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How Was Your Christmas?

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 19:10

Looking back a couple of days, how was your Christmas?  Was it what you had expected?  Did things go as smoothly as you had wanted them to?  It is likely that all was not perfect, rarely does everything go perfectly, however have you thought about what you would have needed to have a more perfect or a more lasting Christmas?

Some of the joys of Christmas would not have lasted, the toys would have lost their appeal, the food was eaten, the company left or didn’t arrive.  Perhaps there were some hostile words spoken.  Take a moment to think about what would bring greater happiness to your life?  What would bring greater peace to your life?  What would bring greater fulfillment to you?

It seems like we all want more.  We tend to want more money, more possessions, more success, more love, more security, more strength, more honor, more of everything.  However in Deut. 8:2, 3, God says that when He brought the Israelites into the promised land, He humbled them and tested them “so that you would know that man does not love by bread alone. But by every word that proceeds from the mouth of The Lord.”                                                                                        Perhaps the dissatisfaction that comes after Christmas is an indication that we should not be seeking to have great fulfillment from the things we have, or from the things around us.  Instead our life is to come from the very word of God living in our hearts.  The humbling frustrations that come after Christmas are allowed so that we will seek for that which truly satisfies.

Then when God provides and blesses we are told in 2 Cor. 9:11  “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (NIV)”  The blessings and working of God in our life is not just for our benefit, but so that many around us would benefit as well.

This Christmas season, if you have been blessed, share some of that blessing with others.  If you have found yourself frustrated – use that experience to help you realize and to obtain the true source of life which comes from the words of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Role-Play Ramblings 2.3: Story Telling

Gamer Goggles - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 18:45

In this Role-Play Ramblings Matt talks about Story telling, He shares some of the pitfalls he has experienced as a GM and he talks about how writing fiction differs from writing an adventure.

This is probably a topic I will come back to in the future, it’s one of those rare topic where you can always learn and apply something.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Doctor Who and Sherlock: The Six Cross-Overs

BBC Doctor Who - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 18:19
Yes, we know there are more than half a dozen links between Who and Holmes but in honour of the Great Detective’s return in The Six Thatchers, we thought we’d limit ourselves to six of the best! So, here are some of our favourite cross-overs (sort of!) between the Time Lord and the detective… 2017-01-01T10:00:00+00:00 2017-01-01T10:00:00+00:00
Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

Role-Play Ramblings 2.2: Planting Seeds

Gamer Goggles - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 17:45

In this episode of Role-Play Ramblings Matt talks about planting seeds.  Which in this conversation is a combination of foreshadowing, note taking, listening and even closure.


This is something that I think newer GM’S struggle with, but once it’s learned it is very rewarding.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Life, Death & Sorcery # 3

First Comics News - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 17:18

Title: Life, Death & Sorcery # 3
Publisher: Chapter House Comics
Writer/Artist/Cover: Danny Zabbal
Price: $ 3.99 US
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Website: www.chapterhouse.ca
Comments: The art is simple.
Amelia is faced with a strange man who happens to have magical powers. Amelia is still having conversations with that voice in her head.
Amelia finds her two younger sisters in the graveyard. The girls are having an adventure and acting realistically in the given situation. The story is moving along like a movie. It does though stay low key.
There is a lot going on and no explanation as to why. The Hesperan Gate is a magical gateway to the universe. It is very simply drawn. The adventure does start going into high gear.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Atomic Robo: The Temple of Od # 5

First Comics News - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 17:13

Title: Atomic Robo: The Temple of Od # 5
Publisher: IDW
Words: Brian Clevinger
Art: Scott Wegener
Colors: Anthony Clark
Letters + Design: Jeff Powell
Price: $ 3.99 US
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Website: www.idwpublishing.com
Comments: The fate of the Earth hangs in the balance on what Robo and his friends do. Plus one scientist Doctor Lu that knows how to either fix or destroy a weapon of mass destruction.
Robo gets to keep fighting the man with the reality warping energy inside him. The fight gets strange as does the man. The warping energy seems to be warping him. The ending to this battle is explosive but anti-climatic.
Poor Robo he wins the battle but loses the girl. It makes you feel sad for him. He is a world savior but still unlucky in love.
Robo shows us his main weapon is his fist. It would be better to have more to him than just a robot that punches things. t would be great to see him use his brain more.
The imaginary of the villain the glowing man is nicely done. He standing out on a page. The coloring makes him pop out at you.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 17:12

