Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Tale of Three Letters


On Monday, March 23, 2015 Gen Con got a bit political. The Indiana State General Assembly had passed SB 101, The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a bill that would allow businesses to refuse service to anyone based on religious grounds, and it was anticipated that Governor Pence would sign it. That Monday found Adrian Swartout, CEO and owner of Gen Con, publishing a letter that the company had sent to Governor Pence. In the letter Swartout wrote:
". . . For more than a decade, Indianapolis has provided tremendous hospitality and accommodation to our attendees, culminating in an estimated annual economic impact of more than $50 million dollars to the city. Gen Con and its attendees look forward to receiving the same warm Hoosier hospitality throughout the term of our contract.

Legislation that could allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees will have a direct negative impact on the state's economy, and will factor into our decision-making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years . . ." (3/23/2015 Gen Con Letter on SB 101)
For many this was seen as Gen Con taking a stand on behalf of their diverse attendees. And while Swartout didn't outright say that if Governor Pence signed SB 101 that the convention would be out it was implied. On Twitter my feed lit up with people celebrating this brave stand that Gen Con was taking. Then the bill was signed into law and a second letter was sent, this time just to us. What was in store for the future of the convention?
". . . We have a contract with the city of Indianapolis through 2020. Gen Con is an economically impactful event for locally owned businesses in the Indy community which for more than a decade have embraced us as guests. Due to specific dialogue with long-term partners in Indy, we believe that Gen Con attendees not only will receive the same great service and hospitality in 2015, but an even warmer response from the city. For as long as we stay in Indianapolis, we will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with this community, expand our efforts to bring more diversity to Gen Con, and welcome all . . .

"What does the future hold for Gen Con 2021 and beyond? Planning and bidding for our convention is a long-term process that begins five years prior to contract-term commencement. Discussions, whether to remain in Indy or move elsewhere, have begun . . ." (3/26/2015 Gen Con Letter to Community)
Where was Swartout's righteous indignation? Where was the declaration that Gen Con would definitely be pulling out of Indianapolis since SB 101 had been signed? That they'll be damned if they're going to do business in a state that now allows businesses to openly discriminate against anyone based on religious grounds?

What had originally seemed like a bold stand for Gen Con turned out to be nothing more than a political flag waved in the winds of popular opinion. Some people argued that Gen Con had a contract - they couldn't break it. Except Gen Con is a corporation and corporations break contracts all the time when things become intolerable; and there was that implied threat that this convention with a $50 million impact on the city of Indianapolis would not accept the SB 101's signing into law.

Four days would pass before we would see another letter from Swartout. During that time my Twitter and Google+ feeds were flooded with outrage from Gen Con attendees of old, of today, and of hopeful tomorrows. I can only imagine what Swartout's inbox and social media were like. 
". . . Thank you for your continued communications with Gen Con extending your support for our efforts to fight against discrimination. The passage of Indiana SB 101 into the Religious Freedom Reformation Act (RFRA) law has ignited tremendous passion among attendees as well as across the country. We at Gen Con LLC fully expected that the well-informed and opinionated community that comprises Gen Con would be outspoken, and we are pleased to be able to help in amplifying this signal. This morning Indiana Governor Mike Pence took time to call and discuss Indiana's recently passed RFRA law.

"Governor Pence has stated that he believes the outcry against this law is based upon a misunderstanding. We respectfully disagree with this position. A significant portion of Gen Con attendees identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, and we are reading that some members of our community feel unsafe traveling to Indiana, subsequent to the passage of the RFRA law. We understand this sentiment, and will act to support safety.

"Gen Con 2015 will be held, as planned, at the Indiana Convention Center July 30 through August 2. Gen Con staff are working in partnership with the City of Indianapolis, local businesses, Visit Indy, and other grassroots organizations to ensure fair and safe treatment during this year's show . . .

"We believe that freedom from discrimination is a fundamental human right. Until Gen Con has received legally sound assurances that Indiana will support these rights, we are halting our plans to expand Gen Con into Lucas Oil Stadium, and plans for further expansion into other hotel convention spaces . . ." (3/30/2015 Gen Con Letter to Community)
Gen Con did not stand up to fight discrimination before this letter. Instead they sent a letter telling Governor Pence saying that they might, possibly, move the convention in five years. When the bill was signed they said, "We're talking about where to host the convention in 2021! It might be in Indianapolis, then again, maybe not! Who knows? Not us!"

