Tuesday, December 23, 2014


The bloggers version with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the night before Christmas, on the 'net and in the house, Not a blogger was posting, motionless their mouse
The FRPG musings were posted on blogspot with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas would be reading there
The characters were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of treasure hoards danced in their heads
And mamma with her handbook, and I with my map, Had just nodded off for a short gamer's nap
When from the game room there arose such a clatter, I fell from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away down the stairs I tumbled with fright, Tore open the door and threw on the lights.
The rays from tree lights on the hexgrid below Gave an erie lustre of magic to objects that glow,
When, what to my bloodshot eyes should appear, But miniatures, a sleigh, and eight pewter reindeer
With a little old driver, so red and waist thick, I knew it was painted to look like St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles on hastes spells they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name; "Now, Bigby! now, Evard! now, Rary and Tenser! On, Heward! on Tasha! on, Drawmij and Nystul!
To the top of the castle! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As wizards, who at fifth level take the spell fly, those figures they flew just missing my eye.
So up to the Mantel-top the miniature reindeer they flew, the tiny sleigh full of games, and St. Nicholas too. And then, in a twinkling, I heard as they stood, prancing and pawing of metal on wood.
As I drew up my hand, and was uttering a sound, off the mantel St. Nicholas enlarged with a bound. He was dressed in fake fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes looked tarnished with faux ashes and soot
A bundle of boxes fell on the floor with his growth, like at Gencon, a marketer just opening his booth.
His red eyes -- how they twinkled! it was really quite scary!
His lips were bright red, more like blood than a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a shortbow, his beard braided dwarf like was as white as the snow
In his teeth was a pipe the color of bones, the smoke it encircled his head like ioun stones
He had a broad face and a little round belly, that shook, when he laughed like gelatinous cube jelly.
He was chubby and plump, who though him an elf? He is more like a first edition gnome, I thought to myself
A wink of his eye, and my reactions had trailed, I was immobile, my save it had failed
He spoke not a word, but went straight to my snacks, and stuffed his mouth full and mumbled, 'relax'.
And laying his finger aside of his nose, getting quite small, up the mantel he rose
He sprang to his sleigh, said 'teleport' to his team, and vanished all like they were a dream.
But I heard him exclaim, from the ether out of sight, "Happy Christmas to all, back to posting 'morrow night."

Sunday, December 7, 2014

You kids get off my hex grid!

Ok, so maybe that does not resonate like You kids get off my lawn!  Again, the same article by a guest
poster over at Gnome Stew triggered this gnotion.

I have dice older than half of the people in the game I am in.  These twenties are long since retired.  The edges are so badly chipped and worn they do not roll true, and without corners take a while to stop rolling.  These are the dice where you used crayons to fill in the spaces so you could read the numbers.

Ah, the memories.

Much has changed in gaming.  We had no electronic support (my only computer at the time was a TRS Color 80), and had no body to learn from via message boards, and we did not know any other gamers.  We were blissfully alone and blazing our own trail.  I do not believe our fun suffered at all from it.  Our only connection to the outside gaming world was via Dragon Magazine.

I am not making any comment about where gaming is now as being bad or unfun - just different.  It is fun watching these 'youngsters' learn the role play ropes and make the same mistakes we used to make.  Heck, we still make the same mistakes we used to make.

Ultimately, we are still a bunch of folks sitting around a table, adventuring, rolling dice, conquering challenges, and laughing hysterically.  I am glad these kids invited me to their game, even though it is not a hex grid.

I have pretty new dice with nice sharp edges and they seem to roll true enough for us.  Sometimes I take out my old dice just to look at them and hold them in my hand.

The dice never lie.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Time for gaming?

An article by a guest poster over at Gnome Stew triggered this bit of a rant.  There is no connection between these sites except maybe for our fondness for gnomes maybe.  If you have not read anything over there, I suggest you check it out.

The article was mostly about getting back into gaming, and how to make gaming recruits that stick.  The author did make one point which triggered this rant.

We don't find time for gaming, we make time for gaming.

Insert what ever else you are passionate about in place of gaming if you prefer.  If you wait to find time for the things which are important, then you are letting life pass you by.  Make time for what is important, find time for things which are not.  Simple.

You have said it.  I have said it.  We have heard it over and over again.  I can't find the time for...

So - if gaming is your passion and you are not playing because you cannot find time for it, something is broken.  No excuses, get out there and make time for what is important.

The dice never lie.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Goose Island Oktoberfest

I know the Goose Island folks have been around a while, but they seem to be making a splash in the North East recently, and well, I just had to try some out.  Here we go with the Oktoberfest.

First off, I like there brand - "We don't need to be the only beer you drink, we just want to be the best beer you drink."  That resonates with me.

The label announces it as a traditional Marzen, IBU rating 17, 6.4% ABV.  It pours out slightly opaque coppery colored with a nice foamy head which dissipates fairly quickly to a thin lacing.  Seems very much a classic Octoberfest style beer.  I get some caramel/toffee kind of aroma.

There is a sweet butterscotch and toffee taste to it, with a little bit of stickiness in the mouth.  I generally do not like 'sweet' drinks but this seems nicely balanced with just enough bitterness to know you are drinking a beer, but having lots of roasted/toasted malt flavor.  Maybe a little honey flavor too.  A medium body beer, not something you would want on a hot day but this would go lovely with Germain comfort food.  The moderate carbonation is not overwhelming, and the after taste leaves your mouth watering a bit.

Very much in balance but featuring the toffee and roasted malt flavors.  The label also calls our dried apricot, which I can taste a little but is not strong for me.  It does not have the depth of flavor of a very expensive craft beer, but definitely is a nice autumn beer and it stands out at its price point.  If given the choice between a Sam's October and this, I would choose this.

Thumbs up!  Cheers.

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