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Only marginally related to gaming

I haven't posted any gaming material here in far too long, and am resolved to do better. For one thing, gaming continues to be the one thing positive in my life.

I have fallen upon pretty hard times, to the point where I'm not sure how I'm going to keep a roof over my head or gas in my car, to say nothing of being unable to afford the meds for my diabetes. Like everyone else in this terrible economy I'm job hunting; I just haven't had any luck. It is, unfortunately, a pretty common hard-luck story these days.

If you're in the industry and could use an editor, please consider me. And if you're a gaming hobbyist (and if you're not, why the heck would you read MY Livejournal?), watch this space. I'm going to be selling all of my Star Wars collectibles and most of my print gaming materials via Ebay over the next while. This includes cards, games and probably even dice...

Help a fellow gamer out if you can.

(jaegamer AT gmail DOT com)

March 4th - GM Appreciation Day

March 4th is GM's Day, time to show some appreciation for your GM(s).

Geek's Dream Girl has some useful suggestions.

This isn't a naked plea for prezzies from my players, but instead a reminder that it would be nice to tell your GM how much you appreciate what s/he does to entertain you. GMing is fun (or I, at least, wouldn't do it), but it's always nice to hear that your work is appreciated.

GM's Day is actually several years old, and happens to be the anniversary of Gary Gygax's death.  This is a coincidence, as GM's Day predates the passing of that gaming icon.  Here's a posting from ENWorld from 2005 discussing how it began in 2002 (original thread).

Do something nice for your GM(s) in March - even a sincere thank you is always nice.


Gencon finally gets it.

I'm stunned.  Both badge purchasing and hotel reservation were quick and painless.  No reload screens, no lag, and I got my room of choice without a hitch.

Wow.  I'm looking forward to event registration.


Gencon Registration 2010

 There were the usual glitches of the site being overloaded, but I got all but one of my first choices, and my second choice for that slot was good as well.   I'm working some at the Rogue Games booth, sleeping in most mornings, and looking forward to a fairly relaxed 25th Gencon.

Thursday 8/5
  • 01:00:00 PM - Ghostfacers in Hell (Supernatural, Cortex System)
Friday 8/6 
  • 08:00:00 AM  - Pathfinder Society #57: Before the Dawn, P1: The Bloodcove Disguise
  • 08:00:00 PM - The Shotgun Diaries: Die Zombie Die! (Ker-blam! Ker-blam!) (John Wick's The Shotgun Diaries)
Saturday 8/7
  • 08:00:00 PM - All the Better... (Supernatural)

Sunday 8/8
  • 10:00:00 AM - Alien Agents (Monsters and Other Childish Things)


Read An RPG Book In PublicI'm kind of excited about this idea, and plan to haul out some of my prettiest RPG books. Trail of Cthulhu springs to mind...

The full story is here.  I'm posting a brief excerpt, but I encourage you to go to the source and read all about it.

Read An RPG Book in Public Week is an event that happens three times a year, during the weeks surrounding March 4th, July 27th, and October 1st (starting on the Sunday on or before, and ending on the Saturday on or after). During these weeks, roleplaying enthusiasts are encouraged to take their favorite RPG rulebooks out with them and read them in public - on the bus, in the coffee shop, at lunch, at the park, or anywhere (as long as it isn't disruptive to work, school, church, or any other functions).

What's the point?

The point is to make the roleplaying hobby more visible, to get it "out of the basement" and into public areas where more people can see it. This will make others more aware of the hobby - some may ask you what your book is about, giving you the opportunity to explain the hobby to them. A few of those may be interested enough to try it themselves. Former gamers may see what you're reading and think about the great times they used to have with roleplaying, and possibly even try it again.

Me again.  I'm also reminded that March 4th is GM's Day - ENWorld created the holiday in 2002, and, sadly, Gary Gygax died on that date in 2009.  Players, say something nice to your GM on March 4th.

Let the mockery commence

My resolution to spend my 25th Gencon playing (rather than my usual mix of running/volunteering more than I play) lasted till mid-morning today. mind_of_richard  emailed me about helping out at the Rogue Games booth and the next thing I know, I'm saying "sure".  I like their products (particularly Colonial Gothic), and much of what I want to do at Gencon is talking to people anyways, soooo... there it is.

Whomever has Jan 20th in the betting pool, you win!


GMing Tips

I'm participating in a panel on better GMing at Confusion (Troy MI, Jan 22-24, 2010), and I'm compiling a set of useful tips.  It's a one hour panel, and I'm sure I'm not the only one on it.  I'll be storing my own ideas in this post (and will be updating it as things occur to me), and I'd appreciate any tips any of you have.

In no particular order...
  • It's not just YOUR story, it's THEIR story too (collaborate).
  • Don't be wedded to your scenario.  If you plan for 4 possible choices, the players will take the 6th.
  • GM ain't havin' fun, ain't nobody havin' fun.  (The inverse is also true.)
  • Know your players and their characters.  Make sure there's an opportunity for everyone to shine.
  • If you don't want them to screw it up, don't let them roll the dice (contsts/tests should be meaningful - if they need info/success/whatever to continue, *give* it to them
  • Nobody likes a no-win scenario.  Make sure you've thought of at least one way to succeed.  Mind you, the players will probably come up with another.
  • Failure can be even more interesting than success.  (differs from no-win, in that failure at a particular test means an unexpected outcome, as opposed to "too bad, you're dead".
  • Players don't mind losing a character if the death is meaningful.
  • Complicate their lives, complicate their lives, complicate their lives.
  • Dependents, cohorts and NPC friends - snack food for monsters and ways to complicate their lives.
Stuff I've appropriated from other people:
  • Failure is boring.  The credible but unrealized threat of failure is very exciting (Robin Laws)
  • Say "yes" or roll the dice. (Vincent Baker)
  • Try to give your players at least one meaningful choice in an adventure with no pre-determined conclusion. (@slyflourish)
  • "The game must be fun shall be the whole of the Law." Making Light


Pentacon 2009 Schedule

I should never try to sign up for things when my coffee hasn't metabolized yet... the slot information is beneath the listing, dummy!

