Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Night Jam - Clapton


While Clapton is not God, he comes close to playing the guitar as good. There is so much to choose from in his musical catalogue that there is no easy place to begin.  I have more recorded music from Clapton than from any other artist. Johnny Cash is a distant second. This is one of my favorite songs from Clapton.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New drawings from Pandora




Perhaps after we get back to playing Dragonquest on a more regular basis we will see more player artwork. More scans to come from Pandora.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Age Activated ADD

I can so relate to this video, except I got a bit of a head start in life.  Now what was I just doing . . . .

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Remembering Norway today

I am trying to avoid over reading the stories on the maniac in Oslo. My prayers go with the family members and friends of the victims of that unrestrained evil. I play games where players often combat evil, yet real evil is a far more frightening thing and reading about a remorseless killer shakes one's faith in the fundamental goodness of humanity.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Night Jam - Morphine

I first encountered Morphine in 1993 at my first assignment. I was pretty much into classic rock and some alternative, Morphine caught me with their sound and simplicity. I was talking about music with the husband of  our school secretary when he mentioned his son's musical taste. It happened to be the first time I heard of Marilyn Manson as well as Morphine. While I didn't find Manson all that appealing, I did get into Morphine. Enjoy!

Decisions, decisions

Too many options are set before me, which is a good thing, except that there is too little time to attend to them. I have a number of ideas stewing around in my head but I am not sure how they will get actualized. Summer is going by too quickly and I have been far busier with ministry than anticipated. Not that I am really complaining, it's all good, just the time for focused attention on the hobby side of life has been lacking. Anyway some of the ideas that need attention:
  • Blood Moon - More work on skills and elemental technology
  • The Mutant Epoch - Reading, rolling and actually playing the game
  • Once upon a time - A fairy tail based setting for Dragonquest in early development
  • Dragonquest Frontiers - Site Renovation and 2nd Edition Project

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hobbit Production Diary #3

Watching this just makes me more eager for the movie and excited about it release. Enjoy!

Worst game ever


Wait till he finds out there are no extra lives.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Chain mail bikini



Someone sent this to me a while back, while not exactly safe for the kiddies, I did appreciate the humor in it. As a teenager few things were hotter than chain mail bikinis and Princess Leia dance wear. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Mutant Epoch - Early thoughts

Well I am wading through the book and getting fairly excited about the possibility of a campaign, of course I still want to flesh out the elements of Blood Moon for Dragonquest. Right now all I have is a location for the TME campaign, other elements will come with time and focus, neither of which I possess in abundance at the moment.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Night Jam - Cee-Lo

Ladykiller was my favorite CD in 2010 and I still find myself listening to it a lot. Here is some older Cee-Lo for your enjoyment.

Meet Calista

My other babysitting responsibility while my friends are out of town. Calista is very happy, Rosie is with me and Calista has free reign of the house. She did a nice job posing for this picture.

Imagine if they were playing D & D?

Yahtzee Game Provoked Brothers Jason And Andrew Cobb To Kill Mother:
       Police have arrested three brothers in Minnesota for allegedly slaying their mother on Christmas because she wanted to play Yahtzee and they didn't. The brothers are also accused of hiding her mother's remains, which were discovered buried in the family's backyard last week Jacob Cobb, 17, allegedly strangled mom Tamara Lee Mason on the living room floor when she suggested that her sons play the board game in the rural town of Alberta last Christmas, the Minnesota Star-Tribune reported.

       A sad story and I don't mean to make light of the women's death or insane behavior of her sons, but can you imagine if they had been playing D & D? While I would like to think that the crazy days of the 80's devil-worshiping, violence glorifying, maladjusted social misfit generalizations are gone for good I know they are not if there is a story to be sold.  I'm wouldn't be surprised to find out that the boys played D & D or its computer descendant like WOW, or they engaged in something else that "caused" them to act this way. It can't be that they just happened to be mentally-emotionally ill on their own. On the good side, with so much information out there, the opportunity for the media to lead us into group-think is about gone.
 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How I wish. . .


I got this clock as a gift years ago from a principal because I was often running late to appointments because of overscheduling. I wish I could ignore time, or perhaps just ignore sleep.  Too many things to do in the parish and too many things I want to do with various hobbies.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

High School Never Ends - BFS

I put a link over on Tenkar's blog, but thought what the heck, I will just add the video here. I actually came across Bowling for Soup back in the 2002 with Drunk Enough to Dance. The name of the CD was enough reason for me to buy it. The only time I danced in college was after I had a few too many. Since their first CD I have enjoyed their comical approach to music. I'd have to agree with Tenkar that for the most part I enjoyed High School even if I was something of an marginal person and did not run with the popular crowd.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Taking a peek - Mutant Epoch & Mutant Future


I hope to look at both of these games in the near future, probably some late night reading on the iPad to see which one grabs me more. Gamma World was the only d20 game I ever played for any length of time and really enjoyed the one summer we played it on a nearly daily basis. Every time I go over to A Field Guide to Doomsday I want to roll out a apocalyptic campaign. While Mutant Epoch is not OSR, some of the reviews seem to think that it captures the spirit of some of the old games. I guess I will know soon enough. To be honest, when I heard it was based mainly on percentile, I was suckered in enough to look at Mutant Epoch.

