The Utterly Too Cool For School, Yet Very Peppy, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And The Battle Of Blackberry Hill

…co-starring her rival in all things, Very Pink Penelope.

Thoughts On Gen Con 2019

First off , before I get to anything else, I want to thank my very dear and wonderful friends, Peter Hildreth and Avis Crane for paying my way to the con, putting me up in Peter’s room, buying my meals and everything else they did. Just seeing and hanging out with the two of them after a 12 year gap would have been more than enough for me. I love you guys, Peter and Avis!

As to the con itself and my reactions to it, I can do the basic sum up like this: I was sick and/or in some amount of pain most of the time, and, after not going for 12 years, was completely out of the Gen Con mental flow.

Now, that is not anyone’s fault, including mine. I had to have a tooth removed by oral surgery on the 25th of July which left my jaw very tender, bruised and swollen. The tenderness and pain were gone by GenCon Sunday, but the bruise is just now faded on Tuesday after the con. Again, not much I could have done to speed things up, but it made eating pretty damned challenging.

Indianapolis, or maybe just the whole Midwest, triggered an allergic reaction in me, so you know that was the opposite of fun. Allergies hit when they hit and you recover as fast as your body allows. In my case, that seems to be today, nearly a day after the con. Dog bless Calye Lacefield and Avis Crane for having allergy meds on hand. As of Tuesday (today) I am about 95% okay, with the exception of some excess snot production probably triggered by something here in the Sacramento Valley.

Being out of the Gen Con mental flow is a whole other thing. Again, it’s not anyone’s fault. When you don’t do something for that long, you stop thinking about it with the excitement you had when you were doing it every year. Even the gap from when I went in 2007, after skipping 2005 & 2006, had me feeling a bit lost when I got there.

I don’t know, maybe age has something to do with it, too, but I really think I just have not exercised my “Gen Con muscles” in so long that it was a bit much for me.

Moving on to other things that affected my enjoyment of the con, and no, this whole piece is NOT going to be a pity party of me bitching, the fact that I was old & out of shape and the con is spread out all over downtown Indianapolis did not help. All that walking with fucked up knees and hips was not pleasant, so there were events and things I didn’t go to. My own fault, really. I had 7 months to work out on the treadmill and I could have packed my superduper ibuprofen.

Now on to the good stuff.

Seeing old friends again after many years was just fucking excellent! Of course, for some unexplained reason we all looked older, but they were still the same fine folks they’ve always been. Sadly, there were a few folks who did not make it to the con this year. I’m not going to name names, because shit happens. Still, it was wonderful seeing the folks I did.

And then there were all of the people I’ve talked to online that I met for the first time! I’m not going to try naming them all, because I know I’ll forget somebody, but rest assured that they are all fine folks. Curiously, about 70% of them were women in the gaming industry, which of itself is a great thing.

One thing that kind of sucks, and not just for me, is the fact that the con is so big and busy, especially for folks in the industry, that you only get to see each other for very short periods of time, if at all. Not much to be done about that, I’m afraid. Maybe someday those folks will get their long dreamed of Relaxicon for industry folks only.


Before moving on to other things, let me say that I have never gotten so many hugs in so short a period of time, outside of a family reunion. I don’t know when hugging hello and goodbye became a thing at cons, but I heartily approve of it.

I hugged straight cis men, gay men, straight cis women, trans women, lesbians, bisexuals, old farts, a couple of ladies young enough to be my granddaughters (a damned sobering thought, since both were over 18), and 2 dogs. I may have hugged a couple of aliens, but it is impolite to ask. Anyway, this hugging thing is a very good idea. Go out and hug some people.

Everyone always asks two questions when you return from Gen Con. Let me address those now.

1: “What games did you play?”

I played in 2 official at Gen Con in 1991, my first time at the con. I had purchased a few tickets, despite not liking the idea of paying to get into games at cons, so I used them. That was the last time I ever played in an official game at Gen Con, although for several years I ran official games and ran demo games for Steve Jackson Games.

Most years, any RPG I play in is either a “room game”, wherein myself or a friend runs a game, or, in rarer instances, a quick game in a bar or empty con room.

This year, there were 3 room games. They were all great fun, including the one I ran for Peter and Avis which, from rules to dice to plotline was completely done on the fly. What can I say, I have mad GM skillz.

And no, I did not play any board games. I was too druggy or sore or tired most of the time.


2: “What games did you buy?”

My game & dice buying this year were not only dictated by my limited funds, but by my limited baggage area. I do not do checked baggage on plane trips. This is due to my inherent distrust of my fellow humans and the fact that I have had baggage arrive days late due to airline fuckups.

So I bought the following: Wizard, Melee and the combined solo Deathtests 1&2. That was it for games. I also bought some interlocking dry erase map boards from Gaming Paper. Aside from that, I bought dice for both my gaming groups, dice for my dice collecting wife and dice for me. I will never go to a game con and not buy dice. It’s an addiction.

 

Now that we have my gaming purchases summed up, let me say that I saw tons of stuff I may buy in the future. Mostly that falls into the smaller boardgames category, but there were some RPG books that tempted me despite the fact that I have drastically reduced my RPG buying over the last few years.

One thing I did not do at Gen Con, and this is amazingly common for me, is take many pictures and I took NO pictures of friends. I took a few pix of stuff in the Dealer’s Room and other areas of the con, and I took several short videos around various places, but no pix of people I knew. I didn’t even take any selfies. Pathetic.

 

So, let’s wrap things up. I had a good, but not great time at the con. It would have been much better if I had not been sick. I got to meet lots of folks, which is always good. All in all, a good, but maybe a bit of a strange return to Gen Con.

Will I go to Gen Con again? Well, I never say never, but unless Grace and I start traveling around the country after she retires…or unless I get a job that pays pretty well…and unless Indianapolis get a bunch more hotel rooms downtown, I kind of doubt it. The con has morphed into something altogether different than the con that used to excite me so much. That’s not a bad thing or a good thing, it’s just a thing.

