Saturday, February 19, 2011

Looking Back...


            Imagine, if you will, a land not too unlike our own. Yes, the land masses are different, but the humans there are pretty much the same as you or I.

            It is a time of hardship and toil. A time when steel is new, and kingdoms are forged like irons in the flame. It is a time when we, as people, create borders… and alliances… and monuments to the gods above… only to have those gods come down in vessels of crystal and enslave us all.

            The gods were not like we imagined. Instead of benevolent presences that brought all that is good, our gods were alien and inhuman. Our gods oppressed us and made us work the land until it was bled dry of resources. Our gods tainted our crops and our animals, making those things dangerous in their own right, filling us with fear and dread.

            Until one day, one of us said “no more” and lashed out at one of our gods. Yes, the originator died, struck down not two moments after he snapped, but he had done the damage that we needed him to do. He had taken one of the gods with him, and that’s when we realized these creatures, these… As’kali… were not gods, but beings much like ourselves… More learned, and with different physiologies, but they were a people of sorts, and people can die…

            We fought the As’kali for decades, not knowing that time really was our ally. For in the crystalline structures of our oppressors vessels lay the key to the power of our lands, and gave us our ability to wield it. The fragments of crystal that fell off their ships and war machines during battles lay in the fields of blood and bone, slowly absorbing the ambient energies of Tai’eres. Energies that, until then, we never knew about. Magic.

            Different types of crystals created different sorceries, and we relentlessly wielded that power in our fight against the As’kali, until a band of our mightiest heroes took the fight into their main sky-fortress… and it all exploded in our skies.

            The Rain of Shards killed thousands in its wake, reducing cities and nations to ruin. The As’kali were no more, but they had left their mark on Tai’eres. We are now just recovering…

            Welcome to Tai’eres, the land of shards.


            This is an introduction to a fantasy heartbreaker world I came up with a few years back. Basically, I took the premise of Evernight (a Savage Worlds setting) and extrapolated it with different aliens doing the oppressing, and the end result of it all.

            I threw the characters into the world pretty much cold turkey. They didn’t know much beyond their own little farm village, but they were full of adventure and willing curiosity. This group had stout fighters and sneakier archers. They even had a novice shardcaster with them. The group ran into dangerous animals such as Screamtoads and Spearcats, mercenaries working for would-be nobles, and even members of the Shatterers; a group dedicated to wiping out the As’kali influence on Tai’eres by any means necessary.

            I ran this using a home-brew system of my own. Yes, it was incomplete, but it was complete enough to run the game for a time. The system has its warts, but it had a lot of good things going for it as well. I often find my mind wandering back to that system and that setting, and I do have plans to revisit Tai’eres… …if time allows.

Day 50 off 362

Yes... those are dice. We own a game store. We sell a fair amount of dice. It seemed appropriate...

Another milestone has been achieved. Fifty days straight of doing this whole personal upgrade thing. In anticipated celebration, I busted out a new set of cuff links. Woo?!? Again, stuff like that excites only me.

Anyway, today we have a WH40K tourney at the store, and, if I remember, I'm taking some pictures to post later tonight/early tomorrow.

After the tournament is our HUGE World of Darkness game, which means I get to go home early, relax, and catch up on blogging content that doesn't show just clothing.

Until later tonight... GopherDave

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 49 of 362

Not much to report...

Tonight and tomorrow will be busy nights for the store. Tonight is Friday Night Magic while tomorrow afternoon is a Warhammer 40,000 tournament (the details of which are very unknown to me, oddly). Ehh, we'll figure it out as it comes.

In other news, my wife (the lovely Loquacious) got ambushed by a ninja pothole last night as she was driving the boy to the store. Tire went flat... rim got bent... yadda yadda yadda... The long and the short of it is NO ONE can get a rim for her car in any sooner than Monday, so she's driving (infrequently and slowly) on a donut until then. Not an ideal situation in the slightest. Monetarily, the problem is really no big deal, but it definitely puts a crimp in our schedule.

Beyond that, with the fantastic weather we've been having lately, things are looking good to implement part one of the plan to improve the store. Sometime early next week, we should have a portable storage unit behind the store and begin to load some of the random clutter into it. From there, it will proceed to putting up slatwall, rearranging the store, rerunning wires to where the new cash wrap will be, and acquisition of new/different tables. It'll be a slow process, but one that's long overdue.

Until later... GopherDave

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 48 of 362

New tie from I'm really digging that site...

Another busy, semi-early day. I have a bunch of errands to run before I get to the store, then more to do once I get there.

Anyone who says you'll work less owning your own business... shoot them in the face for me, please. Just sayin'...

I have a couple of non-"Day XX" posts ruminating in my head, but haven't had the time to commit them to any form of writing/typing. One is an idea I had during my previous blog, and had promised to post more than once there, but it's finally coming together nicely from a mental standpoint.

Looking at the week, it'll probably be Saturday night before I post any real content in terms of games. My plan is to knock out the next couple of Monday Music posts and then dive into meatier things. As for additional REGULAR content, I'm looking at doing character write-ups for various NPCs from my games and PCs that I have played (or are currently playing) in other games. Anyone who'd like to see that, pipe up, and I'll see what we can do in terms of scheduling...

Glancing at the time, I have to get going. Errands to run and such, among which is a Deathwatch game to plan...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 47 of 362

It's Wednesday so it's shipment day at the store. Which means a busy early day and not much time to blog until way later... Sorry... =(

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day 46 of 362

This picture was taken at an odd angle, but it shows off the tie nicely...

Not much to report today. Casual MtG night at the store, plus a D&D "Living Greyhawk" game in the back.

I had to pick theGirl up from school as she wasn't feeling well. Not upset at having to do fatherly stuff, just throws a kink in my day. So, I'll bypass check writing today to make certain that orders are done and the store is put together for tonight.

I've got a couple of ideas for posts percolating in my head, just a matter of finding time to explore, expand, and write the material down.

Until later... GopherDave

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 45 of 362

Happy Valentines Day to all of those with someone special to celebrate it!

To those that don't, I will offer my deepest sympathies. I understand if the day makes you cranky and/or mopey, but I will not let you ruin it for me and my most beautiful Loquacious.

She is the reason why I am posting later than normal. We got up early, got dressed, I took pictures for the blog, and then we left to go spend the day together. I won't go into detail about what we did, but I did spoil her *WAY* more than she's used to and I did everything I could to make her feel special today. I hope I did an okay job... =)

Currently, as is usual for a Monday night, my darling Loq is at the store blowing doodz up with her Black Templar army. Rock on, beautiful... Rock on...

-- GopherDave

[Monday Music] -- BANG TANGO/Psycho Café

Psycho Café is the major-label debut for Bang Tango, a band that had been knocking about Los Angeles for a few years before getting picked up in the talent scoop crated by the success of bands like Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Poison, and Def Leppard, when record companies finally figured out that there’s money to be made in metal.

Small problem for Bang Tango was that they weren’t as technical as Metallica, as sleazy as the Guns, as glam as Poison, or as infectious as Def Leppard during that bands first four records.

Don’t get me wrong, ‘Tango had chops and more than a modicum of talent, but they sort of tried to do everything all at once, and thus did noting overly well. That, combined with the fact that the longest running constant of the band to this day (vocalist/lyricist Joe Leste) is of limited talent at best, and this band really had nowhere to fall except between the cracks.

All this played out though, there are moments when things come together and heads begin to bob rhythmically…

"Attack of Life" opens the record with a moody bass intro before the rest of the band jumps in, followed by the aforementioned Mr. Leste yowling like a scalded cat. Even with some good musical moments, including two cool guitar solos that get inexplicably cut short, it's not a good way to start out.

The first single from the album, "Someone Like You", then gets things moving with opening pinch harmonics, before the rhythm section jump in and PROPEL the song in such a way that you can’t help but like it. Vocally, Joe actually hits most of his notes and his howling banshee scream actually FITS the song. Probably the best song on the album

What follows from there are two likeable numbers ("Wrap My Wings" and "Breaking Up A Heart Of Stone" (the second single)) that keep things moving in a good groove. Then the first derailment of three comes into the picture in the form of "Shotgun Man", which has a cool stereo panning effect guitar intro. Unfortunately, they use the alternating channels thing for the vocals during the verses of the song. In the middle of it is a nice guitar solo that seems like it’s trying to desperately get out of the very lame song.

"Don’t Stop Now" is a lyrical laugher, but it’s got enough bounce that you don’t care. I can’t really let you hear it in writing. You’ll have to take my word that it’s good, but for the lyrical badness, look no further than the chorus…

Get it up, get it out, push it up, spit it out
It goes on and on, and it don’t stop now…
Get it up, get it out, push it up, spit it out
It goes on and on, and it won’t slow down…

"Just For You" slows things down for the obligatory power ballad of the album. It’s trite, banal, and threes steps away from completely useless. It smacks of record company involvement. I mean, the rest of the record, even during its many bad spots, never slows down past mid-tempo. The song feels so out of place and tossed out that I have a hard time believing the band wanted it on the record.

Just to keep you informed, "Love Injection" and "Sweet Little Razor"… Yeah, they’re the other two derailments of “good” on this record. Musically, they have moments. The intro to Love Injection is TIGHT. Vocally… yeah… what that’s about not saying anything at all if it isn’t nice? Yeah… that.

"Do What You’re Told" is yet another musically-solid song that illustrates how the entire band is anchored downward by the vocalist.

That’s probably the most maddening thing about Psycho Café. Musically, it’s got a serious amount of appeal. The grooves are rock solid and the rhythm section plays their ASSES off. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, though, and our boy Joe ultimately weighed Bang Tango down to irrelevance. Shame…

GopherDave Grade: 5.8/10

Track Listing

01. Attack of Life
02. Someone Like You
03. Wrap My Wings
04. Breaking Up A Heart Of Stone
05. Shotgun Man
06. Don’t Stop Now
07. Love Injection
08. Just For You
09. Do What You’re Told
10. Sweet Little Razor

Lyrics Copyright © 1989 by Bang Tango Music/Windswept Pacific Entertainmnet Company d/b/a Full Keel Music Company (ASCAP). Used without permission, but without intent of infringement.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Day 44 of 362

Yet another day of running late. This time, our neighbor needed a jump pretty much RIGHT as it was time for me to start getting ready for work. So, my awesome wife, Loquacious, is covering until I can get there, which will be soon...

I'm *HOPING* to have more stuff tonight. Time should be better as its board game night and other than financials for the week, there's nothing going on on my end.

Later... GopherDave