Aug 202009
 

Ok.  Yes.  I suck at updating.  I’ve gotten used to doing all my updates in 140 characters or less over the course of my day and have spent all of my verbose writing energy over at ShrinkGeek.  You caught me.  I’m a horrible person and it’s perfectly justifiable that the number of people who visit my site every day has dropped to about 6.

I fail at internet celebrity.  Seriously.

I could say that my life has been exceedingly busy lately and I wouldn’t be lying, but I’ve used that excuse before and promised that I would change.  I mean it this time, though, baby.  Come back to me.  It’s going to be different.  I love you more than I love that silly old Twitter business.  She means nothing to me.  All I give her is a bunch of cheap, quick hits.  You?  You get all the depth and breadth of my soul.  My innermost feelings.  The very essence of what it is to be ME.

Just ignore all those workout posts.  I was going through a phase.

Umm…Did I just anthropomorphize my blog?

Is that even a word?

So anyway.  Updates.  Right.

Got back in town on Sunday from the (now) annual excursion to Indianapolis to attend GenCon with Alex.  We has an absolute blast.  The highlight of the con was our participation in the NASCRAG tournament, and I’m proud to say that our team managed to snag both the best name category (“We Have 3 Virgin Men”) and Third Place overall.  Not only that, but Trish took home the prize for MVP in her portrayal of Sexy Kobold Left…or was it Sexy Kobold Right?  It was really hard to tell.  For those of you who are too lazy to click the link, NASCRAG is an annual role-playing tournament at GenCon in which rules take a back seat to having fun.  The focus isn’t on who knows the game mechanics but more on who plays their character the best and puzzle solving.  We had so much fun we’ve already determined that NASCRAG is a definite for next year already and our team is already starting to form.  We also managed to snag a few spots in a Second Edition Paranoia game loosely based on the Star Trek universe called Paranoia Trek (a GenCon tradition, apparently).  I managed to win a prize for role-playing in that one for my stunningly accurate portrayal of Kate Mulgrew as Kathryn Janeway.  I’m not entirely sure if I should be proud of that one.  We continued the silliness in a rousing game of Luchador : Way of the Mask, and Alex enjoyed that one so much he actually purchased a copy for himself and wants to run it at some point.  Finally we got to try out the latest edition of Call of Cthulhu in a scenario known as “Beatings :  The Musical” (which was, apparently, the censored title….the original title was “Buggery Hoedown on the Gaza Strip.”).  That was a very entertaining mix of the silliness we’d been participating in all weekend with some good old fashioned Cthulhu chills.  Yes, we died at the end of the adventure.  But, hey!  We did NOT go insane AND we managed to prevent the world from being destroyed for another 100 years or so.  Go team!

Negatives of the con?  I attempted to pick up a copy of Call of Cthulhu along with a few GURPS supplements from Atlas Games and had the very embarrassing experience of discovering the Chase had decided to cancel the credit card that I took along for goodie purchases the night before (after I had used it to pay for dinner).  This is not the first time the Chase has screwed me over, but it was the worst and will be the last.  I have one card left with them that has a zero balance, and as soon as I’m able to make sure I have another “emergency” card on hand to take its place I’m canceling that one.  We also had a lovely experience with Alex’s blood sugar on Sunday morning due to the fact that he ran out of one of his types of insulin and didn’t tell me about it because he thought I’d be mad or something.  He had high levels of keytones in his blood and was vomiting before we got on the plane to come home.  I was able to get his blood sugar down to a reasonable level with what we had on hand and we made it home without incident, but it was a real pisser of a way to end the vacation.  It was also another reminder that he is not completely mature enough yet to handle his blood sugar related issues without being monitored closely.  I know he hates that, but until he proves we don’t need to anymore it is how things have to be.  There was also a snafu with the hotel bill that caused my bank account to be overdrafted, but that managed to get fixed and I’m being sent a coupon for a suite upgrade for next year.

Overall, though, it was a fantastic time and as usual I have come home with a renewed desire to get together with the family and friends to do some more table top gaming.  I have also walked away from the weekend finally able to see a picture that has been forming in my head ever since I made a concerted effort to actually read the Fourth Edition Dungeon Masters Guide from cover-to-cover.

