Friday, August 29, 2014

A Game Master is Me!

I've talked in the past about my desire to return to a form of RPG play, especially after having fallen in love with Hero Quest and  how much I really enjoyed the Marvel RPG my husband tried to start last summer. Feeling sick and tired of having to wait on other people to offer up to run something or organize something, I purchased the Pathfinder Beginner Box and was eager to learn to play from the beginning.

What I didn't plan for was my husband telling me he wasn't going to GM and that in order to learn the game, I needed to be the GM. Holy crap! Can you say intimidating? I already have a million different commitments, so to commit to GMing was a huge deal to me. Granted, it was only for my husband and our friend Jim. That has its own set of drawbacks. The foremost being that friend Jim. . . lives 1,000 miles away.

See. . . I'm one to always fail forward. I will try and retool and try and retool and try. With everything I've been through in life, it'd be insane to not be one of those types of people. Sure, I get discouraged. Sure, I drop into bouts of depression, but I find a way to pull myself back to a place of productivity.

My first goal was to find a way to bridge the distance. My EUREKA moment was google+ hangout. Brilliant! The next was uploading pictures of the maps into google drive and make tiny paste-ables that could be moved around on the map. I shared this with my husband and friend Jim and tah-dah; we had a way to interact over the distance. Friend Jim ordered himself a new microphone and headset and we were set.

Then it was up to me to start getting organized. I uploaded their character sheets and player's guides and everything they needed to make their characters and prepare. I started to review the introductory adventure that came with the Beginner's Box.

We slated the 4-Day-Labor-Day-Weekend as our first weekend of campaigning. It was kind of a chance to do a Last Hurrah before I started back at school. Late nights... Dice rolling... Adventure!

The Beginner Box Adventure was Black Fang's Dunegon. If you play the card game, you might know who Black Fang is. This is a younger version of the same. He's been killing people and you are asked by the mayor to kill him.

I started the adventure at the entrance and stuck to the "script" as much as possible. Sadly, the initial adventure is a horrible thing to have when you're gaming with veteran RPG and DnD guys. They were pulling things out left and right (uh... get your mind out of the gutter) that I was like "wth! What is that and what are we rolling?" There was a great deal of looking up while playing. One of the big things that the Beginners Book did NOT present to me (please note I am speaking exclusively of the Game Masters Guide) was leveling up with XP. We had to look up a chart on Paizo's website.
Other issues involved not having enough information on monsters or the characters themselves. I get that I'm supposed to "know everything," but this is such a huge world and I'm new and the Beginner Box left me needing to ask so many questions. Revealed through playing with Veterans, but that's kind of frustrating if you're playing with all new people, because you don't realize how much you're missing out on. I had ordered the Core Rulebook and was overwhelmed with how massive it was and, really, note quite the tome of information I was hoping for. It lacked user-friendliness. So we a good deal of time using the Pathfinder Reference Document through Paizo.

We also, afterwards, realized we were rolling some things wrong or a certain skill didn't work a certain way or we read something wrong. It's not like you can stop the game and spend 2 hours reading up on all sorts of stuff. As it was, we started at 8PM and played until about 1:45AM.

There wasn't a whole lot of side story or history. I was a bit creative with sounds and voices. It was strange how much my husband and friend missed. They were, of course, also getting used to RPGing again. They weren't being brave enough with their investigation. They were playing too timid and missed some interesting things that I would have loved to try out (like the fountain). They weren't using Knowledge Skills or Perception checks to scout rooms. On the other hand, my husband was trying to tell me that I need to tell them when they should do a Perception Check or Knowledge Skill. I don't agree, because I think it gives things away. For example, they are terrible at looking for traps. I'm not going to announce that every time they walk into a room "hey, you need to do a perception check!" They SHOULD be doing that and if they're not, they have to deal with the consequences.

The first night went well enough, except when I didn't allow for the mayor to pay them their full fee after completing the quest. Instead of 1,000gp they were only paid 750gp with the final 250gp coming after a week of no deaths inflicted by dragons. Oh boy did that sour Jim and his character. Super bitter. What they didn't know is that it would play into something else I had brewing.

