Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Projects Status: Stuff in Progress, Slow and Steady

These days I am getting maybe 2 segments of 3 hours a day where I am in relatively little pain, assuming I keep my activity limited.  Driving my wife to the store or going to the doctor pretty much knocks out the entire day for me, so I lose quite a few days a week.  Hopefully soon I will get this issue all resolved.

In the meantime, with no weekly game set up yet, I have turned my attention to using some of these little segments of times to work on gaming projects when I am not spending time with my family or handling other household things to do.  A little time scattered here in there can make at least some progress on getting things done.

So here is my list of gaming projects currently underway:

Port Wayne Cyberpunk Setting -- Originally this was a Shadowrun setting made up of a series of handouts and built off of the Shadowrun world and history.  I am revamping it into a single book that is all setting and no rules.  The world I am building it on is purposely left vague, but more of the ilk that magic and other humanoid races have always been around.  So far I have a rough outline and have rewritten about half the history.  STATUS: 50% Complete

Dead Channel Sky -- This is an extension of Pathfinder rules to cover post-modern / cyberpunk games.  It is meant to add equipment and archetypes to allow existing Pathfinder classes to still be played.  The bulk of the rules are simple additions or extensions.  There are a couple of new classes and a few new races.  It also includes rules for building vehicles and hacking.  I am working on a revision to fix a few details from our previous playtest and add some missing content, most specifically magic.  STATUS: 70% Complete

The Pink Dice Chronicles Blog  -- You're reading it.  STATUS: Ongoing

The Pink Dice Chronicles Vlog -- Yeah, I am working on a Vlog conversion of the Pink Dice Chronicles to help gain some audience.  So far I have created a brief theme song and I am learning how to use Synfig to put together an opening sequence.  I am also trying to learn how to do greenscreening.  STATUS:  Maybe 15% to my first episode

Miniatures Painting -- I have literally more than a hundred miniatures to paint.  It is a very slow process.  I typically work on 3 or 4 miniatures at a time, painting one or maybe two colors on each before letting them dry.  Currently working on a dracolisk, a halfling sword and shield maiden, a female devil, and a pack camel.  STATUS: Less than 1% Complete

Game Room -- My game room is slowly coming together, though it takes a lot of time since I can't do much lifting and hanging of stuff.  I have all my major furniture fleshed out with 4 book cabinets, a miniature painting table, a gaming table and a large countertop area with cabinets.  I have a convection microwave oven for heating and cooking snacks.  I still need to get a small fridge.  There is lots of sorting, organizing, and hanging of posters yet to do.  I also hope to make a large wall shelf to hold my hundreds of miniatures. STATUS:  80% Complete

Online Games -- I am currently working on 4 games I would like to run.  I am converting my horror game over to a Darklands campaign for standard Pathfinder.  I am also trying to get Port Wayne ready to run with DCS at some point.  I have been watching MLP:FiM with my daughter in preparation for a Ponyfinder game.  I also am learning DND 5e to see if I can run a game in it someday.  Most likely no more than one or two of these games will turn into something real anytime soon, but it is still fun to think about them.  STATUS: Darklands 80%, Port Wayne 60%, D&D 5e 5%, Ponyfinder 20%

Finding a Game -- My oddest "project" is finding a game to play in.  I have put out a notice locally on craigslist looking for a local group.  I also have a LFG notice up on reddit hoping to find a group online.  I really would love to get into a new Pathfinder game.  I am thinking I might give an Oradin build a try (Oracle / Paladin).  STATUS: Unknown

My Character-based Novel -- I have a novel I am writing based on characters I have developed and played throughout my lifetime.  It is currently about 45,000 words, and I am hoping to hit 100,000 at around the end of the storyline.  For this I just recently completed a map for Erinius, the land where it takes place.  STATUS:  45% Complete

So I'll keep adding a little time to these here and there and maybe even post my progress as I get things completed.  Someday soon I'll hopefully be back to work, and then my time for these things will be a lot less.  That's OK.  I don't mind taking years to finish things.  My novel has been in the works since at least 2002.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sad Days: A Gamer without a Group

So my online game finally imploded with several players leaving, not showing up, or simply not putting in any time in the game.  With 8 players I thought I would be able to get a minimum of 4 per week, but it didn't work out.  *sigh*  I got tired of building a game that was never going to be played.

