Sunday, February 24, 2013

Old Friends

My mom loves the Super Bowl. Well, she loves the commercials. This year one of them reminded her of me.

When I was a kid I had a beagle named Sarge. Like me, Sarge loved his friends. He would come home with a pack of his buddies from around the neighborhood (I use the word neighborhood loosely, since we lived on several acres). They were a rag-tag bunch of strays and locals, all playing and causing mischief. I loved those guys. One day Sarge had collected a new addition, a young doberman puppy, still bandaged on her ears, tail and feet from where she'd been trimmed at the vet. Her tag said her name was Bailey.

For the next few months Bailey became a part of Sarge's family, but after Sarge died, the pack broke up and I stopped seeing them.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tools for GMs (Gamemasters, not General Managers)

S ome people have asked me about how I run games, how I adapt modules to my player characters and what tools I use to make games smoother and more enjoyable . A few years ago I ran a 4th edition campaign adapting the DnD v3.5 module Red Hand of Doom. I took a lot of pictures and put together a primer/game log showing how I adapted the module's maps to tabletop and use a few of the numerous tools available to GMs these days.

[My review of Red Hand is coming soon, but in short, it is one of the best modules of the v3.5 era and is one of my all time favorites.]

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't played through Red Hand of Doom, these pics may spoil some of the fun. You've been warned.

How I use a few of the tools available for GMs.

How I adapted the maps for tabletop.

Example of how I used the Skill Challenge mechanic in Red Hand.

Many of the tools I use are available through Paizo, my favorite portal to all things tabletop.

Huge thanks must go to my players, including Will Gustwiller, owner of Eclipse Chocolate in San Diego. Will's creative builds powered much of this game. Huge thanks also to Bernard de la Cruz, Doug Easterly, Asa Keef, Adam Mulford and Jason Cliche for two years of fun.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Playlist for Geeks

Over the years, I've made a small collection of covers and originals featuring songs about classic geek loves. Time to share. Many of these can be found on iTunes, or for free on their respective websites. The first two have hilarious YouTube videos (included below), with links to their sites from there.

If you have any other geek songs I should know about, leave them in the comments below.

Geek Playlist

The Ballad of Barry Allen
Ring Capacity
Star Wars that I Used to Know
Batman, Maybe
Through the Fire and Flames
In the Garage
Still Alive
Superman (It's not Easy)
It's the End of the 'Verse as We Know It
Do you Wanna Date my Avatar
The Soundtrack to Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Sunday, February 10, 2013

An Act of Love

Me and Grandma
AKA: G.G. (Great Grandma)
I've been in Kentucky this past week, helping my family settle into taking care of my grandmother who has recently been put on hospice care. She is doing as well as can be expected; she's in good spirits, has an appetite, is comfortable and is still able to tell us she loves us and understand when we say the same. Several times during this week she's commented about the wonderful family my mom and dad raised. Every time she says that, we remind her that it started with her.

My grandmother divorced my grandfather shortly after WWII--a stoic act of independence in those days. She remarried some years later, but never seemed to need someone simply to fulfill her life. She married because she loved. She has always been my example of how strong, devoted, independent and caring women can be. Even sick and in my parent's house, she insists on paying her own way. It's how she's always been. She takes personal responsibility for everything she does and expects others to do the same. She instilled that in my mother, and my mother (and father) instilled that in us. We were shown nothing but love and respect, with the expectation that we take responsibility for our lives and not force others to do our work or pay for our mistakes.