Saturday, December 15, 2012

[RPG][WOD] Blood on Fire- Trav

Trav Parker is the last member of Blood on Fire to change. He's fresh and raw, still learning about The People and his place in the world. Luna demands an incredible sacrifice from him, and Trav is learning how to accept it. He's the member of the pack I wrote first, and his change is what forged this pack- literally with blood and fire.

While he's Trey's younger brother, it's Hilary that he looks up to now that he has his legs under him. She tirelessly answers every question, while holding the pack to unyielding standards. Trav's respect for her command and dedication is unparalleled, and Trav would do anything Hilary asked of him to prove his loyalty.

There's a lot of terminology in this one, but I hope you understand him even through the jargon.

Friday, December 14, 2012

[RPG]{WOD] Trey's Stats

There's some experience spent here, but not nearly as much as Hilary got.

Trey is an Iron Masters Rahu.

Int 3
Wits 2
Resolve 2

Str 3
Dex 2
Stam 3

Pre 3
Man 2
Comp 1

Mental skills
Academics 1
Computer 3 (specialty in build/repair)
Crafts 1 (specialty in computer)
Crafts 2 (woodworking)
Investigation 1
Medicine 1
Science 1

Physical Skills
Athletics 2
Brawl 2
Drive 1
Firearms 2
Larceny 1
Stealth 2
Survival 1 (Specialty in urban settings)
Weaponry 1

Social skills
Animal Ken
Expression 1
Intimidation 3
Streetwise 2

Primal Urge 2
Resources 2

Purity 2
Cunning 2
Glory 1


Partial Change
Mighty Blow

Left Handed Spanner

Health 8  Willpower 3 Size 5  Defense 2 Initiative Mod 3 Speed 10 Harmony 7
Primal Urge 2

Vice: Pride  Virtue: Fortitude

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

[RPG][WOD] Blood on Fire- Trey

Next up for this pack is Trey Jenkins. He has a successful computer repair/build operation, and lives in a self built cabin on the edge of the Blood on Fire territory.

His pride is his greatest falling, but he's slowly learning there's honor in accepting one's place in the pack and among the People.

He doesn't do anything easy, and writing him was no exception. He was an absolute pain in the ass to get written, but I'm very happy with the end result.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

[RPG] [WOD] Hilary's Stats

Here is the sheet as I see her now. I gave her a lot of experience- she carved the territory Blood on Fire controls herself, spent almost a year alone waiting for her packmates to change, and built a business so she wouldn't get fired.

She is a Storm Lord Cahalith.

INT- 2
WIS - 2
RES- 3

STR- 4
DEX- 3
STAM - 2

PRE- 2
MAN- 3

Mental skills:
Academics -1
Investigation -1
Medicine- 1

Physical Skills:
Athletics -2
Brawl -3 (specialty in Dirty infighting)
Larceny -2
Stealth -2
Weaponry -1 (Specialty in Improvised Weapon)

Social Skills:
Animal Ken
Expression -3 (Specialty in Dance)
Intimidation- 3
Persuasion - 2
Socialize- 2
Streetwise -1
Subterfuge- 1

Fleet of Foot -2
Resources- 2
Primal Urge- 2
Striking Looks -2

Honor: 2

Warning Growl
Luna's Dictum
Voice of Command

Pack Awareness
Resist Pain

Right Words

Health: 7 Willpower: 5  Primal Urge :2  Harmony: 7 Defense: 2  Initiative Mod: 5
Speed: 15

Vice: Lust Virtue: Faith

Friday, December 7, 2012

[RPG] [WOD] Blood on Fire- Hilary

First up for the WOD show and tell is Hilary Carson.

Tiny, blonde and fierce; Hilary is the Alpha and was the first among Blood on Fire to change.  Her body and personality seem much more suited to a life as a Rahu, but Hilary has adapted as Luna's choice dictated. Her skill as a Cahalith is beyond effective, based on her understanding of the ways to motivate and inspire her packmates. Her talent for fighting is often underestimated, based on her looks.

Inspired by the group making characters, I wrote up Hilary's first change. The tale of any first change is burdened by that which lies underneath. Deepest fears, greatest longings and righteous fury are unleashed in the bath of Luna's gaze.

Here it is. It's just a touch "adult"-  and yes, there are a lot of "H"s in this one.

I'll put her sheet up separately.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

[RPG][WOD] Introducing Blood On Fire

The old WOD game ended and a new one has begun. It's set in Savannah, GA, and it's limited to Mages and Werewolves. As the Werewolves were sitting around and creating characters, I had an idea for a character that I really liked.

The idea was fleeting and fickle. It flirted with me, coy and complicated for quite a while. It finally decided to behave, and I started working on it in earnest. While I was giddily writing this lovely little nugget down, the smoke of a more complete concept unraveled fully in my head. It wasn't just ONE character, but three.

As the idea exploded into lots more than what I imagined, it became obvious I had a pack of Werewolves in mind. Whether these Uratha are NPCs in the Savannah game, NPCs in a game I run, or just ideas I never use, they are interesting enough that I thought I'd share.

Blood On Fire is a pack of 3 Uratha in the Georgia area. Their original location was set outside of Fort Stewart, in a yet unnamed semi-rural town. I'm still undecided as to whether I'll keep them there or move them closer to Atlanta.

The pack is comprised of 2 brothers, Trey and Trav; along with Trey's former girlfriend Hilary. They are bound by more than blood; their pack becomes forged by sacrifice and fire.

