Win 10 will be a free Upgrade

I’ve been bullish on Windows since Windows 7, which at the time was, to me, a perfect OS.  I found out that Wndows 10 (There was a line of legacy code in many programs that caused Microsoft to skip a numbers) proved that Microsoft is capable of learning from their mistakes (Win 8, natch) and today I learned that they have learned the same with their pricing strategy.

For a limited time, all upgrades from not just 8.1, but from 7, will be free.  This will be an excellent chance for me to install a much needed new OS over a two year old installation (which does tend to get clunky) .  And I did intend to do that skip over from 7 to 10 anyway.

Microsoft is also planning their own holographic glasses (which looks a bit clunkier than Google Glass, but I’d still try it.) as well as a new Web Browser (Although I’ll wait til the beta’s out before I pass judgement on Spartan.)  For a comany that I formerly derided because I couldn’t stand XP (I was a dedicated Linux user for a time) Microsoft proves time and time again that they’re capable of listening to their customers.  Which, if they want to keep their top dog status in the computing world, is vital.

Encounters Update: Hoard of the Dragon Queen, Jan 21

Trigger Warning: Spoilers

With the next season announced (Princes of the Apocalypse) in April, I knew I had to stop dilly dallying in the Castle Raerythar chapter. I just didn’t expect it to end so soon.

Since this is the start of my public updates, which begin strange enough in the middle of the season—what can I say? It’s a new year’s resolution—I felt that the above ‘Trigger Warning’ is required. Also, keep in mind that what happens in my campaign will NEVER match that of WotC’s official narrative. Not only will it be different, it’ll also take place in a persistent world: Previous campaigns affected “Hoard of the Dragon Queen” which will in turn affect “Princes of the Apocalypse”)

It started with a recap of the earlier fuck-up from one of the players: I have it so that Dralmorrer Borngray has captured one of the PCs because he was screwing around in a conspicuously placed hoard of gold. I’ve taken that PC somewhere in the next chapter so that the players, including a new PC, had to pursue him, which required finding the command word for the portal to the next chapter.

What I didn’t count on is that everything the players need is in one part of the castle: The Chapel, which included the library where the command word—which I’ve revised—is located. Add that to the dungeon zone where they made a surprise beeline to the portal circle and they ended up clearing the chapter.

Of course, that means leaving a perfectly good castle still relatively untouched. Dralmorrer and Pharblex are still alive, and possibly still in the castle. Just as I was planning on repurposing said castle for a different purpose.

That will, of course, give me an opportunity to create a stand-alone module for Castle Raerythar. It’ll be easy for me to remix the whole chapter into a post-Tyranny of Dragons scenario and add it to my world:

Adventure Hook: A loose end has been discovered in the aftermath of Tiamat’s attempt to return: There was a report that Castle Raerythar, a former stronghold of the Cult of the Dragon, contains a vast library of books, records, and other writings compiling an extensive history of the Sword Coast region. Such a collection can prove vital to the historical knowledge for many groups, including the Harpers, Lord’s Alliance, and the Gauntlet. You and your group are given the opportunity to enter this castle and secure the library for the prosperity of the Realms.

It’ll take me some time to create this module, I’ll probably work on it in February, but I do intend to make the revised Castle Raerythar for my own use. A PDF of the module will be made available for download as well once all the bugs are ironed out.

“Princes of the Apocalypse” Encounters season announced.

2015 - 1

Well, there’s three more months to go in the Hoard of the Dragon Queen season, and I’m heading toward the climatic parts of the book as I posted earlier. But now I know what the next season’s going to be about, which will take me from April toward the summer: Princes of the Apocalypse.

Wizards sent out the release today:

Called by the Elder Elemental Eye to serve, four corrupt prophets have risen from the depths of anonymity to claim mighty weapons with direct links to the power of the elemental princes. Each of these prophets has assembled a cadre of cultists and creatures to serve them in the construction of four elemental temples of lethal design. It is up to adventurers from heroic factions such as the Emerald Enclave and the Order of the Gauntlet to discover where the true power of each prophet lay, and dismantle it before it comes boiling up to obliterate the Realms.

This is part of the Elemental Evil season, which will cover not just the tabletop, but also the MMOs like Neverwinter (The Paladins are coming) as well as a new Adventure System board game (similar to and compatible with the others, like Castle Ravenloft and Legend of Drizzt.) I’ll probably focus more on the Encounters season.

If it’s at all possible, I’d like to have that season of my Encounters Table webcasted, if all goes well. Since I’ll have a couple months still to get a decent camera system going, nothing too extravagant. And if nothing too catastrophic happens to my meager income.

