Showing posts with label Five Point Friday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Five Point Friday. Show all posts

Friday, March 18, 2022

Five Point Friday - March 18th, 2022


This isn't much of a Five Point Friday, at least with respect to gaming. 

A lot has happened this week. I started a new job on Monday. The massive increase in activity has kicked my ass. My blood sugar readings are all over the place but trending positively. Despite the exhaustion, I feel great. 

I guess I'll start point one. I love John and Hannah's Red Dice Diaries. I've been plowing through them at half speed. For every episode I listen to, they upload 2. I loved the episode about stat'ing up NPC and Old Books. 

Point 2. I wish to revisit my DriveThruRPG offering, Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners. I want to add a few more professions, sample character sheets with drawings of the character, a couple of charts for random NPC encounters. One of the things I would like to do is create a map for location in my campaigns, The High Booth. It's a church/temple/bar where extraordinary things happen and a great place to meet NPCs. Obviously, readers would be welcome to adapt or replace it with their own meeting place for NPCs. This addition would go hand in hand with charts of who one might meet in a similar establishment. 

Point 3. I'd like to read for an hour or so each night. I did pick up a copy of three Thieves' World books a few weeks ago and it has sat untouched. That bothers me. Good books are there to be enjoyed. As I get my feet under me at work, I probably get the time. 

Point 4. The house is coming along nicely. This weekend, I need to pick up a pool table, drawer pulls, and handles. 

We are waiting on countertops and such. As you can see, the dog is a little nervous visiting "home", the place that burned. As we all are. Anyway, we had a great day when the appliances were delivered. 

Point 5. I picked up a nice little OSR machine, a Lenovo 10e. It's what I am using for this post. On the 10-inch screen, gamebooks look nice. One thing I cannot do is manipulate images in blog posts as touching the image scrolls the screen. I'm working on some workarounds for this and I have a few ideas. 

The image to the left is from DriveThruRPG's app and even old titles look amazing. I'm not sure if I can read them without glasses, but I can't read much without glasses anyway. 

This little device is amazing and I hope to do a review on it soon. 

Since I have been alternating between dropping hints of reviews and flat out telling you what I'll be reviewing, let me share this image:

Friday, March 11, 2022

Five Point Friday - March 11, 2022

Welcome to this week's Five Point Friday. I haven't been keeping up because so many things are happening around here. Today marks 50 days until we go home. In just 2 weeks, we got new floors, windows, kitchen cabinets and a lot of other stuff. 

50 days is going to go fast. My main issue is all of the changes at home. I might have to skip restoring my basement office. That's ok. 

My daughter has plans for a rabbit hutch and a reading area. My wife wants the PS4 down there, too. My son Paul's room will be down there. 

In the kitchen area, we have a nice table picked out which will be great for homework and blogging. Additionally, we'll have a nice passthrough area between the kitchen and dining room with room to write and draw. We already have the stools picked out.  

For point one, on the gaming side, I jumped into the Old School Essentials Kickstarter. It seems very popular. At the moment, with 14 days to go, they crossed the $650,000 range. They are deep into the stretch goals but shy of the $800,000 point to do physical dice. They are projecting that the Kickstarter won't make it to that. 

Ah, well. Can't have everything. But by sharing their campaign, maybe we can have everything. :) 

Just what I need, more dice. 

For point 2, I stopped off at Iron Buffalo Gaming for a book and some excellent coffee. I really enjoy this place and they have a great thing going there. 

I spoke with the owner and listened as he did an interview with a local news crew. I haven't seen him on the news, I suspect I missed it.
But anyway, I did manage to snap a picture or two of their D&D e5 setup.

I want my shelves to look like this. We'll see. 

Point 3 is I discovered that Hulu has the Firefly TV show. For some reason the film, Serenity is elsewhere in the streaming universe. Over the next couple of weeks, I plan on watching an episode per evening. 

Four. More sci-fi. 

I picked up the Serenity RPG from 2005. It looks impressive, I've been reading through it and building characters to work out the rules. I really enjoy reliving Firefly. 

My last point is on ads, media, and swag. 

I lost my Amazon ads a week or so ago. I'm not sure why. Anyway, that is why you won't see ads for them here anymore. I am still heavily into the Amazon ecosphere, so don't think that just because I don't run their ads that they have bad products. 

As a replacement, I have been including Abe Book ads with each book review. Additionally, I have some swag links available. Over on Redbubble, you can grab some great coffee mugs created by me. I am trialing putting ordering information in posts, but I'm not sure that is the way to go. I need to figure out how to present them nicely on the blog. 

Another simplification is I have eliminated my Facebook and Twitter share campaign. Redbubble is kind of pressuring me into using Instagram, but I don't use it much. The data doesn't support using Facebook, so flipping to a new platform seems... well... bad. Facebook was good for a while, but it wasn't giving me the returns I was expecting. What I found was, 38% of my readers are coming directly to the blog either by typing the name or using a bookmark. Also, only 4% of my readers came from Facebook and that number is falling. 

But... Wow! 38%. That is awesome. If I knew how to get that higher, I'd do it in a heartbeat. But 38% is amazing name recognition for a website with a wacky name. 

