Friday, February 28, 2014

Mermaids

Ah, mermaids, a topic I’m less than interested in. Lol. And, one that always makes me think of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. It’s a tale as old as time… wait… that’s Beauty and the Beast. Anyway, The Little Mermaid is about a girl falling in love upon her first glance of a gorgeous guy (requisite eye roll), and how she goes head over fin to change herself to make previously mentioned gorgeous guy to fall in love with her.

Gag.

Yeah, part of me is kidding about all of that, and part of me is being straight up honest. Which part do you think it is?


And, on the topic of mermaids, this little gem seems to have been floating around the internet. How many of you are excited to see it?!?

Well, I’m bursting your bubble. It’s bunk. This is the work of a photoshop artist named Thomas Kurinawan, and he’s gone about transforming many celebrities into Disney princesses. Some of these photoshop works are well done, some of them aren’t, and I’m not much of a judge because I don’t know a lot about photoshop. But, I also know what I think looks good, and about half of that looks… I’ll not throw stones. Lol.



And, now I suppose I should try and find a way to work mermaids into my game, but I’m not really sure I want to. Lol.

Mermaids would be easy to fit into the game though. The current setting, a pirate port in the Underhaven by the name of Netheretia, is situated on the coast of an underground sea that meets with the actual ocean through a number of naturally occurring portals. So, I could easily see to it that there’s a colony of merfold settled in Netheretia’s bay or just outside of one of the natural portals.

I might even be able to work that into the overall campaign. The main beastie (the same one I talked about in my Dreams post) comes from the depths of the ocean, much deeper than any merfolk could possibly go, but his forces could attack a merfolk colony and the PCs could be coerced into investigating the situation. And, by coerced I mean their lives will be snuffed out if they refuse… Did I say that out loud? Shit.

Anywho, I believe it’s time for me to shut up before I give away anymore game secrets. Lol.

Ryan

2-27-14

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Gravity

Today’s topic is about something we’re all well acquainted with, though it took a falling apple to point it out to Sir Issac Newton. Yup, gravity, the constant enemy to those who like to stand up.

Cupcake lost a fight with gravity today, and it’s the third fight she’s lost in the last week if I’m not mistaken, and I lost one too, not too long ago. I’ve got a doctor’s excuse and x-rays to prove it.

I don’t have any broken ribs, but something’s wrong. I’ve got pain and this and that and I don’t feel like bitching about it right now. Me and Cupcake have both lost our battles with gravity recently, and that’s pretty much all I’ve got to say about gravity.

Now, I need to find something else to talk about.

Gravity is boring.

So, I’ll talk about role-playing instead. I don’t mean playing Dungeons and Dragons or any rpg video game (and not adult centric role playing) I mean just sitting down with a few friends, a pen and a piece of paper and pretending to be someone else for a while.

Writing is one way of doing it. Acting is another. Then you have the games, and all these things focus on a sort of transformation. Somewhere along those lines you stop being you, all your worries fade away. For a little while, at least, you don’t have to worry about where the rent money’s coming from or about what’s happening to the world at large. All that matters is that character and what’s going to happen next.

Escapism is the word for it, and I think it’s a word that bears repeating. We can escape from our lives and our responsibilities for just a tiny fraction of time. It really might be what keeps most of us sane.

I know I work out a lot of my problems when my pencil connects with the page. I can see all of it flowing out of me, through me, and transforming. Those problems and fears and hopes and dreams, all of them become the essence of whatever character I’m writing about. Whether it be about a gnome and a necromancer or a half-vampire and an army of the undead, they are the same because they are me, and they’re different because they’re my window into another world.

That might be why I like writing so much. I enjoy escaping, living these other lives like I’m Batman or some shit like that. And, I write because I want to share that joy with other people. I want my readers to be free from their worries, even if it’s just for one cigarette smoke filled night. I want them to be free and feel the joy and triumph, pain and sorrow of another. I want them to be free, and I want them to know that life is worth living because of those little moments of happiness, of freedom.

And, that’s enough preaching out of me. Later kids.

Ryan

2-26-14/2-27/14

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dreams

Dreams can be many things to many different people. They can be good happy things where everything is perfect. They can be terrible nightmares that hell couldn’t hold a candle too. And, then they can make absolutely no sense at all with the world seeming to be skewed this way and that. Then, you can also look at dreams as ambition; the thing you want to do with your life and the heights you want to rise too. A dream can be something you want.

My dream—at the moment—is to find something to say about dreams that doesn’t sound ridiculous. Lol.

I was talking to Cupcake about it, and we were basically talking about how I could use dreams in the story. She mentioned using mindflayers (psychic mini Cthulhus that eat brains) as antagonists who create perfect dreams for the PCs, with the downside being the PCs could never escape from their dreams when they realized it was a nightmare. The problem with that comes from the OGL. Mindflayers, also called Illithids, are not considered Open Game content. They are part of the Product Identity of Wizards of the Coast Dungeons and Dragons brand. Therefore, if I use them, then publish the adventure (as I plan to do with all of the adventures I write), then I will get a nice fat lawsuit dropped right on my head. And, that would just suck.

So, there won’t be any mindflayers in my game. That doesn’t mean I don’t have equally nasty monsters to take the place of those critters. But, talking about them here would give away the big surprise I’ve got planned for the PCs. (Please note that said surprise has something to do with the campaign as a whole and not just the current adventure.) That should leave them guessing for a while, lol.

Anyway, this surprise beastie has psychic powers far beyond the capabilities of any being the PCs have run into yet, and parts of it have the wicked urge to infiltrate an enemy’s dreams; a sort of psychological warfare, and, yes, they can easily take control of those dreams by tapping into the subconscious and finding the things the subject desires most in life and the things the subject fears the most. Then it would bend those things to get the subject to act the way it desires. If it wants to keep it from resting, it will give the subject the most terrifying nightmares possible. If it wants the subject to be overconfident in their actions, it will give the subject dreams about what it wants most.

