Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Burnt Offerings Vs. I Like To Hurt People


That was an amazing weekend.  It was crazy busy, but fantastic.  Coming out of a three day weekend where we started ‘running’ on Friday night and finished by getting home at 10:30pm last night I am exhausted.  I’m just fantastically tired and a tiny bit irritated with myself since I didn’t do any resumes nor did I get those minis and board games on Craigslist.  I figure if I can just keep my head down and push through today the next four days will take care of themselves, and allow me some time to get the real two tasks in front of me done.

 Friday night we grilled with THE Karl & Kedrin, had some beverages, and rather than fire pit it up we went inside and played the HELL out of some board games; Killer Bunnies & Kingdoms.  As always it was a great time.  I don’t think we laugh as loud nor have as much fun as when we are with those two.  There is just something to be said for people you have a lot in common with, enjoy your brand of obnoxiousness, and can just be yourself around.  That was like a 2am bed time, so I sort of knew the weekend was going to be a rough one.

I was up at 7am-ish and started prepping for 2nd Group D&D.  After our guests took their leave I pounded out the pork for the 2nd Group grilling I had promised, had some lunch and slept for a few hours.  I think if I hadn’t had that nap I might never had made it.  I knew we were going to have some new players in Andrea and Lady Christy for the session and that the start time was sort of up in the air so I waited till the last minute to fire up the grill.  El Bobert-O brought his normal, delicious looking slab of beef and then I got the pork on. 

Surprisingly enough almost everyone either had eaten or wasn’t that hungry so we did have leftovers.  When we finally got rolling with the session I had to figure out how to deal with the loss of three players; Julie The Meatloaf, Chad, & Cordell.  After some minor internal debating I simply used them to ramp up the intensity of the horror and move the plot forward by having Chad’s statue form get shattered and spill forth horrific snakes, Julie’s character had her head bit off by the angry Naga, and finally Cordell had a VERY heroic death by holding off the Naga while the other PC’s fled.  I got a little intense in the description of this which led to some recurrent comments from Tiffany & Lady Christy.

I tried to use the potential of a sinking cave structure as well as the possibility of horribly drowning and/or being eaten by that angry Naga and its weird snake babies to speed up the game a bit.  There was then an assisted lock mechanism challenge to get out of the threat area.  That is where I introduced Andrea’s character, She-ra, and Lady Christy’s character, Beep Boop, to the rest of the Group.  It worked out well as I had planned on using Barnabus The Blue as the dues ex machine to the entire adventure so I just had the two new characters as the jumping off point.

In explaining the whole multiple Campaigns and the God Shard thing I was met with a Pokomon comparison by one of the new players.  At first I was sort of offended.  I felt like the distillation of four groups and everything I’ve tried to build with all those players down into a comparison like that was unfair.  However, about ten minutes later it occurred to me that if someone is going to compare you to something why not have it be something that is still sort of a cultural phenomenon.  And while at the most rudimentary levels that might be an apt comparison it is still only on the surface area.

Anywho, sorry got off on that tangent there, but it is my blog.  In the end the Party got to their Barnabus meeting, had a big fight, got in some ‘ooohs and ahhhhs’, and escaped certain death with something to do in the immediate future.  I felt like it was a fun session, actually where it fell down in technical aspects and even a bit in the inventiveness of storytelling the vibe really made up for it.  There were a lot of laughs, and for the first time in a while 2nd Group seemed to have a really fantastic time, and that is the real goal.

I do have some work to do though to tighten up the ship of what I want to get accomplished.  First and foremost I need to find a way to give the next adventure some closure without it revolving the Party in flight mode.  I’ve used that twice now, best not to overuse it.  Now that I have a group that digs role playing I need to play to that strength next adventure and give them something to really bite into.  Luckily what I had planned should work quite well for that.  And last but not least I need to find a good solid way to re-tie the search for that massive treasure back into the overall narrative.  It has gotten put on the back burner of late and I’d really like to bring it back to the forefront overall.  Of all the groups 2nd Group has the least real tie to the overall Shard plot of the Campaign world.  It is available to them, but I think the original hunt for the Lost Treasure angle appeals even more, so I need to creatively find a way to drop some clues about its destination into the PC’s lap again.  So there is some work to do, but luckily Saturday night’s session rejuvenated my drive to do it.

After the session Zack Attack, Andrea, Lady Chirsty, and El Bobert-O stuck around for a few hours and we exchanged stories of awesome, and I was given the treat of not only Tales Of Mecky but also Zack introducing me to Brian Posehn’s D&D Podcast.  I was exhausted but was up till around 1am-ish, which I knew to be a bad idea since I had CHIKARA grilling prep to do.  It was a damn fine evening of D&D and frivolity so I made an exception.

