Sunday, December 27, 2020

Roll20, where've you been all my life?


Until recently I had almost zero experience in playing RPGs online. That's mostly because I had zero interest in it. With the exception of a handful of times in my life I was always able to get some kind of group together for face to face. My most recent long term groups lasted about 10 years. We played 1st edition D&D, Call of Cthulhu, Champions, Runequest, etc. But in the end it disbanded as I made the move out of Southern California. It took awhile to get a Group together in the new town, and even that only after I made the dreaded switch to the newest edition. I sailed along with That for awhile, but the couple who helped me start the group moving away, combined with The apocalypses, shut that down. 

A local DM suggested I try out Roll 20. It seemed like time to give that a shot. But rather than try to get in on a game to experience it from the players side, I dove into learning enough about the system to get a campaign up and running. As cornerstone players I tapped a guy who was going to join our face to face game right before The Virus hit, and an old player of mine from my home town Los Angeles, and recruited a couple of others and got it going. 

Though I was a Roll20 noob, I just started small and used each session as a chance to learn a bit more each time. I marveled at the way I could yoink a map out of a google search and lay it right down and put squares on it. The first couple of games were set in the hobbit shires, so I just needed country roads, farm fields, and hobbit houses and cottages. 

I discovered a token maker, and loved it. I could put any creature or NPC into a cool little ring. Players pointed me out to artwork online and I whipped up tokens for them. 

Suddenly buying and painting miniatures seemed like a real hassle (I never loved it... the process was a necessity). With the tokens the sky is the limit. Just put some keywords into your Google machine, use a stamp app to make it look like above, and get on with it.

Players are granted control of their token. DM has his. Move them around the map you laid out (maybe going that extra mile by locking the grids in properly for ease of tactical movement). The majority of the rest of the work is using your actual books next to you. Or use PDF stuff if that floats yer boat. Find a map online that suites your encounter then slide it into a page and place grids on it. Wow. 

The above video is of my "Control Center Alpha." My set-up for game night. The music in the background is live from a college radio station, playing from my alma mater Santa Monica College's radio station KCRW, and what is playing was totally unintentional but so appropriate for the moments before everyone logs on to play. When I'm in the "command chair" I feel a lot like the guy running games from behind the scenes in Larry Nivens D&D based novel Dreampark.

Man, I'm loving it. I want more. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I may like it more than face to face. My DMing is more concise, focused, and this format appeals to my episodic style. I keep it tight now that I'm not right in front of faces waiting on my next utterance. Not seeing the players has helped me open up in a way. I know, right? Somehow impersonal is making it more personal for me. Yeah, its weird. 

Saturday, December 26, 2020



A couple or so years ago I wrote a series of articles on RPG related things for an online pop culture website. This site was created mostly by talkbackers on Aint It CoolS New who jumped ship from there when AICN creator Harry Knowles got sucked into the #metoo morass. Below is one of the first items I wrote for them. 

The website asked for content featuring fairly raw humor, so I accommodated as best I could. Also a certain amount of artistic license was used here where salient details were somewhat lacking. Please excuse the formatting as this was copied directly from the for mentioned website.

At first Mary Jo Gygax had no reason to believe her young husband Gary was anything but a hard-working family man, who committed much of his spare time to his kids and political volunteerism.

But mysterious late nights with sketchy friends and missed family dinners led her to believe her hubby just might be slipping some Wisconsin salami to some Lake Geneva hussy.

Creeping down the basement steps of one of Gary’s best pals, she steeled herself for the sight of a sexual liaison, but instead found something potentially more terrifying; Gaz and his pals stooped over a table laden with maps and miniatures, recreating some Napoleonic combat or other.

Gary wasn’t a cheating bastard; he was a wargame god.

“this will get me sooooo laid one day”

The Fresh Prince of Lake Geneva

Gary spent his earliest years on the mean streets of Chicago, but when he started showing a childhood proclivity towards gang warfare, the family up and moved Fresh Prince style, but instead of hightailing for Belle Aire, they went for rural Wisconsin.

