Santa's Coming

When I was a kid, on Christmas Eve, my parents would take me to the control tower at Grissom Air Force to see Santa on the radar. That was just the greatest thing in the entire world for me when I was five or six. A couple of Air Force officers would bring up the radar and we would all get to see a little blip on the screen that looked like a little sleigh. That cemented the deal right there. There was no turning back. Santa was real and he was on his way.

As I thought about it, I wanted to be able to show Lily the same kind of thing. Since there isn't an Air Force base near us (Grissom is far north of us now), I went Googling. I found two different sites: Norad Tracks Santa and Santa Tracker 2009. The Santa Tracker is cute cause it shows a world view and a little Santa wherever he is at the time. Not the same as when I was a kid, but the Norad site is the best. It has a big radar screen and an image of Santa's sleigh and his reindeer. It even has a reindeer cam where you can see little houses off to the side. I showed this one to Lily and she asks, "Where's our house?" I told her that it wasn't on there yet. She smiled and looked at it closely. That's when I told her, "Santa's going to be here in 2 hours, 13 minutes." Her eyes got real big and she clamped her lips shut, turned and ran to her room. I tell you, I laughed so hard I cried.

Then of course, two minutes later she comes back out with a picture of an A and a squiggle for Santa. She's so funny.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

Be safe and enjoy time with family and friends.

Out with the Old, In with the New

I sat down yesterday afternoon to watch the repeat of Syfy's "Alice". At first, I was just kinda so-so with it, but as it went on, I started to really like it. Now, by no means is it good, but it was enjoyable. Kind of like "Tin Man". Even my Super Princess Power Girl sat down with me to watch it.

But it made me start thinking. What other kinds of classic tales could be retold in a new way? While making Banana Bread (which smells fabulous right now in my kitchen) and dying my hair (the gray is getting out of hand), I thought about it.

Snow White.

Yes, there has been a re-telling of Snow White within the last several years, a book called "Snow White, Rose Red" or something like that. I haven't read it, but I doubt that what I have in mind is anything like the book.

Here's what I have: (Now, keep in mind, I have only read the kids version of the tale, mostly the Little Golden Books)

Angela White, known as Snow to her friends because of her long luxurious platinum blonde hair, is an aspiring model with a lot of talent. But she hasn't been able to really hit the big time, so in the mean time, to make ends meet, she works in a small shop in a Soho type area of town. (What town, I haven't decided yet, but think something very ecclectic and hobo-y with coffee shops, local crafts, book shops, etc). Her boyfriend, Jason, works in a coffee shop around the bend. Things are nice for them, but could be better.

While at work one day, she is approached by a man named Archer Hunter who says that he works for Henrietta Wick, head of the Mirror, Mirror Beauty Corporation and that Angela is just what they are looking for.

The Mirror, Mirror Beauty Corporation is a huge, worldwide company that has drawn in some of the most beautiful models from around the world to work for them. Their creams and cosmetics are said to actually reverse the aging process. But their ingredients are closely guarded secrets and they are always under attack from the media and other sources.

Some say Henrietta Wick is older than she appears but her own product has given her a new lease on life. But, known only to her and a few of her inner circle, the products are not what keep her young and beautiful. It's her models. When she has finished a contract with a model, that model is taken to a room and told that she will recieve a special treatment of the product as a thank you/farewell gift. The model is given something to drink and passes into unconsciousness moments later. Her beauty essence is drawn from her and turned into a liquid which is given to Ms Wick. (Think Countess Bathory with less blood) Afterwards the model, now looking more like an old woman, is dropped off in town and left to find her own way.

Meanwhile, Archer Hunter has introduced Angela into the business. Ms. Wick is interested in her and knows that she will gets several years of essence from Angela. But as soon as Angela hits the scene and the tabloids call her "The Fairest of the Mirror Mirror Beauties", Ms Wick becomes infuriated and orders Hunter to take her away and have her "removed from the public eye". Hunter has a problem with this because he has come to like her.

This is as far as I have gotten. I haven't figured out where to insert Prince Charming. I know that he isn't the boyfriend, but someone else - maybe a scientist at the corp or a security guard, maybe even a cop that has nothing to do with the corp, but...Ok, there it is. Prince Charming - named Edward Prince (maybe, maybe not) is a cop with the local PD. He's been pulled into an investigation over the discovery of one of the former models who was found wandering the streets. When she's printed and such, they learn that she's really Cynthia Haynes, a 20 year old model from NYC. Obviously, she looks more like MaMa from the Addams Family. Cynthia starts talking about the things that have been going on at Mirror, Mirror and he gets curious. He starts to investigate.

I'm thinking that maybe he knew her years ago, like in school or something, so he has more reason to go looking for her.

How about the apples? How does that fit in? Does it have to be an old witch disguise and apples? What about the dwarves? Does Archer Hunter get her out and hide her in a midget wrestling outfit or the circus? Hmmm....

Stargate: Universe

So, I am giving it a chance.

But, so far -- eh. I'm not finding it compelling.

Yeah, it's Stargate, so I am giving it the opportunity to pull me in like the others did, but I am not so sure about it. I like Eli and Lt. Scott, and TJ, but otherwise, not that interested. Doc has termed it Stargate-lactica because of the shaky cam thing and I have a tendency to agree with him.

Last nights episode was so far the best one, with the alien bugs and such. It reminded me the most of Stargate - alien world and such. But, ya know, I am having a hard time caring about the characters.

  • Colonel Talford (Lou Diamond Philips) just annoys me in general. I think he's taking the pushy overbearing military guy a little too far and that makes him rather unlikeable. Actually, very unlikeable.
  • Eli Wallace (David Blue) is a good character. He's young and inexperienced and knows that. His attitude and ability to handle himself in a tough situation is believable and likeable. He's one of the reasons that I still watch.
  • Dr. Nicholas Rush (Robert Taylor) is a jerk to the extreme. I really could have done without the jackass scientist part. Yeah, I know this is his life's work and that they are all screwed, but man, cut the attitude.
  • Colonel Everett Young (Justin Louis) may turn out to be a good character in the end, but I think he needs some work. I don't think as a leader he's really getting the chance to prove himself. He takes to many cues from Rush, who needs to go away.
  • Lt. Matthew Scott (Brain Smith) is another promising character, but he needs a chance to get on screen more often. The actor plays the character well, but he hasn't really gotten to do much so far.
  • Chloe Armstrong (Elyse Levesque) is just a whiny, "look at me" type that drives me nuts. She's more at home on a soap opera than in space. And really, the hook up with Scott? Not working for me. Eli was a better choice.
  • Tamara Johnson, aka TJ (Alaina Huffman) has some definate potential. She proves that she's a doctor but also human. She knows that everything has gone to hell but she still makes sure to keep a cool head - most of the time.
  • Ronald Greer (Jamil Walker Smith) should have been left in the brig on whatever planet they were on in the first place. He's annoying and crappy. His only emotion seems to be anger.
The others are all bit players and mostly uninteresting.

