Mother’s Day, Amikacin and You.

Last time, I mentioned how Mom’s prognosis was up and down. Over the past ten days, it’s been all over the place, exasperated by insurance issues. Last Friday (that is, before Mother’s Day), we were informed that Mom’s insurance would no longer cover her as a short term patient, as of this Thursday. So, our options are to bring her home unable to walk, but with therapists and nurses and such here at home, with all sorts of new devices to help us move her around, or we could put her in long term care, which would end any therapy for her and she would never come home.

We decided to bring her home.

But a week later, and she’s still at the convalescent home and we’re still without the equipment. The equipment is supposed to be here tomorrow, and so might Mom, but we have no real idea if we’re ready for her to be home. The next couple of weeks are going to be difficult no matter what.

Mom has realized that she didn’t do enough to help herself out of this situation, but we also realized that her health is so sensitive that her ability to consistently perform is hampered. She mentioned feeling shaky and not able to do her therapy many times during her stay, and only this past week or so did we realize that the shakiness was related to her infections. The most recent bout of shakiness was due to a UTI, which I know I’ve mentioned before is related to the lack of functionality of her kidneys.

When we learned about her impending discharge, we decided we’d put off doing anything for Mother’s Day until she came home. We did have the staff put Mom in her chair so we could take her out on the patio and have some peach pie my sister made the day before. I hear from folks a lot that I should enjoy these times more than I do, but I often feel like I’m spending time with a stranger. I know I’ve mentioned it before that Mom has lost her hearing. I used to spend a lot of time with her, discussing life and all that. Now, since the destruction of her hearing, it is so difficult trying to talk to her that I’ve basically given up on such complex subjects.

I say “destruction” because that’s basically the truth of the matter. Mom’s hearing was destroyed by Amikacin, and antibiotic used to treat MRSA, which Mom had contracted during one of her visits to the hospital. I posted about it on Facebook, and I wanted to repost my original post every year, but Facebook makes that basically impossible, so I’ll try to make this a regular thing here on the blog. So here’s my warning to you, gentle reader:

Amikacin is an antibiotic used in the treatment of MRSA, medically resistant staphylococcus aureus. It has a known side effect of burning out the cilia in the inner ear, destroying the patient’s ability to hear. You have been warned, friends: you will lose your hearing if you are prescribed amikacin.

Only a cochlear implant has any hope of restoring hearing, and implants are not advised for diabetics, due to healing issues related to the disease. So Mom will never clearly hear again, and I can’t really talk to her any more.

I could go on with other things, like John Wick, or my creative projects, but it’s late and I’m not really interested in writing more now.


W*rk is a Four-Letter Word

Last night, I wrote a lengthy piece on how work has been going lately. I’m in a better mood today, and I’ve decide it was too long and inappropriate to be posting in anything approaching a public forum. Suffice it to say, it has been very stressful lately.

Adding to the stress is Mom’s condition. One week, she seems on fire and is really working to come home. The next week, she seems completely unmotivated. She’s been out of the house since sometime in February, I think. We thought going to Yosemite for her birthday would motivate her, and it seemed to for about two weeks. My sister and I are getting tired of the delays, and they all seem centered on Mom.

I finished the Economix book. I really wasn’t too surprised by much in the final chapters. I’ve lived through them.

I still recommend the book to anyone interested in how our economy got as messed up as it is.

I otherwise haven’t done much of anything creative lately. I honestly couldn’t tell you what I’ve been doing with my evenings that aren’t Thursday through Saturday. Sometime in the last two weeks, I watched Arrival, which was a pretty amazing movie. I reread the Killraven comic book mini-series of a few years ago, written and illustrated by Alan Davis. There are some ideas within that series that have inspired some of my ideas in StarSea. That’s all I can remember right now, even looking at a calendar.

That’s pretty much it for this fortnight. Later.

Going to Try to be Quick, But We All Know How That Goes…

Not much going on. Mom is still out of the house, which means I’m still working a lot and not doing much at home. In addition, Mom had a bit of a scare last weekend, her heart rate suddenly elevating for no real reason. They never did say what the cause was, but as soon as my sister arrived at the hospital, Mom’s heart rate dropped back to a proper level. She was prescribed a new drug to keep her heart rate lower (in addition to her pacemaker to keep her heart from going too slow), and another drug to keep her heart rate up, and I think a drug to improve her appetite (she currently eats like a metaphorical bird).