A high school drop-out, and an uninspired sometimes-college student, Gygax built his strong, professor-like vocabulary by indulging in science fiction and pulp fantasy while working a variety of low-end office jobs. Conan The Barbarian, Lovecraft heroes, and John Carter of Mars were his muses.

Continuing his interest in table top gaming as years rolled by, Gary remained active in the wargaming community, and wrote many articles for wargaming magazines and coming up with his own games. Always yearning for new ways to approach his games, Gary was an early adopter of multi-sided dice, discovered in math teacher supply catalogues. In 1967 he founded GenCon, a yearly meeting of wargame wonks in Wisconsin. Not long after he would produce Chainmail, a warfare simulation with fantasy elements, which would become an early template for Dungeons and Dragons.

A Dork Named Dave

“Me? Not so much”

Along came Dave Arneson, a Minnesota University history student who also loved wargames. Dave had, for the time, unique ideas about his wargame sessions. Not satisfied with merely simulating exact history, Dave liked to explore alternate histories and outcomes. He was also a proponent of “Braunsteins,” an unpublished wargame notion were non-combat goals were introduced into the rigid wargame rules.

This quickly evolved into the idea of players actually taking on the roles of individuals in the game (commanders, town mayors, community leaders and businessmen) and making non-military decisions outside of game task resolution, almost entirely based on whim. Role-playing, to put it simply.

You might remember playing Monopoly as a kid, and your friends or older siblings wheeling and dealing and negotiating outside the rules. Yep, we were all role-playing landlords and train barons. We were Braunsteining.

Dave expanded upon these games by inventing his game world,  Blackmoor (widely recognized as the first true fantasy role-playing setting), and his sessions deviated heavily from the stodgy, popular wargames of the time. He injected fantasy elements, quests for gold and monster killing, and scenarios lifted from fantasy literature.

You Got Your Dave In My Gary Butter

Dave and Gary came together like chocolate and peanut butter at GenCon 2, bonding over a mutual love of naval-based games.

Not long after, Arneson would adopt Gygax’s Chainmail rules for his games for his personal home campaigns, but also addended it with what would later be recognized as the Dungeons and Dragons tropes that game is known for, including the improving hit points concept, character development from session to session, and most importantly dungeon crawling.

His players tiring of simple castle sieges, Dave filled the basement levels with traps, magic, and monsters, and had them delve beneath rather than breech the upper walls.

D&D is Coming Together

Gary must have loved the Blackmoor games, because he quickly invented his own setting, Greyhawk. Gary and Dave began to collaborate on a unique game combining their games and rules, and Gary wanted to hustle on it as there were other wargamers with similar publishing aspirations.

Unable to find publishers, Gary and pal Don Kaye tapped friend Brian Blume (one of two brothers who would eventually lead to the downfall of Gary’s version of the company) for the moolah, and they were off and running with a first run of 1000 copies. Tactical Studies Rules (TSR) and Dungeons and Dragons were born. It was 1974.

Arneson was not a partner, and most of his rules were not incorporated into that first version of D&D (though the tropes he invented would be), but he contributed a supplement, Blackmoor, and would briefly work for TSR. But he would soon leave to pursue a separate career in game design.

Dave would receive co-writer credit for a brief time, but that was removed with the publication of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, a somewhat different game. Still, it’s main concepts were all Arneson, and he filed several lawsuits, breaking up the friendship. In 1981 they settled, and Dave received co-creator credit and a royalty sum. This soothed the seething tensions between Gary and Dave, and the old school dorks were friends once more.

The Band is Breaking Up

Dave moved on anyway, and eventually landed a prestigious position at Full Sail University, teaching game design for many years. But he continued his home Blackmoor games, sessions that for decades gamers would beg to participate in. At conventions they often got the chance.

Before long, due to the death of TSR partner Kaye, and a buying of more shares by Brian Blume and his brother, Gary found himself the minority shareholder of the company, effectively more an employee than partner in the company that was fast becoming a huge success despite a variety of negatives.