Title: Faith # 7
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Joe Eisma
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse
Fantasy Sequences: Marguerite Sauvage
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Cover Art: Kano
Variant Cover Art: David LaFuente, Philip Tan, Jen Bartel, Geoff Shaw
Price: $ 3.99 US
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Website: www.valiantuniverse.com
Comments: Faith is trying on new takes on her costume. None look all that good on her. The original though is still the best.
Here why people watch horror movies is explained.
Faith does start to see things here. Or are they real? Is this some sort of attack? Those that died around her and were close to her are haunting her. Faith though is strong enough to know there deaths were not her fault.
Faith is handling it but is she really. Hiding from something is not handling it. She is not one to hide from something though. A good nights sleep though never hurt.
It is easy to see she is troubled by this and uncertain how to fight against it. How does one fight your dreams or imagination?
Faith does show us she is so strong as she does not once give in to her fears.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Star Trek/Green Lantern: Stranger Worlds # 1

First Comics News - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 17:11

Title: Star Trek/Green Lantern: Stranger Worlds # 1
Publisher: DC/IDW
Written by: Mike Johnson
Art by: Angel Hernandez
Colors by: Alejandro Sanchez
Letters by: Andworld Design
Price: $ 3.99 US
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Websites: www.dccomics.com , www.idwpublishing.com
Comments: Here the Green Lanterns who survived their Universe’s destruction have joined with Star Fleet.
In outer space the Enterprise and Green Lanterns are illustrated beautifully as they protect a space station.
Hal Jordan’s personality and Captain Kirk’s are very similar. They are both take charge types and they both are willing to take chances.
This issue basically sets up for the next ones. So not a lot of action but more information.
Sinestro now rules the Klingon Empire. He has figured out that Oa and the Guardians of the Universe may exist in this new Universe he finds himself in. At least a version of them. It looks as if Hal may figure it out to. So the race will be on.
Having the characters of Star Trek and DC’s Green Lantern’s mix makes for some new and interesting moments.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures # 2

First Comics News - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 17:06

Title: Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures # 2
Publisher: IDW/DC
Writer: Matthew K. Manning
Artist: Jon Sommariva
Inkers: Sean Parsons & Serge Lapointe (pgs 15-17)
Colorist: Leonardo Ito
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Price: $ 3.99 US
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Websites: www.idwpublishing.com , www.dccomics.com
Comments: Harley Quinn makes an escape and goes right to her Puddin’. Harley Quinn in costume looks amazing and yes sexy to.
Joker and Harley have joined with Shredder and his henchmen. The art is animated style like in the animated cartoon.
Batman, Robin and Batgirl team-up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
There are some fun moments. There are also more villains.
The classic fight scene between the good guys is well done. We get to see April and Batgirl mix it up to. Batman and Robin against the Turtles have fun while battling each other.
The story well there is none. You get lots of characters but there is no plot at all.
The art works well enough but is for a younger audience. Batman is tough, grim and angry looking and Batgirl is cute. The Turtles are a bit weird. April is drawn very nice looking. Robin is a kid wearing red with an R. Read the comic that last sentence wil make sense and make you laugh.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures # 1