The thing that I keep in mind is that I didn't really like Atlantis the first few times I saw it either, but after a while I started to really get into it. So, you never know, but I have little faith.

Movie Monster Madness

The Halloween game was a success!

We ended up with nine total "characters":
  • Dracula
  • Frankenstein's Monster ("The Creature")
  • The Invisible Man
  • The Creature from the Black Lagoon ("The Gill Man")
  • Wolfman
  • The Mummy
  • Bug Eyed Alien
  • Robot Monster
  • Ghost
The characters consisted of a few Pros and Cons and a quick little description. This game was by no means serious. In fact, Doc and Leaky Pete played The Gill Man and the Wolfman as grumpy, little old men. It was the height of hilarity.

The monsters ran away from the members of the TV show "Ghost Hunters", so this was a SciFi Original RolePlaying Game in a sense. Granted I know nothing about the TV show, so I just kinda bluffed it, but it didn't really matter. All that mattered was that the monsters could manage to keep from getting their pictures taken by the ghost hunters.

The setting was a haunted movie set out in the desert somewhere (Delware, suggested Doc). There were six lots - Set A: a Haunted Mansion soundstage; Set B: a Crashed Alien Spaceship soundstage; Set C: Swamp/Lagoon soundstage; Set D: Wild West soundstage: Set E: Modern City soundstage; and Set F: 50's Midwest town soundstage.

I didn't have as many players this year as usual since Party Gorilla had to work and Hamster had to go see his girlfriend, but we still had fun. We started out with Doc playing The Gill Man, Leaky Pete as the Wolfman and Jacob with no Nickname as the Bug Eyed Alien Monster. Gill Man was enjoying a nice dip in his lagoon soundstage, while Wolfman was playing cowboy in the Wild West soundstage and the Bug Eyed Alien had just crashed into the Crashed Alien Spaceship soundstage. There was lots of silliness and bad Jewish old man accents while the Alien went in search of stuff to fix his spaceship and earth women. They didn't last too long before they got their pictures taken. Rushing the camera men wasn't a good plan.

Leaky Pete pulled out the Ghost next and proceeded to possess one of the camera men and run around rampant making southern slave voices while doing so. Jacob whipped out the Robot who ran around saying "Does not compute!" and Doc pulled the Mummy out of storage in the basement of the old lingerie shop (pink is not his color). The Robot didn't last long, and Jacob ended up with Dracula next, who apparently was really hungry and ran around sucking all of the camera crew dry. Ghost managed to get his photo taken right after he finished possessing someone and the Mummy was too busy shambling down the street to get away from the oncoming camera.

Next Leaky Pete came up with The Creature, who woke up in a room in the top of the haunted mansion missing the Bride of Frankenstein, but she did leave behind her arm, just in case he got lonely. Doc got the Invisible Man next, who is completely insane (The Invisible Man, not Doc, he's just really goofy). Believe me, he played it up for all it was worth. I think by the time he was done we'd all lost a few san points.

After a while, Dracula drained pretty much all of the crew dry and the movie monsters, minus several of their friends, were left alone once again.

We had a blast for about two hours.

Sci Fi Original Pictures Presents a Sci Fi Original Role Playing Game "Movie Monster Madness"

Updates

Thanks to all for the well wishes about our little girl.

She is definitely one tough cookie, that's for sure. Her collarbone has healed nicely according to her last doctor's visit. She has a small knot from the calcification and it's a little tender, but the nurse says that's normal. She goes back next Monday to get the ok to take off the sling. Man, is she excited. I think her biggest concern is that she won't have to have the sling while she's dressed as Dorothy for Halloween. She's a crazy little girl.

The Halloween Game is coming up and I have de-railed my thoughts again. I have a hard time making up serious horror stuff for a game that's short. We typically have 5-6 hours free time for these games, so I want something that isn't going to take a ton of time. I did finally make a decision though.

-- Movie monsters that have to outrun the ghost hunters.

The PCs play one of ten movie monsters (Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, The Wolfman, The Invisible Man, The Bride of Frankenstein, a Zombie, Son of Dracula, Bride of Dracula, The Swamp Thing and The Creature From the Black Lagoon) that are still inhabiting an abandoned movie lot. A group of ghost hunters comes to check out the reports of hauntings only to discover that a lot more is there than they thought. The Monsters have to out run the ghost hunters and do their best to NOT get their pictures taken.

Everyone gets to play more than one monster, mostly cause one of my regular players gets killed a lot - I mean, a lot.

Let's see what else...

I FINALLY HAVE NEW CARPET!!

Can you tell that I'm happy? =o) Our old carpet was this hideous golden stuff that wasn't attached to the floor all the way and had stretched over the years (33 to be exact) and was stained and gross...etc. In fact, the carpet had pulled away from the tack strips and Lily fell a couple of years ago and cut her knee wide open on one of the tacks. It was nasty. And she asked "Mommy, why is there red paint on my knee?" What a kid.

But, anyway, our new carpet isn't actually new, it is used, but it's high end, stain resistant carpet with really nice padding (the old stuff was disentegrating as you stood on it). It's a lovely shade of emerald green and soooo nice. I'm thrilled. Thanks to my in-laws for my wonderful carpet.

Now I just have to get everything put back where it belongs before this weekend's game -- and we need to get to the litter box. Ronin can make smellies.

Halloween Game 2009

Every year we host a Halloween game (not actually on Halloween as we take Lily trick-or-treating) and every year, inevitably, our friend Kyle, hereafter known as Hamster, gets his character killed. It's great.

The most memorable Halloween game for me was the one that I ran where the PCs got called to an island for a one-of-a-kind hunting opportunity. Everything goes wrong almost immediately and within the first five minutes of the game the PCs are arguing with each other in a large room. Doc has a shotgun, Party Gorilla tries to grab it, I make a roll, the shotgun goes off and Hamster's guy gets a hole through his chest. Five minutes. That's all it took. Five whole minutes. Since this is a regular thing for our game group, I made extra characters. I usually have to. Later on, Hamster's back-up character gets bitten (yes, bitten) by some plant creature and proceeds to spend the rest of the game turning into one of these things. I was great fun.

This year, however, I am having a little more trouble with my idea. I had originally thought up an old west game where an old stagecoach makes its way into a small town and stops there for the night. The PCs get stuck there and find that not all is right in the town. I figured out what was in the one horse town and who was there, but that was about all I could come up with.