I will be putting up the write ups for each one fairly soon, I hope.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Wonderland Session 8

After an extremely long break between sessions due to illness, schedule issues and other shenanigans, my little troupe met again.

We have M- Sir Epperson the Third; Captain and Noble
B- Squeakers the Clown
Z- The Policeman
L- Sorceress
K-Tennessee Jones, Explorer
C- Alistair, "Batman"
K-Lem, Ghost

Lem and Alistair were not able to make the session, but we went ahead with the adventures.

The group landed on the shores of Meridia safely and made their way towards the main settlement after parking the boat, to which Squeakers has developed a method of communication.  The settlement is built into a large grotto which is dotted with random rocks across the landscape. The rocks are tall and similar-ish to those found at Stonehenge, but in various colors. The buildings of the settlement are tucked into the grotto, along side the rocks in a fairly random fashion.

No palm trees, though.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The State of Darkness

I got an email recently that lamented the lack of posts regarding World of Darkness recently, specifically mentioning wanting to know what ol' Vinnie was doing.

Well, in a word: nothing.

The Austin game wrapped up a little while ago, after the ST decided it had gone pretty much as far as it could. He gave us a couple of weeks' warning so we could work on/out anything we felt needed some kind of resolution, and then we ended the game on a nice, calm note.

Austin is dark, now.

A few weeks ago, a new game emerged in Austin's place. It is run by the same ST  (and has an additional ST to boot), and is set in Savannah, GA. The game is far more limited in scope, in that there are currently only Werewolves and Mages allowed at this time.

I decided not to join at the time, but after a few sessions, I felt the urge to write creeping on me. I started working on some characters on my own time, and talked about these ideas possibly becoming NPCs in the future of the game.  The ST seemed to like the idea and asked me to send along the finished products.

I'm not finished.

My problem has been the same as with my blog--- I have a very specific idea I want to get across, and my words are totally failing in that endeavor. On my blog posts, I have been working on a specific idea for a month or more, and I still can't get it across the way I want. With the NPCs, I have a group of three, and the third one has me stuck on a specific sentence, and I can't get past it.

I'm usually able to move around an obstacle, but these writing/blogging related issues are dragging me down like so much undertow.

At the same time as the logjam in the word department, I am suddenly thinking in visual terms, deciphering colors and shapes into ideas for cards, altered art projects and other crafty type stuff.

Inked glass is one of my favorite project types 

I've been playing around with the things that are inspiring me right now, hoping that they will carry over into the words that just aren't coming at the moment.

It hasn't happened yet, but I keep hoping. I keep looking for ways to bring words to life.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Paper Castles

I found this online. Thought it was neat.

I do not have that kind of talent yet, but it's something to try to learn and develop.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

State of Affairs

I am currently not playing in any games. My favorite cohort to cause trouble with and discuss ideas with is now working 12+ hours a day. I am bogged down by a lack of any real social life and not as much fun as I want.

I am, in effect, uninspired.

Writing this blog us directly related to my gaming life and what's got me excited and interested today/this week/this month.

At the moment, I'm casually working on a pack of Werewolves for a World of Darkness setting, but I'm not anywhere near done and I find myself stalling a lot.

I also recently rediscovered my affection and adoration for paper crafting and altered art; which might correspond to the lack of gaming ideas and might just be happenstance.

Many of the ideas I had in draft are boring to me now, and I wonder if I need another trip to the strip club to get my mind fired up again.....

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wonderland Session 6 & 7

We finally had our entire group together as we began this session.

When we left our intrepid "heroes", the group had heard voices crying for help through the Void, and had gone to their rescue despite the Captain's protests. Once on the island, they had encountered a group of people huddled together on the beach, and one of the people had turned towards the Captain with a wild look of hunger, and we had faded to black.

When we picked back up, I fully intended for there to be a conflict during the session. All of the players had commented at one point or another that they wanted a fight, and I had planned the adventure with that in mind.

But my players had other plans.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

[Weekly Words on Women] The Wife

I've alluded to this one for a long time but it's finally here-

The talk on wives and what they do to their spouses.

I'm always frustrated by the assumption that a dude getting married automatically means that he is whipped (that their wives control their access to sex and freedom).

But I've seen it. I've seen that exact thing happen.

I just don't understand it when a guy talks about how his wife won't "let him" (or her) go out once a week for games, or 'doesn't approve', 'doesn't understand', etc.

I know I am 'not your ordinary girl'

but the idea that men need permission to partake in their hobbies, enjoy their passions and have time to decompress is astounding to me. The concept that men get involved in relationships where they are not partners and do not have respect and fairness given to them- it bothers me.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Wonderland Double Feature (Sessions 4 & 5)

So I totally forgot to do a write up of Session 4, and then we had Session 5 this week.

In Session 4, the group was visiting an "island" inhabited by monks living in a monastery. The monks were extremely polite and friendly, rising the group's paranoia. They eat dinner and go to bed for the night, where the island effectively "rolls up" for the night.

The clown and Alistair don't sleep but somehow don't see their boat being taken by the monks and hidden. When the group wakes, they discover the boat is missing, and are invited to go to "service", where they learn more about the Twin Gods and the overall beliefs of the world.

The group stops the revered leader after the service to find out where the boat went and why the monks are trying to stop them from leaving. A larger discussion begins, and the group finds out quite a lot, much of it through observation.

