Yes I’ve been away from this blog for a while. I do plan on making a return. But I’ve been busy with my home-based business, Alien Graphics.
I’ve also been writing. My new book is available from RPGNow.com 30 D30: 30 Charts & Tables that make the most of your biggest Die http://www.rpgnow.com/product/102089. It’s only $5.
Inside you’ll find every D30 chart ever published on this blog as well as several new ones.
30 Dreams & Nightmares
- You are trapped in a maze of cardboard boxes that you cannot escape from (This actually happened to a PC in the Quest for the Staff of Genesis) Gerrit Nibbelink reminded me.
- You are fighting a dragon in your underwear
- Your mother-in-law has joined the party
- There’s no more beer
- You found the treasure trove but cannot get inside
- Your armor vanishes in the midst of battle
- There is a cat on you at all times and is constantly wanting your attention
- Seven beauties of the opposite gender have been bathing you
- You cannot get out of the tavern
- Your sword begins to sing in battle
- Lemmings have decided to follow you everywhere
- Knights with outrageous French accents taunt you at every turn
- Your mounts have been replaced by coconuts
- Your quest is to find a shrubbery
- The party has been hired to protect Princess Lowhan
- Bowser has decided to become your friend
- You are now required to say “It’s Morphin’ Time” to get your weapons to work
- Your dreams are so life-like that you cannot tell the difference between wake and sleep
- Jabba has put a bounty on you
- The knight in black armor with asthma claims to be your father
- The princess you just kissed is really your sister
- Cats think you are a scratching post
- Your aftershave is really a dragon aphrodisiac
- You are on planet full of talking apes
- One of your followers gets lost and turns into an evil version of themselves (Jolly Blackburn)
- The tavern runs out of ale
- The party is forced to live in a yellow submersible
- In the light of a full moon you turn skeletal
- You’ve defeated the dragon only to discover his treasure had been repossessed
- The Learning Channel has decided to follow your party for a documentary.
Here’s the Complete table of contents:
Saints for Your Cleric to Invoke.
30 Clichés Turned Into Magical Items.
Curses to Place on Your Magical Items.
The Infinity Rings.
Reasons for the Party to Actually Enter the Dungeon.
Random Monster Encounter.
You Found What at the Side of the Road?
Musical Acts in the Tavern.
Reasons Why Your Technology Failed.
Random City Encounters.
Names of Ships.
Single Use Items for a Magic User.
Where Have You Been?
Fear Toxins Sprayed on the PC by a Vengeful Wizard.
Drinks Being Served at the Bar.
Entrée’s Being Served at the Cantina/Restaurant.
Side Effects of Failed Spells from the Nearby School of Magic.
Random Things for the NPC to Say, When the PC Continues Questioning Beyond Your Notes.
Scholarships/Schools of Training at the Local University.
What Manner of Roadkill is That?
Dreams and Nightmares.
Insults Hurled at the PCs by NPCs.
Famous Artisans and the Most Famous of Their Works.
Epic Bardic Poems.
Famous Weaponsmiths/Armorers and the Weapon/Armor That Made Them Famous.
Random Pies Cooling at a Campsite/Window.
Notices Hung at the Village Gathering Spot.
My wife of twenty-years passed away in May. I’ve been dealing with the aftermath of her passing. Paying off the debts left by her passing, coming to terms with being a single parent, and realizing just how big a gaping hole in my life was left by her passing.
I went back to work two-weeks after her passing. The small-town paper where I work was entering its busy season with local fairs, the local high school softball team winning a second-straight state championship. Needless to say I was running into a lot of working late.
With PIT #3 playing summer baseball, my schedule was even more fragmented. I finally got the last bill related to Virginia paid off in late July. I began to work on my 2009 taxes. All this while I began to realize that my social circle did not include any single females that I might consider dating once I was ready to start dating again. I’ve covered this all in my I’m not fishing post, so I won’t rehash that all here.
I began asking God where I should go to find single women who shared my faith and my call. Two days after I began praying in earnest about what to do, a friend of long acquaintance sent me an e-mail. We graduated from the same high school and went to the same church 25 years ago.
She had a question about my involvement in Role Playing Games and Renaissance Faires. At this point I was thinking all about answering her questions as honestly and openly as I could. I was not thinking about my recent prayer request. After 200+ text messages, 50+ e-mails, and a phone call or two, I began thinking about my recent prayer request. Sometime into our fourth or fifth day of talking with each other we began to realize just how similar our faith, calls, and geeky interests were.
I have promised her that I will not change my facebook status, or mention her name until I have met her parents and informed them of my intention to date their daughter. Am I old-fashioned? yes. Am I being a gentlemen? yes. Does she appreciate this aspect of my personality? in her own words, yes. Are there other reasons for this requirement? yes, but I’m not at liberty to spill those beans.
So to sum up, spring and early summer were spent working and dealing with Virginia’s estate, mid-summer I spent finishing up my 2009 taxes, late summer through now I have been communicating with my girlfriend. I have been living life and accomplishing things that need to be done.
Will I be introducing her to my friends and readers here. Yes but, I need to introduce myself to her parents.
She’s been teasing me because I’ve been wanting to write about this for some time. Every time I sit to write I get writer’s block because all I can think about is her. I’m heading to her part of the country over Labor Day weekend to introduce myself to her family
I’ve got more original demotivational posters in the works, some rpg related posts, and some movie stuff that I haven’t been able to wrap my brain around. Now that work is back to normal, I’ve finished off taxes and the estate, and the PITs are back in school, I should be getting some writing done.
I wanted to take some time before I hit the sheets to let everyone know that I have not given up on this blog. Things are beginning to calm down in the aftermath of my wife’s passing. Most of the expenses have been paid. Most of the paperwork has been finished.
What remains to be done is the reorganization of the house. I need to decided what stuff needs to be moved where. I need to actually start throwing out the stuff that Virginia were working on pitching before she passed. However with my full-time job this leaves weekends and evenings to accomplish those things. Weekends and evenings are when I wrote for the blog.
The blog is not going away, it just won’t be updated as regularly as I’d like. I’ve got about seven articles in various stages of completion, some movie reviews, some gaming lists, and a D30 article or two. Once I get through some of the neglected household tasks that had been placed on hold due to the upheaval in our lives, I’ll get back to writing.
Thank you for staying with me. Your patience will be rewarded.
Story & Photos by
It is the time of fairy tale and fantasy. Knights of old do battle once again. The Renaissance Faires of Iowa hold court in the Amana Colonies over the Memorial Day weekend every year. There are also three events in the Des Moines Sleepy Hollow Sports Park the first three weekends of September.
The 19th annual Iowa Renaissance Festival & Gathering o’ Celts was held at the Middle Amana Park Memorial Day weekend. This family friendly gathering was named ‘Iowa’s Best Family Fest’ for the third year in a row
European history and world culture were presented as edutainment for all age groups. The characters, theatrics and folkways of the 13th to 17th centuries were brought to life with a cast of 200 costumed role-players. The true-to-life jousting matches, cultural exhibitions, and demonstrations entertained people from all over the state.
Sir Broderick Geoffrey and Sir Roland Fallsworth of Joust Evolution preformed to a cheering crowd three times a day for the entire weekend. Sir Geoffrey cautions his younger fans that he has been jousting professionally for 20 years and he’s still learning. His opponent for the weekend, Sir Fallsworth tore a tendon in his hand on the last joust of the day on Saturday. Fallsworth has endured 7 major surgeries, 4 minor surgeries, and 300 stitches during his career. His advice is to not do this at home.
The Brotherhood of the Steel is a volunteer organization that demonstrates sword fighting. Their members train for a year and half with wooden mock-ups before they are allowed to fight with metal swords. Stavolin, a Norse Guard has been sword fighting for more years than he can remember. He suffered an injury during the weekend and had his fight permit pulled.
However, individuals can partake in other aspects of the fun. There are inter-active demonstrations of bow and arrow shooting, knife throwing, and foam sword fights. You can increase your fun by purchasing period authentic costumes from local vendors. Jewelry dealers, leather workers, steel smiths, and weapons specialists will help you complete your costume. A basic costume will run about $100 – $150 for a tunic, pants, belt, and blade.
If you missed out on this year’s Memorial Day event you can follow next year’s schedule at this web site. http://www.festint.com/index.shtml
If you’d still like to attend a Renaissance Faire this year there are three weekends in September filled with medieval entertainment.
Sept. 4th-6th – ‘KNIGHTS, BARBARIANS & HEROES’
The opening weekend of the 8th annual Des Moines Renaissance Faire brings Canterbury-on-Sherwood to life with knights in shining armor, warriors from ages past and the classic legends from stories of European lore.
