Musical Introversion

Jeff Scheetz Band - Behind The Mask (Front)

One of the blessings in my life is to have friends who are part of the local music scene. These guys have real talent, more so than a lot of national acts, in my opinion. Folks, if you haven’t already, please check out the Musical Blades, the Jolly Rogers, Love Pump, and the Jeff Scheetz Band. Read More

Back In the Saddle Again!

Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle

It has been some time since I DM’d regularly in real life. I’ve been longing for some gaming again, but haven’t really had a good opportunity. I ran into some old friends at GenCon, and we got talking again about old games, and decided to game together again, roughly once a month. We decided to include our kids (save for these friends’ youngest, who is a bit too young). With my best friend tagging along, that’s 8 players total! Now, I have been a bit intimidated by all this. I haven’t run a game in forever. We’re using the D&D… Read More

Farewell, Slice of SciFi

slice of scifi

Dear podcast friends, It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to unsubscribe from Slice of Scifi. It was one of the first podcasts that I listened to and has been such a part of my life for years. I no longer feel like it is the show it once was. I have a few reasons for this that I will outline below. First, I believe that any great endeavor in fandom revolves around community. You take care of your fans, invite them to participate. That was the magic of Slice. I had a podcast family. Everyone could… Read More

Creating Spelljammer for 3rd Edition

Spelljammer

Introduction With the licensing of some of Wizards of the Coast’s settings, such as Dragonlance and Ravenloft, there has been talk among fans of licensing out some of the other older settings as well, such as the Spelljammer setting. Despite there being an interest in having such a license, the fan base is split on how it should be approached. Some will tell you that classic Spelljammer should be updated to 3rd edition rules. Some will say that Spelljammer should be based on Shadow of the Spider Moon, the d20 Spelljammer mini-game in Polyhedron, written by Andy Collins. There’s plenty… Read More

Shackles of My Own Making

My handwriting is horrible. Whenever folks need a visual representation of the Klingon language, they ask me to write something. If you go by the stereotype, I should be a rich doctor. And yet, it is what it is. Just kind of sloppy and hard to read. My character sheets were equally hard to read. My writing is kind of big, so to put it in teeny tiny boxes…well, it gets hard to write it all. Like any gamer, I like accuracy and detail. And yet, my own handwriting was limiting me. That’s when Wizards of the Coast released Character… Read More

Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Cute

There is no denying that Star Wars is a sci-fi icon. The series changed the way that we looked at scifi, both on-screen and behind-the-scenes. Yet for all its accomplishments, Star Wars takes a lot of heat. Primarily, the critics love to bash the Ewoks and Jar-Jar Binks. Let’s start with Jar-Jar. Okay, I get that some think he’s annoying. Not everyone in life can be likable. I understand that many don’t like the way he talks. So what? We don’t bag on Yoda for the way he talks. Perhaps, though, we should paint Jar-Jar in a new light. First,… Read More

Dragonhelm’s Gamma World Game Day Report

gamma-world

While I have known about Gamma World for many years, I only got to play it for the first time today at the Gamma World Game Day. Basically, you go to your local participating game store, sit in on a game, and get to experience what Gamma World is all about. I took my 13-year-old son with me today, and we had a blast. Does Gamma World measure up to past editions? I can’t say either way, as I’m not familiar with those prior editions. What I can comment on is this version of Gamma World. It’s a variant of… Read More

Dragonhelm’s Essentials D&D Encounters Report

keep-on-the-borderlands-cover

For the first time tonight, I got to play Encounters. This season, the adventure is none other than the classic Keep on the Borderlands. I had never played it before, so I was excited to do it. My friend Curtis and I were it for our table, so we were going to play two characters each. Another group was also short, so they combined us. What’s funny is that we had a lot more role-playing when it was just me and Curtis. The others were probably half our age (or close to it) and only out for the combat. One… Read More

The Mark of a Successful Game

How do you know when your game is successful? How do you know that you have one of those games where the players are really into the story and action? How do you know that your game isn’t just good, but great? These are hard questions, to be sure, ones that don’t always have clear-cut answers. Sometimes players won’t tell you if they’re not having fun because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. Sometimes you misread your players and think they’re really into your game when they might not be. I believe the mark of a successful game is… Read More

Games of the Imagination

Earlier tonight, I interviewed Tracy Hickman for a future episode of the Dragonlance Canticle podcast. During the conversation, we talked about gaming, and an interesting topic came up. The basic gist is that role-playing games have become very good at being simulations in nature, but have gotten further away from narrative storytelling and creativity. Is this the case? There are those that say that story is independent of the rules. We as gamers bring the story to the table. There’s a lot to be said for that. I know that, no matter the game, I bring the same killer storytelling… Read More