Old west just wasn't doing it for me.

So, I decided on a really nasty dungeon crawl.

But, nah, not really a good idea for me for a Halloween game. I would rather run that for just a regular Sunday game.

So, instead, here is my idea: The Vatican Investigative Service (V.I.S) sets out to hunt down a rogue demon that is terrorizing the English Countryside.

I've had this idea for some time but just now decided to use it.

My only problem - SciFi Original Pictures Presents a SciFi Original Role-playing Game....

I can't think of a title.

Brimstone

Wouldn't you know it, the day that I am actually off and have no plans to go out and do anything, the rotation on SCiFi (excuse me SyFy) is Brimstone. I loved this show. I always thought that the idea was a really good one. But I never realized that everything has a bluish cast to it.

Doesn't matter.

I am glad to watch the show again.

Maybe this means that it will be hitting DVD soon...

Kids are something else

You'd think that kids are either made completely of rubber or out of concrete, but apparently not.

My daughter tripped and fell on Saturday night, right after I walked in the door from work. She tossed the books one way and she went the other. Screaming and crying ensued. I had no idea what had happened. I thought she had just bruised her bone and we continued on our way - read stories, said goodnight and went about our business. She woke me up about 2:30 in the morning when she crawled into bed with us. After that she slept on the couch. I didn't think anything of it. She's Lily - she doesn't get hurt. She just doesn't. Eight o'clock the next morning she's crying. All I can think of is that she really bruised herself. But there was no bruise and no swelling. So, we went on.

Our friends came over, we gamed, we laughed. She napped on the couch, was listless and not herself. It still never occurred to me that something might be wrong. She went to bed normally and slept all night long without any problem.

It wasn't until after almost a full day at daycare, that I realized something must be wrong. Her daycare lady said that she was favoring that arm (her left one) all day and started crying at the park when she bumped it. She suggested that it might be dislocated. I got on the horn and called the doctor to get her an emergency appointment. Now, I started to think that something was wrong...

...I felt like the WORST parent in the world.

I hadn't believed her when she said that it still hurt. I just thought that she was looking for attention - like most kids do when they get hurt.

At the doctor's office, I felt even worse when I found out what was wrong.

She broke her collarbone.

My child - five years old - had broken her collarbone.

Jeesh! Now I really feel awful. My little pumpkin. The child that bounces back from everything! But this time, she didn't bounce back all the way. This time there was a broken bone.

And what does she say? "Do they have pink slings?"

That's my girl!! Always looking for the bright side of things. Granted, they don't have pink slings, but we put a Strawberry Shortcake sticker on it and we're going to paint flowers on it later.

Man, what a weekend.

My Darling Little Girl

Every year my little girl picks something for Halloween. Usually it's a witch. Or some form of one. Her first Halloween costume that I made for her was a pumpkin/ghost/kitty witch (she couldn't decide which one she wanted to be, so I mixed it all up with colors and accents). It worked out well in the end. And she was most depressed when she grew out of it.

Last year, she wanted to be a witch like Hermione Granger, but with a different costume. So I started on a nice little costume for her, but the satin started to disintegrate when I was sewing it, so she ended up being Supergirl instead. Grandma stepped in to save the day on that one at the last minute with a store bought costume. Nothing wrong with that. She can still wear it and does on a regular basis.

This year, she started out wanting to be a witch, until Grandma bought her a pair of ruby slippers. So, she decided on Dorothy instead. We bought all of the fabric and notions and she picked the pattern out of the pattern book. Needless to say, she was excited beyond belief.

That was month ago. I have a hard time sometime getting myself together to get started on sewing. I laid it out numerous times to see how to cut it out, to make sure that we have enough fabric. There were a few times that I wasn't so sure about it - lost my nerve so to speak.

Until today...

I cut out the pattern last night. And at 9:00AM today I started sewing. And at 5:30PM this evening - about 15 minutes before my dear little girl and Doc were to arrive home, I finished.

I have a hard time believing that I sewed this beautiful costume, but I did it! And she was absolutely thrilled. She put it on immediately and grabbed her stuffed Toto and basket and ran to her room to change.

Craptastic!

Well, I just learned some disturbing news for those of us who don't have BBC America.

Read all about it here.

Blah!

That's all I have to say - Blah!

Pseudo Greek Fantasy

Doc and I have been trying to make time to game lately but so far no luck. We tried to make Tuesday's after Super Princess Power Girl goes to bed our game time, though it got derailed over the last three weeks or so - I had to work late, nobody felt good, or we didn't have our game ideas together. It stinks. Hopefully today I'll get myself together and we can play tonight.

So, my idea for our first game is this -

A pseudo-Greek fantasy world along the lines of Hercules and Xena But not as silly. Basically, my thought was this: Wouldn't it be kinda neat to play in a fantasy world where the gods and goddesses interfere in the world of humans on a fairly regular basis. I had thought about using Forgotten Realms for this, but my only problem with that is that all of the pantheon seem so stuffy and uptight. None of them seem like they would be ready and willing to jump into the mortals and play around. Granted I suppose they could, but it just didn't feel quite right to me.

Then I thought, ok, maybe I'll just make up my own gods and let them mess around. That requires me to start from scratch and with the time that I don't have, that wouldn't be a viable option. So, instead, I just grabbed the Greek pantheon and let go. Anyhow, for some reason, they always seem to get involved with humans and wreak havoc regularly. It works for me.

The first game was mine and I had a few ideas.

1 - Traveling through the woods on the way to a village, the PC gets attacked by a group of bandits.
2 - PC gets to town and finds the leader of the bandits there waiting for his buddies, but instead gets the PC.
3 - PC has to steal something important from a temple to a local deity (probably just a patron).
4 - PC gets hired on as a mercenary to ferret out some baddies.
5 - PC accidentally gets married during a festival to Bacchus.

All those ideas are good and I will probably use them, but I decided instead that the first adventure was going to be the PC heading into a village on his way to where ever he was going and finding the whole place filled with the plague. Doors are "X"ed off and the whole place smells of death and decay. This kind of thing isn't completely uncommon, but what really takes the cake is that the dead who should have died from the plague aren't dead. They still roam the village. Why? I'm not sure yet.

Maybe:
- someone stole the sacred object from the local shrine to Hades. What would that object be? Maybe an everburning candle, a small statue, a fist sized gem, a tuna sandwich. Hmm...
- Hades is far too smitten with some mortal woman to pay attention to the dead and their needs.
- Hades has too many dead to deal with in Underworld and needs a Gatherer of Souls to help him out.

Now I just have to figure out which one I like the best.

Review: Book - Hell and Earth

Well, I gave it an effort -

- and it failed miserably.

