Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Just A Gigolo Vs. Mr. Rice's Secret

7/29/14

Because of lack of sleep I have nothing coherent to say.  So all you are going to get is…

RANDOM CRAP!

- My goal is to be positive today, so if this one is a little weird, it is your own damn fault.

- Last Wednesday we were able to sneak in a 4th Group session, which was good because I think if Jake had to wait any longer he may have exploded.  I ran into the classic issue of new NPC MUST be Evil so don’t trust him syndrome.  Which was sad, because he is indeed Evil and they should not have trusted him, but the characters don’t know that in game.  Luckily, all the Player’s themselves didn’t meta game so I was able to have them fight the battle with the Fire Giant Forge Priest, his Hellhound pets, and his Azer Minions in the set-piece I wanted to.  Honestly, I thought this fight went rather well until the PC’s put the hurt on the Hellhounds.  Once that poor Giant was alone it was all over, but the crying.  I then forced them to rush out into a fight with the Hill Giant Shaman and his five goons.  This battle had T.P.K. written all over it initially as I rolled well, did a LOT of damage, and was knocking PC’s Prone constantly.  However the group got it together just in the nick of time and turned back into their normal efficient Death Machine.  I think they all got a real thrill out of killing Giants, which is good as they enter into the Heart Of Kanji where Giants are the very least of their worries.

- It sounds as if MONSTERHearts will be a once a month Friday night thing.  Now we just need to get a start date settled on.

- The Insecurity Blanket Podcast episode on Anxiety is still in the works, but we all haven’t found a date that will work yet.  Maybe I’ll just consult my list of crap I want to talk about and knock a Podcast out this week to stay ‘frosty’.  Mmmmmm, Frosties….

- The Super-Secret Sausage D&D Birthday for Zack Attack came and went.  I ran for 10 people, all of which were stuffed on delicious grub, most of which were buzzed up, and all of which were balls of fun.  It wasn’t the easiest session I’ve ever tried to hammer out, but I had one of my trusty Co-DM’s with me, Master Kedrin 4.0.  Together we were able to herd the cats and get them through a raucous night of staff jokes, inappropriate names, inter-party murder, and an insanely Emo ‘Big Bad’.  Our prep was WAY over ambitious, but ended up being fun due to its flexibility, the players, and my Co-DM.  So thank you to Zack for being a good sport, and to Lady Christy, Skillful Scott, Laughin’ Lance, Artful Andrea, Ruthless Renee, Killer Cassie, Kismet Kevin, El Bobert-O, the lovely and multi-talented Cassandra, and my partner in this B-Day crime Master Kedrin 4.0 for bringing the fun and the warmth to the Tiny Yeti’s frozen heart.

- The funny thing was we turned around and ran the same adventure for THE Karl, Magic Mike, Electric Elyssa, Joltin’ John, ‘Casual’ Doug, and the lovely and multi-talented Cassandra the next night.  By cutting the size of the party in half, cutting one encounter out per ‘area’, and adding alcohol to the DM’s screen we doubled the amount we got through the night before and didn’t lose any of the ‘Fun’.  In fact they enjoyed it so much after clearing two of the six areas that there is a call to revisit this with two more sessions to bring it to completion.  Normally I might be sort of ‘meh’ on that but listening to Casual Doug use the robot voice changer to play his Warforged Barbarian, Pimpbot 5000 aka PB5K, is one of the single most enjoyable experiences I can remember having at a gaming table while not playing.  Overall I thought that the adventure went over decently, Kedrin did a great job co-running, the food was fantastic, and both nights everyone seemed to have a good time which really is all that matters.  This makes me think I should run more ‘Season’ style games.

- Also I want to record sessions of certain games in order to use them as Podcast fodder.  Magic Mike is already on the hunt for an ambient mic.  Thank you sir for everything you do, I think I speak for all of us when I say our lives would be FAR less Magic without you.

