One of the things that really helps with the atmosphere of any RPG is having the setting down right. In the fantasy based games I run that is fairly easy to accomplish as they are not required to stick to any hard laws of anything, including physics. Magic, deities, or mystical creatures can go a long way towards explaining away any difference between your game world and the standard reality that we all live in.
However, when you are running a modern or near future game the requirement for the setting to more closely match the reality we live in increases greatly. One way to add that finishing touch is to have detailed maps of the major buildings that are part of your plot. With all the detail that goes into a modern building this can be a major time sink for the DM. To help solve this problem, here are a number of links to various building types whose floor plans are out on the internet. If you don’t find what you are looking for here, just do a web search for building floor plans.
Courtesy of my gamer friends on Facebook I was introduced to a company from Japan called CloneFactory. For around $1750 the will make a 20″ doll with an amazing, and rather freaky, resemblance to you, according to this post on laughingsquid. I am not really sure why anyone would need a 20″ doll that has that much realism to it. I can see where the adult industry could use this for larger dolls in the future though…
In case you don’t have enough bacon at your house may I suggest that you add a plush talking bacon to your collection? This discovery was actually made at a friends house during the holiday season of 2010. The primary reason it sticks in my memory banks is that the house where I saw it was a vegetarian house, hardly the local for a plush bacon. The gentleman of the house had received it as a gift from a friend, just a gentle ribbing over the great food he is missing out on. You can pick this up at ThinkGeek.com, I suggest using one of my ads so you help support this website (I know, shameless plug).
There are a ton of cutesy costume ideas out on the internet for all the regular people, but us gamer folks tend to like things a bit more interesting. This costume idea doesn’t even really require that you purchase or make all the items, there is the off chance you may even own some of them already. So you ask, what did I find out on the web. Well, I found costumes from the anime series The Big O for Roger Smith and Dorothy.
For those that haven’t seen this series, I recommend it as this anime is quite entertaining. It is set in a future time, where people have lost their memories. Roger Smith is an expert negotiator, who befriends the android R. Dorothy Wayneright and uses his giant robot to help battle the evil forces that try to influence the world. He is at odds with the local police, but is also an asset to them as well.
Roger Smith’s look is a simple black suit which he is always in. I found that you can buy not only the suit, but also order a wig to don his coif if you can’t manage it with your own hair. While ordering the costume is the easiest way to get the look, any black double breasted suit jacket and sufficient shoulder padding and tailoring could provide the desired effect. Just don’t forget your dark sunglasses.
R. Dorothy Wayneright, usually just called Dorothy on the show has a more particular look; plus with her being an android there is a greater challenge in really pulling of her character. Thankfully her motions are only slightly stiff and will not have you out needing to learn to do the Robot just to imulate her. I think the biggest challenge would be to pull off the monotone voice pattern. Just watch the episodes a lot and you should be able to get it down. Her dress is also basic and in black, though her hair is red, and you have to have the black headband as you can’t be Dorothy without it. On the same site as Roger’s outfit, I found you can pick up a Dorothy dress and even order a wig to have the same hair style.
As you may know from previous posts my father passed away in March of this year. Tomorrow would have been his 67th birthday and we will be gathering as a family for a spaghetti dinner and to spread his ashes. All of this brings to mind some research I did a few years ago into the options of what one could do with a set of human ashes beyond keep them in a urn on the shelf, or spread them to the land, ocean, air or space. Here are some of the ideas I found online, some are just ideas that I have been proposed, while others are viable solutions for your use today.
Make a gem from ashes
You can turn the ashes from your loved one into a gem made by LifeGem. These gems come in a variety of colors, and require a pretty good investment of funds as well. For some people this would be a great way to keep the memories of your dearly departed near you at all times. Not really my thing, but I have never been a big jewelry girl.
Make artwork from ashes
There are artists out there that can use some of the ashes of your loved one to help create a work of art that can be hung on your wall or put on your mantle as a memorial to your dearly departed. They use some ashes to make their works of art. Not sure what I would get a painting of for my father, so we will just be spreading him around the yard instead. It is an interesting idea though, if you are looking for an artist then I suggest checking out Art in Ashes.
One artist, Wieki Somers, is using a 3D printer to turn human ashes, and some other ingredients I am sure, into works of art for an exhibit. Read more about it on designboom.
Plans for the future
Now when my husband dies, assuming he goes before me, I would love to turn his ashes into a set of gaming dice. With the advent of technology in the coming years I figure it shouldn’t be too far fetched when the time eventually gets here. As for me, I want my ashes spread by a great, mossy tree in a forest far from any water source. I get majorly sea sick and would hate for my ashes to make it to the ocean before they are mulched back into the earth.
My first encounter with boffer combat was through my college boyfriend playing a home grown LARP (Live Action Role-Playing) Game. We wore period style clothing, and used boffer weapons for combat. Our group played each Sunday at Mt. Tabor Park in Portland, OR. It is actually where I got to know my first husband, who still plays boffer LARPs just different games. In fact my kids have their own boffer weapons as well.
However it seems that all of the strange looks we got at the park were for nothing as boffer has now gone mainstream. NERF has introduced a line of boffer weapons called N-Force. I checked them out online and then in the store the other day and took a good look at the Nerf N-Force Battlemaster Mace Axe. While the construction is safe enough for most kids to play with, I would still have to say that they are not as well padded as the boffer weapons typically used in a LARP setting. Add this together with the lack of set safety rules that are part of a boffer LARP, and you could end up with a bit of modern-day boffer bruises.
