Monday, December 31, 2012

Checking In...

Hey, folks...

This is just a note to let y'all know I'm not dead.

I have been having a smattering of small, nagging health issues going on lately, and went to the doctor's office right before the holidays to kind of go over what has been happening. During the course of the discussion, the physician called for some blood work and a sleep study to be done.

I've yet to hear about the blood work, but I did the sleep study earlier this week.

I have come to the conclusion that "sleep studies" are the largest oxymoronic event ever created. Their purpose is to monitor your sleep patterns and what your body does during slumber. The technicians and doctors attempt to accomplish this by sticking about fifty leads to your body, most of them to your skull, as well as some breathing hardware around your face.

Now, I don't know about anyone else, but the absolute *LAST* thing I could do during the sleep study was sleep comfortably due to the amount of stuff stuck to my body.

How is this supposed to measure a person's actual sleep issues, again? No wonder the most common diagnosis for these things is "sleep apnea". I'm pretty certain I snored, tossed, turned, and otherwise twitched my way to a suspect diagnosis that night.

All that said, I'm pretty certain I have some sort of sleep apnea, and that it is mostly weight-related. All the weight I lost earlier this year I have gained back, with some bonus pounds added for good measure. What can I say? I like to eat and hate to exercise. That will have to change, though. Three hundred and eight pounds is NOT a healthy weight for someone with heart, spine, and knee issues. New year's resolution, here I come...

Work on the Winter War events proceeds slowly. I have the four events "rough plotted", which consists of little more than about half a page of notes for each. Within the next few days, I hope to have most of the necessary details filled in in regard to story/plot. Then I will begin to work on the pre-generated characters, including writing the genre sections necessary to make them happen. Honestly, even with all of the pressure I'm feeling, I'm fairly certain I can get enough done to run these things.

But only if I get back to work... peace...

-- GopherDave

Friday, December 21, 2012

Cold Sleigh-Bells, Starships, and Cyberspace...

Hmmm... Winter Storm Draco came buy and dropped a bit of snow, and more than a little bit of ice. The roads are dangerous this morning, but they'll get better as the day goes on. We Midwesterners are used to it.

Christmas this year has been different at Casa Gopher. We have so much random stuff in our house that we had very little room for the tree (it's a very small one) let alone any gifts we would have put under it. So, in true "just because we can" fashion, we've just been giving each other gifts as we acquire them. No excess paper trash, and no things to rearrange or clean up besides packaging. See... It's even a more eco-friendly way to do it.

This weekend is Shady's Terracide game, and since I haven't role-played in four weeks, I am needing it more than usual. On top of that, we are having a Netrunner LCG tournament on Saturday, and I am currently trying to puzzle out my decks for that. Tonight, though, is Friday Night magic, and we will be busy.

Off to it...

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I'm Not Exactly Certain What Kind Of Day I'm Having...

Hmmm... Today is a day I am just getting angry for no real reason... I take that back, most of reason stems from one particular games distributor. Part of me wants to go into detail, but another part of me doesn't want to write a venom-imbued rant of hate. It'll take too long and I've got so much other stuff I could be doing.

On the positive side, the store will be running a couple of radio commercials from the 19th to the 31st. The sales rep sent over the audio files today and they sound pretty damn good. I wrote one and Loq wrote another (which I polished up a bit, but it didn't need much help). I believe mine reads better, but hers comes across better in audio form. Either way, the store is getting more advertising, and I am putting my not-quite-finished Bachelor's degree in Communications to good use.

Later on tonight is DaddyDeathSpank's birthday celebration. Loq and I plan on going to that for a bit. I cannot get too wasted. One, I'll probably be driving. Two, I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow. It's a general check-up sort of thing, but I have a *ton* of little issues I'm going to ask about, not the least of which is this cold/flu/sinus infection thing that I can't seem to shake. Being hung over for that seems like a bad idea according to the semi-official Gopher handbook.

Off to go do some more work... Toodles.

-- GopherDave

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Days (and TIE Fighters) Get Wrecked...

Well, Saturday was *supposed* to be spent working on gaming stuff for the convention. Instead, I ended up playing in our Star Wars X-Wing miniatures game Kessel Run event so as not to have an uneven field.

I had never played the game before, but I am a quick study in terms of mechanics. However, I am no so quick a study as to immediately know how to play the units I was playing. I ended up going 0-3 for the day in terms of matches, and not blowing up any other ship I faced. I damaged the HELL out of many of them, but no opposing ship was killed in the playing of my games.

Those five hours dominoed the rest of the day, and I got nothing truly accomplished.

Today has been a bit of a different matter as I have managed to get one radio commercial written, another one refined and polished, and finally opened up sign-ups for the next MtG Pre-Release tournament. This next one will be happening *at* Winter War, so it'll be extra special crazy this year.

Ehhh... whatev... They call me the Red-Haired Maniac for a reason... =P

-- GopherDave

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Semi- to Fully-Bummed...

Okay, when I left the store Thursday night, I had done so with the intention of coming back and playing in KEJR's newly-started Dungeon Crawl Classics game. While he had a few people there, there were several others whose participation he was unsure of, thus he thought he had openings. I had to leave to run a minor but important errand, and then I would be free to return. When I got back, not only did his wayward players show up, but a couple of other unexpected folks did as well. Hence, there was no more room left in the game.

Now, I will say that I sort of invited myself into the game, but there was no voiced disagreement from anyone else at the table, including KEJR, the GM. I'm kind of going nuts with no regular game currently, and I *REALLY* enjoy playing with the group of folks he had at the table. I, also, am not angry at how things went down. Honestly, I have no right to be given how the situation went down. I was, however, kind of bummed. Ehhh... what can you do?

HOWEVER... what little, trivial depressive fit I went through Thursday night is such a first-world problem compared to what happened in Connecticut this morning...

While this was nothing on the magnitude of shock and bewilderment that was September 11th, it was still pretty soul-wrenching. The Columbine and West Virginia shootings didn't really affect me much. Horrible though they were, the victims were at least of high-school age, and I could sort of rationalize that away to a numb part of my mind.

On Friday, the bulk of the victims were between the ages of five and ten years. They were children in the truest sense of the word. Gone, in the blink of an eye and the squeezing of a trigger. Lights extinguished before they had a chance to truly shine.

This incident gouged out a small piece of the world's soul, but it will get better. The soul of humanity will heal because life does not stop. Life demands that we collectively keep moving forward and by doing so, the world will place distance between its present self, and the wound that occurred December 14th, 2012.

Humanity will press on because it must... but that does not mean we should forget...

-- GopherDave

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Who Knows?

Once again, not much to say. The Deadlands campaign is on hold for the holidays. Between sickness and family obligations, meeting regularly during the month was looking nigh-impossible. We will hopefully pick it back up after the first of the year.

As for other projects, things get done slower than more things get added. I'm almost to the point of ignoring anything else put in front of me that does not have "FLASHING RED" priority assigned to it. The most important thing I have to do is holiday shopping, which should get finished tonight or tomorrow.

This weekend, whether I mentally feel like it or not, I will get back to working on the DICEBAG stuff. Basically, I've been hung up on expanding the weapons section to include firearms and "ray-guns", which needs to be done to cover three of the four events I am running. I also need to plug in a psionics system, which will be necessary for at least one (possibly two) of the events that is happening.

It adds up to I need to be truly productive again, and stop with the sitting on the couch and watching NCIS and Law & Order: SVU reruns...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Third Plate, Please...

As the holidays draw ever closer, a number of life-, gaming-, and business-related issues are all vying for time and attention. Trouble is, the amount of time and attention I am able to give to things has not increased while the number of items I need to devote time and attention to have pretty much tripled.

