Showing posts with label community. Show all posts
Showing posts with label community. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The Fall of the House of Whedon

I was debating on whether or not to remark to the latest (and maybe the last) of the ongoing drama with Joss Whedon, but I think at least a summary and retrospective might be in order.  Besides one of the reasons of for the existence of this blog was due to the earlier incarnation of The Other Side getting hacked all the time by Whedon fanboys because they did not like my message then.  So. Here we are nearly 20 years later.

burning house

First, let's start with the most recent news.  On February 10th Charisma Carpenter took to Twitter to talk about how she had been treated by Whedon while filming her last season of Angel.  While widely known to many people in the fan community at the time, this tweet was a revelation to many.  Among the other issues were asking her if she would get an abortion to accommodate the Angel shooting schedule and storyline.  What followed was a tsunami of posts from fellow actors and people associated with Buffy, Angel, and Firefly. 

This has all lead to the #IStandWithCharismaCarpenter hashtag to trend.

The question that some are asking is why is this all trending now versus 18 years ago? Or why are the actors all coming out now as opposed to then?

Well, keep in mind that a lot of the actors and people involved DID come out with these allegations.  I remember talking online about it at the time, in particular, Charisma Carpenter's firing because she got pregnant (which is illegal by the way).  What is different?

First, the actors above have the advantage of a more robust social media infrastructure.  They can get their message out to more, quicker.  Cases in point all the Tweets and Instagram posts above.

Second, there was the MeToo movement which shifted the lens of belief from the auteurs to the actresses.  There are countless stories of Kubrick, Hitchcock, and of course Weinstein but that all changed in the last few years when such behavior would no longer be tolerated.  This gave Ray Fisher a chance to speak out about how he was treated on the set of Justice League.  Cases in point were the comments made by Kai Cole, Whedon's ex-wife on The Wrap.  This was also one of the reasons that Stunt Coordinator Jeff Pruitt And Stuntwoman Sophia Crawford shared their story yet again and that James Marsters felt he could share his story as well.

I mentioned Jeff Pruitt and Sophia Crawford above with a "yet again" they shared this story before. Back in 2000.  It was detailed by Jeff, quasi-anonymously, in his "The Parabal (sic) of a Knight."  He is the Knight, Sophia is the Handmaiden and the Young Prince who becomes King is Whedon. It is also fairly negative to SMG, but that is not what I talking about today.  While he had to hide this in a story, the Buffy fandom at the time dismissed all of Jeff's and Sophia's claims.  It only took 20 years before the fandom took them at their word.

Related to that is my third point. The fandom that revered and protect Whedon is largely gone.  Back in 2003 or so, Whedon was on the top of his world.  Any complaint would have been drowned out by the screaming fans that worshipped him. Case in point. Anytime I would post something to my older version of The Other Side my host would get attacked.  It got so bad that between 2005 to 2009 there was no "Other Side" on the web.  I created this blog since I figured Blogspot/Google would be better protected. Of course by that time I had decided to move on. 

People talk about "toxic fandom" and how it can be directed in a negative way at creators.  One facet they don't mention is how un-checked praise and even worship of creators can also be damaging to others that are trying to warn us about those creatives.  Woody Hall, Harvey Weinstein, Stanley Kubrick, Quentin Tarantino, and yes Whedon all built their cult of personality and auteur status.  These same cults also shielded them from scrutiny.

The "Big Question" everyone is asking is "Why now?"

As I mentioned above the climate has changed.  These actors are no longer in a place where Whedon can damage their career.  They have moved on to other things. Charisma has roles, SMG is living the stay-at-home mom dream she has always wanted (and her husband Freddie Prinze Jr. is doing great), Amber has books out and has been behind the camera more than in front of it.  So the control he once had on their lives is not there.  The fan network has largely gone away as well.

Also, and this can not be stated too many times, other people do not have to conform to your timeline of healing.  Michelle Trachtenberg said it took her years to even come to terms with it.  Eliza Dushku only talked about the sexual abuse she suffered at age 12 three years ago. Michelle Trachtenberg mentions that it took her till she was a woman of 35 to deal with things that happened to her as a teenager of 15. I know others he has been involved with as well. The gaslighting he has done to them still bothers (enrages) them.  You don't get to dictate how others heal.

The question also comes up of why didn't others speak up or stop it.  Well, I think I covered that, the ones that did were blacklisted and deemed "difficult to work with."  You also have actors like Anthony Head and Amy Acker that said they did not see this abuse but support the others all the same.   Again, it can't be said too many times but abusers work by targeting those they know they can abuse and get away with it.  Bullies always pick on those weaker than themselves.  In terms of the power structure, everyone was weaker than the Grand Auteur.

Back in the early 90s I had a job at a head injury facility. I was a Qualified Mental Health Professional for the State of Illinois. I took the job because my own research was on cognitive development.  The job was so depressing. I would call my girlfriend every night after my night shift (she was living 300 miles away at the time; its ok though we got married in the end) complaining about how awful it was.  Not the staff, they were great, it's just the despair.  She asked me many times why I don't just quit.  I couldn't. Apart from needing this on CV for my Ph.D. program, I also needed to eat, pay rent, and have a job that a working grad student could do at night.  I couldn't just leave. Neither could these actors, and I didn't have a contract holding me in a place like they did. 

The Second Big Question is, for me, Why do I even care?

Over the years through my work on the Buffy, Angel, and Ghosts of Albion RPGs I have gotten to know a few of the people involved here. They are good people. In the years following, I have been able to get to know more. They are also good people.  They deserved a lot better than what they were given.