Then if the beastie is pissed off at the subject it can put the subject through hell by subjecting it to a dream that it can never escape from. The body would wither and die slowly as the conscious and subconscious minds were tormented, even killed, time and time again so long as their bodies draw breath. Escaping from that sort of nightmare would be a helluva feat, and it would certainly be something entertaining to throw at the PCs. The first obstacle they’d have to overcome would be realizing they’re in a dream. The second would be communicating with one another. The third would be finding a way to break the beasties hold on them. All the while, the beastie would be watching them, knowing their moves before they’re made, and it would be entertained. Maybe it’s something that can’t be beaten.

Who knows?

Not I said the fly.

I guess it’s just going to have to be one of those adventures I write and play with my group to find the answer.

Now I bet Cupcake wishes she hadn’t made that suggestion about mindflayers. Lol.

Ryan

2-25-14

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fire Elementals

http://www.santharia.com/alchemy/fire.htm
This topic surprised me, and I think Cupcake did it as a joke. The conversation went something like this. “fire elementals” “kk” “@_@” “I don’t wanna fight a fire elemental”. And, then I told her what I had in mind for the fire elemental, and I’ll share that with you all too. First, however, I want to discuss the Fire Elemental itself.

A mass of ambulatory flame races across the ground, seeming to flicker and spark from a central humanoid-shaped conflagration. Like a living inferno, the fire-creature’s dance of burning heat and flame brings it ever closer.” That is a quote directly from the Monster Manual page 98 beginning of column number two, and it is absolutely the best description I’ve ever heard when it comes to fire elementals. These things are powerful living weapons, their very touch is enough to set most materials ablaze, and stopping one is like fighting a wild fire.

The fire elemental hails from the Elemental Plane of Fire, one of the four elemental planes, but this fact depends entirely on what campaign setting you’re playing in. In the World of Warcraft d20 setting there is only one elemental plane called The Elemental Plane, strangely enough. I’m not sure on a lot of other settings. I know Forgotten Realms uses the standard setup of the four elemental planes. And, I can tell you that it’s all mashed together in one plane, called The Maelstrom, in my campaign. Think of The Maelstrom like it’s the Hell from Dante’s inferno. You’ve got four separate but integrated levels: Earth on the bottom, air on the top, and water and fire constantly fighting over the middle ground.

And, now my brain’s stopped working…

You would probably expect something that’s composed entirely of fire to be evil (given our society’s depiction of Hell, the home of the source of all evil), but that’s not the case. Fire elementals, though their alignments can vary as much as a human, are typically neutral creatures. I mean, look at it this way. In reality a fire is a natural phenomenon that destroys everything it touches equally. It doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t try to destroy this thing intentionally, and it’s not out to get anybody. It is an act of god. People demonize fire because it is a destructive force that sometimes we can control and sometimes we can’t, we blame the fire for the destruction, not whatever carelessness caused it. Except in cases of arson, then you hunt down the individual that did it, and feed them to the flames if you have my mindset. Lol. Even in cases of arson, though, it is the person that is evil; it’s the person’s actions that cause the destruction. Fire, much like a gun, is only a tool.

So, now, what are my intentions for Fire Elementals in my game?

Well, technically it’s not going to be in my game. Lol. It will take place in my world, but I won’t be the one running the game. Russell’s going to DM, and for the first time in 5 years I’ll be able to sit back and just be a player character. Lol. But, yeah, the character I plan on playing is a half-orc shaman named Doc’kalla and he’s going to have an affinity for fire and, if the DM allows it, he’s going to have a fire elemental (a small one) as his familiar.

Now… I just need to find a shaman class that allows me to do just that. Lol. Internet here I come!!!

Later Kids

Ryan

2-24-14

Monday, February 24, 2014

Ice Giant

Today, we’re going to talk about the topic that Cupcake tried to give me yesterday. This is after she said Ragnarok, and I implied that it was going to play some part in the DnD game. I told her no, and said I would do the Ice Giants today, and that’s what we’re going to talk about.

Ice Giants… That’s not what they’re called, and being a Dungeons and Dragons player it kills me to even put the two words together. The adjective ice would imply that the Giants are made of ice, therefore turning them into constructs and golems, and they’re far from that. The better term, the Dungeons and Dragons term, is Frost Giant. And, if we want to get really technical they’re called the Jotunn in Norse Mythology, and they reside in a world called Jotunheim (literally meaning home of the jotunn).

In Norse Mythology, the Jotunn server several very important roles in the order of reality: the world as we know it was created from the body of the largest of the Jotunn, a giant called Ymir. The jotunn also find themselves coming up against the Æsir, the gods of Norse mythology, often playing the role of antagonist, such as the trickster god Loki… who was never actually a god. He was just a jotunn… and he was of no relation to Thor either… in fact… Thor wasn’t even Odin’s son… Scratch that, Google corrected me. I really didn’t think there was any relation there. I thought Odin’s only son was Baldr. Yeah… just looking at Wikipedia for five minutes screwed all of my knowledge of Norse Mythology.

I did check, and yes I was right about Loki having no relation to Thor. Lol.




Sorry, I got distracted there. Watching Tom Hiddleston getting the shit knocked out of him by the Hulk.

“Puny God.”



Gives me chills every time. Which, is kind of right on the mark seeing as Loki is a frost giant, and I’m trying to bring the conversation back around to that point. And, I seem to be failing, as I can think of nothing at all to say about the Frost Giants.

They play a major role in Dungeons and Dragons (obviously) as they are one of the more intelligent and extremely unfriendly types of giants. They’re often seen in the company of orcs and ogres and they’re usually the ones doing the bossing around.