It was kind of like executing a lesson plan for school and it was pretty fun, but just like being a teacher... you have to know EVERYTHING!

Now where to go? The modules seem to require me to still do a lot of work, unlike the Beginner Box adventure, so I guess I'm going to have to add in some creativity of my own to write a test scenario adventure. We'll see what I come up with.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

IGGPPC Camp Solo Scavenger Hunt

1. Favorite nerdy or fandom glass or cup. My Star Trek Cup, even though I have a dozen that I cycle through during the school year and are seasonal!

2. Comic Collection (Um... mine are literally all on my kindle, so here are a few graphic novels I recently picked up.)

3. Favorite Candy (Anytime... anywhere.... peanut butter and chocolate... no Reese's Pieces....)

4. Favorite Nerd Shirt (Not to show off who I met or anything, but I LOVE that shirt. It's one of my favorite dice/gamer shirts.)

5. Book Collection (There are still more upstairs and packed away in bins, safe and organized and then there's my classroom library... I love books.....See better photos by my husband HERE.)

6. Movie Collection

7. Find an Animal

8. Favorite Shoes (I never thought I would fall in love with a pair of boots again. I used to love my army boots back in high school. I bought these through amazon for my Steampunk Nun... and I fell in love! I LOVE these so very much. My other standards are NewBalance shoes and flip flops.)

9. Walk Outside Photo (My daughter had to come and I couldn't pass up taking one of her under the tree as we returned home.)

10. Show Off Your Workspace (I ended up setting up here for the webinar and haven't moved. It's our kitchen table... covered in games from GenCon.... is that an orb?)

11. Letter you received (I helped support our Overlord Iggles going to Hollywood!)

 12. Regional Dish (THE BRAT!!! One for me and one for my husband at the local weekend Brat Fry that helps raise money for local groups in our tiny little town.)

13. Favorite Time of Day (The evening after a rainy day.... gorgeous!)

14. Figurine Based off a Movie Character
15. Favorite Button (I have so many pins, it's hard to pick just one favorite... I love the D20 pin that I use for the three levels of achievement for my Tabletop Gaming Club for my students. I also got my first GenCon 2014 Hard Rock pin this summer and I was always proud of the MPS teacher pin, because I got it during my student teaching. Even though I don't teach in MPS, I spent 2 years in various schools working with students.)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ghost Hunting 101 (IGGPPC Camp)

I have loved ghosts (stories and hunting) for a very long time. I've not gone super public on my own skills before, because it's something I've battled with admitting. I do get resistance and silly looks from people and, being a sensitive person, sometimes it actually hurts more than it should. When you already have social anxiety and struggle with feeling "normal," having something else to make you feel a little extra weirder makes you want to push that weird farther away. If you're already balls-to-the-wall with self-confidence over who you are, you probably aren't going to have this problem. I constantly have to look to other people to figure out how to behave, which is probably why I'm judgmental of people who do things that I used to do or did and was scolded or chastised for and they get away with it. It feels like a serious injustice to me.

Enough of that, though. An opportunity came up for the International Geek Girls Pen Pal Club offering people the chance to teach something they're skilled at. It only seemed natural to finally put my skills and knowledge to good use and maybe help others who are interested or need someone to put themselves out there to inspire them. I struggled for years trying to find my own path and learn as much as I could about ghost hunting. As tragedy struck in my personal life, I thought I was going to have to give up my seminar for the IGGPPC, BUT the Not-At-All-Evil-Overlords of the site allowed me to switch the time of the webinar and the new time couldn't have been better. Not only was it, as I joked, the original time of the Ghost Adventures show before it switched to Saturday nights, but it was also my dad's 65th birthday.

I promised myself that every year, I would do something on my dad's birthday (August 22) that challenged me as a person. This webinar challenged my anxiety about teaching adults (so much more affectingly judgmental that kids) and admitting that I have a passion for and some sensitivity to ghost, spirits, energies. . . whatever you choose to call them. I'm not kidding, I have suffered and continue to suffer with admitting that I'm sensitive and something of a spirit magnet.