I think if I travel that far from home again to go to a con, it will probably be to go to Origins. It’s been ages since I went to an Origins. And then there are all the West Coast conventions I don’t get to. Finally, there is the fact that I’m a board member of Your Turn Community Game Events and we put on lots of game days. At some point, we’ll put on a gaming weekend and if we aren’t real careful, that could well turn into a con of our own.

Which would pretty much mean I’d be working at a con and not playing at it. Just like my game industry friends. I’m sure there is some sort of Circle of Life, analogy there, but I need to finish this up.

So there you have it, friends, my trip to Gen Con 2019. It was fun and I suggest you go if you’ve never been before.

Doc Cross, signing out.

Update From May 19, 2020: Turns out going to Gen Con in 2019 was a good idea, since the Covid 19 pandemic has shut all 2020 cons down, including Gen Con, which announced today that it is cancelled.

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The Very Late, But Still Damned Scrappy, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And The Seven Dancing Ferrets

…co-starring her pet duck, Randolph

 

 

The Gaming Is Afoot!

 

The past few months have seen me hit something of an all high mark in my gaming life. Not since the mid 1980s have I been doing so much roleplaying and boardgaming on a weekly basis.

Now, to be sure, I am still a long way from the 14-16 hours a week I did back then. Those were the days when my four players and I would do a 4 hour session on Wednesday nights and a 10-12 hour session all day on Saturdays. We were all around 27 years old and it was hella fun, but now, at 65, I am pretty sure that exact situation would kill me :)

Now, I play in a D&D group twice a month, 4 hours per session, usually on Sunday evenings. We just celebrated our 4th year together.

On alternate weeks, I run a D&D game for 5 players on Saturday afternoons, again, for 4 hours per session. We have been getting together for just shy of 2 years.

And then, adding to the gaming goodness, is the fact that I run both RPGs and boardgames at various events for the non-profit Your Turn Community Game Events. I am also a board member.

Your Turn was thought up by one of my Saturday players, Cathy Ford, who does the Our Turn! Gaming For Everyone podcast over at https://ourturnpodcast.com/.

The actual genesis of Your Turn is not something I’m going to get into now, but suffice to say it was put into action by Cathy and a bunch of gaming geeks, Your Humble Narrator included. We run games at libraries and community events. So far, we have had a lot of success and are getting invited to more events all the time. We may be hooking up with a local game store to run games on a weekly basis soon.

Part of that weekly scenario may have myself and other RPG GMs running games on alternate weeks or something. Details are still hazy.

And, on top of all of the above, I’m 13 days out from going to GenCon, which I have not attended since 2007. I am awash on gaming goodness.

About the only thing I’m not doing, gamingwise, is writing for publication. Now, I do write gaming useful stuff, but not for any company. I do it for my wonderful Patrons over on Patreon. So far, there are several items up for Patrons only, and I will have more coming soon.

Note: A more crass individual than I might suggest you go over to https://www.patreon.com/DocCross and sign up for as little as $1.00 a month. Fortunately, I am not given to such acts.

I am going to try to remember to do some regular gaming posts here on the blog, in addition to the other regular stuff.

And speaking of that regular stuff, here’s a bit of what to expect in the next few weeks.

GenCon reporting will start on the 30th of this month when I fly to Kansas to join my friend, Peter Hildreth, for the trip to the con. I may do these reports on video, if I can get video to work on here.

The annual Trip To CritterCon, everyone’s favorite fictional convention, will start Friday after I return from GenCon and will cover about 12 days.

After a 4 month absence, the Doclopedia will be back starting September 1st. I am not sure, but I may do another “500 Entries In 365 Days” bit of madness. Stay tuned.

I am also entertaining the idea of doing interviews with gaming folks. Not sure yet.

Well there you have it, a gamealicious post about my gaming situation. I hope you liked it.

See you next time.

 

Billy The Slow Loris Goes To The Beach

…slowly, of course

 

CritterCon 11

Trip Day Eleven (By Misty)

Hello, everybody! Misty here with your trip report for today.

We started the day with an early breakfast at a campground about 50 miles north of Critter City. As always, it was scrummy and we left the table with full bellies.

(Silky: It was a Waddlefest!)


Our first stop was about two hours away, so we all just chilled out with some light filler games. I was unsuccessful in killing Doctor Lucky, but was top of the bean pile at Bohnanza.

(Daisy: I could never get a clear shot at the old bastard.)

(Janet: Some of us played Dino Hunt, which was pretty fun.)


It surprised none of us that The Doctor chose a Giant Jesus as our first stop. What did surprise us was that there were TWO Giant Jesus statues facing each other across the Texas/Oklahoma state line.

(Sasha: It may be time to stage an intervention with Daddy.)

(Luke: Several years too late for that.)


It seems that in 1960, the small towns of Rigley, Oklahoma and Barsonville, Texas, had some sort of row going about who got more business from travelers on the Texas state highway that runs between them. Being firmly in the Bible Belt (or what passes for it here on Earth 1-G), each town decided to build a statue of Jesus. You’ve probably figured out what happened next. Years of design changes and finally, two Giant Jesus statues facing each other across the highway. The one on the Texas side is taller at 110 feet tall, but the one on the Oklahoma side (100 feet tall) is much more detailed and better looking.

(Roxie: They are quite impressive, as these things go.)

(Sasha: Still not as impressive as those humongous toilet paper rolls used to be.)


For a “donation” of $2.00 per statue, you can go up to the observation areas in their heads. The views are pretty good and the tour guides are friendly young local folks who tell you how great their side’s statue is while stopping short of declaring the other statue rubbish. Several of our group never even took the tour, but The Doctor and Auntie Mary always do.

(Leon: They are not right in the head, those two.)

(Sadie: Few Humans are.)

To get to our next and final roadside attraction, The Doctor once again shrank us down to shoebox size and kicked in the booster drives. We cruised along major motorways at up to 200 miles per hour and got to our final destination just as we finished watching the 1959 version of King Kong which has all the stop motion done by Ray Harryhausen. It’s a really great remake.

