Yeah, I know. I tried, I really did. I said I’d start posting again last August, and it just didn’t work out.  Sorry about that. I got pretty busy with theatre stuff and personal stuff and the time just got away from me. I even missed doing a 1d12 Days of Christmas last year – I tried to get it going, but couldn’t find very many holiday-themed gaming posts and products to make it worthwhile.  Sorry about all of that.

I have a couple of good things to report, if it’s any consolation. The 5E D&D group that started up last May has been meeting ever since, and has grown from 4 to 6 members (and we’ll soon be adding a 7th). They’ve been adventuring in Ashenhurst, a setting of my own design. It’s a massive, cursed city that is constantly crumbling and being rebuilt (think of a fantasy version of Kowloon Walled City, and you’ll have the idea).  So far they’ve thwarted an assassination attempt and helped contain a disease outbreak, and they are currently standing trial for conspiracy to aid a necromancer.

On the weeks we can’t meet up, I run some other stuff, like the one-shot Star Wars REUP game we played last week. And a friend has recently invited me to run some Introduction to RPGs events at the Dover Comicon, which has been growing in popularity over the last couple of years.

Now that I have a regular group of gamers in place, I should have more material for the blog – play reports, details on my custom setting, product reviews (with actual playtesting this time!), and all that sort of thing.  I hope. I’m making no promises. But I’ll try my best.

But right now, let’s discuss a more serious matter.

There’s a blog post going around that is difficult to read. I’ll link it here, but be forewarned that it contains some very disturbing (and possibly triggering) subject matter.It’s one woman’s account of negative experiences she has had while being involved with tabletop games – sexism, sexual harassment, racism, homophobia, and more. It’s been making the rounds among most of my gamer friends online, and I shared it myself on the social feeds for The Escapist.

Sharing it seems to bring a bit of backlash. Some state that the claims are unsubstantiated, and we shouldn’t believe everything we read on the internet. And there’s a valid point in that. It’s easy to let your outrage switch get flipped by things like this, and I really don’t have any knowledge of the author’s veracity. It could just as easily be a completely fabricated attempt to stir the pot.

Know what? Doesn’t matter.

The fact is, whether the claims made in that post are true or not, even if none of them happened to the author – they are happening to others. And regardless of who is the culprit and who is the victim, it is always wrong and unacceptable.  It’s poisonous to our hobby and harmful to the people who want to enjoy it.

Pretending it doesn’t happen won’t make it go away. Discrediting the claims of one doesn’t make the rest disappear. Turning a blind eye to it when it’s happening right in front of you is despicable.

Some time after the post started to gain some legs, someone else (I’m not sure who, I’d love to give credit) started a little hashtag campaign – #SafeGamerPledge – to encourage gamers to reject those behaviors, and not allow them at their tables.  Despite the innocuous nature of such a pledge, there was a little pushback as well. I suppose that will always happen, no matter what.

Regardless, I participated. The pledge I posted on the site’s Twitter, Facebook, and G+ accounts, is below.I’m not encouraging anyone to participate. I’m not bullying anyone for not doing so, or even shutting down discussion on the matter. I’m just making my own statement, and standing by it.  I’ll be back very soon.

All of the wonderful varieties of people are welcome and safe at my game table. Intolerance, hatred, & harassment are not.

Oh, hey guys. Yeah, I got kind of busy there… for almost eight months.

Sorry about that. The good news is that I have a new D&D campaign going. And won a Gold ENnie at Gen Con!

More about those things very soon. Until then, here’s a couple lists of positive and negative character traits to print out and stick in your GM binder. Put them to good use.

See you soon.

It’s Christmas Eve, and I’m prepping my clan for an evening trip to visit family up north, but I have time for one quick check on the Random Christmas Encounter Table before I go.

This time, it’s the Rōgun Holiday Special, a free holiday special supplement for the new Retrostar RPG by Spectrum Games. Retrostar is the RPG of classic 70s science fiction television shows. Now I’m going to be honest here – I haven’t had the time to check it out yet (the Pay What You Want starter edition is here), but if history means anything, I’m certain it will capture the genre with the same spirit that their other games (Macabre Tales, Slasher Flick, Cartoon Action Hour, etc) have in the past.

So if the idea of roleplaying some classic Buck-Rogers-styled adventures piques your interest, be sure to check out Retrostar, and pick up this free holiday supplement to get started.

Swords and Stitchery has another creepy Christmas treat for our science fantasy OSR games – Zebulara, the Twisted Christmas Demiplane:

Zebulara is an Outskirt demi plane realm that has been created from the debris and remains of mankind’s dreams and memories of Christmas’s past lost to the collective unconsciousness of humanity’s memory from the Nineteen Hundreds through the present seen through the eyes of a Holiday Christmas special from classic television. At least in the beginning of a visit. This demi plane actively hunts and sucks in adventurers as well as heroes from across time and space. A strange candy can colored vortex is often the first and only warning of  Zebulara’s dimensional trap springing upon PC’s. The dimensional vortex opens near the PC’s and Dex checks are needed just to avoid the debris and what not that will try to knock characters out. They will awaken upon Zebulara.

Learn more, and check out the Zebulara encounter table, at Swords and Stitchery.

The Krampus is the first installment of Rogues, Rivals, & Renegades, a series of villain supplements for the Mutants & Masterminds 3E RPG. A devoted fan of the Christmas holiday, Oliver Christmas became mentally unhinged after a series of tragic events, and turned to a life of the vigilante. Now he vows to punish those who do not truly understand the real meaning of the holiday, using his Yule whip and other Christmas-themed weapons that he has engineered himself.

This supplement includes the backstory and M&M stats for The Krampus, some great character art, and a printable mini.

You can find a copy at DriveThruRPG.

The most excellent OSR RPG blog Swords & Stitchery has a creepy Lovecraftian creature for us – the Red Variuri, or False Santa, a greedy murderous lich that is sometimes summoned by evil cults to guard treasure or oversee evil rituals.  Doesn’t that just fill your heart with holiday cheer?

You can find the Red Variuri at Swords & Stitchery.

The next goody under the angry treant stuck in the little pot in our living room is Holiday Heroes & Horrors, a holiday and arctic themed supplement for the Pathfinder RPG from the wonderfully named Octopus Apocalypse.

Packed in the 18 pages are details of a new arctic region called “White Hell,” rules for snow blindness, a new item, item quality, and item material, two new magic items, three new spells, two new races, and a bunch of new monsters to top it all off.

As with many holiday themed products, the material and illustrations are a bit whimsical, but if you’re looking to bring some lighter fun to your Pathfinder games, then this would be three bucks well spent.

You can find a copy at DriveThruRPG.