For one thing, stories both true and false about the game in the media (gamers gone missing and suicides) caused a certain amount of eyebrow-raising scrutiny for the hobby, along with religious tongue clicking (Gygax and his wife actually left the Jehovah’s Witnesses due to pressure within their local chapter).

Also, Gary had become obsessed with playing D&D, and it occupied all of his free time. His longtime love of marijuana, the lure of young snizz his new celebrity afforded him, as well as a growing cocaine devotion, helped finish off that marriage, and Gary and Mary Jo divorced in 1983.

“I can’t believe you’re taking half the dungeon!”

Gary continued to be the face of the popular game. While the Blume family continued to run the game aspect of TSR, Gaz was sent off to Hollywood to get the entertainment division off the ground. In gamer circles, tales of Gary doing copious amounts of blow off of young gals’ tatas while cavorting in hot tubs were legendary. He co-produced the popular D&D cartoon, and worked hard (as hard as you can work while playing D&D 15 hours a day with a coke straw glued to your schnozz) to get a D&D movie off the ground.

Villainy Most Foul

The Blumes were back in Lake Geneva having their own party, buying up a fleet of company cars, overstocking the supply cabinets, overstaffing the offices, and believe it or not using company funds to hunt real treasure at the bottom of the sea. Before long, under the leadership of Tweedledumb Blume and Tweedledumber Blume, the three hundy million dollar a year company was several million in debt. Gary, who was close to locking in Orson Wells and John Boorman into his D&D film project, was informed of the Blume’s intention to sell off his beloved company to nix their debt. Spitting out his doobie, and knocking Traci Lords off his junk, Gary boogie-nighted out of his rented Hollywood mansion and hightailed back to the hearth fire in Wisconsin for a little aggressive TCB.

Captain Gygax: Civil War

His tussles with the Blumes and attempts to restructure the company could fill a library’s worth of books, but the long and short of it is Gary got things back on track. He helped hire a Hollywood friend’s sister as a business manager for TSR in 1984, perhaps the greatest mistake of his career. Her name was Lorraine Williams, and that name may as well be “Hitler” to many old school D&D fans.

Gary soon learned that Lorraine, though an excellent manager, held D&D players in low regard, and actually belittled Gary about it. Gary tried a Machiavellian move or two, but it was to no avail. The Blumes sold their shares to Williams, and with a cackle and flash of brimstone, she became the true power behind TSR.

Gary eventually said “screw it” and went on to try his hand at new gaming ventures, but like a modern Moriarty, Lorraine stymied him at every turn, eventually owning (through lawsuits most foul) and shelving his promising Dangerous Journeys game system.  Though he would always have his name linked to D&D, Gary would never replicate his original game’s success.

“I rolled a natural 20!”

Moving On

TSR sallied forth without it’s founders. To quell outspoken media critics, new editions of D&D purged Christian and demonic elements, and each such edition grew further towards glossy mainstream fantasy and away from the beloved old pulp novels beloved by Gary. Dungeon crawls became passé. Video games would have a bigger influence on D&D gameplay than dusty old fantasy tales.

Through the late 80’s and into the 90’s, and to Lorraine’s credit, TSR actually thrived despite many poor ideas, such as a Rocky and Bullwinkle RPG that included the use of hand puppets (can you imagine?). D&D remained strong, and expansions into comic books and novels were a success. But it would not last.

TSR over extended itself, and poor sales of things such as an attempt to enter the collectable card market doomed the company.

In short, Lorraine eventually sold out to Wizards of the Coast, makers of Magic: The Gathering, who themselves soon sold out to Hasbro. Dungeons and Dragons, once an underground playground for overgrown Conan fans, was in the hands of the owners of Transformers and My Little Pony. For good or bad.