There's a revelation that the TwinGods are off doing something important that takes a while, and somewhere the notion that they are having a baby comes about. While this conversation is happening, the leader of the monks begins to reverse his aging process almost in front of their eyes. As the leader learns, he becomes younger. His encounter with the group seems to reverse his age by a decade, if not more. This process continues throughout the rest of their conversations with him.

The group discovers that the monks came from somewhere else, and moved to their current island to escape the distractions of anything other than studying the TwinGods. They've forgotten what women are like except in a theoretical sense so the presence of the "pretty lady" has them somewhat baffled.  They have also lost sight of the instructions given to them by the TwinGods and the revelation that they need to follow all THREE of the rules laid down is a big deal.

The monks reveal that they left some men and a large contingent of women and children on their homeland, and that they don't remember where their home is, but it's "that way".

The group decides to try to find the monks's homeland if for no other reason than it must be full of women. They set off to the general area closest to where "that way" is, and they prepare to embark out into TheVoid.

that ended session 4.... Session 5 started with the group getting on their boat, trying to get back to the "land of the women ladies".

Sunday, August 12, 2012

FoW Mission Design. If You Want Something Done Right...

Hey folks, SinSynn here.

For the longest time, I've been aching to try my hand at mission design for Flames of War. I honestly believe that every mission in the rulebook, with the exception of Free-for-All, is awful.
Here's why:

- Forced reserves.
Oh dear Lord what an awful idea. Ten of the eleven 'standard' missions force one or both players to put 'more than half' of their armies in reserve. A roll of 5up is required to get units in reserves onto the table, and some missions don't allow even that to occur until turn three.
Ugh. Just....ugh.
The most pronounced effect this has on the game is known as Front-Loading, where the 'more than half' of one's army will consist of cheap, virtually useless units, simply because that half will see little to no action. Maybe they won't even arrive at all, since Defenders can be overwhelmed prior to receiving them. Whoops- I couldn't roll a 5up. I lose. Sure...that seems fair. Boy, that was fun!

*Opponent wins on turn four? NOT IMPRESSED*

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

[Weekly Words on Women] A look into my life

I'm brewing up an article, but it's still in the works.

I talk a lot about being a lady, but rarely show evidence of it, so in light of the fact that I don't have something on tap, I figured I'd show a picture.

this is from over the weekend.

This is me and the absolute maximum extent of my "feminine side".  The nails are new; I tried them to see how I like the idea. I love the result, but hate the process.

The purse, though- I LOVVVVVVVVVVVE a cute purse and this one has everything I like. It's lavender with silver buckles and it's bigger than a clutch but smaller than a hobo/demi. It ZIPS, which is an absolute must for me. It's brand new. SQUEEEE!

And it holds dice. Very nicely.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wonderland Session 3

This session showed that even with planning, games can go sideways without too much influence. Two of my players were unable to attend, so the events I had planned for the session had to be scrapped and new ones had to be implemented quickly.

My players were on an island that had time zones- large geographic regions that were permanently twilight, early morning, afternoon, etc.  They had found the remnants of what might have once been a village and decided to camp there for the "night" (even though it was mid afternoon). 

The group woke up, and two members of their group were missing. As they started to look around, The Captain noticed that some of his clothes were lightly wet. It wasn't really "wet", but somewhat more tacky, like antibacterial hand gel. Further investigation showed that there were spots of the tacky like liquid along the tops of the stonework ruins, but not anywhere on the ground. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

[Weekly Words on Women] Voices in the Knight

Strong inside but you don't know it
Good little girls they never show it
When you open up your mouth to speak
Could you be a little weak-
Madonna, What It Feels Like 
All the people in the world are dreaming (get up stand up)
Some of us cry for the rights of survival (get up stand up)
Saying c’mon c’mon! Stand up for your rights
While others don’t give a damn
They’re all waiting for a perfect day
So you better get up and fight for your rights
Don’t be afraid of the move you make
You better listen to your tribal voice!
Yothu Yindi, Tribal Voice

I'm not generally known for making snap decisions. I have something of a reputation for being pretty accommodating, even when I don't directly agree with the person or idea.  Finding peace and compromise are things I excel in, or at least I used to have those talents. 

Being a peacemaker and a master of compromise doesn't mean I don't know myself or understand my own voice. I've always been able to speak for myself, and I'm one of the few people that can stand up to the incomparable and stubborn man in my life, TheDude. Despite being something of a "mouse" for most of my life, I finally found my voice and pretty much haven't shut up since. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

This ain't the Olympics (on being kind to n00bs)

Hey folks, SinSynn here.

It may come as a surprise to some that I love the Olympics. Summer or winter, it doesn't matter to me. I luvs 'em.
Olympic athletes have a singular purity of purpose that I admire. Their entire lives orbit around the sport they participate in, and their goal is simple- bring home Gold for the country they represent. Not just for themselves, but for their country.

*I react this way when I roll 6's*

Olympic athletes tend to maintain a level of professionalism and sportsmanship throughout the games that I respect. There's honor there, by and large, and despite my general disdain for sports, I find myself drawn in every time the Olympics roll around.
So here's me, hoping Michael Phelps put the bong down and got his practice laps in (nice job qualifying, Mike!), hoping Hope Solo is on point in goal and the US Women's Soccer team brings home the Gold and avenges their World Cup loss, and getting a huge kick outta Rowan Atkinson during the opening ceremony.
Ah, good ol' competition. To me, the Olympics prove that it's a 'good thing.' Events like the Olympics give me hope in humanity.

And then there's the Ultimate Rival....sigh.

