Thursday, May 17, 2018


What do you do when you tell yourself you should dedicate more time to blogging right when you're not doing much in regards to the subject of the blog?

Just write stuff, I guess.

Yesterday I saw on Facebook that the local high school had a D&D club who was doing a fundraiser by selling shirts, so I went over and bought three for myself and the kids.  The young people I met were really friendly, and I think a little surprised.  In my work clothes I am the most ordinary looking person: middle aged, average height, nondescript dress and appearance.  But get me talking about D&D and my gaming group, etc. and I'm definitely a gaming geek through and through.  As I said the kids seemed really friendly and I wish I had met more people like that thirty years ago when I got into this pasttime.  Plus the shirts were cool and for a good cause.

My current campaign is taking a few weeks off.  May is always a busy month here, and this year my son is graduating from high school.  He's going to college less than an hour away, but we will see if he continues to show up for D&D next year.  Right now, though, the campaign seems to be in a bit of a crossroads.  I could move the campaign in the direction of courtly politics and intrigue.  Or I could continue the mega-dungeon format, since there are levels yet to be explored.  Or I could move the campaign outdoors to a hex-crawl format.  I plan on getting some input from the group, but I'm anticipating a mixed response.  In the end, I suspect the issue will come down to a combination of convenience and enjoyment on my part.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Allergic Reactions

I've been trying to get back into the swing of writing more, which of course means I need to find things to write about.

A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with a core member of my gaming group, not to mention the father of another member of my gaming group, over the issue of his having increasingly allergic reactions to being in my house.  He's got issues with pet dander, and I recently added a second pet to my house.  He is especially allergic to cats, and very soon I'll be adding those to my house as well.  The upshot is that in a matter of months, he and his son will no longer be able to game about my house.

This isn't a huge deal--there is another venue where we can gather to game--but I've gotten used to having access to all my gaming supplies when I run a game, such as miniatures, terrain, etc. not to mention a kitchen where I usually make dinner.  When my friend isn't coming to a session, I can still play at home, but it has me thinking about styles of play.  I tend to be pretty prop-heavy when it comes to gaming.  Having a layout depicting everything is particularly helpful when it comes to players who struggle to focus and follow gameplay.  I have spent a huge chunk of time building a modular dungeon which could prove downright unwieldy when it comes to gaming someplace other than my home.

All of this will, I suspect affect the culture of the gaming group.  It will become less tabletop-wargamey/boardgamey and more "theater of the mind."  This will prove a challenge to those who are used to doing their action, whipping out their phone, and then checking back in when they are reminded it is their turn.

Thoughts?  Your own experiences with low-weight gaming?

Friday, May 4, 2018

Fieldstone Modular Dungeon Phase Two built

I finished the second part of my fieldstone modular dungeon, made with Hirst Arts blocks.  The second part includes

  • four 15' hallways (one square=five feet)
  • six 10' hallways
  • four doorways
  • three pillars
  • two 30' by 30' rooms
  • two 20' by 20' rooms with two entrances--one with the entrances on opposite walls, the other on adjacent walls
The idea behind the second phase was to obviously add some much-needed variety to the first part of the dungeon, and some larger rooms that accommodate a normal-sized adventuring party better.  Next up is the three layers of painting.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Ergon Game Map and Gaming Recap

Click from a larger pic

Recently my gaming group has had to change the venue of our sessions because I am getting several cats in the near future and have two players who are very, very allergic.  This is kind of a bummer for me, because I like gaming in my own house and have been building a very cumbersome modular dungeon to use in my games that I do no want to lug around from place to place.

So to resolve my immediate issues regarding having a more mobile gaming set-up, I invested in an Ergon Gaming Mat that I spotted on an ad from Amazon.  I have a Chessex game mat, the kind that folds up and takes all kind of punishment, but I was curious about what a more flexible silicone mat might be able to do.  In addition to having the normal grid on one side, it also had hexes on the other (which suited my constant dreams of running Champions again).  The mat showed the dry-erase marker clearly and could be rolled up, even squished with no signs of damage.  Using a dry paper towel didn't remove the marks, however, but left ghost images behind.  A wet towel, on the other hand, left the mat completely pristine.

Unlike the Chessex mat, you can't use permanent marker on the Ergon mat (but why would you, unless by accident).  On the plus side, with no creases or folds and the ability to unroll the mat as the group goes along, I think that this will become my travel mat of choice.

Speaking of the gaming session, the group continued their alliance with the coven of witches they discovered in the Whispering Elms Forest (an ethically murky decision given the coven's affiliation with local bugbear tribes) and managed to acquire a monster to replace the guard of the coven's previous layer, which they had slain in the last session.  At this point, the campaign is a bit of a crossroads in terms of direction.  Initially it had been a mega-dungeon crawl, but the group seems to be getting bored with that and may want to shift to more of an wilderness hexcrawl format.  Other players seem to be interested in doing more "worldbuilding" by getting involved in local politics, etc.  For my own sense of campaign design, I need to talk to the group about what they want to do, lest I end up preparing for one thing and watching them wander off in another direction.

Over at Strange Vistas