I’ve read more in the Economix book, and I’m looking forward to getting through it all the way. It’s a pretty interesting description of the way economics have and haven’t worked in the US. I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

I’ve tinkered a bit with the Superhero Reboot, and I may be getting a bit rabbit hole-ish, in that I’m thinking of doing some world-building for the superhero world in which these characters exist. Part of me doesn’t want to bother, but without some ground rules, I have no basis for the characters, especially the legacy of my super-agent, as he’s the descendent of another superhero. I need to be careful, or I’ll end up going down a rabbit hole and starting work on a full universe. I don’t need that deep a project in addition to all the others.

Last Saturday, I went to the game store to while away the day while my usual group of friends were out of town, and it just happened to be an RPG Meetup day. I managed to jump into a game of Dresden Accelerated (Fate-based), which I think is still in playtesting. I enjoyed it, and the peak into some of the new systems. I look forward to picking it up in June.

While listening to a live-play podcast, I got to thinking about how undead might work in a setting. That is, how does the magic that animates the dead actually make a body something other than a bunch of meat lying on the floor.

The undead in most RPGs are taken from mythology, and therefore they have a host of origins: spells enacted on whatever bodies are lying around, rituals that transform the subject, but cast by others and the ritualist, infection vectors, and seeming spontaneous generation. I was thinking that for StarSea, I’d have one origin for most (or all) undead. That requires me to think about how the undead work.

In the podcast I was listening to, the zombies the party encountered were being animated by ghosts who were bound to the bodies by a sigil only one character could see. That set me to thinking about this subject. In Game of Thrones, the first of the White Walkers is created by the forest spirits in an attempt to thin the human herd which backfires on them, hideously. This creature was programmed to create others of its kind, and some of those seem to be sapient while the bulk are mindless hordes. Those two examples popped into my head of undead that aren’t so needlessly diverse.

On the other hand, I get the idea of different undead being linked to vices, a curse of the gods meant as an example of how immoral behavior will not be tolerated. I’ve never liked that idea, as it seems pretty backwards to give a sinner such vast power as a “punishment.”

I really don’t have a solution at this point, but I know in the StarSea that the undead are linked to the Corruption. Whole worlds and populations have been turned to undeath. This sort of undead should be like the undead of the GoT, not the random odds and ends of walking dead that populate most fantasy worlds. But this is just the kernel of an idea.

It’s late and I’m tired. So there you go. That’s it for this time.


Busy, Busy, Busy!

I haven’t mentioned here, but a few weeks ago, near the beginning of March, Mom had to go back to the hospital with a mild case of pneumonia. It took a couple of weeks for her to get over that, as well as the other infections she developed while there. whenever she’s at the hospital for more than a couple of days, she ends up sitting and lying around so much she can’t stand up and needs physical therapy. So, she’s been out of the house for a couple of weeks now. That means I can work more, as I’m not caring for her every other day. So lately I’ve had a couple of weeks in which I’ve worked three or four of the weekdays. That’s great for my pocketbook, but horrible for getting anything done after work. That means I’ve just been kicking back after work and not motivated to accomplish anything meaningful to me. But I have accomplished a little.

One of the few things I’ve done is some work with my Dragon Age character. After the last post, we did character creation. I was afraid my GM might not want me to follow a certain path (a specialization that uses others’ pain to empower the character), as it’s pretty dark. He was cool with it though, and we got on our way.

My character is an escaped elven slave, and it’s interesting to play a character who wants to keep a low profile. It’s really coloring my decisions as the character moves through the world. For example, there was a weapon throwing contest, which the character would be pretty good at, but I decided he wouldn’t want to draw the attention of those who might turn him into a bounty hunter and return him to slavery. It’s very different for me, as I usually end up with my characters right up front, even if I don’t build them to be there. I look forward to seeing where the character goes in the course of the game.

I’m also building a mini for him. At first, I bought a couple of the new unpainted plastic Elven Ranger minis WizKids is producing for D&D, but after purchasing them, I realized they are Drizzt. I could paint them as high elves or whatever, but the fur mantle on his cloak is simply too damned recognizable. Instead, I’ll use a WHFB Dark Elf Corsair with two blades. I think he’ll have a good, dynamic pose that will be fun to paint.

My Superhero Rebuild project hasn’t been a big focus either, although I had some breakthroughs. I cleaned out the waterlogged box of game books and found some of my old Street Fighter stuff (the books were all destroyed). In there, I’d actually included histories on Agent Omega/Vindicator/ShadowWalker and Dr. Power. While I don’t have all their powers, etc., I do have the important things: their histories and some other details, like Dr. Power’s secret identity.

I’ve pretty much rewritten AO/V/SW’s history, as it was a bit dated and I wanted to make the timeline work better for 20 years later. I’m still not sure what happened between the last of the Champions games and the present, but I moved that character forward about 20 years in about 15 minutes.

