Showing posts with label real life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label real life. Show all posts

Monday, July 22, 2019

Happy Anniversary!

No regular post today, it's my 24th Wedding Anniversary!
24 years ago I stood on a beach in Ocho Rios, Jamaica and I said "I Do" to my best friend.
It's been a wonderful ride so far.  Two houses, two kids, 8 different jobs, and 21 season of gardens (missing one due to a move and no gardens when we lived in an apartment).  I wouldn't change a thing.

To keep this RPG related I got a commission from one of my Featured Artist, Ben Honeycutt, to do a portrait of my wife's and mine D&D 5 characters.  Or, more closely, us cosplaying as our characters. ;)



These are our characters Johan IV (Paladin) and Lana (Fighter)



These were based on our minis and our engagement photo from 1995.




Friday, June 21, 2019

Busy Week

Sorry for the lack of posting everyone.  Been a really busy week at work.

Here are some brief updates.

Back to Middle-Earth
I turned 50 last week!
So I decided to re-read the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings for something like the 7th or 8th time.
Finished up the Hobbit and I am at the part in Fellowship where the Hobbits have left Tom Bombadil's home.  I am likely to also re-read The Silmarillion, a book I loved much more than expected.

I am also considering picking up Tales from the Perilous Realm and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, two books I ignored as being "too childish" for me...back when I was, in fact, a child.

Then To the Wizarding World!
Speaking of childish things, I have no shame in admitting that I enjoy playing Pokémon GO with my wife and kids.  We walk all over my son's campus (because apparently, I am not on campus enough now) and catch Pokémon.  We get out, we get exercise and we all do it together as a family.
So now we are all playing Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.  HP is a little more near and dear to my heart than Pokémon is. Though I have very, very fond memories of playing the Pokémon card game with my son when he was little and watching the cartoon with him.
Wizards Unite uses the same game engine as PG but with some differences.  More immersive.  I see more walks in my future with my family and both games.

BTW if you want to add me, here are my codes.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite: 1990 1847 9214
Pokémon GO: 5190 6074 7972


Then Back to the Final Frontier
My BlackStar game is going rather well.
A couple of new developments.
First, I am going to be adding Kzinti as a race.  I am going to say at this point they are in an uneasy cold war with the Federation.  They are largely going to fill the role of the Klingons from the FASA Trek game.  Including the Klingon philosophy of "what is not growing is dying".   Again, this is merely background and I might set them up as the main antagonist for the "series" before springing the horror on them.
Second, I have gotten some GREAT ideas from a very unlikely source, the HBO series Chernobyl. 
I think this is going to be great.

I just need to survive the term start here in a week and I'll be great.

BTW I am now working on a new Graduate level Social Justice course.  This will be a lot of fun and I am really looking forward to it.

See you all next week!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Busy Weekend!

Sorry for the lack of a Monstrous Monday post yesterday, it was Memorial Day in the US and I was busy doing gardening with my wife.  But that's not all I did.


My kids got in a bunch of D&D 5 over the weekend their groups.  Looks like this summer we will be hosting 3-4 WEEKLY D&D games here. Pretty nice.

Went to my FLGS over the weekend.  Picked up the new Saltmarsh book, but have not looked it over yet. Saw the new "Wardlings" series of kid minis and they now have a little witch out.


She is perfect as a younger version of my iconic witch Larina!



All the Wardlings come with a pet, but I am swapping out the cat that came with this one for the winged cat that came with the little mage character.



Went to another game store just down the road.  This one is more Warhammer centric but they were holding a "garage sale".  You can bring in items to sell and pay the store for them.
We picked up this set of Dwarven Forge dungeon walls for cheap.


While the kids enjoyed the new dungeons I was helping my wife plant over 112 pepper plants and 70 tomato plants.


I also spent my Monday building her two 8'x4' and two double deep 4'x2' raised bed boxes.






So really, quite the satisfying weekend.  Got a lot of stuff done for both my and my wife's hobbies!

Plus I built those boxes even though my wife had made off with my sawhorses for her plants! 

Kids have another D&D game tonight. Yeah, school is out for both of them. My oldest finished his first year of college and my youngest finished high school finals.  I'd like for them to get some jobs, BUT truth be told I am also happy they are home all the time.  They have the rest of their lives to work.

Back to regular posting soon!

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Great Things Come in FOURS

So about 24 hours ago this happened,


Yes, I hit 4,000,000 page views!
Thanks to everyone that keeps coming here to read my posts and ramblings.

I am also hitting my 40th year of playing D&D.  I have played several scores of other games since then and have written professionally for a dozen or so professionally, I keep coming back to D&D.

Also sometime next month I'll hit 4,000 posts.  That's a lot of text.

It's been a great time here at the Other Side.  I started the first Other Side as a website as a means to teach myself HTML while working on my first Ph.D. 
My degrees might have gotten me my job(s) but it was learning HTML that got me here.

I have lots more planned here, so stick with me for the next 4,000 posts and next 4,000,000 hits!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Busy Day: Edits, Module Prep and oh yeah, the Day Job

I am trying to wrap up some edits now on Daughters of Darkness.  Some monsters and some spells did not make the cut.

Also, I am deep in helping launch a new graduate program in Social Work, so that has me REALLY busy.

But I also thought I'd share these.  Printed them out last night.




I like to print out my classic modules when running 5e so I can write notes on the adventure. Both in-game ones and conversion notes. 

I do have some notes from the Classic Modules Today team.


REALLY looking forward to running all of these as my huge "Deserts of Desolation and Death" campaign.  It should be epic.

Monday, April 22, 2019

April TTRPG Maker, Day 22

Day 22: How are you working to improve the ttrpg community?

I hope I lead by example.

I would like to be the example that not all "old guys" are stuck in the 80s (although my wife would question my tastes in music) and we are not all a bunch of grumpy assholes.

I also try to call out bad behavior when I see it and correct my own when it happens.

My reach is not very far, but I am hoping that things like this will help.

I like to be an RPG evangelist.  Show everyone what is good about RPGs and the joy of sitting around the table with family and friends and rolling dice.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

April TTRPG Maker, Day 21

Day 21: What external factors do you struggle with to create?

Another easy one.

Time.

There is not enough time in my day to work full time, be a husband and father and then still find time to write.

I spend my day job writing. I spend blog time writing.  Then to sit in front of a computer and do more?

Sometimes it is hard.  Often times it is hard.

Friday, April 19, 2019

April TTRPG Maker, Day 19

Day 19: Favorite Themes to Explore

When I write games it is magic and the nature of belief.

My favorite characters tend to be clerics, paladins, and witches.  All characters that are defined by their relationship to divine forces.

Maybe it has something to do with me being an atheist in real life. I don't know.  I suspect it is.

I just find them rather interesting.



Wednesday, April 17, 2019

April TTRPG Maker, Day 17

Day 17: How Does Your Identity Influence Your Work?

This is related to yesterday's post.  But let's break it down into how I see myself.

I am an aging Gen Xer
Not a Baby Boomer (thank you!) and not a Millenial.  I grew up on a diet of MTV, horror movies on basic cable and later on VHS.  I learned to program a computer to get the software I needed (no aps or stores yet).  So I have learned to make do with what I had available and then create the rest.
My books are often the games or supplements I wanted to play in the 80s but no one had written.
So I also have a preference for some older games. I am not saying they are better (and if you spend anytime here you will know I play and love a lot of new games) I just find them fun. I like them.

I am a Midwesterner
I grew up in the mid-West.  My high school was in the middle of two corn fields. We lived through the Satanic Panic of the 80s so "of course" everyone knew of someone that knew someone that saw a Satanic altar.   I got the see the power behind a social movement early on and in your face full color.
This also affects my next bit of identity.

I am an Atheist and Skeptic
I grew up as an Atheist in a town whose claim to fame is the number of churches they have.  Look I love writing about ghosts, witches, magic, and gods. I just don't believe in any of it in real life.  None. In a very significant way, my early explorations into RPGs (D&D in particular) and mythology was a way of dealing with being the only kid in school* who didn't believe in fairy tales.  * I have since learned through the wonder of social media that I was not the only one they were just as afraid as I was to say anything.