Pentacon LogoPentacon is in Fort Wayne, IN, USA, November 6-8, 2009. To register for events, go to their Consupport site.
There are just not enough slots in any con to go around - I long for the days when I was younger and could get by on a lot less sleep. I'm tickled that I might finally get to play the Pathfinder that I missed when it ran at the club (because I was eating the other scheduled scenario). Then Witch Hunter through Saturday evening - becoming a tradition for me. Sunday I have to have time to pack/check out, so nothing till 2pm, but at least I'll get in one new Fellowship of the White Star. I could easily play the whole con in any of the three campaigns, darn it! I need that thingy that Hermione used in Harry Potter!

Jae's Pentacon Schedule
Slot When Event Status
2 Fri 2-6 Pathfinder #3: Murder on the Silken Caravan Player
3 Fri 7:30 -11:30 WH: DP Pt 1 - Trier Player
4 Sat 9-1 WH: DP Pt 2 - Munich Player
5 Sat 2-6 WH: DP Pt 3 - Wiesbaden Player
6 Sat 7:30-11:30 PM WH: DP Interactive GM
8 Sun 2-6 PM FWS B205: Nature of the Beast Player


dry erase paintI stumbled across this in my blog reading, and I *love* the idea of having a wall (or walls) of dry-erase whiteboard to doodle on while running a game. It's called IdeaPaint.

Our FLGS (Evolution Games) has a couple of rooms set aside for gaming (and is building more) with a modicum of noise abatement, and I thrill to the idea of having the walls painted with this stuff!  I already bring a tabletop whiteboard for things like tracking initiative and putting up things for the players to remember.

It would also make a good surface for a mini-projector and a GMing aid like D20 Pro or Maptool.

docupocket standWhile I'm talking about cool game aids, let me link you to Trainer's Warehouse, where I got these nifty little stands/clear plastic holders for signs, character tents, etc.  For $7 plus shipping you get a sturdy little marble base and your choice of a holder (this is 8 1/2 x 11, but I got 5x7 for my character card.

In fact I got a whole bunch of 5x7 holders and I keep one with each of my characters with the character card in it.  That way it's ready to go any time I play.  They're pretty inexpensive, and work really well.

Back from Gencon... so much to tell...

I had a great Gencon.  Worked my tail off (16 hrs Thursday and Saturday), ran for wonderful people, bought far too much stuff, even managed to play a game or two.  Not enough time spent with chums or playing games, but next year I'm going to play and only play.

I know... I say that every year.

More later, with pics - must return to work now.


I've now got the new LiveJournal Messenger. My Windows Live ID is jaegamer@livejournal.com. Sign up now and we can chat!
shipment of failOr... registering for Origins event tickets this year.

The title is a quote from the Gencon forums re Origins Registration this year.

They hired a contract firm to upgrade their deeply awful web registration.  Alas, evidently meeting deadlines (the opening of registration was postponed, postponed again, and then was pretty much impossible to connect to), and any kind of testing aren't part of the contract. 

Actually, I'm pretty sure they are, as Trey Riley says "heads will roll".  None of which helps the majority of us who can't get our frickin' events.  I empathize - hell, I quit IT because I couldn't deal with the level of stress any more.  It's not good for Origins, though.  Their web interface has always been a poster child for poor customer interfacing, and this just piles more on top of that growing bad reputation.

It's a good thing that Origins is a totally rockin' con, where I meet up with some of the best players and GMs I've ever known, 'cause otherwise I'd have given up.

I did, after hours and hours of attempting, slip through a hole in the endless "enter address" loop, and finally dodged the "you must buy a badge" after you click "credit card" wall to get the tickets that I manged to squeeze into my cart in one lucky transaction sometime during yesterday's 8 hour ordeal.  I can't buy the last ticket I need because, well, now vast tracts of events have just disappeared from the event list.  Which, btw, currently only shows the first 25 (lowest) numbers, and is relatively impervious to efforts to see anything else.

I hope they get it fixed, and soon.  I understand that the problem is probably the contractor, but well... management hired the contractor.  No matter how you spin it, it's EPIC FAIL.

If you use Twitter, the tags are #Origins2009 and #OriginsFAIL.

My schedule (I hope)... There's a distinct lack of early morning events, and I've left Saturday wide open in case Blackmoor is in dire need.  And I'm actually playing!  That's because I expect most of Gencon to be work, work, work, with the launch of Blackmoor 4th ed.