One of the things they pointed out in that book is that a good Game Master never says “No.”  On the surface that seems like a truly disastrous statement to make, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that it was a completely true statement.  The fact of the matter is that in many ways a role-playing game is just an improvisational theater game.  You have a set of rules, you have an established character, and you have one person setting up the scenarios you will encounter who has an outcome in mind.  The fun comes in the getting there, and as part of that the players are just as important to telling the story as the game master.  Accepting that an RPG is a form of improv theater it makes sense that the “never say No” rule of improv carries over to table top gaming.  This is not to say that you let your players get away with completely running over your story, but it’s imperative that you let them actually take part in shaping it.  The best game masters I’ve ever played with did this, and I saw many fine examples of it this previous weekend as well.

I am inspired to do the same.

On another acting note we’re still in the midst of casting the 2010-2011 Jobsite Season with all the angst and anxiety that goes along with it.  I have at least one more show to audition for on August 31st and I’m still waiting to hear about another one.  I have already landed a few roles and gotten very close on a few others (including one that, unfortunately, I REALLY wanted…and not just because I could use the extra paycheck).  I am thinking that, next year, I need to at least go to the Tampa Area Unified Auditions at the Gorilla Theater.  Jobsite has been my theatrical home for the last 7 years and as far as I’m concerned they will have my eternal loyalty but I wonder sometimes if I’m doing myself a disservice by not at least seeing if anyone else would like to use me.

I was, however, reminded of something yesterday by a fellow actor and parent.  Every role that I miss out on is one more opportunity to spend time with my son before he’s grown up and out of my house.  I have plenty of time in my life to act after he is gone, but I will never get these years back.  The role I was gunning for hard this year would have prevented me from going to GenCon with Alex in 2010, and while I was prepared to make that particular sacrifice I think in the long run the time Alex and I spend together will be a much better investment.

May 052008
 

I’m itching to do some table top role-playing again.

It’s been a long time since our group has gotten together to do so.  In fact, I don’t think we’ve actually played an RPG since well before Dragon*Con last year.  Between

and

having a baby and the acquisition of Rock Band our gaming groups have been sporadic and largely taken up by eating and drinking with the occasional mini-concert thrown into the mix.

Note that there is nothing wrong with just hanging out while consuming good food and having a good time.  At all.  I do, however, get the urge to actually relive my childhood days on occasion though.

I have an idea of what I think would make a pretty decent campaign in the Star Trek Universe, but would need to pick up some new books to do so.  I have a few of the Last Unicorn Star Trek RPG books, but they were done by series and what I’d need to do would require stats from different eras.  I think the Decipher game covers that.  I’d also like to take another stab at running the Drow War campaign that

wrote.  We just started that when our gaming group got sporadic and never really made much progress in it.

I dunno.  It’s hard these days.  People have real lives and shit.  But at the very least we now have much more comfortable furniture in the living room for gaming on. 

Feb 142008
 

Cryptic announces Champions Online, their new superhero MMO

I am pasting the comment I made to this story here..

I was absolutely in love with City of Heroes when it came out, but eventually got really tired of the fact that the game was insanely repetitive. I understand they tried to fix a lot of that in the years since, but I still hear it’s basically the same thing over and over all the way through endgame. As grindy as WoW can get some time, it still has enough variety that it’s kept me interested for 3 years now.

If Cryptic can take all the good that they came up with for CoX and correct the repetitive factor…oh yeah…I’m there.

Jan 292008
 

Despite my rugged good looks and generally man-whoreish behavior, there are many things that my fellow brothers do that I have never really understood. Sports is one of them. I enjoy the occasional football game, and have even been known to have head explodey moments when watching my home team play, but I’ve never been one of those statistic-rattling, season ticket holding, paint yourself team colors, get drunk, and go stand out in the snow with no shirt on types. It’s just not my thing.

I’ve also never been big on watching porn with other guys.

It happens on occasion. Bachelor parties, that kind of thing. A bunch of guys will get together, get drunk, and watch titty flicks. This makes no sense to me. See, cuz when I watch porn it’s generally for one reason, and I think it’s fairly safe to assume you all know what that reason is. It’s pretty much why any of us watch porn, isn’t it? I mean, it’s certainly not for the artistic value or any crap like that (thus why the plotless DVD’s with back to back sex scenes are becoming so popular). So if I’m sitting in a room watching porn with a bunch of guys, it’s fairly safe to say we’d ALL be doing that if not for the fact that we were in the same room with each other.