I am a Father
Becoming a husband and father is one of my greatest achievements in life.   Yes, I have had plenty of other really great achievements; my education, my degrees, my books.  But being a dad.  Nothing ever comes close to that.  I write games I want my kids to also enjoy.  I want worlds that they would want to play in.

I am sure there is more.  I used to have a professor that said culture is like a tackle box that someone shook up.  It is very difficult to pull out one thing or separate one from the other.  I think that is true here.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Monstrous Monday: The Social Justice Witch

File Under: Well...it was only a matter of time really.

EDITED TO ADD: Check out Justin Ryan Isaac's version for Vigilante City.

This is for those guys on Reddit who seem to be easily irritated at what I post!

Alexandria  Ocasio-Cortez and the Freshman Force: New Party Who Dis?
Thought I might do something a little different for my Monstrous Monday.  This is not really a monster in the classical sense but would make for a great NPC who battles injustice, the local patriarchy, or whatever mouthbreathing douches are in your game.

Plus I was inspired by these articles:
Here are some of the fun bits from the video.  Remember there are people that believe this is 100% true.
The good news about the midterm elections is that there is a great opportunity for evil to be exposed in the days and weeks to come,” he said. “It’s been widely publicized that there is a coven of witches that cast spells on President Trump 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This particular coven is found in the southern portion of New York City.”
...
“So, right in the middle of all of this, the southern district, in the middle of where these witches are doing the 24/7 spell-casting, we find the territory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” Kubal added. “Her district is in the center of all of this going on. Is this a coincidence? Maybe … Is there an evil thread running through this area, trying to dispel diabolical power?”
So how about it.  Let's make a Social Justice Witch!

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
7th level Witch Aiséiligh Tradition
Lawful (Good)

Strength 12
Dexterity 15
Constitution 15
Intelligence 18
Wisdom 16
Charisma 18

hp: 32
THAC0: 17
Saving Throw: 9

Occult Powers
Familiar: Small blue bird named "Twitter".
1st level power: Healing Touch
7th level power: Immune to Fear

Spells
First (3): Feel My Pain, Glamour, Minor Fighting Prowess
Second (2): Burning Gaze, Mind Obscure
Third (2): Call Lightning, Witch Wail
Fourth (1): Instant Karma

Yeah, I like it.  Give them Hell AOC!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Busy Week, But Nothing to Show For It!

Been a busy week here at The Other Side HQ.

Got a new project I am working on that I think is fantastic and I can't wait to get it out to you all. No spoilers yet.

It's also near term start for me and I had to completely rewrite an entire Biostats course from the inside out. Still, don't have my videos for it.

But not all is work over here.

My youngest son got some really nice accolades this morning in our annual Parent Teacher conference.


He got his gaming club off the ground and it's been running great! 

They are playing D&D 5th edition and some board games.  I plan on donating one of my copies of Dungeon! to the group.  Connor, my son, already bought enough dice with money he made for the entire group to all have their own set.

They have about 25 kids they are the most ethnically and gender diverse group I have ever seen.  Pretty cool really.  The state of the hobby could not be in better hands in my mind.

Monday, February 11, 2019

I am Going to Talk about Zak Today and Then Never Again

Yesterday Mandy Morbid, the former girlfriend of Zak Smith/Sabbath, and one of the members of his group of D&D players made famous by his blog and his show "I Hit it With My Axe" posted a letter to Zak on her facebook page.

You can, and should, read it here: https://www.facebook.com/amandapatricianagy/posts/10215845527064252

It's long but read the entire post. Come back here when you are done.

Back?  Good.
Or maybe not good. That is not a post that should make you feel good at all.

I want to say upfront I believe and support Mandy, Jennifer, and Hannah in this.
I wish them all nothing but the best and healing. They deserve that and more.

Now I have defended Zak in the past. I have lauded his works here and on social media.

