About Me

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Seattle, Washington, United States
I'm an old time roleplayer who became a soldier who became a veteran who became a developer who became a dba who became a manager who never gave up his dream of a better world. Even if I have to create it myself.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Gateway Demons - Happy Halloween!

Ancient carving of doom, courtesy of BabyBat.

Ah, a fire-breathing pumpkin.  The gateway demon to a cheerful holiday season.

They come from a story about a fellow named Jack, that tricked the devil into never taking his soul.  However, Jack was a bad man, and when he died, Heaven wouldn't take him either.

So it is, then, that Jack wanders the world with nothing but a tiny ember of light, which he has placed inside his favorite food in life - a carved turnip.  He keeps searching for his final resting place, but stands cursed to never succeed.

He is Jack, of the Lantern.

Sounds like a good Ravenloft Lord to me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

2e Monstrous Manual Template

Amongst other old documents I found (such as the last post's 2e Character Sheets), I discovered my old Monstrous Manual template.

Back in the proverbial day, I really wanted my monster write-ups to look like the ones I had in my trusty MM.  It somehow made them more... official.

2e Monstrous Manual Template
This was another Word 95 (read: useless) document, so I converted it to Word 2010 docx.  No reason to make a PDF out of it, because then how would anyone edit it with their own monsters?

Download it here! [zip of a docx] (right-click, save as)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

2e Character Sheets

A long time ago - we're talking the 90's - I was running a 2nd edition D&D campaign with the skills & powers books.  What I affectionately call "2.5e".

Recently, I ran across some old files - blank character sheets I had created for the players to use.  I used to love working on such things, even though I wasn't all that good at it.

Main Page - 2.5e

I look at it now and find my font choices offensive, hate the kerning, etc...  but I'm still fond of them.  They took a huge amount of effort back then.  I even created a second page, specific to whatever class the players had.  I made a 2nd page for Paladins, Priests, Wizards, Thiefs, and even Psionicists...  no Fighter though.  Noone needed a second page for fighters back then.

I guess they look pretty good for Word documents.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Phoenix: Initiative Cards

I've talked before about how Phoenix uses cards for initiative, but previously I've used tarot cards.  This is ok, and I've found some great tarot cards, but at some point along the way I had to ask myself - why try to fit a square peg into a round hole?

So I designed my own Phoenix Initiative cards.  I designed them to be large - larger than a normal deck of cards, about 3.5" x 5" ish, give or take.

And I've done a test print proof, with a professional print shop.  Then I took a picture of them with my crappy cell phone camera, but I wanted to share nonetheless.

They came out great.  The feel like real cards, they look like real cards, and it's certainly pretty fun to have a professionally printed set of cards in my hands and realize, hey, I made these!

I also realize that these can be useful for lots of people that play a variety of games and want to speed up combat with a fun initiative method.  It's for those of us that like individual initiatives, but sometimes wistfully contemplate the obvious speed advantage of party initiative.

Once I get the logistics figured out, I might try to make these 36-card decks available to the gaming public at large, in some form or another.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Zombie Gnome

It's a great time of year to hunt Gnomes.  Check out my latest capture.

Mmmm.....  Kneeeecaaaaapppsssss....

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Devin Night runs a good project

A brief update regarding Devin Night's Kickstarter: in my opinion, his delivery has been run very well so far. He takes his estimates seriously and has lots of good meaty updates with production details and samples of the latest progress.  He instills a lot of confidence in folks like me - and I'm pretty demanding when it comes to this sort of thing.

As any good PM will tell you, good communication is key to successful projects!  So kudos to Devin Night for being pro.  If he runs more projects, I'll certainly be paying attention.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

When Guilds beat Governments

In my continuing coverage of the news, as it applies to fantasy gaming...

PCMag recently posted an article about Patent Peace. Basically, a bunch of technology giants are gathering in Geneva to talk about what effectively amounts to a peace treaty governing the enforcement of international patent laws.

So - a Geneva Convention for Companies?

I'm violating the trademark of the Trademark Office.  BAM!®

This is a great setting seed for a fantasy campaign.  Imagine a bunch of guilds getting together to agree upon which laws they'll actually enforce or obey - and imagine the governments involved are so weak they can't do anything to trump these powerful guilds.

Here's a few things the guilds might decide upon.
  • The Tanners' Guild will no longer follow those pesky rules on how far from the nice part of town their smelly workshops have to be.
  • The Assassins' Guild establishes that murder is now ok, as long as the contract is valid.
  • The Thieves' Guild is tired of picking locks - master keys must be provided by any locksmith changing a lock.
  • The Clockmakers' Guild expressly forbids the use of sundials in any park or square.
  • The Merchants' Guild will no longer charge sales tax.  Well - they will no longer pay sales tax, anyways.
  • Members of the Adventurers' Guild can no longer be arrested for any crime committed outside, under, or over a city.

What else might the Convention of Guilds decide upon?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Religious Hoaxes

Fox has an interesting article on famous religious hoaxes.

For example:

God Speaks to Peter Popoff Via Short-Wave Radio

One of the most prominent televangelists in the 1980s was Peter Popoff, who, during his services and revivals, would call out names and home addresses of audience members he'd never met. He even knew personal details such as family members' illnesses or their deceased loved ones' names. It seemed that Popoff got his messages from God or angels, and it greatly impressed his audiences and followers.

In 1986, magician James "The Amazing" Randi heard about Popoff's amazing abilities and decided to investigate. Randi noticed an apparently minor detail that most people missed: Popoff was wearing a hearing aid or earpiece. Using a radio scanner, Randi discovered that Popoff was actually getting biographical information about audience members from his wife (who had earlier spoken to the audience) using a short-wave radio. The scandal tarnished Popoff's ministry, but he eventually recovered and remains active today.

As I read this, I thought about how magic could make the whole earpiece thing a little harder to notice.  Although, I can't help but to believe that the average gamer, when faced with a similar situation, would immediately come to suspicion.

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