One of our recent debates has centered around the fact that our gaming club has asked him to 'be nicer' when giving demo games of Flames of War. He was nominated for this task simply because he owns so much FoW stuffs (both models and terrain), that he can literally leave several armies at the store at all times solely for this purpose. Customers visiting the game store we play at who express interest in FoW can schedule a demo game with the staff, and the Ultimate Rival will show up and talk them through the basics.
That's the theory, anyway.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, the Ultimate Rival has taken great joy in crushing each and every person he's given a demo game to. The last four people he's beaten never returned to the store, and well, that ain't good, for obvious reasons.
We want to grow our FoW community, not drive people away. We want the store where we play to make money.
Y'know- professionalism. Sportsmanship.
There's a time for hard-core competition, for sure, but there's also a time for training, for teaching and learning. When it comes to hand-holding a baby seal through his first game of anything, that simply isn't the time to get all competitive, in my opinion.

*The new guy ain't ready for this level yet (but damn- Hope Solo is tough! No header for you!)*

I recently introduced my friend Nascar (we all have nicknames where I live) to FoW, and I had a LOT of fun doing it. Seeing my buddy all amped up and hanging on every roll of the dice Maybe I'm a lil' jaded. Maybe I've played so many games that I don't have the same level of enthusiasm any more, I dunno.
Oh, but seeing Nascar jumping up and down, pumping his fist at every successful save bought it all back to me.

I let him win the first game, and I had absolutely no issues doing so. I was happy to do it, in fact. Nascar had a huge grin, and his eyes shone with victory. In that moment, he was filled with hobby joy, and I'd be a flat out liar if I said that I wasn't happy, just seeing him happy.
I know I did the right thing, because he immediately asked me if we could play another. I'm absolutely certain I did the right thing, becasue halfway through our second game, he was animatedly discussing his plans for the third. We played on until well after midnight.
We have a game scheduled for later today.

Sometimes I think experienced gamers may have forgotten what being a noob felt like. Worse yet, I think that some experienced gamers use the word noob as an insult. This is especially prevalent in on-line gaming, but it occurs in our hobby, as well. Many of the games we play are complex, and possibly intimidating to the newcomer. More than that, mini-gaming represents a considerable investment in both time and money.
It behooves us, as a community, to kindle the interest shown by the new bloods, not to discourage them.

Take care of the noobs. Represent our community in a friendly manner. Be inclusive, be welcoming.
Save your Olympic caliber play for where it matters, at a tournament.
That's all I have to say about that.

Until next time, folks- Exit with catchphrase!



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

[Weekly Words on Women] Women Owners

A few of you know that I own a FLGS. I talk about it here now and then, and a lot more often over here.

I work at the store at least once a week, and more often if I'm needed or if I can. That leaves a lot of time that I am not there. For the most part, the store operations are run by TheDude and our employees.

Many times, because of how much work TheDude and the employees do, I feel like an out an out fraud, saying that I'm an owner. But the reality is, that's in MY head. I do all the negotiations with service providers, and have the connections in the professional networks we use. My name is on all the important paperwork. I make as many decisions as TheDude, and those decisions are just as essential and relevant as any he makes. I'm involved in as much of the running of the store as TheDude; just in a different way than his work. That doesn't make what I do less valid, it just makes it different.

I've previously wondered, where are the ladies; and found that in the hobby world, there just aren't that many. I struck upon a strange discovery recently- that all the powerful movers and shakers that happen to be ladies are in the CRAFT world, and there just aren't very many in the HOBBY world. Looking at crafting; there's a virtual cornucopia of women owners and designers (Martha Stewart just to name one), and there are very few men in crafting. The exceptions appear to be in highly technical crafts or crafts that veer into art territories, where there are plenty of men (Bob Ross is dead, but you get the idea). I have to wonder what that says about men and women; and if it has any relevance to me at all.

I look around at the gaming and geeky landscape, and I'm fairly alone as a woman in charge. There are not very many (if any) women that operate game stores, game companies, publishing houses, or who design games. There aren't a lot of ladies that are featured artists, or win a lot of contests, or who write adventures. 

How many of us are there in the hobby landscape? How many women are bosses, developers, creators, innovators, writers, publishers, artists, studio heads or any of the other various positions of power or influence in this geeky world? How many of these women love what they do? How many are doing things in action and not in words/lip service?

I can really only think of two "big names"- Margaret Weis and Felicia Day. I'm not a big name by any stretch of the imagination; I'm barely recognizable outside my inner circle. I often wonder if I have the passion, the drive, the energy, dedication and fearlessness to move to the next step and take my business to a higher level.

When I think about the level of dedication and devotion needed to "step it up", I think of my personal role model; Megan Hunt aka Princess Lasertron. Yes, she's in "crafting", but she has diligently pushed her brand into much more than just "artsy fartsy" stuff (how many people view crafting) and moved into high end design and fashion. I've been following her for a very long time, and I'm constantly impressed with how much work she puts into looking at what she needs to do on or with herself in order to grow her business and brand. She exudes a certain level of fearlessness that I envy and strive for; even if it is just what I see and not reality.

The self examination part of growth usually takes up more time and energy than it should for me, and my business stays where it is for now.  I'm also not the only one making these decisions, and TheDude has his own reservations and reasons for (or against) any growth or changes we make with the store.