Now they have actually done something. They've halted a major expansion of the convention that would have brought more attendees to the show, more money into the city and state, and more money into Gen Con's own coffers. But is it really anything substantial? They haven't actually done anything that negatively impacts the city or state as they implied they would in that first letter. Is this just more political grandstanding or is this really Gen Con doing the "right thing?" 

You tell me.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Projects that Keep Spinning, and Spinning, and Spinning

One of the things you learn when you're climbing into a closet with a pretty girl for the first time is that you have to prioritize your time so that you're not just fumbling your way through a stuttering conversation with fidgety hands and wasted time. You got to remember that she raced you into the closest and with that smile that made your knees go weak

Priorities, kids.

Projects Currently in Works
Americas Campaign: Currently bogged down in map hell so I'm going to skip the map for a bit and do some additional work on setting up the campaign that should see the light of day soon.

Artisan Toolkits: Currently working on the Cartography kit but got a bit distracted by the Royal Geographer's Society. The article should be up by Wednesday-ish.

Great Blog Roll Call 2015: Working on the banner, cover plate, and button. Also working on a list for a side portion that I'm hoping to launch with the GBRC this year. Too much to do here.

Let's Forget the World & Be Friends: Well into the planning stages for a June release. +Jens D. of The Disoriented Ranger, +Sean Bircher of Wine and Savages, and +Stelios V. Perdios of The Word of Stelios are all back for this project and we've also added +Alasdair Cunningham of Iron Rations+Travis Milam of The Rambling Roleplayer, +Mark Van Vlack of Dust_Pan_Games, and +Mike Bridges of Greyhawkery!

[EDIT 3/30/2015 3:56 PM] AND we just added +Kevin Smith of Melvin Smif's Geekery! This is looking like a really great series!


I got to tell you that one of the best things about doing projects like Dungeons & Drunkards and now Let's Forget the World & Be Friends is that you end up working with a lot of creative people that you really like. The first project was with three guys that I love reading and I was really lucky that they decided to come along with me for the ride. And watching them talk about what they wanted to do, and then seeing it take shape was really fascinating. The new group has doubled our project group size and so far it's really going well as these guys are coming up with good ideas and I can't wait to show everyone what we're working on! 

More later.

Have I Been Added to Sombody's a List?

Strange things happening in my blog traffic reports over the last few days. First I'm getting a ridiculous amount of traffic from Google and now I'm seeing a crap ton from a "Do Not Link" site. The Google thing doesn't bother me but the "Do Not Link" thing makes me wonder what terrible thing I've said that someone feels they can't just come directly to me. Have I insulted someone's mother by talking about killing Ogres? Did I set someone's loins on fire when I talked about my evil campaign? Do I really care or am I just tired?

Hard to answer any of those questions I think. 

Seriously though, I'd love to know why this traffic is happening lately. It's like a little mystery that I've stumbled across and have no knowledge what comes next. Any ideas out there?

Sinking in Quicksand, All Alone Without Help at Hand

Lately I've felt like I'm standing still. Do you know what I mean by that?

I don't mean that I'm creatively unfulfilled because currently I've got lots of projects going on and I'm working towards a massive one for later in the year. But I feel like I'm not getting the traction I want. This isn't a permanent state mind you. I know that and it's that knowledge that makes it so damned frustrating.

When I was twenty I went walleye fishing on this river over in the mountains that was flooding. It was so cold that all of us were wearing multiple layers and I can remember my breath hanging in the air in front of me as I made my way down the side of this drop to the valley below. The river was flowing and rolling and all I can remember thinking as I watched it was that if any of us fell in we would be all on our own and quickly racing off to meet our Maker. 

So I'm casting my line in and watching trees wash away while this old boy sings songs of loss and imaginary girls who never returned his love when my line gets pulled. It's a fierce pull that has me almost jerked into the river but I'm able to set my boot in the muddy bank and lean back. My pole is pulled down almost to the grip and I'm reeling in the line as fast as I can watching for a fish that's trying to pull me into the deep because I know that cats are out here and they're big bastards. The reels is squealing as my line keeps letting out and I'm fighting to keep it on the hook because I'm convinced that this is a fish and not some hidden tree attempting to fool me. My arms start getting tired but I'm not stopping because if I do it's gone for sure. 