Still not sure what to do with his missing years and travels to alien dimensions. My first thought had been to do a Planetary Romance/Sword and Planet (John Carter) sort of thing. However, that doesn’t necessarily move the character in a direction I like. If I don’t do that, I’m not sure what to do with him. I’ve also become interested in proprioception and situational awareness as superpowers. I think he will continue to be a gear-based character. That just seems to make sense.

This weekend at the local Bookwyrm gaming convention (had about 100 people at the con at the same time I was) I got to play a game called Phoenix: Dawn Command. It’s created by Keith Baker, the guy who created the card game Gloom and the D&D setting Eberron. I had a fantastic time with it, although it was a difficult location, and I’m sure the other players didn’t see my enthusiasm throughout most of the game. We were in the Story Room of a library, and the shape of the room caused the noise of other tables to drown out some of the players’ voices, especially the DM’s. And I ended up with another healer/social character, which I only realized later. I’m getting rather tired of that combination.

However, the game play was very entertaining. The idea is that your characters are reincarnated heroes of some time past. In fact, I first heard about it at the same time I got the idea for the Reincarnated setting I’ve been working on. P:DC was one of the inspirations for the setting, alongside Age of Sigmar.

These Phoenixes are brought into schools (classes) which determine their abilities. Those schools are very much a niche protection system, as only one player can choose a particular class. Each school is also based on the character’s first life, and death. We used pregens, so I saw none of the character creation material. The book and box are pretty bland as far as shelf appeal, but the real art treat is the cards used for challenge resolution. They are Tarot card sized and include some very stylized art that enhances the feel of the setting, a medieval world that is slowly being overrun by a group of evils collectively known as the Dread.

Challenge resolution is handled by placing cards from your hand out to try to achieve a total that is compared to a chart, which was included on the pregen sheet. There are three suits, each associated to a typical game ability: Strength, Grace, and Intellect. Grace is both physical grace and internal grace, as it is used for social challenges as well as physical. As the characters have a personalized deck with cards that favor their abilities, it is rare that a character can’t get a relatively decent spread of cards. As well, each character can always use his favored suit as a different suit if needed.

So, the game has some level of tactical/strategic play alongside a very story driven setting. As well, in an encounter, there is a card called the Torch. The Torch acts as the initiative system, with the players literally “passing the Torch” to the next player in line, which is determined by the player ending his turn at that moment. Enemies have a Speed stat, which determines how many players go between their actions. So for example, the dreadknights we faced always had a speed of 2, which meant two of us players would go, then the dreadknight, then two more of us, then the dreadknight again.

As well, the Torch lists a number of elements that are part of the encounter. These elements function like scene aspects in Fate, but each can only be used once. Having this list in front of you or another player is a good reminder they exist. It really helped us actually use those “aspects.” My character used one, and I came up with an effect that helped create a fun story. There was a listing for “Discarded Chains” on the Torch. I decided my cleric character walked by the chains on the way to a villain, picked up a chain, charged it with magical energy and flailed the villain with it. This made for a fun story and brought smiles to everyone’s faces.

At some point, I may pick up the game. I think the kids could play it and have a lot of fun, and I think the rest of the people I play with would be entertained by it as well. However, the book is heavy, there are a lot of cards, all in a very well constructed box, so the game is a little spendy for an indie game ($65 compared to the usual $20), so it may be a while before I pick it up. But it would be a worthy addition to any indie player’s game library.

Something I’ve been stumbling on for the Reincarnated setting I’ve been working on is the map. One thing I’ve wanted to do with it is have my players build the individual nation-states for the region of the fallen empire we would be playing in. I’ve been fascinated by the map below since I found it, and I’ve wanted to somehow incorporate something like this into my map.


Obviously, each octagon or circle is an encounter location, which is what attracted me to the map. This map is a campaign flowchart, essentially. I find that a brilliant idea, that it is laid out so plainly to that end.

But in thinking about this map, and our discussions after my Thursday night game, I realized that what I think I really need for my map is a variation of a Western Marches campaign. We talked about doing a Western Marches style game (a setting idea by game designer Ben Robbins, creator of Microscope, Kingdom, and the upcoming Follow), which consists of a safe and boring base for the players, while they make excursions to the West of the base to assault ancient ruins and monsters, which absolutely do not exist anywhere to the East. In imitation of Moorcock’s Corum, which I’ve mentioned is also an inspiration for the setting, I plan on putting the safe zone one an island from which the players can jump off to attack the invader gods and their followers. I need to think a little more about how to do this, and I think flowcharting the setting a little bit more might be in order.

