Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What Am I Thinking..?


Another week has passed and the stabilizing continues... It would be easier if it were not the holidays, but one cannot always get what one wants...

Mood-wise, I'm still kind of meh. The games have been going "o-kay". The last Champions session didn't run due to inclement weather, and the last session of Tai'eres was down a player. Coincidentally, it was the player for whom the game was originally set-up. A few days after, this player drops from the game to run another a game himself, something which he expressly told me was the reason for begging anyone to run a game he could play in. At first I wanted to throat-punch him, but having been a LONG-TIME GM, I sort of understood. When the bug bites you with a game idea, it's hard to shake. On the plus side, he did find me another player to take his place. So... table-flipping rage averted by maturity and reciprocation. Who knew that could happen, hmmm?

As things go, life is not too terribly bad. They could be worse, honestly. General pressures aside, I am discovering I kvetch far too much, and am being productive far too little. I should change that. There were routines I followed that I have fallen out of. Good habits which kept me focused and directed that I have let drop by the wayside, and thus my behavior has been affected in negative ways. This blog is a good example of that. I used to write here once a day almost religiously. Now, it's lucky if it gets updated once a week.

Sounds like it's time for New Year's resolutions, except I've never been too terribly keen on those. So, I believe I am going to step back... adjust some things in my life... get back to where I once was. I realize I have been saying this a great deal lately. Time to own up, own it, and turn words into action...

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pits And Spirals...


It's been a bit, so I thought I would check in... The bleeding at the store has been slowed, but it has not been fully stopped. There are some other issues that are causing our woes that are not financial. I'm not certain how to approach these as they involve elements that are in delicate balance with other parts of my life. I lost one of these parts for an extended period of time a while ago, and nothing has made my soul ache more than that vacancy of being until things got rectified. I'm not certain I can go through that again...

In other news, there was a point very recently where I almost dropped my keys on the floor of the store and walked away. I have never felt more unappreciated in my own place of business as I did at that moment, and I am still not fully recovered from it. I am trying desperately to give our customers more of what they want in the way of events and regular games, but the overall response is that of  "no one caring" or "bitching that things aren't EXACTLY as they would like them". I'm not looking for people to be dancing in the aisles, but some acknowledgment that we are trying to make things even better than they have been before would be nice.

Currently I am encountering enough apathy from long-time regulars on some days that it is becoming difficult for me to care as well. Many folks are no longer showing up to things at the store because they are under the impression that what they like will always be there.... until it's not... Then they will whine and cry and moan and lament and they will blame me...

...and that is the point where I will either snap, or just not care enough to get angry...

Now, I am just stirring in the juices of my own self-pity, but there is some meat of truth in my soup of despair, and that makes want to curl up and disappear...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Retract... Refocus... Recover... Reemerge... Represent!


Okay... It's been longer than I anticipated since an update, so I figure anyone who is "listening" (all 34 of you) might actually want to know what is happening in Gopherland...

A few months back we had another game store open up in town. It is a franchise of a small chain from a nearby city, owned by two guys, who honestly, are pretty good people. This store makes three game stores in town. In the 35+ year history of gaming in this community, I have never known the community to be able to support that many retail game establishments for terribly long. When this store opened, I knew we would take a hit. What I didn't know was how big of one... The hit has far exceeded my expectations...

I had an inkling of the trend a month ago, but didn't want to believe it could get much worse than what it was. I was wrong. Sadly, because of this, I had to do something I desperately didn't want to do. We laid off three employees, and cut hours to the other two (besides me) in an effort to stop the bleeding. Truthfully, I should have done this a month ago when I first witnessed the trend. I, however, don't like to let people I call my family down. It makes me ache inside...

That said, if our business is to survive, I did what I had to do, and on some level, I hate myself for it. Now that it's done, it is time to get back to the task at hand, and that is righting the ship...


  • Retract - With the layoffs, we've just done this to some degree. There is a little more room to go if necessary, though I am truly loathe to do to it.
  • Refocus - Left with a crew of myself, Loquacious, Skribl, and Snowlady, the workload just increased for all of us, and yet there's still a store to put back on track. Lo, Skribl, and myself have already begun tossing ideas about. We've also taken some input from some of the regulars and former employees. An attack plan is forming, and we hope to have enough things in place to enact it, at least in part, by the beginning of December.
  • Recover - This is the long stage where we take back what we consider ours. I'm not one to begrudge anyone their success, and we're willing to share nicely, but not to the point of endangering our business. Sorry. Not happening.
  • Reemerge - This stage is where we begin to reacquire some (if not all) of the family members that have been left by the wayside due to the recent happenings. This WILL happen... sooner, rather than later if I have anything to say about it.
  • Represent! - Gopher Mafia REPRESENT!!! Weather the storm, come out not only none the worse for wear, but stronger than ever, our family by our side...

We've taken the first few steps, and more will be taken in short order. Do not, however, wish us luck.

Where we're going, we don't need luck...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Weight of the World...


Things in Gopherville are okay as they stand. My psyche is having issues, but that is nothing new at this stage. I'm not going to over it too much here. I'm just trying to vent a bit...

I've semi-fixed a missing item issue that cropped up yesterday, when said item was to ship. Turns out our order for the item got lost in the system and we were kind of s**t out of luck. That made me into Stab-Man for a bit, but as usual, I persevered and found an answer. The solution will be here in about four business days, but it beats waiting 2-4 weeks for a "potential" restock of said item.

The other issues going on are minor, but there are a lot of them. It's the collective weight that's making it difficult.

On happier news... I should be able to do some work on Tai'eres in the next day or so in anticipation of tomorrow night's run. We ended the very beginning "plot arc" of completing a caravan run through three villages. Next up, well... I have some ideas that need to be fleshed out.

One final note, I have been listening to a *LOT* of Ghost/Ghost BC lately, an odd band from Sweden whose Satanic tongue is planted VERY firmly in their collective cheeks. Ostensibly a metal band, this group sounds NOTHING like its image and/or origin point indicates it should. Take a 1970's rock groove, add King Diamond-esque high-range vocals (minus the screams), and make all the songs about the devil himself. Personally, I walk with God, but I am no longer a member of any church as I refuse to subscribe to any form of "groupspeak". The good Lord gave me free will and the ability to think for myself, and I aim to exercise those gifts to their fullest. Hence, I can enjoy "Satanic" rock'n'roll to my heart's content, for I know where my heart truly lies...

Monday, November 04, 2013

Falling Off The Radar...


Looking at the blog, it has been about three weeks since I last posted. A number of things happened in that time with games, life, and stuff in general, but probably the most significant thing that happened was that I kind of took a mental vacation from the bulk of life. Most (not all) of my gaming obligations got met, and I did most (not all) of what was needed to keep the store going in regard to behind the scenes work.

Last night, I caught up on some financials, as well as a small bit of backlog in terms of physical work that the store needed done, and when it was all done with, I came to a conclusion that had been staring me at the face for a bit, but that I hadn't wanted to face. As much as I have enjoyed my break, I can no longer be an absentee owner if I expect my business to survive, let alone thrive. There are too many things going on in the local scene, and deep down, I knew this already.

So, after six to eight weeks of not really being here, it is past time for DonGopher to come back and herd the Mafia back into fighting shape. Honestly, he (read: I) should have never left when he did. At the time where guidance and direction were needed most, I stepped away. Now my family and my store need me desperately to be "theMan" once again, and I know that it will take at least twice as long to put it all back together again, so it is the time to step back up or step aside...

Anyone who knows me knows that I rarely step aside... and this is not one of those times...

-- GopherDave

Monday, October 14, 2013

Successful Re-Entry...

Hey, all...

This past (or is it passed, that one always throws me) Thursday, I fired up my world of Tai'eres for the third time. Out of six players, we had four at the table due to one having a medical emergency and the other not being back in the state yet.

Of the players, only my son has ever played in the system before. I don't know if he is trying to butter up the old man or not, but my spawn claims that Tai'eres is his favorite setting and game system that he has ever played. When we were done Thursday night, I might have had two more people joining him in that chant.

Our adventures start in the village/encampment of Sword's Chance. The characters either don't know each other, or know each other in a cursory fashion. To keep things simple, I started the group out with a simple "guard the caravan" mission. It's a very small caravan (one wagon), but the pay is good, and the merchant they are working for seems friendly and amenable.

