So proud

Other parents talk to me about their kids sports activities. Some of it is house league others are higher levels. Soccer, softball, and hockey are the Big Three. It’s always good to hear but I have no similar stories to share.

Because the kinds of things my son is interested in are all the things I was interested in as a kid but was forced to play soccer, softball and/or hockey and I didn’t have the capacity to say “no”. Mostly because I didn’t know think I could or was allowed to. Let that be a lesson to the kids, you can always say no, no matter how much anyone says you can’t.

What my kid is interested in (one of them – the other is a social activist and she’s not much for sportsing either) is in the pictures attached here.

And I honestly, I’m as proud of this as any penalty kick, home-run or hat-trick that he could have got. I love my little guy (although, he is almost as tall as me….)

Coffee Frog

To kick this off, this is NOT my image. It’s from this delightful person.

But can you not see the potential for this kind of robot in our life? A robot dog designed to look like a frog that brews coffee and comes running when you need a cup. The higher end models don’t slurp and slide and spill. But one day, a young boy taking a shortcut home from school, cuts through the rich part of town to get to his house on the “other side of the tracks”. He sees a couple enjoying an afternoon sit on the porch being attended to by their Amazon Coffee Dog – it brings them coffee on command and does all the things an Alexa can do. This pre-occupies him all the way home, through his own dinner with his parents – a meal he had to prepare from a can and they both showed up late because they were working overtime to earn extra money to spoil their kids at Christmas. His Dad asks him for a favour – if he can help with the garbage pickup tomorrow because Terry (one of his dad’s employees” called in sick. Our boy goes to bed early so he can get up for four am and help his dad collect garbage from the gated community that contracted his landscaping company to do maintenance on their cul-de-sac – the same gated community he cut through to get home.

Anyway, my story goes on and on from there. So, thank you to the wonderful person who designed this frog. It gave me a wealth of ideas!

Americans In 25 States Can Now Carry Guns Without Permits | HuffPost Latest News

A remarkably successful effort to make firearms easier to carry has swept across the country over the past 12 years.
— Read on www.huffpost.com/entry/constitutional-carry-half-states_n_63a4beeee4b0d2fe765111df

I do not understand the reliance on weapons. And I am gun enthusiast. Not that I ever owned, I just appreciate them for what they are and what they can do.

An American once told me, his right to “bear arms” and to create a militia is so he can fight on a level playing field with his government should they try to oppress him.

I’m not saying I agree, but I it’s good to know how people think.

Character sheet for “Heroes Of Adventure”

I took this image from here (https://litrpgreads.com/blog/rpg/new-heroes-of-adventure-fantasy-tabletop-rpg)
This image is taken from https://litrpgreads.com/blog/rpg/new-heroes-of-adventure-fantasy-tabletop-rpg

I am so in love with this game and I haven’t even really played it. If I ever happened upon The Nameless Designer who did all of this (and I somehow imagine them wearing a paper bag over their head – like The Unknown Comic from the 70s and 80s – I loathe that I’m giving away my age with that reference, but so be it) when it came down to introductions I wouldn’t be able to look them in the eye, only blush bashfully and smile while I basked in their awesomeness.

My continent of Ervauses is almost completed. Maybe a few more weeks. Still need to finalize the limited ancestries for the player characters to choose from, finish off the pantheon of 28 deities who make up this world (I’ve got 14 more to go), finalize the political systems of each of the kingdoms/states, do a map and breakdown of the capitals of each of those kingdoms, and then make short summaries of the 30 or so spots of interest on the continent that can be visited and a quick one-shot adventure can be played.

But, what’s consumed the last few hours of my day is the character sheet. It’s not quite automated yet, but it’s quick enough. I made a character from scratch, complete with a semi-decent backstory, in less than ten minutes. It’s what I’ve attached here and what I am absurdly proud of.

I decided to turn it into a kind of brochure. So, you print it out, two sided, and then fold it in thirds. You have your main details on the front and then on the inside are the particulars. It is all from a spreadsheet, so when you have that open, you can pick and choose your spells based on your school. The sheet is built with the expectation you won’t ever have more than 3 schools of magic under your belt. If it turns out that it does happen, then I will have to build a different sheet!

If anyone reading this wants to read more, drop me a line. If anyone makes contact with The Nameless Designer, let them know how awesome they are.

The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide

Bought it on a whim….