I am looking at all of my social media accounts and trying to decide what else can go. No matter what, I plan on keeping my MeWe and Dice.Camp accounts running. 

Anyway, thank you for reading. 

Friday, February 11, 2022

Five Point Friday - February 11th, 2022


Welcome to this week's Five Point Friday. This one will be a quick stroll through to current events to memory lane. 

Point 1 - This week, the kids and I have really dug into Todd Leback's Hexcrawl books. We've got a couple of purposes in this. I personally want to run a hexcrawl. My son wants to run a campaign as a DM. My daughter wants to play with tokens and slay creatures. And if you are using Into the Wild or The Basilisk Hills Ultimate, you can do all of these things. 

I'll circle back to this at the end. 

Point 2: I am reminded of all of the wonderful coffee table books of the 70s, 80s, and 90s. To see unicorns through Robert Vavra's eye. Or take a flight with F-Stop Fitzgerald, in airplanes, or on the back a gargoyle. These books sparked so many creative flights of fancy in my youth, I love them. I spent hours looking at them. And I couldn't help it, I had one. My parents-aunts-uncle-grandma and neighbor had one. These photo books offered something for everyone.  

They often show up at thrift stores and garage sales because tons of people had them for decades. You can also take a look for them over on AbeBooks. 

Robert Vavra on
F-stop Fitzgerald on

Point 3 - I'm still in fantasy mode. Back in my youth, I recall spending hours looking over the Columbia House flyer for tapes, CDs, and records. I could have six for a penny. Or if I could find just two more for $2.99 each, I could have 8! If only all I had demanded vinyl back then. 

And back then, I would struggle to find just 6 or 8 items to select, month after month. Sometimes, I would team up with friends and family to make these never-to-be redeemed selections. 

It happened a lot. 

Now we have Pandora, Amazon, and Youtube music on top of Netflix, Disney+, Discovery+... Plus... Plus... Plus. I can hardly pick what I want to watch or listen to for all the great choices. 

It's often too much. I have to force myself to remember how happy some things make me (Van Halen or Def Leppard) or how good Led Zepplin is. 

What is missing from all of these choices is the not choice. The magic of having a friend play Peter Gabriel to me. Or Ella Fitzgerald. Or my dad rocking out to Chuck Berry. Music, and to some extent TV and movies have become a sadder, more personalized activity. 

Point 4: Facebook is dying, so I will no stay on that platform. More importantly, 38% of my visitors come to my site via a bookmark or manually typing the address. 

Well. Thank you 38%. That is amazing. Apparently I am doing something right and providing content that people desire. I guess that means that I can forget Twitter because it doesn't even appear. Best of all, I can actually kickback on Mewe and Dice.Camp and simply enjoy the content that they provide to me. 

Point 5: Eric Tenknar has this excellent piece on The Dungeoneer's Survival Guide on Youtube. This was not a good direction for e1 in some respects. And excellent in others. In B/X and Holmes, the thief was the gamebreaker. He had individual skills no one else could have. The Dungeoneer's Survival Guide kicked it up a notch or ten. 

I love the idea of a character having some sort of professional, non-combat related skills. Hell, I wrote a book on it. The difficultly is, AD&D e1 has a very hard time with ordering events in normal gameplay like combat. Like when and how to roll initiative is badly handled. Adding more die rolls for other points and times in play is going to be bad under e1. 

I didn't have this book wayback then or even now. I wasn't a huge fan of most of the stuff from UA and the Survivial Guide was worse. I took what I needed and ditched the rest. You can see this in my Character Sheet on DriveThruRPG. . 

I honestly think that people are writing materials along the lines of the Survival Guide. We just call it hexcrawling. B/X is a good place to land unified rolling mechanics for events and activities, so long as those rolls are very simular to other well established die rolls. A save, a to hit roll, an ability check or a plain-old 100% die. This is the strength of B/X. No new mechanics, just one of the old mechanics reused. 

Well, that is it for Friday. Have a great weekend. 

Friday, January 28, 2022

Five Point Friday - January 28th, 2022

Today's Five Point Friday is history-themed. 

Point 1: I picked up copy of Necrotic Gnome's Old School Essentials. I love this version of B/X. It was offered as a Kickstarter a long time a go. I happily picked up a copy at a local store, but really want the whole set. 

Well, now it will be available via Kickstarter near the end of Feburary. I can't wait to get my hands on the whole deal. I had thought it would happen some day in 2019 or 2020. 2021 was too challenging to me. But now in 2022, I will get my hard copy.  

Point 2: OSE features dozens of charcter classes including gnomes, elves, duergar, and svirfnevlin. 

Did you know that in Iceland, these types of creatures are called the Huldufolk, the hidden people? Nearly 50% of the population currently believe that the Huldufolk might exist. 

It isn't just a hokey belief, they actually redirected road construction to avoid a Huldufolk settlement. There is something dangerous about the Huldufolk. That danger apparently doubles when you introduce machinery into the mix. Dynomite is apparently right out. 

Here is an interesting article from the BBC on the Huldufolk. If you want something more polished, check out the Lore podcast episode 5, "Under Construction." Researched, written, and produced by Aaron Mahnke, it details the same events of the BBC article.