It's not always easy being a female in this "wilderness of men" (my quote from a long time ago). There's a certain amount of "boys club mentality" at times; which I usually ignore. There's also some outright animosity aimed at women; especially PRETTY women (as seen here ). There are many times when the dismissive attitudes and condescension aimed in my general direction are frustrating enough to make me want to hang it up; and I've honestly asked if the reward is worth the work more than once.

Very few people know how much undermining and second guessing goes on with a business, especially one that's even close to successful.  We have quite a few people that hit us with "concerns" - concerns that are roughly disguised complaints that we aren't doing what they want; concerns that are unfair or hurtful, concerns that are fair but we aren't in a position to immediately correct whatever issue is present, concerns we don't have a direct avenue of addressing due to the form they're presented to us, concerns that are another fire we have to put out.  Trying to balance the desire for growth with the seemingly incessant quicksand of our customer's expectations and community feedback is a whole lot tougher than I ever imagined.

I do think it's worth it, in the long run. When I see my customers enjoying the community that I've worked hard to develop, when I see the laughter, the friendships, the volunteerism and dedication; I know I'm doing something right.

Being a woman owner, being proud of what I do is essential, because otherwise things will just get me down. I'm too thrilled with what I do to let that happen.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

[Weekly Words on Women] Raising Kids in A Gamer Environment

I'm a mom. I've made no bones about it, but I don't talk about the act of raising my kids, or how my home life works much. I'm just not a "mommy blogger" and have no desire to be one.

BLECH. No thank you. 

The main reason is that I exist outside of my kids. I am a whole person, and not just "so-and-so'smommy". I have this crazy idea that someday they will move out and be independent people, and for them to do that, *I* have to be a person for them to learn from.

A few of my readers know that I've been in the gaming community since I was 12.
I was introduced to games and gaming by my dad, who is also a gamer. I've spent pretty much my entire years outside of childhood as a gaming person, and it's definitely influenced me in some very interesting ways.

As much as I love my dad, he really didn't do a lot of raising me. I did a lot of raising myself. Part of that was because I didn't start living with him until later in life, and he didn't know what "made me tick"; and part of it was that I was just wired that way. Being introduced to the local geek community while I was still "raising myself" meant that the guys in the gaming club had a hand in how I turned out.

I learned that just because something is make believe or fantasy doesn't mean you always get what you want. I learned that RPGs are cooperative and that learning to  collaborate is a good idea. I learned a lot about social graces and how to talk in an environment of men. I learned how to properly measure for moving miniatures.

One of these might have been cool.

I met TheDude when I was 12. I met him on the first night I went to the game club, but I wasn't really impressed. I actually didn't like him very much for the first year or so that I knew him. It happened slowly over time that we grew to be good friends. We were friends for several years and then started dating. We were both really young when we got married, and we had 2 kids before I was 24.

When it came to raising our kids, I knew raising them around gamers was going to be a given. I game. TheDude games. My brother and his wife game. My dad games. All our friends game.

Raising kids is tough enough from my perspective as a mom. When you add in the mix of some of the typical gamer traits I've seen at the table, I had a whole different level of things to consider as I taught my children about the world.

Each kid had different considerations, because they are very different people. To me, this is an obvious and important issue to keep in mind. I've seen mothers who lose sight of this in some crazy attempt to make everything "even" and "fair"; but me, I understand far too well that kids need to be treated like people; just people that aren't done growing up yet.

My son had a firm desire to game, and a strong understanding of mechanics from a very early age. Pretty much every game he has laid his hands on, he has figured out. It's the social niceties that he is lacking on at times, with subtleties and conventions moving just outside his peripheral vision.

My daughter is still unsure about gaming; and rules baffle her quite often. However, she adores the social nature of the gaming crowd, and enjoys participating in the ebb and flow of the laughter, conversations and general frivolity that our group generates.

While she's tuned into interactions she's involved in, the ones around her often elude her entirely. As a somewhat naive teenager, she often misses clues that I catch. I've had an occasion or two where someone has shown her just a little too much interest or paid attention to her a little too hard, and I've had to be vigilant on her behalf.

Teaching my kids the ins and outs of how our gaming culture works has been challenging and enlightening. I have worked hard to raise these interesting people to be good additions to any group, all while knowing that they have to do most of the work themselves.

Being a mom is fraught with all kinds of society directed baggage- and I've refused to let my being a parent mold my choices in life. That doesn't mean my moral decisions aren't guided by the influence of children in my life; it just means that like everything I do, I consider what is best for my family at the time and decide accordingly.

Taking kids to conventions, or game stores, or playing games at home- all of these choices are dependent on the parent and the kid involved; and may change according to circumstance or timing. All those choices are a lot to deal with, along with how and when to introduce my kids to the local scene.

Being a mom is uniquely a female endeavor, and being female means a lot of expectations  about motherhood. I've tried not to let too many of them get me down, but some of them are pretty heavy. The only ones that matter are the ones my husband and children set, and working to meet them is a challenge and a privilege. Sometimes being a lady is pretty neat. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Wonderland Session 2

We had a great session of Wonderland this week.

I lost a player and gained one, and I think I handled this change pretty well.

The group traveled through the Void; which was terrifying and strange. The group moved through total emptiness, and then through a cemetery of souls that grabbed for them, and then through the roots of a world above them.

As the group made it to the "end" of the Void "road", they felt a bump as if they had run aground. They saw a small pinhole of light, and as they peered through the pinhole, they saw what appeared to be twilight.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

[Weekly Words on Women] Who Decides

Based on the phenomenal response my post last week got, I thought I'd address an aspect of my underlying argument differently. I'd like to try to look at this in a more objective and dispassionate way.