First Comics News - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 17:06

Title: Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures # 1
Publisher: IDW/DC
Writer: Matthew K. Manning
Artist: Jon Sommariva
Inkers: Sean Parsons
Colorist: Leonardo Ito
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Price: $ 3.99 US
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Websites: www.idwpublishing.com , www.dccomics.com
Comments: Michelangelo is acting lie a super-hero or trying to. More like Batman if he were a big mutant turtle.
Both the Turtles and Batman are investigating the portals created by the Kraang that go between their two dimensions.
The Turtles get attacked in the sewers by Clayface. They do have a rough and tumble. Clayface is way more powerful but the Turtles well their leader at least is smarter.
Joker and Harley Quinn look amazing so colorful and crazy evil.
The comic is done in an animated style and it is written for a younger audience. It can be enjoyed by all though.
The DC villains are portrayed beautifully here. They are evil and ready to play.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

On a New Year

Hack & Slash - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 16:40
The reply to the interrogatories in my custody case glowed on my screen. The specifics caused nausea.
My brother's name stood there in her list of witnesses.
J[Redatcted] C[Redatcted]
[Address redatcted]
I texted him.
"Did you know that [Redacted] is planning on calling you as a witness against me in court?"Sent. . . Read."No, no I did not. That is upsetting."
My paranoia flares down. I don't talk about it any more with him, because he's free to say what he wants. 
A week later he texted me: "Call me when you are able." I did. 
I hadn't heard from my father post-surgery. It was a routine procedure. He had called everyone before the operation. Can you know? We went to see him, before he was "disconnected". From trapped, to half-life after he died, to a funeral home, keeping us distanced from the reality of death. 
The Past
I don't like the internet much because it's full of lies from everyone. Every lie just betrays more ignorance about real issues moving forward. This is full-stop nothing to do with left or right politics. It has to do with ignorance, lies, and systems of control. All of these political social media posts are lies. All of them. Especially yours*. They are ignorant, because not one focuses on meaningful or important issues. 
I've been avoiding the internet because of it. 
The crux of the issue is that the management of humanity is a complicated endeavor fraught with danger. An article is just a way to scrape money from advertisers. It's shared by people who have beliefs unrelated to facts (or reality), who only have a vested interest in avoiding cognitive dissonance. 
That certainly isn't what I want to fill my time with. What I'm bothered by the most is that there is no discussion of issues critical to our future. 
How many times have you seen social media posts on the use of CRISPA to eliminate malaria forever? Or, what happens after that? Once we open the door to genetic control of our children and planet? Would you use it to edit your unborn child to avoid getting fat? Because you can, you know, today; Since they've had the option to use CRISPA for at least a year, I think maybe we should be talking about it.
Oh, hey, how about this. Do you know many employed horses? Really? If there weren't any new jobs for horses, why do you think there are going to be new jobs for you? Cars are self driving with safer records than humans today. Seen the self-checkout lane at the supermarket? Some machine diagnostician artificial intelligences (not symptom checkers)  have significantly better outcomes than human doctors today. The real employment rate is dropping (and a complicated sticky wicket). Programmers are teaching computers to compose and write music, create art- they already write the majority of books for sale on amazon.** Jobs are rapidly being eliminated. Maybe, if someone is forced out of the job market by a labor saving device, like most of humanity will be in the next few decades, we shouldn't treat them as a burden to society.
The FutureThe sonuvabitch of it is, that by all available metrics, the world is getting better. Less war. Less death. More wealth. More equality. We are eliminating diseases, traveling in space, curing cancer, extending life. I mentioned this to a lady I worked with and she literally left the room due to how much this conflicted with her conception of reality. It was too important to her world-view that things be getting worse.
Oh, and we won the role-playing fight too. People can make and play whatever they want. Kingdom Death is getting millions. No one is saying people can't play that! It's out! It's getting made! The new D&D is still crunchy and mainstream, but our voice was heard. The Dungeon Master can run the game. New levels in production and usefulness are still being reached. Gaming is good. Gaming is healthy. No one I know lacks for games to play.
Looking back over the last 8 years of this blog, I find that I live (mostly) in the world I had hoped to in regards to gaming. I've been dealing with separation and fighting for some legal affirmation that I am in fact, my daughters father. Every time I read the internet I'm assaulted with ignorance and hate and cruelty and stupidity from the luckiest people to ever be alive. 
I've changed, you've changed, the world has changed.

Personally, in spite of the endless personal setbacks I've had this last year, I'm happier than I've ever been. The best use of my blog going forward is to expand beyond just talking about role-playing.

Common wisdom says, you know, not to do that. You want to brand. You want people to come to you for one thing. Fuck that I guess. I still love gaming and am still working on gaming (and gaming adjacent products). I've learned a lot about myself and who I am and the ways in which I'd like to share. In the year going forward we're going to see a bunch of new things. You've already seen some of the type of things I'm talking about; the in-depth look at the Catalyst fiasco.

I'm interested in feedback about this and about the new things I'll be trying. Take the opportunity to let me know if you like or hate a new thing. It'll be a week or two before I'm fully back up to speed, but I'm looking forward to 2017.

I hope you are too.
* I'm not calling them out, because I don't want to get engaged in pointless debate. But literally every political post is made by person ignorant of facts; almost universally unconcerned about that ignorance. Conservative and Liberal. ** As always, these facts are subject to spin, but that's not the point. The point is that today there are very few things humans do that machines or computers cannot either do better or have a path to be superior than humans at. Nobody is breaking apart automated assembly lines to reinstall human laborers. Once replaced by automation, new jobs are not created and the jobs do not return. This point is philosophically neutral. The end of needing humans to labor is not. 

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Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Creativity is Fed by Illness it Seems

Tenkar's Tavern - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 16:27
So, yesterday I was pretty much laid out for the day and something strange happened - the writer's block I've suffered recently didn't just end, it started me back at the beginning and moved forward.

Whereas before I had a half dozen adventure seeds that weren't able to get over the creative hump, last night I had an adventure outlined on paper, rooms being detailed and everything already detailed in my head. Surprisingly, I don't seem to have lost anything in that head of mine after a solid 10 hours sleep.

Now, life rarely cooperates with such niceties, and lo and behold, Pinkie and my sis are coming over in half an hour. Thankfully, Pinkie, all of six years going on middle age in some ways, has been known to order me to sit at my desk and write - just need to see if I can convince her to do the same today.

So, a dozen kobolds and an ogre walk into a tomb...
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Weird Western Savage Sword of … Harland Buck Freesword #1

First Comics News - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 16:21

Harland Buck Freesword #1 Cover

As a kid, I enjoyed the wide range of comic genres in the mainstream comics of the 70’s and early 80’s. I read GI Combat, Jonah Hex, Micronauts, Star Wars and others but the one genre that always had me coming back for more was the sword and sorcery books like Conan and Krull. My absolute favourite of the bunch was Mike Grell’s Warlord and the first issue of Harland Buck Freesword reminds me quite a bit of those old Warlord comics. More sword than sorcery so far with a nice dash of Western/Cowboy thrown in, Harlan Buck Freesword #1 introduces us to the world of Alor-vyr. A land where the heroes, and the villains I suspect, are either Freesword mercenaries working for profit or Realmguard soldiers having pledged allegiance to the King.

As writer Scott Weldon puts it … “Harland Buck is a tough, cynical mercenary swordsman burdened with a conscience he sometimes wishes he didn’t have. Join him as he plies his trade in a world of hard men, tough women, frontier wilderness, myth, magic and adventure.”

Harland Buck Freesword #1 Interior Page

The first issue opens up with Harland Buck lamenting about signing up to escort a supply wagon train carrying gold from a mine. On the trek, he and a Realmguard named Kendall Obassa become separated from the rest of the group and must fight the elements and the other dangers lurking in the woods. Scott Weldon writes a great first issue with a bit of action, some suspense and enough introductory plot threads to entice you to come back for the next issue. Dino Agor’s line work and Fredrick Allison Jr’s digital colours are clean and professional giving the book a nice polish on an independent title that would look right at home with a mainstream publisher like Dark Horse Comics. Dino’s panel layouts pay attention to the details of the narration making following the story very fluid and easy.

