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2019 Optimistically Moving

So 2018 has come and passed us by. It was a great year but I didn’t game as much as I would have hoped to. Started the year off running and playing in some games. I did get to try the 7DSystem by DMGinfo and that was a fun experience. One game I didn’t get to play that I really hoped to was Dragon Age the Tabletop RPG.

We finally……

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The Rifts Setting and What I Love About It

It would be easy to say that I love it because you can run any game in Rifts that you can imagine. This is true but that is not why I love this setting. You will hear people say that the setting is gonzo and over the top but it doesn't have to be. The story is what you and your play group make it out to be. It can be as balanced as you want by restricting some of the more extreme OCC's at either end of the power scale. None of this is what I love about the setting though. The thing that I truly love about the setting is the Coalition!

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Tabletop RPG Tip For Players And DMs (Taking My Own Advice)

I have been into RPGs since 1997. When I first found my love for RPGs I didn't game very often and struggled for years to find a steady group. I tried play by post, play by chat, voice chat and webcam on Yahoo Messenger, and even in store games like D&D Encounters and Pathfinder Society. It was an endless struggle and one that made me appreciate what I have now. When I look back at the struggle it makes it even harder to say no to games today. Due to me having a hard time telling people no to games I think I get burnt out often.

Much like anything in life if you do something too much and stretch yourself too thin you can get burned out of it. It is important to take a break and recharge your batteries every now and then. This is something I am learning at this time in my life because I have never found it as easy to find a game as I do today. A year ago I was struggling to find people to game with even.

The debut of the Tabletop RPG One Shot Group led to a lot of online games happening. I've played in tons and tons of games. I believe as of January of this year I had played in about 30 online games in just a few months. The Provokers Campaign has led to a lot of people asking me to play in their games too. It is a lot to keep up with and I don't even play in a lot of online games compared to some of my friends.

In person I run two home campaigns (as I have said before), and I run D&D Encounters at GrandLan Gaming Center here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. On any given night I have something going on that is gaming related or work related and it can be taxing. I have friends like Matt Click and others who have said they take breaks from gaming altogether for a couple weeks every now and then. I never thought I would want to but lately it seems like I should.

I took some time off from Encounters for Christmas but not from my home games or online games. I took time off from my home games, and Encounters when my son was born in March but not from online games. So I haven't really taken a break from gaming as a whole for any period of time since August of 2014. Gaming is a true passion of mine and I want to continue doing it for a long time but I have found myself at times just going through the motions in some games and that isn't fair to other people.

What are you saying Juce? I'm say that if I have one tip for anyone out there it is to take a break from gaming every once in awhile to give you that spark of energy and enthusiasm again. I am still excited about running and playing games but I want to give it the proper attention it deserves when I sit down to play or run a game. Plus taking time off from your hobbies is a great chance for you to focus on your family or career too.

Do you find yourself needing to take a break from RPGs every once in awhile? Maybe it is some other hobby that you need to take a break from? I would love to hear about it below. Leave a comment and if you like what you read today please share this blog post.

Also check out that sweet Skeleton Dragon Tankard! That would be awesome to have at the gaming table.

Get a Group Together. Show Up. Play

The below article is a guest post by the wonderful Rogue DM as she is known on YouTube. Below the article you will see a couple of links to her personal YouTube Channel. This blog was inspired by a post in the Tabletop RPG One Shot Group that led me to asking her if she would be willing to write on the topic from her very own perspective. So here it is and be sure to go and check our her YouTube Channel when you are done reading this.

Get a Group Together. Show up. Play 

In this day and age there is a lot of concern about equality, which in my opinion is of course important. Equality falls into various categories such as race, gender and sexual orientation and so on, and these are often addressed in the world of gaming. Tabletop gaming is no exception, as we see more and more incidences of unacceptable behaviour that need addressing, or concerned GMs wanting to run a game or campaign that is fun for everyone at their table.

As a biological female (I say biological due to me expressing my gender differently, but more on that later), I of course want to be treated the same way as those with a Y chromosome. However, when it comes to expressing gender equality at the table, I feel that the subject has become so convoluted that doing anything that could possibly be deemed sexist if interpreted in a certain way is now a huge taboo. Quite often I get people asking for my thoughts and opinions on the female presence in gaming. It is an interesting subject, although rather confusing to me, as there are lot of labels that are placed on forms of entertainment nowadays. Cosplaying is typically labelled more feminine, while FPS games or anything to do with war is deemed more masculine. The media certainly doesn’t help as it often plays to stereotypes, and unlike the 80s and 90s where girls and boys would both be shown wearing dungarees and playing with Lego everything is lumped into a very black-and-white perspective nowadays.