Then I see it just below the surface. It's a shadow under the rolling, muddy water but it stands out as clear as daylight. I start laughing because this thing's the biggest fish I've ever hooked. Suddenly reeling doesn't feel as hard because the son of a bitch is right there, right under the surface; and that's when I can see him look at me. It's like the whole time he was just heading this way and mildly annoyed that his lip stung but when he sees me it dawns on him that I'm trying to catch him. So then he turns, flicks his tail, and snaps my line. 

I land square on the flat of my ass and start laugh all over again because while everyone else is just casting their lines out time and time again I've actually gotten a bite and he was fucking huge! Then I look at my reel and my line is wrecked. I can see the threads on my line where its worn away at from the pressure and strain. So I start restringing the line when the Game Marshals come up on us and start check all our fishing licenses. I hand them mine and keep on working on the line because the sun's starting to set and we're leaving when it starts getting dark because that drop we came down was nearly a half mile at a ridiculous pitch that looking back at it made me wonder why we came down here at all. 

The Marshals take off and I'm heading down the side of this river trying to find a good spot to cast when is see this shallow little stream. It's nothing. Just a tenth of an inch of water trickling along so I don't even think about stepping into it. Well it got my attention when my right leg sunk all the way up to my thigh and I'm doing the splits. I'm stuck and I'm kind of embarrassed because who the fuck wants to have that happen?

All the same I'm stuck there trying to figure out my next move. My Dad's about a quarter of a mile back behind me and my cousin's another quarter ahead of me on the bank fishing. I could shout out for help, and they'd probably hear me, but then I'd have to listen to them give me shit for the next couple of hours and that's not fucking happening. I manage to get my leg that was laid out behind me across the muck and onto the far shore after about twenty minutes of struggling. I'm slowly pushing myself out of the much when my boot gets caught and starts trying to come off my foot. By this point I'm so fucking frustrated I can't see so I just stop what I'm doing and slide my foot better into the boot and lay back against the ground.

That's what I'm fucking talking about when I say I feel like I'm standing still. I'm stuck and frustrated because I know what to do but right now it just isn't working out the way that I want it to. 

Deep breaths kids, deep breaths.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

WTF is DARVO?

This weekend I was mostly reading a conversation online when a term that I had never heard before appeared: DARVO. The term is actually an acronym which stands for Deny, Attack and Reverse Victim and Offender. It was coined by Jennifer J. Freyd in her essay, Violations of Power, Adaptive Blindness and Betrayal Trauma Theory, which is specifically dealing with sexual abuse. The term came about as she was attempting to grapple with the actions of sexual predators when confronted with accusations of their abuse. As she explains it:
". . . I have recently begun to think about a way to conceptualize the events that occur when a victim or a concerned observer openly confronts and abuser about his or her behavior after a long period of silence in which the abuser could abuse without facing consequences. My proposal, currently very speculative, is that a frequent reaction of an abuser to being held accountable is the ‘DARVO’ response. ‘DARVO’ stands for ‘Deny, Attack and Reverse Victim and Offender.’ It is important to distinguish types of denial, for an innocent person will probably deny a false accusation. Thus denial is not evidence of guilt. However, I propose that a certain kind of indignant self-righteous, and overly stated, denial may in fact relate to guilt. I hypothesize that if an accusation is true, and the accused person is abusive, the denial is more indignant, self-righteous and manipulative, as compared with denial in other cases. Similarly, I have observed that actual abusers threaten, bully and make a nightmare for anyone who holds them accountable or asks them to change their abusive behavior. This attack, intended to chill and terrify, typically includes threats of law suits, overt and covert attacks on the whistle-blower’s credibility, and so on. The attack will often take the form of focusing on ridiculing the person who attempts to hold the offender accountable. The attack will also likely focus on ad hominem or ad feminam instead of intellectual/evidential issues. Finally, I propose that the offender rapidly creates the impression that he abuser is the wronged one, while the victim or concerned observer is the offender. Figure and ground are completely reversed. The more the offender is held accountable, the more wronged the offender claims to be. The offender accuses those who hold him accountable of perpetrating acts of defamation, false accusations, smearing, ect. The offender is on the offense and the person attempting to hold the offender accountable is put on the defense. ‘Deny, Attack and Reverse Victim and Offender’ work best together . . ." (29 – 30).
Freyd notes in the above quotation that innocent people will deny a false accusation but that someone who is acting along the lines of a DARVO defense will do so in 'a certain kind of indignant self-righteous, and overly stated, denial.' It won't simply be a case of someone denying an accusation but it will be this substantively different form of avoiding accountability for the act. She details a good example of this sort of behavior shortly after when she wrote:
". . . I have observed that one particularly useful strategy for avoiding accountability that appears in the cases of accusations of sexual abuse and assault uses logic like this: ‘I am innocent until proven guilty. You cannot prove I am guilty. Therefore I am technically innocent. Therefore I am actually innocent.’ . . . The offender takes advantage of the confusion we have in our culture over the relationship between public provability and reality . . . in redefining reality . . .” (30)
When confined to its original meaning the DARVO response makes a lot of sense; however, it has moved beyond its original meaning and has begun to be used to describe the actions of anyone that you don't like who denies an accusation.  For example, let's say that you're accused of being a bigot in public through the use of online social media. You're innocent of the accusation but when you demand proof your accusers begin to claim that you're committing a DARVO defense. You haven't engaged in ad hominem or ad feminam attack but rather have focused on asking for evidential proof - something that is completely reasonable under the circumstances and which is the opposite of what a DARVO defense would do - and yet your very asking is being taken as an attempt to use the DARVO defense. When DARVO is manipulated in this fashion it becomes an effective tool against an innocent individual by invalidating everything they attempt to do and say in their defense. It effectively silences them.

Works Cited:
Freyd, Jennifer J. “Violations of Power, Adaptive Blindness and Betrayal Trauma Theory.” Feminism and Psychology. Volume 7. 1997. Print  pg. 29 - 30

Friday, March 27, 2015

Announcing the Next Project.

I enjoyed the Dungeons & Drunkards project so much that I've decided to launch another one. This one is tentatively titled, "Let's Forget the World & Be Friends: Misadventures in Revenge, Murder, and Mayhem." Like Dungeons & Drunkards all of the participants will publish their contributions to their blogs, tumblrs, or G+ accounts first and then it will all be compiled in a free PDF at the end. 


I'm looking for anyone who wants to contribute short fiction, rule variants/interpretation, art, monsters, classes, histories, and anything else you can imagine that would be fun for the concept. The goal here is to make something that is just a lot of fun to read and be a part of. If you're interested let me know; and if you have any friends that you think might be interested let them know so they can join!

You'll need a G+ account for this project as it's the best way to keep contact with each other and keep everyone on the same page. If you want to join you can either shoot me an e-mail with the heading, "I'd like to join the Let's Forget the World & Be Friends Project," or by sending me a message on G+. 


Hoping to get this one out by June. I can't wait to see where this one goes!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Free Dungeons & Drunkards PDF!



You know how I mentioned earlier that we had been working on one last part to our Dungeons and Drunkards series? Well here it is! This is a combined PDF of the entire series in a single place that will allow you to take it anywhere! It features all of our articles in an easy to read format without all of the junk that comes along from jumping from one site to the next and having to wait on it all to load!

I would be remiss if I didn't take a moment to thank each of my fellow contributors to the series for all their hard work. +Jens D. kept us on track when it seemed like no one else could or would and his mastery of the rules made his article a perfect starting point for the series. +Sean Bircher lent us his brilliant mind to create all of the monsters you find here and was always the first person available when anyone needed to talk about where things were going. +Stelios V. Perdios was a source of inspiration when it seemed like we were hitting a wall and reading his thoughts most assuredly helped inspire my own writing if not all of ours. We hope you enjoy reading the PDF of our series as much as we've all enjoyed doing it! 


Dungeons and Drunkards
Part 1: A pub crawl through assorted editions of D&D (and some homebrew) by +Jens D. 
Part 2: The Dance of the Tarantella by Charles Akins
Part 3: Boozing it Up in 5e by +Sean Bircher
  Part 4: When the DM Gets Drunk by +Stelios V. Perdios
Part 5: Drunken Beasts by +Sean Bircher 
Part 6: B-E-N-D-E-R! by +Sean Bircher
Part 7: Wine Angel by +Sean Bircher
Part 8: The Drunk Girl and the Game Master by +Stelios V. Perdios
The Complete Dungeons & Drunkards PDF

If you liked this project be sure to check out the next one that's just been announced! 
We're still accepting new people for it!

Thoughts on the Dungeons and Drunkards Project.