- Diamond Dave & Mighty Mike are on their way back from the Nerd Mecca of San Diego Comic Con.  I wish you both…Safe Journey…

- Mantic is getting ready to open their Kickstarter for their version of a modern take on Warhammer Quest on 8/4/14.  To say I’m excited about this would be a lie.  I am literally chewing my nails in anticipation.  The idea of a multi-tiered box with a ‘starter’ section and an advanced section blows my mind.  The idea of having an advanced section that allows you to create your own dungeons means I could conceivably have a toolbox kit to make some VERY basic Dungeon Crawls that fit into my homebrew world and run people through stuff in like a night.  I might use it as ‘Historical Dungeon Crawls’ for the history of the Known World.  See things like this just light my imagination on fire.  The reality is none of this will occur unless they reach stretch goals.  I know that they were sort of coy about that, I think one of the things I truly like about Mantic is their humble attitude, but let’s be honest if their other Kickstarters are any indication this one will make a TON of money.  So come 8/4/14 Mantic, TAKE MY MONEY(s)!  I hope you all do the same.

- Speaking of Kickstarters, it looks as if the Dungeon Crawl Miniatures Kickstarter stuff is finally going to arrive.  I know they hit a LOT of hurdles once they got funded, but they have persevered and from the looks of it the wait will totally be worth it.  I am a huge fan of DCM as they are a small Indy company that meets the needs of the fans, has great communication with their consumers, and puts out superior products.  I have enjoyed painting their ‘Natural’ miniatures, and have been VERY happy with their Pre-painted stuff.  Apparently they too are setting up to do another Kickstarter in the next few months.  If you like your stuff Pre-painted, reasonably priced, and well-crafted then give them a chance.

- One last place to spend your money is Cool Stuff Inc., who is currently having a wonderful mini’s sale.  I found stuff in their sale that was about 75% off!  They have stuff up from Reaper, Wyrd, Warmachine, Heroclix, etc. just to name the miniatures.  I am pretty sure the sale included Board Games, Magic, and even RPG items.  They are a great company and you should go see if you can get a good deal while it lasts.

- I am SHILLing like mad right now apparently.

- Team TROLLSTRONG met last night for our first foray into the Skinsaw Murders, and for the most part we completely handled that adventure.  Well up until the last quarter of the game and then we found ourselves in deep trouble.  It came down to the last four turns and The Geneious pulling our collective bacon, which I know Kedrin hates along with Puppies, out of the fire by annihilating the Necromancer.  I have found that I really do love the Pathfinder Card game as it has great flavor, but also is incredibly insidious in the way it can lull you into a false sense of game security.  Maybe that was just the incredible feast last night, either way.  I don’t think it hurts that The Geneious, Sassie Cassie, THE Karl, James & his Magical Beard, Master Kedrin 4.0, and the Amazing Cassandra are a perfect group to play with.  OR that RAW is on in the background for us to comment about continuously.  Every other Monday I find myself laughing, slaying, rolling the BALLZ(!), and eating incredible grub with a great group of people.  I guess it is true what they say; Diamonds are forever and so is Team TROLLSTRONG!

- Happy B-day wishes to the Mason Man, Magic Mike, and the aforementioned Zack Attack, I hope you all had a blast doing whatever you did.  We still need to figure out what to get you last two since you are MUCH harder to shop for than a 4 year old.

- When the hell is CHIKARA coming back to iPPV?

- I have some miniatures I’d like to DIP tonight, tomorrow, or Thursday night.  They may not be completely necessary, but I’d like to knock them out in case I ‘need’ them.  Maybe this weekend we can spend some time finishing and DIPping the rest of the around 100 minis that are ready.  I think if left to my own devices this week I may retreat into the basement and try and paint a bit more.  The world has overwhelmed me of late.  

- I like watching Cassandra play Torchlight on the Xbox 360 as much as I hate Chairman Mao in Civilization Revolution.

- 2nd Group meets this Saturday and I am a bit over half done with prepping.  I need to finish Stat Blocks, pull minis, and figure out the Map situation, but otherwise I’m ready.  I feel relatively good about what I have in store for the PC’s and while it may not be as kill crazy rampage as the last Adventure was, it is chock full of Role Playing opportunities, world building, and foreshadowing.  If I am on my game I think we can get through all of it in one night!