Well, now I condemning him for his abusive behavior and his violations, both physical and mental in terms of trust.

I apologize to you all, my readers who take the words I put down here and trust that I have vetted and verified them all.  I try, but in this, I failed.

Mostly I want to apologize to Mandy herself for giving support to someone that used that support as a means of coercion or control. Had it not been for people like me giving him vocal support he likely could not have done the things he did for as long as he did.

Don't expect to see any more support for Zak here.  I only wish I had seen all of this sooner and done more. I won't mention him here on these pages after this post.

We need to do better as a community. So I am starting with me.

Edited to Add: Satine Phoenix, who was/is friends with both Zak and Mandy has posted this.
Edited to Add 2: Vivka Grey has also added her experiences and how they confirm Mandy's side of the story.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

10 Years (sorta) of The Other Side!

It's December and I am celebrating 10 years here at the Other Side.

Willow & Tara join the Justice League Dark by Jacob Blackmon
Sort of...

My first post called intelligently enough First Post, was made on April 27, 2007. But I didn't do much with my blog at all in 2007.   My next real post of substance was not till December 23, 2008.  In that post, I talked about some projects I was working on at the time.
Project #1 never came to pass, the IP owners pulled out.  BUT I am happy to say that the adventure I wrote for it then is now in the hands of a new editor and I hope to say something more about that soon.   Project #2 of became Eldritch Witchery.   Since that time I have gotten 25 or so books out and appeared in a few others.

In any case, I figure December should be the 10 year anniversary of this blog.  It has been a crazy ten years too.  Yesterday was my 10 year anniversary on Facebook too, so I hit Social Media big in 2008.

This blog started out as an extension of my then website, also called The Other Side.  But the site got hacked so many times I dropped it.  I was growing tired of Message Boards where I could talk about Game A, but not Game B or I could talk about Games A and B but not Topic X.  I wanted more freedom to talk about the games I loved and the topics I cared about.  That site and this blog gave me that freedom.

What has the Other Side seen in 10 years?  Well as of right now, I have had 3,744,607 visitors which averages out to about 1,024 hits/visits a day.  I have made 3,848 posts and only 663 have overtly been about witches.

I have spilled a lot of digital ink (electrons? photons? photons) on witches, vampires, witches, Willow & Tara, Zatanna, the OSR, superheroes, my favorite games, witches, games I have written, sometimes about my hardcore left-leaning liberal politics, witches and games I played with my kids.

With this blog, I have participated in blogathons, blog carnivals, and blogfests.   Reading challenges, post-a-day challenges and theme posts.  I have seen a lot of great blogs come and go and a lot of my contemporaries still posting right along beside me.  I have made some good friends and some people I love to work with.

To memorialize this anniversary Jacob Blackmon (my first Featured Artist) created what might be the ultimate "Other Side" image:  Willow and Tara being welcomed into the Justice League Dark by Constantine and Zatanna.   Pretty much captures everything this blog has done in 10 years!

What next?  More Featured Artists, more Black Star, the return of This Old Dragon and One Man's God (OMG).  I hope to bring even more.  So let's get on that next 10 years, shall we?

Thanks, everyone!  You are what makes posting here worthwhile and I hope to keep being a place you can come too for your RPG and pop culture entertainment.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

In Remembrance: Stan Lee

Stanley Martin Lieber, known to us mere mortals as Stan Lee died yesterday at the age of 95.
I have often said that my own "Appendix N" would consist of 70s rock, Hammer Horror films, and comics.  Marvel Comics was a huge part of how my D&D world was shaping up.

I grew up being a DC fan, and I still consider myself to this very day a true DC fan.  But in the 70s and the 80s in what was coexistent with my formative D&D years. I dropped DC in favor of Marvel's Spider-Man, X-Men and of course their Horror and Mystic-themed comics like "Tomb of Dracula", Dr. Strange, Blade, and Ghost Rider.  Much of what went on in my D&D worlds was very Marvel influenced.