And there’s just some levels of intimacy I don’t wanna share with my bros, yanno?

How, might you ask, does this tie in with the title of my post? Well, ya see, I hear quite often that guys play female characters in MMORPG’s because of the fact that they find male characters “ugly.” They often say things like “If I’m going to stare at an ass for 6 hours straight, it might as well be one I like.” Well, ok. I can get that. I certainly can’t cast any stones about getting turned on by animated characters – I’m a pretty big hentai fan myself. Here’s the problem, though. See, if I’m playing a character and attempting to maximize how hot “she” is for my own benefit, it goes without saying that other men who are like me will also find her hot.

So…theoretically….if character is all super hot and sexy, especially when I stand around in common areas and jiggle my cyber boobies, there’s a chance that SOME GUY IS JERKING OFF TO MY CHARACTER.

What’s worse is that if you actually let yourself get roped into the whole “City of Warcraft characters are the sexxy” thing, it means that you’ve looked and gotten turned on by characters who are played by GUYS. If you’re one of those types who has actually crossed the threshold into self-pleasure while playing these games, it means that you’ve likely diddled yourself to a pixelated version of some overweight, sweaty guy with a bag of fritos in one hand and his dwarven hand cannon in the other.

See? Not so much with the sexy now, is it?

So, yeah – Not so much my thing. I’m not beyond flirting with the opposite sex when I’m playing an MMO, but when I do it’s because I know for a fact that the person on the receiving end is a woman. Generally, one that I know because I’ve met her in real life. Beyond that? As far as I’m concerned all the dancing night elves and mini-skirt wearing schoolgirl superheroes out there are played by dudes…and as such, my “I’m not going to participate in wank activity around you” boundary applies.

In the realm of internet discourse, it is now appropriate for me to say “Your Mileage May Vary.”(1)

(1) This is internet-speak for, “I’m right, and you’re a dumbass if you don’t agree with me but I’m pretending to be reasonable.” This is in the same realm as the infamous “In My Humble Opinion,” which is generally far from humble, and has the same implication – “You’re an asshole if you don’t believe every word I say”

May 202006
 

Recently got an email from ross_winn pointing me to an article he wrote on RPG.net about games like World of Warcraft and how they compare to classic “Pen and Paper” role-playing games. You can read the article here.

I felt the need to respond to some of the points he made in his article, so I wrote him a long rebuttal. I’m not sitting down and writing much these days, so I thought I’d re-post my thoughts here just to prove that, yes, I do still occasionally take the time to do more than play video games.

Cut for her pleasure

Apr 152006
 

The good news – Next year there is going to be a Pirate themed MMORPG.

The (maybe) bad news? It’s being put out by Disney, and is based on Pirates of the Caribbean.

Not much to see here, as of yet.

Has anyone played the Disney Toontown MMORPG? Is Disney the new Sony, or is there actually a chance that they are putting out decent product?

Shame, though…If there was ever a game that didn’t need to have a “family oriented” company running it, a Pirate MMORPG is one. All the bad guys are probably going to be supernatural beasties.

Ah well.

Feb 172006
 

Growing up, I played a lot of different tabletop games. Recently, I’ve been yearning to get back into that a bit. I’m already planning on getting an AD&D campaign going (yes, I know…I’ve said it a lot) when xanyboi gets back into town, and I’ve been wanting to find other games that my friends and I used to play as well. One of those games was a relatively simple card game called Modern Naval Battles. The premise was pretty simple. You were dealt some ships, and you drew cards that allowed you to blow up the ships of the other people playing. The game has been off the market for years, though, and whenever I’ve found copies of it on eBay it’s been very expensive.

Well I got a bug up my ass to do some searching for it today, and I made a wonderful discovery. It seems as though the rights to the game reverted back to the creator, who made a few updates to it (namely changing the name to Cold War Naval Battles due to the fact that it’s not so “modern” anymore) and put it out on the web for people to download and play for free. All you have to do is print out the cards on card stock, cut them out, and you’re good to go.

Which is going to be quite a daunting task, considering the number of cards that there are in the set.

Hooray, yet again, for the wonder that is the internet.

Cold War Naval Battles Official Site