The RPG Academy, Kickstarters, and Pathfinder Beginners

rpgacademy

I am happy to announce my newest article has been posted over at The RPG Academy.  This is the homepage for The RPG Academy podcast.  The podcast episodes are primarily split between tabletop RPG actual play recordings and the general advice episodes that are labeled Table Topics.  I highly recommend the podcast, especially if you are a new dungeon master.  They have a solid team of experienced gamers and a growing community of awesome listeners.  Most importantly they are good people!  At this point I will be submitting writings dealing with board games.  I am excited to be contributing content to this page.  I have a number of games in my collection that I would like to cover.  In addition to those, I will be on the lookout for new and exciting games.  You can find my first article here.

Kickstarter Report:

I am currently supporting two active Kickstarter projects.  First we have Pirate Loot, A Card Game of Treasure and Treachery.  The game was designed by Jason Bulmahn who you may recognize as the lead designer of The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.  The art is being done by Scott Kurtz and Dylan Meconis.  Both are exceptional artists and they bring a very cool style to the game.  You can see art samples and even demo the game if you visit the Kickstarter page.  The game is already funded with full artwork and is on pace to hit some very cool stretch goals.  I know it will hit Stretch Goal #2 which adds six bonus cards to the game.  Then all sights are set on Stretch Goal #3 which expands the game to six players with two new suits of pirate.  They have only unveiled one of the two, but it’s UNDEAD!  Do you even need to see the other to be convinced?  Pirates + Card Game = Fun time for all.  Check out the full details of the Kickstarter here.  There are eleven days remaining and you are already guaranteed some pretty awesome stuff.  

The next project that I am backing is Boss Monster: Dungeon-Building Card Game for iOS & Android.  This is the follow up to the tabletop version of Boss Monster by Brotherwise Games.  The project has already been funded and is aiming at stretch goals as well.  I own the tabletop version of this game and highly recommend it to fans of retro video games.  Hopefully I will have a chance to write more about that game over at The RPG Academy.  While this project is for an electronic version of the game, check out some of the pledge options.  They offer some cool ways to get a copy of the original tabletop version as well as the new digital game.  This Kickstarter only has four days left so if you are interested check it out soon!  Full details can be found here

Pathfinder RPG Beginner Box Set:

Lastly I wanted to mention that I am getting close to running a few newbies through the Pathfinder Beginner box.  One of the players will be my younger brother and I am excited to introduce him to the world of role-playing.  While we have shared a number of hobbies through the years this was never one of them.  He grew up hearing stories of our gaming sessions and at some point in the last year expressed his interest in being part of a game.  I believe we tried once in the late 90’s and it failed miserably (not because of him).  Another player is an old friend who played in a few games with me, but it has been a long time for both of us.  Expect to see more about our adventures in the near future.  I am also thinking about writing up a few things on the Beginner Box as well.  

Speaking of Pathfinder, my friend just bought me an awesome poster to hang near the gaming table.  A parody of the Dogs Playing Poker oil paintings.  This thing is perfect for any game room and the Etsy shop has versions for many different tabletop games!  Even at 19″ X 27″ it retains a lot of detail and color.  You can find Vice and Villainy here.

dogspathfinder

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Posted in Pathfinder, Tabletop

Happy New Year! (And My Comic Pull List)

Happy New Year: A Quick Note

Thank you for the Birthday wishes! I’m excited to begin another year. We will continue to write this story. Many of you have been here a long time, some from the very beginning. Others are new and I say welcome. Enjoy the ride. Hopefully over the course of this next year a few more people will enter the story. Much like you, I don’t know where it’s going to go. I’m hoping for more car chases and steamy love scenes myself! – One of my recent Facebook posts

Instead of the typical birthday greeting my brother said, “Happy New Year.  It’s a New Year for you”.  That perfectly summed up how I had been feeling.  The year of 33 is now gone.  It had been a year filled with ups and downs.  I made it through one of the darker times in my life and came out a stronger person.  There were plenty of laughs as well.  New memories, new connections, new friends.  I started a new website (this one) a few months into my year.  Fifty-one posts later, I am still writing.  I also created a column for another website (see previous blog post).  While I won’t officially announce it until I write an article, there is another page I will probably be contributing to soon.  This leads to National Novel Writing Month this November.  I will be participating.  All of this equals more writing than I have done in years.  I no longer have any doubts about calling myself a writer.  This makes me very happy.