In The Hunter’s Blade trilogy, by R.A. Salvatore, the frost giants, lead by Gerti Oreldottr, are allies with the up and coming orc King Obould Many Arrows as his orcish horde overran the Silver Marches and the kingdom of Bruenor Battlehammer. The frost giants didn’t see much direct combat though, mainly serving as artillery for the army. Being able to lift two and three ton boulders and chuck them up to a mile away makes them just as good as any catapult. Even better really, seeing as it’s much easier to grab a rock up off the ground and hurl it through the air, then it is to wind a catapult back down, load it, position it just right, release it, and pray it hits what you want it to hit. Yup, I’ll definitely be thinking about frost giants the next time I have to overrun a small township with a single wizard tower and a wooden defense wall.

And, this brings me to another point, how should I incorporate the frost giants into my game? I don’t know, and it’s not particularly important at the moment. My PCs are tucked safely(?) away deep underground, and next to an ocean close to the equator of Launam. Not the type of area where a frost giant would be happy.

So, you’re safe for now, Damn Dirty Dungeon Crawlers… You’re safe for now…

Ryan

2-23-14

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ragnarok

Today is the third or fourth apocalyptic prediction that I’ve lived through. And, that’s just been in recent years. The world didn’t self destruct when it rolled around from 1999 to 2000. The rapture didn’t happen in 2011. The Mayan prophecy of the world ending in 2012 was bunk, and now it looks like the Norse prediction has been busted too.

Ragnarok is the Norse prediction of the end of the world; a great battle raging on both heaven and earth with hell taking home ht losers. Ragnarok has also been referred to as the Twilight of the Gods, and the Fate of the Gods, and yes I got that from Wikipedia. It’s shocking! I actually did a little bit of research.

Unfortunately, I have an extremely short attention span, and thus didn’t make it very far into the article at all.

Instead, I decided it would be more fun if I just winged it…

That’s not working out to well, though, as my head has decided it’s full of mush.

The first time I came across the word, Ragnarok was in Final Fantasy VIII. The Ragnarok was the games airship/spaceship/plane-thingy. It followed along the lines of pretty much any anime style space ship. The lines were sleek and sexy, everything was red, and it looked fit to fly into space dock and blast the living hell out of every other ship in the fleet. I can even see it happening in my head, but… getting that onto paper would take much longer and a lot more paper than I planned on using for the post.

I’ll try to find a video of it, but I make no promises.



I know what scene I’m thinking of, but I can’t remember what anime it came from… Probably Gundam Wing…

Beyond that…

Shit… I thought this would be more fun to write about.

I mean, hell, Ragnarok is the killing joke, Loki’s revenge against Odin for eons of imprisonment. Loki’s own son, Fenrir (a giant wolf), is directly responsible for Odin’s death. The big puppy catches Odin from behind and bares him to the ground. Then the puppy proceeds to rip Odin’s spine out starting at the base of the neck.

I’m mildly disturbed by my next thought, as I wondered just how much pain would Odin experience before he died. Would it be like a human getting their spine split at the third vertebra (a nearly instant death), or would he lay there in agony until all the ichor (the blood of the gods; that which provides them with eternal life) drains out of him? And, that’s my morbid thought for the day.

And, now we come to the point my wife is dreading the most… How does Ragnarok relate to the game world? It only vaguely relates to the game world, namely because it’s part of Norse Mythology, and as such is one of the inspirations I pulled from. I even use bits of that mythology (modified of course) directly in the game. Odin is one example, he is a god of battle and he champions the cause of the barbarian, the berserker, and in a strange way he reaches out to shamans. I would say that’s mainly because of his never ending quest for wisdom.

But, yes, there’s that vague connection between Ragnarok and my game world. And, this probably takes a load off my wife’s mind. Lol.

Ryan

2-22-14

PS: That's not the scene I was thinking about, but it's a close approximation. The snippet is from the anime Macross Frontier. I'm not really familiar with it, but I like Macross Plus and Robotech (an Americanized version of Macross Plus). Anywho, enjoy your post Ragnarok Sunday. Say a prayer to Odin calling him a lying son of a b****. Lol.

Friday, February 21, 2014

To Crochet

Yes, Minnie is going to pick up a new hobbie that has absolutely nothing to do with healing the other party members, or tending to Jacob. Her first project is to make an axe cozy to keep Axe’s axe blade nice and warm… and yeah, that’s not going to happen. I felt the need to get the game reference out of the blog post early. Other than that, I don’t expect this topic will touch on the game at all. And, instead of me asking Cupcake for a topic I came up with one all by myself.

dreamstime.com

To crochet, the act of crocheting, using a hook like needle to fold threads of yarn (or any string like material) into a desirable pattern to make a useful garment. Or something along those lines. I don’t know what the text book definition of crochet is, and it would be atypical of me to actually go and look it up. I rather enjoy winging it, and hoping everything comes out ok on the other side.

I’m not even sure, really, whether this post is going to be about crocheting. It just seemed like a good place to start as I was crocheting when I thought of it. And, crocheting is a really, kind of, fascinating craft. You can do a great many practical things with it, blankets, scarves, sweaters, hats, socks, hell you could probably crochet a pair of pants if you really wanted too, but sometimes the end result doesn’t matter.

Let’s look at it as if it were a journey. The destination isn’t the only important thing about the journey. I mean, hell, life is a journey and its destination is death. It’s what comes between those two points that really matters. The memories, the triumphs, and failures, all of that is one brick in the road our journey takes us along.

Now, how is crocheting like that? Isn’t crocheting a pretty mindless repetitive task? In a way, I guess it is, but breathing is also a mindless repetitive task. Buddhist monks use breathing, specifically control of their breathing, to enter into a meditative state, one where the physical does not matter and the mental is all that’s left. Crocheting, for me anyway, does the same thing. The simple act of concentrating on those mindless repetitive motions allows my mind to soar free of its mental confines and stressors. I’m free when I’m working that little hook back and forth, free in even a way that writing can’t replicate.

I think I’m starting to stumble over my words.

I feel bigger, and more at peace with the world around me when I crochet. Working the threads is sort of like being the hand of fate, creating all the twists and turns a person’s life is going to go through. Maybe it gives me a sense of control over my own life.

Maybe.

