Monday, April 18, 2022

Rising Again

All right, I'm back. 

Mostly. It is Easter vacation, after all, so my kids are home this week (Catholic schools in the USA do Spring break after Easter/Holy Week, as opposed to during like some countries), which means I'm on entertainment duty. Still, it's raining at the moment, so they're allowed to play on my old XBox.

Even without the blogging, it's been a pretty busy few weeks. Gaming-wise, I'll go ahead and start with this: we didn't play any 5E. I did enough reading that I could probably run the system (though perhaps not super effectively), and I offered to run it for my kids. Both (especially my son) vehemently balked at the idea. Diego has a character or two made, in case his buddy ever gets around to actually running the game (he hasn't yet), but despite being willing to play (to be a good friend or whatever) he has zero desire to play when other options (like AD&D) are readily available (i.e. in our home). 

And I don't blame him. While delving into the 5E rules I kept a running list of notes on all the things in 5E that I find to be downright stupid. It is a very, very long list. As I ease back into blogging, I'm sure it'll provide good fodder for a post or two. A bone for all the haters (like me) out there. 

[I have not shown the list to the boy; his hate for 5E is all his own]

Instead of running 5E, I converted much of Icespire Peak to AD&D. Well..."conversion" might be a bit of a stretch. I retained the maps, and some of the barest ideas of places, and otherwise restocked places completely, creating a mini-"sand box" of adventure areas around the town of Rose Valley and its vicinity. Reasons for taking this approach are many (including 'time constraints' and 'laziness'), but in the main I am starting to find that it is VERY difficult to run a solid, living 1E world that is sufficiently accessible (and forgiving) for 1st level characters.  This will be a (future) post in and of itself, but for now it suffices to say TPKs in AD&D without your typical "Castle Greyhawk" (or whatever) megadungeon, makes a tough row to re-hoe over and over again. 

Welcome to, Rose Valley.

Mm. Yeah. A long post on that subject coming.

Other stuff...

Did a lot of deep diving into the AD&D systems/procedures, especially with regard to races/classes, combat, and spells. Curated lists for ALL the spell-casting classes (except rangers and paladins). Rewrote the bard from the ground up. Fixed the height and weight tables (important for grappling) based on race, sex, and strength scores. Updated age tables. Went through the entirety of the weapons/armor list with a fine-toothed comb comparing things to their real world counterparts as well as their evolution over the development of the game (starting back in Chainmail); curated the lists in a manner that I can live with. Found the druid (strangely) to be pretty much perfectly suited to the AD&D game exactly as written. Did a cursory examination of the monk and while somewhat unsatisfied also left it mostly unchanged, other than moving it back to being a subclass of cleric (as it was originally) and making sure its combat/saves are based on that class.

Have not started rewriting the spells (yet); for now, just nailing the lists down is sufficient. Clerics have two separate lists (depending on divine orientation)...amounts to about 70 spells each. Put a lot of thought into clerics recently...especially this last week, sitting in church half-a-dozen times. That'll be its own post.

Reworked my conversion of Blood Bowl to gridiron football in a way that's less crunchy, more true-to-life, and makes better use of the original systems/procedures. Game is now very fast, very fun. Needs a second (third?) pass to work out some minor kinks; however, I believe a totally free rule supplement might be seeing publication by Yours Truly in the very near future.

[yes, I know the Seahawks traded Russell Wilson. Mm. Mixed feelings on that. However, the sudden interest/attention to Blood Bowl in the last couple weeks has largely been due to excitement surrounding the impending NFL draft]

And that's (more-or-less) all I've been doing, gaming-wise. Lot of kid stuff, of, baseball, softball, flag football, school, church, etc. Sofia turns eight this week...eight!...and there's a party to prep. My son is being heavily recruited for the priesthood. We'll see if they can pull him away from his soccer dreams...had a road trip to Spokane in March for a tournament game in which they came back from a goal deficit to win win 6-1 (Diego, the team captain, scored twice from outside the box; he plays left wing). Double-header coming up this weekend with Sunday's game being in Olympia.

