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Thursday, April 16, 2020

Contest ends

The Celtic themed short adventure contest ends, not with a bang, but a whimper. I got a single entry for it was all, despite the many questions I was asked.

No worries, we can do another sometime when things are more settled.

I have had a lot going on during this quarantine, I lead a great Klingon house now (Kurkura, the line started by late KAG founder John Halvorson [Thought Admiral Kris epetai-Kurkura], and thus the oldest line in Klingon fandom), I started a classic Battlestar Galactica costumed fan club (currently on Facebook and Discord), and I have watched a lot of TV.

I am currently watching season 2 of Netflix' Korean zombie show “The Kingdom”, which of course makes me want to play some AD&D Oriental Adventures. It's a seriously cool show, best zombie thing I have seen since the early seasons of “The Walking Dead”. I put it off for a long time because I hate to watch things subtitled, they require my full attention, so I can't multi-task. Now I have the time, and I am glad I started it.

My late sister's birthday was yesterday, so I thought quite a bit about her. Today is my mother-in-law's birthday, we haven't spoken a lot since Mona died, but I sent her a birthday greeting, and got a response; so that got me thinking about Mona again. Truly, she's never far from my thoughts, my house is full of reminders of our life together, but this was in a more active way.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

The State of The Great Khan Today

I am not going to lie, this has been an odd month. I started the month on fire with a renewed zeal for blogging, gaming and all the historical themes for old school D&D that I love. We entered our quarantine, which has sucked. I had a couple of recent deaths hit close to home, one was a kid that grew up in my tiny neighborhood, younger than me. The other a friend, and something of a mentor, older than me, but not what I'd call old. I am a little amused that my definition of “old” keeps changing as I age. In July I'll be 51, when I was a teenager 30 was old, now it seems like you need to be maybe 80, at a minimum, to qualify.

I am sliding into depression. I have had a tendency towards depression as long as I can remember. I am a Gen-Xer, so we're a little more open about talking about this sort of thing than say, the Greatest Generation, but not really much; Millennials and Zoomers are a lot more keen to share what we'd consider weaknesses. I take a little comfort in knowing that I am not alone, and it has touched the lives of great men like Winston Churchill (not really an opening for a debate on Churchill, he was a complex individual and a product of the British empire at it's height).

The short adventure design contest. There are six days left in the contest, and I assumed a general quarantine worldwide would make it a wee bit more popular. Maybe it's because I never announced prizes? Maybe because I failed to get sponsors like in contests past? I have received a single completed adventure and perhaps a dozen or so inquiries about the parameters of the contest itself. Several people have stated that they'd love to enter, “if they have the time”. I could extend the deadline, I could cancel right now, but I don't think either would help. I've extended the length of a contest in the past to allow more time for entries, and it didn't really work. Canceling seems like admitting failure.

The Klingon Assault Group, a Klingon centered costumed Star Trek fan club I have talked about before here on the blog, lost it's founder, John Halvorson (AKA Kris epetai-Kurkura) on March 26th. He was also the founder of House Kurkura, of which I was a member. He was the friend and mentor I mentioned above, and the reason I had the KAG logo with the black line through it as my Facebook profile picture. Last Saturday I was selected from among the Kurkura to lead the House, the oldest in KAG. This has drawn a good deal of my attention for the last couple of weeks away from gaming and any other pursuits. I pray I am up to the task of leading them, and that I might honor John's legacy in doing so. He was a lion of a man, may he rest in peace.

As far as gaming goes, I am having a hard time moving online. My internet connection gets really spotty pretty much every evening, I am having trouble keeping Roll20 and Discord working at all. I am also having focus issues with running things on Roll20, and I pretty much hate using the maps there. I have tried playing in a couple of games since the pandemic started, to get my sea legs back, as it were; but the quality of my internet connection has prevented me from really participating. I cannot wait to get back to face-to-face gaming, and I really hope my group sticks together after this is over.

My overwhelming feeling about setting things up on Roll20 is that, if I am going to go to this much effort to set up the maps, why wouldn't I just make it a Neverwinter Nights module? I ran the Norseworld server for like 18 months before catastrophe struck there. I spent days creating new areas while the kids were in school and Mona was out of the house, the kids would playtest/stress test new stuff when it was ready, and when te bugs were worked out I'd add it to the server. The added bonus was everyone got to play there. I could run as DM or play a character. I didn't hate that.

Not seeing people has made me start to miss people I haven't seen for years along with the ones I still see regularly, old friends I fell out of contact with for one reason or another, people I used to game with especially.

Possibly related is that I have sought out the things I used to love, comfort TV and books, to pass my time. I am currently running through the classic 1978 Battlestar Galactica as my obsession du jour. I was pretty deep into it's fandom back in the 1990's. I wonder why it never got the cosplay fandom that Star Wars and Star Trek both got? I remember as a kid I thought those BSG uniforms were the coolest, and I really wanted to order the Colonial Warrior jacket out of Starlog when I spotted it.

No hate for the new Galactica, if that's your jam, mine will always be the original though. Man I loved that show! BSG taught us how to swear without swearing, with words like “Frak” and “Felgercarb”, which was useful when I was 9 years old. I built those models as a kid, and I was terrible at building models. I owned the Viper toy, and it fired it's missiles. I remember BSG being as big as Star Wars had been the year before, maybe bigger, because it was on every week with new episodes.

Let's not forget the absolutely epic score either -

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Contest Update for April 1st

We have 15 days left to this contest. The Celtic theme, which seemed so popular in the poll, has apparently stymied the creativity of many of you, so I have loosened the restrictions and opened the contest up for any short, TSR era D&D edition Compatible adventures. Now adherence to the Celtic theme will grant bonus points for an entry, but is not required.

I am a little concerned that I have only received one entry thus far, but since there have been a myriad of questions concerning the contest, I remain hopeful that we will meet some minimum threshold for this to be considered an actual contest.

I have been told that we should avoid sending out physical prizes as long as the plague still stalks the land, so I will instead give DrivethruRPG gift certificates. I am thinking the prizes will be proportional to the number of entries received, the more entries, the greater the value of the prizes, and the number of prizes as well.

I don't think it makes sense to give more than a single prize for fewer than ten entries, and I don't think a single entry even constitutes an actual contest. So I am thinking a single small prize when we reach five contest entries.

I have heard from a few of you out there that you would write something for this contest, but you've never written an adventure before, or you've never written anything for other people to read. My advice is be bold, everyone starts somewhere, and most of us have this kind of anxiety over whether or not it's going to be “good enough”. The worst thing that happens is you fail, however you define failure, and failure is a great teacher.

Anyway, good luck, and I hope that you all receive some inspiration to write and adventure for the contest.