I have a fantastic wife who I know is willing to help me with things. Problem is, many of the issues (mostly the gaming ones) are things that require my personal attention.

On top of all of this is the just general "bleh" feeling I have going on currently that is making doing any work at all more of a chore than it is worth to my psyche. That, however, feeds an ever-spiraling cycle of "the less work I do, the more work that builds up, which makes me want to do any of it even less".

I need a third plate, or at least a second me...

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gnawing At The Chains...

I know it's been five days or so since I last posted, but I really don't have much to say. The malaise has lingered on, and it is starting to affect other parts of my life to some degree.

As I stated before, this does not feel like a normal downswing, nor does it really feel like full-blown depression. It feels more... apathetically insidious. Like something is creeping into my psyche, and while it is not trying to draw attention to itself, it doesn't truly care if I notice it or not. It's setting up shop in my head and pretty much daring me to try and kick it out.

When I put it that way, it sounds like a challenge... Hmmmm...

-- GopherDave

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Lack Of... Something...

Another day... Another... day.

Went home last night after I left the store, turned on the TV and pretty much fell asleep. Once I was awake, I realized all I wanted to do was sleep some more. Something is up. I'm not sure what, but my motivation to do... ANYTHING ...has been severely lacking as of late.

I'd almost chalk it up to a bi-polar downswing, except that it feels different. Honestly, the whole vibe of apathy I've got going on feels pervasive. Like it's not something that's going to go away soon... or ever. With the bi-polar stuff, I can usually feel when a mood is going to shake loose and change. Right now... not that confident.

As it goes, I've got too much stuff going on to let this linger for much longer. I need to find some way to shake it loose.

Wish me luck...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Tying Things Together...

[NOTE: This post is actually written on the day it was started. Gotcha...]

I had a talk with the head honcho of Winter War, the local gaming convention. It, like it has every year for the passed few years, is happening on the same weekend as the next big MtG Pre-Release event. While there are a few details to work out and what not, it looks like we'll be doing our Pre-release events at the convention. That's the good news. The bad news is that it will be one of those Friday night/Saturday morning after Midnight events that always leave me exhausted to some level.

That does make one loose end less loose, though, and that's a good thing. As for other Winter War occurrences (read: the games I am supposed to run), practically no progress has been made on them in the last 30-45 days. I have no idea why. I know what I need to do, I just have to do it. I know the loose ends that need to either be shorn off or brought together. The target is in my sights, but I haven't pulled the proverbial trigger. Why?

Mostly, I tend not to work on game stuff unless I feel some modicum of pressure. I'm not feeling the pressure yet, even though I only have around 50 days left to complete a serious amount of work. It is mounting, though, and I am almost to the point of clearing out some space/time, tying one on, and busting out some work...

Hmmmmm... Tying one on while wearing a tie in order to tie up some loose ends...

Seems like something I would do.

-- GopherDave

Fear, Loathing, And Pity...

[NOTE: This post was started on Tuesday, December 4th. Like I said, I am way behind...]

Another business in the strip mall that Gopher is housed in got robbed this passed Sunday night. Around 8:40PM, a young man (between the ages of 14 and 20) walked into the place, pulled out a handgun, threatened the attendant and two customers, and then ran off with the money from the cash register. Sum total of what he took? Roughly $285. No one was hurt, but the robber is still on the loose.

As I was spoken to by police that night, and while I was talking with the owner of the business that got robbed, a few reactions/emotions ran through my mind...

FEAR: That could have been me on the business end of that gun. We were one of three business open during the time of the robbery, and typically there is no one here at the store at the time the incident took place other than me. That particular night, I was blessed to have about eight to ten other folks here playing games. Thing is, I know myself well enough that I would not have given anything up easily. I sort of live for confrontation, and I have had guns pointed at me on two other occasions in my life. One, I ran like hell because it was safer the than trying to close the distance with the (inebriated) shooter . The second incident, the other individual tried to pull a weapon from his waistband to threaten me, but at the time he tried to do so, I was something like three feet away. Step in, twist arm, take gun, knock him upside the head with it a few times, walk away with the gun, pull clip, empty chamber, and toss parts into a local creek on my way home.

Now, both of those incidents happened 20+ years ago, and I've lost more than a few steps in terms of
speed and reaction time. Had this happened to me the other night, I probably would have just given up the cash. I do know that some part of me would have calculated if I could have taken the assailant, though, in order to prevent loss of money and pride. Even with optimal spacing, however, it would have been shaky given my heart and weight issues, but fight-or-flight would have kicked in.

LOATHING: The general incident left me a touch disgusted. A young man threatened two ladies and a small child in committing this crime. Between that and my built-in belief of working hard and earning your paycheck, it doesn't leave me thinking very highly of the perpetrator.

PITY: Why would someone risk their freedom for a measly $285? What drives someone to do this? Hunger? Fear of living on the streets? Children to feed, but no money to feed them with? Given our current recession, the assailant could have had any number of reasons, good or bad, for doing what he did. Desperate times drive people to do things they otherwise would not in order to insure the comfort and survival of themselves and their loved ones. While there are charities and programs to help such people, many of these places are themselves are being overwhelmed by the staggering level of need currently happening within our borders. Despite the charities not wanting to do so, people are being turned away from such institutions on an increasing basis because the money isn't there.

Now, I am a simple merchant who owns a glorified toy store. I sell very little that people need, and the items I do sell are really nothing but a luxury in the grand scheme of things. I'm just sort of hoping my words on my tiny little corner of the Internet make folks think a bit about their fellow humans in this, our season of giving...

-- GopherDave

The World We Live In...

Mondays are supposed to be one of  my days off. Does this look like a day off to you?

[NOTE: This post was started Monday, December 3rd. I am way behind.]

Mondays are typically a slacker day for me. Usually I go into the store and place orders for product. Sometimes I run an errand or two. Today? Nope. I had enough store-related stuff to do that I figured I might as well represent the place well and put the uniform on. It was kind of a good thing that I did. I met a couple of folks who may prove to be useful contacts in the future.

My general impression in this day and age is that first impressions do not mean as much as they did even a decade ago. Between DotCom casual and the general slackerization of the country, people are being judged more on their capabilities rather than their appearance. That is, overall, a good thing. Redefining our assessments of people beyond clothing, skin color, weight (or lack there of) is an advancement of the human condition.

That being said, I'll keep doing this for a while longer. I get taken more seriously at stores for one thing. In my "slacker uniform" of t-shirt, sweatpants/jeans, backward baseball cap, and hoodie, it becomes difficult to get help because it looks like I have no money to spend. Worse yet, I have been followed around stores like I was a potential shoplifter. When wearing the GopherDave uniform, I rarely have to wait for help, and I could probably make off with half of a store's inventory with nary a thought by the staff because I look "respectable".

My point to all of this? Not certain I have one other than the times are a (slowly) changin'...

-- GopherDave

Saturday, December 01, 2012

I Need A Second Plate...

It's very late Friday night/Saturday morning as I write this... I'm tired. It may ramble.

There's a lot going on in the background of the store and in the background of my life. Enough that I feel I need at least three other hands and another brain to keep track of it all. Most of it is minor, but important stuff. Some of it is major. The one major thing it all has in common is that it is stuff that I cannot delegate off to others. I have to deal with it... ...and I shall, just not in any order that makes sense to anyone but me. Those who know me should understand this. It's just the way I'm wired.

Once I finish taking a nap/going to sleep, I have a plan to go visit a store in Decatur that my older brother owns. It's not a game store, but more of a hobby shop with remote-controlled planes, boats, and cars. I only recently found out that he had this store. While we love each other (we are brothers), we're not close, and we are usually not fond of each other's company. The two of us are a *LOT* alike. More than either of us will really admit to. We don't mix well. Still, it would have been nice to be told what he was up to. Since I've been doing this whole retail ownership gig for 4+ years now, I've learned a fair bit I could have passed on to him. However, since I am the "little brother", I am one of the last people he will ever ask for advice from. That's just how he's wired.