Mostly though, other than managing my family (wife is well, though stressed), I have spent most of my waking hours studying and paying attention to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. When not doing taxes, or watching the Sounders/Mariners, or playing with my kids, or whatever...that is the MAIN THING that's been on my mind. I've been following it closely, not so much on the news (though, of course, that's been fairly non-stop) but also reading the daily reports from ISW, listening to the podcasts from War on the Rocks (Michael Kofman is pretty amazing), tracking its impact on other countries abroad. It's a I can do, well, nothing about. Except pray, of course. For both sides. Make no mistake: regardless of the outcome here, there will be no winners in this conflict. None. The Russians dying in Ukraine are dying for...what? The ambitions of one man? Of several? Not reason enough. 

I caught myself the other day, hoping that the Ukrainians defending their homes, their loved ones, their children would kill as many Russians as possible...that they would kill so many men that the "powers that be" in Russia would find their invasion impossible to prosecute further. And then I realized how terrible, how awful and wrong such thinking is. Soldiers go to war because they're ordered to go to war; soldiers abroad fight for their fellow soldiers, for their comrade next to them. This is not an invasion of a ravenous horde of monsters and maniacs...of goblins and orcs and ogres, fantasy creatures that worship dark demons or diabolic demigods. These are humans...humans of close proximity, humans of close relation to each other, humans who tend to follow the same religion, who worship the same God in the same fashion. Humans whose friends and loved ones in Russia miss them and pray for their safety and will mourn their injury and death as much as we all mourn the suffering of those closest to us. 

Just people...people suffering and dying. Ukraine is the victim here, the ones who need all the help and support and sympathy the world can give. But there are victims on both sides of this war...all of whom need our prayers. For all the good it will do (take that as you like).

Anyway, my main thought during yesterday's Easter Mass.

Apologies for taking this long to write...the day caught up with me today and prevented me posting this till the evening. More tomorrow, I hope. Cheers, folks.


  1. Greetings from Ukraine, by the way. We have a hard time reminding ourselves that it is, in fact, NOT an orc invasion.

    1. I believe it.

      My hopes and prayers go out to you, and your country.

  2. I would take sick pleasure in seeing that 5e list

    1. Ha! I'd take sick pleasure in posting it.
      ; )

    2. Since sick pleasure is kind of my brand, I'm also looking forward to this list, and to see how it compares to my own.

      I keep reminding myself: fuck *Putin*, not fuck *Russia.*

      I have been feeling the urge to dive deeply into 2e lately, in much the same way you explore 1e. AD&D 2 was my edition growing up. I don't have a lot of the books left, so I might settle for a dig through For Gold and Glory, even if it isn't "pure" 2e.

      And, of course, WELCOME BACK!

  3. Welcome back. I've really missed your blogging during Lent and confess to checking in a couple of times to see whether you'd been tempted. You're more accomplished at that than me!

    I did some gaming over my kids' Easter Holidays (we had the 2wk before Easter) as the weather was a bit wet and windy while we were away.

    The kids rolled up 2PC a piece (ftr, MU and two clerics) and rescued Leomunda the Lovely from the Zenopus dungeon.

    Like yourself I've been glued to events in Ukraine and find myself very pessimistic about the outcome. Despite the bravery and ingenuity of the defenders I fear that there's always the risk of the weapons of mass destruction.

    I'm saddened by the situation as I suspect that the majority of the Russian conscripts do not want to be there either. However there's enough of them who's behaviour is completely beyond the pale and lots of the rhetoric on the Russian national TV stations is unbelievable stuff that I've not seen since the histories of the 1930s.

    Let's pray that the Russians realise they're not winning and decide to go back home.

  4. Welcome back!

    While I do rather enjoy 5e myself I would also like to see your list.

  5. When may we expect your Curated Deep Dive into AD&D? We could always use fresh age and weight tables. ^_^

    1. That’s going to be a many-part series, I suspect.
      ; )