And, even in the places where I feel like I have the most control over my life, things get chaotic and out of hand. I imagine it’s a knot the hand of fate has run into, and he’s having to work the yarn a little harder to get it exactly the way he wants it.

This is where I’m going to stop, too. I don’t think I’d be happy if I kept on writing. It was taking a depressing turn. SO, to cheer myself back up, I’m going to go watch My Little Pony and crochet a bit more. Maybe figure out what it is I’m actually working on.

http://doctorxfizzle.deviantart.com/

Ryan

2-20-14

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Frogs



I do believe this has become a sort of game between us. Cupcake gives me off the wall topics, and I take them and find some way to fit them into the D&D game. I enjoy doing it too, because it creates a constant wellspring of ideas for different types of adventures and different types of encounters in those adventures. Today’s topic might be a little bit harder to incorporate into the game, if I want to do more than mention it in passing.

Frogs, when Cupcake said that my response was “really…” and her reply was “yes, I dare you, lol”, to which I replied “to what? work them into the game? because I can do it. I can so do it :P”. She said, “Bullshit.” (If you can’t guess this was through Facebook chat. Yes, we’re separated by one wall that’s maybe six inches thick, and we talk on Facebook. We’ve even done it when we’re in the same room. Lol.) So, now I have been challenged, and I will respond to that challenge. I will work frogs into the game. You just wait and see.

And, now, after my break to get my stats posted on Facebook, my brain seems to have shut down. I can’t think of where I was going with this topic. Thought, I can pick up on a couple of different threads.

The first way to include frogs in the game would be to stat the critter, or find one on the internet where someone has already statted them. Then I would go and work the frog stats into a creature called a swarm. Although, I think it would be more apropos to call it a Plague of Frogs, given the biblical reference.

The other way to do it would be to create a creature that resembles and has all the characteristics of a frog, but is a wee bit larger, say a dire frog, taking the stats from the first inclusion, and then advancing them until the frog is the size of a small pony.

The third way I see, and the way that intrigues me the most, is to take the appearance of the frog, it’s jumping qualities and long whip like tongue, and making a demonic creature out of it. Felgrog, I believe I’ll call it, and this mother****** is going to be the size of a house. It’ll have the aquatic subtype along with its demonic heritage, and will have a tentacle (representing its tongue) as a primary attack. It will also have improved grab, constrict, and swallow whole as special attacks. I would say it also has a slam and crush attack. I’m not sure what it’s challenge rating should be.

I don’t know.

I’ll probably think of it later, along with actually putting numbers to the stats of the felgrog.

And, I have something else to say. On my second glance at the Monster Manual I realized the toad is an animal included in the back of the book. The stats for it, however, are underwhelming and anything I came up with would probably be better in the long run. It is nice to have a starting place though.

Anywho, if I’m feeling frisky later I might attempt to draw my felgrog and stat the beast up. If I do, I shall post the result here.

Later kids.

Ryan

2-19-14

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Fairies

It’s that time of day again guys and gals. Time to write a blog post… Well, it’s past time to write this post. I was given the topic around three or four pm and now it’s fifteen till one in the morning.

So, now I’m supposed to come up with something to say about Fairies.

My wife looked at me earlier and asked me if I really used the blog topics to come up with ideas for the games. I just smiled at her. Out of frustration she gave me fairies, and I’m betting she’s thinking what could possibly go wrong with fairies introduced into the game, and well… she must really not be thinking about these things.

Why?

Because there are so many things that could go wrong with fairies.

http://a-muse-sing.deviantart.com/art/mischievous-fairy-178661902

First off, in Dungeons and Dragons (at least to my knowledge) you won’t come across a single creature described as a fairy. Rather you’ll come across the fey type. The fey cover many different types of creatures including nymphs, dryads, satyrs, pixies, sprites, grigs, nixies, mephitis, and the list could go on for quite some time. If it’s related to nature it’s probably a fey type creature. (Even elves, in mythology not D&D, are considered a type of fey.)

Now, what could go wrong with those?

Fey are often goodly aligned creatures which is kind of counter intuitive with the alignments of my current PC party. I have three chaotic evil PCs (like the Joker) a neutral evil PC (like the xenomorph from aliens) a true neutral PC (he reminds me of an Ent, quite a bit, though he has a much shorter temper) and a lawful neutral PC (imagine Jean Luc Picard as a dwarf). None of them, except maybe the true neutral orc, would get along with the good/chaotically aligned fey.

Not sure where this one came from.

Then you have your evil fey.

Maleficent comes to mind. The evil fairy god mother from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.


Ganondorf, a corrupted Gerudo, a desert dwelling type of fey in the Legend of Zelda series.



Damien, a pixie half-fiend of my own creation, formerly he was a character in a comic strip one of my players (Robbie, I’m sorry, but I don’t remember the name of the strip!) was drawing. He’s a high level wizard that has made an appearance in my games before, and he will probably make an appearance in this one as well.

Then we have Faetria… who I’m not going to talk about, because I just came up with her. I feel she’ll play an important part in the game to come. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Anywho, I can’t think of anything else to say right now, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Later kids.

Ryan
2-18-14


PS: I could be totally wrong about the Fey and fairy connection in Dungeons and Dragons. There could be fairies in the game and I just skipped right over them. If you know one way or the other, let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Werewolves

This is going to post on the 18th, but I would like to note that it’s being written on the 17th. It is the third post written on the 17th, and any insanity that ensues from this point is not something I can be held responsible for. That is, if anything gets written beyond these three sentences, my brain seems to be in the mood to do very little. That’ probably a bad thing since I feel like I’ve got quite a bit of work to catch up on.

Oh my, we’re up to five sentences.

Anyway, on the other side of the planet is the moon, and the moon is something important to what we’re discussing. The title of the post is werewolves, so, naturally the topic is werewolves, and werewolves are governed by the moon.



I can honestly say that I have no idea why there is a connection between the two things. It could be that the full moon has always been associated with insanity, and that’s something I can attest to. I worked nightshift at Kroger, ten years ago at this point, and it was always on the full moon that the crazies came in. You get a higher percentage of drunks, stoners, druggies, you name it and people will take it to excess during the full moon.