 This all being stated, I figure I will go check out his place, talk to him for a bit, and show him some support. Given some of the things he did for me and some of what he sacrificed for me while we were growing up, it's the least I can do...

He's my brother...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


So... What you all do for your Thanksgiving holiday? Me? Well, I got sick. I've spent the last seven days or so suffering from some sort of cold/sinus thing that has had me in "phlegm eviction mode" for the last three days or so...

I've been to work... sort of. Most days I either went home early or was pushed out the door by the lovely Loquacious. Today has been the first day I've had where I feel good enough to work the whole shift, possibly the whole day. I should do the latter as I am falling majorly behind on work.

During my convalescence, I did make a "WTF"-sort of discovery. Namely, that Saints of Los Angeles is a damn fine Motley Crue song. Yes... It's four years old. Why am I "now" extolling it's virtues? Ehhh... It's one of those things where I heard the song when it was new, but it was Motley Crue, so it wasn't high on my priority list to buy. Four years later, I'm in one of the local used CD haunts I have and I stumble across the album for a reasonable price. I throw it in the player, not expecting a lot (it's late-period Crue, after all), but I am pleasantly surprised. The disc is solid and the title track has been in my head for about four days.

Well, it's almost store time. I have things to catch up on. Hopefully I'll find my lungs while I am here...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Not Really A Status Update...

Not much today. In fact, practically nothing.

Have a great holiday, folks!

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

[Insert Impending Doom Music Here...]

Okay... the last couple of days have not been kind to me work-time-wise for various reasons. Last night, I totally blame Comcast's net blackout of the Illini basketball game from the Maui invitational. If I could have watched it on my laptop (without jumping through a plethora of hoops) here at the store, I'd have put it on and gotten to work. Nope! Wasn't happening. So I went home and watched, and when I am in front of an activated TV, my motivation to work drains completely away.

Tonight was originally supposed to be a session of my Deadlands: Last Sons game, but with the holidays, we put the session on ice. We'll pick it back up next week. So, tonight I will be staying at the store and getting some work done around here. During store hours, that work will consist of a little cleaning and sorting of product. After, I am going to *TRY* to get some DICEBAG work done.

If I manage that chunk, I'll post here and try to let folks know that I've actually *DONE* something instead of kvetch and moan about it all...  =P

-- GopherDave

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pulling Up...

One of the better tie knots I have achieved lately...

After a week-long depressive funk and not getting much of anything accomplished, things are starting to look up. I am working one of my long days at the store, and once I close, I am planning on diving into the DICEBAG work I am hideously behind on.

After bashing my head against the "rules wall" for the last month or so, I am thinking that I will plot out at least one, if not more of the events I am running at Winter War in late January. Perhaps if I take some of the narrative pressure off then I can get back to the "heart of the matter" and finish wrenching on the rules engine.

Overall, the "heart" of the rules is written. Where I am at now is fine tuning things and adding situational rules to cover basics like falling, fire, electricity, and what not. I am still debating the inclusion/revision of a cache of weapon/damage rules I found from an earlier version. They would make things a bit more "realistic" at the expense of slowing things down. If I could just "poop or get off of the pot" with this bit of mental wrangling, I'm pretty certain things would begin to progress once again.

While Monday is a day off of sorts for me, I have a fair amount of stuff to get done. I was hoping to go see a concert in Joliet (GWAR!!!!) but looking at what is on my plate, that is not going to happen. I shall be busy, but I will be better equipped mentally to deal with it.

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Oddly Funk-y...

Well, for some reason, I am feeling a little depressed. I'm not sure why, but I believe it may have something to do with the impending convention stuff and the game stuff I am not writing even though there is a deadline practically around the corner.

Tonight is the Deadlands: Last Sons game, but with one of the players not able to be there, we are just going to take care of "leveling up" and perhaps tweak a couple of characters to more closely resemble their initial intentions. Depending on how much time the Deadlands stuff takes, I might be able to look over what I have left to do in terms of DICEBAG and make a revised plan of attack to make things progress.

That's really all I have for today... Odd...

-- GopherDave

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Still More Changes...

Okay... I hope to have some pictures up in the next few days, but we have moved some things around in the store once again. We had some shelves we were using for RPGs and used games just absolutely die on us a few weeks back, so we picked up a couple of "make-do" shelves from one of the local DIY stores. Turns out, we kind of liked them for a number of reasons.

So, we picked up a third shelf, and moved some stuff around. The rearrange, if we compact some things, gives us back about six to eight feet of slatwall space. It doesn't seem like much, but truthfully, we can put a *TON* of product in that space. Now we just have to figure out what we are putting there.

Also, the local entertainment weekly put up the electronic version of our "Best Regional Store" write-up. You can find that here. Hopefully, it will be the first of many such awards, but I am trying to stay humble and take things one step at a time.

In gaming, Shady and I had a talk, and we are going to go with a plan he came up with to keep my character in the Terracide game viable given what has happened to him recently. I have trepidations on this plan, but only because the character, like before when he became the captain of a spaceship, really isn't ready to handle what he has been given/offered. The character is either going to be oddly triumphant with flying colors, or (more probably) take the whole campaign down with him. We'll see how that goes...

-- GopherDave

Friday, November 09, 2012

Doing the Stuff...

It's Friday, so that means Friday Night Magic. It'll be busy tonight, so my blogging time will be short.

There is good news to celebrate, though. The Buzz (the Daily Illini's entertainment weekly) does a best of Champaign-Urbana issue every year. This year we were nominated for Best Specialty/Regional store. I really didn't think we had a chance as there are a TON of cool stores in our town, and many of them have been here for 25+ years. Yeah, we weren't up against just other game stores here in town. No, our competition was everything from knick-knack shops, scrapbook shops, local Euro-food marts, and local outdoor/camping stores to name a few. I knew we were in the top three when the editors asked if they could come in and take pictures, and maybe talk to us a bit.

Turns out, we beat them all...

Yes, Armored Gopher Games was voted the Best Regional Store in our local entertainment weekly.

It's a small honor, but it's an honor nonetheless, and one that we could not have accomplished without the support of our loyal friends and customers, the Gopher Mafia. I am humbled.

Apparently, we have been doing the stuff... Who knew?

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Post-Election Stress Disorder...

Okay, the election is over. Obama won, Romney lost, and now the world can get on with its bad self.

If you didn't vote, don't gripe. You gave up that right when you chose not to vote. If you voted and "your guy" didn't win, you can gripe, but please do it in a constructive, move-the-country-forward manner. If "your guy" won, well, good on ya. Now is the time to help him "put up or shut up". You got four years and the clock is ticking.

Meanwhile, a small chunk of Deadlands: the Last Sons got run last night. It would have been more, but we were all kind of glued to the election. The posse managed to save Wovoka, chief of the Paiutes and big muckity-muck of the Ghost Dancers, but they lost almost the entirety of his remaining entourage. The group ended up a touch more wounded, but overall, they lost more bullets than blood.

One of the players cannot make the next session due to work stuff, so we'll use the next time to level some folks up and deal with the aftermath of the fight, and maybe, MAYBE finally get these guys to Deadwood where the fun *really* begins...

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Ballots & Bullets...

It's Election Tuesday here in the United States. Today, I got up early enough to go vote, and actually went and did so. The ballot looked amazingly sparse. President... a couple of congressmen/senators... some local offices... some judges... Weird. I did have a high school regression moment where I realized I was filling out a glorified ScanTron sheet instead of poking holes through a card.