On the "trail", the point man pretty much stumbles over a pile of sticks obscured by the long grass. This alone has the group paranoid, so they spread out, trying to figure out what the hell a pile of old, dried sticks and twigs are doing just lying in the grass. That is when the lurking giant trap-door spider attacks. During the surprise round, the arachnid envenoms one of the player characters and takes him totally out of the fight in one hit. That is when the players other than my son realized they were not in Kansas/D&D-land anymore. The group manages to fight off and kill the spider, plus keep their fellow caravan guard alive long enough for him to recover on his own some four hours later.

The group manages to make it to the village of Xinq'ua. In the village, Lor'kath (the merchant) sells a few of his wares and pays the group for the day. While in the village, the party here's the flapping of large, bat-like wings during the night. As a group, they surmise that is a pack of Qu'oll (think Stirges from D&D) that is out on the hunt. The Qu'oll are kept away from the village with the smoke and light coming from the communal fire lit in the village center.

In the morning, the group heads out for the next stop, which is the village of Gor'ath. The span from Xinq'ua to Gor'ath is a bit longer than their initial venture from Sword's Chance to Xinq'ua, so it will take them just over a day and a half finish this leg of the journey. During the first day's travels, the group runs in to a collection of what turns out to either be the world's worst bandits or the world's best sword fodder. Either way, in short order four out of the five bandits, including their leader, are very, VERY dead. One poor guy did run away and managed to escape the wrath of the group.

The session ended with the group camping for the night with just over a half a day's worth of distance to Gor'ath.

Overall, I felt the session went pretty well. I don't really have a story plan yet on where I want to take these guys, but I figure the first few runs are really more for getting them up to speed in the system and for me to get an idea of what they want to accomplish as a group and as individuals.

Now, I have a Shadowrun 5th edition character to make for myself...

-- GopherDave

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Revisiting And Re-imagining An Old Friend...

Later on today, I will dip my proverbial toes into a world that has been haunting my psyche through seven years and at least two campaigns.

As much as I claim to hate role-playing in a fantasy setting, my self-made world of Tai'eres clings to me like a ghost I cannot exorcise. Granted, Tai'eres owes *FAR* more to R.E. Howard than it does to J.R.R. Tolkien, but it is still fantasy, a genre I have played to death.

I honestly cannot explain why I keep coming back to this world. It's never been more than half-baked in any of its incarnations, and its main purpose has always been more of a vehicle for my latest set of game mechanics. This all said, chunks of Tai'eres live in my brain, nestled in nooks and crannies with bits of it springing forth whenever it damn well wants to. Tonight, mostly out of force, a one-page starting gazetteer sprung forth for my players. I figured I'd post it here for posterity...

--------------------

Bahn'Mer (Ruins) – The former city of Bahn’Mer makes its home along the coast of the Meraba Sea, east of the Wretched Fens. Bahn’Mer, at its height, was a larger city than Mer’Kahl, boasting as many as 18,000 citizens. The city was home to the Meragan Navy, and was of particular importance to the As’kali during their time here.

Bal'Khal (Ruins) – Situated on the northern banks of Liquid Death, Bal’Kahl is the ruined capitol of the province of Balos. Once, this city was home to over twelve thousand people. Now, like any of the cities affected by the Rain of Shards, danger surrounds and encompasses the area.

Cra'naa (Village) – Population: 150

Gor'ath (Village) – Population: 95

Liquid Death – Formerly known as Kal’vashn Lake, Liquid Death is a body of water that is home to many fowl, As’kali-tainted creatures due to its proximity to the shardfall that destroyed the Balosian capital of Bal’kahl. It is fed fresh water from the Taint Spur.

Lor'Drax (Town/Fort) – A military encampment along the coast of the Meraba Sea, approximately 40 miles northwest of the Wretched Fens. Lor’Drax is ruled by Drax Relk’aat, a beast of a man with aggressive designs of uniting the area under his iron-shod fist. The number of warriors under his command is said to number almost six hundred, with more being conscripted daily.
            Lor’Drax, the town, has a population of just over two thousand people, and it has a vital and thriving market. The greatest drawback to living in Lor’Drax is in dealing with Drax himself. The laws, such as they are, and the enforcement thereof, varies greatly with the mood of the soldiers one deals with and the amount of silver in one’s pocket.

Mer'Kahl (Ruins) – On the eastern bank of the Spikefin Flow, near where the Taint Spur breaks, lays the ruins of Mer’Kahl, Meraga’s former capital. The shardfall here devastated the city, and changed those who still lived into denizens most dangerous. Rumor has it that the Royal Treasury of Meraga still lies untouched beneath the ruins of the emperor’s palace. Rumor also has it that it is still being guarded by the royal family.

Pi'Kraati Forest – An area of woods about eight miles north of Sword’s Chance, the Pi’Kraati is the region’s main source of lumber. The flora and fauna within the Pi’Kraati is relatively untouched by shard-taint, though areas near the stretch of the Spikefin Flow that travels through are beginning to show signs of being inhabited by creatures that are less than natural.

Relk (Village) – Population: 120

Shatterers, the (Faction/Sect) – The Shatterers are a group of individuals who share an unflattering view of magic and shardcasting. How their agents operate in an area depends on the views of whoever is in charge there. Their best agents are highly-skilled and dangerous foes, each of whom have several shardcaster kills to their name and credit.
  
Spikefin Flow – The Spikefin Flow is a river, and an original natural border between the former provinces of Balos and Meraga. The Flow starts at Pol’kra Lake, and travels south to the Meraba Sea.

Sword's Chance (Town/Fort) – More fort than settlement, Sword’s Chance is really just the largest gathering of people in the fairly immediate vicinity. With the garrison of warriors, the population of Sword’s Chance is just shy of 1200 people, most of whom are artisans and merchants, with a smattering of farmers thrown in.
The town is governed by Melek De’Tariz, a soldier/warlord with roughly 175 warriors under his command. Melek is a fair and just man, who does his best to see that those who count on he and his band for safety are taken care of. Melek is a pragmatic man who cares little for military rankings or titles; instead placing people in charge of various tasks as he feels befits their skills. However, it is very well understood when Melek himself is not around, a woman by the name of Jer’ai Vanas is the one calling the shots. Jer’ai is a capable warrior, though quicker with her temper than Melek is entirely comfortable with. Both Melek and Jer’ai are disdainful of shardcasting, and those that practice it. Melek tends to be more diplomatic about the subject, while Jer’ai is openly hostile in regard to her reactions and dealings with it.

Taint Spur, the – The only major tributary of the Spikefin Flow, the Taint Spur was originally known as the Miha’an River. It feeds into the lake now known as Liquid Death. The rapid flow of the Spur keeps most things from Liquid Death from travelling upriver, but a few dangerous species have made their way upstream to the Spikefin Flow and have now begun to populate the banks of that river as well. 

Vou'Shou (Village) – Population: 140

Wretched Fens, the – A patch of marsh that lies on the southern edge of the region, the Wretched Fens are fed by the Spikefin Flow, which splits and floods the Fens near the coast of the Meraba Sea. The word is that, despite the name, the Wretched Fens are as safe as any swamp could be.


Xinq'ua (Village) – Population: 110

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Not Dead Yet...

Mostly, I'm speaking of my Circle City Champions campaign. You know... the one I almost shot dead in the face by taking it into decidedly non-heroic, X-rated territory for some odd reason even I haven't fathomed yet, and I'm the one who took it that direction...

Well, after last session, I can say that the patient has made an almost complete recovery!

I have one player who is not thrilled by the turn of events, but he is a hard core character plumber that really has no experience with comic-book genre conventions. The other players and I are trying to convert him and get him to realize that what is happening to *ALL* of the characters is, in fact, a normal trope of the superhero genre, but it will take time. He's stubborn like that...

As for what happened... well, I'll leave it to one of my players who posts here regularly to update all of that. I kind of want to hear things from their angle, anyway...

peace...

-- GopherDave

Monday, September 23, 2013

Back on Track..?

I ran my Champions: Circle City game this past Saturday, and things were different than usual...