Finally, I bought and started reading Economix, in an effort to educate myself on, well, Economics. I’d stumbled across this site and book a few weeks ago, and something sparked me to really dig into the subject (mainly my brain getting hooked on it after driving by yet another strip mall going up in town). I can’t recommend this book enough, and I’m only 58 pages in. If you weren’t an Economics major, or like me you simply failed to ever take a course in the subject, you might want to look into this book.

I think that’s all this time around, so I’ll complete things and get off to bed so I can get to work in the morning.


Thursday Nights and Super Heroes

It’s been three weeks, so we’ll try it again!

Titansgrave Finale

Last Thursday, we finished Titansgrave. The final battle was short and went pretty much as expected: No one ever considers not killing the bad guy. I think everyone was happy with the play, but not that we won’t be continuing until the second season comes out. I came to the conclusion that the world isn’t quite my thing. I don’t want to create my own adventures in the setting. I want my own world.

Next Thursday Game: Dragon Age Tabletop

One of the guys at our Thursday night game has run the Dragon Age tabletop game, and since it uses the same rules as Fantasy Age, we’re going to play that next. I’ve been researching the setting to find a character concept, and I think I have a couple of ideas. We’re doing character creation this Thursday, and we’ll see what shakes out.

Next as GM: Numenera Starter

We’re going to rotate games and GMs for a while, which we pretty much decided after the 4e campaign ended. When my turn comes around again, I’m planning on running the adventure in the above mentioned starter set. Monte Cook Games used the “glimmer” adventure Vortex for the set, so if that runs short, I can dig out the PDF and run the rest.

We’ve discussed doing a “Western Marches” style game as well. I’m only sorta interested, but a recent video made mention of using Microscope and Kingdom to create some of the setting elements. I had Microscope and I’ve picked up Kingdom, but I haven’t read Kingdom yet. We might end up doing sessions of those as well at some point.

Superheroes Redesign 

Once the toy I mentioned a few weeks got under my skin and inspired me to revisit an old Champions character, the big got into my head to collect more of the figures and repaint them to fit the characters.

Yeah, characters.

As I got to thinking about my old Champions characters, I felt that one of the other characters I played way back in the late 80s and early 90s had more stories to tell, and he fit well with where I can see Knyte going. His name was Dr. Power, and he was a Superman rip off for the most part. Thing is, I can’t find either character’s (or any of the characters’) sheets or histories. That may be a good thing, because I feel that I can play with the characters without stepping on the GM’s toes. The portions of the characters he created aren’t part of my records any more, or my memory, so I’ll have to recreate those details.

Sadly, in searching for those character sheets, I found that a box of game books that I had just recently reboxed (as they were in a cardboard box that was falling apart) had been placed just right to end up not sealed as tight as I expected and got waterlogged in the recent rains. Many of the books will have to be trashed, but only some will be replaced. The damaged books are largely just not things I’m especially interested in any more. It’s time to let go.

Random thoughts about StarSea and the Reincarnated

I’ve had the odd thought here and there about both settings. For the StarSea, the distance is making me feel I was thinking too scientifically about the setting and it’s trappings. Some of my ideas weren’t “sufficiently advanced magic.”

With the Reincarnated setting, I had some thoughts about the elves and gnobblins, how they relate to one another, and how the elves relate to one another. Not that this has any relevance to gameplay, but it’s an enjoyable experience that keeps the world interesting.

That’s pretty much all I’ve got for this go-’round.


Trying Creativity Again

I mentioned reading in my last post. It’s something I’m trying to do more of, just reading paper items again. I’m trying to spend less time reading political and science articles from Facebook, and read more books and magazine articles. Mostly this is game related reading, whether the Numenera starter, the rest of Titansgrave, or other short items. Just something different to be doing than focusing on the computer or mobile device.

I’ve been pretty artistically stagnant for a few years now. Since sometime after I started at the photo studio. My dry spell might have started just after joining Facebook, but I think it was earlier than that. I just don’t remember. But I feel like I’m maybe starting to shake that stagnation.

Part of that has been in relation to Mom’s ramp. I failed to realize the creativity that went into that. It seems I didn’t put up an image of that when we built in (and I realize I might not have been doing this blog them), so here is one now:


This is the completed ramp we made in April of 2013. The problem is the step, here closest to the camera. The step has started to break down as it was designed poorly. The riser is in front of the step, rather than under it as it should be. So, on the outside, it needs to be rebuilt. The step is also too shallow, and so feels very steep.

So, over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been designing a new step. I want something that will support more weight and be less deep, so we can step on it more comfortably. With the weather getting better, as soon as my tax refund comes in, I’ll start picking up the lumber to make the new step.