Wednesday 6/24/09
  • 1:30 PM    6049    WitchHunter - Dark Providence: Redemption    That which was stolen must be returned; that which is free must willingly return to captivity.
  • 7:00 PM    6102    Strange Times: I Am Mythos    Lou Grant meets the Tick meets Cthulhu in this game of horror and humor.
Thursday 6/25/09
  • 8:00 AM    6251    WitchHunter - Dark Providence: Corruption    Along the Italian Alps a poison spreads; a pact once sworn has been broken. The pact must be avenged before the oaths can be restored.
  • RUN 1:30 PM    6381    Star Mage Prophecies: R001 - Reborn    The StarMage Prophecies is a continuing RPG campaign that launched at Origins 2007. It is *not* Living Dragonstar reborn.
  • 7:00 PM    6516    WitchHunter - Dark Providence: Salvation    Death walks the land. The hand that set the stone to roll may be forever severed if the memory of the hunt is keen.
Friday 6/26/09
  • RUN 1:30 PM    6780    Fellowship of the white Star: A208 The Fat Lady's Song, (Part Four of the Faulty Towers series ) An Interactive Event.    Origins Premiere #4.  A semi-historic d20 horror campaign module set in San Francisco 1906.
  • RUN 7:00 PM    6902    Star Mage Prophecies: R001 - Reborn    The StarMage Prophecies is a continuing RPG campaign that launched at Origins 2007. It is *not* Living Dragonstar reborn, but it could be considered Living Dragonstar reincarnated.
Saturday 6/27/09
  • RUN 7:00 PM    7245    Blackmoor: Episode 49 Heroes on Ice (1-4)    With Dave Arneson's Blackmoor: The MMRPG, you can play at home or at any one of the great conventions that run Blackmoor games. We have released over 40 Episodes for home play and more popping up all the time!
Sunday 6/27/09
  • SUN 1:30 PM    7502    Pathfinder Society Scenario #25: Hands of the Muted God    "When the man who would be the Muted God wordlessly stepped beyond the gates of the Starstone's Cathedral, his thousand and one faithful ringing the Ascendant Court watched with the silent contemplation that is their highest sacrament. When he failed to emerge, many of his penitents abandoned their vows but a small sect remained loyal and worshipful. You and your fellow Pathfinders are sent into the mountains north of Absalom to follow the path of a doomed party and uncover the secrets of the Muted God. His loyal band of followers, called the Hand, will stop at nothing to keep you away from their shrine--even forming an alliance with some of Golarion's most evil denizens."


Dave Arneson - RIP

It was less than 24 hours from false report to true.  :: sniffle ::

I knew Dave, not well enough to call him a friend or even acquaintance, though I flatter myself that he might recognize me.  He was only six years older than I am now.  The First Generation is passing far too rapidly.

From the family:
Shortly after 11pm on Tuesday, April 7th, Dave Arneson passed away. He was comfortable and with family at the time and his passing was peaceful.

The Arneson family would like to thank everyone for their support over the last few days, and for the support the entire community has shown Dave over the years.

We are in the process of making final arrangements and will provide additional details as we work them out. We will continue to receive cards and letters in Dave's honor. We are planning to hold a public visitation so that anyone wishing to say their goodbye in person has the opportunity to do so.

Cards and letters can continue to be sent:
Dave Arneson
1043 Grand Avenue
Box #257
St. Paul, MN

Visitation will be on April 20th
Time: yet to be determined
Bradshaw Funeral Home
687 Snelling Avenue South
St. Paul, MN 55105
And the best eulogy I've read yet, from Ken Hite's Out of the Box column:

Dave Arneson invented this column.

Dave Arneson invented the reason you read this column.

Dave Arneson invented the reason the website that hosts this column exists.

Dave Arneson invented "armor class." He invented "hit points." He invented the "cleric." He invented the "dungeon." He invented "so, last week you cleaned out the dungeon, and now you've heard about another, even scarier dungeon, over the ridge there." He invented "everyone plays one guy, and I play all the monsters."

Dave Arneson co-invented Dungeons & Dragons.

Dave Arneson invented role-playing games.

On a personal note, he was a friendly, generous person who genuinely liked games and gamers; seeing him at a convention, or a store appearance, was always a delight - for me, for the fans, and (as far as I could tell) for him. I had the good fortune to talk to him a lot at various shows; he was a demigod adept at playing a mere tenth-level game designer, or  first-level fan, but he also liked hanging out and talking about the Civil War, or his students, or what was going on in my life.

I first met him at GenCon 1997, right after Wizards took over TSR. He was sitting alone, near the Wizards booth, wearing a badge but otherwise inconspicuous. Certainly, there should have been throngs of worshipers bestrewing his lap with rose petals, or a shaft of light from the Fifth Heaven, or an honor guard of bugbears, or something. But I got to shake his hand and thank him for inventing my spare time, and my career.

And now he has leveled up.

wampameat  , Mike and I all started trying for Gencon 2009 rooms at noon, and scored the Hyatt on the 2nd try (point to Vic!).  There was no problem logging in, no lockups, no eternal screen refreshes... it looks like they've finally actually and genuinely upgraded the computer system!  Yippiee!  Welcome to the 21st century, Gencon!

I'll mostly be tied up with the 4th edition launch of Dave Arneson's Blackmoor, but I traditionally run one slot (at least) of my own.  I haven't submitted yet because, well, I'm just not sure what I want to run.  I've got "Something In the Dark", a Colonial Gothic that I'm working on (considerably LESS dark than last year's), and I always enjoy running some form of Firefly, and of course there's always Cat, or Savage Chill...

Last year I barely got to play, so I want to remedy that this year.  My role for DAB is as much organizational as anything, and the modules WILL be ready well ahead of time.  11-12 slots... probably half of those given over to DAB.  So, one slot, maybe two, that I'll run something.  Oh, and of course I need to make sure I sleep enough.  Drat old age...

Any requests from the peanut gallery?


D&D 4.0 - Brilliance from Sean Reynolds

I've copied this from the comments in seankreynolds's entry on 4E and the "revised" archons, simply because it's so utterly brilliant, and because it completely expresses the way I feel about the apparent design decisions in 4E. It's down a ways in the comments, but I encourage you to read all of the comments.

I don't dislike 4E - but I have a lot of cognitive dissonance every time I play. I have to deliberately sit myself down and remind myself that this is a whole new game, and not D&D as I've known it for 30+ years. I still get that jarring "step off an unexpected curb" sensation dozens of time per game, as core concepts kinda leap up and moon me with either their radical changes or complete disappearance.

