being in the hospital again, his health over the years has been in a steady decline so this was not a shock.  However, after two days in the hospital the morning of March 7th found him notably worse and the doctor called us to his bedside for a chance at goodbye.  We were incredibly lucky in that he got to say his last words to us and we got to wish him off surrounded by loving family.  Really if someone has to die, what better way to go then surrounded with love.  A thank you to the great doctor and nurses that gave us time to get to Dad and took such good care of him to the end, blessings to them.  Needless to say this has shaken my world quite a bit this month and is the number one reason I have been so quiet with my postings.

But as they say for every door that closes another one opens, and for me this was a new job opportunity that I feel is a step in the right direction and moves me away from the acidic workplace that I am currently in.  Not to say that my current employer is all bad, just that after many, many years we have grown apart and it is clear to me that it is time to split ways.  And who am I to question the wisdom of the Universe that brought this opportunity to me.  Thanks to the invention of social networking I can easily stay in touch with those people I have formed a bond with over the last 13+ years far easier then I have from any previous job.  My how times have changed.

Add to this that it was the end of Cookie Sales for my Girl Scout Troop and the end of the term in college and my month has simply not had time for posting.  But now it is Spring Break, which also means that GameStorm is next weekend.  I am excited that I will be running two sessions of Horror Rules at Gamestorm this year.  The adventure is called Terror in Tarrytown and it should prove to be a frightful good time for all.  I think having Invader Zim playing in the background while I put the finishing details on the write-up is just the right touch.

So here is to change, both the good, the bad, and the inevitable.  May it always make us stronger and our soul stronger then it was before.

Magic Items from Children’s Books

Fan by classina

When reading bedtime stories to my kids I am often struck by the quantity of ideas for either game plot or magic items that I discover. Right now I am reading Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to my 9 year old, and Alice in Wonderland to my 6 year old. If we simply allow ourselves to see the items and situations in these works outside of the structure of the story we can reap a small army of ideas out of this simple bedtime ritual. Here are a few ideas I have been struck with for Magic Items.

 

Shrinking Fan (Alice in Wonderland) – A magical fan that when used to fan oneself causes the person to shrink at the rate of 1″ per minute.

Boots of Conclusions (The Phantom Tollbooth) – Magic boots that can be used once per day to “jump” to a small island, when on this small island the character may find the conclusion that would happen from a certain action. While on the island the character is not visible where they had been and time passes as usual while they are gone.

Almost Tea Cup (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) – A tea cup that can be filled three times per day. The liquid that fills the cup is “almost, but not quite unlike tea” and will sustain the physical needs of the character in terms of nutrition but still leave the character feeling not quite satisfied.

Gamestorm – a quick rundown

So I know I keep mentioning Gamestorm so I thought I would take a moment to explain what it is and why I love it. So to star the explanation, Gamestorm is a convention held annually in the Greater Portland area and is currently on its 13th year. The convention is dubbed “The Pacific Northwest’s Premiere Social and Strategic Game Convention” by their website. I am not sure I agree fully with the tag line, at least not the social part, but it is a great gaming convention.

The convention currently runs for 4 days from Thursday through Sunday and is held in March. This year it will be March 24th through the 27th and is being held at the Hilton in Vancouver, Washington. While the location is not ideal for those without their own wheels it is a nice area and does have a number of restaurants of decent quality and pricing within walking distance.

During the 4 days there are 5 different tracks of gaming that go on.
RPG games for those table-top gaming fans
LARPs for those who are a bit more socially inclined in their gaming
Miniatures for those who like to really watch the combat happen
Board Games for all of the board game geeks out there
Panels for those who want to discuss gaming further
CCG for the Collectible Card Gamers out there, I would take my magic decks if I still had them
There are also Indie games and prototype testing of new board games that goes on at the convention as well.

So if you are in the Pacific Northwest and are looking for a way to stay up much too late gaming only to get up bright and early the next morning to game all day again then Gamestorm is the place for you. I just really suggest you take Monday off from work too as you will need it.

The Perfect Gamestorm Shirt!