Wrapping Up

Both Gary and Dave never lost their love of gaming, and the hobby continued to be the major force in their lives. Dave continued running his coveted weekly home games all the way up to when he died. Over the years many fans would live their dreams of getting to play at the tables of Gary and Dave at various gaming conventions. Gary passed away in 2008, and his old pal Dave died in 2009.

Lorraine Williams still stalks the Earth, laughing her last laughs at Gary, Dave, and their gamer ilk.

"...and your little dog Toto too!"

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Spider Spider, Burning Bright...

 Seeing as years ago Grognardia was my inspiration to do some rpg blogging, it makes sense that I can still get inspired by posts there to make my own posts on related subjects. But in this case James' post about spiders reminded me of a game related spider thing that happened earlier this year. Early in the campaign the characters were travelling through hobbit lands, and killed a wayward giant spider on a rainy night while taking shelter in an old cottage. The local governess was pleased, and let them stay at her estate in cozy, round halfling guest cottages.

The dead giant spider was placed by and Ettercap, who called upon all spiders large and small in the local area to descend on the domiciles and attack the party. The characters awoke in the dark covered in small spiders, and ran outside to face a half dozen of the giant variety. It was a nasty fight, but the PC's prevailed. 

Later after the game, the players had logged out and I was cleaning things up. That's when I notices something odd. A spider on the 50 inch TV screen I use for running the session. A small spider, about the size of "O" on your keyboard, was just running around. 

I like spiders, and heard long ago it was bad luck to kill one. So I tried to knock it into a glass but nothing happened. It was immune to my touch. A ghost spider? OK, this may sound silly, but for a few seconds I thought (being new to Roll20) that the program could mess with you with animations depending on what you did in the game. Maybe just based on the word "spider" in text somewhere in token notes. But good sense prevailed, and I realized quick that a little spidey had gotten inside the screen. Wow. This had never happened to me before. 

Odd, right? I mean, I'm running a spider based session and I spider invades my game map. Anyway, here is cell phone video I captured it with.

You'll notice the fellow runs through a door into the domicile, past a couple of swarms of spiders, then out a small round window. Clever little guy.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Old School vs. New School

Yeah, I was a pretty tried and true 1st edition guy. I can nail down a handful of reasons for spending decades NOT trading up to newer edtions:

1)  it's what I knew for most of my life. 

2)  It was easy not having to memorize the DMG. Just proclaim "rule of cool" and wing everything. 

3)  Who wants to learn a new system?

4) Who wants to buy a bunch more books?

When rejecting 2nd edition back in the day it was easy to just say "its not Gygax." But even then it was more about the 4 points above. 

In the 90's it was easy to stick with 1st ed. 90% of my player pools would be friends who wanted to play but had little experience with it. So no rules lawyers or power gamers. They were happy to play and didn't care about system. Those were the salad days. Long, amazing campaigns of a half dozen genres. 

Then in the 2000's after some years off I entered a period of years where most of my players were seasoned 1st edition wonks. Here I was forced to be more rules wary, or what passed for rules in 1st ed. Forum folk would argue that it's a sound system. But they are wrong (IMHO). Its a mess.  So open to interpretation all it leads to is argy bargy and rules lawyering. So many "damned if you do and damned if you don't" situations. It could get annoying. I mean, all you want to do is present a fun game. That thing right there is not even in the top 3 list of what many 1st edition enthusiasts want out of it. 

Dissatisfaction with old school D&D and the people who were the most into the edition  lead to me running anything but D&D for around three years. And I was happy for it. Some Metamorphosis Alpha, Cthulhu, Runequest, and even Champions filled my gaming needs.  

The group suddenly got an influx in its last year or so, of younger dudes who were 5th edition guys who had zero 1st edition experience. I ran a somewhat short campaign1st ed, using the environs of Tegel Manor. It was some brutal scenarios and a couple characters died, which the newbs were unfamiliar with. Though I think this campaign was some of my best DMing ever, they wanted to play 5th edition. So we decided to give it a go with a more or less noob DM. 