I enjoy role-playing games. Always have. Always will. I think it’s connected to enjoying having somewhere to go when my mind starts to wander. It started with AD&D 1st Edition, various Palladium incarnations, OS Marvel Superheroes, Star Frontiers, AD&D 2nd Edition, the Dark Suns campaign (vastly underrated), Unearthed Arcana (loved that rule book – felt like it spoke to me), Dragonlance (the main 6 books + Legend of Huma is enough for me – everything else is overdoing it), Battletech, Mechwarrior. The list goes on.

But you need friends who are interested and all of my friends have grown up and are doing grown up things. So I got away from it. But it’s recent resurgence in popularity (the monetizing makes me feel awkward – like when you’re parents divorce and your Dad is getting ready for a date that you know isn’t going to work because all he’s going to do is talk about role playing games and what silly thing his dog or kids did the other day – yes that was oddly specific and no, it does not relate to me it’s where my mind went when I gave it permission to wander and no where for it to go).

This has not stopped me from getting back into role playing games. Because now you’ve got so much to choose from and so many other enthusiasts coming out of the woodwork to show off the wicked awesome things they are coming up with. They don’t want you to pay – they want you to play. So far, I’ve come across one game that has got my attention and it deserves some serious love – Heroes of Adventure.

It has the best of everything and it’s so…. simple. And it’s free. I mean, I’ve been playing with it so much I haven’t even seen if they have a Patron, but if they do have one, I’ll throw them money if they keep creating awesome things like this.

The rules take minutes to understand. Takes a little more to make a character and get used to what abilities and skills they have. And then you’re off and playing. And what I’ve done is take it a little too far – I went and created a campaign world from scratch for it. It’s called Ervauses. I’m not done, but I will be in a few more weeks to so (aggravatingly slow but I’ve made my peace with it). I’m toying with the idea of tweaking it and adding some aspects of Cortex to it but I’m holding off. The system is just that perfect.

But all of that leads to the book I just bought – The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide.

I just saw it on a shelf while browsing at Indigo while my wife shopped. I didn’t even check the price. I flipped through the first few dozen pages and decided I needed it. Now, it does turn out that it’s available on Scribd – and I could return the book and just take it from there – but in this instance it’s wrong. I want to give this person my money so they don’t stop doing what they do.

Lots of tables and thought provoking ideas for when you are creating characters. Some of the stuff is pretty straightforward and a more experienced gamer might already have their own homebrew tables that do the same thing. And thirty or forty years ago, that might’ve been me building all kinds of tables and charts (I wish I learned Excel when I was younger – would have made all those charts so easy to build). But this book does all that work and has the added intangible sense that the person writing it really loves tabletop RPGs and I want to support that.

That’s it.

Two things.

An awesome new gaming system – Heroes of Adventure – and a great companion book – The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide. I highly recommend both.

Can a Common Artificial Sweetener Fuel Anxiety?

An artificial sweetener commonly found in diet drinks and food is associated with an increased risk for anxiety-like behavior, early research suggests.
— Read on www.medscape.com/viewarticle/985861

This article might have some merit to it….

Pathfinder 2E

I put my game system design to the side for now and decided to play with an already established system.

AD&D2E is available to me (I still have all my books – well, most of them – enough for me to roll up a character PDQ) but I want to move forward. Knowing that Pathfinder started out as AD&D3.5E before evolving into what it is today, I thought I would give it a whirl. I didn’t dive in both feet – that can get expensive – but I did buy the PF2E Core Rulebook. And now I am making a character to just…. well…. make a character.

In doing so, I’m reminded now of when I was a kid and I first bought my Player’s Handbook. The picture of what you see there is my actual copy.

I remember being in my room, huddled beneath my white tensor lamp, rolling dice and making notes on graph paper. I’d emptied my closet completely and put my desk in there – a drafting table (all I ever needed to write was a pen, paper and a flat surface) – so I had a little private office where I could work. In that little space, I crafted character after character, if only to have them and see what could come of them. I enjoyed the act of creation for creation’s sake. No agenda, no “I have to write 1,000 words or die trying”, no nothing other than “I want to do this cool thing because the cool thing makes me feel good”.

Something has changed. And it’s changed me. And though what I’m about to type next can sound confusing, I’m sticking to my guns – I can’t change what has changed me, but I can make a change. So what am I doing? I’m using the PF2E Core Rulebook to start making character after character with no agenda in mind. Sounds pretty easy, right?

Not for me. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point my hobby came to be all about output. If I would start a story, I would be constantly in my own head, asking me where I want to go with this – will it be sent for publication? will anyone like it? It will be rejected again and I won’t agree with the rejections at first and then cave in because maybe I’m not as good as I think? will I even finish it? should it be a trilogy? when will I have time to keep writing it, much less finish it.

And even as I type this, I think about the character I want to build and craft and their abilities, and then I think about what do I do with them? do I make another character and do a solo-role play? do I use my StoryCube Dice to come up with a system to generate random play? if I do that, what do the sides of the cubes mean? do I have to create monsters and scenarios and plot points for each cube? will it even work? who will play it? Honestly, these are the voices in my head and what I contend with whenever I am faced with the simple act of creating something.

But today it’s not going to stop me. My only goal right now is to grant myself permission to have as much fun as possible.

UPDATE – I really like what I’ve done so far. Yeah, I’m taking my time. But like I said, I’m having fun. I attached a copy of the PDF sample of the character sheet I’ve come up with.

kicking a ball, dropping a drink, falling down

Haven’t worked on “BASE2” for a while. I enjoyed being distracted by it – I really needed the distraction – but it’s on the back burner for now. It did not represent my best work but I think it still is a good idea.

The need for distraction came from needing to get my mind off work. Every day felt like a Greek tragedy.

Some days I felt like Prometheus, chained to my rock of a desk and having my liver torn out only to go home eviscerated, heal overnight, to be forced do it all over again the next day.

Others, I felt like Sisyphus, pushing a boulder uphill only to have to tumble back down and I’d have to start all over again. Towards the end, I did not enjoy myself at all.

I feel no ill will towards anyone. I’m just happy it’s over and I can start to go back to being myself.

And last night, it came to me to write something. Anything.

The idea came late at night. I didn’t indulge the temptation. So I saved it for today and literally rolled the dice to see what could happen. What you see above is the result.

I took the time to write what I’m calling “Three Falls”. It’s not a whole story, just the start to one.

Three Falls

“Simon!” Trish yelled from the sidelines. “Terry is open!”

Simon looked over to see her cupping her hands to her mouth, yelling at him to pass the ball to Terry. “He’s open, for fuck’s sake.”

Caught between taking the ball and running with it and listening to his girlfriend – also the coach of their little pick-up soccer league – he tripped over his own two feet. He saw himself as if in a tv show, floating majestically through the air in slow motion, maybe some classical music playing, before the world became all too real when his face mashed into the grass.

The opposing team lunged for the ball and took it back down the field. It was several seconds – felt like hours – before the referee blew the whistle. The twelve year old came jogging over and bent down to check on Simon.

“You doing okay, sir?” The boy asked. They’d hired him from the town – apparently the recreation department rents out their referees for all kinds of sporting events.

He got himself to a sitting position, and cleared his face of loose grass, dirt and debris. “Did you just call me sir?”

“Uh, yeah. You okay? You came down pretty hard.”

“That would be about right,” Simon said, grunting as he got up on one foot. He could feel the warmth in his left ankle, which told him for sure it was twisted if not sprained.

“Let me help you, sir,” the kid said, putting Simon’s arm across is shoulder and reaching around his waist for support as Simon limped off the field.

Trish didn’t seem to notice. She had the rest of the team on the sidelines for some last minute strategy. Only as he approached the bench did she see him and start a half-hearted clap. “Good try, good try. Walk it off, Simon. Walk it off. You’re good. We got this.”

He glanced at his watch. About five minutes left in the game. He was not going to walk off anything to go back on the field. When he took his seat on the bench, he took a chug of water then scrolled through the fitness stats on his watch, smiling to himself.

“What are you so happy about?” Trish said. She alternated between watching the game and checking on him. “You should have passed to Terry.”

“Yeah. Sorry about that.”

She clapped him on the shoulder. “No worries. No worries. Want some ice for your ankle? What the fuck?”

“Excuse me?”

Trish’s attention went from him to the game. Apparently someone’s mutt ran out on the field to chase the ball. The opposing team laughed and chuckled as the dog ran around and tried to play.

“Get that fucking dog off the ruddy field!” Trish screamed, stopping the whole soccer game cold.

So much for our friendly game.