The Easter the Almost Wasn’t

I almost lost myself today, friends.  Today was Easter, and I decided to have it at my house, even though my mom’s house is now open.  I figured since it was K’s first meat day, we could celebrate here with all the meat and not just ham.  I am not too much of a ham person, to be honest.

I woke up before Girl2, but not before K.  Girl2 came down and sure enough, we had chicken for breakfast. Girl2, the Boy and Girl1 and went through their baskets (the Easter Bunny was a bit lazy this year so there was no basket hiding).  We had chicken and potatoes for breakfast and the prepared for the day ahead.

The reason we have had holidays here is not due to tradition, but rather a falling out has occurred that has made the family not all be able to gather together.  I won’t get into that here, but it is a point of the story for today.  My mom told me she would be here at 2, so I figured 2:30-3.  See, I was planning the cooking around this as well as the planned activities for the children (yearly Easter egg hunt).  So as it got closer to 3, I had K give a call on over to see when they would be here.  She talked to my mom and she said it would be some time, because she still had to go  to my brother’s house first.  

I cannot lie to you.  I was angry.  This wasn’t the first time that planned activities have been held up because of going to my brothers house.  J’s last birthday was a prime example, where she was late and almost didn’t come, and when she did, it was much later than I wanted.  Now, my brother has cut himself off from the family, except for my mom, and that’s fine; we all make our choices.  However, I don’t like being on hold, and not just me, but everyone else in the family as well.

I was doing my rage thing, when K told me, “You know, other people have far worse Easter Sundays.  Some don’t have baskets, or dinners, or anything.”  I think she was explaining it more to Girl2, but I also think it was meant for me. 

I decided there and then that I wasn’t going to let this throw me off. I was going to do what we had planned.  We hid eggs, Julie found them.  Then Julie and I hid the eggs and everyone else found them.

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It was like The Hunger Games.  The Boy pushed Girl1 into the bushes for an egg.

We started our cooking, I had potatoes, K had meat.

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And a beer

We got dolled up and took pics!

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Posing a threat!

They came just in time to eat.  We carved some meat, ate the meal, my mom brought over like 100 more eggs.  Really.  This was how tired I was of hiding eggs:

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I got really lazy.

The kids (and Uncle Sal) had fun finding them and it was amazing.  There was much laughter, tears from laughter really.  And some great pictures.

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This is just epic.  Look at all that radiating beauty.

Here is the point of all of this.  Holidays don’t need to be on a schedule.  They happen when they happen.  I am lucky enough to be able to be surrounded by people I love, people who love me, abundance of food, and it all happens when it is supposed to happen.  It was a beautiful day, as it was a meant to be.  There was no need for any anger.  Love heals.

“Groove is in the heart.” – Deee-LIte

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The Saga Continues – Adventure Ahead!

Hello good friends!  Today was our second session of our Heroes as they searched to find what had happened to a missing family and missing guards, and maybe, figure out what was happening to the poor town of Kingsholm.

There was no Inn adventures,so it was less prep for me in terms of menus, however, props were abound!  My girl K and the Boy were gifted with enchanted water pouches, made from animal skin and decorated with the raven feathers from their prior battles.  It would purify anything entered into it.  Girl1 and Pedro were gifted with regular canteens to hold water.  I also put together some leftover Easter candy in a bag, and when they rolled a critical, they had a piece thrown at them.

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Prizes for crits!  They were really excited to see candy thrown at them!

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Ok, the Boy was excited when he actually hit something.

They came upon the graveyard where the mausoleum was to find two dead Sentinels.  May they rest in peace.

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Petrilly performed a sending to take them to the final resting place.

We all learned some lessons.  I learned to not draw a room, because I am not an artist and what happens is you have 7 undeads in a room, not drawn correctly, and the priest has access to turn all of them.  At once.  And she was double their hit die.  I learned that I have a lot of homework re-scaling a dungeon.  It was a pretty awesome moment for her, and I would have been excited as well.

I had put together black pouches with various gems, plastic gold coins, and pretty stones, so if there was treasure to be found, it was thrown on the table.

I also learned how much fun it was to mess with your players.  There was a puzzle room, and it was the simplest puzzle.  I hyped it up and bit and when questions were asked, I just laughed.  This brought fear into them and made them really cautious.  The best part was The Boy solved it about 30 seconds after entering, but no one would let him do it because they were afraid.

