Vulcan Stev's Database

It's a BLOG Captain, but not as we know it.

Naval Battle: a paper family game

My extended family sat down last night after Thanksgiving dinner and decided to play a game rather than sit and watch mindless TV. We played a paper version of Battleship that my dad hastily drew out on paper as remembered from his youth. He asked if I could use my skills to make cleaner version for future family game nights. It was a nice family time. I present Naval Battle for you to download and use for your own family gathering.

This isn’t technically an RPG but it is a paper-based game that only requires printing and pencils to play. Rules follow the Battleship game from Hasbro.

November 25, 2011 Posted by | Alien Graphics, Other Systems, Play, RPG | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Destination Iowa: Renaissance Faires

Explore Fairy Tale & Fantasy

Story & Photos by
Steve Nibbelink
The Record
Graphic Designer

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.
If you’d still like to attend a Renaissance Faire this year there are three weekends in September filled with medieval entertainment.

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.

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 The web sites for the two events are and

June 28, 2010 Posted by | Destination Iowa, Fluff/Inspiration, News, Reviews and Culture, RPG | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Demotivational Poster: Common Sense

On the other hand when the GM whimpers, shakes his head and places it in his hands, you know you’ve done something right.

June 16, 2010 Posted by | Demotivational Posters, Fluff/Inspiration, RPG | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Memories of Virginia: Wink and Ren Faires

Today marks the tenth day since my wife passed.  Tomorrow will be the first game day we’ll have attended since she took her sudden turn for the worse.

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.

May 21, 2010 Posted by | Memories of Virginia, News, Reviews and Culture, RPG | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Demotivational Posters: Railroading

What do you mean you want to go to the tavern?  The trail leads to that seemingly innocuous cavern….

May 3, 2010 Posted by | Demotivational Posters, Fluff/Inspiration, RPG | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Ployhedral Dice are you?

This meme has been getting a LOT of recent press on the blogs.

Apparently I’m a D8. Apparently the D8 is MORE heroic than the other dice. I don’t get it. Does this mean that the D4 is inherently less heroic? Is the D20 more chaotic neutral? Towards that end I have added my own two cents to the mix.

D4 – You are set in your ways.  When presented with options your choice is oddly predictable.

D6 – You are one of the crowd.  You conform with the general population.

D8 – Although not to far removed from the mundane.  You manage to find just enough dissimilarities to set yourself apart from the crowd.

D10 – People look to you whenever a major decision needs to be made.  Your opinion  means a lot to folks.

D12 – Your skills aren’t apparent to most folks.  However once folks find out what you are good at they find you indispensible.

D20 – You are the go to guy.  Everyone wants to be you.  Everyone wants to have you on their side.

D30 – You are Unique.  There is no classifying you.  No one is quite sure what to do with you but you’re cool with that.

I’m  a D30 and Proud of it.

April 28, 2010 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Order of the D30, RPG | , , , | 1 Comment

Demotivational Posters: Curiosity

Curiosity killed the cat, the cleric, the ranger, the warrior, the wizard….

April 22, 2010 Posted by | Demotivational Posters, Fluff/Inspiration, RPG | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The view from my chair: What have I been doing?

Role playing isn’t necessarily always about rolling dice.  Sometimes it as simple as sitting down and going “What if….”

Somebody asked me in an e-mail, why I haven’t been writing as much RPG stuff at the blog as I used to.  I replied with my stock answer that life has been busier with the “new job” (been there a year now), Mrs. VS’s cancer recovery, and PIT’s (now Pvt. Black Spartan) graduation from High School and Basic training.  Yes my time has more demands on it now that I am no longer self-employed (I do have a commute), but I seem to spend just as much time at the computer now as I did a year ago.

I got to thinking about this and realized that I’m still involved with RPG, I’m just not blogging about as much as I used to.  I’m playing in a bi-weekly 4e game at my FLGS (The Core).  I’m currently playing a semi-bi-weekly Top Secret game with my gaming group.  I’ve been playing a genetically enhanced human in an online Klingon RPG and I’ve been working on some of my fiction, which in itself is a form of RPG.  I’ve also been playing Wizards 101 which is not RPG but a very fun game for kids and adults.

The Klingon RPG is set up where the Commander of roleplay issues orders.  You then have two months to write a short RP about what your character did.  If you are interested the URL is  Tell ’em Chris DeHart sent you.

Stev is my nom de plume.  He also happens to be a character that I have been writing fan/fiction about for the better part of twenty years.  I’ve dusted off some of the older stories and have been writing some new stuff.  Until I get the new stuff finished, I’ve been posting the older stories.

My short stories are available over at I’ve currently got four stories posted.