- I hope we go see Guardians Of The Galaxy this weekend.

I think that’s all I got.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Scared To Death Vs. Real Genius

7/21/14

I debated internally about whether or not to go into a long winded diatribe of frustration regarding things going on the place that signs a paycheck for me every two weeks.  There has been some decision making of late that really speaks to the motivation, thought process, and direction of the employment quagmire I find myself immersed in.  However the more I contemplated it the more I decided none of you care, it won’t change anything, and frankly I’m not surprised so I’m just going to avoid it all together.

Instead I decided to just let my mind run free and throw out a blog chock full of….

RANDOM CRAP!

- The whole kerfuffle between the Vikings and Kris Kluwe has left me feeling pretty gross.  To listen to people half-heartedly defend someone who is a bigot bothers me.  To see Kluwe wait on this until it was advantageous bothers me as well.  This is one of those rare cases where I truly hope two wrongs make a right.  I hope that the Vikings have to pay out a massive settlement that then goes help LBGT rights, I hope Kluwe has to own up to his own hypocrisy and then goes away, but what I hope more than anything is that more public figures get the message that what you say has resonance.  You have a right to an opinion, but when in a professional environment keep your crazy beliefs to yourself.

- Tiny peppers are the best peppers.

- The bottom of my right foot is all sorts of messed up.  I’m not sure how, but it got really dry, and yet the left didn’t, and cracked.  This then sort of shredded and got packed with gunk.  It is cleaned out, not infected, but damn if it doesn’t hurt like nothing else.  It is raw, aggravated, and extremely uncomfortable.  It feels like my foot is simultaneously on fire and throbbing.  Cassandra has been a life saver helping me take care of this.  I don’t know what I would ever do without her.  Thanks sweetie!

- F’ You UPS for your incompetent service.  You’ve had just about two weeks to deliver two items.  I had hoped to have them by Sat. at the LATEST, but you screwed that up.  This amazes me since the items were IN Minneapolis last Tuesday and then for some gawds forsaken reason they were sent to Wisconsin and now to Iowa.  That makes NO sense.  None.  This is why I avoid doing business with you at all costs.  GIVE ME MY PACKAGES!   

- I’m completely obsessed with Civilization Revolution on Xbox 360 right now.  And the Chinese are my mortal enemies in almost every game.  That means next game I’m playing as Mao!

- We have got to find different jobs ASAP.  A litany of strange e-mails regarding the cost of properly training people to effectively do their jobs this morning has me even more convinced than ever. 

- Weird Al’s new song ‘Handy’ is the official theme song of THE Karl.  I have spoken.

- Painting is on the agenda this week.  I really want to sit down either tomorrow night or Wednesday night and hammer out 3 to 5 miniatures.  I think that’s a reasonable expectation.