Sept. 11th – 12th – ‘SCOTS, BRITONS & IRISH’
From the Highland Champions and their heavy lifting games to the archers of Sherwood Forest, the land of faerie tales and pre-American history (Great Britain) brings us entertainment, food and merchants from afar. Be thee Scot, Welsh, Cornish, Irish, Briton, English, leprechaun, elfin, faery, Shakespearian or are simply intrigued by these lively cultures, this weekend was created for lasting memories and the pleasure of all.
Sept. 18th-19th – ‘PIRATES, PERSIANS & BUCCANEERS’
The Queen’s Navy sails the high seas, yet docks at the Canterbury River, only to find freebooters of all sorts, both historical and fantasy. From Capt. Morgan to Capt. Hook and from sailing wenches to treehouse faeries, this is the weekend for all things of sea legend. Landlubbers beware as our castle town gets invaded by delightful characters from lands as near as the Caribbe and as far as Persia.
Sleepy Hollow Sport Park is located just south of the Iowa State Fair, 4051 Dean Avenue, Des Moines, IA, 50317, contact Max Kenkel 515-262-4100 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The web sites for the two events are http://www.dmrenfaire.com and http://www.sleepyhollowsportspark.com.
Last night I spent the evening writing out thank you cards to everyone who gave monetary gifts, flowers, cards, and gifts of time and services. We knocked off at 9:30 and we’re still not done. The fund started by Daniel Perez raised nearly $1,000. That money has come in very handy in paying off the bills that piled up during my many trips to and extended stays in Iowa City to be with my wife. My thanks goes out to the entire RPG community. Those of you who provided addresses with your donation will be getting a hard copy Thank You card.
We appreciate all the kind words, messages of support, and when folks started making baseless accusations, the stand of solidarity.
Virginia will be missed by those whose lives she touched. We’re slowly but surely getting back to a “normal” existence. I can’t say that I like the “new” normal, but it’s nice to know that this community that I am proud to be a part of has got my back.
Thank to all those who have made my life a little more bearable these past three weeks.
Pictured the Vulcan Stev family (Clockwise starting with the handsome character in the Jimmie Johnson jacket: PIT #2 Gerrit, Me, Virginia, Pvt Black Spartan Janae`, PIT #3 Chris).
The RPG community was absolutely fabulous in posting, tweeting, and reposting the news about Virginia’s hospitalization and death. Please pass this thank you around. I don’t want anyone to miss this.
Again, Thank You
You may or may not have noticed a new feature that ran this week. The Destination Iowa article is going to be a regular summer feature (we haven’t decided if it’s going on past that or not as yet). My boss and I decided back in April that he would foot the cost for transportation of my family and I to and from various Iowa tourist destinations. I would then photograph the spot and write up an article for the paper (The Record: Serving Beaman, Conrad, Liscomb, Union, Whitten and Central Iowa). The idea behind this was two-fold: One I would get paid to take my family around on mini-vacations and Two I would spend as much time as possible with my family while still providing for them. This was desgined so that I could be with Virginia during what we knew to possibly be her last summer.
We were not expecting Virginia to pass before this assignment began.
Towards that end, with my boss’ permission and blessing I am sharing our adventures across Iowa this summer as written for The Record. This is my way of fulfilling one of Virginia’s last requests. She wanted these mini-vacations to be memories. I’m sharing these memories with you.
For those of you wondering why I’m posting this article under the RPG: News, Reviews and Culture, simply put you have been more than generous and this is one way I have of sharing Virginia with you. The second is that the next installment is one of Iowa’s two annual Renaissance Faires.
If you have already checked out the first installment, I urge you to check it again as I have now provided the links for the photo album of all the photos I shot in Pella.
It will be a bittersweet day at best. Virginia loved game day. She had one character that she played no matter the game. Wink was our quiet little friend. Wink never fought any monsters. Wink never tangled with the bad guys. Wink never did anything but help us when we needed a point in the right direction and heal us when things took a turn for the worse.
Wink was very much an extension of my wife. Virginia enjoyed game day at the Lawton’s. She would wear her fairy wings and bring her homemade fairy wand to nearly every session. It’s not so much that she was an RPG nut like her husband and kids as much as she just loved spending time with her husband and kids. Virginia “enjoyed” playing RPGs as a family exercise. She really got into it. The costume is her own creation. We enjoyed having her there and she will be missed this Saturday (and all the other ones coming).