If anyone has actually read previous posts, they will recall that this is the game I took to a really dark, and adult, place. A place much darker than a superhero game should ever go. It went to place so dark that a player deemed his character unplayable. While the player in question did try to assuage my guilt over the situation, I rightfully felt like an ass. I can honestly say that it was the lowest point in my thirty-six year history of game mastering. I was not certain I would be able to recover the campaign and bring it back to a point where it could be fun again, let alone would be.

Saturday... well, Saturday was probably the most fun I had GM-ing a game session in a couple of years. While the players were confused, and a touch frustrated, they had fun dealing with the situation I had been handing them, and by the end of the session (which ended on a cliffhanger) we, as a group, were smiling.

There is a chunk of work I have to do on the back end that I hope to have completed by the next session that will aid to where the story leads. If I don't get it done, it won't be the end of the world, but it might delay the climax of things by a session... perhaps, two.

For now, I have a Tai'eres campaign to get ready for. One that I have been perpetually frustrated in dealing with due to mapping software and mental block issues. Stuff for that needs to run this Thursday, and I have a *CHUNK* of work to get done for it...

...if I can get past the blockages...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

To Blog Or Not To Blog...

...That is the question I have been asking myself lately.

I first started this blog a couple of years back as sort of a "self-accountability" journal for a wardrobe upgrade. For over a year and a half, I pretty much stayed true to the idea. Over the past six months, with the move of the store and everything else, I have slid back into the t-shirt/jeans/shorts/sweats that I wore in the beginning. I really don't know what has been happening to cause this, though I have some ideas.

This past summer was hot... very hot. Hot enough that wearing the whole shirt/tie/sweater vest combo would pretty much cause me to melt in the seven to ten minutes it takes me to get to the store.

The move to a bigger store has me doing more behind-the-scenes work and less actual in-front-of-customer counter work. In fact, my work load has grown and shifted enough that I rarely have time to put on the entire outfit anymore. I barely have time to get out of bed and get to the store to start my day. The larger store also has me feeling a bit like a fish out of water. We've grown the new store to its current size, and we're proud of it, but sometimes I feel very ill-equipped to handle it. I'm not one to give up control easily, but I almost have to if I am to focus more on the business, and less on the storefront. None of this sits well with me.

I am feeling like I have taken on more than I can handle. Yes, we have more help than usual, but with more people in the mix comes more drama. Plus, it's bad enough that there is (and always will be) internal drama, but with a new competitor opening recently, it has created more EXTERNAL drama. I won't lie. I'm not a big fan of real-life drama. Make-believe drama is just fine. Hell, I *LOVE* make-believe drama. I'm a die-hard role-player...

F**K, that's it... I have stumbled over why I have been absolutely losing it for the last few months. I haven't been getting much role-playing in from the player's side of the screen. Shady's Terracide game has been sporadic over the last six months as work and health issues have beset him a bit, plus he's been busy converting the whole setting over to another game system for publishing again. The next time we are scheduled to play will be on the 28th of this month. The last time we played was on the 3rd of August. That will be *EIGHT* weeks between sessions, and given how sporadic things had been prior to that, it is no wonder I am losing my God-Damned mind. Have I mentioned that it is the only game I play in currently? I run two others, but Terracide is the only game I participate in as a player...

GAHHHHH... Writing as catharsis...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Working Day Off...



Well... the schedule said I had the day off. Too bad reality said otherwise... =)

In general, I am beginning to pull out of my funk. There's no doubt I'll end up there again sometime, but it shouldn't be anytime soon...

Took care of a couple of items at the store today, and ran a fair amount of errands. I'll be heading back to the store later after running another errand. What time I'll be going back remains nebulous. Just... later...

Over the last couple of months, we've been dealing with some employee turnover due to our employees getting better jobs. We cannot compete with $20/hr and benefits, and we are genuinely happy when our folks make good. That said, it means we've been doing some hiring and training recently. Tonight, AngryG will be running the store for the first time tonight. Skribl is there playing Warmachine, so the Angry One has back-up if he needs it. Another person (Z-Mo) begins training tomorrow, which means our staff is refilling up to capacity once again. Overall, these guys are young, new, and green, but they are teachable. We can work with teachable.

We've been gathering more folks as we are about to lose Double-L for at least two weeks, if not for good. He got a job that will pay him very well, but has some danger involved, and he's not certain he will be up to the task when push comes to shove. Working at crazy 300+ feet heights will do that to you. It's one thing to climb a tree. It's quite another to climb a 450' tall windmill with not a lot of safety equipment to keep you from splatting on the ground. He'll go through the training and see if he can handle it. If so, cool. If not, our door will still be open.

Unfortunately, errands will not complete themselves, so I need to get gone. I just wanted to get back some regularity in posting.

peace...

-- GopherDave

[MUSIC] - Killer Dwarfs: Dirty Weapons


Track Listing

  1. Dirty Weapons
  2. Nothin' Gets Nothin'
  3. All That We Dream
  4. Doesn't Matter
  5. Last Laugh
  6. Comin' Through
  7. One Way Out
  8. Appeal
  9. Not Foolin'
  10. Want It Bad

With over 1600 albums in the physical CD collection, things get lost and forgotten about. Lately, I've taken to pulling random discs out of the racks and ripping them to my laptop so I would have some portability. Earlier tonight, I pulled this one...

I remember some time back we owned two other Killer Dwarfs albums along with this one, but they were all part of a batch of discs we had to sell when Lo' and I were absolutely dirt poor and bills had to be paid. Of the three, this was the only one I made certain to reacquire at a later time.

When it came out in 1990, Dirty Weapons sort of just fell through the cracks. The sounds on this album were a touch tougher than the hair metal that was in the process of falling out of favor, but it didn't have ANY of the self-referential loathing that came with the advent of grunge a couple of years later.

Given today's definitions, I would classify this collection more Hard Rock than Heavy Metal, but back in the '90s, it fit right in alongside Anvil, Saxon, and Def Leppard. The Dwarfs were not as shred-tastic as Iron Maiden or Metallica, and they didn't have the sleaze of Ratt or Motley Crue. What they did have were really solid chops, with basic (but crunchy) riffs, tasty leads (provided by Mike Hall (a.k.a., Mike Dwarf), and a more than competent vocalist, Russ Graham (a.k.a., Russ Dwarf), who should have gotten more recognition than he did.

Highlights on this platter include the title track (about as political as they got), Doesn't Matter (a power semi-ballad that they felt strongly enough to re-record it for the album that followed this one), All That We Dream, and my personal favorite, Comin' Through.

Is this an album that should have changed the world? No. It's solid, blue-collar, rock-metal with enough bite to appeal to most folks who like that sort of thing. Dirty Weapons is not something I'll drag out a lot to listen to, but our collection would be weaker with its absence.

GopherDave's Rating: 5.5/10 (Solid, not unpleasant to listen to, and it will not drive you to wander the countryside killing hookers with a spoon...)

Monday, September 02, 2013

Coming Out Of Hibernation...

Okay... I've been away for a while. My apologies for that, but all the drama bombs I had spoken about previously pretty much paled in comparison to what has been happening lately... A great deal has happened as of late, much of which has had my guts tied up in knots.

I wish I could put things in nutshells to explain, but most of them are not short stories... Here are some highlights, though...

  • Mostly due to the two of us being very much alike, I almost completely destroyed my relationship with my son. It is on the mend now, but it is not out of the woods, yet...
  • We have another game store joining us in the confines of C-U. It is a franchise of a chain not known to be amiable to their competition. In this case I know one of the franchisees on a cursory basis, and we welcome healthy, friendly competition, as it makes the scene better as a whole. This does give us three game stores in the area, and I've never known the local scene to support that many for too terribly long. We shall see...
  • In addition to trying to fix my Champions game, I am gearing up to run yet another set of games in my home-brew fantasy setting, Tai'eres. Yeah, because I have TONS of spare time lying around for that...
  • One of my ex-roommates passed away in his sleep at the age of 52. We haven't been close for a while, but his passing was a blunt reminder of my own mortality. Stupid mortality...

In the middle of everything, I have become a big ball of stress, which makes me very prone to a heart attack. I have had heart issues all my life, and I can pretty much recognize when my heart is prime to start giving me problems. I am not where I was roughly fifteen years ago, but I am at a close enough stage where I could will myself into a heart attack should I desired to.