So one of the things that I've discovered is that I really like working with other people on projects. The Dungeons and Drunkards project that I worked on with +Jens D., +Sean Bircher, and +Stelios V. Perdios was a lot of fun and it was really fascinating to see all of us working on a unified topic to create an overall series. 

As I'm sure you can tell from the series each of us played to our strengths. Jens brought a mastery of rules systems; I brought the weird, errie fiction; Sean brought the monsters; and Stelios brought the whole thing home by bringing it into the real world. In the end it all works remarkably well together as you'll (hopefully tonight or early tomorrow) see soon in a special little bonus that we've been working on completing over the last couple of days. 

After that I've already decided that I want to do another one of these projects. More on that when it gets closer to time to actually launch it!

Dungeons and Drunkards
Part 1: A pub crawl through assorted editions of D&D (and some homebrew) by +Jens D. 
Part 2: The Dance of the Tarantella by Charles Akins
Part 3: Boozing it Up in 5e by +Sean Bircher
  Part 4: When the DM Gets Drunk by +Stelios V. Perdios
Part 5: Drunken Beasts by +Sean Bircher 
Part 6: B-E-N-D-E-R! by +Sean Bircher
Part 7: Wine Angel by +Sean Bircher
Part 8: The Drunk Girl and the Game Master by +Stelios V. Perdios
The Complete Dungeons & Drunkards PDF 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Teach Your Children to Talk with Macho Man Randy Savage

When my son was first learning how to talk I decided that he needed to listen to Macho Man. So every night when I would be up with him late I would get online and play Macho's interviews with "Mean" Gene Okerlund.



For the first couple of weeks nothing really seemed to be coming of it other than me having a great time watching one of my all time favorite wrestlers in his prime. So I upped the ante and started watching Rowdy Roddy Piper.



Still nothing - or so I thought until my nieces were up during our vacation and he started raining down elbows from the top bunk of their bunk beds and screaming about changing questions!

BEST. DAD. EVER.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

You're Talking Out the Side of Your Neck

As I've gotten older I've become more direct and less willing to engage in esoteric  arguments with people who are over their heads in the debate. It really got started back when I was going to college for a philosophy degree. 

See in the philosophy department you get a lot of different types of people but really only a couple of attitudes from the hardcore philosophy nerds. You've got your "I'm so much better and smarter than the rest of you mothers" neck-beards who know no more about what's going on than can they tell the difference between a hole in the ground and their assholes.  Then there are the cats who are trying to find themselves and think developing a personal philosophy will be the answer to all their internal struggles. Mostly good kids there and that's a good thing since they make up the majority of the department. Then you have the folks who know themselves too well and underestimate what they're capable of and as a result never make any waves. If you're wondering I feel into the second category and as a result the neck-beards tended to look down on me (as they do with the majority of the world). To them if I wasn't proclaiming to the whole world how brilliant I was then I couldn't be all that damned smart so they would attempt to bait me into these debates where they thought I would be out of my depth. Problem is, even though I'm funny and like to talk about silly shit, I'm smarter than they thought I was - still am. 

Anyway, these dumb bastards would come talking down to me about Foucault, or who ever happened to be the trendy philosopher of the week (way too often it would be Sartre), and they expected me to sit there with a slack jaw in awe of their intellectual superiority. My usual response began with, "No, you're wrong." From there I would begin to break their points as they would imperiously make these idiotic pronouncements. Eventually the conversations would end with them storming off talking about how I just didn't understand the depth of their arguments while the other philosophy majors laughed about them making an ass out of themselves. 

As you can imagine I developed a reputation.

For a while I thought that I was doing something important because I was a dumb kid who thought that arguing with assholes about shit that doesn't matter made me important. It would be a few years, and take an awesome experience of working in the highest pressure environment I've ever experienced, before I fully moved away from that attitude. That doesn't mean that I don't still argue with assholes who come along peacocking and pretending that they're so damned smart that they can't believe they're having to sully their hands with our shit. I totally still do that. The difference is that once I've figured out that someone is a fucking moron, who's trying to prove how smart they really aren't, I just move on. I haven't the time to waste on that shit anymore.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Well, That Vacation Sucked.

For those of you wondering where I've been for the majority of last week, well, read the title. I was on vacation. You know, that thing where you go to rest and look at scantily clad people and hope that sexy pants action will fall into your lap so that you can rhythmically rub yourself against a stranger and hope that terrible things will not come out of your body while you do?

No? 

What the fuck are you doing with your life then Holmes?

Anyway, this vacation blew donkey dicks by the dozens. First my car decided to start throwing up the "low coolant" warning light even though I've got plenty of coolant. I've been able to diagnose this problem down to three locations: the Water Pump (which I've already replaced and have tested to make sure it works), the Radiator Cap, and the Thermostat. I wasn't able to take the car along with me up the Mountain but after talking with a couple of mechanics I'm friends with the likely culprit (since the water pump is working correctly and the oil isn't looking funky) is the Cap/Thermostat. I'm trying the Cap first since the seal looks like shit and hopefully that will take care of it. That said it could very well be the Thermostat which isn't the most difficult thing I've ever replaced on the car but is going to be a new one on me. 

So that happened right after I wrote the Sunday Vacation announcement. On Tuesday my wife and I went down into the valley to take our son to the Zoo. This was the first time we had taken him to a major zoo so my wife was suuuuuuuuuppppppppeeeeeerrrrrrr hyped about the experience. I thought it was too early in the year to be going but it was the first pretty day of Spring so guess who was at the park. Anyway, all the cool African animals were put up still put up but the Asian monkeys more than made up for it as far as my son was concerned.

The trip back though, holy shit. 

Okay, you all know how we've been hit by a couple of ice storms over here in January and February? Well the roads are completely fucked right now. We were driving back on the interstate, which is usually smooth as glass in our state, and it was like driving on some back woods, gravel road. East bound wasn't so bad, but West bound was terrible. The road was cracked everywhere and parts of it were dipping down so low that it felt like the ground underneath had been washed away. Oh, and the pot holes! Lord have mercy there were so many pot holes that my wife's blazer vibrated so badly that the check engine light kicked on with warnings about our antilock braking, gas tank, and emissions - all of which went away once we were on better roads and the car stopped shaking. 

Then my Aunt died. 

Earlier this year my Uncle D. passed. His health had been deteriorating for a while but when he passed it came after he had bounced back so many times that we were all really shocked by it. My brother and I were pretty devastated by it because he was a big part of both our lives. Well on Thursday his wife, my Aunt R., passed. Unlike my Uncle D. this was far more of a relief. She had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease - which is just the most terrible disease I've ever seen because it robs you of everything and leaves you a frightened, lonely shell of the person you once were. So when we heard that she had passed, for me at least, it was a feeling of relief. Relief that she wouldn't suffer with that terrible disease any longer and that she would be with my Uncle D. again.

Anyway this meant that Saturday I was a pallbearer again for the second time this year. The funeral was fast and the graveside service was too. They had us pick up tulips and asked that we plant them in her memory. I planted it in my Dad's flower bed along the front porch. Then we got a $300.00 gas bill that found my wife and the gas company representative going six rounds until the Rep won on a technicality and we're paying the fucking bill. Such things make the world go round I'm told.

So how was your week?

Monday, March 16, 2015

The February Top 10 is Up!

Just had the 10(ish) Best Reads of February go live at EN World! Hopefully everyone selected will see an uptick in the readerships and lots of sexy pants people will come dance for them in suggestive ways that rock their faces for the new month!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Vacation, Holmes.

I'm up on the mountain this week so updates may be a little lighter than usual. Just wanted to give everyone the heads up.

Now ladies dancing and having a fucking great time. 


Friday, March 13, 2015

Girls with Slingshots Ended and I'm Stupid Sad About It.

Yesterday marked the finale for the decade long run of Girls with Slingshots by Danielle Corsetto. I discovered the comic shortly after it began ten years ago and have been consistently reading it since then. The comic surrounds a cast of diverse characters as they live their lives. There are moments of pure joy, tragedy, and the occasionally humdrum moments that keep the comic feeling like the real world. 

It's absolutely a brilliant comic and now that it's over I'm just stupidly sad about it. I know that I shouldn't be since it's only a comic, but it's a comic that has been there when I had my heart broken and that kept me going. It was there when I met my wife and when my son was born. It's been one of the few constants in my life when I've been moving, switching jobs, and raising a family. 

I'm going to miss it terribly.

Dungeons and Drunkards: Part 2, The Dance of the Tarantella

This post represents the second part in the Dungeons and Drunkards series I'm doing with +Jens D., author of the blog The Disoriented Ranger, +Stelios V. Perdios, author of the blog The Word of Stelios, and +Sean Bircher, author of the blog Wine and Savages. Over the course of the next few days we'll be presenting you with weird monsters, looks at the rules for getting a buzz in D&D, and so much more! So sit back, grab an ice, cold beer and enjoy the show!

Her body writhed with orgasmic glee as she spun about the dance floor looking back at us. We’d picked her up just outside the forest that circled Fort Montgomery. She’d come out of the woods with grapevines wrapped about her head like a crown and a dress that made her look as though taking it off would have been putting on more clothes.  From the moment that she joined the patrol it was as if discipline and order had become distant memories. She laughed and we laughed with her. She called us her escort and we lifted her on our shoulders and carried her into the Fort laughing and singing like we’d just won the war.

Captain Davis rushed out his office and stormed over to us. His face was flush with anger and every stomp across the yard sounded like a drum beat to my ears. He boomed, “What’s the meaning of this?”

And she laughed. It was like music and as she slide off the shoulders of Caruthers and Ledbetter this coy smile played across her face. “Oh don’t be like that Captain,” she said as she ran her fingers across his chest and laid her head against him. The Captain stuttered and sputtered as she pressed herself close to him. Then she leaned up and pulled his ear to her mouth and whispered words that brought a blush to his cheeks and left his mouth hanging wide open as he wordlessly nodded his head.

“Oh you will,” she positively squealed. “There’s a party tonight,” she said as she spun toward us, “You all simply must be there.”

It wasn’t a request.

No sooner had she said there would be a party than did the whole garrison begin prepping for it. No man or woman was spared from preparing for the party. Hogs were slaughtered, chickens plucked, presents wrapped, and wine and liquor were brought from every corner of the Fort. Finally dusk came and the party was to begin. She came walking down from Captain Davis’ office, which he had vacated for her, in a black dress with ivory flowers in salacious patterns that made you long to trade places with the fabric.

We were all standing as she came down watching for her return. Watching her walk towards the head table made the world seemingly stop turning. My breath was caught in my throat and I knew that if she didn’t look at me that I would die there and then. But she did look at me, and she even took my hand as she passed and whispered in my ear that I must save a dance for her. If I replied then providence was with me for I fear that I merely mumbled a reply that might as well have been cabbages for all the sense it made. Yet she smiled and squeezed my hand before she took the stage and smiled at all of us. “Time to feast my darlings,” she said in that beautiful voice of hers.

As one we all tore into the food in front of us with abandon. Our hunger consumed us and we ate anything we could get our hands on. Meat, flesh, gristle, and bone were devoured with a ravenous hunger that shocked and frightened me. Yet I was no more able to stop myself than I was to slow down any of the others near me.

Then she clapped her hands. So gently and soft that I marveled at how any of us heard her; yet not a single person failed to stop their gorging when she did. “My darlings,” she said with a lovely smile, “it’s time we dance.”

Captain Davis stood and coughed before he said, “Madame, I’m afraid that we haven’t any instruments save a drum and trumpet. Poor choices for dancing music I’m afraid.”

“Oh,” she said with a pout, “but I do so want to listen to music as we dance.”

Men and women tore from the tables and ransacked the town looking for any instruments they could find that might accompany the drum and trumpet. Instruments were improvised and a chorus was made on the spot. She was so happy at our ingenuity that she jumped up and down while clapping her hands and giggling. We had saved her dance she said!

The band began to play a tuneless song that jarred the mind and made grown men grind their teeth. Yet she was happy and so we danced. We danced for hours and hours, till night turned to day and again to night. Still we danced because she was having so much fun. We didn’t want to disappoint her.

We were still dancing when the first person died. Old Lady Ward. Poor thing, her heart just couldn’t take the excitement of it all. We keep dancing but do you know what the Lady did? She was so concerned that we might become thirsty that she had a couple of the boys pick her body and let the blood out. – Not on the floor like some heathen, godless thing but into the barrels of wine. The dead would keep us going she said with a laugh, and we laughed with her as we raised our glasses time and time again to toast her health and the dance.

I cannot tell you how long we danced, or how many had their life’s blood added to the wine, only that I danced long enough to be held by her. She was even more beautiful than before. She towered over me now, nearly a foot taller, where before I would have sworn that she were but five feet. She wrapped herself about me and the thorns that broke her skin and sank into my own bought a bittersweet gasp from my lips as I saw her lick my own blood from her fingertips.