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This was the room of the mind melt.  All that needed to be done was move the tiles in chronological order.  Hahahahahaha.

They saved a trapped girl, sent a pair of soul mated skeleton wolves into their final resting place  (I added the soul mated part.  I am such a dramatic romantic), and defeated an ogre zombie.

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Yes, that dice lights up if it lands on a 20.  I can’t wait to use it for rolling!

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Look at those swarms!  There was only supposed to be 4, but I am mean like that.

End of the day, fun was had by all in our 6 hour session.  I am rather enjoying playing DM, and I have assigned homework to my group to help them (and me) dive more into their characters.  I enjoy coming up with sound effects (today’s was Zombie sounds, stone doors, bones rattling, and most battles had the Final Fantasy 10 battle song and concluded with the Final Fantasy 7 victory song).  

This campaign has so much story to it, but I am planning on making some parts my own, to again, face my players with their fears, their temptations,and themselves.  I cannot wait to get them farther along into the dark recess of my mind, and I hope they can make it out alive.

Until next time, roll true and high, friends.  Let me know if you get a crit and you may get some candy!

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The Return of the Unhealthy Relationship

Square, Square, Square.

So many years it took me to get over you.  It took so long to even admit that I was in a one sided relationship with you.  I found the strength though, the strength I needed to move past you.  I left you behind after Final Fantasy 13.  I came to terms with the fact that the last Final Fantasy I actually played through and beat was 10.  It hurt to not beat 12 or 13.  I had played you from 1 on.  It wasn’t just Final Fantasy either.  I would buy something just because it came from you.  That’s some trust.

I left you behind because I felt deflated with your actions to me.  It wasn’t that you couldn’t give me a stunning visual experience, because you could, but because I gave you so much of my time and dedication, and I did not get emotionally fulfilled.  Do you know how empty I felt playing 12?  How little I cared about Lightening?  Honestly, she had the personality of a paper bag.

There were times, many times, that I wondered if I made the right choice leaving you behind.  Hearing that Final Fantasy 13-2 was a good game, that it had value, you made me doubt myself again.

Now you did the only thing you could have that would have guaranteed that I would return to you.  You gave me back 10.  

Oh, Tidus, how annoying you are in the beginning, but how much I love you later on.  Yuna, you beautiful soul, so selfless going towards something that you know won’t end well.  Auron, you wonderful man on a mission.  All of you, really.  You gave me back the perfect game for me.  

I think you did this to lure me back with your soft words and beautiful songs.  It worked.  I have now spent hours upon hours, happily grinding and lending money to some shady store operator.  I just want to keep going, but not too fast, so I can take it all in and relive it again, but like Yuna, know it isn’t going to end well.  

After I’m done maybe I will try 13 again.

 

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Another Question Posed

Hello friends!

It is my lunch time here and a conversation my girl K and I have discussed, with each other and others, is how we view dice.  Other than my unhealthy addiction of them, we both have the opinion that when we create a new character to play, they should have their own dice set.  Personally, I feel that the style of dice can say a lot about the character.  Ana, my Cleric, is serious.  She is cold, and her dice are elvish dice.  Grace, my rogue, was very flashy, so she had sparkly, pretty, dice.  Janella, my original fighter, was very serious and responsible, so she had dark purple dice.  It never felt right playing a character with another’s dice, except for the times I needed a few d6′s.

How do you feel concerning sets of dice?  Do you have different ones for different characters, or do you feel that one set, tried and true, can go through all adventures?  

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Really unhealthy.  I know I am not even done yet.

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Personal Character sets.  The pictures never do the colors justice.

My break is pretty much over, but I was curious on the take you may have.  I know when K and I were discussing it with Girl1 and the Boy, they didn’t think more than 1 set would be needed.  I like to think that each character needs their definition.  Each way would work, and in the end it is all about personal preference.  

Til next time, roll true!

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Chasing Memories

I am going to preface this by saying that this will be all over the place.  I apologize to you for that.  I usually like to have an idea and just write it out and see where it goes.  Tonight though, I have so many things in my head.

Today was somber and beautiful.  It was wonderfully warm, windy, but a warm wind.  Today we laid my Uncle Bob to rest.  Girl1 came with me; she had never been to a military funeral.  Uncle Bob served for over 20 years, so it was no surprise to me that he would be buried with military honors.

There is a beauty to it; a beauty that breaks your heart.  As soon as the guns salute, the bugle plays, you feel it deep inside.  The flag ceremony and presentation is somber.  It seems like such a contradiction that such a beautiful day such sad activities were going on.