Despite my concerns over the potential safety risks with these weapons, I think that they would be awesome if combined with a bit of boffer combat rules, such as no head or groin shots. It is nice to see that another element of our gamer world has hit the mainstream. It just goes to prove that the geeks shall inherit the earth.
I am rather excited to find that some serious attention is now being given to the need for interstellar travel capabilities. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA for short, has teamed up with a branch of NASA to set the ball in motion. It is call the 100-year Starship Study. There will be a symposium on the subject in late September in Orlando, Florida and about 150 people will participate. They will be chosen based on panel proposals and speaking abstracts that are submitted through their site.
It is great to see that they are finally working towards this and so seriously too. If you check out the release from DARPA on this you can see how serious they are. There will be discussion not only on what new technology will get us to the nearest star but also how we choose who goes, how do we deal with the ethics of it, how do we sell the idea to the general masses, cryogenics, and a lot more.
In the end they are looking to seed a company that is created with the purpose of making this happen in the next 100 years. Personally I am hoping for some of the technology created along the way to improve my life. Mostly I really want a faster way to get from my home to Orlando, Florida for my favorite vacations as the plane ride is the only downside to my Walt Disney World trips. Maybe we will be able to say “Beam me up” by the time they head to the stars.
So despite the business that comes with the end of the school year, especially when you have two scouts and a mom who is graduating college, I have managed to find time to discover the ultimate in cute costumes for my daughter. A bit of back story if you will, my daughter is of the girly-girl type. Thankfully she is not over the top, but compared to me she is quite girly. Though she is not beyond a bit of dirt, she is girly but not too princess. Think Fairy-Pirate-Princess, a nickname she got from her step-father.
Anyways back on topic, so I found that I can order the dress from Bioshock 2 for her. Granted I could make it, but due to the time constraints put on my by work and motherhood I am not sure I have the time. That and I would like a new costume for me this year too. So she wants the dress and in purple. My girl also wants us to make her feet and hands look bloody so she plays the part. I can just see her creeping people out, “X their eyes daddy, X their eyes”.
I am also considering getting her the Big Daddy doll to go with it.
What could be better?
This will be a good Orycon!. Add to it that this year’s theme is The Lighter Side of Horror.
One of the things about role-playing is that it tends to be something you do for years and years. It also seems to be that most gamers move through a myriad of gaming systems depending on the tastes of their gaming group over the years. Of course this means an ever growing collection of gaming books and character sheets to keep track of. Recently I picked up an old copy of the 1983 TSR Red Box and needed to find a character sheet for my boy to make his first character with.
Thanks to modern advancements we no longer need to do them all by hand or make our way to a copy machine, we can just go online and find them. And in my searches I stumbled across what is to my knowledge the ultimate character sheet site on the internet, RPG Sheets. They have everything from 2300 AD to Wraith: The Oblivion. I suggest you check them out next time you need a character sheet for pretty much any game.
So, you have a friend that wants to game but can’t make it to the table, what should you do? Perhaps they live somewhere else, or maybe they are on vacation, or perhaps they are in a care center after having a tracheotomy? Well, no worries so long as they can talk, type, or write flash cards they can join you at the table!
Our friend was recently in the hospital and then care facility for a month, once he was off the strong pain meds and realized he was missing game we had to do something. So, we hooked him up with a net book complete with web cam from one of the group, and then setup my trust laptop also with web cam to take care of things on our end. We used Skype since I already have an account and is conveniently free for this sort of thing. Of course another program if you have one handy would work as well.
We used this for two games and it worked pretty good. While we had some issues with the volume these were mostly due to an air compressor that was running on our friends end and nothing else as the problem was not as evident in session 2 when the compressor was not being used. Also I would recommend that if you have a USB web cam that you place the camera on the game side up higher if it is an option so it isn’t on one person all night, we didn’t think of this until after the game.
As an alternative, I have some friends who have used Second Life for RPGs with distant people. To be honest, I didn’t really get Second Life the first time I checked it out. I can understand the appeal, I just find it doesn’t hold my interest. Perhaps I am much to busy in my first life to want to manage a second one too.
So here we are nearly done with the month of May. Which at my house means two things are quickly coming up, first is my daughter’s Birthday and hot on its heels will be Father’s day. While my daughter is blessedly easy to shop for, just get it in pink and she will love it – more so if it also has sparkles.
The harder shopping feet in our house is what the kids are going to get their dad and step-dad. Both are not into the typical gifts so often advertised on sale this time of year. No ties or bbq aprons will be purchased around here. When you are shopping for a “gamer guy” it is best to find an appropriately geekish gift that they will actually like. So I would highly suggest Think Geek, if you have been to their site you know what I mean. If you haven’t been then you should go check it out. I know that I am ordering my husband’s present from them. I would tell you what it is but I don’t want it getting back to him.
If you are a gamer girl looking to make a geek gift for the dad in your life, then I recommend the Star Wars Craft Book. If I could knit I would say make my son the R2-D2 knit cap. Speaking of Star Wars, I was happy to get to watch most of the opening ceremonies for the redone Star Tours at Walt Disney World. I am sad to see a ride that I have always enjoyed change, but I understand that change is a part of life and so will manage. Though with our next vacation to Disney World coming up end of next year, I am excited to see the new version of Star Tours. It has been converted to 3D, of course, and now features a variety of different Star Tours to go on, which will give the ride some exciting variety. Can’t wait to report on what I think of it.