Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Curse Of The Blood Ghouls Vs. Death Laid An Egg


I thought I’d have more stuff to talk about but the reality is I don’t. In fact I’ve been SO lazy that I haven’t even gotten off my dead ass and added the 2nd Microscope session notes into Blog form yet. So rather than try and come up with an overarching idea I’m just going to let fly and fire off a dose of…


- The Harwood Hobbies Kickstarter has reached its initial funding goal! In addition Wally, the mastermind behind the company, sent me some of the miniatures from the Kickstarter and I am BLOWN away. The Criminal Bundle is a STEAL. The Thugs & Assassin are wonderfully sculpted and casted. There is a fantastic sense of personality to each member. The Black Widow is also absolutely amazing. In my home games this group is going to be a group of religious fanatics dedicated to The Red Lady. That doesn’t even begin to take into account the stretch goals he has up now, including a huge Kali that quite honestly is something I absolutely NEED. He’s also put up his full lines in both the Lovecraftian Circle and the Sinbad line at a discount if you pledge, that alone should be enough for anyone I now to jump onboard. I’m not sure I am adequately describing how wonderful the miniatures Wally is putting out, but I in my opinion there isn’t a better small print miniature company out there giving you this type of quality for the price. So again I implore you, go forth, check out the Kickstarter, and GIVE HIM YOUR MONEY!

- The defense of the Vikings left Tackle, who gets beat like a drum so often that his name doesn’t matter anymore, on KFan by Paul Allen is borderline delusional.

- I really want Beer Cheese Soup or a facsimile thereof.

- Team TROLLSTRONG trolled SO strong last night. We got through the first adventure in the Hook Mountain Massacre and beyond some truly Gene-like rolling we crushed it. I’m always amazed at how much fun I have with THE Karl, James & his Magical Beard, Sassie Cassie, The Geneious, Master Kedrin 4.0, and the AMAZING Cassandra. There is just such a loud, bombastic sense of fun in our house during these evenings. Also PUMPKIN COOKIES! Thank you all for being my Adventuring Party.

- WWE 2k15 comes out in a week, and once it arrives I shall go down a black hole of non-stop button mashing.

- Ugh, I am not looking forward to taking care of leaves.

- I think sometimes we go through patches in life that are just difficult. Whether its changes, tragedy, self-inflicted wounds, or emotional challenges they all alter us at some fundamental level and we either come out of that crucible stronger for it or wounded. I feel like I am stepping out of that fire now. I am changed. I’m not sure how yet. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I know it is a thing. That unfathomable sadness has subsided like the tide, I’ve a bit of clarity of thought back, and I’ve learned some lessons, not all of them good, but I’ve learned. I hope anyone else out there who is struggling finds what it is they are looking for and realizes that these challenges make you who you are, for better or for worse.

- My newest Pathfinder novel came, The Nightblade, and I’m already over 100 pages in. Good stuff.

- We are still binge watching Arrow, and we are both still enthralled knee deep into Season 2. DEATHSTROKE!

- I am almost done painting 12 Pugwampis using Reaper Bones Kobolds, which are a reasonable facsimile. They’ve been easy to paint as far as paint schemes and I’ve tried to be pretty good at dry brushing trying some new techniques, however they are tiny and that I’ve found is harder for me. Sunday I finally brought my other 8 to a point where they could stand with my 90% finished first four. In doing so I lost the feeling in my right hand completely and had to stop. It just requires so much concentration and control for a limb that I almost cut off at one point and one that periodically, well in all honesty during every morning’s commute, simply goes numb. It is frustrating to be that close to finishing and have my body crap out. I think I’ll attempt to finish them up tonight. Then it is on to some of the Harwood Hobby stuff. I’m VERY excited to try my hand at some of Wally’s fine work.

- Thank you Casual Doug, you sir are a friggin’ saint!

- Anyone know any cheap, fun, and easy to play table top massive war games? I’m thinking Battlemasters or something like it.

- Saturday we celebrated the Seany-Bear’s birthday with my In-laws. It was a crazy night full of a LOT of drinks, a lot of me wrecking the hopes and dreams of others via winning Kings Of Tokyo and Dominos, a LOT of Ric Flair ‘Wooo’ing, and a lot of laughs. Granted there might have been a tad too many drinks, beating kids at games should not give me the type of joy it does, maybe I could have done less ‘wheeling and dealing, kiss stealing, jet plane flying, limousine riding, son of a gun’-ing, and while the laughs were plentiful I did get a tad wound up. Looking back on it I really wish I would have spent less time being turned up to ‘11’ and more time just being ‘Uncle Ben’. He won’t be this young or full of wonder forever, and I don’t need to miss any more of those opportunities than I already do.

- For those that know, “All of the Ditto ever…”

- I need to have Chili soon.

- Seizures are awful. I had forgotten just how bad they could be. Last week I had a rough go of it on Tuesday as I had around five significant ones. It has been a LONG time since I’ve had them in that aggressive of a fashion, and I think a LOT of that credit can go to going Gluten Free. Sometimes I get disheartened when I watch people eat stuff that I really want, i.e. Fried Chicken, and know I won’t be able to have that anymore. However going through having my ass physically handed to me, by well myself, helps to remind me just why I made that change. Having auras is one thing, not getting to mow down gluten laden carbs is another, but when the alternative is falling to the floor and losing control of your muscles to the point you can’t walk for a day afterwards I think the tradeoff is totally worth it. Live and learn.

- Maybe Sunday before taking off I’ll finally DIP some minis.

- I wish I was a bit more tech savvy.