Once I get done with the store, I'm off to go run my Deadlands: the Last Sons campaign. I didn't run this last week due to my head not being in the right space after the Terracide debacle. I call it a debacle, but overall, I've gotten over my own BS and have figured out a way to run with the situation as it stands. I'm actually looking forward to it.

Now, I'm off to do some more store stuff and contemplate my navel...

-- GopherDave

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Full Days Of Bliss...

Today... I'm spending all day at the store. It looks to be relative tranquil, and I should be able to catch up on some business today.

Yesterday, Loq and I attended the wedding and reception one of the Gophers. NewGuy has been one of longest-term Gophers, and it is with great happiness that we wedded him off to the love of his life. His wedding and reception allowed me to spend some romantic-like quality time with Loq, and encouraged us to remember our own nuptials. It was a good time. It was an early wedding, so after things wound down, Loq, I, HiSign, Snow, Squirl, BigE, Silver, and LadySilver went and watched Wreck-It Ralph.

It was cute, but in my eyes, is only really worth a rental/matinee. I will give it points for having the ending theme song done by Buckner & Garcia, the same guys behind the song Pac-Man Fever back in the '80s. That was a nice touch that only a music wonk like me would notice.

-- GopherDave

Friday, November 02, 2012

Getting Back To What Passes For Normal...

Not much to report. Practically nothing got done last night in terms of any projects, and it is getting too close to a number of deadlines to have that happen with any regularity. This weekend is shaping up to be packed.

Tonight is Friday Night Magic (always hopping).

Saturday, one of our longtime Gophers is getting married, so many of us will be at that shindig.

Sunday, due to some schedule rearranging, I am working all day.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I need to get artwork done for an advertisement that's going into a local entertainment weekly. It needs to be done and submitted by Monday morning. This will be our first print ad that was not placed in a phone book or handed out on a flyer by us. Hell, this will be our first real advertising, period. I'm kind of nervous to see how it does. If it goes well, we have potential lines on a radio campaign going into the holidays. Just because we can...

Until next time...

-- GopherDave

Thursday, November 01, 2012

The Whining Shall Cease...

Okay... I believe my head is finally back on right, or at least as right as it can be.

I have also figured out how I to turn a negative into a positive with regard to the game issue I was having. Finally, I decided to stop whining about it here. I've vented and gotten my head around some issues. The GM and I are still going to talk, but I should be coming at it from a less hostile direction now. I cannot speak for him, however. We shall see.

The store is going through it's pre-holiday lull. This is a period where sales slow down a bit right before the holiday season, then they ramp up as December 25th draws closer. I won't lie. Lulls such as this are a double-edged sword for me. Yes, we could use the break, but the lower sales ramps up my financial tension as a result. I know that we shall be fine, but it doesn't mean I won't worry about it.

Looking at the calendar, I have exactly 85 days to get all the stuff for DICEBAG that I want to get done. I'll be honest, I'm not certain it will happen. I will have enough material to run games, of that there is no doubt. I just will not have the material put together in "final project" form like I was hoping. As it goes, I am looking at older notes and seeing rules concepts that I have previously abandoned and wondering why I tossed them aside in the first place.

We'll see though... Life, like everything else, is just a work in progress...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ruminations Continue...

The thinking about the situation continues on my end. I had a couple of responses to my last post that I though I would address in "main item text" as I have other thoughts that will probably spin off from my responses, and it is easier to keep things as transparent as possible...

Delf said...
I'm not sure I have anything worth contributing here, but I'll try. First, the game. As a frequent GM, I'm sure you've had to deal with your share of disruptive party members, so you know what a pain they are. You say your character has been helpful in spite of being a jerk, but maybe the GM doesn't see it that way. One of the best ways to try and resolve a conflict is to get different perspectives on the situation. Maybe try making a pro/con list of your character's behaviour. Other players might be able to help; get their opinions if you can.
As for out of game, if the GM really blind-sided you, he definitely mishandled the situation and owes you a conversation on how to resolve this. This isn't something to sweep under the rug. However, brooding on how you've been wronged instead of focusing on how to make it right won't help, and a game is not something to lose a friend over.

To Delf: You're right, a game is not something to lose a friend over. A lack of respect, however, is, and that is the angle I am coming from with this. I had witnessed problems in his game from his end. I held my tongue instead of calling him on his BS in front of the other players. Once we were relatively alone is when I brought the issues up to address them.

If my character and my play were an absolute issue, why could he not come to me from the same angle of respect? He had that opportunity and chose not to use it. Instead, he cut the legs out from underneath the character in the game, and it was an embarrassing situation for me personally as I felt I could not defend myself without looking like an ass in front of friends and customers.

His actions felt willful, spiteful, and vindictive in addressing what he ultimately saw as an out of game problem within the game.

Within the context of the game, my character has been more than helpful. There has been more than one instance where his out-of-the-box approach to obstacles/problems/impending doom pretty much saved not only the party, but our little corner of the universe in which we exist. Conversely, the character has done some things which has endangered said universe, but he's also done his best to right those things. In my eyes, he has earned more than a little grace and leeway from those around him, and most have given him that.

However, from a story perspective, I do completely and totally understand the reasons for what transpired to the character. It is from a friend and GM/Player standpoint that I do not agree with how it was approached.

Anonymous/Tom said...
I hope that I didn't exacerbate the episode. I was approached by one of the other characters before the game, in character, who asked how your character was put in charge, and why no one has done anything about it. I said that I would set up a meeting to talk about the situation and see if anything could be done to calm some people down. If I had know that the "council" was going to use this as an opportunity to oust you I would have tried talking to you in private. I think that your off the wall thinking has got us out of some situations that the rest of us could not have. I am too much of a thinker, and that can get us killed for overthinking. I hope everything works out.
To A/T: Let me state up front, I am not angry at you, or any of the other players. None of you set this situation up. Ling is somewhat angry at Yuri for trying to talk to him how and when he did. From a character standpoint, it felt a touch insulting, like Yuri was throwing Ling a bone in hopes that Ling would not do something obscenely drastic (which is, truthfully, a viable concern from Yuri's part).

Overall, Ling's point of view was "well, if they say they do not need me, then we'll see how that goes for them." Vindictive, yes, but given what we have done for this movement and cause, and how we had put ourselves on the line repeatedly only to be thrown under the bus, it's a flawed but perfectly human reason.

Now, once the ship (and, by extension, Yuri, Zack, Jason, and Lopez) was in danger, Ling was moved to act. Ling, by his count, has lost four homes in around a year's time. He lost Terra when he was forced to leave (due to his own dubious actions). Ling then lost Terra *again* with the Terracide, finalizing that he could never go home. Ling lost the Little Bear due to hostile/extenuating circumstances. Finally, he has lost Omicron for the foreseeable future. Ling is not about to lose another if he has anything to say about it.

As it stands, taking away Ling's command, while understandable, is probably the *WORST* thing they could have done to keep him in line. While in command, the higher-ups at least had some way of keeping tabs on him. Now that they've bumped him down, they given him less responsibility and made him a bit more autonomous. They've turned Ling into a wild card, and that makes him more dangerous to everyone he perceives as a threat to him and those he has chosen to protect.

Looking at the entire situation, given what we know, the higher-ups have absolutely bungled it.