I’ve also been trying to work out how to deal with the space issues in my bedroom. I’ve got two ideas immediately: a new base and headboard for my bed with a set of shelves built in; or a loft bed, moving my computer under my bed and getting rid of my current desk for another book shelf.

The loft bed would create a lot more space in my room. My current desk is about 7′ by 3′, being a nice drafting table I got from a former co-worker at Firstworld when he moved back to Texas. It’s a great desk, but it takes up too much room and has become too much of a garbage collector. Reducing the clutter would be a welcome thing. And I could replace the old desk with more bookshelves.

However, at my height, the bed would have to be pretty tall. I need to measure myself in my office chair to see just how tall, but I’m guessing about 60″. That would put the top of the bed over 6′ high (unless I got without a box spring), leaving me with little room to sleep in and turn over in, considering I have an 8′ ceiling.

So, it seems to me that my original plan, an expanded headboard, is the better plan. It’s also something I’m more comfortable I could build myself and not have collapse on me the first time I turn over. It’s the assembly I have yet to work out. I have a basic design, with a box base for the bed, with maybe drawers in the base, or maybe a lift top and general storage under the mattress. I haven’t priced out the cost of the drawer mechanics, but I have an idea of the cost of the pneumatic lifts for the general storage, so I kind of know the price to beat.

These design challenges are entertaining and challenging to me. I may continue to work on the loft bed design I have in mind, as one of my Thursday night players is interested in doing the same thing (although she may just go out and buy what she wants). But all three giving me something to work my imagination on that’s new and different.

I’m also in the process of redesigning an old Superhero RPG character. The Mighty Mini figure I mentioned last time. I picked up a couple of others on eBay, and something about them sparked me to re-examine this old character. His name was Agent Omega originally, and his real name was Richard Knyte. He was built for Champions, but I’m not going to recreate him in game terms, as I don’t have a Superhero RPG I’m really interested in right now. Agent Omega was a superagent who eventually helped take out the Hydra like organization he’d been part of as part of his origin. He then took up the name Vindicator, but ultimately I couldn’t find much of a direction for the character, and I ended up retiring him by having him fall into a dimensional rift.

I thought about a new identity for him as Shadowwalker, a dimensional traveller, but even that is kind of weak in my mind, especially as Shadowwalker was a streetname I used for my Virtual Adept in a Mage the Ascension game. So, I’m trying to figure out what direction I take with the character in resurrecting him. One of the ideas I had for him was him carrying a spear made of shadow, but I’m really reconsidering that. I had redesigned him based off another toy I’d encounter. That was a version of Nightwing (Dick Grayson as an adult) that had a golden torso. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just not happy with any of that, and I want to redesign him, as a challenge to myself.

It’s late and, as often ends my musings, I have to get to work tomorrow. I want to state that I feel like I’ve stalled out on the rule writing for the Adventurers! rewrite. I keep looking at my notes and thinking I don’t know what to do next. I have spotty ideas for the StarSea and Reincarnated games, but nothing worth commenting on. That’s why I want to tinker with the woodworking designs. Try to get into something completely different and maybe that will shake loose my mind and get me to creating other things.

But it’s time to go. Later.

Dumb Luck, Sleep Deprivation and Reading

Because reasons, it’s taken me all week to write this post. I’ll explain later.

Dumb Luck

Some of my friends are aware of my dumb luck. It mostly involves me getting rewarded for insignificant things in my life, and is of limited assistance in more significant life issues. I’m sure there’s a more scientific, reasonable explanation, but I’ll be damned if I can figure it out. I experienced one of these “dumb luck” moments last weekend.

The weekend before, while at Target with the kids, I noticed the package pictured below.

What caught my eye was the red figure to the left of the silhouette, Red Robin. Red Robin is the third Robin, Tim Drake, when he went out on his own while Batman was believed dead. I really liked the Red Robin costume, especially the version just before the Flashpoint event. It’s a very strong, sleek design with good color and tone balance, especially after they dumped the peplums on the tunic. From the looks of the package, it looked like the version of the character I like. These are sold as blind packs, so you can’t just buy the one you want.

Looking at them, I thought “I can afford to get a couple of these and maybe I’ll get lucky and get the Red Robin, the one I really want.” I purchased two and took them home. No dice. I got two of the same Batman figures, and I gave one of them to one of the kids.

Last weekend, I figured I could afford to buy a couple more packs and try again. I got to the Target, and found the endcap, but all the packages were gone. I poked around for a few minutes, and found one last package. I decided I’d take the chance and pick it up, along with a couple of other items I wanted. I figured if I didn’t get what I wanted, I could get one on eBay.