- This weekend is all of a sudden chock full of stuff. Thursday day night we go out for wings with Master Kedrin 4.0, and maybe THE Karl if he’s not humiliating fools playing pool. Friday night, after a VERY long day of work, is the last Microscope session which should be insanity since apparently Wheeler James and The Geneimal are going to imbibe beverages. I think we are making schnapps this week as well so the loud creativity will be off the charts. I can’t state enough just how impressed I have been by everyone in each session’s imagination running wild. Friday night is the last opportunity the PC’s have to formulate and put their ideas into motion. I know it isn’t easy to do, but again just remember to let your imagination be your guide; build a world YOU want to play in, and if all else fails let the Tequila flow. Saturday some of my In-Laws are coming to help do some Halloween decorating and then that night L.E.W.G.I. invades M.I.W. in Chanhassen en masse! I think we are going to Podcast, make some signs, and then get LOUD. I’m sure that will be completely insane, I’m hoping that we can convince Sassie Cassie, The Geneious, THE Karl, & Master Kedrin 4.0 to go as well. Then Sunday The Geneimal & the Sassie One will be hosting ‘Hell In A Cell’. Gene has volunteered to smoke some meat! It will be amazeballz I’m sure. All this and then in a week we’ll have our yearly Halloween blow-out. I’m still not completely sure where I’m going to fit in that thing called ‘sleep’.

- Feeling guilty over gaming and things involving that escape truly is the drizzling poos.

- I hope the Reaper Bones II Kickstarter stuff comes before my birthday.

- I’ve got the final draft of the 3rd Group’s Introductory Adventure done, and it’s under 8 pages. My 2nd Group & 1st Group Introductory Adventures are still in early draft form, around 8 pages, but have a lot of future plans in them that hopefully will bear fruit. These initial adventures are written out a bit more in detail than I’d prefer, but seeing as I’m trying to get my 5E sea legs beneath me so I’m being thorough early. I’m happy with the story that each adventure is telling, I feel ‘ok’ about the mechanics but would prefer at least one preparatory run through, and seeing just how the finally of the Microscope sessions play out. Thank you to my favorite drunken, brawling Dwarf, Edgar, for his help in doing some serious editing for me. I think a lot of times that is what I need, someone to reign me in creatively and give me direction. That is one of the many reasons why Zack and I work so well together.

- I have found that you can’t get things done when you aren’t given the tools. *sigh* No tools this week apparently.

- Getting Jalapeno oil in your eyes is not that fun, but it could be worse.

You know I think on that note I’m going to call it blog.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Group D&D World Building - Session 1

So my D&D Groups, all four of them, are making the transition from 4E to 5E.  As a group we've been heading towards some world altering stuff.  However I, for a few reasons, desperately wanted to get on to the 5E shift.  In the process I decided it would be a good idea to rebuild my Campaign World and in the process give my players a much more direct hand in the creative process of the world building.  I don't want to erase what all came before, but I also want to draw the players in with an investment of their own creative blood, sweat, and tears.  Enter the game Microscope.  Microscope is a history building game, and a great one at that.  So I put together three sessions to World Build, create 5E characters, and to build the Pantheon of Deities for the world we are all constructing together to tell our tales.  This is Session 1 of 3.

Year 0 (Start) - Godbirth

Year 2 - Exodus 
- The plane is open once again to two way interplanar travel that had been closed previously.  The ancient blue wyrm Gorgel wanted what Oxaclic now had, Godhood.  So he traveled across the cosmos itself to the home world of 'The Others' and the two engaged in a titanic struggle.  In the end Oxaclic proved to be too powerful, took Gorgel's Godshards as his own, and petrified Gorgel as well as the resurrected Angel of Binding that had once held Gorgel in Pelor's prison.  Both stand as ominous reminders of the power of Oxaclic.
- At the same time the city of Braugheim is founded in what is now known as The Twilight Kingdoms by Demere Bloodsworn, a Cleric of Braug.  The Twilight Kingdoms are on the edge of the perilous Frozen Wastes.  Braugheim became a bastion for all demi-humans.
- The Pixie Priestess to Gorgel, Janx, bears him a Godling child; Thane Gorgel, The Trickster.
In order to deal with both the influx and escape of beings from the Known World to other Planes powerful Banishment spells were constructed in order to give those proficient in magic to expel Extra Planar creatures from the Known World.
- The Get of Yeenoghu finally re-emerge into the Known World like a plague.  In response Oxaclic closes the open portals to the Abyss, including the massive stationary hurricane known as the Maw.

Year 100 - The Hordes Of Kurnusk 'Break' Civilization 
- The Goddess Alora convinces the God of War, Fenric Mistfang, to marshal forces to stop the Orcish God of Slaughter, Kurnusk, from inspiring his 'Hordes' to decimate the Known World.  Alora uses the argument that if Kurnusk's 'Horde' is allowed to fullfill his will then they won't just leave the future barren of knowledge, but of war itself.
- Fenric agrees to ally himself with the Goddess of Knowledge, Alora, but in exchange she had to bear him a son.  Olaf Fenricson, the Godling of Espionage is born from this union.

Year 235 - The Industrial De-Evolution
- A land grab is made by the Dwarves of the North which in turn drives the Kobolds from the Mountains and into the arms of 'The Chosen', the followers of Tharump.
- Svetlana Winterbourne, a Paladin of Oxaclic, starts a crusade harrying across Toland's Swamp.  She is repudiated by the Church of Oxaclic, and Oxaclic himself.  She becomes an Anti-Paladin swearing herself to Tharump.  She founds Winterbourne Keep on the edge of the Twilight Kingdoms.
- The indigent Kobold tribes become the slaves of 'The Chosen'.
- Karlot the Undying outlaws the worship of Alora in his archipelago kingdom and with the Maw no longer to slow his forces he launches a full scale naval war against the continent of Raduenz.
- Alora convinces Kithri, the minor Goddess of the Sea & Adventurers, to inspire her followers from around the Known World, and from Raduenz especially, to join forces and drive Karlot's forces back to his isles.