I was again up early on Sunday.  I started marinating meat at around 7am after chopping up the trinity of beef, pork, and chicken.  There wasn’t a chance to take a nap as we were staring early.  Them Damn Wheeler Boyz were the first to arrive and luckily James and his Magic Beard were down to help do all the Kebab skewering with me.  Magic Mike made it and graced us with some coffee which really helped get Cassandra and I going.  Eventually Yo Randy, Casual Doug, Peter aka ‘PJ Thorn’, and the Geneious all arrived to consume massive quantities of grilled meat, veggies, and even fruit while partaking of the Season 14 premier, ‘You Only Live Twice’, of CHIKARA!

The only problem was we couldn’t get the iPPV feed to work.  Luckily, that group is chock full of folks with GIGANTIC brains, and the Casual Warrior, Doug, managed to cobble together a VGA cord and a sound cord to run the laptop to the television which worked literally seconds before the feed to the show actually started.  Casual Doug is now, and forever more, a L.E.W.G.I. hero.  I won’t go into a massive amount of detail about the show as we did that in the Heel Turn Radio episode ’14 Large Brutha’.  I will just say that I loved it, and I think everyone else did as well.  It was incredible and left me wanting more.  It is one thing to watch and enjoy wrestling alone; it is another to have that with a group of folks.  It was a phenomenal time.  The iPPV stream was overall really good with only two minor hiccups, which was less than the WWE Network’s Wrestlemania 30 stream.  I will be purchasing these monthly now as long as the group is down for it. 

Post iPPV we knocked out two Podcasts, ’14 Large Brutha’ & ‘The Casual Warrior’, both of which were a blast to record.  Some times when we have a ‘Full’ room I worry.  With only four microphones it can be a bit chaotic with five or more people, because it requires people to share.  This time we had six and it really went well.  The other thing we attempted to do was reign in our time and I think we were pretty successful as both Podcasts were just over an hour.  We do really well when we have a format and a plan going in for most episodes, but I have to admit this time we went into both with very little planning and just had fun.  Having listened back to snippets of both episodes I think it really shows.

Afterwards there was the idea of watching ‘Ashes’ and talking about the idea of having a once a month Wrestling RPG night using the ‘Know Your Role’ system, which is an interesting hybridized Open Game License.  Alas, Them Damn Wheeler Boyz had to depart, so instead the remainder of us just hung out and chatted.  First it was wrestling, but we started talking movies and then Horror, and then comics and we just kept going.  Eventually, Casual Doug called it and left.  Yo Randy and the Geneious both were on their way out, but somehow we three started talking about life and next thing you knew it was 2:30am. 

That is the cool thing about those guys, you can literally talk with them about anything at any time and it is never forced or awkward it just ‘Is’.  After they both made their way home, I blissfully laid in bed with my lovely wife and talked till around 4am.  It was a good talk, and honestly I think it meant a lot to both of us.  Sometimes we both don’t communicate our hopes and fears as readily as we should because we don’t want to scare or upset the other person.  We both know that is silly, but we can’t help ourselves.  The reality is I married my Best Friend, and she is incredible.  She inspires me to be a better version of myself every day.

Monday we were going to do resumes, but it just never happened.  Instead we slept in, well time of the day wise but not actual hours slept wise.  Once we were both functional it was around noon, and we made the horrible decision to go out in the mid-day sun and mow.  It wasn’t that it was overly hot outside; it was that there was no breeze, no cover, and it was muggy.  Either way the hour plus mowing was brutal.  Together we got through it, but were both dehydrated and pretty much exhausted.  After the clean-up, slamming down some grub, and doing some laundry prep I passed out for a few hours.  I could have slept for a whole 24 hours and I don’t think it would have been enough.