The internet – Community & Communication – Blogs and other social mediums (Facebook – Myspace)

I’ve been bitten by the blogging bug since February of 2010. It was reading Grognardia that inspired me to start up Grevious Injury. (It should have been Grievous Injury from the start, but that’s water under the bridge.) After poking around there I found many other blogs both in the OSR community and beyond that I followed thanks to the fun folks at Google. 

Blogging remind me a lot of chat rooms except you can never be sure who your audience is, or even if you have one.  Yeah you can track visitors to your site, but in the end you may put a lot of effort into your work that no one reads or appreciates. I guess that raises the question that Tenkar recently talked about, why does one blog? Why does one read blogs?
I read blogs because I seek what others have to say, what their experience is, what’s going on in their game/life and what they may have to share about things in general. For the most part it is a combination of entertainment and information that I seek. It is a time dependent reality for me. Summer is slower, had the recent attack on a fellow blogger happened during Lent or Easter I would probably have missed it or just glanced at a few of the postings or comments without having much time to reflect upon it.
Why do I blog? I guess it gives me a chance to babble about things that I normally don’t chat about in my daily conversations.  To be honest I don’t think I have a whole lot to say on blogs other than to indulge my ADD thinking patterns.  I don’t invest the level of dedication, talent and creativity I see in a number of the OSR blogs and on the some of the other blogs that I frequent.  I admire those who do invest their time and efforts to share with others.  I get irritated in verbal conversations when someone makes an asinine comment about others “having too much time on their hands.”    I can’t help but thinking I have found another swine to whom I will not throw the pearls. I try not to knock creativity even if I don’t completely get it or feel drawn to a particular expression.  
Finally, I think there is a real disconnect between what people think of as “anonymous” and its potential backlash in real life. The various Facebook-Myspace-Twitter dramas show a profound lack of good judgment regarding the nature of a social medium.  If you can’t stand behind your words, better to never put them into print. If you don’t want the world looking at your picture/post/comment, don’t post it.

The internet – Community & Communication - MMORPG and other games

Warcraft II & Age of Empires
With both of these games I was playing with people I either knew in person or had met over the internet and talked with over the phone to get a more personal dimension to the relationship. No real risk involved there since I played with no unknown factors. The games were fun, if a bit tedious. Rapid resource utilization and massive body waves really seemed to be the way to win. Whoever did it quickest probably won.

MMORPGS
Evercrack, Rubies of Eventide, Horizons, City of Heroes and Aion were all played over their last 11 years with about 5 years of no playing scattered throughout those 11 years.  In all of these games there was a greater degree of community because of things like guilds and the fact that you rarely played the game in a solo manner. Don’t we have console & PC games for that? I met some really interesting people and few imbalanced people to make me more than hesitant about the health of internet communities. I think Chicagowiz’s quote of Raggi’s general advice is pretty apropos about the nature of community, conversation and comments. They are rough words, but honest ones. Sometimes the truth of human nature is hard to ignore. Trent B over on A Pack of Gnolls comments mentioned something along the same lines about a place where one can be a dick.  I appreciated his analogy. I don’t visit sites where free-range jerks are a plenty. Piranha infested waters are dumb places to swim.
 Games go even farther in creating a false sense of familiarity.  Until you meet someone outside of the internet medium it still is not a friendship. I guess something like Teamspeak or Vent can help cement those relationships, but even then the lack of a face-to-face relationship can FUBAR things quickly. On a few occasions my inner jerk escaped during some of the drama of MMORPG communities and added to the grief. They are not moments I delight in remembering or hope to repeat. Typos can total screw up things too, one absent word can totally change the meaning of a sentence and do substantial damage to further conversations.
Well, this is longer babbling than it needs to be. MMORPG like all hobbies depend upon enjoyment, when it ceases the game is over and it’s time to move on. Just be mindful of the good will and ill intent that playing with others can bring into your life.  Be mindful of the fact that the lack of face-to-face interaction makes the jerks more brazen but does not lessen the sting of their words if they hit a soft spot.  On the flip side, be thankful for all the great people you meet through a small window of interaction who seem pretty cool and you wouldn’t mind meeting in real life.