Year 250 - The War Of The Chosen Vs. The Dwarves
- 'The Chosen' begin to openly persecute the worship of the Dwarven minor God of Libation & Consumption, Destinky.
- The Sorceror Vork has his corpse discovered in his Tower of High Magic.  Beside his body is the Tome Of Unseemly Truths.  A massive volume on his musings, spells, and the history he watched unfold.
- The Turning (Year 300) - Gred Tourgard, Dwarven General & devote follower of Georgee the Dwarven God of light, fate, & devotion discovers The Arcaneum.  This discovery begins to slowly change the tide of the war against 'The Chosen'.
- The Godling of Kobolds, Deakin, delivers the Kobolds from slavery and back into the Mountain, their Promised Land.  Plagues follow in their wake.
- Rari, Priest of Georgee, implores the Goddes Alora to grant the Dwarves the knowledge to finally win the war.  She gives to them the knowledge of Black Powder.
- The End Of The War (Year 350) - A year's worth of Dwarven victories culminates in Avatars of Georgee, Alora, & Destinky arriving at the Battle of the Bastion of Thorns and destroys the the army of Yong The Forsaken, religious leader of Tharump.  This effectively ends the conflict.

Year 300 - Alora's Enlightenment
- The massive repository for all knowledge forever more as Alora's Arcaneum is opened.
- The Goddess Alora establishes a Council Of Wyrms to promote knowledge across The Known World and to defend The Arcaneum.
- In secret The Council Of Wyrms begins formulating plans to "End All War".  The God of War, Fenric Mistfang becomes aware of this conspiracy, he is displeased to say the least.

Year 310 - The Rise Of The Masquerade/The Sexual Revolution
- Brothels spread in both construction and use across the Known World.
- King Adoril Tividar of the Tividar Dynasty becomes dominated by a member of the Masquerade.  He then starts a campaign putting all Dwarven children to death.  Tividar blames this new policy in his lands on a prophetic vision from the God Tharump.
- Worship in the Godlings Destinky, Aldus, & Babu Bali increases exponentially causing them to ascend to minor Godhood.
- The new minor Gods, Aldus & Destinky, create an elixir and a holy band both known as 'The Cure'.  This is known to eliminate STD's and even improves 'performance'.  It is soon discovered though that the improvements are not permanent, and ongoing treatments must be taken to prevent relapse.
- The Priest of Alora, Phineuas Longwood, starts a reformation movement in the Church of Alora by casting the Masquerade in the light of 'Plague Mongers'.  This leads to a religious schism within Alora's followers.

Year 400 - Rise Of The Elves
- Valia and The Red Lady, duel Goddesses of Chaos, Deception, & Domination, finally merge into one Goddess, this drives The Red Lady mad.

Year 490 - Discovery Of The Treasure Of The Ancients
- Half of the legendary Treasure of the Ancients turns out to cursed.  Its discovery unleashes a great deal of ancient Evil back into the world.
- The Cask Of Unending Ale becomes a holy relic of Destinky.  It is renamed The Ale Of Resounding.  Drinking enough from it can allow one to directly commute with Destinky.

Year 500 - God Fall
- Georgee, Alora, Oxaclic, and a group of minor Gods work together to cast Tharump down to the Known World itself.  He falls literally into the Underdark and he then takes it as his domain, allowing him to remain a major Deity.
- In the Fall of Tharump the very surface of The Known World, and especially the continent of Raduenz, is drastically altered.
- Shortly after his fall, Tharump's Basilica Of Pain follows his descent into the Underdark.

Year 550 - Owlbear Infestation Of The Underdark
- Davrakas Kadlin, a Tiefling Warlock, experiments with beasts of the world in the Underdark.  History will show that is excellent at creating new strains of magical beasts, but is NOT good at containing his creations.  In his experiments in the Year 550 he uses a bad bootleg copy of The Tome Of Unseemly Truths, this would prove to be a disastrous mistake.
- And especially enterprising group of Dwarven miners find a way to capture and convert these mutating Owlbears into a massive labor force in their mining.

Year 575 - The Dwarves Of Bright Vale Dig To Deep
- This rapid descent into the Underdark in the name of prophet allows Tharump to re-ascend.  the Bright Vale is destroyed and becomes the Night Veil.

Year 600 - Dragon Uprising
- Olaf Fenricson assassinates Toma Pholt, the Eladrin head librarian of The Arcaneum.  He blames this act on the Dragons that make up the Council Of Wyrms.
- The conspiring Dragons and their allies begin to scour the continent for gold, magical items, and forbidden knowledge creating massive hoards.  In their wake they leave desolation.
- The Arcaneum is moved to The Vale Of Knowledge in the newly created Elven Homelands in an effort to save it from the rogue Dragons.
- Olaf Fenricson is captured and is held in the bowels of The Arcaneum after being captured by his own mother, the Goddess Alora.
- The Dragons dangerously close to rediscovering the location of The Arcaneum.  The adventurer Felina communes with the Godling of Wind, Shabon.  He teaches her the Secrets Of The Wind.  This technique allows her to ground the Dragons from flight, so that they can be collared.
- The End Of The Dragon Uprising (Year 800) - Alora develops magical collars to transform the Dragon conspirators.  This collar traps them in human and demi-human form.  This action severs her relationship with Dragons and Dragon-kin, and ends the 1st Council Of Wyrms.

Year 1,000 (The End) - The New Age

The beautiful thing with Microscope is while these things are set in stone, every single moment before, after, and between is there to be mined, explored, and built upon by the next two sessions.  By the time the next session ends, this timeline will look vastly different as some periods are created, some are added to, and some are altered by new information.  As you can see this was a torrent of creative energy.  Honestly, I was completely and utterly blown away by the players and what they created.  I can't wait for the next session to see where all this goes!