I did that a couple of times as an adolescent, with one time requiring defibrillation. I can say this with the certainty that comes from personal experience... Avoid being defibrillated at all costs. It sucks the high, hard one. Basically, every muscle in your body is electrically forced to contract simultaneously at the moment of shock, and let me tell you... That. Shit. Hurts.

So, as I have typed this, and writing has become catharsis, I have come to the resolution to care about only what I can control, which is the direction I take socially with my family and friends, how I react to adverse situations that require my attention, and the direction our business takes. Beyond that, well...

...it just isn't worth the stress and the energy...

peace... GopherDave

Friday, August 02, 2013

Checking In...


Another day, another thing full of stress... but it's minor stress, so  it's okay.

I spoke with the player whom was most affected by the darkness I instigated in the Champions game this past Saturday. While I have a way to return him an untainted version of the character, he still has reservation about it, so he would like to bring a new character. It's totally understandable to me, and this is a mistake I will learn from. The idea I had, though, can be modified to bring in his new character *AND* lighten up the tone of the current campaign, so, it's still viable, and is going to be used.

Tomorrow will mark the 22nd anniversary of my marriage to the lovely, Loquacious one. We've been through a lot of things in our lives together, both good and bad, but I cannot think of another person I'd rather weather those storms or bask in the sunshine with. Loquacious is a large part of what made me who I am today, and I am all the better for it. Love you, sweetness... now and always.

-- GopherDave (a.k.a. The Dude)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Did That Just Really Happen..?


Okay... Last night was the second run of the Circle City Champions game I started a couple of weeks back. My general take on it was that if I had to take ANY game session back in my 35 years as a game master, last night's was it.

From what I gathered, no one was mad, and there very few (if any) hurt feelings over what happened during the session. So what went wrong? Based on a game situation, I took what is/was supposed to be a lighthearted game/genre and sent it to a *VERY* dark place. How dark? Take Law & Order: SVU and add a couple more shades of dark. As a result, for the first time ever, I rendered a character unplayable to his creator, and it resulted in PC suicide. The player (based on what he indicated) *IS* bringing in a different character.

I am not proud of where I took the game, as it added a layer of depression to what is supposed to be a fun activity. After the session, the players and I spoke about things a bit. Like I said, there are no hard feeling between the player and I, though I do feel a big heap of guilt. Anyway, speaking about things, knowing what I know about the villain in question, it made sense from what happened to have happened, and the players agreed with it to some degree. To be honest, the players pointed out that what has happened really gives the remaining PCs a reason to *HATE* the villain in question, once they discover who it is.

Still, all of this has me thinking about things a bit more in regard to the games I run. I'm finding more and more that as a GM (and a player) that I need to push the boundaries of what others find comfortable to explore characters and drama in a way that is interesting to me. Anymore, if my campaigns were to be made into a television series, they would be on Showtime or Cinemax because I will take things into dark and very adult subjects and situations.

For some games, that's not so bad, but for Champions/Superheroes it really creates a bummer vibe...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Time? What time...


Another day, another Friday...

We recently found out that we will have another game store opening up in town soon. From what we can tell, the projected opening is happening in about 3-5 weeks, but we have no idea where in town they will be. This will be part of a small chain of stores from the NW suburbs of Chi-Town. According to all accounts, it will be a company store, not a franchise, which means they can pour profits from five going stores into the store located here until it either succeeds or they determine that they are throwing good money after bad. Either way, it should be fun.

I was also supposed to work on game stuff last night, but ended up talking to a cousin I hadn't spoken to in about 15 years or so. It was good catching up, but it will probably be another decade or so before we talk again. We're two very different people with very little in common anymore besides kinship. It is what it is.

That all said, it also meant that I got exactly ZERO prep work done for the Champions game I am running Saturday night. With it being Friday, I will be here until about 3:30AM or so, and am scheduled to open at 11:00AM. So I could either sleep, or work on game stuff. Knowing me, I will probably try to work on game stuff and stay up until late Saturday night for I am stupid like that.

Go me!  =P

-- GopherDave

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Drama Bombs...


Remember when I said last post that no news equals no drama? Yeah? Well, feh... There's another life theory shot all to hell...

Basically, the last few weeks have been filled with all kinds of drama ranging from financial to family, and it looks like more might be on the way. In between it all, I *DID* manage to start a Champions campaign...

The drama, I will not delve deeply into as it involves more than me, and several parties have said they are uncomfortable with me just blurting things out to the net even though I typically change names to protect, well, everybody but me. I understand it, and am trying to comply with it. I will say that the drama did involve Skribl and I making a 1100-mile round trip in about 19 hours to solve one of the issues in question.

As for the Champions campaign, that is fair game to discuss.

The Place

Indianapolis (a.k.a., the Circle City)

The Group


  • The Fro - Smooth-talking 70's-based Black Sampson, except his hair grants him healing powers instead of strength.
  • A.C.E. - The world's first extranormal, the Advanced Combat Entity is a cowboy-themed immortal, energy blaster.
  • Torque - A bike-wrenching gearhead with the ability to be his own hydraulic lift.
  • AKA - A hoodie and hockey mask-wearing mentalist that tries to stay out of direct battle and affect things from the fringes.
  • Fahrenheit - Half-Jewish, half-Japanese temperature-based energy projector.


The Villains


  • Groundpounder - A strongman so imbecilic his stupidity rubs off on those around him.
  • Wraith - A ghostly assassin whose abilities let her affect the living.
  • Slumber - An "energy projector" whose main abilities include draining people to exhaustion.
  • Sledge - Another "energy projector" who flies and and fires chunks of "psionic concrete".
  • Nameless Goons - Six, oddly armed regular goons who were hired for a job.


The Setting

A small pedestrian mall in the Broad Ripple area of town. One that has a coffee house, a comic-book shop, and a bank in it. It has other places as well, but we don't care about those.

Since this was the first run, I figured I'd just throw a basic fight at the group to sort of see what their combined abilities could do. The villains they faced were not very well coordinated, and pretty much operate as "lone gunman" and hired goons much of the time.

As it stood, the Goons tried to rob the bank while The Fro, Fahrenheit, and ACE were off getting coffee and AKA was working in his secret ID at the comic book store. Once alarms start going off, our intrepid heroes (and comic shop worker) go investigate. They find a group of normal, ski-mask wearing guys packing auto-fire "blasters" robbing the bank. As the fight begins, and normal goons begin going down, support arrives in the forms of Wraith, Groundpounder, and Slumber. Meanwhile, some near distance away, Torque spies Sledge going through the air in the direction of the fight (he's running late for his bit (stupid Unluck)). Soon, Sledge and Torque join the battle and it's on kind of like Donkey Kong.

I don't remember a ton of details, but I do remember that Slumber, Groundpounder, and Sledge got captured. All of the goons also got captured, but many more are heading to the hospital than to jail. There was a bit of interrogation with Slumber, who quickly ascertained that the hero group does not possess a detective among them. The heroes came to the conclusion that all of this (including the mix of villains) seemed somewhat random but didn't really understand why. Slumber theorized, and offered up this theory, that if one considered oneself a master villain and there was a new group of vigilantes in town than what better way to see what you are up against than to hire some random thugs to confront them.

That is where left it for the evening. Tonight, I will hopefully have time to plan Saturday's run. I have some ideas in mind and some missives to fire off to various players in the next day or so in order to set some things up.

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

No News Is No Drama...


Things are plugging along at the ol' Gopher hole... Sales are slower than I'd like, but that is just kind of what summer is like in retail in what is essentially a large college town.

Work proceeds apace on the Champions game. Once I post this, I have to fire off some e-mails, and then work on a couple of things. Now that I have some background from a few of the characters, I can start piecing some things together in regard to history. I have some things in mind that will be "public knowledge" and some things rattling around in my head that won't be. Whether or not the player's discover the hidden knowledge is entirely up to what direction we take the campaign.

Beyond that, life proceeds... I don't have much to say at the moment, but that's not all bad. It means the drama level is down...

-- GopherDave

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Woof...

One... I know it's been a bit since I posted a picture, but it's been a nasty combination of hot and humid here the last couple of weeks, so I've been slumming it. Two, looking at this picture, I am beginning to realize that this is one of my favorite shirt/tie/sweater combinations. I wear it a lot compared to others. I'll have to watch that...