We had made plans to go hang out with THE Karl and Kedrin at their place and play Settlers Of Catan, a game I’ve always heard about, but never actually played.  We headed over, had some pizza, and had a flippin’ BLAST playing Settlers.  It’s a nice strategic exercise, there is a TON of re-playability, and I dug the mechanics a lot, but what made it was the other three people at the table.  Between the teasing of Cassandra for her monopolies, to the sneaky ruthlessness of THE Karl, to Kedrin & I’s Poor Settlers Of Catan Alliance it all just made something that was VERY good even better.  I also got to finally meet Lily, the new cat, THE Karl showed off his impeccable paint job and base modding on the Bones Clockwork Dragon which blew our collective MINDS, and we talked Utopianism and whether or not Star Trek qualifies.
In case it isn’t clear, beyond my employment situation, I LOVE my life.  The things I get to do, the people I get to do them with, the conversations I get to participate in, the books we share, the problems we work on together, the laughs we share, the bad movies we all watch, the games we play, the creative endeavors that spring up, the food we get to cook and eat, etc. it is all amazing.  The lack of drama, the lack of conflict, the strange communal ‘All for one and one for all’ nature of the groups of people I get to spend time with never ceases to awe me.  To me that has been the most amazing thing in the last year or so is just the reformation of our social circles into a form that is broad, inclusive, lacks pressure, expectations, or drama, and is egalitarian in nature.  More than anything I feel like I don’t just have a bunch of Friends, I feel like I have a community and that is really incredible.  The last three plus days were just a whirlwind of awesome, so thank you all.

How about we wrap up this bad mamma jamma with some…


-          I’m thinking in August that a Board Game day needs to occur.

-          One of these days I will PERFECTLY cook you a steak El Bobert-O!  THIS I SWEAR!

-          With potential of an L.E.W.G.I. RPG going on once a month, one without a DM, I’m starting to go back through the ‘Know Your Role’ book.  There is a LOT of interesting concepts there.  I think what I want to do is have not just a combat initiative, but a storytelling one as well.  The way they give a mock example of the combat does require some narration, but I think that the group is so full of guys who want to have fun and have done e-fed stuff that it won’t be hard to make it amazing.  Tone will be something we’ll all have to agree on as well, I for one am hoping for a CHIKARA style federation.  My other thought is to possibly just vote every session who the General Manager will be, book as a committee, use a ranking system to figure out who is in title contention, and have everyone have at LEAST five characters that they run themselves with another five characters contributed to a Character Pool.  I was thinking of even just having us all do ten characters and then do a draft.  There are a lot cool ways we could do this.  I think I’ll do some Google Fu and see if any groups out there have put their ideas or play formats online.

-          I heard that X-Men: Days Of Future Past was great.  We haven’t been to the movies in a LONG time; maybe this one will break our streak.

-          Insecurity Blanket Podcast this Wed.!

-          We are off to Toys R Us after work to grab Luke’s birthday present(s); I am hoping we find some D&D Kre-O’s.  I really think he would flip out if we could get him something cool like that, especially if we can get something that reminds of the Wrath Of Ashardalon board game we got him for Christmas last year.  I just hope Toys R Us has that stuff in stock; otherwise we can’t go wrong with Superheroes I guess.

-          Oh football, I still love you, but the NFL and all its legal dramas and lack of accountability really makes me ill.

-          With more Deadzone stuff on the way I should try and finish gluing our Marauders this weekend.

-          I’ve got to get back to painting this week.  After seeing the amazing stuff THE Karl is doing and talking about it with the Geneious I’m eager to get back to it.  I also grabbed some sprues of ‘Pike & Shotte’ from Warlord Games as they are having a 50% off sale right now, GO FORTH AND PURCHASE!  I figure these minis will be another nice addition to the Pirate type stuff I’m doing for 2nd Group.  With the stuff that THE Karl is getting done I’m starting to contemplate putting some of the smaller stuff aside for a bit and attacking my Bones Driders, Fire Giants, or maybe something else about that size.  Diamond Dave if you are reading this, what would it take for you to paint up my three GIGANTIC pieces; Cthulhu, the truly massive Dracolich, and the Zombie Dragon?  It isn’t that I don’t want to paint them I am just not sure I can do them justice and I want them to look amazing. 

-          The potential June garage sale just continues to get bigger and gain more steam.  It could end up being of truly epic scale.

-          ‘Vicious and Delicious’ might be my new favorite tag team name.

-          Can the idea of Buddhist ‘Inner Peace’ and Nietzsche’s philosophy of ‘Will To Power’ cohesively co-exist as a personal belief system?  Something that I’ve been discussing and pondering with someone far smarter than myself that fascinates me.

-          Infinite Ditto’s.

-          If it started thundering right now I honestly might just pass out.

-          It was decided that Team TROLLSTRONG isn’t from ‘Murder Town’, but that everywhere they go becomes ‘Murder Town’ which we also discovered is not to be confused with ‘Funky Town’.  Oh and that even the ‘Safety Dance’ won’t save you in ‘Murder Town’ because you don’t have any friends...

I think that is enough mad rambling for one day…             

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