Monday, October 17, 2016

An Annual Sadness

Tonight, my daughter wanted to read her Atlas book. She loves the volcano picture so we started reading about South East Asia. That led us to looking at pictures of my wife and me in Thailand and Cambodia. Out of the thousands of photos on my phone and FB, she stumbled onto this one and wouldn't move on.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Thank you, Chris Evans

It will likely be no surprise to you that I believe very strongly that storytelling changes lives. Characters, especially those from fiction, act as our modern mythology. They can influence how we view each other, and help us experience moral, ethical, and human questions about our reality from unique perspectives we may discount, or never encounter in our own lives. This is the reason I love the things that I do, and speak so passionately about characters who aren’t living, breathing people.

Steve Rogers (aka: Captain America) is one of those characters; a fact about which I was regularly teased until the first Cap movie captured everything I love about him so elegantly on screen. I happily admit that I had to eat my own words about Chris Evans being cast in the role. I cannot now think of another actor projecting the kindness, strength, presence, humor, and loss that embodies Steve. And the following story is a perfect reason why.

I found out a few days ago that a student at my wife's school is fighting cancer. I've never had the pleasure of meeting Ryan, but the warmth with which she speaks about him tells me he is someone very special. He also happens to be a huge Cap fan, so my wife asked if I could use my limited media skills to help Ryan connect with his hero. I was honored and happy to help, but it turns out I wasn’t needed at all. Within 36 hours of me hearing about Ryan's illness, Chris Evans had already sent him a personal message.

Mr. Evans is an actor playing a part. He is obviously not Steve Rogers. But he understands what that character can mean to someone and why that meaning matters. He honors the heart of that hero every time he (and others like him) does something like this.

All I can do is share it, and Ryan's story, with you.

Ryan, the quality of the friends you've made, and the love and respect they have for you speaks volumes. Much love, from one Cap fan to another, get well very soon, and enjoy the Cap Premier!

If you'd like to support Ryan and his family, please visit their site and consider donating and/or sharing!

For a glimpse at the amazing support for Ryan from his classmates, click here.


The "Thank You" series was inspired by my post to the late Aaron Allston, as well as the passing of industry greats Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. There were many things I needed to say to these men and never got the chance. I don't intend to let that happen again.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Hey, Richard. It's Rich.

You and Steve Magan, circa 1985.

First of all, Happy Birthday! June 15th, 1985. It's going to be a crazy year. How do I know? Oh, I'm you, 30 years in the future.

No. Sorry. No flying Deloreans. No hoverboards (though I hear they're close). We also don't have newspapers, for the most part. I'm sure there are 80s retro-diners around somewhere, though, and our phone technology went through the roof! Hard to explain, but let's say they make tricorders look like WWII self-cranking radios. On the upside, we didn't blow up the planet, so that's something.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

New Year Update: 2015

It's been a while since I've done a personal post, mostly because of wonderful flood of writing work. It is way overdue for a life update.


If you follow this blog, you've probably noticed a significant increase in my posts under the All Things Gaming tab. With the release of Dungeons and Dragons' 5th edition last year, the opportunities in game writing exploded. As of January 2015 I am writing for:
  • Two weekly and one monthly column at, plus interviewsreviews and more:
    • From the Depths: 5th edition conversions of aquatic races, new archetypes for the core classes designed for aquatic settings, and discussions of aquatic adventures for a range of systems and genres.
    • Rich's Gameroom: New classes, archetypes, races and more for 5th edition play, as well as discussions of non-5th edition material.
    • Behind the Screen: Discussions of houserules, DMing and Playing techniques, system-agnostic discussions and more.
  • Conversions of Southlands PF setting from Kobold Press to 5th edition
  • Development and publication of "The Adequate Commoner" from J.M. Perkins
I'll also be interviewed on the gaming podcast, "Dungeon Master's Block". The recording is this coming Friday the 23rd of January, but I don't have a release date yet. I'll update this post when I find out.

Day Job

At the beginning of last year, I tore a ligament in my shoulder. After two months of "light duty" I had an MRI that confirmed the damage. It took almost six months of appointments, diagnostics, surgery, and rehab, but I'm finally back at the hospital working. Luckily, I still have "light duty" time available. Between the back injury in 2013 and the shoulder injury in 2014, I've decided that I've done all I can as a bedside nurse and it's time to move on to something new. I've applied for a number of positions in the hospital, including working closely with the EPIC electronic medical record team, and I'm hoping to start a new position before I permanently injure myself. I'm also looking into going back to school for a Masters degree. How that will affect my work and writing, I'm not sure, but moving away from hands-on work is an imperative.