I guess really it is no surprise when given the chance to do my own versions of the Buffy-verse the people that made it over were "played" by Charisma, Amber, Michelle, Eliza, and also  Alyssa Milano and Rose McGowan.

Truthfully the only answer one needs to give to a question of "Why should you care?" is "Because what happened was wrong."

Friday, February 5, 2021

#FollowFriday and Kickstart Your Weekend: Zine Quest 3

One of the things I loved about small cons in the 80s (and really, those were the only ones I went too then) was the little indie Zines.  Small, cheap (a bonus for a broke high school student) and packed with all sorts of strangeness, they had all sorts of appeal to me. 

Granted they were not all good, but they had a sense of, I don't know, love about them. This was before Desk Top Publishing was even taking off yet so often these were Xeroxed, hand stapled affairs. 

While it might be easier to get Zines out to the masses, the sense of love is still there.

This is why Zine Quest was made and now we are at the beginning of Zine Quest #3 over on Kickstarter and the choices are overwhelming. 


There are plenty of OSR and D&D 5 choices as well as plenty of other indie games in the truest sense.  

Trying to track them all is a bit more than I want to take on by myself. Thankfully there are good resources to help us all.

Hero Press / I'd Rather Be Killing Monsters

If you come here then you know "the other Tim" from across the pond.  Hero Press is my go-to entertainment blog for all things RPG, Superhero, and more. Go there. No qualifiers, just go there. But he is also covering the Zine Quest projects he likes.  You can also follow his Zine Quest tags.

Over on the Facebook side of things his group, I'd Rather Be Killing Monsters will be featuring even more Zines and project owners are encouraged to post links to theirs. 

Gothridge Manor / RPG Zines

Tim Shorts (yes another Tim!) is also keeping everyone posted on Zines.  He has been talking about them on his blog Gothridge Manor (also a great blog!) and his Facebook group RPG Zines.  This is pretty much Zine central and worth your time to check out.  Like Tim, Tim has a Zine tag for his blog as well. 

But where Tim Shorts rises above the other Tims is his own contribution to the Zine project.
Be sure to back The Many Crypts of Lady Ingrade on Kickstarter. 

Tenkar's Tavern

If you have been in the OSR any amount of time you likely know about Tenkar's Tavern blog/podcast/Facebook group.  Tenkar is also covering Zine Quest with a lean to the OSR zines coming out.

You can also follow the #Zinequest3 hashtag on Twitter.

There are more launching every day in February, in fact, one launched while I was writing this post that I want to back.  So expect a Part 2 next week!

Friday, December 18, 2020

#FollowFriday: TBBYANR and More!

I figured it was time to formally merge to features.  Today is my usual (semi-usual) #FollowFriday post, but I have also wanted to do a TBBYANR post.

blogs blogging about blogs

In case you forgot (it has been a while) TBBYANR stands for "The Best Blog You Are Not Reading" and is was a great feature in the early days of the blogging scene. Since then communications have become more fractionalized with people on Facebook, Discord and other mediums.  It is hard to know how well others know about other blogs.  Plus so many blogs also have their own Facebook and/or Twitter outlets.

So in my merging of these two features or more accurately #FollowFriday assuming the role that TBBYANR once held I figure I'll post some blogs I have been enjoying and how you can interact with them on social media.

They Might Be Gazebos!

Chuck Thorin's "They Might Be Gazebos!" is a good classic OSR blog. He does some reviews and retrospectives and is usually focused on Swords & Wizardry and Dungeon Crawl Classics.  He does the occasional character write-up as well.

One of my favorite features of his is his OSR Retrospective where he looks at the games of the Old-School Renaissance. 

Chuck is also the author of "Gary vs. The Monsters" the cinematic, campy horror monster-fighting old-school RPG.

Again, I am not sure how many of you know about this site, but they are worth checking out.

Links

Mythopoeic Rambling

Theodric Ælfwinesson has been running MR for a bit now. While the focus is Old School there is still new content (like Pathfinder) but viewed from an Old-School lens. 

Some of my favorite topics are on monsters and world-building.

Definitely check it out, there is an absolute ton of material there. 

Links



Former TSR staffer and expert on all things Mystara, Bruce Heard is still giving us great content often for just the price of a mouse click.  His blog focuses on his campaign world, Calidar, but there is still a ton of great content for BECMI here as well.

Links

Swords & Stitchery is very likely a blog you all do know about.  Eric has been posting his thoughts on old-school games and his own campaigns for a long time now.  At a couple of posts per day he is constantly supplying new material. I have to pause often to just catch up to his output.  His OSR Commentary might be the best feature, and his coverage of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea keeps me coming back time and time again.  

Recently he has been discussing NIGHT SHIFT and I am very excited to see what he does with it.

Links

  That's good for now! 

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Character Advice from Ginny Di (and Aisling!)

I have gone on record with my love for the newest generation of D&D Players.  They are passionate about the game they play and they LOVE their characters.  I know that can sometimes feel a bit odd to the old-school crowd, but I don't care.  They have passion and energy and it is them that will carry role-playing into the future for the next generations, not us.

Among all these "New School" players one of my favorites is Ginny Di.  I'll provide some links below.


I featured her last week as the start of my Tasha's Week of Everything. She did a cosplay of Tasha, sponsored by Wizards of the Coast. It was a fun video and I enjoyed seeing all the work she put into the costume. 

This week she is back with another great video.  Here is her Twitter post for it.

And the video itself.

I know what you are thinking and to quote the Ninth Doctor, "I bet you are fussing and moaning right now, typical."