The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad Vs. Sinbad & The Eye Of The Tiger


Since its Monday and I still haven’t broken free from my funk I’m just going to regurgitate upon you; the brave and faceless masses who actually read this drivel some…


- First up is the fact that Harwood Hobbies is rocking out a Kickstarter! So Wally from Harwood is one of the nicest guys out there making tiny dudes. He has a great blog, a nice website, and responds to e-mails. I’ve been fortunate enough to exchange e-mails with him and can tell you from experience that he is a GREAT guy. Add to that the fact that he puts out absolutely wonderful miniatures at a VERY reasonable cost and you have someone that any miniature enthusiast out there should be supporting with their hard earned cash. He has two lines; The Lovecraftian Circle & Sinbad. The Lovecraftian Circle stuff is a modern take on a lot of the great tropes of Lovecraftian horror. The nice thing is he does a lot of character models and not so many monsters. This is perfect for those of you who play games like Strange Aeons. Wally’s other line is Sinbad! I have a nice smattering of these models and they are TOP NOTCH! Again, the line is not monster heavy, but instead captures great PC & NPC models to a ‘T’. I’m going to push some of these models to the top of my painting queue this week and try to get at least one finished so I can post a picture. Now granted my painting skills are pretty subpar, but when the models look that good it doesn’t matter. So go to the Kickstarter, which by the by, is almost funded after like 4 days, and get onboard!

- I’ve been watching Horror documentaries on Netflix and it has been a blast.

- Does anyone know when Surly Darkness is released? My brother wants me to get him some.

- Saturday Night a mish mash of my D&D players met and we had our first world building Microscope session. Titantic Tiffany, everyone’s favorite drunken Dwarf Edgar, THE Karl, Magic Mike, Master Kedrin 4.0, and the lovely and multi-talented Cassandra all got together and the creativity tore through the room. I had trepidations about using a different game to world build and honestly about letting others just creatively run wild in ‘my’ world. However my fears were quickly put to rest when my players just went CRAZY with creativity. I will post the timeline of what was created sometime this week. About half the Gods in the new Pantheon are starting to get fleshed out, the continent will be drastically different, and the history of the world will contain amazing things done by the PC’s old characters. This adds to the creative immersion and investment. It was also a great place to get some constructive criticism about what some people enjoyed and what some didn’t. This allows me to make the changes necessary to make it a far more enjoyable experience for all. So with one session down and two to go I am incredibly excited!

- Thank you to Magic Mike for all his generosity. I’m not sure Mike that I know a person who gives as much to others as you do, but I hope we can all strive to meet your example.

- Would anyone be interested in an October Movie-A-Thon?

- We are binge watching the first season of Arrow, after watching the first episode of The Flash. Both of us are pretty blown away by how good and entertaining it has been. I feel like I had pretty tepid expectations being that Green Arrow has never been one of my favorite characters, in fact generally I haven’t cared much for Oliver Queen due to my love of Hawkman. Those things being said the rebuilding of Queen’s origin, the Batman like trauma and obsession, and the mine field that is his family makes the show fascinating. I’ve even enjoyed the changes made to the villains we’ve seen, which for me is the true test of a show. I am currently flummoxed and fascinated by both Merlin and Deathstroke. The mystery of their motivations and they both will play out is marvelous. I also have to say that watching a show that is telling you an origin story in flashback pieces is not just refreshing but adds a tension to the narrative that is riveting. Much like The Flash the writers aren’t running from the comic history, but instead relishing in it, immersing in it, and using it to craft something similar but decidedly its own. The best part is from what I’ve been told the first season isn’t even that good compared to season two! So if the best truly is yet to come then I am beyond excited!

- Any type of Beer Cheese or Potato Cheese soup would be delicious in my belly.

- For those that know, “All the Ditto ever…”

- Every time I feel like I’m turning the corner I have a setback. It is frustrating to feel like things are going to get better and then have that emotional rug get yanked out from underneath you for no real reason. That might be the most frustrating thing about it. I am literally anxious and sad for NO reason. I can’t even explain it. While this has been going on I have felt my self-esteem erode to a point where I am having problems recognizing the person in the mirror every morning. It feels like I’m in the midst of this landslide of personal negativity that I can’t get out of. I get so anxious, and swallow it down to the point that my face actually hurts from grinding my teeth. I’m exhausted from not sleeping. Worst of all I hurt, I physically hurt. It is as if when I’m struggling mentally that all those aches and pains that I normally just deal with become acutely pronounced and overwhelming. It is the worst. I just feel beaten. All that being said I just keep getting up every morning and keep trying to make the most of it. Some days that means I don’t do anything, other days that means we do yard work, smoke chicken, and spend quality time with Cassandra. All I can do is keep pushing forward. As down and out as I am I’ve been worse and I got through that. This is just a rough spot that I will continue to work through. I just need reminded of that every day.

- This is and has been a rough time for me, so thank you to those of you who have given me your support, your good will, your ears to bend, but most of all just your unrelenting friendship. From the depths of who I am; Thank You.

- Halloween is coming up quick. So we went a bit crazy last year with our decorations and it really helped make the Halloween Party something special. This year we are a bit more strapped for time and money. So I’m putting it out there to those that come to our yearly shindigs, if you have the time or a tiny bit of ‘scratch’ you can contribute for decorating it would be beyond helpful. Every year, for I think seven years going on eight now, we’ve thrown a themed Halloween Party, and each one has been bigger, better, and more fun than the last. Some of that is due to the people who attend, but the vast majority of it is due to the work that Cassandra pours into it. She goes out of her way to try and make the night something that we will all enjoy and something that we will all look back on with fond memories. This desire to do that has only exponentially increased since we’ve made these things ‘Kid Friendly’. So if you want to help continue that tradition, to help make things, help hang stuff up, get some props, etc. please let us know because we will gladly accept that from any of you.

- I really wish WWE 2k15 would hurry up and come out.

