Friday, February 22, 2019


Arise, oh blog of mine! Come forth from the depths of obscurity and become my geeky voice once more!

Ok, let’s see if it sticks this time. I’m hoping to make blogging a regular part of my activities again. And since RPGs and other geeky pursuits seem to be my forte, I figured I would start with this one.

So, to that end, I have a few ideas. I’d like to do some general RPG-related posts. Something along the lines of how I game, how I feel some rules can be interpreted and/or altered, and maybe reviews of products. I’ll probably also review movies and books that could be relevant to gaming. If they aren’t, they’ll probably show up over on my personal blog. There will probably even be a few creations that I just want to share for your amusement.

I’ll also use this space to talk about projects I have in the works. I recently came to the sudden realization that I’ve become so obsessed with re-inventing the wheel by creating new mechanics and systems, that I have neglected playable content. So, in an effort to switch gears, I’ve started a list of projects for content to be used with existing systems (mostly 5e and Savage Worlds at this point).

In other news Gary Con is just around the corner (March 7-10). As always, we are going all four days. This and Gamehole Con here in Madison are our annual vacation destinations. Anyone else planning on being there? If so, what are you playing?

I’m getting a good variety this year, with multiple genres of gaming. I usually pick a theme and try to follow that as much as possible. But, the pickings get slim relatively quickly, and since I couldn’t purchase my ticket until a couple of weeks after the event registration opened, I have to take what I can get. And that’s perfectly ok with me. Still a lot of good stuff there.

Anyways, let’s get this thing started with a standard question. What are you playing this week?

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Current State, Part 1

Ho there, friends! Long time no see. Sorry if anyone has missed my ramblings, but life kind of dragged me away from my blogs for a long time. I think I’m ready to get back into the swing of things.

As an aside, I am going to continue the practice of doing my gaming-related blogging here, and my life-related blogging over at In the Words of Tom. I invite you to follow both, but if you are only interested in the gaming stuff, that’s totally cool.

Anyways, so where have I been, and what I have I been playing/running? Well, when last I posted here, my group was playing Turtle Island. As you may recall, this is a 5E game set in Pre-Columbian North America. We started out in the Upper Maine region, and ended the first leg of the campaign on the shores of the Great Lakes. Many monsters from Native American mythology were met, some friendly, some not. But, we managed to survive. At that point the DM put the campaign on hiatus.

During the interim, the other regular DM in the group, who had previously run a 3.5E campaign that lasted 5 years in real-time, ran us through a moderate campaign based on the Mass Effect video game series, using an original system that he wrote from the ground up. Going in I decided I was going to help him work out any kinks in his system as it related to hand-to-hand and melee combat. So, I made a character was a literal ninja. The latest in a long line of ninjas from a family that traced its lineage back to feudal Japan. If you know anything about Mass Effect, that’s a pretty long time.

Over all the game went pretty well. Given the fact that the GM is a literal Rocket Scientist, there was a few higher math concepts that we Liberal Arts majors had a hard time grasping at first. But once we got into the flow of things it was pretty fun. He has recently stated that he is almost ready to release a revised set of rules, which he says have been slimmed down and simplified a bit. Kind of eager to see that, honestly.

Next time I’ll talk about what I’ve been working on, and what’s coming up!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Stepping back in time

So, as many of you may know, Gamehole Con V is coming up. It was iffy about whether I was going to be able to make it this year. Money is tight, and real life crises keep popping up. I was offered a way in for free, and I was glad to have that as a backup, but I still wanted to buy my ticket and be a player all weekend. To me, that’s where the fun is.

Well, long story short, we decided that, since Gamehole and Cary Cons are basically the only “vacations” I get each year, we would prioritize them. So, when the funds were available, I bought my ticket and registered for games. Which makes me a happy gamer.

This year, I wasn’t able to get into any of the “high end” games (I really wanted a Conan and/or Star Trek game), but I did fill my days with a lot of cool stuff. Below is my schedule.

A lot of familiar games, so that’s nice. But, the one I am most excited for is the Werewolf: the Wild West game.

Back in the mid-90’s I had moved to San Diego after getting out of the Army, and started school at a local community college. While waiting for class to start one night, I was reading a Forgotten Realms novel, and a guy asked if I played [D&D]. I said I did, but I was new to the area and didn’t have any friends to play with. He invited me to join his group who were playing something similar, but not D&D.

That weekend I was introduced to some people who would become some of my best friends, and to the World of Darkness, in the form of Vampire: the Masquerade. I gave it a good try, and it was fun, but I had a hard time wrapping my brain around vampires as “heroes.” Later, I was introduced to Werewolf: the Apocalypse, and I immediately fell in love. THAT was my kind of game! Unfortunately, we didn’t really get to play it much, as our core group changed membership often. But, I still kept up with the WoD games, and pined for giving them another go for years.

Last year, I had the idea of running a Werewolf game at Gary Con, but that fell through (mainly because I’m horrible about getting things written on time). I was going to put it off and do it at Gamehole, but the same thing happened. However, my idea gave my wife the WoD bug too, and since she loves running Con games, she decided to do an old-school Vampire game. Last night, our current gaming group gathered for a break from our D&D game (mainly because a few players were unavailable), and made Vampire characters for her to use as Pregens.

I was originally planning on joining in on her Vampire game, but I discovered that during her time slot there was a Werewolf: the Wild West game with openings. I am so excited for this. Mainly because Werewolf. Plus, it’s the Wild West (which has become a new passion since I started reading a lot of westerns lately). And the premise just sounds too cool to not do:

"It is 1859. A Garou has gone rogue, and is leading a pack of Bagheera through the South, killing humans, in complete violation of the Litany. The Litany is the law, and no Garou is above the law. Your pack will have to find the renegades and bring them to justice..."

Does that sound wicked awesome or what???

Yeah, I’m excited for this Con. But, I’ve never had a “bad” experience at Gamehole, so it’s to be expected. Anyone else going? This will be my fifth.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Basic Arcana

I was pleasantly surprised to get an email today from someone who bought my first product, Basic Arcana, and had high praises for it. He also asked about the possibility of a POD version. Honestly, I hadn't ever given that much thought.

Right now, Mutants & Marvels is the only product of mine that has a POD option, I believe.  And I don't think it has sold more than a couple of copies.  So, the idea of putting more products out there with that option kind of felt like a waste.

However, since I know I can probably get at least one sale, I'm considering it for Basic Arcana.

Now, as I am wont to do, I am wondering if there are any improvements I can make to the product before doing so. Any modifications that users would find useful? Maybe some new content to fill a gap?

As always, any changes I make will be reflected in the PDF version as well. So, if you bought that, you would be able to re-download it for free with the updated content.

Hmmm, things to ponder.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Bit of a change

You may have noticed a new link to the side for DMs Guild. That should lead to everything I publish there. Right now, it's still just the Martialist, but I have a few other irons in the fire.

Also, the Martialist is now PWYW. I did that because I noticed that most of the stuff of similar bent is priced that way. And I could use a boost in sales.

As I said, I have a few other 5E irons in the fire. But I'm wondering if maybe my time would be better spent working on non-5E stuff.  Or maybe even non-D&D (and/or clones) stuff.  So, is there a game you think I should look into?  I'm always up for trying new things as I can. And I seem to invariably find something I want to change or add to any game I play.

So, throw me some ideas, if you're so inclined.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

I'm back with something new!

Hello all! I’m back. Been a while since I had the gumption to blog about gaming. I’ve been wanting to, but nothing inspired me. So, while the blog sat collecting dust, I did some things.