My original premise was that men - by virtue of being men - don't have the authority or privilege of deciding what women view as sexist, misogynistic, or otherwise problematic.  My general basis for this argument is that men are not affected or impacted by items, situations or actions that could be perceived as sexist, misogynistic or problematic in the same way that women are.

I'll accept the proposed suggestion that there are guys that value women and their struggles in modern society, and specifically gaming. I'll go along with the idea that there are men that are interested in battling injustices, who want to voice their opposition to those items, situations and actions. I don't disagree that there is a corps of men who believe as strongly as I do that wrong is wrong.

There comes a time when the folks deciding what is wrong (and to some extent, WHY) is a pretty important part of any discussion. Maybe this flies in the face of your worldview- that "wrong is wrong", and that's all there is to it. Perhaps the concept that who says an item, situation or action is wrong makes no difference to you; as long as someone is speaking out, it's a good thing (to you).

I'll attempt to explain as clearly as I can (with examples) why this doesn't work FOR ME. Maybe that will help me figure out how to talk about the topic at hand in a more effective manner, and maybe it will give some discussion. Neither of these outcomes is a bad one in my view; and if nothing comes of it, I won't mind because writing is something I truly enjoy. (It IS better when there is an audience, I won't lie. But I write for me as much as I possibly can, and if people want to talk about it, that's just icing on the cake.)

When talking about injustice, I generally side on the "do everything possible to make it stop" part of the spectrum. Social justice and equality are big deals to me. I've made it my life's mission to teach my kids tolerance and I work in many ways to promote equality across the spectrum outside of the home.  The comment that equated my commentary to the gay rights conversation last week really caught me off guard. After looking at things a little more closely, I figured there's really only one way to proceed, and that's to SHOW you what I mean.

The post my pal wrote brought up sexism, and what a lot of you saw as sexism in "make believe land". While I don't want to detract too much, I do want to interject a few conversations that I think might exemplify the imbalance of male viewpoints to female viewpoints and then move along.

The examples I'll be using are from one of my all-time favorite blogs. This is a blog that has an extremely good ratio of male to female respondents, and the general makeup of the readers are well-educated, professional people. This blog is highly regarded as having one of the most civil and adult comments sections among workplace related blogs.

Because this blog is highly directed to workplace concerns, many times when there is a concern about how men and women interact, there's a specific legal subtext to the advice and conversations. Almost all of those deal with HARASSMENT, which is somewhat different than sexism, but the way the comments play out shows that perceptions about harassment have sexist overtones.

Some examples of discussions where the conversation includes harassment and gender divides include : link 1- This is the most extreme example I found.  This conversation also addresses the topics, but not for a while and you can see a distinct gender disparity.  This one's really good, and really gets to it. Also, this one is decent at addressing the topic, and THIS ONE is one that shows the disparity very clearly.

To me, the way the divide slides very much along gender lines (and to some extent, lines of power) says very clearly that someone is missing the point. For women to say "hey, this is harassment" and men to say "um, nope" means that there's an imbalance of understanding and ability to communicate what exactly harassment IS to a woman and why.

The "sides" of feeling and perceiving harassment are clear to me- whomever says "hey, this bothers me, cut it out" is in the right. It's not up to the person acting to do anything other than listen and change behaviors so as not to do the offending thing again.

All of that was to make a point. The point was men and women see things differently. There was some talk that those little models sculpted to look like boobs and butts were somehow sexist. Sexism is a little more complex than simple harassment, but the idea is similar. 

It might be that I misunderstood the intentions of male posters over at the previous discussion because I am female. My perceptions and understanding of the comments and behaviors might very well have been clouded by my previous encounters with men. As I stated earlier, my original point was that men aren't affected or influenced by these encounters in the same way that I am, and their perspective is different than mine. It makes it tougher for them to clearly identify "hey, this is uncool" because they as men don't get the same result from daily interactions. 

From my perspective, the VERY MOST you could say about sexy models was that they might encourage men to look at women in a sexual way and perhaps see the female form as a sexual object instead of recognizing that there are PEOPLE behind the boobs out in the real world. 

When I see "sexy models", I don't see sexism or misogyny or anything like that. I see FANTASY, and I wholeheartedly accept and encourage the fantastic as a way for people to express themselves and their interest in the hobby. I don't happen to find the models as any sort problem, but I've come to realize it might be partially due to the fact that I'm attracted to ladies just as much as I am to men.

I don't really talk about this very much, because identifying as anything under the  LGBT flag can and does get you marginalized (even further than I might already be as a woman) and I'm just not interested in inviting THAT onto my plate as well.

I have decided that for me, hot models are hot models and I like them. I see and know a difference between fantasy and reality. To me, models and art are part of the imaginary and unreality of gaming. They are not "real".

They are not personal interactions between men and women. They are not relationships where males talk to and about females in various ways. They are not restrictions by males on access to power, voice or influence for women (or any minority). These things- these are things I will work myself up over. These are things I see as worthy of my attention.

I have no doubt that fighting to make interactions between men and women more equal and less fraught with inference and shades of sexism is a good thing, and I want everyone to take part in helping equality along.  I won't ever back down from fighting against injustices in personal interactions.

But I do have reservations that men can (or will) objectively be able to state that a certain thing is "bad" for women when they aren't female and don't know the same things I do as a woman.