I ran a bard. What struck me the most was how pretty much every character class is a magic user of sorts. I found that very odd. A bard casting thunder wave? But there were things I liked, such as the standard stat modifiers. Not having to have the hit tables handy was nice. But I wasn't really sold. In all honesty it may have been the ability of the DM that kept me at arms length, but at any rate I wasn't ready to make the full move to the new edition. Though there were good points for doing so:

1) straight up rules so you have less arguing about them. 

2) You don't really need all that many books. The PHB and Monster Manual will do (if you don't have power gamers). 

3)  there is a far far far far far far far greater player pool if you want to start a group. And they skew 20-40 years young. And, heaven forbid, lotso grrrrls..)

4)  you can still run games with an old school feel and mentality. Its still D&D if you think of it as that.  D20's. Rangers. Elves. It's D&D as you want it to be, dog. 

Along the lines of this post but also as an aside, a couple of years before leaving LA I had a shot at putting a Champions group together with a lot of people who weren't in my regular group. I love running Supers campaigns so I gave it a real go, but my Grognard attitude about edition got in the way. I wanted to use the old Hero 4th edition, the one that was a sort of all inclusive system for all comic book stuff, not just superheroes. I even had multiple copies.  But the folk I was looking at running for where insistent at using the newest Champions edition, so I demurred on the whole thing. If I had at least tried to learn a newer edition I'd maybe have had some great games of Champs. 

When I moved into my new town the other year, I started an old school rpg meetup and tried to get some 1st edition going. Though the meetup had a lot of folk join it, there just was not that much interest in actually playing it. 

So I got involved in a new campaign at *gasp* a game/comic shop. Dungeon Crawl Classics seemed super popular, but I got involved in some D&D after a few fun games of DCC. The 5th edition DM I played under for a few months was a good guy, and a sort of unofficial community leader, but he was inexperienced. Though fairly talented at running from material he did not prepare all that much (the revamped Keep on the Borderlands), for me the lack of prep shined through. Lots (and I mean lots) of reading the text box descriptions out loud. And actual role play was about zero. In one session the other players would be gung ho wanting to kill all humanoids, then the next would have all this sympathy for them and be anti-killing. It was all fairly annoying, though to be fair many of them were more or less noobs. One guy, a young redneck construction worker who showed up covered in drywall dust, was a jackass at a nuclear level.  When at some point I asked the DM what a particular statue represented and he replied, annoyed,  "it doesn't matter"I knew I was more than ready to get out of the shop and get my own hand picked group going. Something like that should matter to a DM, not to mention a player actually showing some interest. If you are unprepared with the material just make something up that makes sense. You don't have to look at it as art, but put a little work into it. 

So I did with the help of a couple I met through the local game shop Facebook page.  They actually became my besties in general in town, also getting me involved in a local poker group. I got to do a bunch of great games (centered around that old classic The Lichway, which I'll probably talk about in another post) but then the whole virus thing hit.  So I started looking into running games on Roll20, with some helpful remote guidance from  the comic shop DM I mentioned above. 

OK, its all kind of off topic from the title of this post. Getting back to that I guess my point is a transition to a newer edition was fairly easy. I find it enjoyable because I can inject my old school philosophies, such as they are. Noobs at the shop didn't want to hear about it, and maybe they were right. Stop talking and just run new edition games and find my old school nostalgic joy within what I bring to the table as a DM. 

More play injected with my old school style, less reminiscence. Walk the walk.


Saturday, December 12, 2020

Once upon a time in Los Angeles

The “street” I was born on in Venice.

The world seemed like a very different place when I started a humble little underachieving gaming blog around 10 years ago. At least my world. I was working in entertainment industry finance and management (occasionally going to parties and events of household-name celebrity clients), involved in world music and Renaissance Faires, and GMing games for the longest running group I had ever had. I was doing so many things writing a blog was not a priority by any means. But I loved to talk and write about things I loved, and there was this OSR thing going on, and I had a group to run for after years off from the hobby, bringing back great memories for me of early days gaming. Decades of great groups running my favorite games. D&D, Cthulhu, Champions, even some Runequest. It was unfortunate that often times the memories of games of yore were much better than that games of now, but I'm sure that's a common condition of long timers in the hobby. When in doubt, recapture. Bask in nostalgia. 