That’s probably where the werewolf stories come from; people who went just a tad too far under the influence of the moon and potent drink. Maybe a bar fight got out of hand, and one man tore another’s throat out with his teeth. Maybe. I don’t know, and it’s really hard to tell.

Google might know, but that requires more movement and effort then I’m willing to put into it. It is something I’ll look up in the future, though. I’ve always found werewolves to be extremely interesting characters.

You have to wonder what’s going on in their mind during the transformation. Is it painful? Do they realize what they’ve become once the change is complete? Do they have control over what they’re doing? A lot of people would answer yes, no, no, and that’s not something I’m going to argue with. The way it’s depicted in the media and entertainment industry, transforming into a werewolf is an obscenely painful experience, and it’s a total Jekyll and Hyde effect on their personality. The wolf is instinct in its purest form (some would even say it epitomizes the anger and rage spectrums of emotion) and the beast is going to act solely based on those principles. Again, I could see it.

It also leaves the victim conflicted. They wake up in strange places, covered in blood, and with maddening dreams dancing behind their eyes. They don’t know if what they’ve done is real or if it’s a horrible hallucination. Their own instincts, however, point towards the reality of the situation.

And, that is one sort of story I like to tell. It’s the sort of story where a person not only has to find themselves, but to deal with the monsters hiding in the shadow of their hearts. I can relate to it, and I think anybody with any sort of illness can relate to it. Why me? Why am I doing these things? What’s happening to me? These are just a few questions one inflicted with lycanthrope might ask.

I don’t know if I’m making sense at all.



But…

I think it’s time to look at werewolves in relation to my Dungeons and Dragons game.

If we want to look at the broader spectrum of lycanthrope then I can say my PCs are currently embroiled in a conflict filled with wererats. Yes, people who turn into rats after being bitten by rats. I’m not sure what’s worse, thought. Being bitten by a rat and becoming a wererat, or getting bitten by a rat and contracting the Black Death. I think I might be ok with a permanent craving for cheese if I get to live without the horrid pain of the bubonic plague.

As for werewolves, I’m not sure yet. I’m sure I’ll find some way to include them in the story, but now is not the time for that.

Other were-creatures I’m considering are wereturkeys. I’ve got an idea for a holiday themed adventure locked away inside me brain, and wereturkeys are probably the most entertaining thing about it. Lol.

I guess that’s better than a wereduck though.

Anywho, I’m out. Later kids.

Ryan

2-17-14

Monday, February 17, 2014

Ninjas

Earlier today, I wrote a post about Pirates, and now I’m writing one about ninjas. It makes me want to ask the question: Pirate or Ninja? And, I can honestly say my answer has always been neither. I don’t want to be a pirate, and I don’t want to be a ninja. I would rather be a ranger. A ranger’s senses and skill with a bow would stop a ninja before they ever got close and the pure dual wielding styling would drop a pirate to the ground… in several pieces of course.

But, this post isn’t going to be about my love for the ranger class. This post is going to be about NINJAS!!!


(cricket chirps)


What? I can’t think very well at the moment!

Ninja’s are stealth assassins. The modern media and entertainment industry would have the people of the world believe that ninjas are people who ran around depressed up in black pajamas. This isn’t historically accurate.

If you were walking home at night you’re a little more alert than usual. (I am anyway, kind of paranoid in fact.) And, if I saw somebody running around in an all black outfit with a mask on I would freak the f*** out.  That’s because dressing like that gives the exact opposite effect of what a real ninja is trying to accomplish.



It’s a ninja’s job to blend into their surroundings. And, most of the time that means dressing like a normal person, or dressing in a fashion that’s going to help them infiltrate the organization they’re targeting. Say, for example, they want to get into an office building late at night to deal with a workaholic who’s about to crack the case of the missing crown jewels wide open, then they’re probably going to dress as a janitor to get past security. Or they’re going to dress as a security guard. And, if they want to make things real complicated then they’ll go the black pajama route and enter the building from the roof. Oh, and they’ll pretend guns don’t exist too.

Every time I think of a movie/tv show/comic where it shows ninjas in a modern setting using only swords, daggers, and shuriken, it makes me think of a scene in Indiana Jones. You know, the scene with the sword guy, the one Indy shoots. Yeah, don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.

As for other things… my brain is trying to shut down for the day, so I’ll hurry this along.

In my game, ninjas exist, but not technically. You’d have to look at the rogue class or the assassin prestige class if you really wanted to find one.

Why?

It’s because the ninja class offered in the Dungeons and Dragons source material isn’t considered open content for the OGL. And, I’m too lazy, at this point in time, to develop my own interpretation of the class.

I might do it later, if the Jade Isles (thank you Russell) then it will be kind of necessary, as the Jade Isles are a Far East style setting.

Anywho, I’m checking out now.

Later kids.

Ryan

2-17-14

Pirates

For reasons undisclosed, as they would sound like excuses, I’ve not been posting on my blog because I’ve not been getting the posts written. In fact, the topic I was given for this post was given to me on Saturday. So, yes, I’m quite behind. To try and make up for that fact I’m going to post twice today: once with this topic, and once with my topic from yesterday.

Blah.



Anywho, the topic of the day is pirates. Captain Jack Sparrow, Captain James Hook, Captain Killian Jones, Edward Teach, and Bluebeard, all of these are famous pirates. (Killian Jones is Once Upon a Time’s version of Captain Hook, I think.) And, most of them, I believe, are fictional. I know Edward Teach (Blackbeard) was a factual pirate, and I think Bluebeard might be real, but I have no idea on that part. But, what I’m really trying to get at is how those individuals have become more than the sum of their parts. They’re famous. They’re sex symbols. They make all the ladies swoon and all the men cheer. And, why is it that they do that? They used to be villains in the stories that featured them. The scum and villainy of the seas.

Why did all that change?