This book, and subsequently the author, gets all kinds of good reviews, but jeesh.

The main plot of the book is centered around a group called the Prometheus Club that help keep the world of Man and the world of Faerie separate and happy. Some pretty prominent names are members of the club, such as William Shakespeare (who is having a gay relationship behind his wife's back with a guy who apparently went to hell and came back all weird), Christopher Marley (the aforementioned guy who went to hell), Lord Byron, Edmund Spenser and a handful of others. The idea that well known authors and statesmen are members of this club is kinda cool. Almost along the lines of the Masons, with the supernatural attitude, but more geared toward the Fae.

All in all, a good idea...

...until I started reading it. OMG!! Everything is written in the very hard to read Shakespearean speech - lots of thou's and thine's and such. I kept having to go back and read again just to make sure that I had it right the first time. And I didn't really want to know about Shakespeare's gay love affair. Really, now... That kind of made Shakespeare even harder to read than it already was.

Thank heavens I only paid $4.00 for this book. I wouldn't have paid more and part of me wants my $4.00 back.

The Things You Find

So I was cleaning out the top of my daughter's closet the other day and found that I stored some of my old CD's and cassettes up there. I found a whole box of them. I had forgotten completely about some of the things that were up there. I found a good bit of old 80s music (Madonna, Wham and various things that I recorded off radio when I lived down south many years ago), a copy of the Timelords single "Doctorin' the Tardis" - both the one that was sold in stores and a copy of a studio tape that was released in England (I think), Duran Duran's "Tiger Tiger" - the Japanese single release, another Duran Duran single that I don't remember the name of, Hooked on Swing and Hooked on Classics, The Classics in Rythmn - the Royal Philharmonc Orchestra took great classical pieces and redid them with a pop beat (GREAT!!) and Doctor Demento's Basement Tapes Volume 1 - A CD that one only recieved when they became a member of the Demento Society. Boy, some of the things that one finds.

I also discovered that apparently I like to read contemporary romances. Go figure, I do have a girly side after all. But mind you, these aren't regular bodice rippers. They have a supernatural twist to them. In fact the House on Tradd Street that I read, by Karen White, was rather good. It was an engaging read with interesting characters. I liked it. It has a sequel coming out in November. I'm actually looking forward to it.

I just read one called The Demon King and I by Candace Havens. Had a little more... well, bodice ripping in it, but not enough that it made me cringe. It wasn't bad at all. In fact, I read it in like 3 days. It was about a set of four sisters that were given the task of protecting the Earth and other worlds from a growing darkness. Not bad. There are some more by her. I haven't read any of those.

I got both of those books and some others for cheap at Borders. I mean CHEAP! They were $4.00 and buy one get one free.

I like those sales.

Review: Book - The Fractured Sky

This is the second book in the Empyrean Odyssey. Book one was "The Gossamer Plain", this is book two and the third book in due out in November.

This was just about the same as the first one. We continue to follow the misadventures of Aliiza, the alu, and Kaanyr Vhok, the cambion. Vhok has finally arrived at the end of his quest, only to discover that his friend, Zasian, is not who he seemed to be, and his lover, Aliiza, has had a change of heart. Together, bound by the angel Tauran, and a new companion named Kael, they must find Zasian and stop whatever scheme he has put into play. Unfortunately, while doing this, they must also discover what has split the Celestial Plane in twain and do what they can to set right a series of events that seems almost impossible.

I kind of enjoyed this one more than the last one, only because there was more interaction with Aliiza, the alu. She got to do more this time around instead of being stuck with her ghosts from the last book. We also find out more about her child - the child that Vhok is less than excited about. I think that the part that annoyed me most about this book was the ending. Don't worry, not going to spoil it for anyone. It's just that everything goes awry right at the end - and the next one doesn't come out till November.

I will read the last installment just so I can find out what happens. At least, unlike some of the other Forgotten Realms books that I have read, this one is not set in the same place all of the time and there is definately more swordplay. I like that.

Amazon has it for $7, which is what I paid for it at my local bookshop. I recommend it.

Review: Book - The Gossamer Plain

This book wasn't bad. It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad. I will probably pick up the next one in the series this weekend when I head to the bookstore, since it will be a while since I get up to Half Price Books again.

It involves a half fiend named Aliiza who has been sent to try to discredit a man named Helm Dwarf-Friend, leader of the city of Sundabar. She's in disguise as a pretty, young human woman since she normally has wings and looks like a devil of sorts. But things go wrong and she gets captured. Meanwhile her lover, a fiend named Kaanyr Vhok heads off on some quest across the Elemental Plain of Fire to the fabled City of Brass. His companion is Zasian, a cleric of Bane.

Aliiza gets kidnapped and whacked on the head, enough that she goes unconscious and ends up on the Celestial Plane guarded by an angel named Tauran. There she finds that she is pregnant and that her unborn child called for Tyr's help. This ticks her off and she tries all she can to get away from the place and the celestials, but she's already said that she would follow their rule.

Vhok and Zasian make their way across the Plane of Fire while Aliiza confronts old ghosts while she waits for her child to be born. Nothing goes right for either party and all goes wrong in the end.

I didn't really start enjoying this book until about two thirds of the way through, then I was annoyed cause I couldn't find book 2 at Borders. It runs about $7 at Amazon, though I got mine at Barnes and Noble since Borders didn't have it.

I recommend it just cause it veers away from the normal Forgotten Realms characters and it's a decent read.

I like to write...

I used to do it all of the time. I had several fiction websites up and even a fiction writing group that I moderated on Yahoo groups. I did it all of the time. Then again, at the time, I was married to someone that did nothing but spend 18 hours a day on the computer, rarely talking to me, and I didn't work. Man, things are so much better now. *sigh*

Anyhow, I asked Doc a while ago, "Is it wrong that I want to sit down and write fanfic again?" He said, "Absolutely not." That made me feel good. I know that the whole fanfic thing is rather "blah" sometimes. People take it too far a good portion of the time. For example, I decided that I wanted to read some Doctor Who fic that wasn't the ones that I buy at the bookshop. Jeesh, that was a mistake. Every single story that I found on the site that I stopped at was slash or smut. That really put a damper on the mood to read fic. Granted, when I wasn't having much of a life, I wrote some naughty stuff, too. But man, some of the stuff that I saw put my naughty stuff to shame.

But still the desire to write is there. I have tons of ideas. I want to put them on paper (electronic as well as the other variety). And yes, some of them are fanfic. Doc even told me that it's ok to want to sit down and MarySue something out the wazoo. And I might just do that. For now, though, I am glad to know that I still have the desire to write. Even though my muse might be on vacation. In the meantime, I have lots of old stuff on disc to read that I wrote years ago - naughty and all.