(Goldie: With added dinosaurs and the spider canyon scene!)

(Max: And a good long scene of Kong being towed back to New York.)

Hanson, Kansas, was our stop for The World Famous Scarecrow Town. While this place was lower on the Creep-O-Meter than Skeleton Town, it is still bloody unnerving. After half an hour among the 500+ scarecrows, we all left. It took another hour for the fur on my back to lie down.

(Daisy: New rule: Only one creepyass stop per trip from now on!)

(Janet: YES! The wind moved one of those scarecrows and I pooped myself.)

(Leon: I’ll be having fucking scarecrow nightmares for a month.)

From there on, it was all about us taking folks home by going back to our world and dropping off the Hildreths, The Joneses, Auntie Avy & Leon, and Auntie Ginie & Roxy. Before returning Uncle Gabriel to Los Angeles, we stopped in New Mexico for an excellent Southwestern Dinner.

(Luke: It was delicious and plentiful.)


We are ending our night in an RV park in Gorman, at the top of the grapevine. We’ll leave very early and be home before noon tomorrow, which is good because I’ll be starting a month long shoot on a film down in Florida and Luke is starting a 3 week run on the Orpheum Circuit with his song & dance act.

(Daisy: Go see him folks, because he is really good!)

With that, Dear Readers, I end my bit of this trip report. Have a wonderful evening or day, depending upon where you are.

Misty

Destination Sign When We Started: El Dorado
Destination Sign When We Stopped: Shangri La

QM Radio Station: 70’s Funk

A History Of Historic Historians

…it’s not hysterical

 

CritterCon 11

Con Day Four (By Penny)

Hi, I’m Penny and I won the writing lottery to post the final day’s report from CritterCon 11.

We had our final breakfast at Waffles From Outer Space this morning. I’ll miss their tuna & sardine waffles.

(Luke: I had the bacon and more bacon waffles, with bacon on the side.)

(Sadie: I had waffles smothered in beef gravy.)

Once breakfast was over, we all went to the main gaming hall and played games. I got in three games of Feline Love Letter, a game of Zombie Dice and a game of Ticket to Ride India before I had to go meet several of the female critters to hit the Dealer’s Room. We spent a couple of hours there and spent quite a bit of money. My AniBank card got seriously overheated.

(Leon: I redlined my AniBank card buying miniatures, dice and terrain.)

(Goldie: I managed to stay well below my card’s limit.)

(Daisy: You guys do know that Silky founded AniBank back in 1984, right?)

(Leon: WHAT?)

(Silky: Yep, it’s true. Started it with only a couple of million bucks.)


After the Dealer’s Room trip, we all joined up with the other NHT and went to watch the finals of the Dungeons & Dogs LARP. It was fun to watch and a group from Colorado won.

(Max: They were a well balanced group and they made sure to check for traps frequently.)

(Janet: Unlike our group at home, where Moose now plays Stumpy, the one legged gnome and Pixie is Ulondra, the elf with a metal hand.)

When that was over, we made one last pass through the Dealer’s Room, then met up with the humans for cold beverages at Mink’s Cold Drinks. About the time we got there, the con ended.

(Silky: It’s always sad when a con ends.)

(Daisy: Unless you were running it, in which case it’s time to tap a keg.)

Dinner was not planned until much later, because the Post-Con Cooldown Party starts 30 minutes after the con closes. As they did last year, the Cross family supplied 50 kinds of ice cream to go with the 50 sorts of pie served at the party. It was all very delicious and we ate too much while saying goodbye to friends.

(Leon: Sweet Mother of Sylvester, can Uncle Doc pack away the pie & ice cream!)


When the party was over, we all got on the Magic Bus and left Critter City, We also left our reality and went back to Earth 1-G in 1980. Apparently, tomorrow we have a couple of roadside stops to make before everyone gets home.

(Sasha: Whoever thinks it won’t involve at least one Giant Jesus, say “aye”. Ah yes, crickets.)


Thank you so much for reading this. I hope to return to this con next year.

Penny

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A Cow With A Plan

…a plan to run straight through a new garden

 

CritterCon 11

Con Day Three (By Roxie)

Greetings everyone! I’m Roxie and here is my Saturday con report.

Most of us had breakfast early at Pancakeville, but those who overdid themselves at the dance last night decided to sleep in a bit until their pain relievers took effect.

(Sasha: I think I threw my back out dancing.)

(Misty: Luke had cramps in three of his legs this morning.)

Rather than go straight to gaming, most of us non-humans went to the Critter City Animal Amusement Park. This is a one acre 5 level park that has all sorts of fun things for animals to do. No humans except for the staff are allowed. It is truly fun for all ages, since there were kittens & puppies playing right alongside elderly critters.

(Daisy: That place is great, especially since the renovated it and added 2 more levels.)

After that bit of fun, we went to the con and played the usual mixed bag of games. I know that Leon, Max, Buster, Moose and Ollie played some sort of big wargame.

(Leon: It was “Battlefront: Central Park 1992”. There were 16 players in the game, which is based on the Neighborhood Wars that dogs & cats fought tn back then.)

Daisy ran two sessions of D&D.

(Daisy: “Tunnels of the Kobold King” and “The Flying Islands”)


Luke & Misty gave a seminar on acting for roleplayers.

(Misty: It went very well and we signed a right gob of photos.)

I’m not sure about everyone else.

(Janet: I spent most of the day playing Arkham Horror.)

(Sadie: I played in a Toon game with Sasha & Chance, then we cruised the Dealer’s Room.)

(Silky: I got into a poker game. Came out $1,500.00 ahead.)

I played a game of Nuns On The Run, which was great. Later, I played Settlers of CATan, which is always fun and challenging. Finally, I got into a game of Blue Rose with Daisy, Snowy and Janet. That lasted until 9:30, after which we went to yet another big party.