So I thought maybe I would look for a local game.  I put a notice out on craigslist and got no responses.  I can't find any evidence of a gaming group in the immediate area.  I guess I could drive 30 or 40 minutes to the big city area and see if I could find one to join.  Unfortunately, my back injury has recently gotten worse, and it just isn't going to be possible.

So, for now, this sad GM is watching MLP:FiM in preparation for Ponyfinder, reading up on D&D5 PHB, dabbling at painting minis, and hoping that I will recover soon.  It is just really sad for me to not have a game going right now.

Maybe sometime in the future I will start a new game online as a player or host a new online game or maybe even start a Ponyfinder game.  I guess it is probably time to convert the blog into a vlog too, while I have some time.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ponyfinder: Ponies on the Brain

I am thinking about starting a Ponyfinder game very soon.  In preparation for this, I have been watching the cartoon  MLP: FiM.  So far, having watched the first two episodes, I am surprised, impressed, and slightly intimidated.  Unlike cartoons from my younger years, like Animaniacs, which had two sides to them, this cartoon has no "jokes for adults" written in.  It is pure, wholesome.  It is a level of cartoon purity I have not seen in years.

And by pure wholesome, I mean no violence, not even a real enemy.  They defeated the foe using honesty, laughter, loyalty, kindness, generosity, and friendship.  Friendship, of course, generated magic, but the magic didn't kill the foe, it turned it into a friend.

So, as an apprentice of Candlekeep, Baldur's Gate, and Neverwinter, and with the GM's heart of a dwarf, how am I supposed to GM a Ponyfinder game?  Will player's expect a wholesome "saving everyone" motif?  Is this the end of... dare I say it... combat?  I just don't know what to expect or what, as a GM, to create?

My conclusion is that I need to watch a lot more of the cartoon to figure it out.  If there are any other GMs out there hosting a Ponyfinder game, can you share your experiences?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Friday Night Pathfinder Horror: Ghosts 'n' Stuff

So the party of 3 characters (Lillian, Morrigan, and Sagittarius) and an eidolon started exploring from the room where the 2 ogres had been previously killed.  The room had two apparent exits besides the door they came in.  To the south, there was a closed door.  A small tunnel, large enough to crawl through led to another small door.  The party checked out the door to the South, finding a room with 6 metallic urns circling about a well with a bucket.  There was hideous giggling in the room and the doors opened and closed by themselves, exposing a storage room to the south.  The auras of the room appeared to have an evil tint.  The party decided to explore the small tunnel rather than to deal with the "ghost" here.

The party opened the door and sent a rat into the room beyond the door.  The rat was able to spy a bedroom with bags against the double entry doors, and a large ogre with a club.  Unfortunately, the rat was quickly squashed and the party pulled back, closing the tunnel door behind them.

The party strategized a plan.  The summoner would send in a small air elemental to distract the ogre while the rest of the party entered and got standing to engage.  The plan worked reasonably well.  The air elemental entered, and the ogre killed it in one hit.  The rest of the party got in and started hitting the ogre.  In less than 3 rounds it was dead.  The party searched the room and found potions and a wand.

The party headed south, digging the bags away from the double doors.  In the hall, there was an alcove with a floating mist creature of some sort, and an odd looking tree stump with a bunny on top of it.  The party checked things out.  The fog affected the eidolon and it became shaken with fear for the ghostly phantoms it saw inside the cloud.  Sagittarius got close to the stump and it turned into a creature with long tentacles that grabbed him and started dragging him towards it.  Morrigan smacked the tentacle with his quarterstaff and the creature pulled back like a hurt puppy.  The cloud briefly shocked Lillian before retreating.