As soon as I got to the car, I opened the package, and my dumb luck held out. The only package left had in it the figure I had wanted from the beginning.

I’m thinking of doing some touch up on the figure, as I can easily see some flaws, like the gaps in the yellow bandoliers on the chest, and the slop on the chin guard. I’m a little nervous about doing that and screwing it up. I might get the professional mini painter I know to touch it up.

In the end, I truly cannot understand how this sort of stuff works out for me, but other things in life, like job hunting and the lottery don’t. I just don’t get it.

Sleep Deprivation

Last week was been hell on my sleep, and it’s all been related to my mother. She’s backslid quite a bit in the three or four weeks since the physical therapist stopped coming out. The therapist had been coming since before Mom’s trip to the rehab home in November, and the therapist released Mom in mid-January. Now, again Mom has to struggle to get to the bathroom and bedroom at night. Tuesday night, the night before a work day for me, she collapsed in the bathroom. By the time my sister and I picked her up off the floor, it was nearly 1AM, and I needed to get up at 6AM for a day of driving. My anger at her loss of ability (partly at myself and my sister for letting her off the hook on her exercises and just getting up and practicing), as well has her surrender to her fear of falling (which is part of why she collapsed), had me full of adrenaline, as did the physical effort of picking her up. That meant I couldn’t get my mind to shut down in time to get enough sleep to be safe on the roads. I had to call in sick.

Thursday night ended up with the same sort of issue. I tried to tell her she needed to get going earlier so I could get to bed for work the next morning. I don’t know if she didn’t clearly hear me (since her hearing was destroyed by antibiotics) and she just nodded and said she understood when she really didn’t, or if she forgot what I had said, but she kept delaying, and again it was nearly 1AM by the time I got to bed. And again, I obsessed over trying to get sleep to the point I failed, and then I obsessed over calling in a second time in a row in the week. I tried to settle my mind with Tylenol PM, a white noise app, and eventually reading. I ended up pulling an all-nighter, reading a book nearly cover to cover.

Tonight, as I write this, it’s 20 after 11PM, and she’s been in bed for about an hour. I’ll be able to get to bed on time and get to work tomorrow. Huzzah.


I’m trying to read more fun stuff and spend less on the Internet reading political stuff or other distractions like games on my tablet. I think that’s part of getting back to being creative again. I know it is, so you can stop laughing now.

The book I read Thursday morning as I tried to put myself to sleep is a reprint of one of the first graphic novels, called Blackmark by artist Gil Kane. Mr. Kane had an outline for his story, but knowing he wasn’t really an author, had a comic writer and editor named Archie Goodwin supply the actual text, while Kane himself supplied art.

The story is about a slave gladiator for whom the story is titled. The story itself is a post-apocalyptic tale of revenge and violence in a retrograde medieval world haunted by psychic mutants and warring nobles. It’s a bit stereotypical to the modern reader, but in 1971, it was groundbreaking for those who could get a copy. Mine is a 30th anniversary reprint put out about 15 years ago, and I quite enjoyed reading it again, even if it is a bit dated.

I also started re-reading Robin’s Laws of Gamemastering. Written by gaming guru Robin Laws, he explores ideas about gaming that were revolutionary in roleplaying games in 2002 (date of publication). Those ideas are now old hat, being the core ideas of many indie games. I’m enjoying the refresher course, and I’m thinking about my own play style and GMing style, as well as my own reasons for creating my own game, hopefully focusing my rule building, rather attacking things scatter-shot.

I’m going to end this here and publish, or I will never finish. I don’t want to keep delaying, so I won’t.


Spatial Concerns Here On Earth

I really don’t have a wide variety of things to talk about this time, but I have something I want to go into at length. Largely, I’ve been focused on politics for the past couple of weeks, as things go crazy. As I’ve said before, I’m a liberal, and this is not a political blog, so if you want to know more about my thoughts on current events, you’ll have to go by my Facebook and friend me, as I screen who can see what I post there.

D&D for Kids did not restart last weekend, as one of the parents forgot his kids had performances that weekend. I’m finally feeling healthier, but I still have a little bit of a cough. I’m still a little stuffy, too, so I’m still wondering why I get sick so often any more.

A couple of weeks ago, I finished the Moorcock portion of the Planet Stories book with his Sojan Shieldbearer character and started the other portion of the book. While his command of the language and writing style were well developed at age 17, the plots were mediocre and sometimes mishandled. For example, in one story, he introduced a group of villains who defeated the hero and were subsequently escaped from, who thereafter disappear from the story, except in the epilogue, in which he kills them. It was very anticlimactic. I’m assuming some editor taught him to not do that in the future. It would have been nice to see the villains reappear down the line.