So as I am sure you are well aware I will be attending Gamestorm again this year in March. So I am looking to find a new shirt to wear at con, to go with my collection of gamer girl shirts. This year we are adding to our collection of friends that are going, one of our additions is a couple that we game with. So since this time there will be a female friend for me to hang with I am most excited about the awesome shirt I just found on Cafepress, I am going to show it to my friend this week and see if she will go in with me and get us a matched set to wear around Gamestorm. It is sure to attract attention, draw comments, and may even help us win a couple games.

 

Life as an RPG

It was mentioned to me the other day by a friend (I think as a quote from someone, but can’t locate the comment) that going to work is like being in a live action RPG. I couldn’t agree more.

For many of us, too many of us, we get up each day and put on our work clothes and head out the door. Depending on your situation even putting on your work clothes can feel like putting on a costume as it may be so different then what you wear in your free time. Then there is the how you have to act at work part, I don’t know about you but there are plenty of times for me that I have to act much differently then I want to, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

So we spend 40 hours (or so) a week playing a role for someone else, or several roles depending on your circumstance, in exchange for a paycheck. Certainly most of us are not really ourselves at work. I know that very few people at my work want to hear me geek out over my latest rpg session, or the game I got at con last month, or even what costume I am working on for the con a few months away. Instead they expect my job to be filled by a certain type of person, and to keep my job I need to fill that role, hence the live action rpg.

Personally I more enjoyed the fantasy based live action game I used to play, at least that character was a version of me that I dreamed up. But since there are bills to pay, mouths to feed, and cons to attend I will be heading off to the daily “game” later this morning. And when I get there and pull my id card off the rear view mirror and put the safety glasses on my head I will go into character and navigate the imaginary world that has been set out as today’s adventure. May you have as much luck with your adventure in your own live action rpg as I hope to have in mine.

Gaming books on the cheap

Picture by topfer
So you want the latest gaming book but don’t or can’t pay the off the shelf price at your local gaming shop? Perhaps the answer is half.com, this is the site we used to buy our 4th edition D&D books at just less then 1/2 off the shelf price. And the condition of the books you may ask? They were both pretty much brand new books, no markings, no cover damage, not even bent spines. Of course half.com is just a place for people and stores to sell the books they have, and if no one is selling your desired book on there then the only option is to wait for it to come up. But there is no harm in looking.

Man vs Dice – Part 3

Clipboard

ClipboardSo what happens when your dice mutiny all together???? When that happens you sit down at the game table, clipboard of characters, maps and miscellaneous information in hand and find that you have everything but your character sheet. You dig through the gaming bag that the gaming clipboard lives in, all of which only ever visits your bedroom, car or gaming table only to discover that you will be accepting the blank character sheet the DM is handing you with a grin. Now the fun part of trying to remember what darn stats your character had anyways. Not so bad on some games, but really bad on others where there are tons of skills.

Fast forward to game the next Friday night, mostly same group of gamers and same darn table, though this time Man sits at the other end of the table hoping for better luck. There is no better luck for Man. Now he finds that the whole gaming clipboard had been abandoned at the last gaming table. Lucky for him the owner of that gaming table is coming over for game tonight, perhaps he will have brought it along. Again no luck for Man, the owner of the gaming table lovingly placed the clipboard in his spot for “abandoned gaming gear” and moved on with his life. Yet another blank sheet for yet another game.

Good thing this particular saga only lasted for two games or Man would have felt truly defeated. Until next time, may your dice roll well for you.

Man vs Dice – Part 2

As promised here I am again to bring you up to current on the continued, and ever ongoing Man vs Dice saga.20-Sided Dice

While the great game of awesome roles continued to elude him, many an attempt has been made to understand the psychology of the bag of dice that our man keeps.  Each member of the group has worked together to help him out by suggesting different ways in which his dice seem to be acting.  However it all started with Man deciding that his dice desired to be acting on the “Color Coded Theory”, where red dice were for rolling high or “hot” roles and blue dice were for rolling low or “cold” roles.  Of course I am sure you are wondering why one would want dice that rolled both ways, but that is simple as he is playing two games that both use percentiles but have reversed charts.  In Legendary Lives high is good, where in Call of Cthulhu low is good.  And in both systems when you go to improve a skill you must fail your roll.  However by the second session it was clear that this system was not working and indeed his dice were giving out the same fail upon fail rolls he was used to.