- “Remember when we were young, we shone like the sun…”

- I have two adventures completed thus far for my four D&D groups. One is a role play heavy tale that will be for 2nd Group. It is a bit heavier than I would normally want for that group, but I think it affords them some nice opportunities to make it what they will. It has a decidedly Ravenloft vibe to it which was a complete accident. The second adventure is something that I had to tack on to what ended up being a flood of creativity erupting into a sandbox for 1st or 3rd Group to go through. It was completely an accident that it manifested the way it did, but NPC’s just started gelling, the environment just sort of came together Encounter wise, and then motivations for the Monsters and NPC’s fell into place. It is always something magical when that happens. It is as if my brain goes on hiatus and my creativity erupts into a joyous festival of ideas. I have one more adventure to construct by myself, and I already have a decent idea for that one, which would make it VERY much in the wheel house of 3rd Group. I hope to get it done today or tomorrow. Then I have the last adventure to write with Master Kedrin 4.0, who will be taking over the reins of 4th Group. We’ll co-DM for a bit and when she feels like she’s ready she’ll take over and I’ll just be a lowly PC.

- Master Kedrin 4.0 is a Smallworld assassin.

- This week we delve deep into Harry Potter, BOOK CLUB!

- I want to get at least ten things painted this week, and this Sunday I REALLY want to get everything DIPped. I have a box full of stuff that is mostly done, sans eyes and DIP, which really needs to be finally finished. Throw into that fact that the Diamond ONE, Diamond Dave Wheeler, has been diligently knocking through miniatures for me like a BOSS and I have a lot of new stuff on the horizon for my D&D Groups. Including some Pugwampis, of which four are done! If anyone out there wants to paint this week, except Thursday night, please let me know. Painting alone is cool, but painting with others is radical. That’s right its ‘radical’, I’m takin’ it back…

- Nothing sounds better than retreating beneath my blanket in a dark room right now.

- We are supposedly going to bust out exercise equipment this week and start that. Supposedly…

I think that is all I have in me today…

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Human Vapor Vs. Atomic War Bride


I am bound and determined today to not make this another installment of ‘Sad Bastard Theatre’, so rather than spew out ‘feelings’ or have an over-arching theme I’m just going to go stream of consciousness, even more so than usual, and hit you up with a huge dose of….


- I think I learned a very solid lesson on Sunday; never do Drunk Comic Book History on a Sunday evening. It wasn’t that I was hung over, because I surprisingly enough wasn’t; it was that I was exhausted. I was all full of piss and vinegar, my mind was racing, and I realized at about 4am that I had drank a LOT of pop in my drinks so I was chock full of caffeine. I have yet to go back and listen to the actual episode, so I have no idea if it turned out ok. All I know is I was exhausted yesterday and somehow plowed through the day and was disgustingly productive.

- I know I’ve said it before, but let me reiterate, naps are amazeballz.

- Last night Team TROLLSTRONG got together, sans a sick THE Karl & Master Kedrin 4.0, and were cruising along, LIKE WE DO, and then suddenly and drastically were derailed. We had RAW on in the background, because again that is what we do, and it was a hodge podge of terrible and entertaining when we were all shocked by The Rock showing up. For me, The Rock is a mixed bag. I find him somewhat entertaining if not boring in his macho misogynistic diatribe that has been the same for a decade plus. I think that at one time his ring work was peerless, but since he’s turned into an actor/body builder he gets blown up so easy in the ring that he is only good in the short bursts like we got last night. I think the thing that perplexed me so much last night was what point did it serve to have your white hot mid-card Heel ‘Monster’ get served up to a guy who shows up on your program two to five times a year? Was it simply that Vince loves nostalgia that much and is just so stuck trying to bask in his former successes? The only thing that in my opinion works to serve the future of the WWE is if we get a modern take on the Taz vs. Sabu feud from ECW. If the humiliated Rusev goes all crazy smashing folks till Wrestlemania calling them all ‘The Rock’, calling The Rock out CONSTANTLY, and WWE gives us little to no response from Dwayne. If we get to watch the Bulgarian Brute just perseverate on destroying the semi-retired Brahma Bull until the payoff is a month or so before Wrestlemania where Rusev raises the stakes and finally goads The Rock into a match. IF they do this right then they make Rusev look like a beast and he goes over at Wrestlemania and the ‘E’ has a legit MONSTER Heel to feed to whichever Babyface is at the top of the totem pole at the time. Now the reasons this won’t happen are numerous; 1) Vince doesn’t ‘get’ things anymore see The Wyatt Family & Cesaro, 2) This would require long range storytelling and planning, and the ‘E’ lives to ‘Hot Shot’ every belt and angle they have going, 3) This would require The Rock to put over Rusev and let’s face it if he couldn’t put over CM Punk and barely put over Jern SuperCena then why would he put over Rusev, 4) ALL OF THE ABOVE. This is another testament to why the ‘E’ is wrestling in its most dumbed down, spoon feed the troglodyte masses form. There is VERY little ‘Art’ in the ‘E’. Sure there are bright spots; The Wyatts, Cesaro, Ziggler, Ambrose, Rollins, Stardust, and a handful of others, but overall it is a landscape full of the worst common denominator of Vince’s sense of humor and idea of what wrestling ‘Is’. But I digress, we were so caught off guard by this that the Game really put us on our collective heels. In fact this session came down to the VERY last turn, with the group holding down the last two open locations and my Fighter finally finishing off the Villain. Next session we start the Hook Mountain Massacre, which is one of my favorite adventures of all time just for its vibe. I’m intrigued to see how well the card game translates that horror movie dread. That tension and ‘Holy Crap’ moment of realizing we were about to not just lose, but die really made the game a lot of fun. Well that, the turkey dumpling soup, ‘Gene Ambrose’s’ kickass jacket, #meatyhawgs, James and his Magical Beard’s dancing, Sassie Cassie’s movie outing reveal, Cassandra’s slaying with no weapons, and just all the normal wonderful vibes that happen when Team TROLLSTRONG, even down two vital members, gets together.

- The last two times we’ve played Settlers Of Catan I’ve come out victorious. Two is a trend, three is a STREAK!