One of those things is a new class for 5E. Basically it’s a variation of the Monk, but with a Western-inspired theme, rather than an Eastern theme. From the description:

In some settings, having Asian-themed characters doesn’t always make sense. Whether it be the distance they would have to travel to get to your pseudo-European lands, or the fact that Asian-inspired cultures don’t currently exist in your setting, there could be a number of reasons why a DM would not allow the Monk class, as presented in the PHB, in his campaign. Which, will quite often upset at least one player at any given table. 
Presented here is an alternative class to the Monk. The basic principle is the same. A class that primarily uses unarmed combat, wears little to no armor, and can channel an inner energy to help them fight more fearsome and supernatural foes. Albeit with a western flair. 
Alternatively, if the Monk is allowed in your campaign, it might be fun to allow this class as well, just to add a new element to character options.

This is the first 5E product I’ve felt remotely comfortable putting out there, really (although I had previously shared the Kensai here, which was a portion of this that got replaced). I have a few other tidbits that I am considering putting out too. Mainly new races, so far.

One thing I decided when putting this out is that I needed to adopt a new way of doing things in order to handle my anxiety about my stuff. So, I dubbed all of my products as “living playtest” versions. What that means is that when you buy something I wrote, you are essentially buying a playtest version. And when I get some feedback about how things should be changed, I will usually integrate the changes I agree with, and re-publish the product. This works great for PDF products because, as a purchaser, you can re-download the updated version for free. This has worked well for a few of my other products.

Anyways, if you’re interested in the Martialist, it’s only $1.99 at DMSGuild. As it’s a D&D 5E product, I can’t list it at RPGNow directly.

Spread the word! I need the money to go to Gamehole Con this year!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Turtle Island

Some of you may have noticed the new game image to the right.  This is the game we are currently playing.  My wife’s Dragon Age game got put on hold for various personal reasons, and one of the guys in our group has been working on Turtle Island for a long time.  So, we just decided to jump in.

Basically, it’s 14th century “North America” (as in before it was known as such).  We’re all members of the Penobscot tribe (plenty of M*A*S*H jokes to be had every time the name is mentioned), living in what is currently the state of Maine.

It’s a fun take on D&D for many reasons.  Mainly, Native Americans (or Indigenous Peoples).  That right there makes it a cool idea.  And all that goes with it makes it a very unique play setting.  Things like no armor to speak of, no “uber” spells (like Fireball or Lightning Bolt), different kinds of classes, and unique takes on existing classes.

All of this is handled well by the DM who wrote a lot of new rules and variations to cover these ideas.  I’m pushing him to put it all into a publishable format.  I think this would do gangbusters at RPGNow.

Our group is kind of large, but with a wide variety of characters and character-types.  So far we’ve fought some bears, a giant snake, a giant lobster (this is Maine, after all), and a witch.  We’re still dealing with the witch, though.  She did a number on an NPC, and we are inclined to help her, and the village in general, out of this mess.

And once again, I have pigeon-holed myself into the role of hulking warrior.  So, to counter that, I’ve decided that my excessively large Brave (Fighter), who spent time among the Bear Spirits in the Spirit Realm, is very self-conscious about his freakish size and strength.  I imagine him being like if Andre the Giant had been an Indigenous.  His name is Sitting Bear, mainly because he has taken on a lot of the mannerisms of a bear, including just sitting when he is not active.

Already had some interesting RP moments with him.  He has an affinity with bears, so he doesn’t eat bear meat, and has a preference for eating a lot of fish.  This affinity came into play when he stopped his companions from killing a mama bear who was defending her cub by imitating a bear and turning on his party to “scare them off.”  And it worked!  The mama and her cub escaped into the woods unharmed (papa bear had already been killed, which upset Sitting Bear somewhat).

He also started an odd romantic involvement of sorts with an NPC who is physically deformed, which he identifies with.  It’s a long, complicated story, but it’s fun.

Probably won’t get to play again until after the new year, but I’m looking forward to seeing where this is going.