The game has intrinsic value and playability, but the only reason it's called D&D is because that IP is owned by the people who put out the game. Any other similarities appear to be entirely coincidental.

Sean says:
Let's say I like muscle cars, the Chevy Camaro in particular. I've been buying a new Chevy Camaro every 10 years because I know the company, I know the machine, I like how it handles, I like the slight upgrades. Then 2008 rolls around and Chevy is trying to get me excited about the new Camaro (though they sold me one just three years ago). Except this "Camaro" "muscle car" is actually a Geo Metro that they stuck the name "Camaro" on.

A Geo Metro has very little to do with a Chevy Camaro. They're both cars, sure, but one is a muscle car, and the other is a highly fuel-efficient lightweight supermini. Heck, the Metro isn't technically a Chevrolet, it's a Suzuki.

I, as the long-term, brand-aware Camaro buyer, is pissed that they're calling this new car a Camaro. It's not a damn Camaro!

You, as the relative newcomer to the car scene, may have driven a real Camaro before or at least ridden in one, but you don't really car, you just want a car you can drive. You try out and like the new "Camaro" (i.e., Suzuki), like it, and buy it. You wanted a light, fuel-efficient small car, and it's perfect for you.

My CDs play in my car and your car. I can even hang my fuzzy dice from your rear-view mirror. We both drive using the same general rules of the road, though my acceleration, mileage, seating capacity, and crash survivability may be different than yours.

I'm not stupid for liking the original Camaro.
You're not stupid for liking the new *choke* Camaro-Suzuki.
But Chevy is stupid for trying to call its new non-Camaro car a Camaro and expecting its existing customers to swallow that one whole. If they called the new car a Cappucino and stopped producing the old Camaros, you'd still have angry fans of the old Camaro model but you wouldn't be insulting their intelligence by insisting that the supermini was really a Camaro.


I'm not stupid for liking 3e.
You're not stupid for liking 4e.
Wizards is stupid for changing so many things in D&D to fit their definition of what D&D should be, ignoring that the existing players have been playing D&D the previous way for 30 years and might not want to change that.


Grave Robbers from outer spaceI've been a fanatical consumer of (and proselytizer for) Z-Man Games B-Movie card game since I discovered it years ago. I'm not a big card player, but this is fast and fun.  The objective is to "build" a b-movie while emptying your hand, before someone plays the "roll credits" card.  What makes this fun is that you attack each others movies (sabotage is your friend!), and the cards are absolutely hysterical.  It's de rigeur to read the card when you play it.  Last year I gave all of my closest friends decks for Christmas.

Each deck is a send-up of a different genre, and Skippy the Wonder Dog appears in every deck.  (As does - Is that a tentacle?).  I ordered the latest release, Silent But Deadly NIght, sight unseen, though I was a little troubled that it cost more than any of the other decks had*.

Silent but deadly nightIt arrived yesterday, and now I see why it's a little more.  Besides the usual two packs of cards and instructions, it's packed in a custom holiday tin, with a tiny plush "Skippy the Wonder Dog" ornament.

Guess what' I'm taking to the New Year's Party (along with the Dr. Horrible Sing Along Blog DVD, of course).

*Point of reference - the decks are:
  •      Grave Robbers From Outer Space (2001)
  •      Cannibal Pygmies in the Jungle of Doom (2002)
  •      Kung Fu Samurai on Giant Robot Island (2003)
  •      Grave Robbers from Outer Space 2: Skippy's Revenge (2003)
  •      Bell-Bottomed Badassses on the Mean Streets of Funk (2004)
  •      Berserker Halflings from the Dungeon of Dragons (2005)
  •      Scurvy Musketeers of the Spanish Main (2006)
  •      Bushwhackin' Varmints out of Sergio's Butte (2007)
  •      Silent But Deadly Night (2008)


Dungeon Mastering LogoI read a lot of RPG blogs. A lot... Lately I've been finding so much good stuff that I have to share some of it. Or at least store it where I can find it later.
  • One Sentence NPC Generator - an oldie but goodie from RPGTips. Stuck for NPC ideas? Click this puppy till you find one you like. A few examples:
    • Clumsy, drunken wizard morbidly afraid her own sobriety.
    • The town witch doctor, reputed as a medical miracle worker, is actually nothing more than a lucky fraud, in way over their head.
    • Highly superstitious about local fey, the blacksmith only takes payment in silver for fear of being duped with 'faerie gold.'
    • Depressed elementalist has forgotten how to summon all but the nicest of weather.
  • 5 NPCs That Won’t Put Your Players to Sleep - From Dungeon Mastering Some good general tips for designing interesting NPCs. I've used a few of these myself and will probably use more of them in the future.
  • Nerdy Chix - Web site by and for female MMORPG , videogame and RPG players.
  • D20 end of year deals from montecook . "WotC pulled the plug on d20, so that anything with the d20 logo on it can't be sold after the end of this year." I didn't realize that. eek!
  • Delta Green Rules for Survival - from RoleplayingPro - I just discovered this blog, and it's full of nifty, interesting stuff. If you've ever played Delta Green (or the shared world campaign Delta Files) this will ring really true. If you haven't, and you're within driving distance of Lansing MI, email me and we'll set something up. X-Files meets Cthulhu for the win!
  • How to Get Players More Involved again from RoleplayingPro. Oh, heck, just go read everything there!
Finally, from muskrat_john , is a bit of gaming holiday shopping advice (humor).


Not gaming - winter lol-cats

Ohhhh.. the weather outside is frightful, but the kitties inside are delightful...

it are sno all your warm

More cats + snow below the cutCollapse )


While we await election returns...

1. Stop talking about politics for a moment or two.compucat
2. Post a reasonably-sized picture in your LJ, NOT under a cut tag, of something pleasant, such as an adorable kitten, or a fluffy white cloud, or a bottle of booze. Something that has NOTHING TO DO WITH POLITICS.
3. Include these instructions, and share the love.