The Stitch: A Section 31 Agent must travel back in time to the 21st century to prevent a corruption of the timeline.

Return to Glory: The story of Stev and T’Aiya meeting someone who plays a very large role in their future.

Shore Leave: Stev realizes who his soul mate is but does she feel the same way about him?

Down Time: Stev recalls the ‘accident’ which changed his life forever.

This last one isn’t strictly speaking RPG.  But I will answer any all questions asked, Play stump the Vulcan.  Ask me anything. click the link..

March 20, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, News, Reviews and Culture, RPG, Vulcan Stev | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dungeon Dramas: A Guest Spot from Bob @ The Dice Bag

rsc01Welcome back to Dungeon Dramas, my ongoing series of plot hooks as developed by the random roll of my Story Cubes. Today’s Dungeon Drama is guest written by Bob from The Dice Bag.

Believe it or not, Bob and I concocted this little guest spot last year.  Many things happened including more hours at work for me.  Bob forgetting to actually send his play, my mis-filing the response because of PIT #1’s graduation from Basic.

Bob I’m sorry it took so long but here at long last is your guest spot.

Bob’s roll: a person sleeping, a hand, a tree, a bemused face, a parachutist, a question mark, a crescent moon, a magnet, and a cane

Strange things have been happening in a local village. People have been disappearing during the night never to be heard form again. Objects are going missing and pets and livestock are being slaughtered or disappearing. He had been sleepwalking and when woken had no idea where he was or what he was doing. He insisted the dream made him do it. When questioned about his dream all he could remember about it was a ghostly hand guiding him through the town, showing him what to do. He felt as though he was falling the entire time and kept getting glimpses of an ancient tree sitting in the middle of a meadow.
The local wise man recognised this horrible dream and sent out for a group of adventurers to track down this tree that was pulling these people to it in their sleep. They must find the tree before the next new moon when it is a crescent high in the sky. It and it’s servants must be destroyed and with the staff of the local holy man they must show the fallen villagers the light.

Do you want a shot at a Dungeon Drama?  I finally got my action cubes in the mail.  Drop me an e-mail or leave a comment.

March 12, 2010 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Legacy D&D, Plot Hooks from..., RPG | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Life Near an Iowa Cornfield 1-24-10

Wow has it really been nearly three months since I wrote anything?

Not that I haven’t had things to say but it’s been busy.  I’ve reconnected with a bunch of old friends via Facebook.  I’ve discovered that as much as I like writing, I enjoy my job more.   I’ve been extraordinarily busy with the job.  Recently, I was informed that according to the Iowa Newspaper Association, I am one of the top three ad designers in the entire state for the class of newspaper I work for (weekly under 10,000 circulation).  I find out exactly where I place at the banquet in February.

The can company is OFFICIALLY sold.  We signed the papers last week.  Yay!!!!!!!!!

PIT #1 (aka Pvt. Black Spartan) is still learning to be intelligent.  Her graduation has been pushed back again due to National Guard needing the same training, but she’s enjoying the challenge.

PIT #2 is now almost as tall as I am (when did that happen?).  He’s learning the ins and outs of controlled fishtails on the snow covered roads.

PIT #3 is being 10.  He finally agreed to let his mother wash his favorite Christmas present, an official Army fatigue shirt.  He received this from his big sister and has worn it nearly every day since Christmas.

Mrs. VS is recovering more every day.  Her hair is now long enough that she doesn’t wear wigs anymore.

One Way Express (the puppet team) has taken the tentative steps into video.

We are now digitally recording the morning services at church and will be placing more videos up at YouTube as I get  time to edit.  Check out my channel

The entire family has been playing Wizard’s 101.  We’re enjoying it to the point of possibly getting a second subscription that we can play together instead of watching one person play.

The boys and I are back to a bi-weekly D&D 4e game at The Core in Cedar Falls.  I can’t say I much like the hack and slash version of D&D, but it’s time with my boys.  Alternate weeks, our local gaming group has begun a Top Secret! campaign, yes let’s resurrect more classic games from the 80’s

I also recently came to terms with my decision to leave Starships of the Third Fleet.  The constrictions being placed on my writing from the higher-ups made it less than fun to continue with the group.  I’ve also re-found the KSF and resurrected Chris Dehart.  Stev isn’t gone.  He’s just not onboard the Phoenix anymore.  When last seen he, T’Aiya, Phread and Neila had boarded the Ghost Rider and taken off for parts unknown.  (I am thinking of posting my stuff here for the world to read).

Hoping it’ll be sooner than March before I post again…


January 24, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Mrs. Vulcan Stev's Fight, Play | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment