22 April 2009

Fixing a Broken Home... and chainmaille

It has been a few days.. or maybe a week.. since I last posted. Any good reason why? no, not so much. Busy with IRL stuff.. work, wife, etc. My son is coming up from his mother's for the summer.. he'll be here in June, and I spent the weekend tearing out the bad carpet and remaining sheetrock /wood from the flood 2 years ago. Did I mention I procrastinate?

He wants that downstairs room that flooded, so I am going to do my best to have it somewhat ready for him. Next I need to coat the entire place in bleach and give it a good scrub, then seal the concrete to hopefully keep it from leaking again. Really, I need to dig out the wall from the outside and repair it there, but that means renting a small back hoe and being careful not to destroy my installed sprinkler system. doesn't sound fun so far.

Once the room is properly sealed (like i said.. dig it out..), i need to rebuild the walls. Only this time I'm not going to rebuild them as they were, 10" out from the concrete and totally open, I'm going to put up a wall to separate it and make it into a real bedroom. The old closet that used to take up the entire walkway to the laundry room is gone now, and I can use it as hallway space, running the wall over to the other side of the window.

This is a rough floorplan of the front of the basement (done in mspaint). The crooked line with the door in front of the window is going to be the wall i put in. Yes, it will most likely be crooked, as in not 90 degrees off the wall. Why? because i need to have the window be inside the bedroom for fire code and the entry to the laundry room (circle and two squares) isn't exactly in the best place.

Other things.

I received my arbor and blades from The Ring Lord in the mail. This will allow me to cut my own coils into rings. Yay! This weekend when the weather was beautiful I went outside at 8 in the morning and built myself a coil cutter stand. I'll put up pics later. Basically its a bunch of wood with a block of wood that has a hole drilled in it so i can drop the coils down. The drill will hold the blade into a notch that enters the hole where the coils are and i push the coils down onto the saw blade, and rings fall out the bottom into a cup. It works really well. i cut half my coil this weekend. Just wanted to make sure it was working right. Now I go back to my mandrell and make more coils so i can make more rings so i can make my hauberk (see the other posts on chainmaille to compare notes.)


09 March 2009

Monday is the new Wednesday!

Welcome to Blitz Hobby-ing -dot- Com!

There. Finally. The DNS has completed replication and all blog pages are go. I've uploaded the template and have the majority of the links and sidebars complete. More will be moved around and added as we go, so thank you for your patience. I still have to notify my affiliates (rpgbloggers.com and blogcatalog.com) of the changes, so it may be a little while before things start posting on the correct feeds. and there is still a matter of migrating the old feeds off this page and into the new catagories, which could take awhile. Maybe i'll just do the last six months or a year or something.

Sage is still doing up some title bars to add a splash of color, so i'll get those posted soon.

Anyhow, leave me comments on what you think of the new site. is it readable, easy to nav, etc. ? is there more of something you would like to see?


Monday... not ready yet

Ok, so it wasn't ready on monday. I found that I had put webforwards in my DNS instead of CNAMEs. Silly me. In a rush to finish up before a long weekend. Oh well. It will prolly be done by Wednesday. That will give me a couple more days to prepare the other pages, being that its a pain to upload templates lately in blogger. Here's a link for how to fix the BX--- errors on blogger, for any of you having the same issue.


05 March 2009

That was quick

Check back monday (about how long it should take for zone edit and godaddy to get their act together) for news about the progress of the update. i picked up www.blitzhobbying.com and that will be the new aggregate site. It's going to feed all the other pages. I've currently separated them into the following catagories:

  • Art
  • Comics
  • Hobbies
  • Personal
  • Reviews
  • RPGs
  • Writing
There will be links at the top of each page to each other site and feeds will be displayed on the main www site. It's going to take me a little time to move all the posts, but I think when it's done it will be worth the wait.

blog.markofcain.us will be directed to the main www site to make it easy for those who are currently reading to continue.




My few readers may have noticed a shockingly different facelift here, and I am quite pleased with it. yes, i pulled it from a free template site, but meh. I liked it (after a few color changes... default is ... pink.) This isn't going to be the last of the changes, however. I'm going to be separating things... adding additional pages that will focus on the different directions I tend to go so that readers can find what they are looking for and not have to wade thru what they don't care about.

This desire to alter my virtual home was inspired by another blogger. I was over at RoleplayingPro just now and read Samuel's post on What do Gamers want from Gaming Blogs. Very good question. I started thinking about the readers that came to my blog and what they looked at/commented on while they were here. That naturally lead my blitzy brain into additional thinking and now I need to segment my blog into various sections to respond to each situation.

For one, my video game reviews. Video Gamers that come to check out my reviews may not be all that interested in: my personal home life; the people I knew in prison; my creative writing attempts; my webcomic work; my various hobbies. Each of these things is getting its own page. I'm going to create a main page that will feedblast each section, and readers can choose which they want.

I'm also considering a domain change. i've had markofcain.us for awhile now, so that's why i've been using it, but now that i've picked the Blitz Hobby-ing title, i think its time to search for a more relevant address.

So in the future, look for big changes here at Blitz Hobby-ing. If you have suggestions or recommendations, leave me a comment.



03 March 2009

Review: Blue Dragon Plus for Nintendo DS

When i let the dogs out this morning, i found a plain yellow padded envelope on the front porch with a big UPS Ground label on the front. Inside was a nice letter from the marketing agency, thanking me for taking the time for the review and reminding me to find their web tool online and let them know when the review was posted; and the game: Blue Dragon Plus for the Nintendo DS.

My DS was dead from way too much Animal Crossing: Wild World over the last couple days, so it took me a few hours before i was set up to try Blue Dragon Plus.

But i'm probably getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning. This is my first video game review, and i was surprised even to be asked to take part, but i want to make sure i do a thorough job and be fair.

I will say up front that i was not influenced by the marketing agency that asked me to review the game in any way. the fact that the game was shipped to me for free, i can only assume, is the standard in reviews, as evidenced from Penny Arcade and Ctrl+Alt+Del mentioning in their blog that such-and-such publisher sent them random-game to review.

I refrained from loading up the original Blue Dragon on my 360 while waiting for this game, wanting to go into the review fresh and perhaps as if i had never even played it. It has been about a year since i played the 360 game, and i couldn't remember much, so I'm off to a good start.

I also refrained from reading any other reviews or watching trailers of Blue Dragon Plus, so as not to be influenced by anything except my own experience.

The other thing I refrained from was the instruction booklet. I had two reasons for this:

  • One - As a man, I have a natural aversion to instruction booklets.
  • Two - I wanted to really know how intuitive this game was. Would it have controls easy to guess and navigate, or would it be incredibly complex and require remapping and a cheat sheet?

So, on with the review

Initial Thoughts

  • Good intro cutscene, really reminded me of what i remember from the 360 version. Very cinematic and recognizable characters. Kind of surprised me for the DS (but the only other game I have is Animal Crossing, so I really don't have much of a basis for comparison).
  • Feels like final fantasy tactics at first glance after the cutscene. 3D Isometric, shoulder buttons for rotating the camera, D-Pad for positioning the camera.

  • I like that it introduces the characters in the party at the start and gives tips for how to effectively use them in combat.

  • Controls were very intuitive and only took mere seconds to play with and figure out. No complexity at all.

Yes, so there are the first three thoughts I had. My initial impression is a positive one.

Initial Thoughts Rating: +


The second thing I noticed is how story-driven Blue Dragon Plus is. Packed with excellent cinematic cut scenes and story-furthering dialog interspersed with some very strategic real time combat. For those of us that are fans of the Final Fantasy series and can handle lots of dialogue and cut scenes, you'll feel right at home.

The story was engaging and interesting. It built upon the world from the original title and flowed well, much like a comic book or graphic novel. It made sense in context and was well written.

Storyline Rating: +


The real-time combat takes a little getting used to. Most isometric games like this that I am used to (FF:Tactics and even Blue Dragon(360)) were turn based, but when the enemies don't wait for you to pick your action, they just start walking and beating on your characters out of the expected turn sequence, the world flips upside down and its time to build a new strategy.

This is where the simplicity of the controls shines. Three icons on the right side of the screen control party selection. The first is for scrolling through your party individually, the second is for circling the target party members with the stylus, and the third is selecting all party members. Clicking on an enemy sends all selected characters to release whoop-ass. There are two to three icons at the bottom of the screen for each character selected. Special attacks, and medicine for healing. Simply click one with the stylus and combat pauses so you can ensure the target of your spell.

I was easily able to group my combat-oriented members on the enemies to overwhelm them and send the scout out to gather treasure and medicine to keep them alive.

The rest of gameplay is spent reading through the linear storyline and watching the cut scenes, or making minor direction choices that automatically move you to an area occupied by either a monster or a shop. Simplified perhaps too much, but easy to understand and work with.

Gameplay Rating: +

Genre Elements

Blue Dragon Plus is listed as an Action RPG. Combat action is the primary element of gameplay, so I give it a + for that.

The 'Key Points' page of the marketing site boasts "Exciting RPG Elements Such As Item Collection, Character Progression and Robot Customizations".

Fine, let's talk about RPG Elements.

Items are collected and assigned to characters to grant additional stat bonuses and counteract weaknesses or increase strengths.

After combat, characters are awarded experience points and possibly level up. There is nothing to do during level-up. Stat increases are awarded automatically.

I haven't even gotten to the robot customization yet. This intrigues me, and I'm looking forward to it.

But how does it play as an RPG? That depends on your definition of Role Playing Game. I'm a paper and dice RPG'er and text-based RPG'er, which means I have a much different view on role play than WoW or EverQuest RPG'ers. So for me, the RPG element was the weak point of this game.

But as for the Action, Blue Dragon Plus is all about action.

I would say this is a neutral, one plus/one minus, but the RPG portion is listed as "Elements", and not designated as the primary genre, so we'll catagorize it Action.

Genre Element Rating: +


I know I haven't yet played the whole game through to the end, but in my experience so far, there isn't much to replay. Choices are limited to how you go about taking out the bad guys during combat. All conversation is pre-scripted with no input from the player, so once you've played through to the end, that's it. I'm not one who even re-reads books more than once, so I probably wouldn't play it more than once, but what I have played so far was good.

Replay-ability Rating: -


Blue Dragon Plus is a good story-driven combat game with some innovative elements in a familiar world. While not a true RPG, it does try to incorporate popular elements to appeal to everyone, and does an okay job. The 30+ hours of playtime is a fresh release in the wake of shorter games, but the complete linearity does not promote replay-ability. More of a graphic novel with combat breaks, but still recommended for fans of the original or similar titles. Having first completed the original is suggested for understanding the back story.

Summary Rating: (4 out of 5)

Blue Dragon Plus
Published by: Ignition Entertainment
Developed by: Feel Plus
Genre: Action RPG
System: Nintendo DS
Rated: E for Everyone
Release Date: February 24, 2009

Blue Dragon Plus images and video care of Rocket XL Marketing.
Dragon Score Image copyright: WarSpider Entertainment LLC, and is used with permission.
DragonClash.com is neither owned or operated by Nintendo and is not
associated with the Blue Dragon Plus product.


27 February 2009

Rating System

I thought it was important to post my criteria for game reviews, what with my review of Blue Dragon Plus coming up.

My video game reviews are rated on elements I look for in a game, and are completely subjective, based on my personal opinion. I try to be fair when writing a review and do my best not to allow outside influences to sway me.

Initial Thoughts - watching the opening cut scene and first impressions of the game.
Storyline - How engaging is the story, how interesting, how well was it written.
Gameplay - Innovation, intuitive, easy to control, any frustrations.
Genre Elements - How well does it meet the claims of the genre.
Replay-ability - Was it worth playing through, would you consider playing it through again.

I realize this isn't everything a game is made of, but it is more at heart to what a game is to me compared to other reviewers that consider more of how it looks and what it sounds like. Graphics and Sound are secondary, and therefore included in the initial thoughts, rather than separate categories.

If you have any questions about my review process, send me email.


25 February 2009

Comic Progress

So, after sketching the first two pages and starting color and ink, it has become painfully obvious to me that if i intend to do a weekly comic i need to further simplify my art. Detailed work is fine when you have a two month deadline and a full team working on it, but i have me and my timetable, which is surprisingly short lately. So, while the story that Skipp, my writer, put together is good, my art is too much and i have to refine.

More to come.


18 February 2009

Comic Status Update

OK, so no, i have not disappeared again for months on end of no posts. I've just been busy. With normal full time work, addition of a code project, and getting things lined up for my comic, its been a little... hectic. I got the first four pages of script from my writer and had to arrange it in "sequential art" format, and i have the sketches done for the first two pages. I prolly won't be starting the comic until i have the first six or eight pages done, or at least sketched, so i can have material to post each week. I'm shooting for once per week, maybe wednesday or thursday posts. I think that's all the time my schedule will allow right now.

in other news, i have been invited, thru contact to this blog, no less, to review Blue Dragon Plus for the Nintendo DS. I have accepted, so should hopefully be receiving my copy soon. That's exciting. I've got the 360 version of Blue Dragon, and really enjoy it. I'm going to post their widget on the sidebar now to get ready.


01 February 2009

Finishing Ella

Ok. here's the finish of Sage's character. She's going with a different name, tho. Didn't want the comic named after her. Prolly in case I do something crazy and totally uncharacteristic so she doesn't get upset. heh.

When I zoomed in real close i found a few mistakes with the color. I'm still learning, so i'm sure i'll get that straight eventually. i need to work on the shading still, too. I've been reading applegeeks for the last few days, and taking a lot of queue's from Hawk's art. (Especially around the 300-ish area)

I know my art will get better as I continue to draw, but I need to simplify it if i'm going to be putting out a color comic weekly. Even when i try to do simple i tend to over-detail. It was difficult for me to make Ella anime-ish in the face. I kept wanting to draw her face exactly to the model, instead of just appearing similar. Working with a writer friend for scripts.


30 January 2009

Concept Art 2

This is Cole. My third concept character for the new web comic. The lightning and glowy eyes is more of just for fun. Like Anthony, the model for this character has an affinity for lightning, so thought it was a nice touch. Most likely my characters will be based in a non-powerful real world, but the powers are fun to play with since its my comic and I can do whatever I want. Muahahaha!


28 January 2009

Concept Art

So here are my first two attempts at drawing digitally using Manga Studio and my drawing pad. Not bad at all, considering the review I read said it wasn't geared towards color comics. I found that it just takes some layers, like everything else.

These are two concepts of the characters in my webcomic. I'll prolly run thru about three to four full concepts for each character before I decide on something. No, Anthony cannot really throw kamehameha, but the real life person I model him after is a Dragonball Z nut, so I figured it was only natural.

And yes, Sage will have legs, I just hadn't got that far before my wife was ready to play with colors. So that's where it ended up. The skirt is knee length. Its a total optical illusion that she's the same height as Anthony and without feet or shins. [Jedi mind trick] Ignore that detail. These are not the droids you're looking for. Move along. [/Jedi mind trick]


25 January 2009

Comic Love

I don't think I ever outgrew comics. I've always been a fan, starting with X-Men. I collected for quite a while, but sold them for a measly 100$ when I went into the Marines so my mother didn't have to store them.

I've started collecting the Star Wars Legacy comics from Dark Horse. Unfortunately I started at the end of the storyline, so I missed most of it, but that's okay. The art is over the top and really great. I also picked up Ender's Game comic, based on Orson Scott Card's novels. It's a five issue set, and I have the first two so far. The art is completely different than that of standard hero comics, and lends a touch of innocence to the harsh battle school.

Manga (japanese comics) are wonderful too, and are not just about super heroes, although they have that too. Some of my favorite manga are school days, daily life, and harem (one boy surrounded by four or five crazy girls).

I think my favorite manga ever is Inu Neko Jump by Mitsuru Hattori. I love his art, and the story is great. I saw one other manga by him, Otogi no Machi no Rena, and the art was great, but the story is pos def more adult than Inu Neko Jump. I guess he has one other manga that has been made into anime, but I haven't seen that one yet.

Web comics take up a significant amount of my weekend, also. I try to catch up on Goblins, Order of the Stick, Ctrl+Alt+Del, and Penny Arcade. And don't be discouraged by the comic on those links. It was first issue of each. The comic gets better with time.

My wife pointed me at Garfield Minus Garfield yesterday, and I read thru it both laughing and feeling deep pity for Jon Arbuckle. It shows the darker side of Jon's pathetic life with no comic relief and lightedness coming from the orange furball.

For my birthday my wife bought me a Wacom Bamboo drawing tablet. This is a thing of beauty. Being a 4x6 drawing pad, it fits the aspect ratio of my widescreen 19" monitor perfectly, and i can easily correlate where the spot on the pad should appear on my monitor. Now, it pos def does not work for gaming. At least not yet. It might do okay with some RTS, but Neverwinter 2 almost made me dizzy. There is a setting to make it mouse-like instead of tablet-like, but i have a mouse for that, so meh.

I've acquired Manga Studio and now there is much comic to be done. I've wanted to draw comics for a long time, but until recently i didn't have the faintest idea how to properly draw. All my previous drawings were one-shots. Either i draw it right the first time, or I don't bother. (My favorite were two characters I did for D&D 3.0 in the little 2" window on the bottom of the character sheet, but they were destroyed when my old cellie panicked about a raid by the guards.) But i've picked up a couple books on manga drawing and saw that they spend a lot of time drawing lines over the tops of their lines so they can erase the lower lines and... whatever. that's why I got Manga Studio. Layers without erasing. So now I have the concepts, I have the tools, I just need to work on my drawing ability. So in the next few weeks I might be posting some attempts and trials, and even a short comic strip or two as I develop my characters and pick my theme.

Mostly my ideas stem from the friends I have, now scattered to the winds, but still in my mind and other mushy stuff. Skipphag gave me a few ideas for funny stuff, and Lone provided me with one or two. The one I did for him, he laughed and said he didn't know if he should be flattered or insulted. Well, that's up to him. It made for an amusing read. I'll redo it digitally and post it later.

While I was doing my time I drew a lot because there is actually nothing else to do, and I got pretty good. I did a comic for my kids, but last time I asked my ex- about it she said she saw it under stuff on the kid's floor. Well, that didn't make me too happy, because I put a lot of work into that, and couldn't make a copy because of my situation. So digital is much better. I can post stuff to my blog and send links. They don't have to read them if they don't want to, and if they do, it won't end up on their floor.


18 January 2009

Sage's moment of Triumph

I set up an encounter to push my heroes a little. Have them think it over. Make them work for victory. They're 5th level now, and I wanted to kinda worry them.

I had an ambient youth run up and had a datapad to my wife's hero, a small flying assassin droid named T1-NK, and tell her that he was paid to deliver the message.

The datapad told her that someone knew why they were there and wanted the heroes to meet him on such and such landing pad at 0200 (yes, its mostly a twist out of DoD e3. i was rewriting it and keeping some of the elements to assist in flow).

So the party decides that they will scout the landing pad out early and just send in the assassin droid, not all of them. The kel-dor scout goes in 2 hrs early to an empty landing pad and passes thru the atmosphere shield, locking his magnetic boots to the outside to watch.

Time goes by.

A well dressed man in a uniform enters and stands on the landing pad, gazing out at the glow of the planet before him.

Tee-One enters a few minutes later, alone.

The man hears the doors and turns, smug, but is slightly startled when he realizes the droid is alone. He was expecting more. "Well, no matter," he says, "We'll catch up with your companions later. Now. Drop your weapons and... float down to the deck." At which time ten heavy stormtroopers enter behind her and line up pointing their blasters at her back.

Tee-One drops her blaster. A small panel on her back opens and from a spring loaded launcher flies a thermal detonator, landing right center of the group of storm troopers. One bloody mist cloud later, the storm troopers have been decimated and the commander stands stupidly slack jawed.

Tee-One, without missing a beat, "You had some information for me?"


17 January 2009

House Rules

This could also be subtitled as, "Big name publisher made hundreds of rules to control your little imaginative world, but you thought of stuff they didnt think of and made even more".

I read on a forum recently that it is a good idea to write down your house rules so they are not forgotten, misunderstood, or at least so there is a reference of them so the players don't think you're just making stuff up arbitrarily.

So, here's my top rules that follow me pretty much any d20 (or similar) system I play:

  1. Character Creation - When rolling ability scores, roll 4d6, dropping the lowest die, re-rolling all 1's. If you roll a set and you aren't happy with them, you can roll again, up to four times, but you can't go back to any previous set you've rolled. You have to use one of those five sets.
    Typically, this gives us heroic characters. Like... very heroic characters. If we compare our current Star Wars character's ability scores to the point buy system (which recommends 24-28 points), my party characters range more around 48-54. Are they overballanced? Maybe. But c'mon.. They're heroes. And no one likes to have an 8.
  2. Encumberance - This is kind of a tough one. I view it more like the video game equipment. You are not encumbered by things that you won't be using. Such as the seven suits of storm trooper armor that you plan on selling in the next shadowport. But all your gear that you wear and use on a regular basis should be accounted for.
  3. Ammo - You have enough ammo for just about any situation, unless you roll a 1 on your attack. (because rolling a 1 on attack is so confusing about what should happen, I like this rule. No worrying about if it blows up or shoots your buddy instead.) If you roll a 1 on the attack, roll 1d4. On a 1, you are out of ammo. Looks like you should have remembered to recharge that e-clip, or the e-clip failed. I might expand this to make 2-4 do other stuff on fails, but for now, I'm happy with that.
  4. Party bag of holding - I did this one to help with my wife's need to loot abso-freaking-lutely every baddie they kill. She sells the majority for 50%, keeps all grenades and explosives in this party bag that anyone can grab from. It's just for little stuff like grenades, that can be easily shared, without having to worry about who had them. I guess I can see the challenges that can be part of: "I throw the thermal detonator at the four clones and the badass bodyguard coming to capture me." "Nope, Sorry. Elzebub has them and she's on the other side of the station, " But i'm more of the mind that worrying about inventory takes away from the fun part. So, yeah. bag o' grenades ftw!
  5. Shooting into Melee - If you miss the shot by more than 5, random roll to decide who it hits. Damage is base weapon damage only, no bonuses of any kind. (level, sneak attack, etc) If you miss by more than 10 or less than 5, complete miss.

What are some of your house rules and where did they get their start?


10 January 2009

Game Theory - The Total Rewrite

This phrase really freaked me out when I first heard it. What could be cooler than a theory of games? But you know what? It isn't the cool new college course that all the design publishers are looking for, its actually military strategy. Which kinda works, if you're playing Total Annihilation. But I'm not talking about military strategem, or TA. I'm talking about design.

My first major campaign for Star Wars Saga Edition is going on. We are up to the third episode, and since I didn't care for the original RPGA written episode 3, I'm rewriting it.

Now, I've got to tell you, this is not just an easy throw something together thing. There is real thought and planning behind building an episode for an existing established campaign. I wanted to keep some of the same elements in the game so that key things that took place in the original will still happen in the rewrite, but will fit my new setting and events.

But it doesn't work to just cut and paste areas of the text, because they are very different in content.

For example, I just couldn't bring myself to put my very aggressive players thru four days of playing cards. It just wouldn't have worked. They would have been killing random npcs by the second day. So that had to go. But there is a purchase / exchange that happens during the card game. Now I have to have that purchase / exchange go down anyway, but in a diffent manner, and to where the players discover it anyway, and make it more interesting than hiding in shadows evesdropping or sitting somewhere high up and watching thru macrobinoculars.

So. For the first installment of my new RPG focused hobby blog, here we have:

Episode 3. Rewriting the Adventure.

  1. Keep the NPCs the same, just change their role. Rather than your Rodian being a scoundrel card sharp, throw him in position of the Noble. Dress him up in fancy clothes and give him an entourage.

  2. Keep the setting similar, just change the location. The original may take place on Jabba's Sail Barge over the dune sea. But that doesn't fit your new setting, since you aren't including Jabba, or the Tatoonian Dune Sea. How about a five day-six night stay aboard the luxury star cruise Correlian Star Resorts Cruise & Travel.

  3. Keep the main plot of the episode, just change the detail. The original was a rescue of the princess from the evil Empire's new space station detention facility before she's executed. Well, perhaps in your game, the Empire's base is an underground facility, and the rescue of the princess is freeing slaves. Plot: Rescue. Details: location / rescuee.

  4. Add in new stuff that makes your game different, but similar. Basically not all the encounters from the original episode are going to work in your new location/setting/goal. But coming up with interesting encounters can be a challenge. You don't want your episode rewrite to be the same. you want to give it your own flare and creativity. Let's say in the original the heroes were going to come across a datapad that would lead them to an NPC that knew what they were looking for. Well, that's a data encounter. How about instead, your hero's droid slices into the central station computer and that data that was going to be provided from the NPC is available there.

  5. Make it exciting. No matter how much you didn't like the original write, something about it made it exciting to the writers. Try to capture that element. It's okay to borrow from their example to do it. Just as the heroes save the princess and disable the tractor beam, escape from the big bad evil super villain (BBESV), they blast off into space only to discover their hyperdrive has been disabled. Dun dun DUN! Now they have to fight off waves of TIE fighters and fix the hyperdrive at the same time before the shields give out!

Yeah, keep that part.


08 January 2009

The Community

My wife has a blogger community. I've had my blog for about a year now. She's had hers for a couple months. She has a community and is getting comments and reads from other bloggers. What do i get? Random comments posted from random people, and once in a great while. I haven't been totally happy with that, but I didnt know where to go. What am I supposed to do to get a community? my friends don't read my blog. I can barely get them to show up to games (which isn't totally fair, because Sinister had a real emergency this week).

Well, I need a community. But my blog may need a target direction before I have readers. It may also need planned regular updates and themes. so far it is a collection of random thoughts and posts about my totally random activity of the day. Is that a direction? Is that a theme? Randomness in hobbying? I want a gamer community. Ah, well.

Forums, on the other hand, are a community that is easier to be a part of. I've been spending a lot of time on d20Radio in the star wars saga edition forums. I try to find things that I can throw in on from my experiences to assist those who have questions, even though I'm no master GM. I have been more on the pc side than gm side, but when our previous gm moved to Kansas, I stepped up to pick up the pieces as the next most experienced player (about 20 years).

I've had some good GM's in my time. Jake was our Shadowrun storyteller. He kept us interested and involved, and I've strived to provide some of the magic that came out of those games in my current group. Volgren was another. He had great adventure ideas and always kept us interested, and were always full of depth and sometimes the scale and scope was so far reaching that I'm amazed we survived at all.

So far my game has been reading from the little orange hilighted boxes, then picking out pieces of the rest of the paragraph to use as details, then setting up the battle map with the miniatures so the players could duke it out with stormtroopers. i have a few of the swminis from Skipphag, but not many. the normal table is a mix of swminis, 40k soldiers, iron kingdom heroes, and the occasional large empty black base to represent big monsters. The maps are cardstock that i had grid squares printed and then i cut out the proper room sizes and have even gone so far as to create little additions, such as a raised dias for the hutt, or a speeder for us to cruise around Cato Niemodia in.

But i want to do more. I want the experience to be even more memorable, so in my over zealous way, I dived full on into google looking for resources, and am tripping over community.


It says so much, just sitting there like that, begging people to walk in the door. Begging them to sit at the table, pick up a pencil and some dice, and play. Perhaps its my lack of experience as storyteller that is my shortcoming. On the fly isn't coming together fast enough to be coherent. For my wife's solo game that i'm planning, i'm writing down everything. It may sound a little wooden, but she doesn't care, she just wants to know what she gets for loot loves me anyway. But i'm writing down the intro, i'm writing down what she sees, hears, and the little fluff elements. For example, the beginning of the adventure will consist of an immersive description of a daydream that is going on while she is supposed to be practicing controlling her force sensitivity.

You are Jedi. Sworn protector of the Republic. Feared and awed throughout known space. Limitless power, boundless knowledge, vast resources all at your fingertips.

Or, at least they will be in a few years. For now, you are still a padawan learner, following at your master's heels. She is stern and strict, but fair, and you have learned much. You have a few missions under your belt now. You've been off Dantooine a couple times. You helped to neutralize a cunning assassin with a contract on an important senator. You helped bring down a warlord in the outer rim that was raiding isolated settlements for supplies. Neither easy, but definitely worth it for the experience it brought you.

But lately it’s been back to studies. Focusing on lifting stuff, deflecting stuff, moving stuff... it seems to never end. Your dreams of glory and fame have never felt so far away. The only thing that makes these days bearable is Juuna, your best friend from one of the outlying farms. Her presence chases away the doldrums and her mischief brings a touch of excitement to your life. You look forward to after studies when you can meet up and do something other than study. Perhaps today there will be boys involved, though your master wouldn't approve.

You are brought sharply out of your daydreams by a surprised shout, and you look about. Padawan Doona Vlyn is hovering three feet off the ground, flailing wildly. Apparently while running through exercises, as your concentration wavered, so did your target. The stones lay before you haphazardly. Maybe you should do something about Doona.

There. I will read all that to her to immerse her in the story, get her feeling like her character and lead her to the mindset that I view for her character. For a full party I wouldn't be so presumptuous. They may have their own style of play, but this is specifically for Sage.

I hope she likes it.

Wait. I thought I was done, but then I looked at the title. The Community. How does ending on my current star wars game for my wife have anything to do with community? It doesnt, but now I remember where I was going with this.

I think I found them.


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