It's been a bit since I posted, so I thought I'd update some folks...

The Champions game is supposed to start tomorrow/later tonight (it is late as I'm writing this), but I have one player who still needs to build/finish his character. The player has a solid concept of what he wants to do, but he's new to the game system, and Champions Complete, for all it purports to be, is really kind of lacking in several areas (most notably examples). I will watch the store for the early part of the day, then try and sit down with him and get the mechanics for what he's trying to do knocked out.

I also am down yet another player. This brings the game to four. I originally wanted six players for the game, but given the experiment I was undertaking, having one guy drop out to bring the group to five was kind of a blessing. Now we are down to four. I have players waiting in the wings, but there is at least one of them that is not getting anywhere near my table again.

This player had played in one of my previous games and it was all I could do not to strangle him. On a personal level, this individual is not a bad person. Far from it, in fact. In game, though, this individual is the worst metagamer I have EVER encountered in 36+ years of role-playing. Frequently, there would be scenes that his character would have ZERO clue to know about and literally ZERO reason to be even be involved in, but this player would try to storm the scene with some bullshit reason and literally force the character FOR WHOM THE SCENE WAS WRITTEN/PLOTTED FOR out of the picture. I tried talking to him nicely... then firmly... then... I just gave up the game because he sucked the fun out for everybody else at the table, me included.

This is where being the store owner puts me in a precarious position. I do not want to alienate *ANYONE* from my store for any reason if I can help it. Blowing up at a person over a game tends to do that if one is in the position I am in. Thus, instead of tearing into the person like I would normally do (because subtlety and tact are not things I'm good at), I just sort of quietly put games on hiatus. It kind of sucks, but what can I do?

Like I said earlier, the player in question is not a bad person, just a frustrating player to have at a table. I have had many a great conversations with him outside of games, and honestly would love to keep doing so. In fact, he is trying to start up his own game, and if I were not participating in another game already, I'd probably play. Why, you might ask? Well, simply put, some of the things that make him frustrating to deal with as a player are actually pretty good qualities for a GM. I honestly think he would pretty damn good at the head of the table.

Anyway, I need to get going and finish some things for later. Part of me wishes I weren't running the store in the morning, but someone has to... C'est la vie... =P

-- GopherDave

Monday, June 17, 2013

Preliminaries...

Okay...

Got together with the play group on Saturday night to begin hashing out characters and setting/world info for the upcoming Champions campaign I'll be running.

The game will be set in modern-day Indianapolis, Indiana. Not the the first big city you think of, but definitely something I can work with. In addition to the various industries that we'll be creating for the game, Indianapolis is also the real-world home to Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals and Dow AgroSciences, as well as a few others. Just those two companies alone already have got me coming up with some cool ideas.

Mechanically, one of the characters is fully done, and another needs to finish disadvantages/complications. The other three are under construction, with two of them being done by players fairly well-versed in HERO System, and the other being a complete newbie, but more than willing to read and learn.

I'm off to go work on stuff... have fun...

-- GopherDave  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Choices, Choices...


Once again, not much is happening at the store today. I do have some important business that will take me away from here later on, but I am debating on if I am coming back to the Gopher afterward.

Why would I come back? Simple, I would really like to play some Warmachine, and we just put it back on the schedule last week. We'll have a Journeyman league starting next week, and part of me cannot wait. I just hope I will be able to participate on a regular basis.

However, if I come back to push little metal/plastic dudes around, then no work will get done on the upcoming Champions game, and I am seeing work I could be doing at this point. Why I didn't see it before is something that boggles me, but it's there.

Warmachine may have to wait until next week, but my Menites will not stay down forever. It's been some time since they burned the flesh of heretics, and they are hungry for the sight of the Flame of the Creator once again...

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Nervous Anticipation...


It's another lovely day here at the Gopher. Skribl is inputting some new items into inventory (like I taught him) while I tap away here at the keyboard. There's actually a bunch to do, so this will be short.

"Non-work" proceeds on the Champions game. While I am not really doing much in the way of pre-planning, I am starting to template things in like general social support staff (mayor, cops, media, and such). Not entirely certain what the prevailing social attitudes will quite be yet, as that is, in part, to be determined by the backgrounds that the players hand me. More of that will also be determined by the meeting this upcoming Saturday where we hammer out character concepts and builds. I, for one, am looking forward to it.

The approach I am taking with this game, though,  is *VERY* foreign to me. Usually, by this time, I have at least a skeletal timeline and world history typed our, potentially important NPCs sketched out, and major villains of the world completely done in terms of stats, personality, and motivation. Currently, I don't even know exactly where the game will be set other than in a major city on modern-day Earth. While I stated above that I am looking forward to it (I am), the whole idea of having practically nothing really put together ahead of time has got me in a state of anxious apoplexy.

It kind of makes the whole thing seem exciting...

-- GopherDave

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Ahhh, The Possibilities...


It is currently 4:15AM on Saturday as I write this. What is pictured above is what I wore all day Friday from about 10AM until just before now. It was a long night at the store. The day before (Thursday) was one of the slowest we've had in recent history. Tonight (Friday) was good. It wasn't as stellar as we could have made it due to an absolutely *BONKERS* new Magic: the Gathering set dropping today, but we will definitely take it.

The set is called Modern Masters and it is an *EXTREMELY* limited set of cards in terms of print run. The packs MSRP for $3 more than a normal pack ($6.99, as opposed to $3.99), but the set has *SEVERAL* $10+ value cards in it. As it goes, we, as a store decided not to sell any full boxes, nor make any individual pack sales of it. The set is meant to be drafted, so we decided that we would hold back our allotment from sale and break it out for events, prizes, and other big draws. While I know we've upset some people, I believe we've made the right long-term call. A number of places I know are selling full boxes (24 packs) of this set for $225 a box and higher. That's great if you want to make a quick short-term buck, but this set has the potential to draw so much more business than that if a store can market it creatively. We've already got a couple of ideas in mind... stay tuned for those.

I have to be back at the store in about six hours. I will be there, once again, all day. The only part that is even a the slightest bit mitigating is that the last half of the day/evening, I will be playing in Shady's Terracide game. I will also be more than half loopy when I do so. Currently, I'm not entirely certain where we can go in the game. There are some situations that we could clean up, but every time we try to fix something, three other things draw us away from it all. Ehhh... We'll see how it goes. If necessary, I will talk to Shady about it. I really do get the feeling that the game is one the downward spiral in terms of wrap-up, but I've been wrong about these things before. Perhaps it's the fatigue talking... who knows?

-- GopherDave

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Not Even Trying....


Today at the store was... slow. Agonizingly slow. So slow that I felt guilty not doing any real work, but given how "GO-GO-GO-GO-GO-GO" I have been the last couple of months, slow was kind of what I needed.

"Planning" for the upcoming game is going. As I've said in earlier posts, I am trying to not pre-plan anything, as I want this game/comic to be about the PCs, and not the cool villains I can make or the neat plots I can spin that keeps the players going in circles. Yes, there will be plots, but (if I can keep my own tendencies in check) they will be centered around things I get from the players. I will add my own spices to the stew, of course, but I am looking for this game to be as player-centric as possible.

With that said, ideas for the game are starting to tumble into my head from a number of different sources. I have a player who, despite my saying do not cement any concepts down, has already handed me a back story for a character idea. I have been trying to not think about it as I did not want to cement anything in my head. Today at the store, in my very idle time, I came up with ideas for play off of said background. In addition to this, I was listening to some music last night (Planet P Project's "Pink World") and ideas were germinating from that.

As it goes, I cannot wait to get this game started. I haven't felt that in a long time. It feels good...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Wellspring Has Sprung A Leak...


Another day in paradise... I am writing this from my laptop and all seems good. Looks like Cowboy did a fine job of fixing things up. However, a small part of me in the back of my mind is wondering when the next virus will hit.

"Lack of Work" continues on the Champions game. I find it frustrating because I actually have ideas of what I want to do and want to get them down on paper, but all of that runs completely counter to how I wanted to set this game up. As it goes, I have begun working on the ideas which are fairly generic and can be dropped into whatever the setting happens to be. Things like one-shot bad guys and plots like "Bank Robbery of the Week". It's all part and parcel of the genre. I just wish I had had this many ideas when I was running my last two Champions campaigns. It would have made keeping those games fresh a LOT easier.

Well, off to go do store stuff... I am hoping to get back tonight and make a more substantive post, but you never know what will happen here...

-- GopherDave

Checkin In...


Okay... the world can stop dropping rocks on my head anytime now. The lumps are beginning to show...

It's been a bit longer than I have wanted since I posted last. Part of that has been because of time, and part of it has been due to some wonky, new computer virus that my personal laptop picked up. I do not know what the issues are, but that machine seems to attract them. Anyhoo, my buddy Marko (the redneck computer technician) went and ran the machine through its paces and a couple of scans I didn't try, and we *THINK* we have the problem licked. I won't know until tomorrow though as I will not be needing the laptop until then.

Last post I spoke of my son moving out of the house, but his friend ("LittleTinyBabyMan") still being here. Well, LTBM has bolted as well. His promotion at work came through and LTBM got an offer from one of our employees ("DoubleL") to room together. Thus, we have an empty room. The boys have a limited time to gather what they want out of it, and then the great clean-up and switch-over begins. Pumpkin will grab Skribl's old room, and we will turn Pumpkin's old room into a home office/hiding place for me. As much as I need a quiet place of my own, I'll miss the boys. Dinero (the dog) already misses Skribl something fierce, and has become a little bit of a whining machine. He hurts, and there is no way I can explain to Dinero why Skribl no longer wants to be pack. Dinero will eventually get used to the "new normal", but it will take a bit for him (and me) to do so...

The upcoming Champions campaign is coming along nicely with six interested players (and one waiting in the wings in case there is an opening). The first meeting is on the 15th, and that is where we will have a "team-building" exercise to try and put together an intrepid group of heroes and do-gooders. Signed up for the occasion are... MapGuy, Rabbi, SquareHead, Ginger, Grumpy, and PapaJ... I'm not really into using the real names of my friends in my blog posts. Those who hang out at the store and read this know who those folks are. That's all that matters.

Just to get back into the swing of making characters for this game, I started playing around with some concepts. I know I said I wanted very little "pre-planned" for this game, but as I stated in an earlier post, what I am working on are "throw-away" bad guys. None of them will be very deep or memorable, but that is sort of the idea. It's not the bad guy's comic-book, it's the PCs/Heroes, and they shouldn't get upstaged in their own story...

peace... GopherDave

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sucker-Punch Packed With Pride...


So... A funny thing is happening... and I am not talking about how it took Store Supply Warehouse sending us six bases to find two that were not already broken and/or crappily made.

I just had a conversation with our son, and he informed me that he has pretty much moved out of the house. He still has some stuff there (most of which we will be getting rid of), but for the most part he is no longer part of our household. I sort of felt it coming, but now that it's here, the situation has got me feeling pensive, and at least a little bit scared.

I honestlly do not know how to describe what I am feeling currently. I'll miss him, probably more than either one of us will ever truly admit. It's the start of the emptying of the nest. We still have Pumpkin (she's got a couple of years left, yet). LittleTinyBabyMan ("adopted" son #3) is still with us, but he just got a promotion at his workplace and one of our employees is looking for a roommate, so I suspect he'll be out of the house in short order.

It's gonna be weird. There is a side benefit, though. Once LTBM moves out, Pumpkin has laid claim to what will be her brother's "old room". Once she moves in there, I will claim her old room as a man cave/office of sorts. I am sort of looking forward to that, but if it came down to having a man cave and having our son with us, I'd choose our son at this point.

To Skribl:

I love you, son, and I am proud of the young man you have grown into. I wish you nothing but good tidings on this flight from the nest to begin this grand adventure that will be known as "your life".

I realize I have not been the best of fathers much of the time, but please know that I have always tried to do my best, even if I was emotionally ill-equipped to do so correctly. As a result, I have made plenty of mistakes as your father. Those actions were never meant to be mistakes. I thought that whatever I was doing at the time was what was best. I know now, with hindsight and experience, this was rarely the case.

That said, if and when you need me, I will be there for you... to laugh, cry, advise, help, celebrate, support, or even just talk with you, because I'm your dad. That's my job and my purpose in life, and I cannot think of too many better reasons to be here than that.

Love, Dad

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sigh... More Of The Same...


Okay... got the new base in for the fixture in yesterday. Put the fixture together, but do nothing else with it for the evening. Get here today and put brackets, shelves, and product on the fixture. Things are okay. Three hours later, the fixture is doing the "Leaning Tower of Pisa". It seems that two of the casters gave out under the strain and decided to pull away from the particle board base upon which they mounted.

Took product off of the shelf, removed the two good casters, put the fixture back together sans wheels, put product back on the shelf, and called Store Supply Warehouse. Talked to them and they will ship out another base tomorrow. It will get here Tuesday due to the holiday.

When we put the fixture together, HiSign noted that the second based seemed different than the first. We just sort of shrugged and soldiered on. Wish we had listened to that hunch.

From a life standpoint, things continue apace. I really wish I wasn't as busy at the store as I have been as there are a number of things that sort of require my attention. I'll get through it, though. Always have... always do... always will...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Angry Gopher Is Angry...


Wow... To say I've had a bad twenty hours or so would be a huge understatement. I'm not going much into it other than that.

I will say that Store Supply Warehouse is both maddening and a champion with their customer service. Earlier today, due to some shenanigans with them, I was seriously considering arson, but they came through in the end. Basically, we had ordered some fixtures for the store just prior to the weekend. They showed up on Monday, a day earlier than expected. On Tuesday, HiSign broke the cases open to find the both of the bases for said fixtures were damaged enough that they could not be used. Called up SSW, they said "no problem", and shipped two more bases to arrive today. This morning, only one base showed up. In a rather hostile mood, I called them back to see what the deal was. The sales rep spoke to me, then to her manager, then came back to me and said "No worries. We'll ship out another base and it will be there later today around 5 or 5:30PM."

I was not surprised by the today part, because I was irate and rather insistent that be the case. I put the phone down, satisfied that things would be taken care of. Less than thirty minutes later, I get a call from SSW saying they found the missing base (U.P.S. damaged it before it even got on their delivery truck, so *THEY* had sent it back) and that my new one would be here tomorrow.

My face scrunched up a bit as I questioned this whole "tomorrow" thing after a representative of their company said a new fixture base would be here later today. The voice at the other end tried to tell me that would be impossible. Really? SSW is in St. Louis. We are in East Central Illinois. It is a four-hour drive. We are open until 11PM. It was Noon. From my perspective, they had an eleven hour window. That didn't seem impossible to me. Said representative insisted it couldn't be done. I disagreed. Vehemently. Asked to be kicked further up the chain. That person said it couldn't happen. I asked for the next level of employee. Got to the shipping manager. He also said that no one they deal with in terms of courier could make this happen. Once again, asked for the next level of management up. A few moments later, the shipping manager comes back on the line saying his boss is busy. My response... "I don't care if you have to send two guys with a U-Haul to bring me what we ordered. Your company said it would be here today. I'm holding you to that statement. (brief pause) Tell you what, put the owner of the company on the phone. I'll explain what has happened thus far and then you can explain to him why he is dealing with an upset customer."

(pause)

"Let me speak to my traffic manager about this. Maybe we can get someone we don't normally use. I will call you back within the hour."

It was 12:20PM at this point. About fifteen minutes later, I get a call back saying that while my part may not make it by 5:30PM, it would indeed be here today.

The courier rolled up at 4:50PM with an undamaged part.

See? Not impossible.

So, in short, will we use Store Supply Warehouse in the future? Probably. They won't be my first choice, as it took them five bases to get two undamaged ones here in a reasonable time frame, but they ultimately pulled their reputation out of the fire today after having stuck it in the inferno themselves. The fixtures that we got? They look good. When they are all assembled and product is on them, we'll take pictures.

Onward, angrily...

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Not Quite How I Expected...


Another day, another... well, day...

Without much prompting, I believe I have four players already for my upcoming Champions campaign. It'll be an interesting group, though I will have to be careful about a couple of things. Most of my attention will be concerned with being vigilant of not letting the group stray too far from the "comic book ideal" I am striving for.

In general, I am looking for a mix of slam-bang action and thought-provoking, personal stories. I envision it as people reading a comic book about "X" group, where they follow the group member's stories, trials, and tribulations. Once I get things set up with the group, and get things started, I hope to have time to write "excerpts" from the story. These excerpts will be put together in such a way that the players can read about something happening in another part of the world (like they were readers of the "comic book") that may (or may not) affect their characters. In a sense, I am hoping to give the players another window into the world we'll be building together. We'll see how that goes.

Just for kicks and grins, I twiddled around with a couple of villains that could possibly be for the game. No one really important, these guys fall into the "I'ma rob a bank"-category of supergoon. Every comic needs no-goodniks like these to give heroes some easy victories and early confidence. That is my aim with these morons. Once play gets started and some of the characters begin to establish themselves, *THAT* is when the memorable bad guys will come out to play.

Toodles...

-- GopherDave

Friday, May 17, 2013

Look! A Trail...


Good morning, folks!

Don't let the happiness of the first line fool you, I'm still a mess. Now, however, I'm a mess with at least something of a plan in one area of my life, and that is usually all I need to get me started on the road to recovery from things like the crappy mental state I've been in.

Game wise, I'll most likely be running Champions every other Saturday evening. I'm looking at a Bronze-/Iron-Age hybrid in terms of tone. It will be a "team book", and as such, once I get the players nailed down, they are going help in the world-building process. I am looking at helping them as a group and individually build characters that will add some elements to the game world. In short, I'm hoping to use their back stories as a foundation/framework, and then build off of that.

Personally, I am hoping to initially come to the table with anything "pre-planned" and set in stone. I'm not even coming into this with a city/setting. That will all (hopefully) come from them. In short, I'm looking at changing my GM-ing paradigm. Instead of "here's *my* world, come play in it if you dare", I'm looking at "hey, thanks for inviting me into your world and letting me mess around in it".

It's a much different approach than what I am used to. I hope it works.

As for players, I am looking for players who *LOVE/READ* superhero comics that can show up consistently, and by consistently I'm talking like "24 sessions out of 25"-type consistency. This is the one genre where continuity is a big factor, and it ruins it for all if there frequent missing gaps.

Just sayin'...

-- GopherDave 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wreck And Repair...


Okay... Things are... better...

I had a talk with one of the folks with whom I was having issues, and while the early part was fairly heated, things were somewhat better by the end of it. It seems that when I see things around me are mostly broken, I have to break the rest of it before I can think about enacting any sort of repair.

Trust me, this is not the best way to operate.

Things are changing in big ways. I hate change. I have not been handling much of what has been going on around me well. I needed a breakdown before I could gather up the pieces that are me. That has happened. I should be good for a while.

On the gaming front, I will be running a game. It will be happening every other Saturday. What it will be is still to be decided. I'd like to run something that will lend itself to a long-running campaign. I have ideas for "Vertigo Dreams" setting I used for one of the scenarios this past Winter War, but modern-day conspiracy/X-Files stuff does not always lend itself to an extended campaign. The other one is a straight-up superhero game using Champions/HERO 6th. It would not use anything in a historical context from my past campaigns. I might re-use some villain names and concepts, but their powers and histories would change.

The big thing about the supers game is that all players should be ready to play comic-book superheroes. No transplanted fantasy creatures... no building powers out of concept just because you can... no non-hero mindsets. Players looking for a "killing orcs for beer money" or "a White Wolf-esque political game" or  those looking to "game the system/world" need not apply. This all said, I run a game with "smart" criminals. Most of them have solid motives and distinct personalities. The disposition of the "bad guys" will vary wildly, from goofy knock-abouts to deadly-serious, vicious murderers.

Wow, the more I write, the more it seems like I am decided on what I am doing...

Writing as thought process... Who'd of thunk it...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Second Verse, Same As...


Another day in the life...

Students have left for the summer, so we'll see how that affects things such as sales and what not. Last year was the first year we actually noticed they had left from a sales perspective. The previous years, we were still growing at such a rate as to not even blink when summer hit. It was sort of a nice problem to have. Now, with the store being larger (and the expenses being larger), I'm fairly certain we'll miss the influx of income. How much we'll miss it remains to be seen...

Life-wise, I'm not entirely sure how much of a whiny, ass-hat I've been. Things are seemingly holding stable for the time being, but I am almost on edge waiting for the next big drama-bomb to hit, and I think that has been part of the problem with me. I, like most folks, enjoy living drama-free. Lately, with the store move and some changing family situations, there has been more problems, and thus, more drama crashing in on my calm. I have noticed an edge to my voice that isn't usually there, and that is beginning to worry me on some level.

On the game front, I am still toying with running something. I'm just not certain what, yet. I keep leaning to a superhero game, but the best game system for that (HERO System) is the one I do *NOT* have time for. The itch is there, though, and it's not going away easily or soon.

That's it for now... I am thinking that I will be reviewing some music soon. We've gotten a bunch in and I am starting to have some time to listen.

peace...

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Currently *NOT* Abiding...


This morning started out on a... ubiquitous... note....

The boy came home to do laundry just as I went to step into the shower. Normally, this isn't a problem. We wash most things in cold water, and our water pressure is sufficient enough to handle both washing machine and shower at once. Today, he washed a blanket in hot water. In about five minutes after he started this my testicles were hanging out somewhere in my chest cavity trying to stay warm.

However, it gets better...

The blanket he was trying to wash is actually too large for our washing machine, and it gets wrapped around the agitator in such a way that it stalls the washer. Once I got done with what I had to do at the store, I went home to attempt to rectify the situation. It took me twenty minutes, but I managed to get the water-logged comforter out of the washer that was still half full with warm water. I also managed to coax the machine into a half-cycle to get it drained of water. I'm not certain if it's fully operational. I had yet another crisis to cope with...

My daughter's brand new laptop then decided to "twonk out" on her and not have a functioning mouse/touch pad. Just as I am getting things settled with the washer, she begins to lose her mind and melt down. Now I'm at a point where I am trying to get the girl to calm down long enough to let loose her death grip on the laptop so I can look at it and perhaps fix it. I manage to get her calm enough to let me have it before something else goes "horribly wrong" with it. Once I gave it a cursory examination, I poke a few buttons and it's as good as new.

The day before, both kids decided they wanted to argue with me over stupid things and then bail, saying *I* was an asshat and that I was wrong, and was frequently so, even if I never admitted such ever. On top of that, I had a couple of days with Loquacious where it seemed that everything I did (or didn't do) was wrong, and did nothing but annoy her.

Prior to the weekend, I was a giant ball of stress, anxiety, and depression due to a number of store-related things. Sunday and Monday did nothing to help the situation. I was within a hair's breath of rage-quitting life in general.

I know that as the father I am supposed to be more mature than this, and suck it up and keep slogging on. However, when the people who are supposed to be my partners in life basically treat me like persona-non-grata *IN MY OWN HOUSE*, it makes it very difficult to carry on. I also know that I should probably not put things on the public interwebs like this, but if I have no one else around to talk to about things that are bothering me, what else am I supposed to do?

Comment on this if you want... I'll likely not respond... Consider this a "dump-and-run" post...

It's about the only outlet I have left...

--Dave--

Friday, May 10, 2013

Holding It Together (With Help) Until I Can Crash Land...


There seems to be very in the way of an end in sight. Last night I went to bed early only to have my mind conjure up a bevy of old-school alarm clock sounds each time I placed my one good ear to the pillow. This is the second time in about two weeks that my brain has done this to me. The first time, my mind serenaded me with a cacophony of car horns. Either way, it made sleeping problematic.

Said lack of sleep has done *NOTHING GOOD* for my current mental state. I was in dire enough straits that Skribl came with me to help open the store and ease things until HiSign showed up a couple of hours later. Right now, HiSign has the counter while I'm tucked away in the back typing this. It will begin to get busy here in a couple of hours for Friday Night Magic, and I will need to be out there for that.

Saturday morning I will be opening for Skribl as he wants to play in the 40K Tourney we're having tomorrow. I don't mind so much, though it will mean that I will have gotten very little sleep once again. Later, I shall be playing Xia Ling-Xian, my crazy, racist, Asian bastard in Shady's Terracide game. It'll be much like last session as I will have gotten very little sleep to make this happen.