This party was also part LARP, since everyone was either a spy, an asset, a liability, an innocent civilian, or any mix of those four. There were alliances, betrayals, double/triple/quadruple crosses, assassinations and plenty of shaken, not stirred vodka martinis. I know my Mom, Ginie, killed two Chinese spies and my Auntie Avis double crossed Uncle Doc (KGB) and Uncle Peter (MI6) before she got double crossed by Silky and some young human lady. The party lasted until 2:00 and we all had big fun.

(Silky: Auntie Avy was laughing at the looks on their faces while I was busy turning her over to S.H.I.E.L.D. Hahaha!)

(Leon: I was just an innocent Senator from New Hampshire who got blackmailed into working for SPECTRE.)

(Daisy: Dude, you volunteered to work for them when the guaranteed you re-election!)


And now I need my beauty sleep, my friends. Come back tomorrow for more reportage.

Roxie

It’s Only A Crazy Scheme If You Fail

…uh, no

 

 

CritterCon 11

Con Day Two (By Goldie)

Hello! I’m Goldie and this is my first time at a con like this one and my first time writing something like this.

I’d like to start by thanking the Fabulous Four for helping Penny and myself get used to being in human bodies part of the time. The whole walking on two legs thing is both hard and terrifying.

(Silky: You’re welcome. Using an android body is weird and scary at first, but you and Penny got the hang of it fast.)

Since I’m a total rookie at this, Sasha suggested that I skip the meal reports and just talk about other stuff, especially gaming, so here goes.

(Sasha: Breakfast at Chez Mom’s, lunches mostly at hotdog ot taco stands, Dinner at Big Slabs O’ Meat.)

This morning, a bunch of us entered The Cursed Necropolis, a LARP for humans and critters. Uncle Doc, Auntie Grace, Auntie Mary and 5 critters entered through the north gate. My Dad & Mom, Auntie Avis and 5 of us critters entered via the west gate. Two other groups of 8 players entered through the east and south gates. The object was to grab loot, kill or avoid the undead, enter the Defiled Cathedral and perform the Ritual of Purification, then leave the city with our loot.

(Luke: That first wave of zombies scared the hell out of me.)

(Penny: A bit later, we heard Uncle Doc yell “Ghouls? I HATE fuckin’ ghouls!” from three blocks away.)

This was a holodeck style LARP and things seemed very real, visually and auditorily. The various smells they piped in seemed to affect the humans, but most of us NHT found that part very weak. The whole think was lots of fun and Our group was first in the cathedral. Sadly, Mom, Penny and Luke’s characters died buying us time to complete the ritual. Even more sadly, Uncle Doc’s team beat us out of the city by 4 minutes and had twice the loot we had. They also had only 3 characters left.

(Daisy: That was Daddy, Ollie and me. Everyone else got done in by either zombie ogres or that goddamn vampire that I finally staked.)

After the LARP, all the humans, all of us dogs, Max, Janet, and Willy all went to soak in mud. Daisy & Silky assured me that I would love it.

Well, I did love it. We all got put in tubs of warm mud where we rested for about 30 minutes. Then we all got cleaned up before getting massages. It was very relaxing and now everybody smells very nice.

(Sasha: I would have liked Dead Raccoon better that Warm Spice. Now I smell like fuckin’ banana bread or some shit.)


Uncle Doc and most of the other humans ran off to do their Old Time Radio Show. This year it was called “Tales of the Weird” and had something to do with vampires and grave robbers. I know that Dad played “Inspector Knox” and Auntie Avis played “Widow Barton”. I’m told it was a hit show. After that one, Uncle Doc, Uncle Gabriel, Auntie Mary, Luke & Misty did a half hour show called “The Adventures of Rocco & Maxie”.

(Silky: It was hilarious! Being an old gal, I had to stop and pee three times due to laughing so hard.)

It’s hard to keep track of what everyone played, but I know what games I played. I was in a D&D 5e + Steampunk game with Daisy & Max, then played in a long Savage Worlds game with Dad, Silky and Pixie. After that, I was getting pretty tired, so I went back to the suite for a nap. I woke up just in time to grab some room service chow with Luke, Misty, Silky and Snowy, then haul tail to the Friday Night Dance Party.

There were about 1,500 humans and 2,000 NHT at that party, most of us dancing up a storm. They had maybe a dozen DJs in rotation, including Silky (she was in a human body). The party went from 10:00 pm until 3:00 in the morning, but I left to crash at 2:15.

(Leon: I was there until the end. Every part of my body aches.)

(Sasha: So was I and I may need a wheelchair for the rest of the con.)

That’s pretty much all I have to report. Thanks for reading, folks!

Goldie

Five Things Not To Tell A Dragon

…#3: “I have a big bag of gold right here!”

 

CritterCon 11

Con Day One (By Max)

Hiya, folks! I’m writing this late and so I’m going to just give a basic rundown of what everyone did. If I leave anything out, I’m sure a commenter will correct me.

Breakfast: was at Waffles From Outer Space. That was the last time all of us were in the same place today.

Gaming: Daisy, myself, Sasha, Silky, Luke, Misty, the rest of our home gaming posse, our critter friends from on the bus and that spaniel named Chance all spent the day gaming in various ways. We plated boardgames, card games, LARPs, RPGs, minis games and video games. There were some quick passes through the Dealer’s room, but it was gaming from about 9:00 am until midnight for most of us.

Grace, Auntie Caroline and Auntie Mary mostly played boardgames and card games. They walked through the dealer’s room, too. Not sure if they played any RPGs. At a couple of points, Auntie Holly joined up with them.

Auntie Avis walked the Dealer’s Room, played some boardgames, played in a 4 hour RPG session and went to at least 2 seminars.

Mr. C, Spike, Gabriel and Brian were all over the place. I know Mr. C and Spike were each on a couple of seminar panels and attended at least one more. All of the guys played an RPG or two. They all walked the dealer’s room. I think Gabriel did some open mic thing in the new Purple Dragon Inn they set up for folks to relax in.