The rest of the council should not have stayed on Omicron. It shouldn't have even been an option on the table. Rabindra has her reasons. She wants to protect her life's work, but she is fooling herself if she thinks she is the only one who can complete it. Xavier thinks he can work with the invaders. Hmmm... perhaps, but it's not something Ling would count on if Ling were in his position. The sheriff and Iron Rose? If I were an invading power, those would be the first two bullets I would fire once things had calmed down. Sheriff O'Neil and IR think they can hide indefinitely while they run a guerrilla movement/resistance, but they have failed to understand that they are in the finite space that is Omicron Station. It's not that big. The third and fourth bullets would be into Rabindra and Xavier. Xavier, because his loyalties are like a pancake. They're flip-floppity. They cannot trust him, and they know it. Rabindra? Well, she's kind of a driven fanatic, and fanatics are not entirely controllable (case in point, Ling). She's also not above dying if it removes one more problem from the table for the invaders.

Finally, they sent the one crew that has proven they can operate in a guerrilla situation (us, the crew of the Sovereign) off on a babysitting mission that any of the other, more stable crews would have been better suited for.

No, the more I think about it and the more I type, the more I wonder if we were sent away on purpose to make the takeover easier for the Junta. It is just a hunch at this point, but the pieces do fit. It might bear more contemplation once we have rousted our saboteur from the ship.

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Downward Spiral...

Okay... Today at the store was "meh" at best. Business was good, but I am in one of those bi-polar funks that I get into now and then. On top of that, the Terricide game that happened this past Saturday went less than stellar from my point of view. I've been spending the better part of the last three days trying to parse out how much of what went down was my fault, and how much was exacerbated by what I perceive to be poor handling of the situation by the GM.

From a story perspective, what happened to my character made absolute and total sense, but it was akin to having a "radiation accident" in a super-hero game. It will and has (in my mind) altered the character in an irrevocable way. Add to the fact that it was done at the beginning of the session after the GM had already (very) minorly kvetched about another player being late. In that intervening time that we were waiting for the late player (who did call and warn us of his impending tardiness), the GM could have taken me aside and explained what was going to happen so we could figure out some way to turn the negative that was about to happen to my character into a positive for the story and the session. Instead, I get blind-sided and am put into a position where it was very hard for me to completely lose my temper in front of friends and customers in my store. As it was, the negative vibes emanating from me during the entire session probably made folks around me highly uncomfortable.

The after-session was not much better. The GM drives in from out of town to run this game, and he typically stays at my house once it's all done so he doesn't have to drive back while fatigued. He's been a good friend for years (best man at my wedding, in fact), so his crashing at my place is not, and has never been, a big deal for me. More than once though, I tried to approach the situation only to either have the subject changed on me (usually to something I could care less about) or to end up arguing with him over the situation at hand.

Basically, he had a problem with my character (and my portrayal of said character), and apparently has had since the beginning. He says he told me about his early misgivings, but I really do not remember those conversations being had. He may very well be correct, but my memory isn't typically this faulty, especially in regard to game situations. So, to solve the problem he perceived, he handled it "in game" with no warning on his part.

My general vibe is that there have been a couple of situations that have happened in game that I have questioned him on, but that questioning came "out of game", and not in front of others. I gave him that respect because I felt he deserved it. I did not receive such in return...

...And I believe that's where the bulk of my anger with the situation comes from.

There will probably be more on this situation later, be it as the GM and I are supposed to have more discussion on it before the next session. It is going to be another eleven days before that happens. That will give me more time to think about the whole deal, or brood about it, probably both.

I will state right now that I am not entirely blameless for the situation. The character that I portray is more than a bit of an asshat who *REALLY* likes things to be his way. I can see how he can be perceived as being a "problem child". That being said, the character has managed to keep himself (and the rest of the party) alive by operating in that manner, which has been his number one goal the entire time.

However, I am not the only one who has a horse in the "blame race", nor am I the only one who did anything wrong in regard to the situation. My only hope is that my friend can see that and is willing to work things out in an effort to save our friendship. I would hate to lose a friend over something as ultimately meaningless as a game, but the whole thing has spilled over into a respect issue, and I am more than willing to cut ties over respect non-reciprocated.

-- GopherDave

P.S. -- Before anyone jumps to sides on this, realize that you are only getting my part of the story. I am more than a bit biased...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wear And Tear...

This was for Thursday...

...and this is for Friday where I wore a lot of brown to combat the gray day outside. I'm not entirely sure it works that way, though.

It was another one of those days where I had started a blog post and then totally forgotten to finish it.

Not really much to report. We've spent the last two days scrambling to find replacements for our RPG shelves at the store. I will admit that I cheaped out on them initially, but what I had bought looked good and fit with the rest of the decor direction we were trying to move in. Well, it wasn't long before we had shelves giving out under the weight of the product that was being placed on them. We babied them as long as we could until we got to a point where one of the shelves was pretty much irreparable.

Enter new shelves.

What we have now is rated for 150 pounds per shelf. Probably not what we need by about 75 pounds, but much better than we had. However, they are bulky, plastic, and ugly. Our other options were bulky, metal, and uglier, or pretty, metal, and would tear up product as people browsed with the removal and re-insertion of books.

I am on the lookout for a more permanent and aesthetically pleasing solution. I found one, but it would be $500 a shelf and the shelves would not be rated for near the weight we would need.

We are open to suggestions...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Someone Is Not Getting It...

I ran another session of my Deadlands: Reloaded - the Last Sons campaign last night, and I figured I should at least give a rundown of what has happened thus far...

[WARNING: There will be spoilers, so if you end up playing in this game, don't say I didn't warn you.]

When the group starts out, they are in an armored stagecoach travelling from Bismarck, Dakota to Deadwood in the Sioux Nation. Well, some of the group is in the coach. Three others had actually purchased horses, and so were traveling with the coach as and for protection. There's safety in numbers, don't ya know.

As the group is travelling, the front wheels of the coach hit a trench that's been dug across the road. The front wheels of the coach break as the horses go running off in the darkness. Here is one of my disconnects with this initial adventure. How did the horses miss the trench? Individual horses I can see gracefully stepping over with the possibility of their rider not noticing anything because the animal adjusted and did it in stride. A team of horses attached to stagecoach, though? Not so much. They'd stop in their tracks at the very least. Anyway, the horses run off, the coach flips onto its side, and the group is accosted by the infamous "Oblivious" Sam Bass (see an earlier blog post for references on how Mr. Bass gained the "oblivious" tag. Our posse deals with Blind Sammy and his crew, and then the settle to assess damage and go after the horses for the coach. Never mind the horses the outlaws had... *sigh*

Levi and Walker (two of our intrepid posses) go to retrieve the horses from the coach. When they catch up to the animals, they here a train whistle in the distance and the squeal of rail brakes. Taking the horses back to the coach and consulting with the rest of the group, the posse decides to investigate. The crest a hill rise to see a dim train lantern about a mile or so. Better eyes notice the symbol for the Iron Dragon rail line, which makes sense as Kang has the only non-Native American train lines allowed to Deadwood, or anywhere else in the Sioux Nation.

While they are on the hill crest, one of the smarter players lays his horse on his side to cut his silhouette. Meanwhile, another one of the characters (an Chinese guy by the name of Vegeta (yes, we are working on a non-Dragonball Z name for him) has heard the slow clop-clopping of a horse approaching from the posse's left. Vegeta stealths off well enough that the rest of the posse has no clue where he is, so Levi begins calling for him... ...loudly. This pretty much defeats the purpose of Walker's trying to be sneaky with the horse.

Investigating the approaching horse, Vegeta finds an Appaloosa with a gravely wounded Indian on its back. Stopping the horse and helping the wounded slide off, Vegeta calls for Doc (the posse's Mad Scientist) to come help. Small problem with this... Doc hates Injuns. After some harassing from the rest of the posse, Doc reluctantly helps "the heathen" and manages to keep him from dying. Once the posse brings him around, the Indian brave reveals that his name is Sky Hawk. He is of the Paiute tribe and is one of the attendants for Wovoka, chief of the Paiutes and leader of the Ghost Dance. Sky Hawk explains that he and his group were ambushed as they slept, and he attempted to leave to get help, but was shot multiple times as he left.

