Oh Hai?!, You’re Still Here!?!

Well, look at that. Another year around the sun and only a single blog post of note in 12 months. Congratulations, I’m sure I win some sort of prize.

Now, while I know I haven’t posted in forever, I have actually been somewhat busy. For those of you who were here last year, I’m referring to my last post where I was talking about rebuilding my old D&D world and revamping it to 5E.

Well, surprise of all surprises. I actually managed to wrangle the squirrels in my brain long enough to bang out a number of updates and upgrades to my world. I’ve always had an “In the beginning…” document that gave a semi-detailed account of the genesis of the world through till the modern age and several rough framework ideas that I’ve used as a basis for the world. I know the politics and the geography, climate and whatnot and can elaborate in some fashion when asked. The problem is that 90% of it has been in my head and I find it hard to put pen to paper and turn the ephemeral into reality.

Or at least it used to be a problem.

I’ve been tinkering with this world inside my head for almost 30 years now and I’ve always struggled to express what was inside my head effectively. I have all these elaborate maps and exotic locales inside my head that I’ve never had the skill to make effectively (I’ve tried multiple times and never been satisfactorily successful with my progress – but that’s a blog for another day). However, in the modern age we have websites like Inkarnate and Wonderdraft that make mapmaking like child’s play. And sites like World Anvil and the Homebrewery make world building easy. Not to mention DnD Beyond for character creation and the various Virtual Tabletop software that exists now. I swear that back in the day, these are the tools I dreamed of having. We are living in a golden age of creative empowerment.

Anyways, now that I have these tools, I’ve put them to somewhat good use. I’ve dabbled with a few of them while also futzing about with my tarsere.shadowmyth.net subdomain. I haven’t really settled on a theme or an idea yet but I decided to nail down some starting points and go from there. I revamped the history into a more cohesive document and tied down a few loose ephemera in the process. What really surprised me however was when I started digging in developing the races (oops. sorry – species rather </insert grumpy old man eyeroll here>)… When I started working on the species, I found that I was developing just as much lore and backstory for the world as I was while creating statblocks for the races that inhabit it. It was mindblowing how much creative power and freedom I had when I added a “fluff” sidebar that explained why X species did Y thing.

All in all, it took me about 2-3 months to actually finish the species and a few other bits then because, like I said, most of the other stuff is inside my brainbox, and I can futz it if I want. I was eager to get back into playing so once the races were done, I grabbed the guys. forced them to make characters and we’ve been stumbling along ever since.

They’ve only managed to reach level 3 and I’m not certain they’ll make it to 4 at this rate but we’re having fun which is all that matters. Stay tuned. I may even post another blog before the end of this year!

Exiled for the Good of the Realm

Well, I blinked again and it’s been two years since my last post. WTF!?!? Where did the time go. Oh I know. Covid. Stupid bastard plague!

Well, It has taken nearly two years but our defenses finally failed and Omicron invaded our house this past week. My Wife and eldest were both laid low by it and have spent the week alternately sleeping it off or lounging on the couch playing on the playstation.

Thankfully, both myself and the youngest tested negative (or were asymptomatic) and could function like semi-normal humans. However due to an overabundance of caution my work told me to take the week off and isolate so I’ve been catering to the whims of two sick people all week and avoiding all human contact.

Since my loving wife and daughter are hogging the PS5 pretty much 24/7 these days, I’ve been left to my own devices and with nothing much else to do, I have been dreaming dark dreams of creativity.

Since I haven’t seen my friends together in one place in over two years I haven’t had many creative outlets. Our Star Wars game ground to a halt for a number of reasons. (1. We couldn’t satisfactorily get it working online with everyone’s computer setup, 2. Fantasy Flight Games/Asmodee shifted the license to Edge Studios and there hasn’t been any books in 2 years, 3. Campaign/Theme fatigue. We need a change.)

With the government continually teasing that they’ll ease lockdown restrictions we’re ever hopeful that we can finish off the last adventure. None of us want to leave it hanging where we left it but we’re already looking for other ideas and games. Since none of my friends wants to be the GM, I’m stuck with it and after messing around with various options of different campaigns, I think we’ve decided to go back to D&D in the 5e setting.

Rather than just dive into one of the pre-built existing settings in D&D, I have to be unique and to that end I’ve decided to go back to my homebrew fantasy campaign, The Realm of Tarsere, and update it to the 5e system. I’ve revamped this system so many times that one would think that I’m sick of it but quite the opposite. The world building is my favourite part!

With this quarantine, when I haven’t been tending the plague-ridden, I’ve been digging through old files, cringing at bad (or weak) world-building decisions, and revamping what I can. I’m a bit of an ADHD squirrel at times because there is so much that I have already written and stored deep in the recesses of my brain that I almost don’t know where to start (Do I redo the map? Do I rebuild the races first? Ooooh! what about the Gods? etc.) but then I settle on something and my hyperfocus kicks in and blammo! Six hours later I have something tangible.