Lunch: I know Mr. C had lunch at Tamalemania and I think Grace ate at Killerburger. Daisy & I grabbed lunch at a new deli, Moe’s Bronx Deli. Most of the rest of the NHT went to a new NHT only place in the underground area. It’s called Wild Style and I hear it’s pretty good. Oh, and Sasha, Buster & Chance ate at Pizza My Heart.

Games Played: I asked around and here are some of the games we all played.

D&D Hillfolk Seventh Sea Dread Fluxx Unfair Gaslands Scythe Elder Sign Terraforming Mars Gorilla City: The Beginning Dungeon Dice Bean Trader Squirrel Invasion Savage Worlds Munchkin Zombie Dice Love Letter Power Grid Gloom Kingdomino Once Upon a Time.

Dinner: The humans all ate at Mistress Diana’s Dungeon Diner. We NHT mostly had food delivered to our games.

The Big Costume Party: The theme this year was Star Power and you had to dress up as somebody from your favorite space based sci fi series or movie. Naturally, Daisy & I and the gang were decked out as Starfleet crew. Mr. & Mrs. C and several of their friends went with Guardians of the Galaxy. Mr.C. Went as Groot and never once said anything other than “I am Groot” all night. Mrs. C went as Rocket. There were also lots of Firefly and Star Wars and Whovians and others. It was a great party and it’s a good thing I did not activate the intoxication subroutine in my body, because Daisy & Janet both did and then got hammered. If you have never tucked two giggling women into bed, it’s quite an experience.

So that’s my rather short report. Goldie is up for tomorrow.

Be seeing you.

Max

Goons In The Tool Shed

…we never knew how they got in.

The Doclopedia #1,370

Assorted Characters: The King Of Dice

The true name of the King of Dice, along with his whereabouts after the Great Dungeon Delve, may never be known. Rumor has it that he was the actual author of 2nd Edition Monsters & Mayhem. The story goes that he submitted a manuscript of over 350,000 words to the First Game Master, all in hopes that some small portion of it might be used to expand 1st Edition M&M. Sadly, he only had the one copy and it “got lost in the mail” according to the Office Manager at Monstrous Mayhem Games. At the age of 16, the King of Dice was crushed by this news. At the age of 19, he was outraged to read a copy of 2nd Edition and see much of his manuscript in it, credited to the former Office Manager, now Lead Designer for the company. The King knew he could not fight them in court, so he began plotting a different revenge.

Jump ahead 10 years and it’s the 25th anniversary of M.M. Games and the First Game Master is at MonsterCon to GM a delve into his famous “Dungeon of the Hell Dragon”. Three teams of 6 characters enter the massive dungeon from three points, all trying to get to the third level and kill the Hell Dragon. The GM is trying to stop them.

The whole event is televised to 27 countries and a $100,000.00 prize goes to any survivors when either the 6 hour clock runs out or the Hell Dragon is dead. The GM’s notes are checked by a private team of experts and no changes are allowed. The same goes for the 18 players and their characters. All official rules for the game are in effect.

The live audience at the con is packed with gaming luminaries, including the newly appointed CEO of the company, the former Lead Designer. He is accompanied by several potential investors, all of whom he hopes will invest money after they see the new 4th Edition rules. This will hopefully get the company back on stable ground after the disaster that was 3rd edition rules.

The game begins and the King of Dice quickly reveals how he got his name. Years spent developing the right hand and arm moves to allows him to roll whatever he needs 80% of the time pay off as his team first kills one of the other teams and then hauls ass through the dungeon grabbing loot.

In the arena, many bets are made on the King beating the First GM.

Finally, the King’s elven archer, a human druid, a half troll barbarian and an elven mage are in the last room, facing the Hell Dragon. The players are sweating, the GM is sweating and every one of the 10,000 spectators has fallen silent. Initiative is rolled and the King gets to go first, but the Hell Dragon goes second. If the Kings arrow doesn’t pull off some sort of miracle strike, the party is almost certainly doomed.

The bowman lets fly an arrow previously soaked in an elixir the druid had mixed up and the mage had cast True Flight upon. The King rolls his dice…

…and scores a direct hit to the dragon’s mouth!

The damage is rolled. 9 points, not even a scratch. The GM is about to roll versus poison when the King asks for a rules check.

That was an elixir of wattleberries. I had them in my pack and they were approved before we entered the dungeon. Could the judges please read from page 67 of the “MAYHEM!” magazine from June of 1980?”

After a short search, the judge read “wattleberries are tasty indeed, but it is also known that when made into an elixir by a druid of 7th level or higher, said elixir will paralyze any dragon, regardless of size, for 7 turns if introduced into their bloodstream.”

Everyone in the place knew two things at that moment: (1) that bit of throwaway text, written by the First GM himself, was an official rule, and (2) the King was about to win.

Short work was made of the dragon, the King’s team was victorious, the crowd went nuts and the newly minted CEO was out 50,000 large due to a bet.

Hoping to get past that debacle, the CEO took the investors up to his suite to show them the new rules and the business plan for the next 5 years. Sadly, when he got there he found all of his paperwork, mock ups and his laptop gone. In a panic, he called the home office only to find out that the couriers he had called to tell them about 4 hours ago had come and gotten everything in his office two hours ago. Except he had never called them about couriers at all.

The King of Dice spent the rest of the convention drinking and eating on other gamer’s nickel. When the con closed, he drove off with the youngest daughter of the First GM, a young lady who had often listened to the Line Manager/vice President/CEO discuss his plans for the future. Neither of them was ever seen again. At least, not with those faces.

A day later, a group of professional thieves gladly accepted a sum of money for all of the CEO’s stuff. The middleman who paid them later sold the stuff to an up and coming game company. That company later produced a game that everyone agreed was the New Hotness.

The CEO lost his job in a rather swift board meeting. A few months later, he was managing a Beefy Burger in Omaha. The  game company took 4 years to even partially recover.