It’s been a while since I had a TPK

For those who don’t play tabletop, a TPK stands for Total Party Kill, also called a ‘wipe’ in online platforms. While a terrible moment in a campaign, it proves downright hilarious to me, and I can’t keep myself from laughing at how epically some of my characters buy it.

Of course, being a decent player, I don’t often get myself into these things (unless you catch me napping, or looking at that sweet looking booth babe across the hall. Even MGTOW1s like their eye candy.) but when I do, it’s usually because someone was being stupid.

Such is the case when I was on Roll20 last Friday. We were going through Lost Mine of Phandelver with some asshole Noble, who wanted to turn the Neverwinter Wood into his own personal kingdom with Phandalin as its capital. I’ve been doing what I usually do with PCs who act like douchbags, I have him—a human ranger, by the way—make a paper fan and repeatingly smack him with it. It became a running gag.

I’ll tell you what happened without giving too many spoilers. We made it all the way to Thundertree, and we made it to the tower in town. The idiot walked in like nothing would go wrong, and used his sleight of hand to crack open the front door.

Which is where the Green Dragon was looking out of.

The douchebag didn’t have time to close it: Everyone failed their CON saves2 (with me rolling a 1, which probably didn’t matter) and took 12d6 of fire and poison dragons, reducing the lot of us into tasty noms.

I had a good laugh out of it and so did the DM. You don’t often get into a TPK that made your day.

I tend to be more creative when I’m behind the screen: Last Wednesday, over at the Hero’s Hangout (Local Granite City comic and game shop that has Encounters on Wednesdays) we’re at the Castle Naerytar chapter of Hoard of the Dragon Queen. In that castle, I’ve set up an innocent enough pile of gold and gems just waiting for the party to mess with. I even put up a sign saying “No traps here” on top of it. I guess you can see where this is heading.

During the extended rest, one of the members tossed the corpse of one of the dead cultists I keep throwing at them onto that pile. That sprung the alarm. The next thing he knew, about 30-50 cultists and bullywugs sprang out of nowhere and hogtied his character, dragging him to Gods know where.

That’s when my psudeo-Permadeath mechanic comes into play: This unfortunate player needs to roll up a new character (at level 4, because I’m a nice guy) and help the others rescue the captured PC. If they do, and the player wants to return to the main PC, that PC gains all of the XP earned by the new character.

Permadeath mechanics, a possible future episode of “Confessions of a Bad DM”

But anyway, the other point I want to talk to you about is the addition of a little graphic over on your left. The one with the Patreon logo on it.

I always wanted to have a little tip jar for those who want to give me a little scratch for what I post here. I’m not asking for much, I’m not going to be like Anita Sarkeesian, and ask for more than $50,000 for a series of videos denigrating video games, which I doubt that you’ll ever see. (I might not be known for my Work Ethic, but she makes me look like a Japanese Salaryman.) All I ask for is coffee money. A cup of coffee or a jug of tea to keep me churning out these posts, these comic pages, these D&D articles, upcoming campaign ideas, upcoming RPG Maker progress, and eventually upcoming streaming D&D sessions, which is my goal and hopefully ‘real job.’

But that’s further down the timeline. Right now it’s just simple and sweet. Everyone that offers me a cup of coffee will be greatly appreciated, and that’s basically all I’ll ask for now. You don’t need to break your budget or anything, and I do suggest you put a limit on those donations per month, since this is per post on my blog, and I have a personal par of 10-15 posts a month.

 

1 MGTOW stands for “Men Going Their Own Way,” which is a group I’m also a part of. I’ll let you know about them later.

2 in D&D 5th Edition, you have saving throws based on your attribute modifiers, instead of the use of Fortitude, Reflex, and Will as a secondary attribute.

The Ballad of Johnny Briz: Dream Train

So glad to get back to this project.

For those who are new to me, and some of you are since I’ve gotten into #gamergate, I have this fun little web comic about a young woman out of college trying to find out what to do with her life, wanting to get into cartoons, and finding the industry a little more formidable than it should be. She walked toward a light rail station wishing on a star for something to inspire her, that little spark she needs to get her life turned around.

Much like someone in the Depression sitting on a train looking for something to jump into his sketchbook after losing one of his prized and oldest cartoon creations.

The similarities between the two get pretty uncanny.

The Ballad of Johnny Briz is a tale of one of my older and more liked characters, which combines a classic cartoon from the black and white era with some modern sensibilities. It’s also about the struggles he and his Nakama of humans doing their darnest to get through life, working on their dreams and ideals, and maybe even get successful.

I started this comic a couple years back when I was really down on myself, suffering a midlife crisis and looking for something to distract me from making a statistic of myself. I’m still continuing it for two reasons: One, I like the story and characters, especially when I run the ideas and scenes around in my head; and two and more importantly, I need more practice in human figure drawing.