Monday, July 11, 2011

It's too early to tell -

Teamviewer may just change the way I think about Apple FOREVER. 
I just experimented with the program this morning, has any one had any experience with this? It seems too good to be true. If it is as simple as it seems, the ipad will eventually eliminate laptops.  All this time I thought Steve Jobs was just full of crap when he made a similar comment a year or so ago.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A less angry Elrond

I am hoping with the upcoming release of The Hobbit we may see a less angry version of Elrond. I think it was over at Grognardia that someone mentioned the disappointment with the portrayal of Elrond in the LOTR movies. He always seemed so angry and resentful over the frailties of humanity. “I’ve seen your best and it wasn’t good enough!”  Agent Smith donned his hippie gear but still had the same contemptuous view of humanity.   Here’s to hoping Elrond is less of an angry elf and a more of a friend to humanity.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Night Jam - Chili Peppers

While Eric Clapton goes down as my favorite musician of all time, the Chili Peppers are my favorite group. This is usually my #1 motivational song

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Internet - Community & Communication - Chat Rooms

I have been on the internet since 2/29/96. At least that’s what my AOL account tells me.  Hard to believe it’s been fifteen years of poking around on the web and experiencing the joys and woes of internet communication. Given the latest episode of disruption with an internet troll I thought I would share my experience of the internet with whoever might read this post. Don’t expect this post to be insightful or change the way you think about things. I just share my experience and what I have tried to learn from it.
Chapter 1 Chat Rooms
One of the first things that wowed me about AOL was e-mails and chat rooms. While e-mail was cool back in 96 for being able to send things easily to other people, it was chat rooms that were really amazing to me. To get a spontaneous group of people together to chat about whatever from around the globe was nothing short of miraculous to me.  On AOL I tried the various rooms for Catholic chat, named after the 3 Archangels and also went to a room called the Front Porch which was for more philosophical and general talk. My main screenname then was REVTCM –Rev. Thomas C. Miller. Incidentally try a google search for that, my name is soooo vanilla you will find out that we are almost legion.  Anyway, I tried to be up front about being a priest and let people know that in chat rooms.  It’s hard to gauge how people reacted to that, for all they knew I could be some punk kid making up an identity or some weirdo with the missing milk carton kids tucked away in a freezer.  To be honest, my skepticism about people on the internet was something that really got to me in the early days because I was so suspicious of the seemingly anonymous nature of the internet.
What I discovered early on was that the anonymous nature of the internet did not bring out the best in many people, it did just the opposite. I have never been attacked verbally in person like I have in a chat room.  The Catholic chat rooms tended to be the worst. Even before the scandal unfolded in 2002, I had the well adjusted people of AOL chat making comments about being a pedophile and unloading their frustrations with the church or clergy. Things were said that no one has ever said to me in person, because I would be tempted to punch them in the mouth or rip into them myself.  Lesson #1 was anonymity = cowardly irresponsibility. Not everyone, but too many were malicious, irresponsible and just plain gutless.  Far too many were spiteful, and I let a number of the jerks get to me. Against my better nature I got drawn into arguments that were a colossal waste of time and emotion.  The other thing I found was that the semi-instant nature of chatting seems to have made more people, including myself, into impatient argumentative pricks. While I would like to think that my dance as a self-actualized prick was infrequent, I fear that it was much more than it should have been as a decent human being let alone a priest. Mind you, I don’t believe in pedestals for anyone living. Praise the dead, their chance to totally mess up their lives is past, but the rest of us are still a work in progress. I have no illusions about thinking I am “better” because of my life; in fact I fear just the opposite that I am giving the Boss the green light to cook my goose for being such a lousy servant. Anyway, being cursed as a smart-ass was not a benefit to chat room conversations. After a two year flirtation with chat rooms, they lost their charm. While in many ways they allowed me to meet some wonderful people, in the end they tended to be pretty impersonal. Seeing insults and personal attack in print did not help me as an individual.  While I would tell myself that the words of some unknown jerk should not bother me, for whatever reason they often did. Chalk it up to my own insecurities or personal defects, but on a bad day a chat room could really take the joy out of my life. On a good day I thought they were pretty amazing.  I guess I am thankful that I only had time in the evening for chat rooms. If the world had become a global village, does that mean we only get to encounter more village idiots? And how do I know that I have not morphed into one myself?  I know neither of the questions are true, but back then I asked them often enough to remember them now.  Next . . . MMORPG’s Evercrack – Horizons – City of Heroes.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Magic in DQ