But really, how is this any different than what we all used to do anyway?  Roll 3d6 in order and deal with it.  Ginny is not so much against "Old School" as she thinks.  Maybe against the "Middle School" of character optimization (positive spin) or Min-Maxing (negative spin).

It is also great advice.  Characters should never be perfect.  Flaws, quirks, and shortcomings make for far more interesting characters.  Stan Lee knew this well. Peter Parker was a neurotic teen struggling to make ends meet. Doctor Strange was an arrogant prick before and even after his accident.  Tony Stark was an arrogant prick alcoholic.  I have/had a cleric who is afraid of the dark, a warlock who is colorblind,  a dwarven thief that was kicked out of his clan, loves opera, and hates ale (one did not cause the others).  

One of the things the New School D&D players do and do well is to think about their characters and try to build a good group dynamic.  This is mocked in Old School circles as "back story" but that is a rather naïve or limiting way of looking at it.   It is simply a different way of having fun with the same game.

Here is another video where she talks about 50 Character Builder Questions to ask of your character.  Now in a game like D&D where characters can grow and change a lot based on what happens around them then I say it is ok to answer "I don't know yet" or even change answers later.

She does these before each session (not all of them of course) and I think that is a good way of doing things.  I have been looking at her list and thought I might use some of them for my 31-day character challenge in January. 

Aisling

An aisling is a poetic dream or vision and an Irish name for girls.  It is also the name of Ginny's elf warlock/druid character.  And she is also such a great character!   Here are some videos about her character.



Count me among those that have grown to love Aisling as well. She is such a great character and sounds like she is a lot of fun despite no because of her various flaws. 

Since I feel that Ginny's advice is actually in line with Old School character creation ethos I wanted to try to recreate Aisling for old school/OSR D&D.  Since she is a warlock/druid "witchdaughter" it makes sense to me that she is a type of witch.  Her Fey patron, Ùir, the Woman of the Soil, would make her a good Faerie Witch, but given her multiclassing into a druid and other factors, I see her as a Green Witch.   All apologies to Ginny for borrowing Aisling here.

Aisling by Ginny Di
Aisling by Ginny Di
Aisling
Female Elf
5th Level Witch (Green Witch Tradition) 

Strength 8
Intelligence 14
Wisdom 15
Dexterity 13
Constitution 15
Charisma 15

Saving Throws
Death Ray/Poison 13
Magic Wands 14
Paralysis, Polymorph 13
Dragon Breath 16
Rods, Staffs, Spells 15

Hit Points: 19
AC: 7 (leather)
To hit AC 0: 18

Occult Powers
Familiar: Psuedo dragon "Nightshade"
Herbal Healing

Spells
1: Fey Sight, Fury of the Ancestor
2: Blazing Gaze, Evil Eye
3: Bestow Curse

Patron: Ùir, the Woman of the Soil
Coven: Solitary

I think this works well. 

There is a lot of "fan art" of Aisling out there.  Here is one from joenni, an artist I want to feature one day.

Aisling by joenni
Aisling by joenni

I can't do fan art, but I can do character write-ups.  I hope I did her justice.

check out Ginny's sites and especially her video content. It is all great fun.

Links

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Supernatural, Del Segno al Fine

Last Thursday was the Supernatural Series Finale.  15 years, the longest-running genre show on American television.  A little show that started with two brothers, some 80s mixtapes, and a black 1967 Chevy Impala. Driving the back roads of the US hunting monsters and saving people.

It was every Chill or Call of Cthulhu game I ever played.  It is exactly what I would do in NIGHT SHIFT.



It was also the one show that everyone in my family watched.  We didn't start in 2005, the pilot freaked my wife out.  But we came to it later and binged watched all the past seasons one Christmas break. We all sat together and watched the adventures of Sam, Dean, and eventually Cass, Crowley, and later Jack.  It was wonderful really.

Updating Sam
Last week I posted stats for Sam Winchester. I chatted a bit with my co-author Jason Vey and he suggested that I instead make a Sam a "Supernatural" race.  This would work well with his background as a "Special Child."  In fact, it works much better, given his ill-defined and ever-changing powers.  I would drop the level in Psychic and give it back in Veteran or more likely Sage.  

This works a lot better and ties in a little better to some other thoughts I had while watching the finale.

That Finale
Ok, Finale Spoilers follow. You have been warned.

In the mean-time here is sister group Neoni covering Wayward Son that appeared in the finale.


The last episode pretty much played out as I expected it would.  The Winchesters settling into their new routine. To me, it looks like something that would have gone on every day for months without change. Until they get notice of some kidnappings.  They consult their dad's journal (nice call back to the beginning of the series) they find some vampires, make short work of them, but in the process, Dean was mortally wounded.  Doesn't matter that they fought demons, monsters, the devil, and even God himself, they are still men and Dean gets impaled on a bit of rebar.

Dean dies and Sam has to move on.  He does. Gets married (maybe it's to Eileen, I certainly hope so), has a son (Dean Jr.), he grows old and dies.   He reunites with Dean in Heaven. 

#TheySilencedThem
Let's also talk about the finale and the things unsaid. 

The Destiel fans are upset that not only did they not get the closure they wanted, but it also seems some scenes were later edited after filming.   I get their complaints. I really, really do.  I was in the same place about 20 years ago with Tara.  Everything they are complaining about is 100% legitimate. 

I do wonder if Covid-19 had not kept Misha Collins out of the filming if things would have been different.  Evidence sadly suggests otherwise. 

Again, I am left where I was in 2002, I am just going to have to continue the story I want in my NIGHT SHIFT games.

