Dungeons & Dragons, 5th Edition, Thoughts So Far

Dungeons & Dragons Initial Thoughts

ArchwayWell, I’ve had a week to look through the Player’s Handbook so that I could learn the differences between the 5th Edition and my tried and true 2nd Edition of Dungeons & Dragons. I can say that some of the changes I really like. Others, I am not so certain of yet.

For instance, a number of items are simplified. The stats all have the same modifieds, the experience and level progression are the same for all character classes, and saving throws and ability checks have fewer rules and types. Some things such as advantage and disadvantage (where you roll two dices and take either the higher or lower of the two values) have a subtle brilliance to them.

Other items, like healing all your hitpoint damage after a “long rest,” or what is an 8-hour break, seems to be an over simplification. If you are cut up with slashes and punctures or your bones are broken, a night of rest won’t return a person to being whole again. There are other rules for getting back hitpoints for just an hour of rest. I understand the reasons behind such a change in the rules, it brings Dungeons & Dragons in-line with computer and console games of today where a health is relatively easy to recover. Playing out long days of slowly healing or having characters die frequently or having to constantly stop to use healing magic is not that attractive for some. I’m just not sure I like that change so much. Of course, as a DM, I could put in house rules to limit such healing if I wanted.

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Dungeons & Dragons … 5th Edition?

Dungeons & Dragons DiceDungeons & Dragons

I have had a love affair with Dungeons & Dragons for my whole life. I grew up with friends who had the first edition. I have a full shelf of D&D books and modules, mostly Advanced D&D and 2nd Edition Advanced D&D. I played regularly at that time (the wear on the dice in the picture has been well earned). I had invested loads of money and time into what I owned before I was even out of high school.

After school, the members of my regular group drifted apart. I tried a couple of other groups, but never really resumed regular play until a few years ago when I started playing on-line with one of my original group. Using Skype and video sharing, we’ve been able to get together around once a week, even when he’s half-way around the planet.

But, we still play 2nd Edition, and honestly, I had no intention of upgrading to new version of Dungeons & Dragons. I had learned the rules of 2nd Edition, we created house rules that fixed the things we didn’t like, and expanded what we did. We both have the same set and it all just works.

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Movie Review – Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures MovieHidden Figures

Over the weekend I finally saw Hidden Figures and I really enjoyed it. As someone who loves math, science, and technology, I really wanted to see more about the people who made our ventures into space possible. It is a movie about people that history tried very hard to ignore and forget.

When the space race began, multitudes of people were needed to figure out the science and math necessary to not only get us into space, but also to safely return. This is the story of three strong willed and very intelligent women who assisted with the math and engineering behind that effort.

In the highly segregated 1960’s, although the three worked for NASA, they lived and endured a culture that assumed the worst of them because of their skin color. The movie follows some of their struggles as they try to be heard and make a difference in the world around them.

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Books in the Bottoms

West Bottoms Entertainment DistrictBooks in the Bottoms

Kansas City, Missouri’s Historic West Bottoms includes a lot of different shops and activities. They have a First Festival Weekend event the first Friday of the month. In February, I will be taking part in the Second Annual Books in the Bottoms Event. with a lot of other Great Authors.

The event takes place at a number of the West Bottoms’ shops and restaurants on Friday and Saturday. Authors will be located at different shops during the event, so check the schedule in the press release below. Come out and visit some of the unique shops, get a bite to eat, and have fun!

If you will be looking for me, I’ll be at the following locations:

Hope to see you there!


Here is the press release:

Books in the Bottoms

Minimalism 2017 Update – Am I still sane?

Frozen woodsIt is has been a couple of weeks since I decided to start my minimalism 2017 challenge. So where am I at in the purge? Have I managed to leave myself with a desolate office? Have I emptied everything from my desk?