- Last Thursday was 3rd Group D&D and the wrap up of the Heroic Tier for them.  We were sans Startlin’ Spence as he had familial commitment.  I tried to throw some serious combat situations at the PC’s and really feel like I did, but it ended up being more about the threat of what could occur than what did, as the PC’s stopped the summoning of the Aspect Of Orcus.  They used some skillful teamwork, some well-timed Action points, and some fantastic planning to get the job done.  They didn’t get all the Shards they wanted as the Alchemical Golem, Klaus, stole one for his master, ‘His Most Benevolent Steward Of Humanity’ Karlot Benidit III.  I took to heart a lot of the things that I heard at CONvergence and tried to begin implementing them.  I jumped the PC’s three levels, because I truly feel like they deserved it.  The PC’s will each be designing a district in Ebonbone where they will have their ‘power base’.  I’m treating Ebonbone like a city ever shifting in the shadow, a living tendril of darkness and intrigue.  They all are going to be creating a 7th Level underling as well.  The next session will be these underlings attempting to slay their main political rival Uwain.  I’m hoping to either co-run that night with Zack or at the very least get a TON of his input.  I’m still planning on using Microscope to do some world/city building here in the near future once I can get the right amount of interest in playing.  It just isn’t a game you can play without interest and investment.  I’m trying to ask my PC’s to do more of the world building, an idea from the Apocalypse World games.  I want to know what they see as logically being there.  I also dropped a crap load of Shards on the group, allowed for a three month time passage, and let them refine them into something useful.  The thing is every time I get to play with any group that I have I am awed by how much fun they have become.  Truly I have stumbled into a literal treasure trove of fantastic players.  Last Thursday thoroughly reminded me of that fact.  The possibly ‘sad’ reality though is that in all four of my games is I’m only going to run 4E for about 9 to 10 more sessions.  Then I’m taking things to 5E.  I hope I don’t lose players over this, but I’ve finally come to that decision.  I like the feel for the game I’m getting, the prep time is shorter, I can customize it on the fly, and the math balance won’t be such a pain in my Ginger kiester.  I’m figuring I’ll drop a 100 year jump in time on the setting, allow those interested to help craft those hundred years with Microscope, and go from there.  The idea is by that time some of the PC’s will be my new Pantheon of deities, some will have died I’m sure, some players will have left, and we’ll all be ready to start anew at 1st Level.  I’m hoping the players see it as an opportunity to start seeing what they want as the ending to their PC’s story.  I’m also hoping they weave it into the world itself and make it something truly memorable.

- Thank you to Magic Mike for the Hawkman T-shirt.  It was beyond generous and too cool for school!

- One last D&D side note, I think when I ‘reboot’ to 5E I want to keep similar vibes to the groups.  I want to keep a Pirate themed game, a Kung Fu/Asian style game, a strange fantasy sci-fi pulp game, and one group that are Evil.  I’m not married to that line up, but having four different vibes really helps the games feel fresh and different to me.  I think with 5E we are also seeing a ‘shrinking’ of the world so smaller threats are much more dangerous.  In 4E if you ran into Goblins at 1st Level you just went kill crazy rampage on them.  As a DM I had to send them en masse, but even then they were just really cannon fodder without some fiddling.  With 5E there is a significant throwback to old D&D where the Goblin tribe in the woods is a TRUE threat at 1st Level to wipe out your village.  So I’m going to have to shrink my world threat level to meet that new expectation.  In doing that I think it’ll make combat much more fun and dangerous while VASTLY increasing the ‘game space’ for role playing and character development.

- MONSTERHEARTS!  That is all, I just feel like I have to scream that at least on a weekly basis.

- Thank you to THE Karl, Master Kedrin 4.0, and the lovely and multi-talented Cassandra for a Saturday night full of games, ‘quality meats’, silly hats, beverages, and most importantly a LOT of laughs.  I don’t think I have a better time with anyone else.

- I finally got my hands on the expansion for Lords Of Waterdeep.  Now I just need to play the GD game.  ‘Casual’ Doug, Geneious, anyone else?

- Speaking of Gaming, I want to have a Board Game Day in August.  It’ll be like a 12pm to whenever day in the basement.  Hopefully by that time we’ll have the new couches.  I’m intrigued to see how the seating will change. 

- So much D&D prep to do.

- It sounds as if the Insecurity Blanket Podcast on Anxiety will happen in a week or two once the panel can hammer out their schedules.  I am really looking forward to sitting down with the three of them and talking about how paralyzing and limiting anxiety can be, and how finding effective coping mechanisms is difficult, but worthwhile.  In the meantime I might try and throw together a Podcast on something.  I’m not sure what, but I’ve been compiling a list of stuff that I’d like to talk about.  Perhaps I’ll put out the Podcast Signal on the FB’s this week and see if I can get some takers.

- With the new D&D miniatures, the next Pathfinder set, and the Mantic Dwarf King’s Hold Kickstarter on the horizon I’m trying to figure out who I’m going to have to kill in order to pay for these things.

- I am beyond sleep deprived.