With that being admitted, I would love to share the webinar I did, with an additional download of my presentation. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ice Bucket Challenge

One of my coworkers challenged me to do the Ice Bucket Challenge. All of my coworkers were actually being challenged left and right and doing the challenge. The question becomes. . . are they donating the $10? Sadly, as of 24 hours ago, my mom, her friend, and my other coworker have NOT completed the challenge and are technically $100 in debt. SHAME!

Here is mine... laugh... my husband loved it... and I'm being honest here.... IT WAS FREEZING COLD! It was literally ice with only so-so water, so it wasn't just COLD water.... cold tiny ice.... brrrrrr....

Monday, August 18, 2014


I have so many posts to publish, but while I'm in-transit post-GenCon 2014, make sure you are keeping up with the exciting Geek Girl Camp activities. I'm running the Online Tabletop Tournament through, making some delicious Camp Fire Cookies, and hosting a Ghost Hunting 101 seminar on Thursday. There are so many amazing activities going on, make sure you scoot over there while you're waiting on me to gather post all the awesomeness of my First GenCon!

As a side note, I also do not know what this week will hold for me. I received some upsetting news Saturday night about a student at my school and I'm waiting on news about the situation. I also do not know what this holds for me this week as responsibilities as a teacher or how it will affect me, depending on the circumstances and relationship I had with the student. It's purely a matter of varying degrees of utter distraught-ness. I even broke down three times at GenCon on Sunday. Ray said I was scaring the con-goers. So know I'm workin' hard at all my normal tasks. . . as well as these other things.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Oh Captain, My Captain

That your pain was so great, breaks my heart, because your light has gone out. That the darkness snuffed out such a beacon of inspiration is a true tragedy.

This man was such a huge part of my life, without me ever knowing him in person. This man inspired me in so many ways, from being part of the Peter Pan canon that I studied relentlessly, to having inspired a junior in high school during English class and going on to make me want to use Dead Poets Society for my forensics piece that I did the best job ever on. He has spanned every aspect of my life, touching each part of it in some small way that makes such a huge impression.

Now, as a teacher, I found myself constantly thinking about him and his character's dedication to teaching literature and writing WITH A PASSION! Whose performance drove me to create my own poetry parlor and try to foster that primal understanding of emotion in writing.Even more, I loved how unique he was.

I have literally been in tears for hours after hearing the news. Bombarded by the television and social media outlets. My heart goes out to his family and I hope that he found the peace he needed.

Your verse inspired millions, Oh Captain, My Captain. RIP Robin Williams, my inspiration. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My First Cosplay - For GenCon

This is my first year going to GenCon. I don't really do a lot of costumes or dressing up. I'll be honest. . . it's insecurity over my body-type. How I want to dress, just wouldn't work out for my body and instead of it being a super positive experience, I feel it would become negative and could potentially be self-destructive to my psyche.

BUT. . . I've found some modicum of confidence and I've had fun in my classroom dressing up as an aviator, a Bard, a yoga instructor, and even dressed up with my co-workers as a Taco Sauce Packet for our Let's Make a Deal assembly.

As we were registering for some events a GenCon, I was able to get my husband to sign up to play Nuns on the Run with me. I have a severe addiction to all things nun (ask me about my Masters and PhD. . . I dare you). Once we had registered, I knew I needed to dress up like a nun to play Nuns on the Run.

I also really LOVE Steampunk fashion. Once again, something I let my weight hinder my love of. But I made my first valiant attempt to create a unique looking nun that I can build on throughout the year, instead of with a limited budget and with only four months to get it all together. With some tips from some twitter friends and family friends, I put this together and I will be wearing it at GenCon on Friday, August 15 to Nuns on the Run at 10:00AM.

Items that are part of the outfit:
Perfect V-Neck Tee - Black
Black eVogues Sheer Crochet Lace Poncho Top
White HDE Womens Jersey Long Infinity Loop Scarf
White Roll-Waist Linen Pants
Brown Faux Leather Floral Interlock Buckle Belt
Dirty Laundry Women's Showstopper Motorcycle Boot
Octopus under sea ocean long chain sweater necklace
Brass Cross Ring
Cthulu Ring
Ladies Steampunk Bracers
Vintage Oversized Cross
Long Cross Necklace
Wrought Iron Jailers Keys