My attempts back then at getting out of my private groups comfort zone and into the gaming community certainly had its ups and downs, with some especially bad downs. For my own blog writing I decided to go with a sort of Howard Stern "tell it like it is" mentality which didn't serve it all that well (even Stern has stopped being Stern and looks critically now at his own public persona behavior in the past). It was a reactionary style to be sure. But it seemed a way to go since I saw so much negativity in the old school online scene already. I mean, one of the first statements I read about the so called OSR when I looked at it online was "old schoolers are too busy bayoneting their own wounded..." 

That was certainly true.

RPG scene in-infighting. "Shit Wars." It didn't take long for it to make sense (or maybe it never really did). 

 It soon started to feel like I was doing more of some kind of Andy Kaufman-based gaming performance art than just talking about things game related, and I was getting negative attention when in reality I didn't really want much in the way of any kind of attention. Fuck. Just wanted to talk games with other old schoolers. But it was way beyond the simple pleasures more often than not. It often seemed like war. 

 I eventually quit the blog and the seeking of games outside my group, and for RPG's I just settled into running for my occasionally evolving group at our hosts house in the beach community of Santa Monica. You know, the play is the thing. Blogging in the OSR may start out nobly just an urge to share ideas and tell tales, but it easily just turns into a vanity project. And I was just a long time gamer. I had nothing else to be vane about. No big following, no products to shill for beer money.

 Just play the damn games.

Life went on, but I slowly realized I no longer wanted to live in the city I was born in and once loved. It dawned on me that I needed change in my life. Frank Herbert said "the sleeper must awaken."

 I had grown complacent despite being dissatisfied where I lived (a city seemingly on the verge of apocalypse; already in a state of dystopia).   I was a weekend hedonist; a lover of parties, world music, top shelf potables, and intoxicants of a mild variety. A confirmed bachelor and off and on wanna be playboy. A big city lights and beach life party boy, a Ren Faire/Burning Man world citizen semi-hippy.  But I started to crave a slightly less candle-at-both-ends life. A change.

The city I lived in, the neighborhood I was born in and lived in (now a jungle of tent cities on every street corner), the job I had for years, the people I was gaming with. A slowly growing dissatisfaction. So since I was a bachelor with no kids, and had great savings and some property investments, I had the ability to leave that job and spend time casually trying to improve myself and decide what I wanted to do next. 

My old neighborhood where I grew up currently. In the 90's most of the show Baywatch was filmed in a 6 block radius right here. Go watch the old David Lee Roth video California Girls (also filmed here) for what people have in their mind when they are on their way here. 

What I did was move out of Southern California. I decided to change everything. I moved away from the beaches and into a mountain/river community in the Northwest. Now I live in a small city. I now live across the street from a rustic park and a part of the river that is a protected bio-sphere. During fall and winter flocks of geese and ducks come to the area for months and are hanging out everywhere. Sitting in my garden looking at me like "what you gonna do about it?" I love the little bastards. I love living where you get a bit of snow. I love being away from a big crowded city  where it never rains to wash away the hubris and pee smell. 


The area is great for biking and hiking, and thanks in large part to that, and finally living somewhere fairly quiet and peaceful where I could get restful sleep (when I left LA I was living on the busiest street in the city), I'd lost around 40 lbs. (weight gained years before after an auto related back injury) over a year without taking any extreme measures . My time in a local gym continued the process of getting much more healthy. Discovering new things like wall climbing and battle ropes has been life changing.  A few months into my gym habit the owners named me member of the month and gave me a plaque, putting me on the wall of fame.  I feel 10 years young. 