If I posted it, would someone read it? I know it's not good. But hey, I didn't really write most of it to be good. I wrote it to be fun.

Review: Book - City of the Dead

I liked this book regardless of the fact that the main character is more or less incompetant. She's pleasant, kind and interesting. She has no talent for the warrior path but she does have a bit of the spell-plague.

The young lady is named Sophraea Carver and she's one of the Carver family of Waterdeep that take care of the City of the Dead - the largest, and possibly the only, cemetary in Waterdeep. She's the daintiest of all of the Carvers and the only female of the children. Also, the only one that has no talent for the cemetary's needs - headstones, statues and the like.

Almost immediately she meets Lord Aderbrant, also known as the Walking Corpse. People of Waterdeep don't really like him and some are afraid of him, but he proves to be a pleasant friend of the Carvers.

As she grows up, she decides that she wants to leave the family home and be a dressmaker, but when she meets a young wizard named Gustin Bone, she changes her mind. Adventure ensues as the dead of Waterdeep begins to rise and walk the city at night, tormenting, in particular, a nasty man named Rampage Stunk. Together Sophraea and Gustin must stop the dead from destroying Dead End House and the rest of Waterdeep.

Stunk proves and obstacle in this, but Lord Aderbrant turns out to be more trouble than they all thought. In the end though, it all works out for the best

Theres not a lot in the way of swordplay, or even really fighting, but it's a good book nonetheless. You can check it out at Amazon for about $8. I recommend it for a fun, quick read.

The Divided Kingdoms - Faarstadt

Faarstadt is located at the northern side of the continent, east of the Backbone of the Gods. A large portion of the country is uninhabited, mostly due to the deep forests and inhospitable landscape. The weather itself is nasty - lots of heavy blowing winds, torrential rains and, in the winter, snowfall deep enough to cover homes. Few people traverse this land, and some of the ones that do, do not return.

Deepwell is located in the forest known as the Deepwood. This is the most well known forest in the entire country. It is dark, thick and treacherous. Dangerous creatures live within the forest, waiting for the ignorant to come wandering in. It doesn't happen often, but those that have made it back out have stated that "bones litter the ground". Deepwell itself is located somewhere in the middle of the forest in a hole in the ground. The only way known to enter the city of Deepwell is to drop down a sheer shaft by grappling hooks and ropes. This city is said to have been the home of the dark humans who inhabited the world before the other races started to come about. Of course, there is no proof of any of this. But it sounds nice...

Runeforge is a Dwarven Kingdom settled into the Fangtongue Mountains. They mine gems and metals to forge into their own works and to sell to others. The Elves have been known to buy quantities of both gems and metals from them for their own magnificent works. Rumors also state that some dark humans and dark elves have bought from them but the Dwarves don't talk about that. Runeforge is actually located in the mountains above their mines. Everything is carved from the stone of the Fangtongues. There are some farms outside of the mountains that the Dwarves work for vegetables and some meats, but for the most part they stay within the darkness of the mountains.

On the farthest side of Faarstadt are the Shell Shores. These pink and white shores attact many of the wealthiest people of the lands. They are brought here through portals that are provided by the mages of Highrule and Chantrya - that way they don't have to brave the horrible weather. The "sands" of these beaches are actually broken and battered shells from the ocean.

There are small villages here and there, dotting the landscape, but no large cities or kingdoms. There are no rulers of this land. But, far to the north, near the shores and the legendary location of the Peak of the Sun, are the Troll Kingdoms. No explorer has been there, so no one really has any clue where these kingdoms are located. The trolls come down to Runeforge once in a great while to purchase metals for their tools. It has been almost a generation since the trolls have been seen. Many believe that the Gods have brought the Trolls down because of their vicious nature.

Next - Karris.

Nerdy Girl's Book Recommendations

In a recent comment to my book review of Downshadow by Erik Scott DeBie, Devin asked for recommendations for game fiction. I can think of a few good ones, so I thought instead of responding as a comment I would just make a general post, that way everyone can see them.

Ok, here goes (though it's not in order):

"Neversfall: The Citadels" by Ed Gentry is a pretty good one. It's a good, quick read that's captivating without being too intense. It gathers together the good things about the Forgotten Realms and puts them in front of you without making you choose the parts that you want to read. I liked it. I kept it instead of taking it to Half Price. That means a lot with me.

"Obsidian Ridge: The Citadels" by Jess Lebow has to be one of the best ones that I have read yet in the Forgotten Realms series. It is leading and misleading with it's characters. Said characters are interesting and intriguing, without being whiny or tiresome. I loved this one enough that I might read it again once I let more of it leak from my memory.

"Swordmage: Blade of the Moonsea" by Richard Baker
was pretty good. It was a little slow in places, but I enjoyed it. Even though there wasn't as much sword play as I would normally like in a Forgotten Realms, book I found that the parts where it was slower were still engaging enough that I didn't really notice. The second book in this series just came out in hardback, but I am waiting for either the hardback to pop up at Half Price or the paperback to come out.

"The Fanged Crown: The Wilds: by Jenna Helland
is another one of the ones that I really enjoyed. The main character is snide and enjoyable in his banter with his friend, who is also witty and fun to read. The story is good and engaging, while being a quick read. It also involves lost civilisations, which is always a good thing for me.

"Crypt of the Moaning Diamond" by Rosemary Jones was very fun. This was the first one that I picked up when I decided to start reading Forgotten Realms fiction. I loved it. The main character is a lot like one that I would have created for a game and that really drew me into it. I like the strong female warrior character type. The story was good without being too deep, so I didn't really have to think a lot - no flipping back through to find a place that explained something. I highly recommend this one.

"The Crimson Gold: Rogues Book 3" by Voronica Whitney-Robinson was the first one out of the series that I read. It doesn't look like any of the series actually is connected when it comes to the characters, so I don't think that I missed anything in the Rogues series. This book was pretty decent. I enjoyed the interaction between the main characters, though I was a little disappointed in the conclusion of the Prologue, but after further reading, I see where it went.

"Sands of the Soul: Sembia" by Voronica Whitney-Robinson I picked up at Half Price not realizing that it had same characters as "The Crimson Gold" and not be part of the same series. It was kind of nice to read more with the characters in it since they were engaging in the first story.

"Lord of Stormweather: Sembia" by David Gross
follows more of the family of the previous two. There are more book in this series, though I haven't gotten them yet. I'll check Half Price later on when I go up there in July. Anyhow, it was enjoyable, though a little slow since there wasn't a whole lot in the way of action. It involves several characters and some of them don't get a lot of chapter-time so you start to wonder what happened to them after a while. Then the next chapter is about them.