I identify myself as gender fluid, which basically means that I can fluctuate between expressing masculine and feminine behaviour, to anything in the middle. It is in my nature to identify everyone else around me as human beings, rather than with the sexual organs they were born with.  At my table, it is the same story. I do not choose people based on their gender. I choose based on their interests and enthusiasm for the game. I do things because I enjoy them, rather than feel restricted by gender stereotypes, and again it is in my nature to expect others to do the same. It is true that one is more likely to gain male players in a game of Dungeons & Dragons, but it is also apparent that the gap between majority and minority is getting smaller. Trying to recruit enough women to gaming groups in order to balance statistics is not the right way to go about it. I would certainly not insist that a certain number of men had to be present if I was leading a supposedly more feminine activity. 

What I have found is that those who care about gender equality are always striving to better their games to suit such a purpose, but those who do not care will not go out of their way to improve it. I have been sexually harassed and assaulted before and the gender of those who did it matches with statistics, but I hold the incidences against the specific people involved rather than encompassing an entire gender. If something unacceptable were to happen at my table, such as someone making a blatantly offensive remark to someone else, I would address it to that specific person, no matter who they were. But, I think anyone who is concerned about such things would do so anyway. It is the people who don’t care, that we need to be concerned about. For those who do care, that is great, and if you have made a sexist remark by accident, oh well. You did not wish to intentionally offend anyone, and the person who is offended has to understand this. I’ve made racist, sexist and homophobic comments before unintentionally, just as everyone in some way or another will screw up in some kind of situation. That’s just life. But it is the fact that you know you screwed up that is important. Those who don’t care to treat both genders equally automatically think their opinion is the perfect one, and to them they are not screwing up.

Nobody is perfect. But those who think they are already perfect are the ones to watch out for. It all comes down to a collective passionate about the game they are playing. Rather than sweating the small stuff and tip-toeing around every potential way to offend someone, make it known that you care for gender equality. Don’t let your love for the hobby be restricted by such things. Just get a group together, show up and play. As for those who don’t treat people equally at their table make it clear to them that they are not welcome in the hobby. They will eventually get the message.

Jenny, going under the alias TheRogueDM, is a YouTube content creator and an avid member of the RPG Brigade. 

Her Youtube channel can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/user/theroguedm
Her Facebook page can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/theroguedm

Cheers,

Jenny

D&D Princes of the Apocalypse or Temple of Elemental Evil Pre-Release Thoughts

Being someone who has never experienced the classic Temple of Elemental Evil this is something I am pretty interested in. Now I won't know much about any references to the classic and if there is any overlap it won't be a spoiler for me either which is nice. Due to word of mouth though I have heard the original ToEE is great and worth trying out. If this version lives up to my expectations by what I have heard it, will be fantastic and well worth the $49.95 retail.

When Hoard of the Dragon Queen, and Rise of Tiamat came out I will admit I was apprehensive about picking them up. I heard about typos, and some story issues with HotDQ but once I actually picked it up and thumbed through it my mind changed quickly. Since that time I have purchased it and have used it for ideas in some of my current games to great effect. It has helped provide me with some great moments in my campaigns. That is what I am expecting out of the Princes of the Apocalypse.

Princes of the Apocalypse is going to be set up for levels 1 - 15 and will have extra content for the online MMORPG which is free to play. That is also expected to be on XBox Live here soon. The book will include a new race, spells, and other great things to use with Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition. Personally the digital content for the MMO doesn't do much for me but if the book is going to provide as much in the way of ideas for my games that I expect then it will be worth every penny.

Princes of the Apocalypse (D&D Accessory)
$34.33
By Wizards RPG Team

Everyone who knows me realizes that I am full on 100% behind Wizards of the Coast and Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition. This edition of the game has really made me into a huge fan unlike any other edition of D&D. Never would I have thought that I would be so excited about a WotC game like I am about 5e. While they have had some mistakes here and there I do think that it would be hard for them to have done much better with this edition of the worlds greatest role-playing game in my opinion.

Now as I said above I am not sure what to expect from the Princes of the Apocalypse compared to Temple of Elemental Evil. I am open to hearing your thoughts on the old class Temple of Elemental Evil below but also your thoughts on the new Princes of the Apocalypse. Let me know by commenting here and when I pick this up I will be sure to share my thoughts about it.

Your FLGS is expected to be charging $49.95 for this book but you can help support my Blog, and YouTube Channel by purchasing the book through my Amazon Affiliation Link above. Purchasing this book for between $34.33 at the time of this post is as simple as clicking that link and ordering it. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Once I pick this up I will probably be running it through the Tabletop RPG One Shot Group on Facebook which can be found here

Why Robert Ogre Loves RPG's and Why Everyone Should Try Them

What's up everybody!

My good buddy GM JUCE asked if I'd write a guest blog, Naturally, I said yes!

So,as I filtered through my brain about what should I write about: The One Shot Group, Adventure ideas, System mechanics, Character ideas, Trying different games, Blah Blah Blah. I decided to write about the most important thing of all to me concerning tabletop RPGs: Why do I love them and why everyone should try it at least once.