The First GM spent the rest of his days writing his memoirs and being a guest at up to 15 conventions a year. It took him 10 years before he would speak about “That Day” as he called it.

A Total Sex Monkey

…oddly, it was not an insult

If It’s Sunday, It Must Be D&D Day!

After many years of playing RPGs only at cons, last August I started playing in a D&D 5th edition game run by Jessica Miller, a local DM. So far, we have played one multi-month series that ended when we either died or became free of curses by traveling through time. It was a satisfying and proper ending.

The next series was a pirate based one, but after about a dozen sessions, Jessie admitted that she was having a hard time getting a handle on it, so we created new characters for what is pretty much a “you are hired to explore…” scenario. So far, it has been fun, partially because one of our characters speaks in an Elvis voice and my fighter sounds like Clint Eastwood before he got old and yelled at chairs.

We play every other Sunday from 4 pm until 8 pm.

But, I also wanted to run a D&D 5E series, too. I have a pretty cool setting, a 3,000 mile long, 3 mile wide trade route that spans a continent that, topographically, looks much like North America before Europeans got here. It can be used in three different eras. First Era is 5 years after the Great Road opens, when things are new and shiny. The player characters are Road Patrol cops, preserving law & order along a section of the Road that spans about 50 miles.

Second Era takes place 150 years later, when empires have arisen along the Road. In that one, the PCs would play secret agents of an empire spying on and stopping the machinations of other empires and their agents.

Third Era is 200 years after Second Era and 150 years after a continent spanning series of wars, zombie uprisings and magical storms. PCs in this era have been hired to explore the long abandoned Great Road.

It took me MONTHS (like 10 months) to get players and schedules together to start a series set in First Era. I ran about 5 introductory adventures fro about a dozen different players, but now have 3 regulars and possibly 2 or 3 more about sign on. So far, things are going well and they haven’t even reached their assigned duty station yet. But they did make it to second level!

We play every other Sunday from noon to four, but not on the same Sundays as the game I play in. Thus, every Sunday is now D&D Sunday for me. I’m pretty happy with that and my roleplaying plate is pretty full.

So why am I thinking of running a twice weekly Play By Post game online?

 

 

 

The Doclopedia #1,296

Strange Bandanas: The Red One With White Polka Dots

I own hundreds of bandanas. Many of them have strange stories connected to them. Here is one…

Of the several polka dotted bandanas I own, this one is by far the most dangerous, for it is possessed by a demon. His name is Traskadar and, if he is to be believed, he came into this particular bandana when the budding serial killed he possessed at the time fell into the cutting machine that cut the material into bandana sized chunks.

The first drop of blood spilled drew Traskadar into the square of cloth that became my bandana. This also forced him into a short period of dormancy, which prevented him from jumping into the poor people that packed the bandanas into boxes, the shipping employees and the end vendor. Since I bought the bandana less than 15 minutes after it was unpacked, I was the first person Traskadar tried to possess. Unfortunately for him, it turns out that I am near impossible to possess for any length of time. Neither of us can explain this and while I am very glad of it, Traskadar REALLY hates it.

Notice that I said near impossible to possess. Traskadar has possessed me twice. The first time was just after I bought the bandana and he had partial control of me for about 10 minutes. He ratcheted up my anger and tried to get me to drive somewhere and give the bandana to somebody else. Fortunately, I was so far out in the boonies that ever driving at 90 miles an hour failed to get me close enough to civilization before my demonic enemy faded away.

The second possession came when I was shitfaced drunk. This meant that within seconds of taking control, Traskadar was shitfaced too. He really couldn’t get me coordinated enough to kill or anything, so instead we just sang old doo wop songs really loud, which pissed off my roommates and neighbors.

I have since placed this bandana into a special metal box that Sasha tells me will slowly extract the demon out of the bandana and into the box itself. When that happens, we will send the box to Demon Earth 2, where Traskadar can be released safely.

Support this blog on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/DocCross

 

The Hugely Important, Yet Totally Silly, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And The Robot Fish

…co-starring her cousin Myrtle, who only has 8 toes

 

Dog Con 7

 

Day 1: In which we start off in Canada, learn more about snowshoes than we thought possible, have free food & beer and have a Humans vs Critters gaming throwdown.

5:30 am

It is just after sun up and we are finished up with breakfast. Our trip starts in the town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay in Labrador, Canada. Why here, you say? Partly because we had to start somewhere and partly because they have a Snowshoe Museum.

(Flash: My excitement knows no bounds. Snowshoes? Really?)

(Sadie: Humans are pretty damned odd.)

(Sasha: Could be worse. Could be an underwear museum.)

(Daisy: Hush! You might give Dad ideas.)

But since the museum doesn’t open for a bit, we’re all going for a walk in the newly opened Forest Room here on the bus. More blogging soon.

4:00 pm

The walk in the Forest Room was fun, especially for the critters, because there are squirrels in there. We pretty much had to drag Lulu & Flash out of their.

(Lulu: Drag? You overrode my systems and walked me out against my will! And why am I just normal dog powered in that room?)

(Sasha: Same reason you are normal powered all over the bus, genius, TO KEEP YOU FROM DESTROYING THINGS!)

(Flash: There must have been a hundred squirrels in there!)

(Leon: Chipmunks, too! They laughed at us!)

(Daisy: Those bushy tailed little bastards!)

(Sadie: I’ll bet they are still laughing!)

(Silky: Are they always like this about rodents?)

(Jazz: Yeah, pretty much.)

(Roxy: Jeez, it’s not like it was mice.)

We left the critters on the bus when we went to the museum.

(Sadie: We played board games.)

(Flash: I unleashed my mad skillz at “Kill Doctor Lucky”.)

Folks, being a guy from California, I never knew there were so many types of snowshoes. Hell, even those among us from colder climates (Everybody but Grace & I) were amazed by the variety. The old guy who lead us through the museum had a pretty complete knowledge of the history of the snowshoe and his dad founded the museum in 1916. He told us he gets thousands of visitors every year. The latest snowshoes were some high tech things that could actually convert into sorta kinda skis.