Sky Hawk asks the posse for help, and they agree to do so (Doc is *VERY* reluctant). As they ride west, the air becomes still and the landscape desolate. In the near distance, some members hear sharp, high-pitched sounds, and looking up, see large, bird-like shapes silhouetted against the starry sky. The party continues slowly, and that's when the Devil Bats attack. Five Devil Bats versus five Wild Card posse members and one (heavily) wounded Indian brave, makes for a pretty quick fight in favor of the heroes. The heroes did not come out unscathed, though.

Levi, who was still carrying a wound from the tussle with Sam Bass and his boys, acquired another wound, bring him to two. Doc and Axum Jennings (the Dude from back east) each ended up with two wounds at the end; one from the devil bats and the other from where Doc's Lightning Generator blew up spectacularly in an electrical conflagration. Out of it all, only Doc ended up with any positive healing to bring him to only one would total.

Currently, only Vegeta and Walker are unhurt, and the posse is walking into a nasty situation in an effort to help Wovoka and the Paiutes with three hurt people (two badly) and being slightly underarmed (Doc's contraption will take him 3 to 6 hours to fix, and that's time they don't have).

There are a couple of things I need to read up on before the fight they are heading into. I am just wondering how dead this group is going to be due to one player's seemingly constant need to be contrary and willfully do things with his character that hamper the rest of the group and places the survival of all the characters in jeopardy.

Thing is, I knew this going in, and by agreeing to run this game, I was accepting the challenge. I am just wondering how I am going to approach this when things hit the fan.

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Scare Continues...

Though you cannot tell from the picture, the shirt is a light, pearl gray in color. It works well.

Sat down with the daughter to show her Hellraiser last night. As we watched, a couple of things came to my mind. One, the movie is kind of dated. Honestly, most of the movies I have been showing her are, but Hellraiser seemed to suffer from this problem more than the other films we've watched thus far. The other thing that came to mind is that Hellraiser isn't actually all that scary. Some of the ideas and concepts it introduces are frightening, but only after you think about them for a bit. The movie itself isn't that terrifying at all.

We'll be watching The Collector Wednesday evening. It looks to be enjoyable. The girl and I witnessed a preview for the sequel (the Collection) when we went to see Sinister. The preview for that looked pretty creepy, and sort of bodes well for the first film.

Other scares will continue tonight as I dive back into running my Deadlands: Reloaded - the Last Sons campaign. I am hoping to finish the initial plot point tonight, but may not. The group is still new to the system and the setting, and getting them to go in a direction is sort of like trying to herd crack-addled cats. Still, I'm looking for a good time and I hope they are as well.

Onward, into the Weird West and Silver Screens...

-- GopherDave

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Time To Get Scared...

It's been a mellow sort of weekend...

I pretty much had Saturday off from the store and didn't have to be there until Sunday evening, so I managed to do some laundry and get some quality time in with the daughter. Sometime earlier this week, she and I had a conversation where it was discovered (by me) that she loves horror movies. I love 'em as well, but hadn't really been able to indulge as they are not even close to the Loquacious one's cup of tea... Except for Clive Barker stuff... The wordy one loves her some Barker.

So what did Pumpkin and I do?

I took her out to see Sinister (very creepy), then did some shopping (as a continuation of her birthday week), grabbed some dinner, then rented some more scary movies. I subjected her to the original Omen and the Exorcist (also the original), and Hellraiser is on the slate for Monday night. Then we get to watch the Collector, which is one that neither of us has seen yet. I am looking forward to it.

It'll be nice to go see horror flicks once again, and it'll be a good excuse to spend some quality time with our daughter. She's growing up fast, and I am not entirely looking forward to when she has her own life, but I'm her dad... I don't think I'm supposed to...

-- GopherDave

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Like Mellow Lightning...

This was taken on Thursday. I totally forgot to finish my post.

...And this is Friday's ensemble...

Okay... The last couple of days have been interesting.

I have actually gotten more sleep over the last two days than I average in most weeks. You would think, as a result, I would be full of energy. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, had I not been needed to make draft at Friday Night Magic an even number of players, I think I would have gone home and taken a nap.

I have been cogitating on DICEBAG a bit, and I am not certain I want to introduce it to my current group even though that was the original intention. While they are not unintelligent folks, at least two of them are close to complete gaming "noobies" and I am not certain that the system will mesh well with them. DICEBAG requires a LOT of decision during combat, and our younger player is not the most decisive person, nor is he the most confident in what he is doing. It doesn't help that in an effort to "help" him, others at the table pressure him and question the decisions he does make. I do what I can to help mitigate this issue, but there are extenuating circumstances to it all that limit how much (even as the GM) I can step in.

As it goes, slow inspiration has been hitting. Now I just have to find time to get things written. Saturday is looking good. I have a couple of errands to do, then I have laundry to begin chewing through, but I should have some time to sort some thoughts. I also have Sunday afternoon to get some work done.

Now if I can get some things done without others intruding, that would be a minor act of a major deity...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Learning Curve...

We started the Last Sons Deadlands: Reloaded campaign last night. Things went a touch slower than I had planned due to having a group of brand-new-to-the-system players and a touch of unpreparedness on my part. Still, things seemed to go well as people picked up the system.

Like any good campaign, things got off with a bang and what was supposed to be a simple stagecoach robbery turned into broo-haa-haa of bullets, lightning, spin kicks, and blood. One character almost died as his player did not full heed the warning that Savage Worlds is a MUCH deadlier game for player characters than D&D/Pathfinder is. Coolest moment of the night has to go to the Chinese martial artist who killed a mook with their own bullet via Deflection.

The heroes won in the end, though one was badly wounded and ended up (after all available Healing checks could be made) still sucking on one wound. Every PC got to do something cool, and it is always fun diving in with a new group. The highlight of the night for me, though, was when the youngest (15) and most inexperienced player looked at me and said something to the effect of "I like this a lot. It's easier, and the system makes more sense to me than Pathfinder. I had a great time!". That right there counts to me as a win.

I did have a couple of quibbles about Sam Bass, the main NPC-bad guy, though. For being such a seasoned outlaw, the guy had no Notice or Fighting skill at all. He could shoot (D10 Shooting skill), but apparently whatever he was shooting at had to be obvious and the easiest way to bring him down was to engage him in a fist fight. Checking his Parry attribute to make certain it wasn't just a typo/misprint revealed the *incredibly* large number of... 2. Oh, and did I mention this was night time ambush?

So, the PCs saved the stagecoach (and themselves) from being robbed by the notorious outlaw "Oblivious" Sam Bass, and his gang (who all had the Notice skill at a rating of D6, go figure). Now, they are roughly 4 days walk from Deadwood in Sioux Nation territory, waiting on a stagecoach repair that will take 12 hours to accomplish. That's plenty of time for something else to happen, amigos...

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Saddle Up!

This is going to be a LOOOONNNNGGGG day.

I was up at 6am to get ready for a work day that doesn't start until about 10AM or so. Why? So I could take my car to the shop. The shop opened at 7:30AM, and I figured the sooner they got it, the sooner they could tell me what is wrong with it.

Bullet (the car's name -- yes, I name my cars) has had a number of minor issues that has given him character over the years. Well, either a combination of those minor issues happened, or something entirely new jumped into the mix because now Bullet is REALLY loud, sluggish at speeds under 35MPH, and shakes like a heroin junkie who hasn't had a fix in three days. This all being said, the car has not stopped running, nor has it given out on me. It's just really sick. So, I took it to the doctor.

