Thanksgiving Day After

We had a good day yesterday. Instead of having the Thanksgiving meal at our house, we went to a friends that invites anyone without family near to an Orphan Thanksgiving Potluck. There were many good people there and made for a good meal.

Here are some Thanksgiving themed creations (none are mine):

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Total Solar Eclipse 2017

In the past many cultures have had various superstitions about eclipses, including “the End of the World”. Here is a good link to further information.

Excerpt:

Myths and Superstitions Around Solar Eclipses

Solar eclipses have caused fear, inspired curiosity, and have been associated with myths, legends, and superstitions throughout history. Even today, an eclipse of the Sun is considered a bad omen in many cultures.

The Hindu deity Rahu.

Hindu deity Rahu is known for causing eclipses.

©bigstockphoto.com/wuttichok

Ancient Explanation for Solar Eclipse

Ancient cultures tried to understand why the Sun temporarily vanished from the sky, so they came up with various reasons for what caused a solar eclipse.

In many cultures, the legends surrounding solar eclipses involve mythical figures eating or stealing the Sun. Others interpreted the event as a sign of angry or quarreling gods.

 

This will be the first total solar eclipse in many peoples memories.

“This is the First Total Solar Eclipse in USA Since 1979. This is the first total eclipse of the Sun visible from the contiguous United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) since February 26, 1979. The last time a total eclipse was visible from coast to coast was on June 8, 1918.

I live in South Carolina, but there are many other links at the following link.

Here is an excerpt from Eclipse2017.org

SOUTH CAROLINA

All good things must come to an end, and at 2:36:02pm, the shadow of the great 2017 total eclipse first touches the final state in its path. South Carolina also brings us the fifth state capital to be immersed in shadow, and several large cities will be able to play host to eclipse-chasers from all over.

Greenville is a very large city, and it is fully in shadow by 2:38pm. Its sister city of Spartanburg, however, is split by the path – you’ll want to head west, and enjoy Greenville’s 2m14s of totality.

Here is a map of the Greenville-Spartanburg area, to show you what’s going on.

Greenwood (2m28s at 2:39) is next on the list of bigger cities to see totality, and then Columbia is treated about two minutes later. The Capitol Building gets just a hair under 2m30s, and would be a great place for workers to take an afternoon shadow-break!

Sumter lies in the path, as do big, beautiful lakes Marion and Moutrie – right on the centerline!! Get out on the boat and soak it in!

The last large city to see the 2017 eclipse will be Charleston. (Here is our detailed eclipse page for Charleston!) It lies on the southern edge of the path, but because folks in Mt. Pleasant will get almost two minutes of totality, Charlestonians should head northeast!

The centerline then cuts across US17, just south of the last city to see the shadow – McClellanville, SC. From there, the shadow will take its leave of the last piece of American soil at 2:49:07.4pm. Quite appropriately, the spot is a long, isolated beach on a barrier island at the tip of a Wildlife Preserve – Cape Romain, just east of McClellanville.

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Naga inspired race: Deva-Nagaru

I decided to create a race with characteristics of a naga and humanoid. This will be a Pathfinder advanced player race with average to advanced RP.
I will be taking my information from recorded legends of this race. One of my major points will be that the serpent races are all related so will be considered one race, that is separated by clan/caste. (ex: naga, yuan-ti, serpentfolk, maralith, lamia, etc). Nobles will be able to shift to full human or any stage in between.

Deva-Nagaru (People of the Snake)
Before the Chaos Wars, Naga were a serpent worshiping mountain tribe that lived on Nagloka (Nagpur). When the war was at its worst, during a snake dance, a wild magic storm hit. All the participants were affected. Some immediately, until the next full moon and a rare few didn’t have the trait appear but their children did. The mutation varied depending on the tribe, inclination and nearness to snakes. Because most nobles are dragon-blooded they eventually gained control and became shifters. Others show their serpent traits in appearance and temperament.
Their cousins on the other side of island in Slithoria (change), had a similar occurrence but with lizards during a lizard dance. They had a worst effect, because the predatory nature of the lizards was stronger and all but subsumed their humanity. Many of the lizardfolk became violent and warlike as a result.
So came the war. Lizard vs snake. Their draconic cousins on the nearby island of Dracoria eventually enforced a peace before their mutual destruction. They created a neutral zone around the holy lake of Takshila. The Goddess Devangara created the winged naga in her image to be protectors of the peace around the holy lake.
The seven tribes are as follows (add subtype as needed):

  • Marindara: Any N, eel or see snake lower body, humanoid upper. small-medium.
  • Nagan: N-NG, fully scaled, snake-headed humanoids. small-large
  • Quezl-Nagan: N-NG, fully scaled, rainbow colored winged (feathers) snake. small-large
  • Maralith: Any-partial to fully scaled humanoid upper body with snake head, un-scaled lower humanoid body. small-medium
  • Yuan-ti: Any-N, fully scaled humanoid upper body with snake head, scaled lower snake body. small-medium
  • Lamia: NG-N, humanoid upper body, snake lower. small-medium
  • Noble: Any N, can look or shift to any of the above or a combination off traits. Many show dragonblood traits as well. small-medium

See later posts for more on the seven tribes.