Did Rowena get slighted in the end? No. I don't think so. Yes, there was confirmation that she was bi and then she ended up in Hell.  But she wasn't killed for that and let's be honest, Rowena isn't *in* Hell, Rowena is *ruling* Hell.   Being in Heaven would have been a punishment to her.  She even says if she knew it was going to be this good she would have done it years ago.   
No, Rowena in Hell as its Queen gives her character new horizons. 

Charlie is easily one of my favorite characters, behind Donna and Jodie, while it is never mentioned (and it could have been) we assume that Jack brought back her and Stevie along with everyone else.  While I'd love to see more stories with her I think her best story would be to retire.

My favorite series that never was.  Like Charlie, Jack brought the Wayward Sisters back. This we know because Sam gets a call from someone who got his number from Donna.   We can assume then that this means Kaia and Claire are also alive.  Whether they stay together or not is something to be played out.  I know I am not with the same girl I was with at 18 or 19. 

Knowing that they are all back though is great for my games, but sadly does nothing for the fandom wanting more.

I will say one of the first things I wanted to do was rewatch the series again from the start.  With 327 episodes that would take a little bit; 6.3 years if I watch 1 a week.   If I do I should do something with it. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

The Sky is Falling. Again.

So there is a new bit of errata out for D&D5.  Nothing new there, in today's Internet age errata is easy to get and often flows out easy enough. For some reason, this latest one has some of the old-school crowd up in arms. Again.  Let's see what it is all about.

This is the Errata for Volo's Guide to Monsters. A book that is described by all accounts as optional. 


What does it say exactly? Let's have a look.

Kobold Traits (p. 119). In the Ability Score Increase trait, the text has changed to read “Your Dexterity score increases by 2.”
The adjustment to Strength has been removed.

Orc Traits (p. 120). In the Ability Score Increase trait, the text has changed to read “Your Strength score increases by 2 and your Constitution score increases by 1.” The adjustment to Intelligence has been removed.

Orc Traits (p. 120). The Menacing trait has been replaced with the following trait:

Primal Intuition. You have proficiency in two of the following skills of your choice: Animal Handling, Insight, Intimidation, Medicine, Nature, Perception, and Survival.

Ok. So this is all for characters. Optional characters. 

Checking online...oh. For fucks sake.

A message to my fellow 50+-year-old gamers. Lighten the fuck up.
Seriously. You all look like a bunch of Chicken Littles, running around screaming about the damn sky is falling.

Wizards of the Coast doesn't care what people who don't buy their product think, to be honest. 

The world didn't end when the whole Oriental Adventures debacle happened back in July.  Everyone was claiming it was the start of censorship and that Wizards would start taking down or editing older books. Censorship! Censorship! CENSORSHIP!!

These optional rules, in an optional rule book for two races that 99% of you would never allow in the first place in a system you never play has fuck-all to do with you.

In D&D5 there are 15 standard races with 28 sub or variants for a total of 34 choices. None of which have negative ability mods. The only two that did have them were in a supplement and those two are being edited to come into line with the other 34 choices. These are two outliers. They are being brought back into line.

How is this any different than say a new rule in Savage Worlds?  Or even in Monopoly? 

Yet, people are losing their shit online and looking like a bunch of idiots. 

The OSR gets a bad reputation online for the reactions of a few. This is just another example.  On one hand, the old-school community will claim not to care or even pay attention to what WotC does with D&D and then turn around and freak out when they release a rule errata that many in the 5e gaming community might just ignore.

So, stop freaking out all the time. 

Monday, October 5, 2020

The Official Music of the OSR is Run-DMC

Seriously. It is. 

Like Old-School D&D was a pioneer of gaming,  Run-DMC was a pioneer of old-school rap and hip hop.  Many hip-hop groups cite Run-DMC as their primary influence and for many of us Run-DMC was out first exposure to the wider world of rap and hip-hop.  Could there have been a Public Enemy without Run-DMC? Wu-Tang Clan? NWA? Snoop-Dogg? Outkast? Salt-n-Peppa, De La Soul? Cypress Hill? US3? Digable Planets? TLC? (damn, I still love TLC).

We owe it all to Run-DMC.



Silly?  Yeah, a little. But my love of Run-DMC is pure and true. And yeah I know all the words to these songs. 

But making a claim, any claim, about the OSR is pointless.  While there are trends, there are no main drivers here. No one setting policy or dictating terms save for collective memory of a time when you could turn on your radio and hear "It's Tricky."

Consequently, the claim that OSR is conservative only track because the OSR is as has been often pointed out, full of old fucks.

I am pretty far left and get more liberal and more left and more blue with each passing year. 

I shouldn't need to say this, but here it is.

Like THAC0 BLOG and The Elf Game, I don't just reject Nazis and White Supremacists, I utterly reject them and condemn them, and they are not welcome in any part of the games I play, write or enjoy.  They can take their orange shitgibbon Trump with them. 

Oh. 

And Black Lives Matter. 

And fuck Trump.

Don't like it? Get the fuck out of the OSR.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

How to Destroy a Legacy in a Week

I was not going to talk about this today.  I wanted to do a One Man's God today.

But in truth, I can't be silent about this. Last week I talked about Bob Bledsaw II and his racist, anti-Semitic, anti-woman, posts on Facebook.  Some fans of Judges Guild were content to ignore them or try to separate the "art from the artist".

Well, I am here to say that is all bullshit.