I think that’s all I got.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Heel Turn Radio - Episode 14 - Fat Hardy II, The Fattening

The L.E.W.G.I. crew returns from ROH in Hopkins, MN and give the full skinny on witnessing an AMAZING live show.  We talk our on-going war with Matt Hardy, dudes being smaller than we thought, a Beard Team is formed, sore hands, Maria's butt, and just how friggin' fantastic a human being Kevin Steen is.  Thank you ROH, and THANK YOU Kevin Steen...
Heel Turn Radio - Episode 14 - Fat Hardy II, The Fattening

Heel Turn Radio - Episode 13 - 5 Levels Of Fat

Diamond Dave, The Geneious, Yo Randy, the Sex Pistol, & YOUR King Ginger come together like some L.E.W.G.I. version of Voltron and talk Ring Of Honor mere hours before sitting front row at the Hopkins, MN show.  The Beard is missed, T-Shirts are SHILLed, facial hair challenges are made, and Fat Hardy is hated on.  ENJOY!
Heel Turn Radio - Episode 13 - 5 Levels Of Fat

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

TerrorVision Vs. Tetsuo: The Iron Man

7/8/14

Does it make me less of a man because I can’t swing a hammer to save my life?  I don’t ask in jest, I am actually curious.  I’ve come to the distinct realization that I will never be changing my own oil, that many household repairs are simply beyond me, and sports no longer hold much sway over me.  Does that mean I am somehow less masculine?    I’m not fascinated by firearms, I don’t drink beer anymore, I don’t hunt, and I have no conquests or never ending tales of battles won left to tell.  I can’t fight, I can’t fix, and I can’t brag does that make me less of a ‘man’?

Don’t get me wrong I can do many things that are ‘assigned’ to my gender.  I can break things, I can carry really heavy stuff, I am capable of catastrophic aggression, I can make people feel safe, etc.  I can do those things well, but what I see is that for the most part I fill that role mainly in a negative way.  I’m not contributing anything; I’m not ‘building’ anything.  I am not providing in the most rudimentary ways, I’m not constructing anything, and I’m not fulfilling what so many people would tell me I could/should simply based on what genitals I happen to have. 

I’m generally not that concerned with societal imposed roles, and especially not gender roles, but when you can’t fill that traditional role in at least some ways it makes you feel ‘other’.  The thing was I just spent an entire weekend at CONvergence where no one gives a single F’ about that, which made it feel even more pronounced.  I guess I’m not as full of confidence about who I am as I thought because when you see people Cos-playing like that, totally up front constantly about who they are and what they strongly believe in, and living in that moment it makes me feel like I live in an in-between world.  Like I’m not sure who and what the world thinks I should be.

I know I am a lot of different things; hyper critical, self-aware, sensitive, funny, possibly smart, creative, honest, caring, etc. but I’m realizing I’m not the things society sees as traditionally masculine.  And after this weekend I am confronted with the reality that I don’t fall into the myriad of other classifications that are out there either.  I’m left with the oddest feeling that I don’t think society knows who I am, and I am not entirely sure I know either.  I feel like an island alone in a sea of possibility. 

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all.  I get to define myself as a person rather than a gender role that is assigned to me by a culture that I fit into about as well as a square peg in a circular hole.  It is ok that I can’t fit my giant mitt down into the car to change the headlight because I can cook a flawless whole rabbit.  It is ok that I can’t fix the phalange on the toilet because the dishes are always done, the trash and recycling are always out, and things are always put away.  And it doesn’t matter that I can’t put together that book case without throwing something, because I can take a handful of people with me on a sojourn through the strange vistas in my imagination, make them laugh, make them gasp, and give them respite from ‘real life’ for even just a little while.

What is hard is I look like I should be able to do all those things.  I look like the guy you want to carry your sheet rock down a flight of stairs, and therefore must understand how to hang it.  I bear a striking resemblance to someone who should be able to operate a tape measure, but is just going to wing it because my spatial skills are that good.  I look like a guy who played sports so I should be able to talk at length about how the Vikings did last season.  I can’t do those things.  I don’t think I ever really could, well except for maybe the last one.  When I see that look on the faces of people when they realize the brain doesn’t match the body it makes me uncomfortable in my own skin.