Overall, I need to make the merry-go-round stop long enough for me to get back on track mentally and get a better handle on what needs to be accomplished to make the store run better and *NOT* be the headache and stress inducer it's been lately.

-- GopherDave

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Settling In And Cracking Up...


Okay... we've been here more than a month, and things still aren't as settled as I like. In that time, HiSign got a job elsewhere for twice what we were paying him *AND* benefits. He still works for us, but we are now working his schedule around his other job. It's totally understandable. He got a really *GOOD* job. That said, it means we are losing manpower at a time where we should be adding it, and we need to add it.

The new store is just too big for one person to cover well when it's busy. There is a lot of work that needs to be done, but we are slowly falling behind as business increases. I now have an office where I can do some of the behind-the-scenes work, but I frequently find myself on the floor helping customers due to the slow increase in business combined with the size of the store.

Am I regretting the move to a larger location? No, not really. The business was at a point where it *NEEDED* to grow as it had reached the maximum potential of the old spot. It's just taking me longer to adjust my mental paradigm to the new space and its requirements. I will not lie. The situation is causing me a great deal of stress, and my main mode of stress release (gaming) is something that I've hardly had the time to do as of late.

Perhaps the business has outgrown me and what I can do for it. That's definitely something to think about, but I'm almost afraid it will cause me more stress to do so.

Oyyy, vey... I think I'm going to do more work. It needs to be done and perhaps it will take my mind off of this...

-- GopherDave

P.S. -- In other news, we got more good press, and I don't sound like a raving lunatic... =P

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

The Lure of New Games...


Things are just slowing down at the store me now around 7:30PM...

I got a late enough start today that I missed the first pass of the UPS driver to drop off shipments this morning. He did leave a note saying he would be back later, and that worked for me at the time. Should have known that would kick me in the back side. The early part of the day was almost mausoleum dead. INCREDIBLY DEAD...

Then the shipment showed up around 2:30PM. I had no sooner unpacked things from boxes when it seemed like everyone and their mother came in to look around, browse, and buy things. Good problem for a merchant to have, but it stayed that way for the next four hours or so. Skribl came in at 5PM, so that helped give me some coverage and allowed me to get things into the system. I am just now starting to relax...

One of the new things that came in was the Exemplar Bastion Sensechal for Warmachine. Even though I have no time to play currently, I loves me some WarmaHordes, and especially dig my churchies from the Protectorate of Menoth. The figure is a metal model, and like most things Privateer Press in the way of models, comes in about five more pieces than necessary. The mold lines are good, though the piece comes with a LOT of flash to scrape off. Ability-wise... It's a pretty standard Bastion, with the addition of Jack Marshall, Defensive Strike, Iron Wall, and a small ability called Leadership. It seems that friendly Bastions that begin an activation within this model's command range heal one point of damage. With a CMD of 10, that's no small feat. Overall, this figure has got me eyeing my half-finished Bastions thinking of all the fun I could have with them...

-- GopherDave --

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Slogging Without A Path...


Things are moving along here in the store, with sales being steady and what not. In general, today I handled things being just me for the early part just fine, but it would have been *REALLY NICE* to have had a second person for a couple of spurts of traffic we did get.

Trying to get various permits in place still... We had an electrician who *IS* licensed by the city come out and look at the work the previous guy did. He proclaimed it all good, but for the life of us, neither he nor I know exactly what the city wants us to do. Multiple calls into the city building inspectors gave us nothing except hits on voice mail. *le sigh*

I'm getting the urge to run another RPG game again. I just don't know when the time is going to happen. As it goes, I have a Deadlands: Reloaded game I'd love to restart, but the primary players in it have to stop having  health issues and such. NOTE: I'm being *ENTIRELY* facetious here. I, more than anyone, understand how health can affect gaming.

As for what else I would run, I'm toying with a couple of campaign concepts. One is a straight superheroes game where roles/archetypes would be more strictly enforced than I've done in the past, but it would *not* use my standard go-to world background I've been adding to for decades. The other concept is a "classic" cyberpunk/X-files hybrid. Think Shadowrun with the magic replaced by alien tech and monsters that go bump in the night. I'd like to use DICEBAG for either game, but then I would have to actually *WRITE* powers and/or cybertech mechanics to work with those rules, and where the spare time for *THAT* is coming form, I have exactly *ZERO* idea.

Ehhh... I'll toss stuff around for a bit longer. See if I can get any sort of spare time to make this a reality...

-- GopherDave --

Monday, May 06, 2013

Rule of Thumb...


If you buy an item to replace an item with a missing part, that part shall reveal itself in a relatively short order of time. I'm pretty certain this is to be case in point, today I bought a new (cheap) digital camera to use for blog pictures since I cannot find the charge cable for the one I had been using. Thus, when I go home tonight, the cable will miraculously reveal itself after being missing for the better part of two months.

That all said, I have a new camera. =P

We finally had the city inspectors out today, and it was far less of a hassle than I thought it would be. The two things we have to correct are moving a refrigerator to grant three feet of access space to our electrical breakers, and having the electrical work we had done inspected by an electrician that is licensed by the city to actually do the work. Never mind that the guy we had do the original work is union, a (very distant) relative, and been doing electrical work in the area for close to ten years. Nope, since he does not hold a license with A PARTICULAR CITY WHICH OUR BUSINESS IS SITUATED, his work is not good enough to pass without inspection by someone else. Oddly, this same municipality wonders why it has long-standing problems attracting businesses to set up shop within its confines. I'm not a politician, but this doesn't seem to be rocket science, folks...

Overall, though, those are minor nitpicks, and easy ones to fix.

Onward, into the hopefully-soon-to-be-regular-once-again breach...

-- GopherDave 

Sunday, May 05, 2013

One Month In...

Well... I still haven't found the camera charger. I may just have to suck it up and buy a new camera. Nothing fancy. Just something that is made to be just a camera. Not a multi-purpose phone-camera-MP3 player-random gadget. I *LIKE* discrete machines. That's one of the reasons why we have a printer, a scanner, and (eventually) a fax machine. Discrete machines tend to do their jobs better than all-in-one units, and if one breaks, I replace it and I am not down the other two functions.

Anyway... we are a month into the new space and I have come to realize something... Be *VERY* careful what you wish for, because you may just get it.

Case in point, with the new store, it's a large enough space that when it gets even moderately busy, we need two people on the floor. Unlike our previous, smaller space, one person cannot manage everything well unless it's really slow. As in, slow enough to actually be worried about lack of sales. That hasn't happened too much yet, but as the Notorious BIG once stated, "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems".

Currently, sales are such that we are doing a fraction more than we were at the old space, but we are placing more work and labor into attaining those sales. That being said, if we can get things and new systems into place, we could actually begin catching up to the curve.

As for upkeep? Yeah, we need to do the floors... badly. Trouble is, our main employee who would do most of the janitorial got a 40-hour a week gig that pays twice what we could with benefits. He still works for us, but it is very much part time and around the schedule of his new job. Don't get me wrong. I have no anger at his taking the new job. Hell, if it had been offered to me (I did not apply), I might have taken it as well. It's that good of a spot in the working world.

That being said, things need to settle down a bit so I can look at them clearly, and not through a lens of chaos. We will figure it all out, it's just going to take time, a bit money, and a *LOT* of work...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Updates on Gopher V3.0...

Okay... It's been a bit so I thought I'd give folks some updates on how things are looking in the new space. I will throw out the caveat that I cannot find the charger, so I've been taking pictures with my phone and hating every minute of it.

I *HAVE* been trying to get back to the uniform. This is what I wore yesterday.

The front of the new location in day light.

The Gophers are back on the front door in their rightful places...

A shot of the store from the front as you walk in...
A shot of new expansive play space. GAWDS, it's an undecorated white box... =P

A shot of the playspace from the back of the room...

Our playspace in use with Malifaux, Pathfinder, and Only War...

What I wore today...
In general, things are moving along. There are still snags here and there, and things have to be picked up in places, but it's all coming together slowly. It will all come together in time, but we're pretty proud of where we're at for only having been in the space seventeen days.

Now, if we can only get the back room in order then we'll be ahead of the curve...

-- GopherDave