If you buy one of my books you are buying a piece of me. You are buying the stories I read, the music I listen too, the movies and TV shows I watch.  When doing research I make choices to read Book A or Book B, Article C or Article D, Documentary E or F.  This goes on and on.  What I choose is based on my interests, my time, and yes, my political leanings.  You don't have a choice in this save for one; to buy or not buy my books.  When writing I have one principle that applies; is this fun to play. If so then I do it.  If I do it right you buy and enjoy it too.

But don't pretend my politics don't enter into it.

Well. Now all the hemming and hawing and handwringing aside, Bob Bledsaw II posted the following unhinged screed on the Judges Guild official Facebook page.  There is no separation now of art and artist.  And to be 100% accurate, BBII did not, as far as I know, create anything for Judges Guild.

You might need to click on this or download it to read the whole thing.  Otherwise, Tenkar over at his eponymous Tavern has been doing a good job of keeping track of this whole clusterfuck.


There is so much wrong with this posting that it would take me several hours to point all the self-contradictory statements, the outright false-hoods and tin-foil hat wearing conspiratorial bullshit and frankly, he is not worth my time.

But there are only two facts that matter to me.
1. This was posted as part of an official release on the Judge's Guild page.
2. It is so full of hate, bigotry and vile thoughts as to be repulsive to any reasonable individual.

Does BBII have to right say what he wants? Yes. So fuck off with the "free speech" bullshit argument.  There is no such thing as consequence-free speech.  He can say what he wants. So can I.

BBII has destroyed any sort of good legacy Judge's Guild had left.

So fuck him. Fuck his ideas. Fuck his company's products.
And if you support him or his ideals then fuck you too.

I am not going to buy any of Judges Guild stuff. If you decide you don't want to buy my stuff.
Good. I don't really want your money here.

I am happy to note there are many in the community, and in the OSR community too, to stand up against this type of behavior.

Here are some videos that address the topic.





There are undoubtedly more and plenty of Twitter and Facebook conversations too.

TL;DR Bob Bledsaw II is a piece of shit and if you support him don't fucking buy my books.
Likely you are too stupid to understand them anyway.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Choose a Side, Or One Will Be Chosen For You

Because I am not including other screencaps
Years ago, so long I don't remember exactly when or how I was told that "you must choose a side or one will be chosen for you."

I think it was my dad and it was while I was in Boy Scouts (yes. I was a Boy Scout until my Atheism made it difficult) and he meant it a means of choosing good over evil, right over wrong.  The point is that sometimes making the choice is hard and sometimes good or evil is not clear cut or easily defined.

Sometimes though choosing the right side is easy.

Growing up in Central Illinois it was easy to be a fan of Judges Guild. They were "local guys" by the standards of TSR being all the way up in WI and other companies even further.  I remember playing in the City-State of the Invincible Overlord a lot back then and lamenting that we didn't have all the products we wanted for it.   I picked up Witch's Court Marshes and other books and added them happily to my collections.  Even in my D&D/TSR "purity" days, Judges' Guild products got a pass.

I liked Judges Guild.

Yet with the recent posts by current JG owner (and son of the founder) Bob Bledsaw II has changed all of that.   I was not friends with Bob Bledsaw, so I had not seen that this was a pattern of behavior that was one of those "open secrets".

I can no longer support Judges Guild. 

Frog God Games and Bat in the Attic are also cutting ties with BBII/JG and I applaud them for it.  You can see more posts from BBII's Facebook on Rob's site so I do not feel the need to repost them here.

My financial contribution to JG's bottom line is practically non-existent; anything I did buy was on the second-hand market for rare items.  But I was planning on doing a series of posts on  The Dungeoneer and Pegasus magazines and I wanted to review a couple of adventures.  I cannot in good conscience do that now.

Gaming is inclusive. We welcome all and actively seek to bring in others that may not have a place to call their own. That's our DNA, that is who we should be always.  Gaming was there for the disenfranchised teens of the 70s and 80s that were not part of the in-crowds. We are not part of a movement to bring in so many others that want a place to be themselves.

But there is no room for bigots, racists, anti-semites or anyone at all like that.
Hate has no place in my games.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

BlackStar: The United Federation of "hold my beer, I got this"

Ok. Not *really* BlackStar related, but this is in the back of my mind the whole time I am thinking about BlackStar.  This is always worth forwarding.   Some of the comments are gold too.



The United Federation of "hold my beer, I got this"




Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Going Wild for Wildemount

Wizards of the Coast just announced their next book for Dungeons & Dragons 5e and it has some sections of the fandom wailing in lamentations, but the vast majority excited about it.

Explorer's Guide to Wildemount will be out in Spring 2020 and it covers the part of the world from the highly successful Critical Role webseries.  Now I can already hear the older crowd bitching and moaning about it and all I can say is "typical".

There are people out there complaining that "Wizards has pissed off half their fans".  I would argue that "half" is really exaggerating it by quite a bit, but even so then they are at least pleasing the other half.

There are others that are also talking about how they won't be buying this. Ok. That's fine you don't need to buy every D&D book.  I enjoy 5e and I don't even have every book.  I have most, but I don't have them all.

But even then, these people are often the same ones that will claim never to have bought a WotC D&D book ever anyway, so they were never the audience.

Personally, I think this is a really intelligent move on Wizard's part.

Critical Role is hugely successful.

The Kickstarter for just the animated series brought in $11,385,449.   And this book, announced just 48 hours or so ago, has all the relevant #1 spots on Amazon.


Note that's not just #1 in the D&D categories, that is #1 in Books.  All of them.

Would I, as an old-school gamer, love to have seen Greyhawk or Mystara?  Of course!  Do I *need* them? No, not really.  I have everything I need for those worlds now.  I have MORE than what I need for my home-brew world now.  New worlds are always fun to read and maybe I can use some things from that book in my world. Or maybe not.  Who knows yet.

I do know that some sections of our hobby need to lighten the hell up and let people enjoy things.



Thursday, December 5, 2019

Updated Witch Links

I have updated my Witch Links Page.   Every so often I search the blog archives and find links to articles, posts or what have you on what others are saying or doing with witches.  Yeah, I am a tad obsessed, but anything worth doing is worth doing to excess.


So here are some of the ones I found that I thought were fun or interesting from the last six or so months.

If you visit, let them know I sent ya!
If you have a link you would like to share, post it in the comments below.

Boccob's Blessed Blog
20 Pathfinder Witch Quest Ideas
https://boccobsblog.com/2019/05/17/20-pathfinder-witch-quest-ideas/

Daemons & Deathrays
Eastern Gothic – Creatures of Slavic Folklore (Part 1)
https://daemonsanddeathrays.wordpress.com/2019/11/22/eastern-gothic-creatures-of-slavic-folklore/

Eastern Gothic – Creatures of Slavic Folklore (Part 2)
https://daemonsanddeathrays.wordpress.com/2019/11/29/eastern-gothic-part-2/

Greyhawk Stories
Iggwilv: Mother of Witches
https://greyhawkstories.com/tales-from-the-flanaess/iggwilv-mother-of-witches/

Greyhawkery
Witch Queen Iggwilv Discussion Tonight
http://greyhawkery.blogspot.com/2019/09/witch-queen-iggwilv-discussion-tonight.html

Hall of the Mountain King
Project - Blackmoor Land of a Thousand Witches - the Sisterhood
http://jasonzavoda-hallofthemountainking.blogspot.com/2019/05/project-blackmoor-land-of-thousand_16.html

Project - Blackmoor Land of a Thousand Witches - NPC Tuure
http://jasonzavoda-hallofthemountainking.blogspot.com/2019/05/project-blackmoor-land-of-thousand_17.html

Project - Blackmoor Land of a Thousand Witches - The Moon Hall
http://jasonzavoda-hallofthemountainking.blogspot.com/2019/05/project-blackmoor-land-of-thousand_22.html

NPC - Linnea Schnai Witch
http://jasonzavoda-hallofthemountainking.blogspot.com/2019/12/npc-linnea-schnai-witch.html

Hero Press
Which Witch Are You?
http://heropresstwo.blogspot.com/2019/10/which-witch-are-you.html

I Don't Remember That Move
a peeper deeper, Ready to Harvest the Witch's Garden
http://rememberdismove.blogspot.com/2019/10/a-peeper-deeper.html

Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque
Conjure Wife
http://talesofthegrotesqueanddungeonesque.blogspot.com/2019/10/conjure-wife.html

Satanic Temple, Witch Board Museum, Count Orlok, Lighthouse, Parasite
https://talesofthegrotesqueanddungeonesque.blogspot.com/2019/12/satanic-temple-witch-board-museum-count.html

Writeups.org
All of these are for DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Tara Maclay (!) but sadly no Willow
https://www.writeups.org/tara-maclay-amber-benson-buffy-vampire-slayer/

Evil-Lyn (Masters of the Universe cartoons) 
https://www.writeups.org/evil-lyn-masters-universe-cartoon/

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Merry Part, Witches' Voice

A non-gaming post today of sorts.

I just read the announcement that The Witches' Voice will be shutting down its service.
Witches' Voice, or Witch Vox, has been online serving the Pagan, Neo-Pagan and Wiccan community online since 1997.


Now to be clear, I am not a pagan, Wiccan or anything like that.  I have always been a pretty hard-core Atheist. But I liked Witch Vox and I like Pagans in general.

I liked going to WitchVox because it also kept me informed on what was happening in the community of Neopagans and Wiccans.  While my own witch books are what I like to think of a nice mix of myths, fairy tales, and legends, some of those myths are also modern myths.  See my Pumpkin Spice Witch book as an example.

Through WitchVox I was able to find several occult bookstores in my area, great back in the late 90s when I first moved out into the suburbs from Chicago.  I found a great little occult bookstore not too far from my Favorite Local Game Store.  Sadly that bookstore is gone. And much like WitchVox itself a lot of these places are closing due to people getting their materials online.  Amazon has replaced the occult bookstore and Facebook has replaced WitchVox.

I also used WitchVox as a starting point for research.  It was a crucial find for me back when I was putting together my first witch "netbook".   Prior to this, like all good little academics, I went through books and later journal articles.  WitchVox opened up new avenues of research to me.

Thankfully much of the original purpose of WitchVox can now be handled well with their Facebook Page, and potentially hit a much larger audience.

WitchVox may be shutting down their website, but the cycle of birth-death-rebirth is something that witches often believe.  So I am sure there will be a rebirth of WitchVox in some form or another.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Blog Ahead October Challenge 2019

I have not done a Blogfest/Challenge like this in a while.  Sure there was RPGaDAY back in August, but this is a purely Blogging challenge.

Anna over at Herding Cats & Burning Soup is hosting her annual Blog Ahead October Challenge.

The idea is to stack up some pre-written posts and get them ready to go for October.  The goal, of course, is to give me more time to put into future posts.  So am I not worrying about what to post on each day.  The posts will feel less like a driveby and hopefully be more engaging.

At least that is my goal.  I am going to be doing the October Horror Movie Challenge as well and those I like to write as soon as I can while the movie is still fresh in my mind.

Right now I have about 20 posts queued up, ready to go.  I am supposed to add 31 to that (for daily blogging) and end up with 51 posts for October.  Ok.  Let's see if I can make that!

You can see who else is participating and join your self if you like.
SIGN UP-- Blog Ahead October Challenge 2019







I am looking forward to it and hope I see some new readers.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

What Everyone* Is Getting Wrong about "Consent in Gaming"

This past week Monte Cook Games released their Consent in Gaming free PDF.
And...as expected there is a lot of whining and complaining from the expected crowd.  Lots. Like somehow this is a personal affront to them.

Now I say Everyone* up there, but really most comments I have read get what this guide is trying to do and be.  So the vast majority get it.  I have tried to spend the last week or so reading everything I can that has been posted online.  I certainly have not read everything, but I am pretty happy with the sampling I have read.

AND nothing in this is new. I talked about social contracts back in 2015. They have been going on for longer than that.  This is just one type of codified social contract / social agreement.

On Wikipedia, we have something called "Assume Good Faith."   The same needs to be used when using this.  Assume the player on the other side of the table is presenting their concerns in good faith.  If something bothers them then it bothers them. 

At the risk of these being straw-man arguments, I do want to address the most common types of comments I have seen online (FB, Twitter, YouTube).  By lumping them together I do make my own error of over-generalization, but I have already spent a lot of time on this post (I started it last week) and more time and text will not make my points any clearer.

But I am Only Gaming With People I Really know.
Great!.  Guess what, you probably don't need this. You likely don't.  You have self-selected yourself out.   Don't worry about downloading it.

But what about...
Whataboutism is a weak argument all the time. 
Sure ANY rule in ANY book from ANY game can have a "What about..." This is not a reasonable argument.  Sure though maybe some hypothetical reasons could come up, but isn't that what this document is supposed to help with? 

But...
I have SO many reasons why people will use this to "fuck with a game" but guess what? That can happen with ANYTHING.  Your ability to pull a hypothetical situation out of your ass is not an argument against this.

Ok. But What About *MY* Fun?
Again, if you can't give an example without starting it with "What About" don't even try.
Also, why is YOUR fun greater than everyone's total fun? OR what is your fun greater than someone else's personal pain?

This is SJW Virtue Signalling!
Since when does not being an asshole mean you are an SJW? Besides calling someone an SJW and expecting it somehow mean an insult is signaling to your own in-crowd and like-minded people.

This is some sort of Millenial Bullshit!
The authors, Sean K. Reynolds and Shanna Germaine, are in their mid to late 40s.  Monte Cook, of Monte Cook games who publishes this, is also in his mid to late 40s.   All have several decades of game design and development with some of the biggest publishers in the world and the awards to match.  They are all solidly Generation-X.

This is Censorship!
Far from it. This actually frees you to do the things you and your players agree with.

But What About Horror movies/TV Shows?
Yeah, and those things have warnings and people self-select themselves out of them.  I love horror movies, my wife hates them. I don't take her to see them no matter how much we love each other. Nor do I expose her to them without warning her. She doesn't "stop the movie" because she scared, she just doesn't go. 
This document helps people make those choices.

What the %@&! are "Sensitivity Readers"?
I took that as basically "Educational Consultants." Both seem qualified to that. Darcy Ross is getting her (or has) Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (something I don't see on the CVs of the critics) and I don't know much about Jessica Meier save that she works in RPGS and has a black belt in taekwondo. 

It's *My* Game.
No. It isn't. It stopped being *your* game the second other people sat at the table.  If you want a situation where characters go through your made-up world with no agency consider becoming a novelist instead.

This is Maoist/Communist/Socialist!
Hmm. So I guess these people never actually studied those things in school.

We have always handled this on our own.
Great. If your track record is objectively, rather than subjectively, good.  If not then this is just another tool to help.

But Psychological Studies Say...
Ah, more whataboutism.   Ok I have read those studies. I have WRITTEN those studies. They are good, BUT please keep in mind WHO were the subjects back then.  Those subjects would not be the ones this document is aimed at. 

That Form
So the fuck what?  I recall starting a game back in college in the late 80s where I went over the potential issues in the game (AD&D Ravenloft) that included murder, the threat of sexual violence and implied child murder (I mean where do you think I used my Utburds?).  You know what people had the most issue with? The child murders of course.


I am reminded of one of my more intense and adult WitchCraft RPG games, my Vacation in Vancouver game. This game dealt with themes of sex, bdsm, sexual slavery, actual fucking evil (demons) and death.  Would this document have helped this game?  Maybe.  I can say this with 100% certainty; this Consent in Gaming document would not have had much change to my game.  We all had talked beforehand about what was and what was not allowed in the game.  I was pretty upfront about the content and the people signing on agreed to this.  There were some intense moments AND at the time I was coming off a long bout of very deep depression, so lots of things bothered me then.
There were things the players did not want.  For example one wanted more BDSM, another player though had issues with this due to her personal history.  Oh she was fine with other violence, but not this.  What did I do?  Did  I kick the player out?

No. Because I am a fucking adult. I worked around it.

I had to get MORE creative, not less creative.
There were a couple times when the game was paused when things got fairly intense.  We then went back to figure out where to take it next.  Well, that was EASY REALLY.  We moved the timeline a few hours ahead past the situation.  That worked FOR US. The same thing may or may or not have worked for other groups.  That is where this document would have worked in those groups. 

Don't tell me it will damage games.  Maybe it will damage YOUR game.  Maybe YOU need to become more creative.