It was a beautiful service.  I am honored to have been able to witness it.  I won’t write too much more about that since I have posted my homage.  

While we were there, my immediate family did stop at my Grandparent’s grave on my mother’s side.  They are also buried there.  We set off, and I found it right away.  

Oh, my Grandmother.  A complete force to be reckoned with.  She taught me how to shuffle cards and play Boggle.  I remember countless hours of just playing cards, or games of Boggle and her winning every single time.  I asked her once, “Why won’t you let me win?”.  She just looked at me and put down the cards.  Her answer was this, “I won’t let you win.  One day you will, and when that day comes it will be because you beat me and not because I handed it to you.”  This, I still carry with me to this very day.  If I want something, I will have to work for it.  I did beat her one day and I was so proud of myself because she was untouchable at Rummy or Boggle.  I can also still shuffle a mean deck of cards.

My Grandfather, well, he was also someone who taught me a lot of things.  He taught me that very manly men could get very much into soap operas.  Also, he introduced me to many of the wonders of the game shows.  He loved word searches and crosswords, and though I never picked up the crosswords, I still enjoy word searches.  He made dinner every night, and I remember many times of him helping me with my bike, teaching me to put my chain on.

When we were leaving, we saw one gravestone that had rocks on it, with a card tied around it.  It was a windy day and the card was open.  It said “Happy 55th anniversary, I love you.”  My sister cried, and I held her.  I understood, the overall emotion, the simple beauty of love that would have someone tying a card to a gravestone, because to them it isn’t just a gravestone.  It is their love.  It is their Uncle, it is their Grandparents.  

Tonight, I will unwind after the rest of my day, which involved working.  I had the perfect project for today though.  It involved calling people and connecting.  One woman made me cry (which wasn’t hard today) because she told me that I made the difference for her.  I had an email in my mailbox from an agent who spoke to their Insured and they were so grateful that a large company could have so much compassion.  Today was all about compassion, humanity, and understanding that we are all one.

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image from http://downdogyoga.net/ 

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A Question Posed

Hello friends!  I am hoping you can all lend me some assistance with a few questions.  For those that have played D&D, either as a DM or a player, what makes a session enjoyable to you?

As a DM: What do you do to prepare?  What expectations do you have for your players?  What do you think makes sessions fun, in a way that you feel you can help create?

As a player: What makes the sessions enjoyable for you?  What expectations do you have for your DM?  

I appreciate any and all insight! 

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To Kingsholm!

Hello, my dear friends!  It’s time for a total geek out post because it has been far too long.  My Tricksy and Most Gentle DM is preparing for her upcoming wedding in June and I thought to myself that I should start a game.  I have never Dm’d before, so I must admit I was a bit nervous.  I think of the job as a very serious one.  You are in control; how the players feel about the game could have a lot to do with how the DM is doing.  It’s storytelling, and a need to push things along at a certain pace, to keep them entertained.  Basically, it’s Morgan Freeman.  I also wanted to do the Tricksy (and Most Gentle) DM justice.  She has schooled me in D&D and I love playing with her.  I figure though that if I can get my skills honed, I may be able to give her a break and allow her to just play when she is ready.

Also, before I begin (and I admit, this may be a longish post), I would like to say a few words about how D&D has really brought a lot to the table (literally and figuratively).  Playing this game has given me something to do with my older children, and my youngest is going crazy trying to find ways to play.  In fact, she helped me with the prepping of this, but more of that later.  There will also be a lot of pictures.  So, let’s begin.

About a month or so ago, I decided to throw this together.  I found an adventure online, purchased the pdf (it’s the first in a set of 3) and decided we were going to play.  K, the Boy, and Girl1 were in, and I decided to also ask one of Girl1′s friends who I am very fond of to join us.  He agreed and everyone (including Tricksy DM) came over to play a mock session to help Pedro build his character and do a one shot on how to actually play it.  It was a good time had by all and Grace was able to make an appearance.  Oh, that cheeky girl.

So, once that was done, I assigned the homework of everyone sending me their backstory, so I could put something together.  You see, I wanted there to be a purpose for their traveling to this one specific town.  I didn’t want them to just show up there, all separate.  From what I have learned from my D&D sessions is that they tend to be more involved when you feel a connection to everyone, or at least someone at the table.  I decided they would all receive letters instructing them to head to the town, all for a purpose, which may not be the same.