Now I know this is silly as it’s not even something that isn’t going to come to fruition for months yet but right now, with all the shit that’s going on in the world right now, I need it to stay focused and sane.

If you’re bored and want to see my progress of stuff that I will eventually post. Swing over to http://tarsere.shadowmyth.net/. At some point I’ll update the website properly and tweak the theme.

For now. Stay safe out there fellow humans.

Day 4

I make no bones about my geekiness. I was, am and always will be a nerd.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook by Gary Gygax

As I blogged about fairly recently. I wouldn’t be who I am if it wasn’t for D&D. It fueled my imagination. It increased my vocabulary well beyond my grade level. It allowed me to make complex mathematical calculations in my head. It empowered me to make friends. It made me problem solve and develop both communication and teamwork skills. It allowed the introvert inside me to learn to sometimes be an extrovert. It was in fact, the genesis of everything that I can take credit for today.

And yes Dorothy, if you noticed that every single one of those skills is something I can translate on to a resume today, you wouldn’t be wrong.

To anyone who reads this and fears D&D is evil and we’re all a bunch of Satanists bent on bringing about the apocalypse…  1) Please pry open that closed mind of yours and realize that D&D is nothing more than a tool to develop young minds into social, independent, smart, funny, radically thinking individuals who will amaze you with their skills. 2) Sod the Fuck off!

Tomorrow, we shall discuss dungeons deep and caverns old.

In The Beginning…

Growing up I was shy, quiet and very reserved. These days, I’d be labeled an introvert but back when I was growing up I was a considered a nerd and had very few friends. I’d tried Hockey but it wasn’t for me. I’d tried Cubs and it wasn’t for me. I’d tried soccer and I liked it but I wasn’t amazing at it. While I was never picked on or harassed like the extreme end of the nerd spectrum, I wasn’t ever part of the cool kids cliques either. I was a blip on the school radar and that was it. Which made me very happy. I enjoyed the invisibility (though the slew of 80s teen movies had me secretly dreaming to be the hero of my own story). I  survived by telling stories inside my head and hanging with the few friends I did have.

My mind was a far better place than this drab reality that we currently subscribe to. My cousin had turned me on to Tolkien and Lewis and they fueled my early imagination. Narnia and Middle Earth were my homes away from home, along with Treasure Island and a thousand other fantasies. My imagination roamed these worlds created by others and dreamt of something more. Then, in the summer of ’84, I met a kid named Brian Henderson and everything changed. Continue reading “In The Beginning…”

Time Well Wasted…

You ever get the feeling that time, that arbitrary, ephemeral concept just sort of exists to piss us the fuck off?

I mean honestly, if it weren’t for time I’d be happily ensconced in a book without a worry in the work. Or perhaps I’d be scribbling words on a page, forging headlong and onward in the novel in my head. Instead I sit here, Stumbling and typing this trying to wind down from another exhausting day when I could be happily sleeping next to the woman of my dreams…

Actually ya know what… fuck you lot. I’m going to bed. This post can wait.


(But in the interim…. The Trailer for “The Men Who Stare At Goats” is good. Watch it.)

House Of Cards

Hello once again my dear friends (pretending that there is more than one of you still reading this makes it easier on my fragile ego). I seem to have become quite the delinquent blogger over the past little while. I guess having a family and a job that takes up all your time does sort of prevent certain time wasting elements of life.

So, let me ‘splain… no there is too much. I’ll sum up. Prince Humperdinck marry… errr nevermind. You all know the joke. I’ve used it enough times already that you can all just finish it in your heads at your convenience. Think of it as my gift to you.

So let’s see how things are in Gregtown.

Baby is somewhere in the 5th Month and making mommy rather grumptastic with it’s kickfests. Apparently the Five Nations Cup is being played in Tamara’s Uterus. We still don’t know the sex but that’s intentional. We decided not to find out… or rather, I did. Tamara would’ve prefered knowing that way if it is a boy then she can get rid of all of Kayden’s old clothes but I opted for the “Surprise! it’s a 2-headed alien” option and Tam grudgingly aquiesced.

We have decided on names for both sexes though. I know I said in a previous post that I wasn’t going to say what they were but I figure what the hell. Barring any last minute changes of heart after we’re introduced to the squidlet, the name(s) will be as such: If it’s a girl, Zoe Elizabeth and if it’s a boy, Liam James. If it’s a two headed alien… obviously the name will be Zaphod Trillian. Duuuuh!

