I spent part of yesterday cleaning and ran across a photo album containing a couple pictures from high school and then many from college. I decided I should probably scan them all and upload them to my Amazon Prime account to make sure nothing happens to them. It ended up being an emotional task for me. I ran across photos I had forgotten were taken. Joy, sadness, love, and heartache… These are the things that remain frozen in our neuronal patterns decades after events transpire. The specifics of the events become cloudy, ill-defined. And yet the emotion often lives on crystal clear, albeit diminished.

One of the friends saying goodbye to our meeting place before he moved away
a friend saying goodbye to our meeting place before he moved away

Within that liminal period of my life spent in college, I became friends with a group of young men and women who grabbed on to me tighter than any friends ever had before. We had in common that we were enthralled with poetry and music. The Dead Poets Society and Swing Kids were our movie anthems. In other words, we were typical, intellectual college students in the early 90s. Or maybe not. It was a foregone conclusion that we would soon start our own version of a dead poets society. Usually we would hold our meetings late at night, past curfew (our college had one), out in the woods in a little clearing we found. We dragged over some logs, found a tiny plastic table to put candles on (which caught on fire eventually), and added an incense burning tray. And then we would read our poetry. Sometimes it was poetry written by “real poets” that we found personally meaningful. Other times we read our own. We wrote poems about our lives and thoughts to share, and then sometimes poems to and in honor of each other to show that we cared. Luckily, one of our members happened to have possession of a duplicate of the master key to the college. That key came in handy after curfew, particularly when it rained. We found an attic entrance in a classroom building that we could get up into. Inside were all sorts of detritus left from decades gone by. It was a wonderfully musty, dark, and mysterious area that certainly didn’t warrant the name of “room”. And so, the poetry could continue through the storms.

Apparently, the board game market is growing at an annual rate of over 10% at this point. This is due to the fact that people are getting tired of digital entertainment to a larger and larger extent. Board games just feel more real and they are certainly more social than video games. According to the article, tabletop games will be growing at a faster pace than video games for the next five years at least.

Link: DW.com

Here's a great video explaining the current popularity of Dungeons and Dragons!

Wendys RPG Feats of Legends

This is the strangest RPG ever created I believe. Wendy's has created an entire RPG called Feast of Legends that people can download for free. It's a 97 page long pdf which has the rules and an adventure to go along with it. Wow. The entire game is obviously tongue-in-cheek, but it's actually a fully playable RPG of beginner weight.

There are classes of characters to choose between. There are various weapons and, armor, and items to gain and use. There is a map of the world as well. The items, gear, and world are all based upon humorous adaptions of things in Wendy's restaurants. All in all, it's a nicely done job for a restaurant, and seems like it would be fun to play with kids who like going to fast food restaurants. They will get the humor in the game and probably enjoy it a great deal.

Link: Feast of Legends

Paizo has released the background story of a brand-new iconic character for the Starfinder RPG. The new character is a biohacker. Biohackers will be released soon in an upcoming game supplement. So Paizo is generating a pre-sale buzz with this. Personally, I love this new iconic. She is basically Bill Nye the Science Guy when you read her story. She has a kids holovid show where she teaches them about the wonders of science. Her job title is "scientific ambassador." Science teacher by day, adventurer by night. And with that she is now my new favorite RPG pre-gen character of all time. Her new class, the biohacker, has also now become my favorite class. Nicely done, Paizo!

Link: Barsala's Background

Apparently rats can be taught to play hide and seek with humans, according to a new study. They know to be quiet when it is their turn to hide. They make noises when they are seeking. They also know to hide in opaque places rather than transparent ones when they are hiding so as not to be seen. Pretty cool!

Link: Science

The children and I have finished painting our latest miniatures for one of the D&D games we play in. Mine is the ice-powered white dragonborn sorceror on the right. My daughter is the elf bard performing in the center and my son is the elf wizard preparing to cast his fireball on the left. The children are getting better and better at their painting. They notice it themselves and are very pleased with their own progress. I also enjoy looking back at the miniatures I first painted and comparing them with now. We all have a long way to go, but the journey is a fun one.

Painted Miniatures

There was a great article put out by a Magic: The Gathering designer named Mark Rosewater yesterday. In the article he lays out some reasons why games designers should design their products with diversity in mind. Basically, the more people that can find themselves somehow reflected in your game, the more people will like your game. From a purely business standpoint, it's ridiculous at this point to design a game that doesn't show a full spectrum of character diversity. Rosewater mentions that Magic now has its first major trans character in the game and what a postive reception that character has had. He also states that Wizards of the Coast ensures that they have an equal representation of the sexes of the characters in their cards. Nicely done! I'm not a Magic player myself, and thus did not know that.

I couldn't be happier than to see the game industry finally coming around to this viewpoint. It's happening just in time for my own children to be entering their teenage years. Thankfully, they won't have to put up with playing games where all the heroes are white males and any women included are portrayed ludicrously rather than heroically.

Gaming is currently undergoing an upheaval in terms of how it is working to expand its customer demographics. People from all walks of life have discovered that games are actually fun to play beyond childhood. In order to keep those people in the gaming community once they enter, gaming products must welcome them in by reflecting back to them those qualities that make them special as people.

Article: Wizards link

Here's a great short documentary about the power of role-playing games to heal people.