The week before, I decided I would map out traveling times.  The Boy, being from a Monastery, would have the longest.  They are usually in far away secluded areas.  Next would be K, who is living in a Celestial grove commune of hippies, then the Elves, their village was closer to the town, and they had a trade agreement, so they had the shortest.  I made a graph with the nights of travelling and whether there would be encounters.  This is where Girl2 came in.  She rolled and based on her rolling, would determine whether the encounter would be a high or low roll for the PC.  Except one, that one she rolled a 20, so one PC was definitely getting something.  (It was The Boy).  Then Girl 2 and I mapped up some monsters for them, so I would know what they would be fighting.  We finished up with just some one on one combat between Ana my Cleric and she played my brother’s Barbarian.  Here are some pics, and I think you can determine the winner:

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She rolls true.

So, onto yesterday.  Everyone was here and ready to do (and we had a guest, Girl1′s other HS friend), so we began.  Please hear Morgan Freeman as I narrate from here on out.  Even if I am a girl.

Everyone has a place in this world, and a job to do.  Five people learned yesterday that though their goals may be different, their paths may intersect.  The town of Kingsholm has had some trouble recently, and being a small town, do not have the forces to send out to investigate.  To Jea-Tei-Jin, this meant leaving his home to discover his inner strength.  Petrilly had received a message from her God, Obad-Hai, instructing her to find this young monk and assist him on his path.  Vadania needed to aid the town to help secure the elvish trade was cemented, as her village depended on this income.  Lia, her sister, needed to find her voice in the world, to sing the songs of her people and learn new ones.  Hephestus received a scroll from someone who could be a relative from his family; on the father’s side that abandoned them.  

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Yes, there were scrolls.

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Then set out they all did.  Jin set out through the forest (I put on forest sound effects) and had to battle alone on his first few nights.  On the third day, he came across and stepped on a halfling.  She was not too pleased at being stepped on, but as soon as she know it was the monk she was searching for became very excited.  Together they battled hard and won, and together I think they will both learn much.

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The elves had their own journeys to start and off they went. It wasn’t long before they also met up with Petrilly and Jin.  They headed to Kingsholm, just a day away.  Once they made it to the town, they were greeted by the Mayor’s assistant.  She told them they should head to the Tavern, as they were expected.  She went off to find the Mayor, to alert him that he would be needed, and our heroes set out to the Inn, for some rest, food, and entertainment (Jonathan the Bard was in town that night!)

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What is the first thing you do upon entering a town?  Use a hula hoop, throw a football, and dance!

When they entered the Inn, a very excited waitress named Alexia seated them.  You could hear the music in the background, an excellent night for entertainment.  She presented them with the day’s choices:

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Yes, I made a menu.

And started them off with appetizers, to whet the appetite.  My humor knows no bounds.

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They were told to enjoy their dinner, all vegetarian fair, as the cows had been taken and slaughtered.  Depending on who you ask, it is thieves, ghosts, wolves, or Thom.  I bet it was Thom. Or Kevin.

They met with the Innkeeper, the Captain of the Guard, and the Dwarf who runs the General Store.  They gave them the information of what was going on.  There was three missing humans, and two missing sentinels.  No one knows why, but they can’t send anymore to find them.  They asked them to do the favor, to see what could be happening and they would be handsomely rewarded upon return.  The Mayor offered a high price, as he was only expecting two people (the monk and the Elvish representative), and honestly, does not think any of all will return.  They agreed and the bar erupted into cheers for the “Champions of Kingsholm!” The best Ale (or sparkling grape juice) was brought out to celebrate these brave adventures.

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_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

And so this is where it ends for now.  Next session will be getting them to where the need to go and actually starting the adventure.  I very much look forward to running this show, as I found I had an excellent time doing it.  I found youtube to be an invaluable source to create environments.  They have sound effects for everything on there!  When K fought a dragon I put on dragon noises.  When they were in the forest, there were forest sounds.  I have found rain, dripping water for dungeons, wolves, bears, forest and night and campfires.  It is going to be much fun.  There won’t be a menu every time, but I figured for this one, who knew when they would be in a tavern next.  I need to find more props, things to make it more alive.  I almost made them walk over to the actual hiking path close to my house for the adventure, but I will save that for another day….

My blessing to you is may the 20′s be plentiful and your journey well met.

You can stop hearing me as Morgan Freeman now. 

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