Just like with dabbling with RPG Maker helps me design more marketable games in the future and even helps my DMing skills. (Which is what I’m really banking on getting some money in.)

As some of you know, web comics aren’t the best places for someone to get successful in, you stand a better chance as just being part of the dreck if you’re lucky, kilobytes of abrasive diatribes that don’t even conceal themselves as criticism and maybe a burn page or two if you’re not. (Guess what happened to me.) By now I’m past the point of even trying to earn a buck off this; I’m doing this for the practice and the fun. And hopefully get a better work ethic going because of it. (Which is my New Year’s resolution.)

I took a Hiatus from making the comic over the holiday season because I wanted to get some other things straightened out and figure out what to do with myself in the next several years or so; it’s one of those times where some inner searching is required. My only regret is that it took a bit too long for my liking, but I digress.

I’m shooting for about 35-50 strips during this coming year. Here’s hoping nothing too heinous happens in real life that just gives my plans the bird. (Ulp! I think I jinxed myself.)

 

Confessions of a Bad DM #1: A persistant Forgotten Realms

I’m happy to report that my content surprisingly started a bit early in the new year, although not in an expected place. Well, it is expected if you follow my D&D trends.

Last last year, dndadventurersleague.org/  made an open call for articles, and I gave them a list of articles I wanted to put on their site. I actually got accepted for two of those articles with the hope for more in the future. Mixing my home-made techniques I use as a DM with my own brand of humor—Hello, I’m David Foxfire and I’m a terrible DM—and made my first submission to the site before the holidays.
This article got released today, the start of my “Confessions of a Bad DM” series, with my mention of a Persistent gaming world. It’s basically my first method of keeping people from reading up on the modules and meta-gaming, where the actions of previous campaigns have a lasting effect on current campaigns, and in some cases changing parts of the current campaign. You can see the after effects of my campaigns in a wiki I set up for my personalized version of the Forgotten Realms.

On the wiki, you’ll know that Baldur’s Gate is vastly different from the official depiction in the new IDW Legends of Baldur’s Gate comic, which will be apparent when a campaign returns to that city. And then there’s the Icewind Dale region. Don’t ask.

Future articles will involve what I call the “Instant Action Grid” a hybrid between 4th Edition encounter maps and 5th edition Theater of the Mind, the use of a deck of cards instead of dice-rolling and table consulting, transplanting a scene from one campaign into another, turning a PC in a previous campaign into an NPC in a current campaign, and so on.

Of course, this is provided that I’m encouraged to post more articles in dndadventurersleague.org . . . Or enough people are interested in me continuing the series here. Whatever happens, I’ll deal with it.

In the coming week, I’ll get back to the Ballad of Johnny Briz comic now that my sabbatical is done with, and continue making progress for my online Dungeon Mastering project, sending you updates as they occur.

 

New Hello World for a New Main Web Page for this site.

If you’re seeing this, then I made my much needed change in the web site.

You can thank the Gamergate drama over this one. No, I haven’t been targeted by anyone even though I side myself with the Pro-Gamergate side*, but I pretty much had my fill of SJW crap. So much so that I flat out dropped almost all of my Social Media accounts like the proverbial dead weight, with the sole exception of Google Plus, which has a much better format and interface IMHO.

Of course, no use of Twitter and Tumblr means that I do not have an RSS style stream to keep up on the index.html page. An alternate is in order.

While this is going on, I had some new developments in my online life, some of which is art-inspired. (The Johnny Briz web comic will get back up this coming weekend.) I’m working on some online Campaigns which I intend to webcast, once my throat is cleared of all this mother-fucking mucus, and I’ve been accepted to make some DM-related articles for the Adventurers Guild site (an official WotC blog, no less,) which I’ll relay here…

…in a WordPress Main Site, which will have links to all of my subsites (as well as a legacy link to the former version. I feel that this will be the best way to go, especially when I start making Youtube videos (a new direction from me) and getting my DM career into a higher gear.

The Encounters table really enjoyed me being the DM in spite of my own personal hangups—and the occasional lack of available players thanks to people’s schedules, natch—and I feel that it’s something that I can do long term, and maybe even make a living from this through the webcasting angle.

I’ll tell you more about what’s happening with all the subsequent entries.

 

  • There is a web page that will tell you what Gamergate is better than I can. Too Long Didn’t Read version: Gamergate is a revolt by the video game playing community against two groups that were antagonizing them: Video Game Journalists and Social Justice Warriors. Both of these groups were denigrating anyone who played anything from Tetris to Grand Theft Auto V, and pooling their capabilities to further marginalize one of the most inclusive and supporting special interest groups existing today. Despite me being a Tabletop gamer, I am staunch Pro-Gamergate, and even have a “SJWs need not apply” rule.

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