It will be sad to leave my unit. My coworkers in the CCU at UCSD are the most professional, intelligent, caring, and skilled individuals I've ever worked with. Our management is top-notch and the opportunities for nurses to influence the workings of UCSD Medical is seemingly endless. I couldn't have asked for a better place to start my nursing career. The downside is that I kind of started at the top. Another unit wouldn't be as satisfying, even if the physical work was less, so I will need to continue my work elsewhere.

Family Life

As some of you know, we are expecting a little brother for Rowan in a few months. I'm incredibly excited about this, but also apprehensive about the significant lack of sleep for the next year or so. Rowan and her mother are the lights of my life and it's hard to imagine that I would have enough love in my heart for yet another amazing being, but I've been assured that my love is bottomless and little Grayson will simply make more of it available. I can't wait.

On the home-front, we're adding a guesthouse to our property. It's taken a while to get the permits and construction going, but we're hoping to have it finished in the next few months.

Stay tuned here for more information on the already-exciting happenings in 2015!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Writer's Guide to Roleplaying: Developing Character

My first guest post hit the net Monday. It's an article I've been contemplating for several years on helping players enjoy their games more. There are hundreds, probably more like thousands of blogposts, articles, supplements and books written about becoming a better Gamemaster, but almost nothing on being a better player. When the team contacted me to guest post on their site, they asked if I had any system-neutral material and this immediately popped into my mind. The response has been impressive.

You can find the post here.

11/4/14 ADDENDUM: I was informed this morning that the post has hit just under 4500 page views since it was posted Monday. I'm not sure what to say. Thanks to everyone who has been sharing it. I'm humbled.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Adequate Commoner's Final Days

With only 3 days still to go, The Adequate Commoner has broken 200% funding with tons of cool stretch goals still to go!

When John first approached me with the idea for Adequate Commoner, I thought it was a fun novelty. Having worked with John on previous projects and become a huge fan of his prose over the past few years, I really should have known better. John has the unique ability to make me laugh and think (and even cringe with horror) at the same time, whether in his novels, short stories, or gaming supplements. Commoner is no exception.

With Adequate Commoner, John has taken Pathfinder to a new and wonderful place. Aspects of the game I've taken for granted for over a decade--race choices, traits and feats, skills, alchemical items, mundane equipment, stealth, ambushes, stakeouts--become hilariously life-or-death.

Of course playing a commoner increases the challenges on the table, but it also increases the satisfaction of a game well played in a way I didn't think possible. Commoner adds a level of appreciation for the subtleties of Pathfinder by teaching you to do more with less. So much more. Commoner has changed the way I will play every PF game from now on.

I can't encourage you enough to get in on this project from the start. Commoner is one of those rare products that injects new ideas incredible fun, all while it reshapes the way you think about your games.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Shoulder Surgery Update

As some of you know, I tore the labrum in my right shoulder while at work near the beginning of the year. Due to the way workman's comp needs to work, they put me on light duty for two months assuming it was a muscle issue and not actual damage. After two months, they had me go in for an MRI (which took a while to schedule), then I made a follow-up with my very cool MD (which took a while to schedule), who then referred me to a shoulder specialist (which get the idea), who told me the MRI showed an "extensive tear" (hint: they don't often use descriptors in these reviews unless it's bad). My new (and also awesome) shoulder MD put the paperwork in for surgery (3-4 weeks to schedule), which then was delayed because I developed a bad chest cold, then delayed longer due to a scheduling issue.

Three weeks ago I had my surgery and the experience was very smooth. Other than the tear, apparently my shoulder cuff muscles and joint looks great with no signs of arthritis or other issues, which is awesome to hear. I had my checkup yesterday and was told that the post-surgery pain can go on for 3-6 months, but the doctor feels I'm way ahead of schedule on my recovery, which is all great news.

I start physical therapy this week and go back for one more recheck in 3 weeks. After that, I should be able to return to light duty (4-6 weeks) and to full duty after that.

It's amazing how long it takes to schedule and juggle appointments, but aside from that, everyone from my doctors to the HR people to the workman's comp people have been wonderful. I'm bummed the pain may go on for a while longer, but I'm very happy with the surgery itself and the relatively fast recovery.

Thanks so much to everyone for the support over the past few months. I'm looking forward to getting back to the bedside.