Wednesday, April 09, 2014

You see cardboard.

I see GM shields. 

Monday, April 07, 2014

I wrote this...

...to reply to a forum post, but I didn't think it was appropriate there. My path to HackMaster 5:

I played HM4. Joined the HMA in 2003 and kept a full membership since. I ran HM4 at Origins, Gen Con, online in the Wurld Open, Fandemonium in Idaho, and CONduit in Utah. I was running HM5 at Origins before the Basic books came off the truck, along with an awesome team of GMs. We improvised around a PDF copy for our players. I run a HM5 home game that meets almost monthly. My work schedule makes it tough, but I keep going. Two of my players became HM5 GMs. I've run online games with MapTool and Roll20. I blog about life as a HM GM. I am friends with HM players of both editions across the country and Australia. I still have my HMGMA ID card. It's clipped to my ID badge at work.

Standing up...

I wrote this for a leadership class and realized it might apply to being a GM.

There is a Toastmasters speech project in the first manual called “Your Body Talks.” It is all about how to use gestures effectively in front of an audience. One of the things gestures do is establish credibility. People can usually spot a liar.

A long time ago, I took a class from an instructor who was excellent at reading people. I was nervous. She noticed it. She said that it was obvious in that I smiled all the time, giggled, and couldn’t put both feet on the floor. She was right. I was scared of the unknown. My guard is always up.

I learned how to breathe to help with the anxiety. And later I learned about feet. There is a gentleman in my Toastmasters club who is legally blind. When he looks at a speaker in our meeting space, while he can’t see a lot, he does notice feet. That part of his vision is clear. Shortly after I gave my second speech, he pulled me aside and said I should think about what my feet are doing. He could see that I fidgeted a lot and tended to pick up one foot. It showed I was nervous. “Stand still. You’ll be all right.” Fred is an excellent speaker and a good mentor. I appreciated him taking the time to tell me the truth.

A good leader is honest. Fidgeting, looking away, or already moving toward the door indicate a lack of confidence and strength to some people. I thought about my feet when I stood behind the lectern. I think about my hands when I’m scared. I tend to fidget or cross my arms. Actually, I cross my arms because I’m cold a LOT. I pretend that my hands are really heavy and I have to touch the ground. That lowers my shoulders, too, which tend to scrunch up when I’m scared.

Then something happens. If I remember to put all of those things where they should be—hands at my sides, head up, shoulders back, and breathing deep—I have the confidence I didn’t have before. I have the credibility to lead. I feel like I can lead. Thank you, Fred.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

March 4 is...

...the day to remember Gary Gygax, creator of Dungeons & Dragons.

I feel awkward posting anything to about him, since I did not know him. I have friends that did. They say many wonderful things about him. Instead of commemorating it as GM's Day, as some like to, I'd rather remember the person who inspired others to make things that have inspired me.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Arwen's Archery Team

This is why I wish I had these when I was a kid. Because a Disney Princess, a Tolkein elf, and a Marvel superhero can adventure together. Now? Awesome desk toys!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Our pets...

...are part of the family we choose. Please give your fuzz buddies a big hug today, in memory of my friend's good dog Kane. <3

Friday, February 21, 2014

Archers

Tiny Lego Merida is adorable.
Both of them. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Mugful of Mayhem 02

I had a Sunday off! I ran a game! Let me tell you what happened...!!!!

I'm one count away from the cleric dying in a bandit attack. It isn't what I want to happen. I'm the GM, but that doesn't mean I want to see a character with a long history perish in a roadside encounter on her way to the main quest. The mastermind of the bandit trap moves in to distract the dwarf fighter while his gnoll sidekick finishes the cleric. One or two seconds of combat is all it will take. The bandit fumbles his attack. And then probability goes out the window. The player's (Face's) dice come up 20 twice in a row and mine roll consecutive 1's. The result is 104 points total damage dealt in three blows in two counts.

There are three witnesses and pictures.

Photo credit Christopher Stogdill. Hershey's Kisses Forest credit Kira Parker.
The cleric healed herself enough to walk the rest of the way to their destination. They checked into a small inn. The owner saw how bad off she looked and gave her extra food and a bath, no charge, plus told her where to find a fellow priestess who could help mend her robes. The description of the available food in the adventure includes: "fish, leeks, carrots, and peas boiled into a hearty stew." I'm not making this up, Jamie and Kira decided to go to the store after the game, get the ingredients, and make this stew.

This stuff is what makes this game so great. Waiting for a report on the stew.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Iron Pepper

Lego included Pepper in The Avengers movie toys. ;) And put her in the armor. 


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I would have played with that...

As much as I'm supposed to hate Lego Friends, I only hate it a little.

First off, my philosophy is not to hate anything except orcs and Jenny McCarthy. Seriously, hate is a negative thing that I actively work against.

Second, why do I bother to write about toys? I don't have any kids, but my friends have kids. And I have a two year old niece and as of yesterday a baby nephew who will be playing with this stuff. I want them to play with what they want and not what the colors on the box say they have to play with.

Third, I write about toys now because I couldn't when I was a kid.

Fourth. SPACESHIP! SPACESHIP! SPACESHIP!

The 1d4p worst things about Lego Friends.

1. The ads are super stupid.
2. Most of the models are boring.
3. They gave the mini dolls names and back stories and made them all the same age, thus forcing them into a specific role instead of encouraging kids to decide.
4. They merchandise them on the damn pink aisle instead of with Lego toys.
p. They weren't in The Lego Movie, meaning its a separate world.

The best thing about Lego Friends.

I would have played with that.

The One Ring and a light saber. Fear me.
I know, I know, that makes me a terrible feminist. This Businessweek article from 2011 prior to the Friends initial launch talks about the research the company did to create the toy. The following quote from that article is what makes me a terrible feminist:

The key difference between girls and the ladyfig and boys and the minifig was that many more girls projected themselves onto the ladyfig—she became an avatar. Boys tend to play with minifigs in the third person. “The girls needed a figure they could identify with, that looks like them,” says Rosario Costa, a Lego design director. The Lego team knew they were on to something when girls told them, “I want to shrink down and be there.”

That made me think back to being a kid, I loved little toys and I would have liked the mini doll. Really liked it, because they are little and cute and can be hidden. I had a tiny plastic motorcycle that I loved for many reasons including that it fit in my pocket. Same with Hot Wheels. Same with marbles and those little Tonka trucks that ran on AA batteries. Little toys rock. If I put myself in my little kid shoes, I'd like the mini dolls as much as the mini figs.

The main argument against the mini doll is they are not compatible with the mini fig. I agree that would make them 100% cooler. They are a little bit compatible. The hairpieces can be swapped between them and they can hold the same things. The little mini doll's hands don't turn, though, making it tough to wield a lightsaber to its full potential, but she can hold it. The range of outfits is limited. I want one dressed as a cop, a ranger, a Jedi. Basically it says the girl toy and the boy toy don't work together. I still don't know what makes Friends "for girls" and everything else Lego makes "for boys" except marketing because nothing else on the box says that, unless you base the decision on location in the store and what the TV ads promote. Otherwise, kids should be free to pick whatever set they want to build with.

The other thing that this conflict does is call out the appearance of the "girls'" fig. Once again the "girls'" toy is judged by how it looks.

I made the following deal with my ornery feminist. The mini doll is just another piece. There is no use comparing a brick to a wheel, so why bother putting the mini doll up against the mini fig and whining about it? There are so many possible combinations, just put together a unique character and pick out a mini you like. Problem solved.

Coming up: I have a lot of awesome girl mini figs. I'll share some...