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My Homebrew World: Aquatica

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Aquatica is a large world of my creation, that is mostly water with little land. I created her with the D&D 3.0 Worldbuilder Handbook.
​Her past has seen hundreds of years of Mage Wars and chaotic upheavals, that has changed the face of the planet in many ways and the lives of most of her inhabitants.
The regions vary from sub-arctic to super-tropical, creating strong seasonal variations. Everything from the weather, dimensional shift areas, mutations, and a variety of other ills.
All these problems started when a group of extra-planar races discovered Aquatica, she was a primitive world at this time, with rich deposits of  many natural resources. The two races in charge soon began to disagree on how to treat the slave labor. [The slaves were the ancestors of humans, that had been artificially evolved by magic and bio-organic technology]. The Atlanteans and Astral Elves disagreements were on many things, including: whether magic or psionics were better, the experimentation, evolution and treatment of subjugated races; among others.

Thoughts on Free RPG Day 2017

While I would love to rave about another wonderful free RPG Day on today sadly I can not. This year for the first year in the last four years that no game store in 100 miles in any direction of the grand city of Charleston South Carolina even participated in the event. Shockingly enough when I expanded my search I did find a handful of stores with Free RPG Day kits. Three stores in the whole of South Carolina took part in the event this year, ouch! I don’t know if this is a growing trend in other areas but I for the first time in years felt the pain that I have seen other

Shockingly enough when I expanded my search with the store locator tools I did find a handful of stores with Free RPG Day kits. Three stores in the whole of South Carolina took part in the event this year, ouch! I don’t know if this is a growing trend in other areas but I for the first time in years felt the pain that I have seen other gamer’s struggle with.

With the explosion in popularity of tabletop games in the last two years, you would think that every store in the country would be looking for ways to draw in more customers to their venues. Tabletop gaming is rapidly closing on its first golden age. Why would you not want to take every advantage its current popularity to rise with it?

Now I understand we RPG players need to contend with the fact that many of the local stores run MTG three days a week or more here. Card floppers continue to outspend tabletop players likely more than ten to one, I get it. Yet when every FLGS turns their back on the opportunity to draw a larger audience they inevitably force their loyal customers to look elsewhere.

Please understand that by no stretch of the imagination do I think that Free RPG Day is free to the retailer. I know it costs money and I can only imagine that no stores locally took part because in years past they have failed to profit from the event. I also think that with proper promotion Free RPG Day could be profitable to stores if they market the events to draw the local gamers in. Demos and mini store conventions took place in many locations across the country with wild success. These things could be done here or in any location in the country to help ensure profitable Free RPG Days.

When Free RPG Day started it was about trying to draw in an audience of gamers. To Infuse the hobby with fresh to grow a new batch of gamers. But since then Free RPG Day has stopped being that. The kits can be costly and there just simply are not nearly enough of them to go around. So I think some of this falls on the FRPGD shoulders as well because the event is not nearly as well known as International Tabletop day and it is older than that event.

Also, I think some of this falls on the Impressions Distributors of Free RPG Day’s shoulders as well because the event is not nearly as well known as International Tabletop day and it is near twice as old. Not only did every store take part in International Tabletop Day but many of the locals had home parties. This is something you will never see with Free RPG DAY because they don’t support their event unless you are a FLGS. This goes againt the idea of Growing the hobby in a truly frustrating manner.

I will end with a personal experience when I was running the RPG portion of Storm-Con a few years back. Our convention date fell on FREE RPG Day. We as a convention reached out willing to buy kits for our con and we were iced because we were not a retailer. We were then told if we were to get a retailer to buy kits for us we still would not be allowed to give them away at our convention, Craziness! 300 gamers would have gone without Free RPG Day products that year. In the end, one of our vendors decided to bring their Free RPG Day kits to the con.

So what are your thoughts on FREE RPG DAY ? Were you left out in the wild or did your store particapte? Did it go over well or was it not well handled in your location? I would love to hear your thougths on the subject.

GM Inspiration Dice & GM Compells House Rules

Today I decided to that I would like to share with you a favorite Homebrew Rule of mine for 5E D&D. This is a Homebrew rule that I developed because you see I love the Inspiration mechanic. Inspiration is simple and elegant in its both its intent and its use in the game. I have found that one constant with all players is that they love to roll dice. What is better than rolling one dice, rolling two! Inspiration is a wonderful carrot to encourage your players to roleplay and act on many or all of their background aspects.

As much as I love Inspiration, from the moment I read it I felt many GMs would miss the opportunity to not do more with this wonderful game enhancement. From the start, I feared that they would be treated more like Hero Points of old. Only to be used as a last ditch effort to pull one good roll and save a characters life. Sadly from what I have seen across many game tables. That is exactly how they are widely used by both players and GM’s alike.