So on to the next theory, which was the “Wrong Character Theory”, to understand this you must first know that our Man keeps all of his active character sheets, maps, treasure lists, general information, space ship specs and the like on one clipboard.  At the start of each game he shuffles the current characters’ paperwork to the top of the clipboard stack and clamps it firmly in place.  The theory for his poor roles was that his dice were not rolling for the top sheet on the clipboard, but rather for 3 sheets down on the board.  So the current night’s character was shifted down three sheets and the evening of game play continued.  And while for the first several roles it did seem like at last the dice might be triumphed over, it was quickly determined that the dice were on to the ploys of the Man and were not going to follow this theory either.  Back to the drawing board.

So to take this even further into the murky waters of Man vs Dice, another theory was unveiled.  Perhaps the thought pattern fell under, “Wrong Game Theory”.  Just maybe, he was rolling for the next game and didn’t know it.  So the the theory was put to the test, the first game was my game of Legendary Lives, all rolls for the night were recorded on a sheet of paper, but also used for the current game.  The next week’s GM plays in my games (we alternate Fridays) and agreed to go along with it.  The next Friday night, Man rolled but only recorded his rolls, the actual “rolls” for game that night came off the log sheet from the week before.  Game went pretty good for Man, well until about half way through when those pesky dice decided to revolt and rolled horrible rolls.  That is horrible rolls for the next week, they would have been awesome rolls for the current game.  Truly the dice are evil.  So much for that theory.  There is no new theory yet, but I am sure that next game session the table will come up with yet another plan for Man vs. Dice.

Until then, may your dice rolls be plentiful.

Man vs Dice – Part 1

Dice Shirt - Cafepress
Cafepress - Dice Shirt

In my twenty years of gaming experience, trailing over a good number of gaming groups, I have found one thing to be true. At the gaming table there will always be someone whose dice simply hate them. Now I don’t mean the guy whose dice are just cold that night and can’t pull themselves together enough to take on a squirrel in a staring contest. I mean the sort of person whose dice feel that perhaps a new hobby is in order altogether. Though these gamers are truly dedicated for the forage on despite the odds being stacked against them, even and especially by their own “random” number generators. I should know, I am one of them.

But this post isn’t about me, I solved this problem by running games more often then I play them. Though perhaps in the future I will post on the great saga that is my relationship with my dice. This is about a member of my current gaming circle. But first a bit about this gaming circle; it is the circle of guys that my husband has been gaming with since his college days (and in one case before even that), so one could say they have a history and know each other well.

At their suggestions I am adding this ongoing section to my blog to chronicle the love/hate, but mostly hate, relationship our luckless player has with his dice. In fact it is so bad that in honor of attending his first Gamestorm in 2009, I bought him a shirt that said “Help my dice are trying to kill me!” Which he wore to con for both the warning to other players as well as the general humor of it all. I will call him “Player X” out of thoughtfulness of his need to still have people sign up for the games he does when he attends Gamestorm next year.

Over time he has been working on a number of different theories to further prevent his dice from working on racking up a string of TPKs (Total Party Kills). In my next post on this I will cover his last three attempts to find a cure for the affliction of CPDR (Consistently Poor Dice Rolling).  Seeing as we are unsure if the current method will work, but 99% sure it won’t, I will keep you briefed in the saga as it progresses.  Perhaps one of the hair-brained, Wile E. Coyote schemes will work for you!

Do you have someone like this in your group, lets here about it!!!

Legendary Lives 2nd Edition

My favorite game to run is Legendary Lives 2nd Edition.  I have been running this fantasy based RPG since the mid 90’s.  In particular I like the open magic system and the ease of game play.  Since Marquee Press went out of business the authors have put the rule book on the web at www.hauntedattic.org.  There are several other RPG books available on the site including Lost Souls which I have always wanted to run but have not yet had a group interested.

I will be using this blog to post an update of my current groups adventures every other week.  Look for the first post telling about how they all met in the next few days.