They did not sell fridge magnets, but they did have bumper stickers and t-shirts, so we got those. Of course, our actual bumpers have not been visible since 2011, so we now just put the bumper stickers on the back of the bus. We figure in about 2 years, we’ll have to think of where else to start putting them.

After the Great Snowshoe Adventure, we wandered around town for a bit, then got back on the bus and started heading south into Quebec. As I drove along, I chatted with Brian, Mary and Avis about the great scenery and what was up in our lives. Mary & Spike are the parents of a newly minted adult who also graduated from high school, so there were stories there. Brian had some stories from being a doctor. Avis talked about a con she went to not long ago. Me, I have no shortage of strange stories, given my household.

We were barely over the border into Quebec when we entered the small town of St. Fromage and saw a sign saying “Annual Beer Festival” (translated for me by our French speaking contingent). If you placed a bet that I’d pass up a beer fest, you do not know me. We pulled over and found out that the townsfolk were throwing a hell of a shindig which included music, games and free beer and food!

(Sasha: If you ever want to lure Daddy into a death trap, put up a sign saying “Free beer & food”)

(Lulu: “Free games” would work for Dad and Spike and Brian, too.)

(Leon: The free food or games might work on most anybody.)

Well, folks, we spent about two hours there, eating food, drinking beer (those of us who do drink beer), playing games, getting petted & tummy rubbed (those of us with more than 2 legs), singing songs in French (or faking it) and generally having a fine old time. I was somewhat impaired for driving, so we had Data (our autopilot) take the wheel when we left.

(Daisy: That was some tasty chow!)

(Roxy: Mmm…gravy!)

(Silky: Those folks were very nice.)

(Sadie: We Canadians are known for being nice. Well, except for some of our politicians. Of course, the Native People have a different viewpoint.)

(Lulu: Native People everywhere have a different point of view.)

(Jazz: Well, they certainly knew how to treat a cat. My tummy is full of salmon.)

After an hour of napping, during which the SmartBots sprayed those of us who had consumed alcohol with some stuff Sasha created…

(Sasha: Sobervix aerosol. I buy it on GalacticAmazon.)

…that completely sobered us up, we decided to do some gaming. We got out a shitload of board & card games and also fired up the X Boxes. Then it was Critters vs Humans.

On the video game front, Brian & I played Civilization 9: Cats vs Dogs against Leon & Flash. We set the timer for two hours and it was intense. I played a Doberman culture and Brian played the more scientific Border Collie culture.

(Sasha: The Dobies are a good race to play. Fast, smart and military.)

Flash played a Northern Cat culture and Leon chose the Jungle Cat culture. For most of the game, we just expanded our territories. In the last 25 minutes, it was time for war. Things got intense.

(Flash: We cats were doing well in battle, grabbing up cities & stuff. Then those damned Border Collies developed airplanes & tanks and we were screwed.)

(Leon: Yeah, we had fuck all for air defense.)

While we waged war, Grace, Ginie, & Avis played “Ticket to Ride: Middle Earth” vs Jazz, Sadie & Daisy. In the end, Daisy barely won.

Mary, Caroline & Lauren went up against Sasha, Roxy & Lulu in the card game “Love Letters”. After many hands, the humans triumphed by 3 wins.

(Lulu: That’s a nice card game.)

(Roxy: These mechanical hands are kind of cool.)

(Sasha: I like Otto better. He has tactile receptors and much better dexterity.)

Lacking enough critters to go around, Spike & Miranda played “Super Dario: Deathmatch” on another X Box. I believe Miranda won that one, since she was dancing about calling her dad a loser.


We are now pulling into a campground for the night. After dinner, it’s Movie Night. Our new “Double Feature Select-O-Mat” program will choose the two flicks we watch. More blogging tomorrow.

Destination Sign when we started: The Underdark


Destination Sign when we stopped: Toad Hall

Music: Heavy Metal Swing

Give Me All The Chocolate Bars And Nobody Gets Hurt

..Damn, I love Halloween!

The Doclopedia #888 How I Got The Nickname “Doc”: The Prison Story

(NOTE: None of these stories are true. Despite persistent rumors, I have never done time in prison.)

 

I got the nickname when I did a nickel in Chino back in the late 70’s. I was the only guy on my cell block with any medical knowledge, so I helped guys out when they got hurt, so the bulls wouldn’t report them. It made my stretch go by a whole lot easier.”

The Doclopedia #889 How I Got The Nickname “Doc”: The Actor Story

(NOTE: None of these stories are true, but there are a whole bunch of people who would tell you that I am, in fact, an actor.)

 

When I was little…like, 3 years old…I was one of the stars of “The Tiny Scamps”, which was a popular show back in Ireland, where I was born. I was on it two years, before we moved to America. My character was called “Doctor Billy”, so everyone just called me “Doc”.

The Doclopedia #890 How I Got The Nickname “Doc”: The Science Story

(NOTE: None of these stories are true. I am not a trained or accredited scientist, and if I were, I’d be of the Mad Scientist variety.)

 

“Well, see, I worked as a scientist for the government for several years. Top secret quantum time shit I can’t talk about and when I left the project, I was pretty burnt out. Trust me, being a pizza delivery guy is way less stressful than opening time portals. Aw, fuck! Forget that I said that.”

 

The Doclopedia #891 How I Got The Nickname “Doc”: The Native American Story

(NOTE: None of these stories are true. Any Native American ancestry of mine is from maybe 5 or 6 generations back, at least. Also, I pulled that “Indian Name” outta my ass just now.)

 

It come from my Grandma, who is ½ Native American. The full name is Dakana Wahentah, which means “speaks to animals”, but everyone shortened it to “Dak” and then “Doc”. Yeah, I know I don’t look very much like a Native American. The Irish part won out.”