These are the ones that I have read recently and enjoyed. I hope that anyone else who reads them enjoys them as well.

Review: Book - Downshadow

So this book wasn't too bad. It wasn't great, but I recommend it for a decent Forgotten Realms read.

It involves a man named Kalen Dren who lives a double life as a paladin of the Three-Fold Gold and a member of the Waterdeep Guard. He suffers from the Spellplague which keeps him from feeling anything physical. His boss Araezra Hondyl has a secret "love" for him though she doesn't know who he really is. The only one that does is his adoptive sister Cellica, a halfling with the ability to charm with her voice.

But someone else has a desire for him - red haired half elf named Fayne. Unfortunately, she's a bitch and turns out to be some sort of demon with the ability to cloak her image. She changes faces and has some sort of agenda which seems to be guided by her patron, a gold skinned elf. Fayne is not really a likeable character. She's a user, a slut, and a generally crappy person. Then again, she's a demon, so I guess it works out.

Then there's Myrin, who has no idea who she is, though she appears to have some sort of spellscar as well. Blue runes flame up and down her body when she gets angry and then she unleashes a powerful magic. Unfortunately, she's also has amnesia. Myrin falls for Kalen - also known as the Paladin, Shadowbane - but he doesn't believe that he's good enough for her.

There's also a bald headed, smooth skinned Dwarf named Rath, who is a monk and has completely turned away from his people. He's a jerk and out for himself. He has little or no monk like qualities, except that he can beat the crap out of people with his bare hands. He gets involved with Fayne and they both want to take down Shadowbane, but for different reasons.

All of this seems to revolve around this Myrin girl, but there's never really an explanation as to why.

I found a couple of mistakes in continuity, but for the most part it's well written if not a little confusing in places.

One can pick it up at Amazon for about $8. I got mine at Half Price Books. I probably would have paid full price for it, but I didn't and that's ok with me. It'll head back to the used book store next time I head up there, though. Gotta recycle those books, ya know. =o)

The Divided Kingdoms - Ithryshal

Ithryshal is located on the southeastern side of the continent - south of the Fangtongue Mountains and east of the Backbone of the Gods.

Within the land of Ithryshal is Meadowsgate, Elthador, Eshaval, Windswept, Lunimyr, Palishar, Peravayle, The Court of Kings and Olanthir. The people of Ithryshal are primarily Elven in all but Eshaval which is under human rulership. There are also half-elves, not surprising since humans do live in among the elves, and halflings which seem to have no real home anywhere in the Kingdoms. Rumors fly of Deep Elves and Deep Humans who live under the ground in the city of Teshyvle. These peoples are originally known as Ithryians - hence the name of the land Ithryshal - and supposedly went underground when human "took control of the land". Many believed that these Deep People died out long ago, though some claim that they still see them near the mountains and in the forests at night. The elves believe that there would be none of their kind had it not been for these people and their kindness and wealth. Since they went underground these people have changed greatly - their skin has gone to black and dark grey, though there are a few that have white skin; hair has lost all pigmentation and become completely white; eyes have taken on a bioluminescent glow, becoming almost a greenish-yellow to a bright peridot and able to see in complete darkness, but at the cost to a light sensitivity; they are usually along the range of average human height (5'2" - 6'2") and quite slender. These people are extremely fine crafters of jewelry and have a tight trade agreement with the dwarves for gemstones and precious metals. Their jewelry ends up on the market, but no one knows exactly where it comes from.

The Court of Kings is located right where the Fangtongue Mountains and the Backbone of the Gods split off. It is a cavern buried deep within the mountains that contains monuments of great human, elven and dwarven kings of ancient times. Each monument is a likeness of a king seated on his throne. They are all arranged in a circle, each looking toward the center where a golden pedestal sits with a deep blue orb floating above it. The Orb of Kings supposedly contains all of the wisdom of the ancient kings and the secret of why things changed. Many have gone to seek out the orb and the monuments, though no one has ever actually found any of it.

Lunimyr is known as the City of Night. It is called this because of its location nestled between the Backbone of the Gods and the Fangtongues the sun doesn't shine on its buildings. Because it is always night in this small city, thieves and the like have a tendency to gather within its walls. The guard there, known as the Night Watch, usually have their hands full. Monra Neche, head of the Night Watch, is a former assassin turned to the other side of the law. She has the best understanding of the people within Lunimyr and she works as hard as she can to make sure that these people don't take their tendencies outside of the city.

Meadowsgate is a beautiful art nouveau looking city with curving, natural looking buildings. Lots of vinework and twists and turns. The buildings almost appear as if they sprang directly from the ground instead of being built. Everything is white and pink marble, though are some other colors mixed in - greens and browns and their respective shades. The largest building is the far north side of the city and the home of King Elthazar and Queen Melisande. It is surrounded on all sides by gardens filled with flowers that are enchanted so they grow all year round. In the midst of these beautiful flowers are white carved gazebos and marble benches. Statues dot the gardens as well offering rememberence to past family members and rulers.

Windswept is settled in the Emerald Hills and is surrounded on all sides by beautiful green, rolling meadows. This city is a haven for adventurers and welcomes all races equally. The city generally peaceful and kept this way by the Wind Watch, who patrol the city day in and day out. If anyone does anything to disturb the peace and quiet of this lovely city they are fined, jailed or removed from the city's limits. The city buildings themselves are built on the tops of the hills and each hill is connected by well built wooden bridges. Each hill does not contain only one kind of "shopping", instead they are named for something else entirely. For example, Shire Hill has some lovely homes but also has a few shops and at least one feasthall. Central Hill, the one that is obviously in the center of all of them, connects each hill to the others with long bridges, also contains the home office of the Wind Watch, though each hill has its own smaller office. This city is not only a great place for adventurers, but is also wonderful to visit and just take a good look at.

Eshaval is a sad place to be for any elf. Over a hundred years ago, this beautiful Elven city was invaded by a human army commanded by a wicked warlord known as Banelin "The Crusher of the Elves". Being a peaceful people, the Elves were not prepared and could not fight back, therefore they were slaughtered by the hundreds. Those that managed to survive were enslaved and forced to work for Banelin and the other humans. Children were brought up to believe that Elves were nothing more than animals and are worth nothing. Over a century has passed and Elves are still treated same way, though there is a Freedom Movement growing within the elven slaves. This movement is headed up by a young woman named Sharnai, the last of the Elven Princesses. Unfortunately for her, she has few behind her. There is a young man, the son of the ruler, Banelin the Second, who wishes to help her free her people. Should his father find out what he's up to, it could be all out war.