Good stuff all around and I am looking forward to reading the unfolding story of Harland Buck and specifically the history of his mysterious Marat Blade sword. Pick up you copy directly from Weldon Studios at http://www.weldonstudio.com

Issue: Harland Buck Freesword #1 | Publisher: Weldon Studios
Writers: Scott Weldon | Artists: Dino Agor & Fredrick Allison Jr.
Price: $5.00

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Role-Play Ramblings 2.1 Note Taking

Gamer Goggles - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 16:02

To start Season two of Role-Play Ramblings Matt talks about the importance of note taking in an RPG.  He covers who should takes notes and  when some of the better times for taking them are.



I had a lot of fun filming this episode.  It took me a lot longer than I thought it would to play three people, but I had a blast.  I hope to do more like this in the future.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Sleep Better in 2017 with the Brentwood Home Giveaway!

Moogly - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 16:00

Disclaimer: I was given a free set of pillows in exchange for my honest review. This post includes affiliate links. https://www.brentwoodhome.com/ If there’s one thing that turning 40 has taught me (and it’s taught me a lot!)… it’s that a good night’s sleep is worth everything. But if sleeping were a skill, I wouldn’t be [...]

The post Sleep Better in 2017 with the Brentwood Home Giveaway! appeared first on moogly. Please visit www.mooglyblog.com for this post. If you are viewing this on another site they have scraped the content from my website without permission. Thank you for your support.

Categories: Crochet Life

TPK for the In-laws

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 12:36

We spent New Year's with my wife's parents, and she really wanted to introduce them to D&D. They are avid gamers of the Catan/Carcassone/Pandemic sort but had never played an rpg. On the way to their place, we bought the 5e Starter Set (mainly to get ahold of the Lost Mines of Phandelver intro adventure), but also for the sample characters.

I'm sorry to say Squire Bill the Dwarf Cleric, Maggie the Elf Wizard, and Sara Longstreet the Fighter, were all lost in a goblin den. It was the first TPK of the new year. Hell, it's my first one as a DM in decades, perhaps.

While this was sort of on the fly and an introductory game not the start of a campaign, I did reskin a few thinks to make them more in line with my sensibilities, taking some suggestions from Gus L's critique of the adventure here. The PCs started in media res walking along the road from Knarr to Fandlin, where they know there is to be a festival honoring St. Frithona. I vaguely had in mind a Canterbury Tales riff, and I may differ a bit from Gus in my stance on funny names (I want them to be consistent in a way that suggest culture and interesting, but I do not necessarily see facility of player use as primary concern. If they can't remember them, they can take notes.) so I actually added more than are in the adventure while I altered the ones they were there. So the PCs soon encounter the gruff dwarven outfitter with a secret, Rockseeker Gev, and his associate, Silfer, and soon after, a pilgrim camp with Maudrey (a corpulent merchant), Eilmer (a used car salesman-esque relic seller), Bregwin (a taciturn female fighter with a hatred of goblins), and Karthusa (a nervous tinkerwoman).

After Gev and Silfer are apparently kidnapped in a goblin attack--and the player's find a tantalizing but unreadable map to the ruins--they track the goblins back to their lair.

In the end, it was mostly bad rolls that took them down and even then it was a close thing: the last PCs was felled by the last goblin in a room who was himself hanging on only by 1 HP. I suppose I should have had the goblin flee at that point to raise alarm (and give the PCs time to maybe attempt escape), but it happened relatively fast and the contest was so close. In any case, the player's seemed to enjoy the game, despite feeling they had "lost" in the end. Being more conformable with boardgames with role-playing the combat was more to their liking than the NPC interaction, so this introductory thing suited them better than one of my adventures might have.

Black Orc Down

Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 12:15

By Kieran Brannan
Point Pony
Basic D&D
Levels 1-3

Nobody else wanted to take on a job of helping out an orc, but if their gold is good then who cares … right? Black Orc Down puts the party on the trail of a missing orc chieftain. Can they rescue him from the dark mysteries of the Undercity beneath Forecastle? Can they uncover the vile plot which threatens to disrupt the power structure of The Shades? If they fail, will the death of one orc really matter that much?

