After more than 20 years of creating free RPG content for the sheer joy of fiddling with the systems and just to see what I could do with dice, and over 30 years of playing RPG games, my interests have taken me to other places.
This blog will remain for as long as Google continues to support Blogger. But I honestly don't know how long that might be. My free RPG links had been broken, so I have gone through and moved everything from Dropbox over to Google Drive. Now things are working again, so I present to you one final time, this cover gallery featuring my various free RPG projects.
Clicking on an image will download the document. This should be just about everything I've ever done. Some of it is pretty good, and some of it not so much. But, I created it to share, so take what you like and enjoy.
It's just too cool that someone translated my game into French!
Labels are bad. All of my life I have
resisted the tendency prevalent in our society to judge or define a
person by race, gender, sexual preference, weight, or other such
narrow criteria. Maybe it's because I am, "that crippled man."
Oh, no one calls me this aloud. But, this judgment does exist. It is
assumed (and often rightly so) that I am unable to do certain things.
But, right or wrong, prejudging my capabilities based on the label
that society has given me robs me of my power.
Growing up, I loved reading comic
books. I still do. The thing about comics is that often the heroes in
the stories lead double lives. There is a juxtaposition between the
seemingly helpless secret identity and the ultra-powerful hero
identity. People judge each side based on appearance: one is seen as
incapable and the other is seen as infallible. But these two sides
are the same person. The lesson here is that appearances are
deceiving. There is more to a person than what you can see.
Comics showed us that the book worm who
was bullied in gym class was also the hero praised on the evening
news. Comics showed us aliens from other worlds who just wanted to
fit in and get the attention of the cute person next to them, even as
we were feeling alien in our own skins and suffering from the same
Comics, at least the ones that I read
as a kid, had so much to teach us about transcending the labels
placed on us by society and living together (all together) as heroes.
And it's how I have tried to live my life. And it's a message that I
think is especially important to remember today, as I think about our
Of course, kids don't read comics so
much anymore. It's all video games now, and I don't get that video
games are shaping children the same way that comics did for me. In
fact, from what I have heard and seen in video game chat communities,
the opposite is happening. I miss the comics. Our world needs these
positive heroic ideas.
Thankfully, these stories aren't gone.
If someone had told the kid that I was reading comic books back in
1977 that he would be watching his favorite superhero stories on the
television screen four nights a week, I am certain that he would not
have been able to believe it. But, it's really happening. The stories
on the CW television line-up are the comics of my youth. They carry
the same positive messages of right and wrong and heroism, of
inclusion and acceptance, of ignoring labels and judging on merit.
Right now Supergirl is sharing the most
intelligent, engaging, heartwarming, and non-judgemental, treatment
of a homosexual relationship that I have ever seen on television.
It's this very real story line that makes Supergirl my most
anticipated show each week. Sure, I am a comic book nerd and the
fantastic spectacle of super heroes, powers, and villains reaches
that boy inside, but it's the other stuff that reaches the man.
I am watching this show with my
daughter. She gets it. She understands that people aren't to be
judged by any preconceived notion or measure. That people are to be
experienced, and their value gauged solely on the breadth of that
experience. I am proud of her for that. And, I am proud of and
thankful to the CW for giving us these amazingly thoughtful and
important stories. Especially now when our world needs them the most.
I have invested in a lot of board game Kickstarters and people have asked me what this is all about, so I thought it might be cool to take a moment to explain.
Kickstarter is a funding source for entrepreneurs. Board game designers have grabbed onto this source to see their dreams made into reality, but almost any product or idea that you can imagine can have its start on Kickstarter.
It works like this: people see a cool idea for some new product and they "purchase" the product in advance. But, this isn't a "pre-order;" this is an investment. This product hasn't been produced yet. In fact there is no guarantee that it ever will be.
Ideally, if the funding goal of the campaign is met, you are then billed for the amount of your pledge, and the production of the product that you have invested in can begin. Expect to wait upwards of a year, sometimes more for your investment to pay off.
If the funding goal isn't met, the campaign is put to bed, and your credit card isn't charged. But, what if the campaign is successfully funded, and you are charged, but something goes wrong?
I pledged for something called "pencil dice." They are pencils that you can roll across the table to get a random number, because they also work like dice. It seemed like a cool idea for a novelty product, and it was a minor investment. Unfortunately, as it turns out, the designer didn't do his homework, and the poor guy is getting sued for infringing on another designer's idea.