- I painted last week and finished three pieces that I am reasonably proud of. All three were Reaper Bones and all three were a joy to paint. First up was the Stone Golem. I went very simple on the scheme, but just did building layers of lightening blacks to give the stone a worn texture, then finished it with some contrasting white on the skirt and bracers with some worn penny. I think it turned out really solid. Next up was the Dark Fountain, where I used that same black to grey dry brushing technique to build depth, I used a variation on the water in the pool itself, and while it isn’t as good as I would like it to be, it is pretty damn cool! Last, but not least I started and finished one of the Wayne Reynolds inspired Fire Giants. I only used four colors, but used that lightening technique to build that texture not just on the skin, which turned out PERFECTLY, but also on the armor. With the armor it didn’t work as well as I would have hoped, but I think it looks pretty good though. Couple that with last week’s mass painting of vermin and I’ve been on a bit of a roll of late. I might try to get some Orcs and Pugwampi’s done this week/weekend. I figure if I sit down and just paint I can get quite a bit done. Sunday I think I’m going to do some DIPping and finish off the 100 plus miniatures that are just sitting there.

- Starting Harry Potter this week, wish me luck.

- I broke down and pre-ordered WWE 2K15. It wasn’t the ‘Sting’ inclusion that sold me on it. The graphics look amazing, but that wasn’t what led me to the purchase. What really drew me in was reading about the single player mode. The idea that you get to fight created wrestlers at the Developmental Center BEFORE you even get to NXT had me giddy. The fact that the roster has NXT talent on it will leave me with more CAW slots open. I am blown away by the rumor that it isn’t whether or not you win matches and feuds that will get you brought up to the main roster, but how entertaining you are in those matches and feuds has me chomping at the bit to get my hands on this game. I just hope the game lives up to the hype.

- Beer Cheese Soup, I need this…NOW!

- Saturday night I was invited to and attended a session of Advanced Heroquest with the indomitable Steve Miller, no not the singer of ‘Fly Like An Eagle’, and Terry U.! It has been a long time since I’d gamed with these gentlemen. A LONG time. I say this with the utmost affection but Steve might be the worst winner in the history of all games. This makes him a fantastic person to run a game like Warhammer Quest or Advanced Heroquest because he has an invested desire to literally ring the tears from your eyes and watch your soul be crushed while he cackles manically. So it was Steve running the game against myself, Terry, Chris, Jim, and Ricky. I’ve gamed with Terry, Chris, and Jim before and all are great guys and fantastic gamers. Ricky was a perfect addition to that team. Throw in the fact we all had Henchmen, aka Meat Shields, and we were off and running. If you have never played Warhammer Quest or Advanced Heroquest the first thing you have to know is the game HATES you! Add into that the fact that Steve will HATE you as well and you realize this isn’t D&D. There is no story of valor to be told, no narrative that is communally created, and no real role playing to be had. No. No, this is a board game about MURDER, LOOT, REPEAT! It does those three things exceptionally, and if you enjoy that with a heavy dose of potential T.P.K. (Total Party Kill) then this is the game for you. I thoroughly enjoy that experience and with those five gentlemen it is a hoot. I had to leave before we could finish, so I missed the finale, but I heard we not only survived but made out with a LOT of loot! I guess someone must have slipped a ‘mickie’ into Steve’s pop to weaken his resolve. It was a great night spent gaming with great people, playing a game that has yet to be surpassed in its ability to make cut throat dungeon crawling fun. Thank you gentlemen for inviting me back into the fold.

- For those that know, “Ditto”.

- So for the record I cancelled Antagonist Relations Podcast recording last week. It had nothing to do with Zack Attack. The reality was I hadn’t really slept, had attempted to upon arriving home, but assholes kept calling and keeping me awake. Intertwine that with the fact that for about 45 days I have been depressed. I have had a hard time getting out of bed, a hard time being motivated to do anything, and have enjoyed very little to nothing. It has ebbed and flowed a bit more the last two weeks, and honestly I am feeling a lot better this week, but I’m reticent to say I feel ‘good’ because the last time I thought that the world came crashing down around my ears. However as I stated earlier I’m not here to get into ‘Sad Bastard Mode’, what I’m trying to do here is publically apologize. So Zack, the creative force behind the Antagonist Relations Podcast & Blog, I am sorry for cancelling.

- ENDLESS SHRIMP! I need to know who’s with me and when we are going.

- I am diligently working on getting my Introductory 5E Adventures done. One is in the bag, but I may save it as it is a Role Play HEAVY adventure, and something that I’m honestly not just happy with, but proud of. One is about a third done and has a nice old school vibe to it. The other two are right now just sketches of ideas that need to be fleshed out. I’m hoping today to finish the second one, and start putting some meat on the bones of the other two ideas.

- My Monster Manual arrived and it is beautiful.

You know, I think that’s all I got…

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Insecurity Blanket Podcast - Episode 17 - Sunday Night Is All Right For Shilling

The Ginger Giant and his lovely and multi-talented Tag Team partner sit down to stave off the crushing grip of Depression and SHILL their asses off for the stuff that makes them happy, just a hint it includes THE BEST FRIENDS!  We talk all things that equal HAPPY, then for those that care we launch into another episode of Drunk Comic Book History.  This time we cover IDW's D&D Comic trade paperback #1 by the indomitable John Rogers!  So gird your loins this one is going to be a ROUGH!
The Insecurity Blanket Podcast - Episode 17 - Sunday Night Is All Right For Shilling

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Astro-Zombies Vs. The Man Who Thought Life


I have two things to hit on this week, I don’t think either are that fun or life shattering, but maybe you’ll read them, maybe you’ll even enjoy them, you might even chuckle, and if nothing else it’ll be a distraction from your own stuff for a few minutes. So without further ado…

#1 - Sometimes in life we do and say things that are not what we had intended or that don’t come out the way we want or that can end up scorching the earth around us in their aftermath. We all do it. Hell, I could make a cottage industry out of all the bridges I haven’t just burned, but the ones I’ve nuked from space just to be sure. I think the real key is to understand that the people who care about us, truly care about us will forgive us our transgressions, real and imagined, and try make our relationships stronger after something like that has unfortunately occurred.