I find myself looking to the past around my Birthday.  That is just a nice way of saying I feel regret and dwell on it.  Eventually that leads to looking towards the future, often in a very abstract sense.  It feels good for a time, but if you don’t act that feeling can sour.  What I aim to do this year is turn those abstract ideas into solid goals.  Then focus on living in the present.  With the groundwork I have done in the past year this seems more attainable than it ever has before.  Here is to year 34.  It will be a magical one!

My Comic Book Pull List

Captain Midnight #14
Conan the Avenger #5
Dream Thief Escape #3 of 4
Groo Vs Conan #2 of 4
Massive #26
Star Wars Legacy II #18
Tomb Raider #7
Batman ’66 #14
TMNT Turtles in Time #3 of 4

A few random thoughts…

-Conan is my favorite comic book character so a week with two books is epic indeed!

-I am way behind on The Massive, but the stack is currently my priority.  It was one of those books that I really enjoyed and just took a leap of faith that it would continue to be good.  Now that I am burning my way through the pile I am loving the book even more than when I first started reading it!

-Batman ‘66?  I think I have slobbered all over this book enough in the past.  Dude.  It’s still awesome.

-Star Wars, those crazy Star Wars!  The end of an era.  Bittersweet.  I am excited to see what Marvel will do with the Star Wars comics, but I love what Dark Horse has done over the years.  Thank you Dark Horse!

 

 

Posted in Comics, Skunk Ape Episode (Misc), Writing

The PDX-Files

thepdxfiles

I have posted a new article over at the We Be Geeks Network.  My column is The PDX-Files and you can find the archive here.  While I include a bit of myself in everything I write, I try and keep that column a little less personal than what I write here.  I still only write about things I enjoy and have passion for in every article.  If you are interested please check it out from time to time.  I am trying to update as often as possible, but want to avoid posting just for the sake of posting.

As for PDX Geek 777, the home base, I am attempting to be as open and personal as I can with what I write here.  I plan on ramping up my fiction writing in the coming months as described in my recent post about National Novel Writing Month.  Part of that process will be documented here.  Being open has been a bit of a struggle and I will honestly say that I have held back or cut things in the editing process.  Some of it is that I am not used to having a lot of people examining my writing and I can be a very self-conscious man.  My numbers aren’t through the roof, but it is still many more than my website was getting in the mid to late 90’s.  I was also usually writing anonymously.  That leads to my second problem.  Having readers that I know in day to day life or even my past that I don’t want to give access to my deepest emotions.  I understand these things are the realities of anyone who wants to write.  That is why I fight against them.  With every article I write it becomes that much easier.   

I will conclude by saying thank you to everyone who does take the time to read my posts.  Like many writers I write for myself, but I also do want to share and have people read what I have to say.  The ultimate goal being to write and share fiction that brings even a little joy to someone’s life.  Thank you.        

Posted in Skunk Ape Episode (Misc)

Gen Con 2014: Writers, Writers, & a Musical Duo!

Gen Con 2014 has come and gone.  I had a wonderful time at “The Best Four Days in Gaming”.  Another Gen Con will definitely be in my future.  It was a great experience and I recommend any tabletop gamer make the trek.  I went solo and while I still had an excellent time, I think next time around will require some fellow travelers.  Honestly I was in need of a trip on my own so it worked out well.  For this post I want to focus on a few of the events that I was lucky enough to attend.

Weis & Hickman Dragonlance Legacy Celebration

The creative team that brought us the world of Dragonlance gathered for a panel to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the first Dragonlance books.  The Dragonlance Chronicles Trilogy was not only my introduction to Dungeons & Dragons, but also to the fantasy genre.  It was the first set of books I fell in love with and I have reread them more times than any other books.  Even though it has been 25 years I still clearly remember the classroom in which I sat and read most of the books.  I fell in love with all of the characters, but the mage Raistlin Majere and the death knight Lord Soth were my favorite.  My friends and I would go into the woods and pretend we were the Heros of the Lance.  I always played Raistlin with my staff, marble secured to the top.  Eventually this type of play would move inside when I was finally introduced to the Dungeons & Dragons game.

The panel shared stories from the early days and it felt like a very emotional night.  I was happy to be able to share the experience with so many other fans.  The one downside was that it was only an hour.  During the panel it was said that the original books were heavily cut due to the company wanting to sell them at $2.99.  Weis & Hickman actually expressed that they would love to rewrite the entire story with everything back in the books.  I am not sure if that will ever happen as Wizards of the Coast no longer publishes Dragonlance material.  This fan is hopeful, but not willing to wait.  Now that I am back from the convention I will be sitting down and reading the trilogy one more time.

An Evening with R.A. Salvatore

This event was a late addition to Gen Con this year.  R.A. Salvatore is another author I have been enjoying for 20+ years.  I was very much looking forward to the event and Bob did not disappoint.  It was held in a small room and felt very intimate.  He sat at the podium, gave a few updates, then spent the next 2 hours answering our questions and telling stories.  I am pretty sure I had a smile on my face for the entire talk.  The man is a true storyteller.  He talked a bit on writing, shared stories of his past D&D games, and a few about his days playing Everquest.  I really got the sense that he enjoyed being able to do this kind of thing for his fans.  He seemed to be having a good time which in turn made us have an even better time.

I have mostly focused on Salvatore’s work in the Forgotten Realms, but he did mention his other set of books The DemonWars Saga.  I will probably go back and read those books now as they sounded very interesting.  He also mentioned a tabletop RPG he and his son Kickstarted set in the DemonWars world.  You can find more information on that here.

The Doubleclicks: Nerd Music in Concert!

The last event I would like to mention is the sold out Doubleclicks concert I attended.  I list on my page that I am a metalhead.  While that is very true, I am a lover of all genres of music.  Music means the world to me.  It is an emotional outlet, a friend in dark times, and often an escape.  The Doubleclicks make wonderful music and I am happy to report they also kill it live!  It is a bit funny that this was my first time seeing these ladies as they are based in Portland, Oregon.  They have even played shows at comic book stores that I frequent and I have listened to them for quite some time now.  2,240 miles from home was how it was going to be.  I quickly walked (no running at Gen Con please!) from a panel in another hotel, made it to the show with a minute to spare, and grabbed a seat near the back next to some nice people.  The next hour was a perfect set filled with humour, sing alongs, and smiles from the stage and audience.  What I noticed most was both had an incredible stage presence which enhanced the experience of listening to the songs.  Near the end they jokingly referenced people asking if they were really sisters.  That was another thing I noticed and really enjoyed.  My brother and I are really close and watching siblings interact on stage was very fun for me.  If you haven’t listened to The Doubleclicks I suggest you give them a try.  The songs are filled with smart humour, emotion, and often remind me of the music that I fell in love with as a young child.  Honestly if I have kids one day I look forward to sharing their music with them.  We’ll get to the soaring adventures of Iron Maiden one day, but why not start with something like “Wonder”.


Check out their albums and if you can go see a live show.  You won’t regret it.  More info here.

One final note for this posting while it is fresh in my mind.  I learned of Robin Williams passing a couple days before my trip.  It was a punch to the gut, but I hadn’t really processed the news.  My introduction to the man was the movie Popeye which I loved as a child and still do to this day.  The songs are incredible and his portrayal of the character was perfect.  He would go on to amaze in numerous roles and has been a constant in many of our lives.  There are actors and then there are great actors.  Robin Williams was a great actor.  When he nailed a role it was acting, but it was also the beautiful man himself.  When I got on my first flight back to Portland I was exhausted and emotionally drained.  I had spent four days in Seattle the week prior and never really stopped moving.  The woman next to me on the plane was watching Good Will Hunting, a movie I know well enough that sound is not required.  I am often an emotional guy, but I also hide it well.  It is difficult for me to cry in private and almost unheard of in public.  Once he showed on the screen I said fuck it and let all of my emotions go.  I cried for Robin Williams and I cried for many other things that ran through my mind.  This isn’t the post to detail all of that, but while I felt sad I also felt better for getting that out.  I don’t know if she noticed, but I felt at ease when we shared a smile before getting off the plane.  Robin Williams will live on through his work, but I am still sad that he is gone.  I just hope he is now at peace.