(gacked from amnesiack )


Tis the Season

It's the season for Chill, and I have a problem.

I love running Chill, and I have a group of wonderful players.  Until I took a hiatus a month ago, we'd been running weekly for a couple of years.  I tend to long, involved scenarios deeply linked into the backgrounds of the characters.  That made for a lot of good play, but Real Life has reared its monstrous head.  Odds are good that no more than 3 of my six players will be able to make any given week night session, which ends up limiting my story options.  What do I do if I've centered the story around a character who can't make it that week - or for several weeks?

I don't want to replace the players who can't make it often - they're great players, they just have Real Life conflicts.  I want to make my game more "absence friendly" without losing the personal connection that I feel is so important in a horror game.

I'd like to go to a more episodic approach (a la Supernatural, Friday the 13th the Series or Poltergeist: the Legacy), but I'm kinda stalled.  I don't want to do tired old stuff - these folks are all pretty well mired in the horror genre.  I'd like to string the episodic events into arcs so that eventually they'd look at them an realize that this and this and OMG THAT all apply to their personal arcs, and it's time to batten down the hatches.

So I turn to you, my fellow evil geniuses, for a burst of ideas for short (3-4 hr) torture sessions...er... games.

Edit: Game blogs are available at: www.chillrpg.net/chilldetroit


4th Ed Missing Classes

DruidBardO wise and adventuresome Flist...

Have you come across any really good fan replacements for the Bard, the Druid (and other missing classes in 4E)?

Looks like the job has been done - The Advanced Player's Guide from Expeditious Retreat Press includes 4 new classes that sound like they might fit the bill...

New classes include:
  • "Martial Artist (Monk analogue.) Divine Striker. More kung-fu than the 3e monk, nonetheless all the pieces that you would associate with a monk, along with some neat extra mechanics.
  • Nature Priest (Druid analogue.) Divine Controller. Very similar in feel to the existing controller, the Wizard, plus some extra powers to conjure. Many of the powers have similar names to older Druid spells.
  • Savage Warrior (Barbarian analogue.) Martial Defender. The Savage Warrior gains extra abilities when bloodied, and is master of the charge. In fact, the Savage Warrior fills his Defender role by marking when he charges, which is a great idea.
  • Troubadour (Bard analogue.) Arcane Leader. Like the other Leaders, he gets a “Healing Word” type power, though for some reason it follows a different progression in healing power than the other leaders we’ve seen. The Troubadour also has other similar powers to assist allies, like granting re-rolls and extending ranges.
  • Spellbinder (Illusionist analogue.) Arcane Controller. Uses mostly powers from other classes, mainly the Wizard and Warlock.

All the classes, with the exception of Spellbinder, have their own Paragon paths that also are call-backs to previous editions. You can see the complete list in the free preview PDF. Additionally, there are a few more generic paragon paths that have some familiar faces, including the Acrobat (Thief-Acrobat), Merciless Assassin (Assassin), Specialist Mage (School-focused wizard, but more like the Elementalist), and Stalwart Cavalier (Cavalier.)" quoted from the linked review


Serious Geekitude

I'm going to join litagemini 's campaign at our club next month, and am building a 4E wizard to complement the party. Also because I want to learn the magic rules. I'm also a semi-serious City of Heroes player (if only I didn't have such alt-itis!), so Phil and I made toons for our characters. So... here they are. Mine's the female mage (magic controller, ice/force).

From Dragon's Maw


An Essay on Play Style

I just wrote a lengthy screed to a group that's forming (and that I hope to join) where a new, young player is having a lot of difficulty with the preferred style of the rest of the group.  I think it's fairly cogent, so I've removed identifying features and am posting it here.  Feel free to offer opinions and suggestions or not.  One of the things I like best about my Flist is the accumulated role playing wisdom contained therein.

Beneath the cut out of consideration...Collapse )

Photo Meme

I am such a meme sheep...  I reduced the photo size to appropriate size, but otherwise it's unaltered.

Take a picture of yourself right now.
Don't change your clothes, don't fix your hair...just take a picture.
Post that picture with NO editing.
Post these instructions with your picture.

Jae 9/17/2008


Health note

For those in whom I've confided re recent deep, dark holes... I'm happy to report that the chemicals have finally kicked in.  Yesterday morning I felt markedly more like doing *anything*, and today I feel relatively chipper (despite having played CoH far, far too late).

As you were...

And for amusement value, I present this entirely appropriate definition icon.

Douglas Adams Meme - Mostly Harmless

When you see this post a quote from Douglas Adams in your blog.
“We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem.”


4th Edition D&D Short Intro Adventure

searchingWho would have thought that a major gaming company would fail to provide free, short intro adventures for their big new product?  I mean, seriously, you want to hook people into your game, you give them something their first level characters can dip their toes in, right? 

Oh, wait... we're talking about WotC, aren't we?


Okay, here's my problem.  I've been blithely assuming such a thing exists and scheduled a "make a character and play" session for this weekend.  Saturday, to be precise.  And now that I've lined people up... no adventure.  *head*desk*head*desk*.

And so, I come to you, my brilliant, connected, GAMER friends, to see if any of YOU have something I might be able to use.  I've got a 4 hour slot, probably half of which will be character building.  I just need an itty bitty demo that will showcase a little of what makes 4th Ed D&D interesting enough to play again.

:: looks around hopefully ::



Gencon 2008 Schedule

Here (very briefly) is my Gencon schedule. It's in flux, as I wasn't anticipating being on the Blackmoor staff as of Gencon so I hadn't signed up to run at all. Now I'm Plot Coordinator (at least for the moment) and the campaign horribly short of judges for Gencon.  I feel I have an obligation to run as much as I can.