Thanks for listening. I look forward to seeing what comes of this...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

[Weekly Words on Women] You Don't Get To

There have been a ton of comments, flagraising and posts going on around the net about feminine models and whether they marginalize women, are sexist and/or misogynistic. Most of them have been in response to my pal, who is a knucklehead extraordinaire.

What I found hardest to take was that all of these articles were written by men.  A lot of them have been "in the works" for a long time now. That sounds great until you notice the impetus for actually putting their thoughts out there is almost a 'knee-jerk' response to a post written by my friend. They responded because they were affronted by something another man wrote. 

The level of annoyed, perturbed, frustrated and just generally angsty I had over this turn of events was pretty high.

"Oh, that's sexist." "That's oppressing women." "I've been thinking about this topic for a long time and I have a lot to say about it."

for real ? -_-

You do not get to decide what is and isn't sexist.  You don't get to determine if something is "hateful to women" (because that is what misogynistic MEANS) or whether things are oppressive. You just DON'T.

You know why? Because you're NOT A WOMAN.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

[RPG] Wonderland Session 1

Last night was the beginning of my Wonderland campaign.

I had more players than I expected, which was a very good thing. I explained the world and background to them, and answered a LOT of questions from a player that is new not only to the system, but roleplaying as a rule. It was really fun being able to explain things in a way that made sense, but gave the sense of mystery and uncertainty that a "new world" offers. I started them off on Miracle City, one of the islands in the ocean of the void. The city itself was Steampunk/Victorian in overall setting. 

I had them roll up characters, and I wound up with the following people: A Sorceress, A Drunk Cop, The Ghost of a Samurai, A Crazy Explorer, An Engineer Plumber and a Miming Clown. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

[Weekly Words on Women] Watching the World Turn Upside Down

As most of you know, I don't tend to get passionate about a whole lot. I try pretty hard to be even-natured and talk about things in a fairly rational way. I don't let too much rile me up, and I avoid the shenanigans you can count on from my co-author, SinSynn.

I'm going to play by some different rules for this series, which I had planned and sketched out well before last week's web explosion on gender, bias and sexism.

Over the next few weeks, I will be looking at access and control some more, along with the gaming community and how women are viewed and treated. I'll probably discuss how we got to where we are today, and ask a lot of questions. 

Last time, I talked about control and access in regards to women's sexuality. This time, - let's talk about women's rights. I'm specifically looking at the way the world is changing and how control and access is being challenged, especially via religion and politics (at least in the US).

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

[WOD] Why Does He Do That?

On Vinnie motivations and such.

Vinnie started off in Austin as a soldier, looking for an army to join.

As an Ordo, he had a built in army. He was given missions from higher ups, just like any soldier. some of his missions had a direct and obvious purpose, while others were more subdued, inobvious and vampire-y.

Vinnie doesn't talk about why he does things very often, and certainly not with other Kindred. He knows Kindred share a tendency to be less than clear about their motives or aims, and sees the wisdom in it, after having seen first hand all sorts of scheming.

Vinnie was primarily motivated by the pursuit of power. Vinnie's particular avenue to power has always been knowledge. Most of his interactions with other Supernaturals have been to gain information or access to it, and he has used the information to fuel his adventures. Some of the people he has encountered have been more useful than others, and he has pursued deeper relationships with them.

Vinnie embraces both his Mekhet and his Ordo natures, and has come to realize that the only way to gain the power he wants is to adapt as things progress, 'see things', and do a whole lot more listening.

At one point, Vinnie wanted to kill the Commissioner if the situation presented itself. He's now in the position of viewing the Commissioner as something of a mentor, especially regarding philosophy and the nature of God's purpose for the Kindred in their existence.

While Vinnie doesn't have a lot of experience understanding or discerning supernatural things, he has been exposed to quite a few and is just now starting to understand how they interact with each other and what advantages to use when. His particular avenue of attack at this venture is to befriend one of the Mist-Walkers, and use this person as a  walking "dead-detector". He's also decided that it's hilarious fun to torment the Mages, but in a subtle and devious way.

(The Mages are protecting someone they think Vinnie and/or Reese are after for nefarious purposes. Vinnie has made a big production of wanting to talk to the fellow, and the Mages have become defensive. Vinnie doesn't really care about the person in question, but instead wants to push the Mages out of their hidey hole by being very persistent about finding said person.)

My major problem with playing Vinnie at the moment is that I don't think very quickly. I am usually trying to play catch up by at least one game session, if not two...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

[Weekly Words on Women] The Strip Club

It's dark, moody and heady with quiet anticipation inside the club.

All the lights focus on the woman moving on the stage, flashing across her breasts as she swings around the pole, beckoning to the audience.

The beat of the music is generating interest and attention as her hair slides across her back, her head turning to look at the crowd again.

Friday, June 15, 2012

[Wonderland] Second Chances

Several people have asked me how my session of Wonderland went on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, there weren't any players. However, on the way out of the store, I ran into a buddy and we started chatting in the parking lot.

The buddy and his girlfriend are just learning about RPGs, and had a lot of questions. While talking, they expressed interest in my little playground, and so we're going to try again next time. Then when I got home, TheBoy told me he really wanted to play, so it looks like I have potential players for next session!

This "second chance" gives me time to flesh out the background packets I'm passing out to the players, as well as work on the map some more. (I need to find a way to share my map with you guys! I think you will like it.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

[Wonderland] Beginnings

Rather than talk and dream and blather about the Wonderland idea, I decided it was time to actually run it.  I'm jumping in.