Last year we discovered the Iowa Renaissance Faire that is held in the Amana Colonies every Memorial Day. We decided on a lark to go see it before Janae’ went off to Basic. Virginia was still undergoing chemo for the breast cancer but she wanted to go to “make memories”. We had a blast. So much that we had plans to attend the Ren Faire in Des Moines over Labor Day (we didn’t because Virginia was not feeling up to it.) This year, again plans were made to attend the Ren Faire. Virginia had gone out and bought herself boots. I also discovered that Virginia had set aside some money to purchase a Renaissance costume this year.
I’ll admit that I am not much of an outdoors type. To me the outdoors is that necessary evil one is required to endure to get from building to building. However, the Ren Faire struck a chord with me. My beloved wife was actually looking forward to this year’s event. She absolutely enjoyed herself. We are going this year in her memory.
Why do these two things stick together in my mind when thinking about Virginia? When Virginia had something that she enjoyed doing she went all out. She enjoyed playing RPGs because her family enjoyed them and she went out of her way to fit in with that group. She enjoyed the Renaissance Faire, but enjoyed it more because her family enjoyed it as well. Virginia wanted to make sure that we would keep going to the Ren Faire. She didn’t want us to give up game day and we won’t. We will keep going to the Ren Faires in her honor.
Recently there’s been some talk around the blogsphere about shared universes and continuity porn. This is something that the VS family has played with for years. The recent spark of the debate was lit when i09 asked why the Siffy Channel (SyFy) doesn’t have it’s shows all set in one shared universe.
The easy answer to this is that these shows are produced by different companies, unlike the shared universes of Marvel or DC comics which are housed under big corporate umbrellas. The logistics of having some Go’uald technology show up in Eureka or the teams for Sanctuary and Warehouse 13 teaming up together are pretty insurmountable. Corporate brand identity and the question of who owns what portion of the story would prevent that from happening. Witness the failed attempt for a Spidey cameo appearance in X3, Sony balked at the idea because they held the rights to film adaptations of the Spidey-verse. A shared universe on a cable channel, unless intentionally built isn’t gonna happen any time soon.
That said, we (me and the P.I.T.’s) have long-held the belief that unless explicitly proven otherwise, our favorite TV shows and movies DO exist in one self-contained shared universe. Obviously the universes of ‘2012’ and ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ are mutually exclusive. But the universes of ‘Mission Impossible’ and ‘Star Trek’ need not be. (OK I am not even going to throw open the door of the multiple quantum universes postulated by the Star Trek episode ‘Parallels’ or the Heinlein novel ‘Number of the Beast’).
We never quite put it down on paper before but the theory is basically “Unless the world depicted by the entertainment contradicts some other aspect of a different universe, the depicted universes are in the same quantum space.” Simply put, Agent Mulder has somewhere in his files data on Alf, Mork, Uncle Martin, the unexpected flyover of Los Angeles by the USS Voyager, and Dr. Solomon. The crew of any Federation starship could in fact through any number of time travel effects have an adventure with James Bond, Spider-Man or the Mission Impossible force. Indiana Jones could very well be the great-great-(you figure it out)-great-grandfather of Cyrano Jones. I know the folks at Hogwarts don’t concern themselves too much with the happenings of the muggle-world but would they consider Herbie the Volkswagen and enchanted beast?
What does this mean for your game, creative fiction, night at the movies?
What this means for your game night is that as a GM you can throw in whatever characters you deem appropriate and not feel guilty about it. Do you want your party of Elves to have an encounter with Spock? By all means if handled correctly it could be a blast.
What this means for your creative fiction (another means of role play IMHO) is that if you can come up with a “LOGICAL” reason for another character to appear in your story then by all means run with it.
What this means for your geek-gasm night of movie watching is that you can fantasize that the information on the screen of Mulder’s computer is listing of Gordon Shumway’s recent activities (bonus points if you get that reference). You can hide the smirk or laugh out loud because you know that the gods of Olympus will eventually leave Earth and Percy Jackson behind and settle on Pollux IV.
Would it be cool if the was one big shared universe? Yes. But, then to my way of thinking there already is.
*editor’s note* The DC Universe and the Marvel universe were revealed to be two separate quantum universes in the Marvel vs. DC limited series. As such by our theory there at least two combined shared universes; one with DC super-heroes and on with Marvel heroes.