The party continued on down the corridor checking things out.  They nearly ran afoul of some loose ceiling blocks that would have crushed them if not spotted.  Some edible mushrooms were growing along the corridor, as well.  The party found a +1 set of chainmail armor in good condition.  A door led farther into the dungeon, but the party turned back to check out the storage room off the "ghost room".  There they found significant supplies.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Unrest in the Community: The Road to Peace through Inclusiveness

I follow Zak Smith who writes the Blog "Playing DnD with Porn Stars" (nsfw). It is interesting for those wanting to get a different perspective on a gaming group.  Zak seems to have gotten himself crossways with members of the community over his general attitude that discussions of feminism need to to be inclusive beyond the typical conservative elements that seem to drive feminism.  Zak has responded in his defense.  Still more interesting is an article from one of his players that puts their gaming group in perspective, as well as their reception by the gaming community.  I am the PinkDiceGM because I have an active interest in girls in gaming.  I have 4 daughters that I want to have good experiences in our hobby.  My conclusions thus far I think are rather interesting, though they don't really address the gaming community, especially with the strength that Zak has.

The most important aspect of our community of gamers is that it needs to be inclusive in every sense.  Gamers of all types need to be welcome in our community.  Characters of all types must be welcome in our games.  The second a GM infringes on the rights of the player to play their rules-legal character, the contract is broken.  All games should be accepted from simple games like "Everyone is John" to D&D 3.5 which spans hundreds of books.

The idea of bringing issues of gender, sexual orientation, faith, or heritage of the player into the community as an important aspect seems wrong.  The rule is simple:  All gamers are welcome.  Anyone that breaks that is wrong.  In game, characters can reflect the imagination or reality of players in whatever way they want.  I personally like to play and experience strong female characters, but other people may want to explore other aspects of their character.  In game, things like gender, sexual orientation, faith, and heritage are aspects that can be explored.  So long as this fits in to the legal rules, they should be allowed.  There should be qualifiers, but they should be fair and unbiased.  For example, when playing with younger players, I may not allow sex in my games, or perhaps I may indicate that sexual encounters need to be tastefully described in the game without details.  This is a fine line to be walked, but usually I qualify these games with being a "family friendly game with players as young as BLANK", and things usually don't get too out of hand.  And, it doesn't bother me that other players and GMs may handle this differently.

As a GM, I have had to deal with disruptive players before, which in many ways is the mark of coming of age of a GM.  What we must be careful of, is making sure that we are truly being fair when we label a player disruptive.  Are they disruptive because that "don't fit in"?  I think this means they bring new ideas to the table, and this is a very positive thing.  In the past I have had to tell my players to chill because a differently thinking players changed "their game" and they were upset.  By the general rule of inclusiveness, I can't just kick out a player because he or she changes the game.  That is what players are supposed to do -- contribute to the game, to the story, and to the world.

How do we balance this with rule zero:  everybody has fun.  This simple answer is expectations.  When we start a game, we need to lay down the type of game we are playing, the rules of the game, and set the expectations.  Players don't like to be surprised by their contract with the GM about what the game is.  Setting expectations early for what the game is goes a long way to avoid breaking rule zero.  In cases where you think a particular element may be important to the players, call it out specifically.

All of these things I have talked about, I think should be self-evident, but I realize that other people are in different places with their perspectives. I can coexist with those people.  My beliefs to not require everyone else to believe the same thing.  Ultimately, I don't care who you are, because I will treat you with respect.  In our community, love wins.  We need love in our community -- love for games, love for players, and even love for characters.  And if you want to really discuss feminism in our community, be inclusive.  Chainmail bikinis (nsfw) are allowed but not mandatory, and let the game play go on.