A imagined likeness of Lars
Posena from 1500 AD
Point 3: Lars Porsena, King of Clusium. As an Etruscan king, most of Lars Porsena's history comes to us via the Romans. We know that King Porsena lived in what would become the modern city of Chiusi, he minted coins with his likeness and we might know where his tomb is. So, he was a real person. 

But the Romans played him out like an evil villain most of the time. 

The Roman were excellent narrators of history, however they are not without their flaws. Rome was sacked by the Gauls on July 18th, 390 BC. It was a Thursday. This sacking destroyed the historial records of the Romans and allowed future historians to rewrite their own history as they saw fit. They modified their humble beginings to mirror the Greeks and not surprisingly, these "historical" stories make the Romans the first of all people to do anything of note. 

Since Lars Porsena was around about 200 years before the first sack of Rome, he has become "unhitched" in time. We don't know when Porsena really ruled, but the Romans tell us it about 508 BC. Maybe on a Friday. But probably not. 

This is an Ertuscia coin. Note the Janus like head.
It's called a dupondius and the Romans used it, too. 

One of the funny things about history and Lars Porsena is how little people change over time. Lars appears on Rome's doorstep in support of the deposed Roman king, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus. The Romans had shifted to a republic due to the Tarquinian king's poor conduct. The Romans seriously hated all kings after him, King Lars Porsena included. 

There is the epic story of Gaius Mucius Scaevola, a Roman citizen hell bent on breaking Lars Porsena's seige of Rome. Gaius was an assassin, a would be King-Slayer. 

Here is where it gets funny. Gaius arrived in the seige camp ready for murder. However, being about 500 BC, he didn't have a picture of the king. He had no idea who he was after. Since this was payday, King Lars dispatched his paymaster to distribute cash and prizes. And as per normal, this paymaster was dressed as King Lars. 

Wait? What? 

The King forced a follower to dress like him and watched that person distribute paychecks, to make sure that his minions were suitably appreacative of the pay they had worked so hard to earn. Only to be rewarded with the scene of his imposter-king paymaster getting knifed to death by someone in the crowd. 

Has anyone seen The Office? This is exactly something Michael would do. My PCs would totally do this. D&D, Star Frontiers, doesn't matter. My players would wack the wrong guy for fun. 

This is why I love history so much. The story is supposed to be about the evil of kings, the heroism and determination of the Romans, the love of the Eternal City, yada-yada-yada. 

Instead, if you turn the story a tiny bit, you get comedy and humor. Which was probably not lost on the Romans themselves. 

Point 4: I resevered Point 4 for Sci-fi. So, I would be remiss if I didn't mention episode 5 of the Book of Boba Fett. This is hands down the best episode of the series. Because it is missing all of the main characters. I couldn't like it more for that. You can skip every episode up to the Fifth Episode and be fine with it. 

Point 5: Something about nothing at all... hmm. I've rambled enough I think. At some point, you just need to end a good yarn. 

Friday, January 21, 2022

Five Point Friday - January 21, 2022

You know what? Mondays suck. Five Point Friday is better. 

Back in the day, I used to do a series of posts called "Just 5 Things" or "J5T". It didn't take off, not even with me.  

This time, I have an idea that might be workable. Every Friday, I'll post about 5 things. The first 3 will be D&D or OSR related, the fourth sci-fi or horror, and the last will be completely random, having little to do with anything gaming. 

Number 1: Dyson Logos, if you don't know it, is a mapper and artist. In my mind, he is like the cartographer version of Wil Wheaton. You know him, you like him, you do not follow his blog. Do yourself a favor and follow his blog. It's great. 

Number 2: #10MonsterSetting from 3 Toadstool Publishing. 3 Toadstool Publishing is a great blog but this one post really struck a chord with me. Shane Ward wanted a setting populated with the lesser-used critters in the Monster Manual. Chris Hall on MeWe came up with a list of 10 monster types that a new world required and the whole thing took off. It is ingenious. 

The first link is to the blog, the second two are to MeWe. 

Number 3: Screaming Skulls on The Red Dice Diaries. The hosts of The Red Dice Diaries, John and Hanna talk about the phenomena of Screaming Skulls and how you can work one into your campaign. The link above leads to a couple of handy tables to create a background for your campaign's screaming skull. Additionally, they found a 1950's film with a screaming skull to review.

Great stuff. I love the dynamic that 2 hosts create, a back and forth that is super easy to listen to while bringing different perspectives together. 

Number 4: I have Sci-fi on the brain this month, which is why I am using this format to push myself away from it and back to fantasy. My Sci-fi point of the week is Star Frontiers is 40 years old. WTF. It's a great little game that rolls together the OSR vibe with some attributes of boardgames and exploration. Check out my review of it here

Number 5: And finally, something about nothing OSR but maybe connectable to Sci-fi. One of my favorite podcast is Astronomy Cast, hosted by Dr. Pamela L. Gay and Fraser Cain. It started back in 2006 with the Episode "Pluto's Planetary Identity Problem". 

Recently, they are running a series about the solar system, hopping from Gas Giants and the minor bodies.