Meanwhile, in happy land, it is my daughter's birthday today. Pumpkin has grown into an amazing young lady, and I am more proud of her with each passing day. She is indeed something special, though she never ever wants to believe that. Loq and I need to work on that.

So, I ended up at the store at roughly 7:45AM. Most of what I need to do for open has been done. I am now currently waiting on shipments and reading Deadlands: Reloaded books. Tonight is the start of the Last Sons campaign I am running, and I want to brush up on some rules and tonight's adventure. It's been a bit since I sat behind the screen (I'm not counting last week), but it's go time, and I've never wilted under game pressure before. I am looking forward to it...

...if I can get there... =P

-- GopherDave

Friday, October 12, 2012

Shields Are Down...

Both literally and figuratively...

I revised, expanded, and finished shield rules and materials for DICEBAG last night. Now to work on armor and weapons. I have those pretty much done for a fantasy setting, but they need help in being brought into the modern-day context.

On top of that, I found an old (and much more complete) weapons chart for an early version of the DICEBAG rules, complete with references to rules I had forgotten about when I redid the system. While more "realistic", the new/old rules complicate things a bit. They would not be difficult to implement in the current iteration of the system. They would just slow things down a fair chunk. That may be why I ditched them originally.

As I type, I am having thoughts of "optional" rules to make things either "cinematic" (quick and dirty rules that don't slow the game down too much) or "realistic" (rules that are not difficult to implement, but could cause extreme slowdown of play). Gah! Too much to worry about at this stage of things, but given how my mind works, I am already trying to think of ways to implement a simpler variation in a relatively painless manner.

Tonight, at the store, is Friday Night Magic. Part of me wants to either play or ditch to go home and write/revise rules once we've started. Not sure if that will happen though. Ditching on our busiest day of the week instills a chunk of guilt in me that feels like it weighs about twenty pounds...

We'll see what happens...

-- GopherDave

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Semi-Crunch Time...

Okay... not much got done last night or this morning as I piled myself into bed around 10:30PM (about three hours early for me) and woke up around 8:45AM. I feel rested, though.

Not a lot is going on today. We had three RPGs scheduled for the store, but I just received a note saying that one has been permanently cancelled. One of the others is a game that is trying to start but he is having trouble attracting players, so I don't expect that to be on the schedule that much longer. At this point, I am not certain if we are going to try to fill the empty slots with RPGs, or give the night to Malifaux so they can meet every week. No decision has truly been made, and I will be speaking to the players of the cancelled game to see if they are starting anything else up. Hell, depending on how things shake out, I may just try to run another DICEBAG playtest game. Who knows?

Depending on how Lo and the Pumpkin are feeling, tonight will involve me either diving into DL:R books to catch up on rules and setting or working on a modern-day genre document for Unveiled. I should be doing the latter, but will probably end up reading instead... ...and falling asleep while doing so. =P

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Better Than Expected...

Though you cannot see them, I am also rocking dice cuff links. Boo-yaa...

So, last night was mostly a character building session for the Deadlands: Reloaded game, followed by a sample combat to get the group (who are all entirely new to Savage Worlds) kind of up to speed on how things work in the system. It was also a good way to point out the necessity of some skills in the setting. We'll actually be starting the upcoming campaign this Tuesday. The following week, we'll be doing characters for the DICEBAG/Unveiled game.

That gives me a week to read up on SW/DL:R:/the Last Sons, and two weeks to sketch out and write out a setting document for Unveiled. I've more in less time, but I was unmarried, without kids, and didn't have the responsibility of running a business on top of me. As it goes, I need to get off of the stick and get work done.

As for the sample game, it went well, though I have one player who is overthinking things and wants his character to be involved in everything that goes on, even if his character isn't in the same place as where the action currently is. Adding to this, the player is pretty much a boisterous, alpha-type person who is used to getting his way in a game. I don't want to discourage his playing, but I do want to curb his tendencies to dominate the proceedings, ESPECIALLY in situations that his character has no business in. It's going to be fun.

On a lighter note, there is much less kicking and screaming than I expected in regard to D&D familiarity to Savage Worlds. There were a number of intelligent questions asked, and I did my best to answer them. I did okay, but it did point out that I am out-of-practice behind the screen and with the game system.

I've got a week... =P

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Back In The Saddle Again...

Yep, it's a little off-kilter, but I was in a hurry as usual...
...In more ways than one...

Tonight, I get to walk a bunch of folks who have not played much beyond D&D/Pathfinder/D20 into the quick as a hiccup system that is Savage Worlds, more specifically, Deadlands: Reloaded.

It's has been about a year, not counting the help I gave Shady at GenCon, since I sat behind the GM's screen. To be honest, it has been too damn long. I know that my absence from the chair is part of what has contributed to my stress and anxiety as of late. It's more a part of me than I realized.

To a certain extent, I am looking forward to it. I love introducing folks to new settings and game systems. I do anticipate some friction due to what these guys have experience with in terms of settings/systems. It's always a shock to be dragged out of the D&D pool. Initially, it rarely goes well, as things no longer work the way a player expects them to. I am pretty much ready for it, though.

As for campaign material, I have looked through the Last Sons campaign book for DL:R and I believe I will be using it as it will free up some prep time for me...

...and time is a commodity that I find myself in short supply more often than not...

-- GopherDave

Choices, Choices...

[NOTE: This photo and blog entry was started on Friday, October 5th. That's how far behind I am.]

It's Friday, and it is a combination of Friday Night Magic and release day for the new MtG set, Return to Ravnica. I look for it to be a busy day, made even busier by the fact that our cross-town competition got screwed on his order and will not have any singles available for release day.

On the role-playing side of things, one of my players actually made a decision about the DICEBAG setting they wish to play in. We're going with the Unveiled concept, which is a modern-day horror set-up. That means I do not have to do a ton of setting info (it's now, how hard is that to grasp?). I just have to do some modern weapons. I am toying with putting together a set of mechanics for low-level psionics, but have not made a final decision on that one yet.

The other game I am planning on running is Deadlands: Reloaded. I am debating about just running a series of one sheets to make for a free flowing game, or picking up one of the two plot point campaigns they have published for it (the Flood or the Last Sons). I will admit that it would be easier to pick up a published thing and run with it. The plot point structure is loose enough for me to throw in the occasional side trek or homemade goodie, while still keeping an overall story moving.

Ehhh... We'll see...

-- GopherDave

Friday, October 05, 2012

Thursday is Monday... Really...

(NOTE: This was written yesterday, Thursday, October 4th. I just got so behind I forgot to publish it.)

I think I have to take my phone over to the cell phone store and have it looked at. Three times this week, it decided that instead of sounding an alarm at a prescribed time, it should instead go through a restart. Weird. It had never done anything like this before.

Thus, I am behind on a busy day. We have to receive in a chunk of product for the MtG set, and later, we go over to BigBank's house to crack three cases of boosters. It makes for a full day in a week where I have not fully recovered from the previous run-myself-ragged-weekend.

I wish I had more, but this is really all I have time for...

-- GopherDave

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Waking Hours...

Not only do I look all business-like, but I wrote an employee memo this afternoon. I may turn into an actual businessman yet...
The post is titled the way it is due to a bought of mania-induced insomnia I had last night. It was 5AM before I actually went to bed, and then I just sort of laid there for two hours until it was time to get up to take care some errands that needed to be attended to before I hit the store to open. So basically, I am operating on pretty much no sleep again. Yay...

I wrote and sent off a couple teaser write-ups for the potential DICEBAG campaign I will be running here, soon, with the idea that the players would choose one. One person has responded with a "I'm cool with whatever", and another person "liked" that response. I swear, getting gamers to make actual decisions sometimes is like trying to herd cats. A lot of effort for little to no feedback.