On the other hand, I *need* to have my first slot in the morning off as much as possible, because I'm just too darned old to go on less than 5 hours sleep for more than a day.  Nor am I willing to give up the stuff I have tickets for, as each and every one is something I'm dying to play.  There are some holes in my schedule though, that I'd left open to hang with friends or pick up a game, so those I can fill with Blackmoor.  I'm willing to run any of the intros at the drop of a hat, and a fair number of the rest of the library.  I suck as a tactical/combat judge, so I won't run the high level/high combat mods that have become the staple of the campaign over the past year.  Fortunately that still leaves quite a few modules.

I'll update here as I get new information.

  • Play  8/14 Thurs 9 am Chill "Whatever happened to Chester Brown?" (RPG00079)
  • Play  8/14 Thursday 2 pm Supernatural "Seeds of Chaos" (RPG00251)
  • Run  8/14 Thursday 7 pm Colonial Gothic "Bonestown" (RPG00251)
  • Run  8/15 Friday 1 pm StarMage Prophecies SMP01-06 "Rat Queen's Bane" (RPG01680)
  • Play  8/15 Friday 6 pm Trail of Cthulhu "Incident at Killgul Island" (RPG01515)
  • Run  8/16 Saturday 9 am  Blackmoor "Welcome to Blackmoor"
  • Play  8/16 Saturday 2 pm The Dresden Files (RPG01536)
  • Run  8/16 Saturday 7 pm  Blackmoor "Welcome to Blackmoor"
  • Run  8/17 Sunday 11 am Cat "Home Alone" (RPG01887)


Origins Schedule 2008

Hrmpfh. I'd intended to play more and GM less this year, and here I am running 6 slots. And playing 2. To be fair, I've kept the first slot open almost every day, so that my poor elderly self can stay out drinking at the end of the day, sleep in a little and spend a couple of hours in the dealer's room.

Part of it isn't my fault - the StarMage creator found that the cheapest air ticket he could get was $1000. That's an awful lot of moolah when there were only half a dozen people signed up over all of the slots. So, I picked up the slots where there were tickets purchased and we canceled the rest. Unfortunately, two of those fell over games I was going to play. Ah, well... In addition, I'm now Plot Coordinator for Blackmoor, so it seemed to me that I really have to be willing to run at least a couple of slots to help the cause. I would always rather be on staff at LARPs than attending, so I volunteered for the WitchHunter Interactive. And, of course, I started the whole thing by deciding to run a scenario for Colonial Gothic (which sold out the first day, I'm happy to say).

Yup, there's where my Origins went... I'll need to find someone to buy the tickets for two games that I don't need any more.

And mind you, I do enjoy running these games, or I wouldn't have said yes. I just didn't realize I was going to be running so many slots...

Jae's Origins Schedule
Run 6/25/08 7:00 PM Colonial Gothic - Bonestown
Run 6/26/08 1:00 PM Blackmoor Intro Archive
Run 6/26/08 7:00 PM VH:DP LARP - Celebration of Innocence
Run 6/27/08 8:00 AM Blackmoor Intro Archive
Run 6/27/08 1:00 PM SMP Market Mayhem
Play 6/27/08 7:00 PM WH:DP 1-14 Fair Trade
Play 6/28/08 1:00 PM FWS-A109: The Rock
Run 6/28/08 7:00 PM SMP01-06 Rat Queen's Bane


Setting priorities

I spent most of the last week (evenings) and pretty much all of the weekend playing City of Heroes. I'm starting to wonder if my addictive personality is having a wee bit of a problem here... I have a boatload of stuff to get done before Origins, so I'm going to cut myself off from CoH for a couple of weeks to get it all done.

Dang, but it's fun!  I love the character creator, while I still yearn for even MORE options for clothing, faces, and in particular footgear for female characters.  There are not enough "shoe" choices, imho, or body shape options.  I tried to make a toon that looks somewhat like me, and simply couldn't make one fat and dumpy enough.  It's more like me after a successful weight loss regimen, though my chum Philsie did observe that she has a "big butt", so I guess I got in the general neighborhood.  I wish we had all of the costume tools that they have for the NPCs, like tie-died t-shirts and middle-aged spread.  And more than 3 kinds of women's shoes.

Game play continues to hold my interest because they keep making changes and improvements.  I'm *not* a hard core gamer, and my reaction time is pretty slow. I appreciate that I can still play the game (even if I do spend a lot of time running into walls and corners) and be a useful part of a team.

I like the team/hang out with your friends aspect the most.  I can spend the evening with dear friends who are far away, beating up bad guys (or good guys in City of Villains), chatting on Skype and generally basking in camaraderie.  I'd say that's why I've been playing so much, except that I've also spent a lot of time playing solo.

It's also a good avoidance tool -- and I don't really need more of those. It's soooo easy to fire it up and play on the laptop....

So, I'm cutting myself off for a couple of weeks.  With any luck it'll be like my off and on relationship with coffee.  I love coffee, I even need it, but since the last time I broke the caffeine addiction I can take it or leave it.  Ideally I'll be able to go back to playing CoH a couple of times a week like before.

But first... man, have I got a lot to do in the 2 weeks before Origins!


ErikErick Wujcik died Saturday from pancreatic cancer.  He was 57, and my heart is breaking.  We were not close friends, but he played a pivotal role in my early gaming, and he was always a joy to talk with.  His contributions to the industry are many, and you can check the links for them.