Olanthir is thought to be located somewhere on the eastern side of Ithryshal. But that area is all hills and forests and no one has ever actually seen a city there. Then again, it is said that it was "lost" during the war that brought about the downfall of the Titanic Rulers. Legend says that the beautiful city shows itself as a portal between two huge, ancient trees during a full moon and only for the hour or so that the moon is truly full. So far, no adventurer or explorer has ventured into this lost city and has returned.

Palishar is located down south near the Moonsmirror Bay. It is an ancient elven city though a newer city was built up around it within the last fifty years or so. The structures in the city are nothing to marvel at, mostly half timber with some stone here and there. The most interesting thing is that the old city is still in the center. Walled off and guarded against looters, the crumbling remains of the Ancient Palishar set nestled in a depression in the ground. A great shifting of the land caused the dirt to drop and settle lower down giving the whole city the impression that it had been stepped on. During this time, the inhabitants of the city fled for their lives and the buildings shifted and fell, threatening to crush any in their way. A few years after the ground had settled, the remaining people rebuilt the city, walling off the old. Only those with permission of the Guard are aloud down into the old city.

Moonsmirror Bay, located just south of the city of Palishar, is a lovely, silvery lake, settled in-between the land and the water of the ocean, seperated only by some stone shards poking up through the water.

Elthador is your typical Elven Kingdom, built in the forest, partly in the trees and partly on the ground. The buildings are built of wood and thatch and barely distinguishable from the surrounding woods. The Elves here keep to themselves mostly and are rather unsure of outsiders. Little is known of the city of Elthador, as travelers generally do not add this elven home to their list of places to visit.

Peravayle is the south-eastern most location on the map. It is a port city and attracts mostly sailiors and the like, though regular folk also live there, mostly further in away from the shore. Though it was once a lively, cutting edge artsy place with lots of interesting architecture and artwork. The ruler then, a woman named Shan Morval, loved art and all that comes from it. As she created her beautiful city, people from all over flocked to there to watch great buildings formed from the earth itself with her magic. But, it didn't last long. She died under mysterious circumstances and her magic failed. The buildings fell and what was left became the Peravayle of today.

Next - Faarstadt.

New Creature for Castles and Crusades

I needed an aquatic creature in a pinch and here's what I came up with:

Flesh Eating Flying Fish

Number Encountered: 3-30
Size: Small
Hit Dice: 5HD (d8)
Move: swim 40ft
Attacks: bite - long razor sharp fangs (d6)
Special Abilities: charge attack (burst out of water); rip (bite d6+2); poison (flesh eating)
Saves: None
Intelligent: Animal
Alignment: CE
Type: Beast
Treasure: None
XP: 120+5

Flesh eating flying fish are pack creatures and tend to wait close to the surface for a victim. They are a greyish green with hard plated scales over the back of their body. They have long, razor sharp teeth that can rend flesh with little trouble.

Combat: Flesh eating flying fish will leap out of the water in groups to attack whatever happens to be in their path. They will either attached themselves to their intended victim and inject them with a flesh eating poison or they will sink their teeth in and tear, then drop.

The Divided Kingdoms - Haalspar

Going over the stuff that I have written up, I discovered some mistakes that I had made. Perfect time to clear them up. =o)

The Backbone of the Gods doesn't actually cut the land in thirds, it actually cuts it in half and an off-shoot of the mountain range called the Fangtongue Mountains cuts the eastern half in half once again. This seperates the Dwarves from the others. I'll get to more of that when I talk about Faarstadt - which I don't have a whole lot about.

Ok, on with Haalspar...

Haalspar takes up most of the western side of the continent - all but a small area of the Hoardelands of Dathar (which will be documented later). It is a huge "country" that extends from the northern shore at the Peak of the Sun all of the way down the Backbone of the Gods to the Obsidian Pillars and Flamespire.

Within the "country" of Haalspar there is the Monarchy of Krae, The Battered Expanse, Barony Thal, Shiregreen and Highrule. The Hoardelands of Dathar are technically part of Haalspar though they shown no allegiance to their governing body. The peoples of the Monarchy of Krae are generally human and elven, though any Elves stick mostly to Caydick and Aracdor. Elves were present in the city of Shiregreen until they started making and selling weapons and armor. The Elves felt somewhat threatened by this and decided to leave before they got pulled into the middle of things. Rumors of Dark Humans have been noted deeper in the south, though no one has really ever seen one. Dwarves pop up here and there, usually near Shiregreen since they have communities on the other side of the Backbone.

The Hoardelands of Dathar are comprised of flat grasslands and rolling hills. Small tribal villages made up of huts and long houses dot the landscape. The "capital" of the Hoardelands in a large village called Merk. Here the heads of all of the tribes come together to discuss things that are important to them. Festivals are held here in the spring and fall to welcome the harvest and the planting season. Think Norse and Celtic mixes of people.

The Monarchy of Krae has a very western European feel to it and has lots of rolling hills and meadowlands with some light wooded areas tossed around like pebbles. The largest city within the Monarchy of Krae is Aracador, a feudal kingdom that thrives on war and commerce. It is ruled by Family Borashal who has ruled for generations. The current ruler is King Finar Borashal. He has rule over all of Haalspar. He also has a very large army based in his home city of Arcador. This army offers protection to all citizens of Haalspar. The architecture of Arcador is generally sturdy and well-built with richly decorated homes and shops built from wood and stone.

The oldest city in Krae is Caydick. This city is quite old, parts of it date back a few hundred years, though most of it is under the current level of the city. Some say that underneath the newest foundation of Caydick are at least three levels of ancient buildings and probably at least a few strange creatures. There are a few entrances to these older levels though they are guarded by the city watch. Entering is frowned upon unless special permission is given by the head of the Adventurer's Guild.

South of the Monarchy of Krae is a section of land known as the Battered Expanse. A long stretch of land covered by tall, golden grasses, it is swept violently by constant winds. At night the winds carry the screams and moans of those that died in past battles between Elves and Humans. Traveling across the Expanse requires skill and extra supplies. There are roving bands of nomads that make their way across the Expanse and for a few gold, they will be glad to guide one through to the safety of the Barony Thal on southern side.

The land of the Barony Thal is much like the Monarchy of Krae, just further south. There are more forests in this area and less in the way of meadowlands. The largest city, Highfort, is in the middle of the Barony and is governed by Lord Baron Semoras Takat. Within the Barony is the well-known Singing Blades Warrior Academy. Many of the finest of the King's soldiers come from this school. Most of the Barony is of the half-timber variety and looks much like something that would be middle European.