There are times where I wish I was more like some of my Friends, more like my brother, hell more like my Dad was.  I wish I could fix stuff, build cool stuff, refinish things, and was more interested in things that the rest of society thinks that I should be.  The fact is I can’t, and I’m not.  I like to cuddle, I like to read constantly, my imagination runs wild all day long, I want to hear about your problems and just be there for you, staring at art brings me profound joy, I love to cook, I like to contemplate my place in the universe, I like doing dishes, sometimes songs and movies make me tear up, I dust, I am a big old Ginger contradiction to what a lot folks think I should be.  But I’m just too busy in my own head trying to just be ‘Me’ to see or understand how I fit.  Hopefully one day I’ll figure just out who ‘Me’ is and be the best version of that I can be.

Since there will be a bunch of Podcasting this week and the next I’m leaving any blogs short, so let’s wrap this up with some…

RANDOM CRAP!

- CONvergence was incredible.  Next week we are going to Podcast about it.  Suffice to say we are already starting to plan going next year.

- We finally finished Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and it was damn fun.  We both loved the ending.  Now we just need to see Captain America: The Winter Solider to fill in the gaps.

- SO much gaming stuff!  We played OTHERWorld, Pathfinder, and even D&D 5E this last weekend.  We are going to talk that and all the other cool imagination fodder that I was spoon fed this last weekend on the Antagonist Relations Podcast.  Suffice to say that I’ve got some new revisions to my games and running style to make.

- I have NO interest in mowing this week.

- THE Karl is painting his 4th Group Monk right now, and it is one of the coolest paint jobs I’ve ever seen, it has blown my Ginger mind.

- It doesn’t sound like the planned Insecurity Blanket Podcast on Anxiety is going to happen this week.  Hopefully we can get everyone together and record one on it soon, as I REALLY liked the group we were putting together and the subject is something we all deal with.

- Well I pre-ordered the three main 5E Books last night, as well as the new ‘big box’ for the Pathfinder Card Game, ‘Skull & Shackles’.  The money I got from selling those two lots of miniatures evaporated into a lot of future awesome. 

- Master Kedrin 4.0 and I have been working on a D&D project together.  It has been really fun to collaborate on something with her.  Add in the fact that she ran some of the Adventure that is in the 5E Starter Set for us at CONvergence with NO prep and killed it, and I feel like I’m witnessing the ‘birth’ of a really amazing DM. 

- The only bad thing about the weekend is I’m still coming down off of all that Anxiety.  Today I just feel spent.  From the top of my head to the bottom of my feet I just feel like I have nothing left.

- I am reading through the rules of an RPG called ‘Microscope’, and quite frankly I’m blown away.  THIS will be tool that will transition my ‘World’ from the 4E games to the 5E games.  I am beyond excited about that prospect now.

- I’m thinking of doing a Movie-A-Thon a week from this Friday.  We’ll bust out that 100 Sc-Fi classics pack, and the 100 Horror classics pack, roll some dice, AND that will be what we watch.  Although at some point I want to do a Chuck Heston 70’s Sci-Fi-A-Thon; Planet Of The Apes, Soylent Green, & The Omega Man.

- Ring Of Honor is this Saturday night, and L.E.W.G.I. will be FRONT ROW!  It’ll be one of the last three appearances by ‘Mr. Wrestling’ Kevin Steen.  I’m a big Steen fan, and I hope, I HOPE, I get the opportunity to personally tell him Thank You for all the blood, sweat, and tears he’s shed to entertain us.  It should be a great card and seeing it live with the rest of the L.E.W.G.I. contingent is going to be amazing.

- AND I STILL haven’t played Lords Of Waterdeep yet…*sigh*

- I finally won a game of Settlers Of Catan against the lovely Cassandra, Special K, and THE Karl.  My victory felt even better since not only had I been drinking, but it came out of THE Karl, our usual winner, thinking he was screwing me over when I was actually screw him over.  That doesn’t happen often as he is one of the best game players I know.  I REALLY love that game and couldn’t ask for three better people to play it with.

Hrm…I think I’m done.