We can spend large quantities of our lives destroying ourselves in an orgy of self-imposed guilt and ‘woulda’s, coulda’s, & shoulda’s’. I do it all the time. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to that. I live through my own personal string theory of alternate dimensions where I didn’t say that thing, or didn’t do that thing, or didn’t react poorly, or just forgave and moved on, or took into account the other person’s feelings more before I acted every single day. The reality is I can’t go back, none of us can.

And we shouldn’t. We shouldn’t go back in our own personal TARDIS and try to ‘fix’ things. If we fix things we don’t learn anything, we don’t evolve, we don’t have the opportunity to learn, and therefore we miss the chance to be ‘better’. Not to mention if we changed that reaction we would change the outcome. The outcome, where we get to this point of understanding, to this point of learning, to this particular point known as 'now' and become this version of who we are is far more important in the end than the crappy thing that was done or said.

We are not perfect. Not a single one of us. We all mess up on a minute by minute basis. We will continue to mess up over and over and over again. We just have to make sure we learn from those mistakes, we just need to make sure that we don’t repeat the same mistake over and over again; instead we need to go out and make all new, different mistakes, and then learn from those as well. Relish in your humanity, in your imperfection, and never cease learning and striving to be better.

Do those things and realize that no matter what you have said, no matter what you have done those that care about you always will. That Love, in all its myriad forms and incarnations should be, and is for me, unconditional.

#2 - I thought I had sort of shaken free from the grip of the ‘Black Dog’ that has haunted me for a bit over a month, but I haven’t. This morning it has loomed large. I have that old familiar feeling of a weight on my chest so heavy it has literally collapsed my insides. And yet I am not going to let this be the focus of my day. I’m not going to remain beholden to this horrendous feeling.

It doesn’t get to ‘own’ me, control me, or steal from me the spark that is me. The one thing that having come out of the dark clouds at the end of last week gave me was a reminder on perspective. I was able to emotionally get my feet under me by Friday and felt far more like myself, sure it was fleeting, but in that I was able to gain a reserve of resolve and energy. It is taking a lot of energy to be and stay positive, but it’s all worth it. It is testing my will not to see negativity in everything, to feel deserted, to feel the false sting in every little thing, but that just isn’t true. That is not reality. And as much of my life as I spend in thoughts of everything BUT reality, I refuse to have that twisted into some typhoon of self-loathing and imagined slights.

Instead I am choosing to try and pour that energy into something creative, I’m trying to muster some focus, and I’m gripping as hard as I can to any shred of positivity that comes across my path. I think that is all you can do. I think when I’m down this low, looking at how far I could still fall I have to take a deep breath and try to look up. I have to look up and concentrate on the climb in front of me not the fall behind me. It isn’t easy, it never is, and I know I’ll keep slipping, stumbling, losing some ground, but more than anything else I know I’ll keep scraping, clawing, and fighting to get to something better, a ‘better’ version of me.

Sorry. I know that neither of those little streams of consciousness are that overly enjoyable. I know that it isn’t fun to read about me bitching and moaning nor is it super awesome to listen to me get preachy. I just really wanted to get those things off my chest, to take that weight off of my shoulders. I’ve done that, so let’s finish up with some…


- Happy belated Birthdays to THE Karl & Master Kedrin 4.0! Thanks for letting us share your big days.

- The switch over to 5E is now in full swing. With the renewal for my DDI subscription near I opted to just get out of 4E altogether. I know it was not the easiest decision for my Campaigns, players, supporters, and detractors. However, I decided it was time. The groups are coming together finally and we’ve lost some folks; Good luck and gawd’s speed El Bobert-O! And we’ve welcomed back some wayward souls, FINALLY The Koala has come BACK to the D&D TABLE! It sounds as if we might have some other folks leaving to form another group. The reality is if people are playing and having fun I don’t care if it’s with me or with someone else. I’m re-pouring through the PHB, I’m prepping for our Microscope sessions in October, and I’m letting my imagination try and formulate some interesting ideas. I’m getting my focus, my desire, but most importantly my enthusiasm back. We’ll see what happens in this brave, new Known World.

- Mighty Mike has started a blog; Michael James Harmon’s Basement Of Sleaze. It is a blog dedicated to genre cinema; you should all be reading it.

- So my DCM Kickstarter miniatures finally arrived. The packaging was completely smashed up, my Kraken has some paint that has come off it, one of my mermaids is missing its staff, my giant plant monster was broke, and all my Giant Skeletons has warped swords. I know DCM is attempting to ‘make it right’, and I admire that. I like them as a company, but I think this may have killed my desire to give them any more of my money for another Kickstarter. This one was SO long overdue that it felt like a Cool Mini Or Not Kickstarter, which by the way just because you keep sending me updates of miniatures doesn’t mean I’m still not irritated that what I paid for isn’t in hand you asshats. I think DCM is run by very nice people, with a vision, and a desire to make quality products at affordable prices. I also think that doesn’t always translate to success.