I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure some of it has to do with pop culture. Slowly, society has moved away from the Knight in Shining Armor and things have drifted over to the antihero. Who has more fans Batman or Superman? My guess (even though I’m a Superman fan boy) would be Batman. He has that edge o barely controlled darkness hanging about him. It’s a total sense and sensation that he could erupt at anytime. It’s something that appeals to people in this day and age, because it’s relatable.

How many of you have been so angry all you wanted to do was punch a small child in the face (figuratively speaking of course)? I know I have. I know that anger has simmered beneath my skin, boiling my blood and I can see that same anger cut into the lines on the Dark Knight’s face. I know that he’s just like me, and he takes it a step beyond. He takes that anger and uses it as a tool.

Pirates are a similar sort of antihero, though it’s not always anger that connects us to them. I believe it’s a true idea of freedom that draws us to them. What do pirates do? Whatever the hell they want to do. If they see something they want they take it. If they want to get wasted and stay wasted 24/7 they do it. If they want to… yeah, the list could go on for a while. Basically, pirates have the freedom that we’re denied by the laws and boundaries of our society. We seek these fictional characters out because we want to live our lives vicariously through them. It’s a type of escapism that we crave, and one that almost every type of fiction provides. And, that escapism and lust for a vicarious life has followed us all the way through the ages.

At this point I could give examples, but I kind of already have. I listed off the pirates. I mentioned Batman and Superman. And, now I guess I’ll mention mythology.

Myths and legends of ancient cultures pretty much defined escapism. The Greeks lived through the glories of the Trojan War alongside Achilles. The Visigoths and the Vikings changed Beowulf as they marched into battle. (Probably not, but it’s a neat thought, lol.) And, always have there been stories told to children. They have the most imagination, and the most incredible escapist ability ever. They imagine everything from pirates like Captain Jack Sparrow, to the Kraken, and to things that would utterly terrify adults.

That feels like a good place to end this post. But, I normally talk about how the topic of the post relates to my gaming world. And, I will do that, just not in this post. Lol.

Now, go pop Pirates of the Caribbean into the DVD player, and have a blast living as Captain Jack Sparrow for two and a half hours.

Later kids.

Ryan
2-17-14

PS: I feel the need to point out two things.
1      1.)      I have never, and will never harm a child; it’s just a phrase I use to show my frustration.

2      2.)      I can’t remember what else I was going to say…

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Lich

Or to speak in the plural, liches. Why? Because there’s never just one lich.

In Old English the word lich (also spelled lych) means corpse. There’s nothing supernatural about it, nothing past the typical superstitions about the dead at that point in time, but now Lich has taken on an entirely new meaning. A Lich, as a proper noun, means a mortal who has used evil magic to extend his life far past his life expectancy. The spells and rituals transform the lich from a living creature to a member of the undead.

Imagine, if you will, a zombie standing before you. It looks like any of the other shambling corpses, but it’s well dressed, and its clothes seem to be free of the gore acquired by the other monsters. You shoot it in the head, its brains blowing out the back of its skull in a great bloody spray, but the zombie doesn’t fall. Instead, it smiles, starts to laugh, and it whispers a few words. Lightning blasts forth from its fingertips, cutting through you like a knife. The shambling monsters turn towards you, towards the smell of cooked meat, and the last thing you hear is the lich’s cruel laugh rising high into the night sky.

http://looneydm.blogspot.com/2012/01/lich.html

So, yeah, there’s that fun bit. And, about the ‘shooting it in the head and it not dying’ thing, that’s simple to explain. You see, a Lich’s soul is no longer attached to its body. It just possesses whatever corpse is closest to the lich’s phylactery.

Phylactery, it’s a big word, but you know what I’m talking about. Even I you’ve never played a single session of D&D. I know you know what I’m talking about, and you’ll know it to with the very next sentence. A phylactery is an object, often magical, that the person becoming a lich attaches a portion of its soul too, so that when a lich’s host body is destroyed their full soul can return to it to recuperate.

Know what I’m talking about now?

It sounds like Voldemort’s Horcruxes right?

And, the One Ring, forged by Sauron who poured all of his malice and hatred into the ring to give it the power to extend the bearers life. Gollum lived well past the life expectancy of the river folk, and Bilbo lived more than a hundred and eleven years. That’s quite a long time for a hobbit who isn’t supposed to grow past sixty years of age.

You see, you knew what I was talking about, and if you don’t I have one more example for you.



This guy even has it in his name. He is the Lich King, the corpse king, lord of all that is undead and unholy, and leader of the Undead Scourge. He is a lich that started out as a shaman named Ner’zhul, but lichdom was forced on him by the demons of the Burning Legion. His soul was bound to three magical items: the runeblade Frostmourne, a full plate armor set known as the Plate of the Damned, and the Helm of Domination which converted Ner’zhul’s vast natural magical powers into telepathic magic, allowing his will to extend its reach to every undead in the world of Azeroth.

And, I could go on for hours about the Lich King, but that’s talking a bit too much about Blizzard’s game and not mine. So, how am I going to incorporate a lich into my game? It should be obvious. I’m going to create a lich to play antagonist to my player characters, and the funny thing is, I’ve already started to set this up.

In the city my PCs are currently adventuring under there is a place on the map called The Lich’s Palace. I just haven’t decided how this is going to work with the rest of the game.

And, as with CM Puck, the Lich is going to have to wait a little while before I think about his adventure

That’s all from me. Later kids.

Ryan

2-13-14

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Vampires

If you’re new to the blog, there are a couple of things you should know. First, I don’t come up with my own topics, my wife, Cupcake/Melanie, gives me a topic and I write about it. Second, I kind of make a little game out of it where I try to find a way to work the topic into upcoming installments of my Dungeons and Dragons game. My wife plays in my game as one of the player characters… so, you’d think she’d think of fun fluffy topics like princesses and ponies, but no, she gave me vampires instead.