“My Lady,” I managed to stammer when she cocked her head to the side and looked at me, “have I done something to displease you?”

She carefully laid her head on my shoulder. Can you imagine a giantess doing so innocent and gentle a gesture? Yet here she had her head on my shoulder and she whispered into my ear, “I’m only sorry.”

“Sorry for what, Dearest?”

“I’m sorry that all of you are having to pay for that fool Captain’s sins.”

“Sins, Madam?”

She stood up to her full height, towering over the keep, and the music stopped. “Yes, sins,” she said, her voice booming like thunder. “He came into my temple and overturned my alter, spilled my sacrificial wine, and burned my Priestess on the stake. He defaced my images and ordered the temple burned to the ground. Why?”

I stammered as I strained to look upon her face, “I - I do not know my Lady.”

She squatted down so I could see her face again and in her eyes I saw the spiraling depths of the universe unfolding. “Because his god is modest and meek.” She said it with menace in her voice and a tinge of disgust. “Modesty,” she mocked, “in all things from dress to sex. Can you imagine Chee?”

I shook my head, “No my Lady.”

“Of course you can’t my dear, sweet, Chee,” she said as she ran her massive finger along the side of my face. “You still honor the Old Gods and our rituals. Even here during the cleansing you poured some wine out for me before drinking the rest for yourself.”

“I,” but words failed me. Here standing before me was Abita, the Lady of Amber, Goddess of the Drink, Debauchery, Dance, and Festivals. She was real and more beautiful than anything I had ever imagined. I should have recognized her and in my anger I turned my gaze away.

“Now don’t go doing that, little man. No harm has come from you, yet, and for that you will live even as all the rest die to the Dance of the Tarantella.”

So it was that I lived and became her Priest while the rest of Fort Montgomery danced itself to death. She sent me out into the world with a single message: Honor the Old Gods and their ways, for they are done with our shit.

Dungeons and Drunkards
Part 1: A pub crawl through assorted editions of D&D (and some homebrew) by +Jens D. 
Part 2: The Dance of the Tarantella by Charles Akins
Part 3: Boozing it Up in 5e by +Sean Bircher
  Part 4: When the DM Gets Drunk by +Stelios V. Perdios
Part 5: Drunken Beasts by +Sean Bircher 
Part 6: B-E-N-D-E-R! by +Sean Bircher
Part 7: Wine Angel by +Sean Bircher
Part 8: The Drunk Girl and the Game Master by +Stelios V. Perdios
The Complete Dungeons & Drunkards PDF

Thursday, March 12, 2015

About Those New Uniforms for Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman

So DC is introducing some new uniforms for what many fans refer to as the big three: Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman. It's clear from looking at these new designs that DC is going for a completely different feel not only to the characters but for the entirety of DC.


So here's Superman who looks like a more like he belongs in the old Valiant Comics with their "gritty" look that always made their characters seem indistinguishable to me. That said, intellectually the idea that Superman wouldn't run around with a secret identity really isn't all that farfetched. I mean no one could possibly hurt him without kryptonite so why should he fear if anyone knows who he is? I mean except for the fact that any loved ones he might have could be held ransom, killed, raped, and put in constant danger to manipulate him like a puppet.


By far the best redesign out of the group is Wonder Woman. It's just a great look minus the needless Wolverine-esque spikes jutting out from her wrists. Still looks like a Valiant reject, but it's better than Batman.


At this point I don't even know why they're still calling him Batman. He's a giant, robotic, rabbit with a gun. Fuck he'd be more at home in Savage Dragon or the TICK than he would as Batman!

I totally get that at this point DC is trying to go for a grittier feel with the books - all the redesigns, from Batman's smoking gun to Superman's fists dripping blood, reinforce this -  but making the DC universe into a new version of WildStorm isn't the way to go. Look Lee and DiDio are steering this ship and it's clear that they want to go down this way but I'm just not looking for these changes to be long term. If anything I expect them to be in retroconned into an alternative DC Universe at the end of the run when they reintroduce the classic uniforms like Old Coke coming back after New Coke pissed everyone off. 

What do you all think?

Monkey Business by Jens D., The Disoriented Ranger

For those of you who haven't yet heard Jens D of the Disoriented Ranger produced an adventure, Monkey Business . He's publi...