Having played Dragonquest over the years I am often prone to think that the designers envisioned everyone having some magic ability and attempting spell casting. Unlike D & D, when one entered a magical college they were able to choose a number of spells from that college limited only by their magical aptitude.  Beginning adepts started off with a variety of general knowledge spells that were often helpful. Special knowledge spells often aided combat or helped in more profound ways. One’s MA not only determined the number of spells one could memorize, it also effected the casting percentage and cost to learn a given spell. As I kick around the idea of magic in a new campaign I am tempted to abolish colleges and go with a more generalized practitioner of magics. In my current campaign there are 24 different colleges which are all exclusive. It’s one of the things I like about DQ, but also one of the limitations of going with a focused practitioner of magic. I am thinking of breaking down the colleges into various groups of magic from which an adept can choose spells. Right now I am thinking of five general practitioners:  Elementalist - Psychic - Magician - Necromancer – Sorcerer. Hopefully with those titles the basic focus is self explanatory, the one real difference would be sorcerers who could learn any type of spell but are more limited in the number of spells they can learn.

Rosie

I'm babysitting Rosie for a couple of weeks. You may be afflicted with random pictures of her from time to time. But she did smile for the camera! As bulldogs go she is pretty petite, snores a little, has a minor drooling problem, but other than that she is a sweet girl.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Back to Blood Moon

I hope to get back to preparing for the Blood Moon Campaign this week. I am still bugged that Grievous-Injury suffer a fatality, but I don't expect blogger to address that problem anytime soon. I hope to lay out the particulars for the campaign here and welcome any feedback from the community. Since I am using a system that is on the verge of extinction, I doubt I will get much Dragonquest specific feedback, but I welcome any thoughts and comments from the community at large. Collective experience and wisdom always has something to contribute to the creative process and its discernment. Some of the elements of the campaign setting include:
  • A post cataclysmic world warped by elemental, necromantic and demonic magics 
  • Elemental tech (think steam punk power by elemental energy)
  • Life beyond death - the ability to play an undead version of a character

Something new to add to the Christmas wish list

From Rolling Stone Hottest Live Photo's of the week.
The Flaming Lips perform at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, June 17, 2011.

I guess I have been living in a cave again and missed the earlier appearance of man sized hamster balls. But come to think of it, wasn't there something like these things on American Gladiators? I just don't remember them being clear and looking like a giant hamster ball.


Happy 4th of July

I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable 4th of July. I usually pray for the safe and discretionary use of alcohol and fireworks. May everyone have a great day and enjoy the freedoms we possess in this society.
On another note (somewhere in the area of cool & stupid) one of my typical high school activities was to have a bottle rocket fight with my friends. It really was a lot of fun, I am sure our parents would have freaked-out if they had known just how close we had come to getting hurt.  We tried other fireworks like roman candles, but none of them were as fun as bottle rockets. Smoke bombs were sort of cool, until the area was so smokey that we would get driven out of it until it all dissipated.  Bottle rocket fights usually followed up a sessions of playing Dragonquest or watching some cheesy fantasy VHS movie that we had rented for the evening.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Poker Night @ Padre's

I'm the old guy at the table tonight.  All younger guys coming to play some nickle, dime, quarter poker. I tend to be fan of any game other than Texas Hold'em. I go more for the Dealer's Choice just as long as everyone is clear on the rules for a given game.  It's hard to beat Pass the Trash which probably isn't poker, but is still a fun betting game.  I'm also a fan of Black Mariah variants. It's hard to beat the fun of having the Queen of Spades ruin a hand.

Pearl of wisdom

If you want an audience, start a fight. - Gaelic Proverb

I like quotes, I came across this one while I was adding a quote to my other blog http://quoteathon.blogspot.com/ I started it a while ago, added quotes daily then like all good things fell out of the habit and let it collect dust. With the beginning of July I decided to dust it off and see what my many books of quotations offer up for that blog.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Night Jam - Joanne Shaw Taylor - Bones



I just started listening to this young musican a couple of days ago. I have to say I am more than impressed with her playing, singing and song writing. While I doubt she will ever come to St. Louis, one can hope. Cee Lo Green finally got bumped from the most played on iTunes.

Little bag of dice

These arrived today from Tenkar and now rest beside my percentile dice I have had since the late 80's. I am hoping to try some d20 game soon even if I long ago swore off the use of crazy dice. - Padre 

This is also a test post from my iPhone

Happy Canada Day!

To all the cool gamers & bloggers I have met from the Great White North, Happy Canada Day!  There are so many great Canadian contributors to the OSR community, they make reading their various blogs informative, entertaining and engaging.  Thanks!

Dungeon World

Of Ireland and the Irish

Of Ireland and the Irish