I’m not particularly enthusiastic about the other story in the book. The writing is much more mature, but I’m just not feeling the story. The author is obviously following the Sword-and-Planet formula, and the obviousness is a little annoying. In fact, the beginning of the story was extremely close to Robert E. Howard’s Almuric in details. I plan on completing the novel, but it’s not a priority.

My “at length” subject is my living space. I’m not going to complain about the balance of power in the household again, if that’s a concern. That’s something I have to find a way to deal with on my own, and not tonight’s subject, except tangentially.

Even if it hadn’t been suggested to me that my things weren’t desired in outside my room, there’s virtually nowhere to put things. This house is extremely poorly laid out. When we moved in just before my sister was born, it was fine for our family. My brother and I could both live in the room I now occupy because as kids. We had only small belongings, toys that could fit into a small space. My sister was a newborn and had nothing, and my parents weren’t the collectors of things that the family is now. The cramped rooms weren’t so cramped. As we aged and moved out, our lives expanded, as did our collections of “stuff.” And I’m probably the worst.

A few nights ago, I had laid down to go to bed, and then remembered I wanted to put some lotion on my hands. I’ve had some spots of whatever skin crud is on my right hand break out again. As I remembered I wanted some healing formula hand lotion, I got up and scuffed my foot against one of the piles of books next to my bed.

Now, you must understand that there are a couple of piles of books in my room. All my bookshelves are full, and I still have more books than that. I’m regularly buying more books. I can say without hesitation that I am a bibliophile. The books at the base of this particular pile stand upright, but were aligned in such a way to allow the books to fall over out into the room. When I scuffed my foot against them, they tipped out into the room, dropping everything piled on top of them out along my bed. That as going to make it difficult to get back into bed, or in and out in the middle of the night if I didn’t pick up the mess.

I tried to restack this pile of books three times before I realized I needed to change the direction of the books at the base of the stack so they would not move. And I had to work the next morning. On the upside, I was okay and got enough sleep after getting the stack of books stabilized. But it took a few attempt to get things right.

In my ideal home, I’d have a separate office with even more bookcases than I presently have. I can’t have more than I do now because of the poor arrangement of the room. The north wall of my room has the entry door, while the south wall has the bathroom door, a built in cupboard and drawers, and a closet door. The east wall has a large window and the west wall is the only wall with no obstructions. This means I have no ventilation, either, but that’s neither here nor there where my storage space is concerned.

I’ve thought of things I would have done when building the room if I had done it (smaller bathroom, bringing the north wall even with the corner of the garage it was added to, etc.), and things I’d like to do now (a shelf all the way around the room at the level of the tops of the doors, a headboard and sideboard for my bed that includes shelves, etc.), but to what end? How long will I live here? It might be the rest of my life, but it might be much less. We’ve talked about moving when Mom passes (likely won’t happen before then), I’ve bounced around the idea of moving if/when I can get a better job, and other ideas float by every once in awhile. Why put in so much effort and so many resources for what might be a temporary situation? These last thoughts only now come into my mind, and seems like analysis paralysis, and it could be. But that’s what life is when your future is so uncertain.

That’s pretty much it for this go ’round. I have other things I need to get to tonight.


Back After the Holidays

It’s been a few weeks. With two holidays on Sunday in a row, I had other things I’d rather do. And last week? I just kept putting it off, and about Wednesday this last week, I decided to give up. However, I did write an outline, which I don’t feel any real need to change and will follow for tonight.


I really didn’t do a lot towards losing weight until late in the year. In the summer, I started walking for Pokemon Go!, but I didn’t stick with it. It was pretty boring to walk by myself, but we continued going out after Thursday Night D&D (now Fantasy Age Titansgrave) until just a few weeks ago. Rain and cold and illness has killed our motivation, as well as the general decline of the game.

On the other hand, I’ve started cutting back on what I eat. I’m breaking myself of buying large sodas on breaks, and ordering ala carte more often. I doubt I’ve lost an ounce, but I’m feeling a little better when I eat less. It may not be much, but it’s something. And maybe as it warms up, I’ll get out walking again. I’ll have to find some kind of partner or something to motivate me better than Pokemon.

The Holidays

I had a couple of various issues with the holidays. Family ignored me as I tried to talk to them, in one case literally walking away in the middle of a conversation. I got only one gift I consider in any way memorable, one of the Engine Publishing books. New Years was okay, but I ended up feeling ignored by the kids a couple of days later. This weekend was much better, but both incidents left me feeling a little like no one would miss me if I were to not be there. After missing a weekend last week, the kids were much better, but the birth family hasn’t had reason to change. But more on that in a minute.