Vampires are a staple in paranormal fiction (not just horror anymore) and I have to admit they’re probably my second favorite fictional creature (the first being dragons), so I feel like I’m pretty up to speed on how the whole vampire thing works.

Vampires, first and foremost, are bad guys. In the folk tales that gave them life they were villains, and when Bram Stoker penned Dracula he turned the vampire into an archetypal villain. Simply put, the vampire (and Count Dracula in particular) have been copied over and over and over again in all forms of media. They’ve been in books (duh), movies, comic books, paintings, songs, they’ve crossed genres and have been in space and became the centerpiece of the paranormal romance fiction. But, they’ve never really lost that edge, that “I am the bad guy” feeling. Hell, even Stephanie Meyer tried to convey that feeling in the Twilight books. (I don’t have a lot of positive things to say about those books, but her treatment of vampires as villains—James, Aro, Jane—is one of those positive things.)

So, when it comes to working vampires into my Dungeons and Dragons game that’s not a problem at all. I can see my world filled with these monsters that stalk the night, and beyond that there have already been vampires in my game.

Well…

Not in this game in particular, but there was in the last game. Though, it was a half-vampire/dhampire (whatever you want to cal it), and the PCs never came across it. I put the monster (a rogue and assassin named Guildenstern) in the game for later on in the campaign. He ran the mortuary in New Windhaven  (the starting town for the last game) and was going to become a recurring antagonist when the PCs hit level ten or so.

I was going to have it that he was hired to attack the PCs. I don’t remember what it was I had him hired to do besides playing antagonist, but it’s really not important now.

Life happens, things change, and for reasons I won’t mention we’re not playing that campaign anymore. But, I will keep in mind. Maybe our current PCs will piss some powerful lord off, and they’ll have a monstrous half-vampire knocking on their door in the middle of the night.

Anywho, I’m checking out for the night. Later kids.

Ryan

2-12-14

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

CM Punk

So… yeah… this last weekend kind of sucked for me, but it’s not something I’m going to get into here. I’d rather keep things light and cheery, and the weekend was filled with dreariness and pain. The only bright spot in the whole thing was our DnD game. I wrote one encounter for the game, and I prayed it would take the PCs more than fifteen minutes to plow through it. It took them two and a half hours to get through what I had prepped… and technically they still aren’t done yet. There’s one third of the maze left, but I think my little Childlike Goddess is going to fix it so they don’t have to work through it. I put them through enough hell with the last two thirds. Lol.

Anyway, that’s not what I’m supposed to be talking about. Nope, today cupcake gave me the topic of CM Punk. Well, at first she gave me the topic of the WWE, then I asked her how she expected me to work the WWE into my DnD game without getting sued. So, she narrowed it down to CM Punk. It will take a little finagling to get him into the game, but I think I can do it lawsuit free.

Anyway, CM Punk…

I don’t know what to say…



My first exposure to CM Punk was when the WWE brought ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling) promotion back from the grave they sent it to a decade earlier. I watched it infrequently when it came on (I’ve always been an on again off again wrestling fan) and for the longest time, right after it premiered I believe, CM Punk had a winning streak a mile long. He was a fantastic technical wrestler who, I thought, didn’t need to add a lot of flash to his matches. I mean really, his finishing move at the time was a Cobra Clutch (a submission maneuver). And, he was good with the mic. Punk had, and has, a mountain of charisma and would have excelled at whatever field he chose to go into.

And, he excelled at wrestling.

But, he’s had problems with the WWE off and on over the years. Punk doesn’t fit the stereotype the WWE caters too. He’s a short guy, shorter than me (though since I’m 5’11” that’s not a hard thing to do) and he probably weights between 190 and 220 soaking wet. (I’m taller than he is, and I weigh more than he does, but GD he could kick my ass up and down the basketball court.) And, what the WWE thinks a wrestler should look like is 6’2” and between 220 and 300 pounds, and cut like some sort of Athenian god. Yes, a body builder like the Govenator is what they’re looking for. CM Punk is not that.

Still he jumped through every hoop the WWE lit on fire and more. He made it to the top, spent a year and four months, or something like that, as the WWE champion and they still treated him like trash. Not once has CM Punk headlined a Wrestlemania (he’s had championship matches at Wrestlemania, but he’s never been the main event, last fight of the night), he was down played when it came to The Rock, who hadn’t wrestled in nearly a decade, decided to come back and face John Cena for the WWE championship. It was The Rock Punk lost the championship to at the end of this legendary title reign.

And, now CM Punk has a new problem with the WWE. Daniel Brian. Punk doesn’t have a problem with Daniel Brian, he has a problem with the way they’re treating their fan voted superstar of the year. The WWE is treating Daniel Brian the same way they treated Punk at the beginning of his career.

So, Punk quit, and now everybody’s speculating as to what will happen next. Will he go to MMA and face off with Power Ranger’s legend Jason David Frank? One can only hope.

As for me, I’ve got a bug to pick with a Halfling. The damned little thing as come close to getting the party Cthulhu’ed twice! So, I’ve decided to work this Halfling and CM Punk into one entity. Introducing CM Puck, like the character from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the one who gave the prologue, (Puck was his name. Lol.) and as CM Puck this little Halfling is a bard fighter multiclass character (maybe even a level of monk or two… er maybe not) whose been seen showing up the bigger baddies in the bare fist boxing ring. Now he’s up against Really Repulsive Ricky (Triple R), whose manager is Vance McClavical, and the odds are in CM Puck’s favor. McClavical will do just about anything, at this point, to keep CM Puck from winning, maybe even going so far as to hire the PCs to fix the match for him.

Cthulhu’ed: summoning the great old one for the explicit purpose of eliminating the player characters.


Anyway, I’m going to stop working on the next adventure and get back to my current one. The PCs might be upset if I’ve got nothing ready for them this Saturday.

Ryan

2-11-14

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Purple

Today’s topic is purple. It is the color of royalty, and those dragons you see down at the gas station during a bad acid trip. I really don’t know what that’s like, and it makes me happy. I have enough crazy shit going on inside my head, I don’t need to compound this with chemicals that make things worse.