- We might Podcast on Thursday. I think I type that every week…

- James and his Magical Beard and I watched the 2014 CHIKARA King Of Trios, all three nights. I’m not sure how I can get across just how amazing it was. CHIKARA has a tendency to blow the doors off during King Of Trios weekend, and this was no exception. Whereas in the past I think the quality of matches really was the calling card of most of these events this year it was trumped by the storytelling. There was a HUGE call back to the B.D.K. story, we saw Deucalion terrifyingly unmasked, the Greenhorn Militia got what they thought they wanted, Delirious’ claim to destroy Ultra Mantis Black’s ‘world’ looks to finally have started to come to fruition, Jigsaw left the Gekido, the new Doctor Cube was revealed, the fate of the Snow Troll is sadly known, and Eddie Kingston’s tale has come full circle finally. The entire show was cathartic in a lot of ways, as it took a LOT of the heaviness of this Flood Vs. CHIKARA story and finally gave us a taste of the tide turning. It left me wondering just what we are going to see in the last few ‘episodes/events’ of the Season. I truly think we need to see Kingston destroy Jimmi Jacobs, Kid Cyclone either needs to go full blown Heel Turn or destroy someone in the Flood permanently, we need to see who has the Estonian Thunderfrog’s Hammer Of Peace, and Icarus must have a face to face showdown with Deucalion. To me these are the things that need to happen! As you can see I don’t need questions answered, I just need to keep seeing CHIKARA take me on this strange, wonderful, emotional, and brilliant ride. Thank you James & CHIKARA!

- Thank the Gawds that The Chris Gethard Show is back. WHEW!

- I painted last week! Yeah, you just read that right. I painted a bunch of rats, some swarms of flesh eating beetles, a magpie, some villagers, and some creepy giant ticks. I used a lot of dry brushing, soft brush strokes, and some ‘color up’ techniques to get decent results. Cassandra really liked what I finished; I’m not as pleased but realize that they are another step up from other things I’ve painted. I think I might paint tonight. Perhaps I’ll go on a Pugwampi RAMPAGE!

- For those that know, ‘Ditto Forever’….

- We finally watched the first episode of the 2nd season of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Let me say that I was pretty ‘meh’ on the first part of the first season, but I stuck with it and the show grew on me. The 2nd Season is already killing it. We got a cinematic version of the Absorbing Man, and it was done in such a seamless and inventive way that I was left grinning ear to ear. The show has a fallen into a very ‘Torchwood’ vibe for me, as I don’t feel like ANYONE is safe from being maimed &/or killed so every episode has some potential gravity to it. So if you didn’t care for Season 1 or dropped it early in, I implore to give it another go.

- I need a haircut.

I think that is all I got...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dancer In The Dark Vs. When The Wind Blows


Off and on in my life I fight these bouts with just unfathomable sadness. I find myself with this bottomless pit in my insides; it is like a gaping maw that swallows all the joy and energy around me leaving me with a profound feeling of emptiness. I don’t know when they’ll come, I don’t know how long they’ll stay, and I don’t ever know how I’ll deal with them. They just sort of erupt like a silent volcano, and they scorch the Earth around me.

I’m going through this right now, and have been for about a month or so. The thing is when this occurs I get to a place mentally where I see everything through a skewed prism. I seem to want things, but the reality is I don’t. I surround myself with people to armor myself against what I feel, but honestly it is a temporary band aid, and in the end I’m left alone with that black hole in my guts. I can do a good job during this time focusing on the needs of others, throwing myself at problems that only affect me peripherally, and just trying to wrap myself up in other people.

When left to my own devices I just want to retreat to the bed room or to the basement and hide in mundane tasks. It always feels like if I don’t I will literally curl up into myself and disappear entirely. There are all these small inconsequential things that usually just nip at the edges of my confidence, my emotional state, and my mind but when I’m struggling with this I feel like they are literally chomping chunks away of who I am.

These things tend to pass after a while. I stumble through them and eventually grasp tightly onto some coping strategy and get back to who I am. I think the thing that makes each one of these stretches of depression so terrifying for me is I start to wonder if this is it. Will this be the one I don’t come out of? Is this where it started for my Father? Is this what every day of the rest of my life is going to be like?

I wake up every day during these periods with a horrible fear and dreadful anxiety that I will never find my way out of this maze of melancholy. I feel rundown, my brain runs slow, I have less than zero motivation for anything, I am hard to be around, and I can’t seem to find joy in much of anything. Seriously, when you lose your appetite for food, for sex, for most meaningful interactions it is frustrating. It is frustrating for me, and then in turn becomes frustrating for everyone in my immediate sphere.

The thing is it is just as if not MORE so frustrating for me. I know this irrational. I know that I don’t have any issues that should be bringing me low. I am well aware how I can become this absolute wellspring of negativity literally sucking the joy out of a ten mile radius. The fact that I’m fighting this internal struggle with myself essentially doesn’t make any sense. People who have never dealt with that self-doubt, self-loathing, and the loss of self into an abyss of bleakness have no point of reference. Their ‘help’, their misperception, and their notions of what I should do and how I should feel only add to the feelings of worthlessness.

It is just a never ending cycle of anxiety, stress, and depression. I can’t figure it out and that makes me feel like crap. The ‘help’ of others can’t help and that makes us all feel worse. And that ends up feeding into more frustration, more anxiety, then more stress over that anxiety, and eventually just more feelings of hopelessness as I wallow in the confusion, sadness, and low grad anger about feeling any and all of this. I end up just swallowing it all down and trying to put on a good ‘face’. That way I don’t have to share that part of me or bring anybody along with me on that journey.

The reality is I do a pretty good job of faking my way through these times with most people. I just try to feed off of their moods and do what they do. Last night was a L.E.W.G.I. event and I laughed long and hard about a great deal of very funny comments, and yet the moment that they all left the veneer comes off. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy that time, hell it isn’t like I don’t on some level enjoy any of the time I get to enjoy with any of my Friends it is just so F’Ning fleeting.

Everything feels so fleeting. I don’t know why I can’t talk about it, why when I’m asked about it I either lie through my teeth that everything is ‘fine’, or that I’m just ‘tired’. I just find it so hard to express myself verbally about this. Even these words feel paltry and pathetic as opposed to the actual feeling of it all, or in some cases the lack of feeling about everything. All I can do is put my head down, push forward, and keep trying to find some coping mechanism that will help me shake off this current stretch of this ‘thing’. And hope. I can hope that this isn’t the time that it never goes away.

I don’t even have any RANDOM CRAP(!) for you, honestly I just don’t care enough to write anything more…