March 18, 2013
So… Spring Break was a lot of fun. Mary and I went to Fredericksburg and spent two days walking through town, going to Enchanted Rock, and generally enjoying the sights, sounds, and of course the awesome beer of the small Texas town. Seriously. If you love food and booze, put Fredericksburg on your to-do list.
On the other hand, karma’s a bitch.
There’s a store in town called Rustlin’ Rob’s, a mecca for anyone who loves flavor. While they have the basic pickled garlic, jams, and salsas, you can also find everything from margarita jelly, to raspberry chipotle salsa, to home-made fudge. And every day brings hundreds of sample stations so you can try virtually anything on the shelves. It was near the top of things I wanted to do.
And then Mary and I got an idea.
One of the items sold at Rustlin’ Rob’s is ghost pepper salsa. For those who don’t know, eating a ghost pepper is a bit like dropping napalm in your mouth. The sensation is akin to running a belt sander over your tongue. While the belt sander is on fire. And you have jumper cables attached to your throat.
Suffice to say, it’s not a pretty experience. Mary and I came up with the bright idea of buying a can of said salsa and using it in our weekly games. The rule would be that if you rolled a natural 1, you had to take a spoonful of the salsa. It seemed safe enough…
And then we gamed twice this week and only Mary and I rolled 1’s. No one else did.
Think about this for a moment. There are five players. They all rolled throughout the night. Skills, attacks, everything. They rolled ALL NIGHT. For two nights. And not one of them had to try the salsa.
Mary and I had two spoonfuls each.
My world was pain. Karma sucks. Welcome back from the break, folks. Just thought I’d share.
Keep an eye out for tomorrow’s video, too. In the meantime, please enjoy someone arguing against gay sex and marriage while also (unknowingly) arguing against oral sex.
May 1, 2012
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about tabletop gaming. It’s no surprise, seeing as how “Elves with Shotguns” is just about ready to hit RPGNow. However, I’ve also been thinking about my experience in RPGs. In a way, I can chronicle my journey through gaming the same way I chronicle my journey through writing.
My first character was a runethane named Seth. He was curious about everything (much like me since I was new to the game), and used words to cast his magic. Writing and runes were his power source. This echoes my own mentality that writing was an important, if not vital, aspect of everyday life. However, Seth was also a very squishy mage. Two or three hits and Seth went down faster than Lindsay Lohan trying to get into a nightclub.
Seth was a reflection of how I saw myself. I was fairly new, and while I was proud of my early accomplishments, I knew I could do better.
My next character had no name. He was simply called the Envoy, a warrior with a purpose. He was a soldier through and through, flexible enough to fling razor-tipped darts before unsheathing a sword and going to town on the enemy or either beat a prisoner into submission or scare the information out of him. He even got the kill-shot on an elemental after having been poisoned for much of the fight. All in all, a good sophomore try, but he was tough and boisterous and lacked the subtlety of Seth.
Likewise, my early forays into writing left me with a bruised ego, so I overcompensated in some ways. I wanted the writing to be tougher, grittier, but it only lost the little elements that I enjoyed inserting into my work.
Next came Jareth, a half-elf rogue who could do a lot of things… he just wasn’t that great at any of them. One running gag with my group was that it was better to have me try and lock something than to try and open it. Because I rolled so low, it was just assumed that instead of unlocking treasure chests, I had somehow just put an extra lock on it. Yeah. That bad.
Jareth represents the evolution from enthusiastic to hard-headed and then to jack-of-all-trades, master of none. I had to find the right balance…
Next came Pommel, my warforged fighter. Resolute to not fall into the trap of the meat shield again, I built him to fit the world: this was an evil campaign. He was strong and tough but had some smarts. He wasn’t reckless… except for that level of barbarian that let him rage. Pommel was controlled chaos. He was simple but effective in what he did, and he could be versatile if the need arose.
After realizing I couldn’t do everything as a writer, I did something similar. I started specializing, but I never forgot to pick bits and pieces from here and there to supplement my work. Every writer needs to read poetry, news, and memoirs even if he or she only writes novels. Likewise, a fighter could always benefit from a level of wizard and barbarian.
Finally, we get to my latest character: Wren the warlock. Wren was very much a hard-hitter. He was a striker. He did the most with the least. He also had that bit of versatility I’d come to embrace in Pommel. He could cast ritual magic aside from blasting things at long range. He was also personable and could handle himself in social situations if need be, but there was nothing that said he wouldn’t pick a pocket if it got him.
Wren embodies my most current attitude towards writing. I write short articles like this, but I also have learned to say the most with the least in everything from Charcoal Streets to the upcoming gaming book. I read news, journals, poetry, and anything else that seems interesting if only to be exposed to new writing styles and keep mine from getting stale. Of course, I don’t doubt my writing and gaming will change. It’s just interesting to me how each stage can get represented by a character form that time period.
And now, back to making prints and proofreading the final chapters.
See you soon. Oh, and feel free to share your own gaming stories below. How do your characters represent you? Or are they reflections of what you wish you could be?
While you ponder that, please enjoy two and a half minutes of sheer nergasmic joy.