Being Sick

After having been sick just after Thanksgiving, I got sick again just after New Years. It really wiped me out that week. Wednesday after, I went to work and I ended up taking the rest of the week off and camping out at home last week. I’m still coughing tonight, but nowhere near as bad as I was.

I’m tired of being sick so often. Not sure what’s happened to me over the past few years. I used to never get sick. But that was through college and the few years following. But since starting with the rental company, it’s been far more frequent. Although, when we were kids, we’d get bronchitis a lot, and I had walking pneumonia when I was 24, so I keep wondering if something back then has reared its ugly head again now. I just wish it would go away.

Considering Moving

The feelings of being taken for granted compounded feelings I’ve been having for a while: I need to change my living arrangement. I’m not happy here, for a multitude of reasons. Mostly, it’s the environment in the household. I’m frustrated with how things get done (or don’t), and the balance of power in the household.

Unfortunately, I’m not in a financial state to change things. I have, however, considered just pulling up stakes and leaving Fresno regardless. I haven’t been able to find a better job here. My skills are out of date, and the expense to update them is creeping beyond me, and my credit rating is probably insufficient to get me aid.

I actually started researching moving out of Fresno, but I’m finding the same problems no matter where I look: I don’t have up-to-date job skills for anything that pays worth a damn. So moving is pointless, it seems. No one wants to train anyone: You’re expected to walk into even entry-level jobs with prior experience. It’s very frustrating, and I’m wondering how I’m going to make it into my “golden years.”


We’ve gotten to the end of Chapter 5 in the book. Now, to frame things properly, the first two of the ten chapters is worldbook and rules for the setting, and the rest is the campaign itself. So, we’re through 3/8ths of the story. I took the week off last week because of being sick, but week picked up this week. Everybody’s having fun, and we’re actually roleplaying, which we weren’t doing during D&D. I’m quite happy with the game as it stands.

Adventurers! Rewrite

GRAmel has completed their Kickstarter for the new version of the game, and it’s now available on DriveThruRPG for backers, but not for the general public. My rewrite has stalled out. Of course, I mentioned that last time, and so really, I’m just saying the stall has continued. D&D for Kids starts again next week (because of me still recovering, cooking for our home game last night, and a MTG pre-release weekend at CSGS this weekend), so that is a distraction for me, as well as Titansgrave and the home situation. Again, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to focus more at some point soon, but I have no idea when that will be.


That’s pretty much all I have for this entry. This is life right now.


Digging /Titansgrave/

So, I had wanted to do a post last week, but I let myself get distracted, and other things headed South for a minute, and I ended up delaying. So, this week, I have plenty to go on about.

The cold wasn’t a cold, but rather a severe allergic reaction. It never really moved down into my chest, although my tickle came back, and at the game this week I started coughing while trying to finish my Mountain Dew, and ended up coughing it up all over the tables and the floor at the store. Basically, I was over it in a week, which is better than my colds ever are.

Last Monday, I was going to write up the post I’d put off Sunday night, and then ended up distracted again by Mom developing another UTI and spending a day either waiting to switch out with my sister at the hospital, or either being at the hospital. Fortunately, Mom came home that day, with a new prescription. She’s doing better now, although the therapist pissed her off a time or two, which was actually good for Mom as she powered through exercises she said she couldn’t do.

The last two Thursday nights have consisted of Titansgrave character creation, as well as the first half of the first chapter. One of the players came up with a great concept that I really liked that aligned perfectly with one of the mysteries of the setting, the City-State of Karros. I had to fake some creation rules to do it (as she wanted to do a robot, and there’s no rules for robot PCs), but we managed to get something workable.

Once play started, we all fell into the roles and setting pretty well. Except for the youngest of us, who’s about 15. I think he’s a little self-conscious, but by the end of the session, he started relaxing. And the best part of the play was the robot delivering a kurt, dull speech, after the others rambled on, and her roll to impact the in-game audience was the best in the party, which had the audience rolling, and me as well.

Sadly, the rewrite of Adventurers! has fallen by the wayside over the past couple of months. The past couple of months have been very distracting, with Mom’s in-and-out of the hospital and rehab, along with work and Titansgrave and all the other miscellaneous things I have to distract me. (Westworld is joining the choir.) However, I’m thinking I’ll be back to that before long. Titansgrave is kinda low prep, as I’m just running the game by the book, so my mind will free itself eventually and I’ll get back to that game development. Then I can get back to developing the Reincarnated world, and then back to the StarSea.

That’s all I’ve got for this post. I hope to be back before the end of the year. Thanks for reading. Later.