Inspiration is a wonderful carrot to encourage your players to roleplay. Rewarding them for acting on many or all of their background aspects good or bad. In my opinion, inspiration was intended to be given fast and free to promote and reward roleplay. Hence why it is limited to only one point. When I look at how inspiration is written I think I see what the issue here might be. If you only focus on the first portion of the rule it sounds as if inspiration is given to you by the GM when you do something compelling or roleplay to one of your traits. Yet it goes on to say that the GM will tell you how you can earn Inspiration in the game. This is a key thing that I think may GM’s overlook.

Inspiration

Your GM can choose to give you inspiration for a variety of reasons. Typically, GMs award it when you play out your personality traits, give in to the drawbacks presented by a flaw or bond, and otherwise portray your character in a compelling way. Your GM will tell you how you can earn inspiration in the game. You either have inspiration or you don’t – you can’t stockpile multiple “inspirations” for later use.

The FATE system uses something very similar mechanic. Called Invoke and Compel. When a player wishes to gain the benefit of one aspect of their character they can invoke that characters Aspect. Much like inspiration they then gain a bonus to their next action. FATE then goes on to describe that the GM can also compel a player. If the FATE GM compels a player and they accept the compel they are given another FATE point (Inspiration) if they chose to accept on the compel. A player may choose not to act on a compel and play as they wish, but they will not get the FATE point.

Compelling

If you’re in a situation where having or being around a certain aspect means your character’s life is more dramatic or complicated, anyone can compel the aspect. You can even compel it on yourself—that’s called a self-compel. Compels are the most common way for players to earn more fate points.

 

So my homebrew rewrite of Inspiration is not really needed but helps to make clear how Inspiration works in my game. Reads as follows.

Inspiration & Compelling.

The GM can choose to give you inspiration for a variety of reasons. Typically, GMs award it when you play out your personality traits, give in to the drawbacks presented by a flaw or bond, and otherwise portray your character in a compelling way.

If you’re in a situation where any of your traits make your character’s life more dramatic or complicated, anyone can compel the you. You can even compel it on yourself. Compels are the most common way for players to earn more insperation. You may refuse any Compel but you are not awarded inspiration if you do so.

You either have inspiration or you don’t – you can’t stockpile multiple “inspirations” for later use.

Even my rule say that you can not Stockpile inspiration. I still wanted to encourage my players to use their Inspiration often. It is often hard to pry that D20 out of their hands unless it is a clutch roll. That and I often find that I have given out inspiration for good roleplay and my players just can’t burn it fast enough.  Enter the GM inspiration Die

GM Inspiration Dice

If my players do something creative or commit an act of good RP.  I award them an Inspiration point. The trouble I had was that Often my players had Inspiration and I still want to give them something. After some thinking, I decided to do the following. This is also a nice little alternative for some of the GM’s out there that prefer using inspiration as a “Hero Point” The benefit is smaller but players seem more willing to burn it over Inspiration often.

  • If the player has no Inspiration. I reward them with an Inspiration point.
  • If the player has a point of Inspiration I award them a “GM Inspiration”.
  • “GM” inspiration dice is not a D20 with advantage. It is treated like a Bardic Inspiration dice. It can be used at any time to add to a D20 roll.
  • The GM Inspiration Die is a D6.
  • Players can be awarded more than one, but only one dice may be spent at a time.
  • Once used it is gone it’s only useable for one roll.

Lastly, GM inspiration dice go away at the end of a session. USE EM OR LOSE EM!

 

Monday Musing. Planning Preparation & Progress

Over the last week, I found myself continuing to feel like I am playing catch up on my blog. No matter how much I wanted to get done each time I sat down. I was confronted with a pile of products that I wished to get out to my readers. I was filled with a sense of dread that I would not get to these things in time. It became abundantly clear to me something had to change.

First I am the only person that can see or perceive the products and projects that I continue to insist to myself I am behind on. The reality is that yes there was a lot that I wanted to get done in the last weeks of 2016 and 2017. Health and Holidays saw that I was unable to do as well all know. Secondly, I could choose to continue to feel like I was behind a proverbial 8-ball and stop enjoying my blog and let it overwhelm me resulting in nothing getting done.

Last week’s muse flipped the switch. For the first time in January, I blogged from the heart again. That set the tone, It also reminded me to take my own advice to heart. I could continue to play catch up, focusing looking backward not forward. Or I could take one more week and make a proper plan.

The resulting week that I took to plan things out had some interesting results. The stress of blogging that has been looming when I sit down to type is once again gone. For the first time in 2017, I am again looking forward to sitting down and blogging. Because I took the time to make a Plan. The result of making a proper plan has also given me a clearer direction of where I want to head with my blog for the year. This is the first time I have ever laid out a course that I want the blog to take in such a way. It’s with this plan in hand and the preparation from the prior year that I can now see the road head.

Progress.