I had a character named "Rogue" after my favorite bad-girl (at the time she was not in the X-Men yet), and nearly all my character had an illustration that I cut or copied from the pages of Marvel.  While over in DC my first magical-love was still for Zatanna, I also loved reading about the exploits of Dr. Strange and Clea.   I read with a voracious appetite every Tomb of Dracula I could my hands on to.  I read Red Sonja, X-Men, hell...every X-everything in the Mutant 80s.  This leads me to read other comics. 

Stan gave us great characters and stories.  I LOVED Black Panther. Here was a guy who was brilliant, a physicist, a king, he all sorts of superpowers, and yet he still fretted over his people, his lands and doing the right thing.  Peter Parker was so neurotic he could have been a Woody Allen character. Stephen Strange was an arrogant prick, Stark was an alcoholic arrogant prick.  The X-Men had so much pathos it was almost Shakespearian.  These were relatable characters or at least approachable ones.  Jim Croce once sang "You don't tug on Superman's cape" and it is true. Superman, for everything he stands for, is still a god, unapproachable. Even Batman for that matter.  But Stan's characters and the ones he influenced were still more like us.

My introduction to Stan Lee, the man or rather his persona, was via the "Spider-man and his Amazing Friends" cartoons where Stan would narrate the intros. I first heard his "True Believers" here as I suspect most of us did. (Though the FIRST time I heard "True Believers" was on the Electric Company's "Spidey" on PBS in the 70s.) A generation later he would be known to a new audience via his Marvel Cinematic Universe cameos.  But I always felt it was us, the old fans, the ones that remember them smell of comics back in the 70s and 80s (and for others the 60s), that he was there for.

Stan Lee was a flawed, imperfect man.  Just like his characters.  He didn't always say the right thing or maybe he took credit for some ideas that were not his.  At some future date, we can go back and debate the issues of the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby split.  But not today.

Today I want to remember the man that gave us all so much. A man that took his own words "with great power comes great responsibility" to heart.  Stan knew the power he wielded and he used it to create worlds for us to enjoy.

Several years ago, when Stan Lee was in his late 80s I asked a question on Facebook, "Who has had a larger impact on our culture, (Playboy founder) Hugh Hefner or Stan Lee?"  The results were fairly predictable, with Stan beating Hugh by nearly a 2 to 1 margin.

We will miss Stanley Lieber, the man.  But Stan Lee, the icon and the personality will live on forever.  Excelsior!


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Sleeping Not Yet Dead

Well, nowhere near dead really and not sleeping either (no worries, I am going to doctor next week) but I can't help but use a Jefferson Starship quote.

I might not be posting as much, but be assured I am busy.
In fact here is a bit of teaser. No here are two.
Coming Halloween 2018



Coming Winter 2018

I have lost track of how many new spells, magic items, occult powers and monsters I have written for these two. 

I am hoping to open 2019 with some new fun stuff, like my love letter to 80s horror, Völlig Losgelöst and Space Truckers.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Inactivity Update

Things have been kinda quiet over here at the Other Side.

Sorry about that.

My day job has hit a busy period and I have been given a promotion.  This time the promotion came with the increased pay AND responsibility...not just the increased responsibility.  So I have been working an extra ten hours each week.

Lite reading for work

Gaming-wise I am really busy.

I am still running my three independent-but-connected D&D 5 games.  My oldest is also running three different D&D 5 games covering 15-16 different players.  In fact this week the only day that a game hasn't played in my house was yesterday.

I am also in serious prep-phase of my Gen Con game of D2 Shrine of the Kuo-Toa and D3 Vault of the Drow.  It is going to huge and I want to make it as Epic as I can.





Hope to have some more soon.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Reuniting Families Charity Bundle

I am pleased to announce that that three Other Side Publication books have been added to the Reuniting Families Charity bundle to raise money for RAICES to help to get families reunited that were separated at the border.


You read more of the details here.

Over 100 products, valued at $680.82 you can have it all for $29.99.

Included in this bundle are my Green Witch, the Warlock, and The Witch: Aiséiligh Tradition.


Please check out this bundle and buy it if you can.  The cause is a worthy one.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...