Say no to drugs, kids.

And, I forgot what I was saying…

Oh, right, Purple, the color of kings. This is the color Julius Caesar wore the day his armies marched on Rome. He knew he would become Rome’s number one citizen, and the first emperor, even though he never really was called an emperor. I think most of that is attributed to Ceasar Octavious, Julius nephew, who changes his name to Caesar Augustus when he takes the throne.

Though, I guess Augustus would have had to have someone build a throne, you know, since he was the first emperor and the first sole ruler in Rome for something like five hundred years, I think it was. I’m not sure.

History lesson aside, Cupcake (who did you expect?) gave me the color purple as my topic for the day. She didn’t realize that today was cancer awareness day or some such thing, and that their dominant color is purple. I forget exactly what organization she was talking about. It probably wouldn’t take much in the way of a Google search to find out, but I’m lazy and I don’t want to do it.

As for other things, on days like this, when the topic comes from a color. I really wish I had a wide array of pens to choose from. Yes, instead of writing this in purple ink… I’m writing it in black. Oh the shame! Yeah, felt a little overdramatic there for a moment.

Now, I believe I’ve run out of things to say about the color purple.

Isn’t there a movie or a book by that name? The Color Purple?

I believe there is, and I think it was about race relations or something like that. I’m not sure, I’ve never read it. I know Google’s an option, but again, lazy.

How could I incorporate the color purple into my Dungeons and Dragons game? Well… I’ve already done that. A certain little boy’s “invisible friend” likes to change the colors of the PCs at random. I’ve actually worked up a chart for it :D

And, now for shits and giggles, I’m going to try an experiment. Which of my players read my blog?

The little boy in the game is Jacob. He’s an orphan, his mother and father killed by slavers when they attacked his home town. Jacob’s invisible friend is known as The Childlike Goddess (like The Childlike Empress from The Neverending Story). She is a greater deity with 20 divine ranks. She has 60HD (hit dice) worth of outsider “levels” (not actually levels, but there’s no better way to describe them) and she has 62 class levels covering the Barbarian, Wizard, Sorcerer, and Wilder classes. She was born a dragon (half celestial gold) and is older than almost any other dragon, though she chooses to remain in the guise of an 8 year old elven girl when she needs to be seen, and a wyrmling (youngest type of dragon) when she needs to fight. Though, most of the time she prefers to stay invisible and incorporeal.

And, unlike the topic of the post, her favorite color is pink.

With that, you kids have a fun day. I’m going to sleep through it.

Ryan
2-4-14

Yes, this post was written almost a week ago… I’m not proud of that. I’ve had a hiccup in life over the last half a week or so, and I don’t know where it came from. Part of it, was me instituting my F*** it Friday policy, the rest was a blur. It might have to do with me landing on my ribs pretty hard core, and feeling like crap after all that. And, how that pain has grown over the last week until it’s some great monster I’m afraid of. I’m going to go and get it looked at this week. And, hopefully it won’t be bad news.

Also, hopefully, I’ll be able to get back on track. Back to my walking. Back to my writing. Blogging. Goalling. And, yeah, you probably get the picture.

I’m dusting myself off this week, and trying to get back into the game.

I hope you’ll ride along to see the result.

And, one other thing, I’ve been posting my first novel here on the blog, Raising Kain: Diseased God, and I was wondering what you all thought of that. The first five chapters have posted already (links below) and I wanted to know if you liked them… Basically, I’m asking if I should post the rest of the story, or if it’s better off left in a hidden file folder on my computer?

Raising Kain: Diseased God


Let me know what you think. Comments are accepted below J And, you can comment on the link from Facebook J or reply @ryanmsmith1986 on Twitter J

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Clowns

I feel like I should be writing this post in multi colored ink. Sadly, it’s been a long time since I’ve had one of those gel multi colored pens. And… my brain stopped, dead in its tracks. It doesn’t want to discuss this topic. Clowns are the bane of mortal existence.

Like it’s really fighting it.

Why won’t the brightly colored costumes go away?

No more pom-pom buttons. No more. Please. I beg of you. I swear I’ll never watch Killer Klowns from Outer Space after dark again. I promise!

Yeah, brains still not feeling this.

It makes me upset. I usually have so much fun writing these, so I don’t know why my forehead is so thick right now. I really just want to go to bed. Yes, that would be very nice.

It’s still too early for bed, though. And, there are still several things on the “to do” list. I need to get them done before bed. Yes. Yes, I do.

Does it ever feel like you’re trying to convince yourself to do something? It feels that way for me, all the time. I always need to coax myself to actually get anything done. Like right now. Mentally, I’m fighting a war with myself, trying and trying to turn the wheels towards the topic Cupcake gave me.

Yes.

Cupcake gave me clowns as a subject. I hate her for this. Lol. Though, I did manage to pay her back… a little. I implied there might be a clown zombie drider (half drow half spider) thing named Pennywise appearing in the next few adventures. It would be just a little bit of everything my Cupcake hates and fears, and it would be glorious.

Lol.

And, now, I’m wondering what sort of stats would Pennywise (the supernatural antagonist in Stephen King’s It) have?

The way he’s described, Pennywise would be a sort of god-like character. Like Cthulhu from the Lovecraft stories, giving stats to that beast would be like taking God (the real God from the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faiths) and giving him stats. How can you do it? Where do you start? Is there a beginning to his power? An end?

I’ve made gods before (in regards to a Dungeons & Dragons pantheon for my game), and some of them are so powerful they could peel the universe apart like an orange, but that’s a whole different level of being. There’s no way to get it on paper.

And, I got all this from the topic of clowns. And, I thought the most interesting thing I’d mention would be the zombie clown from Zombieland.
Or, maybe the Joker.

And, for shits and giggles I’ll mention Killer Klowns from Outer Space again.

But, the point of the whole thing is simple. Clowns are terrifying…

That is all.

-HONK-

Ryan

2-3-14