The short answer is no. To stay on track to eliminate 2017 items from my life in one year, I need to get rid of a little more than 5.5 items per day.  That was no small task. However, I am roughly on track. As of 16 Jan 2017, I had gotten rid of 89 items. Those items include some old computer parts, quite a few art supplies that I did not expect to use in the next five years, a number of old DVDs I won’t likely watch again, a handful of nick-nacks, a large stack of business cards scanned into the computer, a bunch of old school notes (I didn’t remember taking sociology), and a few miscellaneous items.

The big question is: how do I feel about getting rid of those things? Continue reading

Minimalism 2017 Challenge

Minimalism 2017

Bare wallsSo, in my FB and Twitter post a couple of days ago, I mentioned #minimalism and a challenge that came to me: Can I get rid of 2017 items that I have been holding onto in the year 2017?

Last year I did purge a number of items, but not as many as I thought I would. So, I really wanted to set an aggressive goal for 2017.

What is Minimalism?

Is minimalism like the post picture, bare walls down to studs with a few scraps of life floating around? I will not call myself an expert on Minimalism, but what I have learned is it is different things to different people. It might be living out of a suitcase with less than 60 items, or it may be just reducing the noise in your life to leave only what is important.

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Coming Events – Oct 2016

BooksHard to believe we are getting so close to the end of the year already.  Seems it was just May, then I looked up and we are already in October. Well, here are a couple of coming events I have in the month of October.

First is the Lansing Fall Festival (which had been known as Autumn in the Grove).  This event keeps growing every year and there will be quite a few additional vendors this year compared to last. Come on out this Saturday, October 8th from 10am to 4pm and enjoy the fun.

The last event for October is Elite Comic’s Free Comic Book Day of the Dead!  Elite always throws a great party and there will be a number of great creators there.  Plus, free comics! Don’t miss this event.  This is on October 29th from 10am to 5pm.

Week one of counting calories

Just a quick update on my weight loss.  So far, a week in and I’ve lost close to 3 pounds—woo hoo! That does not mean a great deal. I know the first couple of pounds are the easiest, so this that does not represent any long-term indication of results or progress.

I am also getting to that odd craving phase where I know I can’t eat something because it will blow my calorie numbers, but I am starting to want it. The whole “I haven’t had that in months, it would really taste good right about now” issue. Last week I managed through all of that with success (minus a mini shake from Sonic). I have some low-calorie options to fight those cravings.

So, here’s to starting week two.

Short, fat … not really proud of that

frown, to much weightAnd as it turns out, I’m not actually that short…about average actually. I do have a small frame and always thought of myself as wiry. Perhaps that is why I tend to game as a thief or a druid when I play D&D. But my weight reads as fat.

On Monday the scale plummeted to 85. That repeats for a second time in my life the heaviest value I have ever measured myself.

About 15 years ago, I had hit this point and managed to shed the weight down to 155 (high school skinny as I like to call it or as one Doctor said to the other Doctor, proper skinny). It’s been about 14 years since I kept the scales needle from growing (I wish I had wanted to play the 10th Doctor back then).

Earlier in August I had given up soda and aside from a couple of sips at the movies and one can of Coke, I’ve actually managed to avoid it. However, I know that won’t fix the weight alone.  The last time I dropped to 155, I counted calories and worked out. Eat less than I burn, I lose weight. At least for me. Since then, I’ve really just grown lazy and stopped paying attention. (In case you haven’t heard, food tastes good, and the food that really tastes good tends to make one fat.) Continue reading

Smallville ComicCon

Smallville Comiccon

Smallville ComicCon is upon us (11 and 12 Jun 2016)!

Since 2013, during the summer, Hutchinson Kansas renames itself to Smallville Kansas. It lasts only for a day or two, but during that time, you have a chance to visit Clark Kent’s boyhood town. And if you go to the Smallville ComicCon, you can even get your mail postmarked from Smallville Kansas by the post office.

I had a wonderful time at Smallville last year and I’ve been looking forward to another great event!