 I have to be honest, it took me months to get used to sleeping without traffic and emergency vehicle sirens surrounding my senses. The loudest thing at night is the passenger train on the other side of the river, coming down from the mountain pass, and that is more lulling than loud. In winter as you doze off you can imagine it coming down from the mountains covered in snow. I love it. I don't know that I'll live here the rest of my life, but for now its great. 

a favored fishing or just sitting spot right across the street from my house. Yeah, about a 200 yard stroll away. 

I got a great job, again, different. Instead of working for private firms enriching a select few Individuals, I was now working for a large not for profit health organization. Another needed change. Doing some good. 

I made some friends in town who helped me get a D&D group together. Yep, 5th edition, another change. Easier to get players for. I'll write soon about my transition to that, though I will always hold on to an old school perspective.

My local besties who helped me get a group going for D&D, and also got me boardgaming like crazy. Talisman, Dead of Winter, etc.  Every D&D game I ran they would bring a sixer of expensive beer for me even when I told them they are way too generous. Man, all players should be more like these fine folks. Players who act like I'm something valuable rather than working for them and catering to their needs as a DM. Talk about change!

Well, then all this virus/helter skelter stuff. Again, big changes. But this seemingly negative change begat new things. I've started playing friends for the first time online with my XBOX Live. But even bigger than that I finally got into Roll D20 and have a great online group to do D&D with during these end of times. A whole new world. Loving it.

In hobbit cottages awaiting a spider attack

But talk about changes In the old school gaming scene. As mentioned my style of blogging lead to some negativity, but there was a ton of negativity online in relation to gaming at the time. But really nothing compared to that of the OSR the last few years. Negativity and argy bargy online? You can have your "OSR shitwars." 

With being settled into a happier and more satisfying life-space I've decided to come back to my old blog to talk about some of these gaming changes in my life. Not that I or anyone else needs it so much, but I was recently inspired to start blogging about my old comic collection just for shits and giggles and I thought what the heck, why not drop in here from time to time to document my changes and ideas in gaming. And if you (or anybody) actually reads this, maybe you'll have some comments about your changes or whatever. I have no desire to sell anything. I have a career and investments to make money in. Though it is nice to share some gaming ideas, my scenarios are for my players and that is all the attention I need from my game prep. But it can be fun to put your gaming ideas out there, if only for yourself. A blog can be a way to get in touch with your own personal gaming id. Moments of reflection.  Do it for yourself. That's my main motivation. So here I am again for however long it is fun to do.

And gaming goes on. 



Richard Corben's "Den" film?

OK, though I am usually "in the know" about various fantasy and sci fi upcoming films, I have no knowledge of any plans for a "Den" film, or if there has been any plans in the past. There for sure must have been talk of it over the decades. 

I collected Heavy Metal throughout my teens, and Den was my favorite. The epic tale of a young geek who got swept from his suburban back yard, transferred into a muscular body, and taken to a grim/dark fantasy world much as his uncle had once been, is a D&D fans delight, or even just a fan of strange fantasy. I loved seeing Den in animated form in the Heavy Metal film of the 80's. 

Having heard of Corben's death from a Grognardia post, I thought about how a Den movie could be pretty cool. Yeah, they could fuck it up. And the main way they could do that is by casting the most logical and best choice as Den..

OK, I'm not a Vin Diesel hater. I liked him in Pitch Black. Though I haven't watched the films he is best know for (outside of hearing his voice in Guardians of The Galaxy), I respect his geek cred. He is an unashamed D&D gamer, and also has a great love of video games. But the casting of Vin would make the movie more about him than the heroic Den himself. 

But dang. Despite maybe being a good couple decades or so older than the young Den seems to be, he just fits the part physically, and probably in personality as well. 

I'm sure Vin will have a long and healthy life. So by the time they do a Den film he'll be too old, but will at least see it (surely Vin has seen his resemblance the character. He's a geek). And hey: Den actually encountered his buff uncle at some point in the stories, so he ain't out of the running of a film I hope I'm  around to see when its made. 

Dare to dream!