I'm scheduled to run my first session (intro and character making) tomorrow. I still have some work to do (printouts and maybe clean up the map some more), but I can't back out now...

I'm still not sure if I am crazy or convinced, but I am doing it.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

[WOD] Austin by Night: EPIC Vinnie Recap

So, I have not blogged about Vinnie much, if at all. I have very specific thoughts and ideas for him, and I am having a difficult time deciding if I want to blog about them or keep them secret.

Vinnie IS a Vampire, but it's tough to get outside advice if I don't seek input. So, I'll give you the very best of the very best... or something. This is a recap of several sessions, boiled down to the most relevant and understandable details (as far as I can, anyway).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

[RPG] Dissonance

I know, without any real preface or explanation, that I don't like OSR and/or old school stuff. It's just not for me. That doesn't bother me. I know what I like... it's pretty simple stuff.

What's simpler than 4 chords and incredible attitude?

Jeff had a really interesting post recently about the apparent lack of a first level as he sees it in the Next iteration of D&D. He went on to talk about what he DOES like in a game, which generated a metric crapton of comments. His follow up post had a real eye opener for me. One of the guys responding made an off the cuff remark about CoC, which struck me in a very particular way.

I don't enjoy a fragile first level character for a D&D game. It makes me all kinds of mental to consider that my D&D dude might die the first session out of the gate. (I don't like a D&D game at all, really; but that is beside the point.) However, I fully enjoy (and expect!) a fragile " first level"character for CoC. I LOOK FORWARD to the inevitable decrepitude, insanity and/or mangling of any character facing the Eldritch horrors, but not for D&D.

The question of the day for me boiled down to: Why?

What makes one character being a meat puppet unconscionable, while the other is gladly given as grist for the mill? I have absolutely no illusions that if I were playing, my CoC character could live long enough to gain a lot of experience or make a prestige class; and I am totally ok with that. Reconciling that against my angst about a D&D character's prospects becomes something I want to do, just to keep my head from spinning.

I have a thought or two, but I'm hesitant to put it out there right yet. I'd love to hear whether any of you have similar dichotomies, and if so, how you reconciled them with each other.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Games that Shaped Me

A little while ago, Frontline Gamer put out a charge to all of us, to think about the games that have shaped us, and talk about when, where, why and so on.

Well, I can't really let that Brit have all the fun, now can I?

I told him I had a lot, and I felt a post was probably a lot more appropriate than a quick reply over on his blog. So here we are at mine, with my ever so verbose thoughts.

After the jump, of course.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Xenos and 20 sided dice!

Hey folks, SinSynn here.

Lately I've been having deep hobby thoughts, because I'm missing something. I know exactly what it is I'm missing, too.
I'm missing my Xenos.
Y'all know I luvs me some Xenos.
It's more than that, of course. It's everything that accompanies them.  The fantastical sci-fi settings, the crazy-cool tech gizmos and weaponry...the tentacles, and the refreshing screams of humans as they TASTE DISENTEGRATOR!!!!!!
(or somesuch variant thereof)

*Hey, whatever works, amirite?*

Monday, May 21, 2012

Flames of War- B,G & G hurts my feelings :(

'If at first you don't succeed, dust yourself off and try again'
- Aaliyah

Hey folks, SinSynn here.

The new Blood, Guts and Glory book for Flames of War has literally catapulted the American Tank Destroyer Company to the top of the heap, as far as Late War 'killer lists' are concerned. The recent win at the Adepticon Nationals by Task Force A, combined with a dedicated list from the new book has seen a lot of attention of late.
Dunno what the big deal about Task Force A is, since it's an older list from Turning Tide. Also, the guy who won Nationals wins ALL the FoW tournaments, ever, so whatevs (results are here, for those interested). Axis lists took three spots in the top five, and Best General was an Axis player, so I'm OK with that whole thing.
Be advised that 'sportsmanship' and 'fluffiness' comprise a large part of the overall scores at official FoW events, and the Flames tournament system is beyond awful (also be advised: my opinion), so again, whatevs.
To me, 'best general' is the Tournament winner. End of story.

I'm not particularly concerned about American TD companies, since I'm fairly sure Battlefront will be nerfing them.
Why? Using your recce move, followed by a double time to place your security section right in your opponent's face and then springing the TD's is...pretty foul, I gotta say. Not particularly game-breaking, though.
What is game-breaking is that they can still spring the TD's even if you shoot the entire security section DEAD.
That's right- Tanks Destroyers pop outta burning jeeps, can deploy six inches forward from said jeeps (ambush rules apply), and get their full Rate of Fire...with AT 13.
Excuse me while I make this face:
Please fix this, Battlefront.

No, my issues with B, G & G start with this guy:

*Say hello to the Easy Eight. Iz magic, apparently*

Pimpin': Headshots from the Heart

DaveG over at is doing some awesome THIS SATURDAY!!

24 hour marathon of playing the video game Borderlands to raise money for the Childs Play Charity. The entire event will be broadcast online, hosted by more friends and volunteers.

But basically we’re asking for pledges on a per-headshot-kill basis, direct dontations, and / or offers to cover expenses for the event itself. (Such as equipment, streaming, etc)

As for a minature gaming tie-in, I’ve been sponsored by MiniWarGaming to paint 4-6 Borderlands themed miniatures (the 4 PCs, Moxxi and Marcus) with full Work-In-Progress shots over the next month and a half, to be auctioned off during the event. 

The WIP on those guys have been BONKERS. You should check them out and give Dave some love/cash/stuff for a great cause.