This is twenty page adventure in the “undercity” on a linear map with seven locations in a high-fantasy setting. It hits, negatively, a large number of my review standards. It is not, however, incomprehensible, or hard to run, so at least it’s got that going for it.

There’s this generic fantasy city that’s been taken over by different pirate lords. Pretty standard stuff. It’s high fantasy though, so there’s orcs and goblins and so on, entire tribes, in the city. Bob the orc, leader of some minor blah blah blah orc clan, has fallen through a hole in the floor that gave way while he was on his throne. He’s now in the undercity, the ruins of the old city that the current one was built on top of. He was attacked by skeletons and ran off and his orc buddies tried to save him but were beaten back by the undead. They hire the party, for 100 gold, to go save their orc chief.

I hate high fantasy. Or, rather, I hate THIS sort of high fantasy. I get it, different strokes for different folks. Like what yhttps://crou want and all that jazz. But this just sucks. One of my points is that I like humans instead of humanoids as enemies, most of the time. Or maybe I mean “in certain situations.” A sidebar DOES encourage you to change the orcs (and later goblins) to humans if you’re not playing a high fantasy game, but I want to talk more about the use of humanoids in general. When you take an elf and make him a farmer, on of many in a human village, you generally destroy what it means to be an elf. Elf garbage collectors. Dwarf millers. You’ve just turned them in to humans with pointy ears or short humans. The same with the humanoids. These represent THE OTHER. They should be different. Scary. Maybe bestial. In this adventure the orcs advertise on the local job boards. When they greet you the read aloud says “Thank you so much for answering our request for aid.” Seriously? I get it it. High Fantasy. But … seriously? There’s NOTHING in this adventure that makes the orcs seem like orcs. Or makes the goblins (a tribe of which you meet later) seem like goblins. A society of overly polite orcs drinking tea with their pinkies out? I can get behind that. But generic humanoids? Nope. Sorry. Disbelief broken. Grimy humans? Ok. Human cannibals? Ok. Humans can do some fucked up shit and making humanoids humans instead can lead to some good revulsion. It’s more relatable. But generic orcs with a “thank you so much for answering our request for aid?” High fantasy or not, that sucks.

Twenty pages with seven encounters implies a high word count, and that’s present here. There’s a MASSIVE amount of read aloud. Paragraphs and paragraphs that add little to no value. The writing isn’t particularly evocative, although it is serviceable and clear, generally. It falls in to the trap of telling instead of showing. “The environment is an oppressive unwelcoming shroud …” Well, no. It’s not. When you TELL me its oppressive then its not oppressive. SHOW me. If you’re going to engage in this type of read-aloud then describe WHY. Let the players draw their own conclusions. There are reams and reams of advice on writing that tell you why showing is better than tellings. Go google it for more. Or don’t. Whatever.

There’s a table in this adventure I’d like to talk about. It’s a loot table, in case the party searches a random building in the undercity. A typical entry is “You manage to find a small cache of silverware worth 2d10sp.” BAD BAD BAD! It’s generic. Just “Silverware” It’s written in read-aloud mode. “You find …” Blech! “Elven filigree tarnished silver olive spoons, bent.” Instead we get “The jewellery is of simple design, being of a quality a merchant’s wife might wear.” Generic sucks ass. Specificity is the soul of storytelling. And do it in under fifteen words. Please.

And, to boot, there’s not a lot of treasure. At all. So little for Gold=XP that the adventure encourages a story award at the end for completing the quest. That’s NEVER good. It implies a right way and a wrong way to complete the adventure. I’d be more ok with just giving the party a flat 2000xp after every session, or something like that, instead of a “story” award. It removes free will from the players and forces them to complete an adventure in a certain way. If you squint, then Gold=XP does the same thing. Or, rather, ?=XP generally results in the play style being optimized to get the XP, and thus the party will do whatever. I prefer a free will game.