 

 

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Posted in Skunk Ape Episode (Misc), Tabletop, Writing

Chapter 1: National Novel Writing Month

Back with an update before I hit the road for Gen Con!  You can check my twitter feed over the next few days for live updates.  After I return from Gen Con my plan is simple.  Spend a lot of time writing.

There are people in this world who knew from an early age what they wanted to do with their life.  They had a passion for something and with some hard work made it a reality.  You also have people who are constantly scratching their head without a clue.  Then one day they roll out of bed, the mid-30’s have arrived, and they are still asking that fundamental question.  What do I want to do with my life?

I used to try and convince myself that I was in that second group.  It was much easier to say I was ever-searching than it was to admit that I never committed to what I wanted out of life and made it happen.  From a young age I knew I wanted a few basics.  The first, someone to share this life with and maybe even start a family.  I wanted an income that came from something that I enjoyed and to be as much of my “own boss” as possible.  Finally, if you asked me that basic question, “what would you like to be when you grow up”, and I answered honestly…  I wanted to be a writer.  34 years into this adventure and I still can’t check anything off that list.

There are plenty of reasons why I may never be a writer, but there is only one reason that currently matters.  I never tried my absolute hardest to become a writer.  The main reason is a fear of failure.  What if I put everything into this one dream and it doesn’t work out?  I understand how silly that sounds to some people.  It would take another blog post about underachievers to really explain the struggle.  This blog was actually a first step in getting the creative process going after a long break from regular writing.  After months of thinking about it too much I am ready to sit down, kill that pesky internal critic, and just write, write, write.

I was reminded by the ladies over at Chickcast that November is National Novel Writing Month.  You challenge yourself to write 50,000 words of a new novel in the month of November.  More info on National Novel Writing Month can be found here.  It was first brought to my attention when I started listening to the podcast last year.  Cory, one of the hosts, had been participating in the project.  A few weeks ago the project was again mentioned and I decided that I would commit come this November.  I don’t have any expectations for the words that come out of this head.  For me it is about doing more writing on one project than I have ever done before.  It is about fighting the internal critic, fighting the fear, and walking away with something.

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Posted in Skunk Ape Episode (Misc), Writing

GenCon 2014: The Quest Will Soon Begin

This week our hero gets a package in the mail…  Ladies and gentlemen, my Gen Con Badge has arrived!   As I’ve mentioned before, the year 2014 marks the 20th Anniversary of my introduction to the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game.  There had been a break in my playing and recently I decided to commit to the hobby once again.  Earlier this year I attended my first comic convention, Emerald City Comic Con.  While still high on the energy from that experience the idea for celebrating this anniversary in style came to mind.  Why not Gen Con 2014?  I’ve never been to Gen Con and I’m certainly not getting any younger.  I immediately began planning out the trip.  That was a little over three months ago.  Now the badge is finally in my hands and everything feels much more real and right around the corner!  One month to be exact.

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I am sitting in my apartment tonight, box fan providing some relief from our mini heat wave.  A whiskey on the rocks in hand, Dio concert on the tv, and thoughts of past tabletop sessions running through my head.  I love all of those old memories.  We were young, having fun, and I was really happy when we played.  It is time to start making some more.  Come August I’ll be boarding a red-eye flight to Seattle with a final destination of Indianapolis, Indiana.  Gen Con.  A new quest to kick off the next 20 years of adventure!

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Posted in Tabletop

Metal Monday with High on Fire

Music is an escape and often a drug.  Many days it is what gets me out of bed in the morning.  I know that inevitably I will go through the doors of work, slowly climb the staircase, enter the office, and make my way to the desk.  Punch away at a keyboard for 8 hours.  Repeat 5 times.  Break.  Start the cycle again come Monday.  That isn’t what I am thinking about as I pour a cup of black coffee, thus beginning my morning ritual.  I begin to feel for what I want to listen to.  Sometimes I already know from the night before.  Other times I patiently wait for the riff or seed that will point me to an album.  Often it comes as I shower and play various tunes in my head.  Once decided I get in my car, put on the music, and crank the dial to just under max.  From point A to point B that lonely car becomes a magical space as the songs take me to different places in my head.

Tonight is one of those nights that I have already decided what will play in the morning.  High on Fire’s Death Is This Communion.  I need something powerful.

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Posted in Metal, Metal Monday
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