I don't think that the Pencil Dice designer meant to do anything wrong, but he used the campaign money to make a product, and now he is being sued. He isn't in a position to repay the money. It's gone. He is being stopped legally from distributing the product, and backers are angry. I believe I read somewhere that the poor man is even getting death threats (over pencils.)
Don't be like that.
If you invest in a Kickstarter you must be prepared (as with any investment) to lose your money. I do not expect to ever receive my "Pencil Dice" pencils. However, what I describe is the exception, not the rule.
The other side of this coin is: product quality. What if you invest in something and the final product just isn't as good as you thought that it would be? That's a much more common problem, especially with board games. I have invested in more than a few games that I thought would be awesome, but turned out to be nothing of the sort. A few that were just plain bad. Fortunately, I have gotten much better at making wise investments.
Take "Tiny Epic Quest" for example. Tiny Epic Quest is the fifth game in the "Tiny Epic" line of games by Scott Almes. The first, "Tiny Epic Kingdoms" was pretty good, but not great, I don't own it anymore. However, each game has been better than the last, and Scott Almes has proven himself to be an accomplished and innovative game designer. The third game in the Tiny Epic line: Tiny Epic Galaxies is fantastic and has a permanent home on my game shelf. Tiny Epic Quest looks to be better still!!
I am not the only one who has noticed. Upon its launch, the Tiny Epic Quest Kickstarter made nearly $250,000 of its $15,000 goal! (That was on its first day!)
I am one of the investors.
(1) A proven game designer with a strong history of delivering on backer investments.
(2) A track record of great games that just keep getting better.
(3) A fantastic game design that creates the impression that it might feel like: "The Legend of Zelda: the Board Game!"
(4) A low price point that most anyone can afford!
To my friends who are curious about this whole Kickstarter thing, who have been considering making an investment, but have been concerned about the risk: take a look at Tiny Epic Quest. This is: A wise investment. Zero risk. Guaranteed reward. Reasonable price point.
You can't lose.
The campaign concludes funding near the end of November, and backers will be billed at that time. The game is scheduled for release in August of 2017, but it has been my experience that Scott Almes company: Gamelyn Games will deliver early. Gamelyn are pros at this whole Kickstarter thing.
Want to be on the ground floor of an awesome new game for you and your family? You can't go wrong with: Tiny Epic Quest!
I am one of those people, maybe you are too, who avoids the subject of politics. It's something I don't really want to talk about at all. So, this might be my one and only exception, but I think as an American there really might be something wrong if you aren't worried about our country right now.
American politics are complex and confusing. Understanding the machinations of processes and procedures that create real value and virtue in this system is beyond my scope. I don't think I am alone there. That's why I tend to avoid discussions involving politics. I don't think anyone knows what's really going on ... not really. If we could really understand it, we could change it. Right?
Instead, I feel like politics has become its own religion. There is Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Democratic, Republican. Your political affiliation is something you believe in, and that becomes bigger than the "facts" because the "facts" are too big to fathom. They are for me anyway. So it becomes easier to place your faith in a broader idea.
And that's why I don't like to talk about politics. Like religion, once a person has invested their faith in something, reason looses ground, and challenges to faith can result in violent blow-back. Such exchanges are almost never productive.
The thing is, I understand this. I do this myself. I don't know anything about politics, or political policy, or the way things work. I draw vague conclusions of my own based on a simple cynical viewpoint: that money is the real power in the world, and that special interest groups make policy.
It seems like true reform is impossible given the political quagmire of greed and corruption that has had 240 years to learn how to protect itself. I don't believe the United States is capable of impactful political solutions. Each step forward seems to carry with it stipulations and addendums that push things an equal number of steps back. That's how the checks and balances work.
Maybe I am completely off-base. I haven't studied the issues. But, I am an intelligent man and my "impressions" are drawn based upon 50 years of life experience, so they aren't completely born of ignorance. I can't imagine I am the only one feeling a bit hopeless.
I do know this: the internet has changed the world. Global relations matter. We are growing more and more into a world community. We cannot afford to embrace isolationist view points no matter how appealing they may seem (depending on your faith.) And while the American political machine may be so contrived as to resist any meaningful change, the President of the United States is still the face of our country.
The way the world views this nation can be greatly damaged over the next four years. That damage will hurt us as a nation, and what hurts this nation will hurt its people. I don't like to talk politics. I know how strongly people cling to their faith, but I am going to make this plea, just this once.
I fear one choice will do more harm than that choice will do good. That harm could destroy our credibility as a nation. That harm could lead to global war. That harm could alienate what few world alliances we have left. That harm terrifies me.
Please do not vote for Donald Trump. He will harm this country.