There’s a part of this adventure that I can’t decide on. It goes beyond the generic encounters and dull descriptions of the various rooms. You track some goblins back to their lair/hideout. You come out in the “throne” room. There’s a door. Goblins come through the door. The DM is instructed to make variable number of goblins come through it, in order to heighten tension and give a moment of drama. It is absolutely undeniable that barricading a door, goblins smashing in to it, daggers poking through it, etc, would be a great moment of drama in a game. But FORCING that situation is lame as fuck, especially with a “just keep sending in goblins to heighten the tensions” advice statement. Uncool. If it happens, great. If you want to put 10 goblins outside in the guardroom and have them rush in, loudly, after three rounds that the players hear, great. But forcing the situation is un cool advice. D&D absolutely does NOT need more shitty DM advice.

Ultimately, this is just another generic D&D adventure. There’s little soul to it, even if you accept the high fantasy premise.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Here’s a Habit to Firm Up Your Faith for the New Year

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 11:00

Statue of King David, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit makes the appealing point that for all of us there are keystone habits that, if established, would give rise to other habits that improve our lives and increase our success rates in life.

Good imagery: A keystone is “a large stone at the top of an arch that locks the other stones in place” (Merriam Webster Dictionary).

We are all creatures of habit much more than we realize. Most of what we do in a day is advanced by a series of habits. Depending on the quality of those habits, they either move us toward our life goals or they fritter away the opportunity to serve and achieve and grow, frustrating us in the process.

We passively retire for bed at a different time every night, or we establish a pattern of the same bedtime for every night, possibly with some allowance on weekends. Upon rising, we make our bed only if we feel like it, or we do so before departing the bedroom as one fixed element in our morning routine.

If we choose these two simple paired habits — regular bedtime and making one’s bed on a fixed schedule, together they can make a keystone habit of order that without much further thought or effort results in unexpected benefits: we watch less late-night TV; feel more alive at work the next day; or we find ourselves giving five minutes to straightening the house before leaving for work.

As Christians we would do well to heed the insight lodged in this idea — the idea that keystone habits tend to encourage and promote the development of other good habits. And in particular, that they are supportive of the life of faith and righteousness.

Here’s a representative keystone resolution concerning good habits of faith made by the ancient psalmist, David.

He wrote: “Every day I will praise you, and extol your name for ever and ever” (Psalm 145:2). We may say “I do that, sort of.” But that’s like saying, “I retire every night on a time schedule, sort of.” The psalmist is making his pledge with the intent of making it a robust habit, as to “my God the King.” Moreover, his pledge is lavish: “I will extol. Praise. Exalt.”

To extol means more than to offer a polite thank you; it means to praise enthusiastically or lavishly, or without restraint. Extolling is the way we would express ourselves to a doctor who has brilliantly saved a loved one from death. Or a philanthropist whom we discover had paid off our mortgage unasked, or has offered to support our child’s way through university.

We note King David unfolds reasons for the promise of such lavish daily praise: “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love” (verse 8). “The Lord is good to all, he has compassion on all he has made” (verse 9). “The Lord is faithful to all his promises, and loving toward all he has made” (verse 13b).

But the blessings that activate the psalmist’s praises involve infinitely more than the good things of this life even if that currency is given in large amounts. His praises will be given not only “every day” but “for ever and ever.” That’s a resolve worth pondering.

So we commit ourselves to extol the Lord daily and when we wake up in the morning our first thoughts are of the goodness of “my God the King.” He rules. I am his subject. He knows me personally. His goodness enfolds me.

Then, before arising we review specific evidences of his mercies and as the list grows and we see how favored we are by his care we extol him. As we do, we renew our intent to extol him not only for 2017 but as long as life lasts – and then through all eternity.

This is a resolution to establish at least one keystone habit at the opening of this New Year. We do so with the expectation that this in turn will lock together other resolutions thus greatly enriching the life of faith to be lived during 2017.

Photo credit: Blondinrikard Fröberg (via flickr.com)

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Modification Monday: Theo’s Winter Body

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Looking For Group - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 05:00

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