And just because we figured that the squidlet should have more than a box over it’s head, Tam and I have been looking at houses for the past little while. Apparently some drunken dolt forgot to carry the one and I’m eligible for a mortgage. Who knew!??!? The bad news is it’s not the greatest amount known to man, but the good news is we’ve found a house and have an offer on it pending approval of our conditions (financing and home inspection). For those of you interested in where… if everything goes as planned, we’ll be moving back to the Fort come September. Yeah, you heard me. I’m moving back to Fort Saskatchewan. Trust me… it wasn’t something that I had intended to do but my money went farther there and so I shall once again be residing in the town that I spent 20 years trying to move out of. I know I keep hearing that old sawhorse “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. Somehow I keep thinking that they’re trying to tell me something.

I’d show you the MLS listing but there are limits to the amout of info I will share. If you need to know though, I’m sure you can figure out how to contact me if you need to.

On the plus side I guess I’ll be closer to Dale’s place for D&D night… yeah you heard that right as well. I got suckered into playing 4th Edition D&D and despite my earlier misgivings, I actually kind of like it. Now if only we played more than once a month for 4 hrs. Oh to be young and burden free once again.

I haven’t done much of my own game world design in ages. The demands on my time are just too much these days for me to do much of anything beyond idle tweaking of things in my head. Never fear though. I am sure to get back to it once I get the house set up. I have been given a whole room in the basement for geekery and gamedom. I shall rule supreme! I wonder if I can sneak in one of those really high end custom made gaming tables without Tam noticing. Yeah, me either.

Alright. There’s a new theme up and running. I am going to see how I like it over the next couple of days. I might switch back to the yellowy parchment-ish theme but this one might stay… it’ll all depend on my mood (and time).

On that note. I’m off to have a quick game of Bloodbowl and then bed. If anyone wants to play me. Give me a shout and I’ll try and hook up with you online and we can play a game.

What D&D Character Am I?

Yeah, as you can tell, there haven’t been many posts lately. I’ve been busy and distracted by other shiny things (Life, it’s full of them. Who knew!)

As per the norm, whenever I end up being short for time. I always end up spamming a few mindless links to fill up space and to give myself that hollow sense of accomplishment that posting something, no matter how puerile, gives.

Today is no exception. Today you must be a valid holder of a Geek ID card to truly appreciate this next useless quiz.


Continue reading “What D&D Character Am I?”

Sometimes The Dice Just Run Out

Gary Gygax, the co-creator of the oft-maligned and misunderstood role-playing game known as Dungeons & Dragons, has passed away at the ripe old age of 69.

This saddens my geek attuned heart greatly. D&D and The Lord of the Rings were how I cut my teeth to the wonderful world of fantasy. They started the fire in my imagination that has fuelled everything I’ve done since. I remember with great joy the fun I had playing in my friend Brian’s basement back in grade five using only the the old red and blue boxes where lf and Dwarf were classes and not races. I remember too the fun Shane, Brock, Colin, Rob, Daniel and myself used to all have in my basement exploring the vast worlds of Greyhawk, Krynn and the Forgotten Realms. I remember talking with Dale, Eric, Trevor, Ashley and Corby in junior high about the worlds beyond D&D. Of Conan and Gamma World, of Top Secret and Marvel Super Heroes. I remember us exploring these worlds together and expanding our imaginations to greater heights.

I remember my introduction to other games beyond D&D and the TSR umbrella. To GURPS games of unparallelled sophistication with Trevor, Allan, Dale, Rob and Shane. Of late night Vampire sessions that we continue to talk about to this day (“No. I do not know where the sword is currently.”). Of Shadowrunning through futuristic Seattle with Rick, Steve, Calvin, Adam, Brian and Jon. And finally to my introduction to Live Action Roleplaying with far too many people to mention.

I remember too the stigma of being a gamer geek. Growing up through junior high and high school with the “geek” and “nerd” label firmly stamped on my back that assured that few girls would talk to me and fewer still would understand the fire that fueled my imagination. The same badge that “concerned” (read close-minded) parents used to label the game as sinful or blasphemous. It’s a badge I now wear proudly and I wouldn’t have traded it in for the world. The ostracization were a small price to pay for the imaginative outlet it allowed. Okay sure, it would’ve been nice to have had a girlfriend or at least have a girl talk to me now and then, but that’s beside the point. I’ve more than made up for that shortcoming in the years since.

Hell, if it wasn’t for D&D and Gary, I wouldn’t have ever owned my own comic & games store. He did so much for me without ever meeting me. I owe him a great debt. I intend to pay it forward.

*raises a pint*

To Gary. May you live long in our hearts and minds. May you find many new lives to touch in your next adventure and may the dice always come up 20 for you from now on.



The nerdcore are out in force after this news. Here’s an Order of the Stick comic in tribute to Gary.