Now, I have to go back a little into my history. I, like probably everyone reading this, have many interests in life. I love many, many different things, most of them have to do with creativity. I play multiple instruments, I draw and paint. I make videos. I make computer graphics. I build musical effects pedals. I cook, Build and refurbish furniture. I weld (yes that's an art) I can sew, and recently got into crafting for RPGs. That's only a quarter of my interest (Video games, Martial arts, Science, Comics, Anime, Surrealist art, Nature and on and on) So, a few years ago, about 3 or 4, I had an epiphany. It was a year or so after my daughter was born.I realized that, one day I won't be here anymore. Rather than waste another day thinking about creating things, I would spend everyday actually creating things. Even if it is a little doodle or a short guitar riff, I need to stay active in creating something. And, I have. Everyday since that pact with myself I have done just that. It usually comes naturally so it isn't hard to maintain a daily creation. Sometimes I used to have to remind myself but now it just happens. Is it obsessive? Yes. That is my personality. If I get into something, I really get into something. It doesn't mean I don't enjoy things because I'm worried about all the details. I'm not clinically Obsessive. Maybe. There are a lot worse things than being obsessed with creating everyday, anyway.

So, back to the point. Tabletop RPGs allow me to bring together many of my interests into one place, obsessions whatever. In particular, Gamemastering. I can create maps, create characters, buildings, vehicles, monsters, a whole damn world. I can take my interests in nature, science, human conflict or anything possible and put them in a game. I can make physical representations of things in my mind or just paint a mental picture of them. All while being humbled to the fact that I'm doing this for other people. This is the exact reason I create everyday. It is a win/win all around, I am filling my need to connect with others and others are directly in contact with my creations. I like making people happy. And in a really contradictory way, I'm not a people pleaser. I do what I do, if people like it than that makes me happy. If not then I'll try to match interests later. I'm constantly working on myself and RPGs have been a huge factor in that. I've become less of a perfectionist, I've become more social, I feel more accepted because I'm not the only one who thinks of weird things, I'm more cordial and organized and generally feel more confident and comfortable with my voice and face(making videos)

I know that I've become kind of the joker of the community and everyone who knows me in real life would say the same. I really don't try to be silly, I just am, I guess. I can be very serious but like I said before, I like people to be happy. I think sometimes people take gaming into places it doesn't need to be. Seriousness is required in some games but not in all. That's the beauty of this hobby, everyone is allowed to, and encouraged to be individual and shine as that individual. I love how there are thousands of ways to play a Dwarf Fighter or investigator or Cybernetically enhanced zombie vampire llama convenience store cashier. All based on the individual player. No other game allows that kind of accommodation. Video Games, Sports or Monopoly all have some sort of tighter constriction on players, there's nothing wrong with that, I'm just making a point. And RPG video games are an emulation of real life RPGs.

There are still stigmas surrounding RPGs, so, it can be hard to convince non-gamers to try it out. Which is funny because everything that was considered "dorky" when I was a youngster is now widely accepted. People of all ages play Video games, know who the Avengers are, Spiderman, Batman, Lord of the Rings, Super Mario, Doctor Who, Superman, Star Trek, Star wars, TMNT, and on and on and on. Most people have heard of D&D, at least, but still hold a prejudice towards it. Why is that? What makes it so different from all the other "nerdy" things that are accepted now? Are people just so mentally lazy that if it's not on a screen then it's to hard? Is it that people just have no idea how it works? Are people intimidated by the seemingly elitist crowd? Are people afraid of Math? To let themselves become vulnerable and drop the maintenance of outward appearance? Are they afraid of fat sweaty dudes in basements with bags of Doritos and Mountain Dew? Worship Satan? Well, all of us gamers know that while some of this is half true, in general, none of it is.

Do YOU feel playing tabletop role-playing games are beneficial for people? Do You feel they have helped you grow in a positive way? Do You simply have fun with them? If the answer is yes, then I challenge you to help break the stereotypes of our beloved hobby, by showing your favorite book reader, artist, writer, Video gaming, comic and anime watching, non-gaming "Nerdy" friend or family member, what this is all about. You know there is someone who would enjoy role-playing if only they would try it, right? This simple game is a great step in humanity, we literally put ourselves in the role of another person and surround ourselves with real humans that do the same. The more people that play, the more people we have to play with. So, anyway, I love RPGs. I think it has so many positive things to offer, I think everyone should , at least, try it once, just once. Maybe twice. There is a game for everyone out there. Whatever your strengths, weaknesses, likes or dislikes are, there is a game perfect for you. Just try it. DO IT!

One last thing: Players respect your GMs and GMs respect your players. We have nothing without each other!

OH! I'm not usually this introspective, if I do this again, it will be about something useful:) or funny at least.