I will remember Erick best as he appears in this photo, with his leather cap and a quizzical, challenging expression on his face.  He was one of the first people I met when I started gaming in the wide world.  He was running a small con in the Detroit area (maybe 40 people) and I was the only woman there.  I had a tremendously fun time, and found Erick funny, welcoming and full of ideas that were new to me.  Before that, "gaming" meant D&D - after, I realized how much more there could be.

Erick continued to challenge my mind and open my eyes with seminars on “How to Win at RPGs” on being a better player, and in general as a GM how to understand your world on a macro level so you can improvise on a micro level.  Erick used Zen koans to help illustrate, and while they made perfect sense at the time, I've never been able to understand or remember them well enough to share with others.  His philosophies of gaming, though, I embraced and made my own.  He started me on the road to enlightenment as a gamer, and growth as a human being.

The world is a lesser place for his loss, and a greater world for his contributions.  I will miss him sorely.

Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest! (Hamlet)

Gay Rights (non gaming post)

wickedthought    and jediwiker    have brought up this challenge. It's a subject where I have strong feelings, so I'm jumping on the bandwagon.

Why is that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?" -Ernest Gaines

We would like to know who really believes in gay rights on livejournal. There is no bribe of a miracle or anything like that. If you truly believe in gay rights, then repost this and title the post as "Gay Rights." If you don't believe in gay rights, then just ignore this. Thanks.

I've pretty much had it with the vast seas of intolerance that are passing for society these days. Time to show a little human respect for everyone.

wickedthought makes a good point - many people don't like to post memes, and while they might believe in gay rights, they might not want to feel that they're being forced to post 9on the subject.  It certainly isn't my intention to do that.  Post it or don't - I won't judge.

A moment of silence

http://projects.thomashandkeefe.com/lgA moment of silence, please, for the passing of one of the Great Masters.  E. Gary Gygax died today at his home, of a heart attack (according to what I've read thus far).  He was 69.

Love him or hate him, without him the hobby I so love would not exist.  When he and Dave Arneson got roleplaying on their wargaming, they created something magnificent, something that created a culture I am proud to be part of.

Most of my dearest friends came to me through gaming, and it still forms the core of my leisure life.

Thank you, Mr. Gygax.  I wish you all the best as you begin your legendary journey to your next destination.


GMs DayIt's that time of year again, for the benign manufactured holiday for role players - GM's Day!   It's a day to let your GMs know how much you appreciate their hard work in making a world for you to play in.

Here's a link to my previous entry on this subject.

Do something nice for your favorite GM this week. 

Another LOLCat...

things will work outthings will work out - iconJust one pair right now... I see I need to save the larger size of the icon - I like the look of the text bottom/top.

Yes, I know I need to get a life.


I Can Has Spring Nao? Plz?

I can't remember whom on my Flist was wishing for a "I can has spring nao?" icon, but I maded one.  And I didn't eated it.

spring nao?spring nao icon


I've been making LOLCats again...

There are icons for these in my userpics.

gnawing through the strapsmoar coffee

moar...Collapse )


Yes, it's another freakin' meme

YOU'RE ON MY FRIENDS LIST, I would like to know 36 things about you. I don't care if we never talk, or if we already know everything about each other. Short and sweet is fine ... You're on my list, so I want to know you better!
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Hitting the Wall

rocks fall - everyone diesI made this graphic, inspired by this cartoon from Something*Positive (warning, NSF language), as a representation of having hit the wall, hard today, with regards to gaming. Which is, as most of you probably know, the general center of my life.
rocks fall icon
If you're feeling constructive, feel free to offer ideas on re-energizing in the comments.

Also an icon, if you want to nab it for your own LJ.

Below is an extended whine...

Extended self indulgent whine below. I'd skip it if I were you...Collapse )
Urged by friends whose taste I trust as similar to mine, I took in the matinee of Cloverfield yesterday. (Warning - site link does launch the trailer.)  It was f***ing fantastic.  If you like monster movies, go see it.  If you like well told stories, go see it.  If you're prone to motion sickness, take your Dramamine first, as it's all shaky-cam.  It's not revolutionary filmmaking, but it takes immersive storytelling and does it right.  I jumped, I gasped, I cried. Twice.

I won't share my high concept reaction because it is a spoiler.  See it unspoiled if you can.  On the other hand, if you want to be spoiled or you've already seen it, Wil Wheaton's review says everything I'd want to say, and better.

Any number of times during the movie, I found myself thinking: "This is just what my Chill game is like on its best days."  (No ego here, nope, not at all, move along.)  Regular people in unimaginable circumstances, trying to deal and being heroic along the way.  I have one player for whom Hud's remarks in the subway tunnel are perfectly in character.  Some of their decisions are ill considered - even stupid - but they're plausible, and that's what makes the movie for me.

I also kept wondering if they were going to bring out a video game.  I think it would make an amazing videogame.

I will be taking the pacing and sensibility of this movie into my game.

Go see it.  Seriously.  It's that good.


Another weekend, another game...

This may be of interest to absolutely no one, as it's pretty mundane stuff - this is a light gaming weekend. I could swear I had something gaming related I wanted to post, but it's the end of a fairly longish week, and I'll be darned if I can remember what it was...


For my friend Phil

Whenever something odd or unusual (for us) happens in our D&D game, Phil will trot out a favorite phrase... It goes something like this.

Chauncey and Edgar are elves, with old-school-tie accents.

Edgar says... "That's not something you see every day, Chauncey."
Chauncey says... "What's that, Edgar?"
Edgar says...
"A half orc waving bye bye."
"A glowing halfling riding a priest."
"A half orc in braids and satin pants."
(you get the idea - fill in the blank)

When I saw these cats, I had to caption them in honor of Chauncey and Edgar.

Edit:  Unable... to... resist... obscure... reference...  Ask if you really want the story.

Animated Cat Icons

Nothing whatsoever to do with gaming... but I wanted these where I could find them, and where they wouldn't disappear if I let my extra userpics drop.