Shiregreen is a human community south and near the Backbone of the Gods. They have the most blacksmiths of any other town and export weapons and armor through Haalspar, mostly to the soldiers in Krae. They also make practice weapons and armor for the Singing Blades Warrior Academy. But, at the same time, they will sell to anyone who has money. They mine their ore from caverns cut into the Backbone of the Gods. Rumor has it that they have mined so far down that they have found a completely new kind of metal, though there are no weapons as of yet. The most popular point of interest in Shiregreen would be the Laughing Vixen Inn and Tavern. The tavern is probably the best kept building in all of Shiregreen. Most of the other buildings have somewhat fallen into disrepair since they mostly focus on the weapons and armor.

Highrule is located in the Backbone of the Gods and has no real allegiance to Haalspar, it is just located within their realm. It is considered its own independent nation with no rulers outside of their walls.

Next - Ithryshal.

My Game World

Years ago, before my daughter was born, I started my own game world. And promptly forgot all about it.

But recently I was thinking about it and dug out my notebook. Man, I have a lot of notes. Some of it is even backed up on disc. I had forgotten so much of what I have. And, boy, do I have a lot!

Since I decided to change my blog and do more game related stuff, I'm going to start documenting all of my game world. Originally, I started it up because I wanted to share it with everyone and make a sort of "drop-in" game world. Instead, I wrote a ton of stuff to use and set it aside. Never used it or anything.

I actually have two game worlds that I started - "The Divided Kingdoms" which has a very Faerun - Medieval Europe type feel with some Oriental/Arabic flavor tossed in. And "The Lands of the Azure Orb" which is kind of a melting pot of different cultures and peoples. I'm going to start with the Divided Kingdoms, mostly since it comes first in my notebook.

Everything in there is outlined and listed in order, but I don't think that that's very interesting to look at, so I'm going to try to write it out instead.

----

I've got a rather plain looking map that I drew out for this particular game setting. Nothing spectacular, just a quick sketch. At least it gives one an idea where things are and where things should be.


The first section that I have outlined is the landscape of the world.

The Backbone of the Gods
This is a line of towering, jagged and treacherous mountains that cuts the land into thirds. The tops of the mountains are so high in places that they get lost in the clouds. Snow caps the high peaks giving them a blue-white cast. Passages have been cut through the mountain range in areas so that trade can take place between the lands.

At the northern most point of the Backbone is The Peak of the Sun, the legendary home of the gods. The very top of the peak disappears into the clouds. Sun shines perpetually on the Peak of the Gods, lighting the Ivory City day and night. This City is huge and is the home of all of the deities of the Human Pantheon.

At the most southern end of the Backbone are the Obsidian Pillars, the entrance to the Underearth. Not much is known about the Obsidian Pillars except that no one ever goes there. The pillars are massive and taller than the tallest titan. Between them is the black maw of the Underearth and a horrible sulfuric smell. No human can enter into the Underearth and return unscathed. The Pillars are set into the side of the tallest peak, the Flamespire. An ancient volcano in origin, the Flamespire reaches to the clouds and spews noxious fumes day in and day out perpetually. No one lives near the Pillars because of the smell and the horrible sounds that emanate from the Flamespire and the Underearth.




So I decided...

...to change my blog around.

While I was playing Castles and Crusades today with Doc and our friend, I decided that I really wanted to do my blog as a gamer blog instead. I have so many ideas in my head and so many things roaming around in notebooks and on little scraps of paper. Why not put them into my blog and make it more geared toward gaming.

So here goes...

Sitting here watching Conan makes me want to play a Conan game. I doubt that I will anytime soon, but I always really enjoyed the setting. I like the crazy huge ruins and the impossibly outrageous things that happen. Monstrous creatures and things that slither in the night. Beautiful women, strong men, wine and food. The crazy wanton lust for life in the setting seems so attractive in a game setting.

Damn, now I wanted to play it.

Damn.

Nerdy Girl

So, I was at work the other day and I saw a guy wearing a "Browncoats" t-shirt (you know, Firefly) and I said to him, "Hey, cool t-shirt." He stared at me like I had three heads.

Later, I saw a guy wearing a t-shirts with some DC supers on it. I said, "My daughter would love that shirt. Batman is one of her favorites." Now apparently I have horns growing out of my three heads.

A few days later I saw a guy wearing a Transformers t-shirt (not from the movie, but one of the vintage ones) and I said something to him along the lines of ,"I like your shirt." I have sprouted a fourth head.

Why is it that when a girl says something about liking something nerdy, men stare like there's an alien in front of them. Really now, why? I am just as much a nerd as Doc Rotwang and everyone respects his nerdity, but I get stared at. Am I not supposed to know this stuff or am I just such an oddity that it requires a second look?

I wonder...

Maps

Normally when I make a dungeon map for a game, I sit down and draw out this big map with lots of rooms that will probably never get explored - or even described as anything other than "A dark, empty room". Recently, I decided to not to do that. I was going to instead Google up a map with a lot of useless rooms so I wouldn't have to draw one. Scratch that idea, too.

Instead, I went a whole new route. Something I've never done before. I created one room, the main one that everyone will start out in, and described it in a paragraph or two. I listed all of the appropriate details and anything that just seemed like fun to mention. I drew little exits off of the room and labeled them 2-5 (since 1 is the main room). I made an arrow pointing North. That's all.

Next, I went on to room two. I drew it out with all of the stuff to go along with it and continued on to room three. Lo and behold, I have a serviceable dungeon without all of the extra rooms. And I don't even draw that well. But hey, it worked out and I like what I have. So far I have six rooms in the main underground area, nothing outrageous, just a study chamber, a couple of storage rooms and a secret room or two. But it works.

Below that level is a subterranean level where other things are, mostly tunnels and lots of roots and rocks. I'm doing it the same way, going room by room. If I had to connect them all, they would come out just right.

I'm rather proud of my little unencumbered "dungeon" and it's follow-up subterranean lair.

=o)

Gamer Craziness

So we're finally getting around to starting up our games again. It's been a while and I am really looking forward to getting back to the action. We're doing Castles and Crusades, mostly cause it's a rocking system and does everything that we want it to. I've opted to run first cause I have an idea.

A nice little village nestled into a forest in a valley. Thatched roofs, half timber construction, lots of vegetation and animals - and Harpies. It seems that a ruined castle buried deep in the forest has attracted the attention of a band of aggressive, nasty Harpies. What's there? Well that's for the PCs to find out (and for me to figure out).

I've decided on doing what I call "Drop In Gaming". Basically, I'm taking a few hexes on the map and making up some stuff, then letting other people add to it. It's a way for all of us to run a game and not feel limited by what someone has created. Then when it's all together and fleshed out, we can gather it all up into a document and have something really cool from all of us. I'll talk more about it later, when I get some ideas together.
 
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