That aside, whichever ends up being chosen, I need to write the setting document for. Unfortunately for me, writing mechanics is easy, but writing fluff is difficult. I can write it. The process of doing so, though, is almost painful. It is also quite time consuming, and spare time is something that is constantly in short supply given how my life operates.

We are starting out with DL:R next week, so getting things kicked off should be easy. During that session, I can pin down what the other game will be and that will give me a week to write what I need to.  As much as I like Tai'eres, I am leaning toward Unveiled, which is sort of an odd Hunter: the Vigil/X-Files mash-up. The teaser bit I wrote for that one is below...



In this modern world of technology, science, and rational thought, things still exist that come off as… …unexplainable. These odd phenomena defy logic and reason, and stay hidden under cover of darkness and disbelief. Everything has to feed eventually, however, be it on flesh, fear, or something altogether unknown, and to feed, the things in the dark must either come out of the shadows, or drag someone into them, kicking and screaming.

            Most people have no idea what is really going on in the world around them, either by ignorance or denial, but you… you know better. Something or someone has opened your eyes to it all and now you cannot shut them. You see the things that go bump in the night and now you have no choice but to bump back. It’s the only way to end the nightmares, after all.


-- GopherDave

Tuesday, October 02, 2012


Okay... It's been a few days, but the MtG: return to Ravnica pre-release events have all been survived. There was a point in the weekend where I had been awake and animate for 41 hours straight. It is from that time period that I am still recovering.

In other news, apparently the Pathfinder game I had been playing that had been on hold due to my crazy schedule is going to continue to be on hold. In its place, I will be running two games. One is looking to be a Deadlands: Reloaded game, and the other is still up in the air. I'm still semi-debating on the Deadlands game. I like the game, but the last campaign I ran ended up in a TPK of explosive proportions. Granted, some of that was NOT my fault.

As for the other game, it is my plan to do a couple of write-ups for the DICEBAG system in terms of settings. It is either going to be Tai'eres (post-apocalyptic fantasy) or Q-Division (think of an odd cross between the X-Files and Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D.). If I can get some stuff done here at the store tonight, I can get those write-ups pumped out in short order.

It actually feels odd jumping back into the GM chair when I think about it. Thing is, when I was helping Shady run Terracide events at GenCon, it felt very natural. The difference? I didn't think about it then, I just did it. I think that just doing it is the key. I have been overthinking things for three months now...

Do... or do not... there is no use in pondering the imponderable...

-- GopherDave

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Not much is going on here at the store as folks are saving up for the new Magic: The Gathering set and the new Warhammer 40K Chaos Space Marine figures that are releasing next weekend. The next few days are looking pretty nutty with Pre-Release events for said MtG set happening this Saturday. I am looking at spending roughly 40 hours straight in the store. For that alone, I deem myself crazed.
I am looking at starting a couple of campaigns here in the next few weeks. At least one of these will involve the game system I have been working on, though I would prefer it to be both. One of the groups has been recently turned on to Savage Worlds, more specifically Deadlands, and they are interested in trying it out. I may very well indulge them as I have a fair amount of stuff for Deadlands lying about. I'd consider doing Deadlands: Hell on Earth (Reloaded), but that book doesn't actually come out until November. I scored a couple of copies at GenCon, but the Loquacious one absconded with one of those tomes.
Overall, I should be running nothing by playtest games, but I am fairly certain I will not have time to actually write for the system if run multiple, concurrent playtest games.
This will have to be cogitated upon... after this weekend...
-- GopherDave

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It Makes My Medulla And My Frontal Lobe Wrestle A Japanese Death Match...

I went out and bought the Avengers on Blu-Ray last night. Normally, I don't buy a lot of movies. The Avengers though, was a lot of fun, and it is something I will probably watch at least a dozen more times during my ownership of the disc. Last night was the first. Midnight release + 2.5 Hour movie + travel time to and from store = a very late night.

Today, got to the store and took in shipments. Nothing of major note came in. Most folks are sort of waiting for the Magic: the Gathering: Return to Ravnica storm to pass. Not Games Workshop though... Nope. Wanna guess when the new Chaos Space marine stuff comes in? Oct 6th. The same weekend as the release of the new MtG set. Now... Wizards of the Coast announces the release dates of new MtG product almost six months in advance. GW sent me an e-mail with a confirmed date yesterday, less than two weeks prior to release. So, most games stores are stuck with TWO heaping gobs of cash flowing out of the door on that same weekend instead of one. Yes, in this particular instance, 95% of the stores will make that money back in spades, but it still seems... I don't know... inconsiderate, and more than a touch unintelligent.

WotC makes no secret when new releases are happening. GW does. So wouldn't it make sense for GW to adjust those dates (that none of us supposedly know about) as needed to account for less overlap? Never mind the easing of financial burdens for their retail partners. Basically, going up against a new MtG release just makes your product the SECOND most talked about game release for the week, at best.

Some would argue that miniature gamers don't care about M:tG (or any other collectible card game), so GW shouldn't either, and for the most part, they would be correct. There is overlap, though, and those folks are pretty much forced to make a choice that week of simultaneous release. New cards that one can play with immediately, or new (albeit deadSEXY) models that one has to at least assemble, if not paint, before they see any use. Why make those customers with overlapping interests make that choice when it isn't necessary?

I'm not really trying to bash on Games Workshop here. I am just baffled by how they seem to think. With GW not confirming release dates until thirteen days prior, it affords them a sort of "market flexibility" that other companies choose not to have. Until they actually say anything, GW has the ability to avoid anything they see as major marketing interference that would keep their new releases from being THE ITEMS to be talked up during that week. So why don't they? Movie studios do it all the time. Don't want to go up against the Avengers or the Dark Night Rises? Push the release date around by a week or two. G-Dub could do the same thing. The only thing they would really have to change is to stop printing exact release dates in White Dwarf (which goes to press about three months early), and change it to printing a release "area" (coming September or September-October), or even a "coming soon".

Just some thoughts...

-- GopherDave

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Gladly Done And Getting Out Of Control...

Last night was the final night of Savage Worlds playtest for Terracide, and I will be the first to admit that my heart was not into it. I like Shady. He's one of my best friends and was the best man at my wedding, but I honestly could not wait for this playtest to be over. I really don't know why, and it is rare that I feel that way about a game, but it had overstayed its welcome to me.

In three weeks, we get back to Xia Ling-Jien and the crew of the Sovereign. I, for one, cannot wait. As a result of some story bits last night, though, we have some new problems to deal with. Those'll be... fun.

Once the store closes tonight and I catch up on some business paperwork, I'll be trying to do some work on Dicebag/Tai'eres. I have some genre work to do for the Sci-Fi, Western, and "X-files" settings I am working on. Some of that will be simply finding some genre appropriate weapons and assigning some statistics to them. Given the the general simplicity of the rules structure for how weapons function in this system, it's almost totally comparative work with what I've already done.

Looking over the current working document, I may just start dividing concepts into smaller, working modules that cover various subjects like armor, weapons, skills, and other things in order to not overwhelm myself. While I am good at writing when I focus on it, as a writing project grows, I start to get overwhelmed by its ever-expanding size and shut down. DICEBAG is, counting various notes as well as the current core and genre documents, roughly about 80-100 pages in size. It is getting large enough that I have difficulty focusing and any one aspect of the and getting it right before I move onto something else. Anytime I write or change something in the game, it's like throwing a pebble in a lake and watching the ripple effect. I see the ripples and how they will change various sections, and I become obsessed to "fix everything" before moving on or even finishing the section I am in.

This is all purely psychological, and it is all on me. It's *MY* issue, but I do have ways to combat the anxiety, as long as I employ them...

-- GopherDave