They all come from Action Cat.

falling star fireflies get well tp cat
bad day cat in the grass snow thinking of you

Edit: I added two more, one at the end of each line, that I'd forgotten.

Edit: Aaaand - one more.


Now Properly Labelled! (Language warning)

My players, $deity love 'em, have a pet name for me.  The story (which I will tell beneath the cut) goes back a number of years, and I take great pride in my nickname.  I run horror, for the most part, and if they don't cordially hate me, I'm not doing my job.  The trick is to scare the jeebers out of them, but to make it so intriguing and so personal that they keep coming back for more. 

So... this is how I became the Evil, Evil, B****

Weekend Gaming Plans

With the holidays behind us and the weather (possibly) calming down, I'm looking toward a fairly standard gaming weekend.

Tonight I finish editing a module for Blackmoor.  This one has been a real challenge, requiring some major surgery to get a plot flow that makes sense.  Sleep is for the weak.

Saturday and Sunday are a CARP game weekend, and I'm running both WitchHunter and Fellowship of the White Star while others run Blackmoor.  I'm really losing my taste for running D&D, especially as we hit a patch of Blackmoor modules that are, shall we say, more strategically oriented than I enjoy.

WitchHunter, on the other hand, has a very fast, very cinematic system, and the judges are empowered to let the players be as cinematic and flashy as they want.  Mind you, they don't always succeed, but at least they can try!  Both WitchHunter and FWS are historical horror, with WH set in 1689 and FWS in 1904.  FWS is D&D based, but is more investigative than combat oriented, so I enjoy that as well. 

And it almost goes without saying that I'm all about the horror...

Saturday evening, weather willing, we'll be back in Damara in the Forgotten Realms, if any of us can remember what it was we were doing... of course, there's always the trouble my swashbuckler can get into with her new lightsaber... er... artifact-empowered-semi-psionic rapier.  :: chuckle ::


Musical Inspiration

Listening to music while I work reminds me that I've always taken a lot of inspiration from songs. From movies as well, but in this case I was listening to "Land of Confusion" by Genesis, and it struck me that it's a perfect anthem for a modern superhero game. Or a game where the players are fighting the established order, trying to make right what's gone wrong.

In particular:
I won't be coming home tonight
My generation will put it right
We're not just making promises
That we know, we'll never keep.
Now this is the world we live in
And these are the hands we're given
Use them and let's start trying
To make it a place worth fighting for.

This is the world we live in
And these are the names we're given
Stand up and let's start showing
Just where our lives are going to.
I've been itching to run a Heroes-inspired game, but haven't found the time yet. This would make a good basis, perhaps along with Mike and the Mechanics' "Silent Running".

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Holiday Gaming

For the most part, seasonal but inconvenient snowstorms put a serious cramp in my gaming plans.  Our home Arcanis game failed to save vs. our schedules (and that the GM and one player attend school out of state and are only here for the winter break).  I did run my Chill campaign twice, with much curtailed attendance (due to player reproduction, rather than school or snow).  (congrats to Erika & Jason on the birth of Carl August Nichols!)

bloody roseThe big gaming event, for me, was running the finales of the Living Death campaign for CARP.  I wore the t-shirt I'd bought at the beginning of the campaign to run the final chapter.  It seemed only fitting.

The campaign lasted ten glorious - and terrifying - years.  I played it at the premiere, and my remaining high level character, Miss Evangeline Pennyworth, expired at the official finale at Winter Fantasy (er, the DNDXperience) last winter.  I was sad then, but it was somewhat lightened by the knowledge that I'd be running modules for the club for the next year.  Now, alas, it is over.  I ran six characters (3 deaths) to a very satisfying conclusion on Monday, and there were no dry eyes at the table as I read the final text through tear-blurred vision.  The ending was right and proper, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.  All campaigns should end when the story is well and truly told, the villains banished for all time and the heroes - bloody and weary, but not beaten - victorious in the end.

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Non-Gaming Jae Status Update

Sunday, madwoman that I am, I decided to brave the worst blizzard since 1948 and drive to Toronto for the birthday of a sick friend. I had quite an adventure, involving me getting lost (as usual), the brakes going out in my car and the kindness of my beloved friends (and many strangers - it's true what they say about Canadians being very nice people, in my recent experience). I finally arrived back home Tuesday night (3 days in the same clothes... ugh).

I intend to blog at length with pictures about my Canadian adventure over at my "life" blog, but that may be a couple of days. Meantime, I just wanted to let everyone know I'm safe at home and feeling incredibly blessed by the quality of the people who choose to call me friend.

Canada's wonderful, but I'm really happy to be home again.


Role Playing Purity Meme

Via doctor_toc

Ultimate Roleplaying Purity Score
CategoryYour ScoreAverage
Will kill for XP
Sensitive Roleplaying6.33%
There is no player. There is only.... Zuul.
GM Experience9.42%
Worldbuilder, storyteller... Master.
Systems Knowledge78.39%
Local rules guru
Livin' La Vida Dorka20.69%
Carries dice in pocket 'just in case'
You are 34.99% pure
Average Score: 68.8%
This meme brought to you by krrayn

1 question...
1 chance...
1 honest answer...
That's all you get...

Ask me 1 question.
Any 1 question, anything,
no matter how crazy it is.
An honest answer.

No catch.
Except one. All comments will be screened so your question stays private between you and me, and only you will get to see my answer to your question.
But I dare you to repost this
and see what people ask you.

My own addendum:  If the question/answer are something I don't mind sharing with the internet, AND you don't mind having it unscreened, I am willing to unscreen individual comments/answers.  Mention screened/public in your reply.  If you don't, I'll assume screened.

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