When my kids run games in my house my wife and I cook for them. (yeah full diners each session)
We DON'T make anything with peanuts in it.  Why?  One of the players has a peanut allergy, a pretty bad one.  Do we tell them (that is their pronoun, go suck it if you don't like it) "sorry, you will have nothing to eat for the next four hours!" or "you self-selected into this game now eat the peanut chicken or you can leave!"

No. Because we are not dicks.  We make something else. We do something else.

This is the same thing. Why is that so hard to get?


So here is a bit of advice to the crowd that is so quick to dish out the exact same advice.
If you don't like it or don't want to use it, then don't.
It's really that damn simple.  I have never seen sadly I have seen way too much immature overreacting about this.

It's not going to retroactively change your games. It won't do a damn thing to the 40+-year-old game you run with your buddies.  Nothing.

So be the intelligent player/gamer you say you are.  If you don't want this, then don't use it.

But those that want to use should have access to it. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Favorite Basic Clone? You Tell Me!

I ran this poll over on Facebook, but I wanted to collect some more responses.  Since this is my year of "Back to Basic" I wanted to hear about what you are all playing and enjoying.


So please, answer the survey below and let me know.  This is 100% anonymous and I am not tracking anything but the choices you make.


I believe I have the top choices here, but there is also an "Other".
Note: I am considering Swords & Wizardry its own thing for the purposes of this survey.

Friday, August 30, 2019

#RPGaDAY2019: Connection

Today's topic is Connection.

While in games this is an easy thing to do, in the online-related world of selling games it is a bit harder.



One of the big reasons I wanted to do this #RPGaDay was the potential of connecting with others.  To see what sort of cool things we are all doing and share it that.  Like my post yesterday I mentioned I enjoy a lot of games. I also enjoy talking to people that make games.  All sorts of games really.

Ultimately I want more people to see my games and me to see other people's games too.

Drop me a note if you discovered me through the #RPGaDAY2019.  I am very curious.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

#RPGaDAY2019: Door

Today's topic is Door.

There are a lot of doors in D&D.  Which reminds of that old saying and my response to it.


D&D taught me that closed doors are supposed to be kicked open.

I feel the same way about "Gatekeepers".  This is a topic that has been coming up a lot lately.

Some groups are claiming that other groups are gatekeeping and those groups are claiming they are not.  I can't speak to any groups really, save my own.

Take the lessons we all learned in D&D. If you see a door, or a gate, kick it the fuck open.

Or better yet, say fuck you to those groups and do your own thing.  Someone says you can't play their way, kick in the door and take their shit.


I don't normally call out groups but I do want to mention what is going on in my back yard.

So a while back there was this new movement started to counter what they thought were some of the more regressive elements of the OSR scene.  They called their movement #SwordDream and I personally think they have some interesting ideas.  I am not 100% sure what they are doing will last, but I don't know.  I can't say though I could name a product that has been made yet under the SwordDream banner, BUT that has more to do with mether

Should the OSR be worried? No. In fact, they should be thrilled this is happening.  Competition should bring out the best in everyone and if one group wants to do things one way and another wants to do another thing then we should all be happy right?

Well...there is that whole gatekeeping thing.  SwordDream has mostly been met with derision among some old school stomping grounds and outright hostility in others.  Yeah I know, I have read the posts.  These are also the same people that will claim NOT to gatekeep. 

See the problem is that gatekeeping is not just telling people they can't play it's also telling them their way of play is wrong.  Or thinking their way of wanting to do things is wrong, or lesser, or stupid, or whatever.

Is the OSR full of regressive types? Full? maybe not. Are there a bunch of old fucks that don't want people to sit at their table? Yeah there is.  Are there good people in the OSR too?  Of course! Lots really.  I kinda wish that the critics of the OSR would see those people too.

What are you the new young gamer supposed to do?  Kick in their door.  Or better yet tell them you don't want to sit with them anyway.

Kick in that door. Do your thing. Do you.

Monday, August 12, 2019

#RPGaDAY2019: Friendship

Today's topic is Friendship.

This is a rather easy topic, to be honest, and a story I feel will be repeated many times today.

Some of my earliest and longest friendships have been around gaming.  Some of my current good friends I have met through gaming.



I met my first AD&D DM, outside of my brother and I, in my 7th grade band class.  We both played saxophones.  We are still friends and I just bought his son a whole collection of 1st AD&D books.

I met my high school DM via our Theatre classes and working on the student newspaper.  We are still friends.

I met the guy who runs games for me and my oldest son sometimes through the same daycare our kids were in.  He recognized my name from my work at Eden Studios.  We are still good friends and our oldest boys are really great friends.

I have a bunch of friends I have met online that I like to see at Gen Con too.

It's funny that a game labeled as "anti-social" back it's golden age requires so much interaction with other people.

This is also a good time to remember the tale of Carlos the Dwarf.


Friday, May 31, 2019

New Feature: The Other Side Rewind

Tomorrow, June 1st starts a new feature for the Other Side.
Note I say "for" and not "at".

The new feature is The Other Side Rewind.
If you come here to read my blog or via an RSS reader then you will not notice any differences or anything new.

If you engage with me over at Facebook or Twitter then you will see a lot more.
On my Facebook and Twitter pages, I will be reposting some of my posts from the early days of this blog.  I have gained a lot of followers on both platforms in recent years and wanted to share some of the posts from the past with them.

It should be fun to see what sort of responses a different audience might get on some of my older posts.

So join the conversation over on Facebook or Twitter.  If you don't follow me in either place yet now is a great time!

Facebook, The Other Side Group: https://www.facebook.com/OtherSideblog/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/timsbrannan
and for fun, MeWe: https://mewe.com/group/5c598927dc9a663c488557e9

Hope to see you all there!