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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 -


  1. Well I don't suffer from anxieties nor depression, so I don't truly understand, but I empathize and hope you can conquer it. I'm 57, and while am starting to think - damn, I'm almost 60, I'm having an interesting and positive turn of events. For one thing, my hair is almost completely white - I have some salt and pepper on the back of my head, but from the front, it looks all gray. And I've never been the kind of person to dye my hair to hide the gray. I'm single, and for whatever reason (I don't really understand), but girls from age 25 to 35 seem unusually attracted to me. I've been hit on by 25 year olds. Wow, what's up. I've been dating more in the last 3 years than I have for the past 30 years. Though I still haven't found the one (I am wife hunting these days), my romantic life has accelerated with age. So I'm encountering the opposite of depression as a state. Life is pretty good, despite getting older.

  2. online gaming etiquette (also called gamer etiquette or video game etiquette) refers to the norms adopted while playing multi-player video games.

  3. I hope people submitted more entries to the contest (maybe via the Facebook group? I don't really do Facebook) I wanted to create and send in something, but I am pretty distracted right now sheltering-in-place, taking care of my kid (now 24-7) and my elderly mom who had spinal surgery. My wife is an essential worker for a hospital. My kids ADHD meds are wearing off now, and she's done with online school and is bellowing songs from annoying cartoons.

    There's a satirical dystopian story by Vonnegut, "Harrison Bergeron", in which the United States Handicapper General makes sure all citizens are "equal" by forcing them to wear weights if they are stronger than everyone else, masks if they are more beautiful than everyone else, and devices in their ears that blast painful random noises if they are smarter than others, which prevents them from having a coherent train of thought.

    I'm not saying I'm smarter than other folks, but I have a lot of sympathy with the fictional characters in that story who have their thought-trains constantly derailed.

    I had some weird existential crisis several months after getting fired from a warehouse-y job that I wasn't good at, and then turning 50, and then being really worried about my mom in the run-up to her surgery (March 12, 2020) - Now that she came through it with flying colors and demanded I bust her out of the Transitional Care Unit (2-week nursing home) after 1 night, I feel better. I can take care of her at home in her granny flat attached to the main house. Thank God, I am not having any more somniphobic anxiety attacks that made me sleepless for up to 62 miserable hours at a stretch.

    Anyway, I really enjoy your blog and I'm glad you're writing it, and you know there are plenty of others in the same boat as me, whether they write in to you or not. You are a cool dude and a smart egg (or however the youth of today term it) and have good taste and interesting opinions (even if I don't always agree with 'em).

    Take care of yourself!

    1. Thanks man, I am also 50, 51 in July. Take care of yourself and your family, we can run another contest maybe when things settle some.

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