The Doclopedia #892 How I Got The Nickname “Doc”: The Naughty Doctor Story

(NOTE: None of these stories are true, but this one does come close:)

 

 

“Oh, well, I got it from the various women I’ve dated over the years. Depending on who you ask, it’s short for either “Doctor Love” or “Doctor Feelgood”. Oh no, I make no statements as to the truth of those names, I just let the ladies give their own testimony. I’m just a simple country lad with humble skills in the erotic arts & sciences. Leave the party and go to your place? As a Doctor, I prescribe such a course of treatment.”

Dogs Makiing Milkshakes, Cats Frying French Fries, Mice Flipping Burgers

…it’s an animal land IN N OUT franchise

A Few Words On Future LJ Experiments

I know I ended the Dungeon Delving game, but be of good cheer, Dear Readers…more experiments are on the way! Now, none of them will be designed for a long haul, but some will involve group storytelling/roleplaying. Others will be along the “Take this poll” line, while others will be somethiing entirely different. This blog has been getting too damned boring and predictable lately, so it’s time for me to shake things up.

But right now, I’m gonna do my daily webcomic sweep, then hit the sack.

The Very Creepy, Yet Surprisingly Romantic, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And The Halloween House

…costarring her worst enemy, Almost Yellow Yolanda

Doc Update

1: The game room is coming along nicely. Pix to come on Sunday or Monday.

2: The Giant Hawaiian Gourd seeds I planted have resulted in two smallish gourd vines and one humongous vine. How humongous, you ask? Try 73 feet from the tip of one vine to the tip of another. It looks like the Vine That Ate Sacramento. And yes, it has lots of little gourdlets forming along the vines.

3: Grace is fully involved in her two online classes for this semester. Both are some techie stuff that I don’t recall the names of. In October, she will also be attending an 8 week on site class. Me, I self educate. Last night, I read half of a book on milk goats.

4: The Lord Dog willing and the creek don’t rise, I may have reviews of Esoterrorists and Fear Itself posted here by tonight.

5: This weekend (for me) will be all about House Cleaning, writing robot games and gardening. Oh, I might go see Shoot ‘Em Up on Saturday.

6: The saving of money towards Daisy’s cyst removal operation is going well. I’m about 1/3 of the way towards the total. With any luck, she’ll go under the knife by the end of the month.

And now, I’m off to work.

The Nine Ways To Catch A Hippo

…using only a net, some old socks and a pie

Stuff-O-Rama

1: Watched The Dresden Files on Sci Fi Channel. Pretty good adaptation, despite a couple of slightly jarring changes from the books. The actor playing Harry does a fine job.

2: I went and bought tea and spices from the herb/spice lady at the farmers market inside Denio’s Flea Market. As we were talking, it dawned on me that I’ve been buying stuff from her for just a tad shy of 30 years now. Kinda cool, that.

3: Taking the girls to the dog park on the weekends is a good idea, since it means tired out hounds when we get back. Sorta like letting kids wear themselves out at a playground so they’ll go to bed early…which I used to do with my nieces & nephews when they’d visit me.

4: We had a one day respite from overnight freezes, but tonight it’s supposed to get back down in the mid-20’s. Man, will my poor wee plants be lovin’ the comin’ a’ spring.

5: I submitted a game for Conquest Sac. The fact that they extended their “GM a game, get a pair of personalized dice” offer tells me they are probably needing GM’s. My game will be a Pulp Era adventure titled The Monster Maker.

6: Heroes returns tomorrow night! Huzzah!

Time to put the girls to bed. More blogishness soon.

Harry Potter And The Dildo Of Fire

…Professor Snape better watch out!

Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe

Grace and I saw it this morning. In my opinion, it’s a good movie, but not a great one. The acting was fine and the fx were well done, it’s just that the whole story was…not different enough. I’ve seen too many movies that covered similar ground. Maybe I would have liked it more if I’d ever read any of the books. I will say that the much bitched about (in fannish circles) religious aspect was not only toned down, it was no big deal. Worth seeing, but maybe not worth re-seeing.

Oh, by the way, before the flick, we saw the trailer for “Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest”. It looks to be great.

In Other News

My friend, smalley_smoot, sent me his printed out PDF version of “Savage Worlds”. For that, I thank him profusely and I shall soon dive into reading it whilst sipping on a tall glass of Pete’s Wicked Ale.

Today was a pretty lazy day, with the major high points being us seeing the Narnia flick and then finding out that even when I’m REALLY hungry, I can’t polish off the 1 pound hamburger at Fuddruckers.

It has been rainy and nasty all day, hence the aforementioned laziness. I hold out little hope for tomorrow seeing a change in either the weather or the laziness factor.

Just a note to remind you, Gentle Reader, that there is still time for you to choose your favorite Subject Line from my 2005 LJ entries. Those picked will be singled out for special treatment in my All Singing All Dancing 2006 Subject Line Review.

And now, it is time for ale. Alas, there are no whores to go with it, but that is probably all for the better.

Never Bitchslap A Sasquatch

…unless you are one badass mofo

Iron Chef Aslin Way

Yesterday, Grace asked me what she should buy for dinner tonight. I said “Let’s do an Iron Chef night. You buy some mystery ingredients and I’ll use all my culinary skills to win the people’s acclaim forever.” And thus, a new tradition was born here at Castle Cross.

The mystery ingredients are: fresh green beans…red snapper…bay scallops…tilapia…polenta.

I’ll steam the beans with spices, cook the fishand scallops in a tomato/herb sauce and serve it over rice and fry up the polenta in some seasoned butter/oil mix. Grace will make the rice and possibly shout “Allez Cuisine!”…or not.

And then I’ll walk many a mile to make up for the extra caloric intake.

In other, non food news, I busted my ass and mixed up a concrete/soil mix to fill the first 10 large cans that I’ll be using as a foundation for my retaining wall. I’m thinking I’ll need about 50 cans for the first section of wall.

I STILL have two turns left to reply to in the Kingdom Building Game. Obviously, the whole “two turns a month thing was a mad fantasy of mine. I’m thinking one a month will be more like it.

And now…off to Kitchen Stadium!