5th Edition D&D Spellcasting

The 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons remains my favorite iteration of the rules but the choice to crib from the best parts of four previous editions to craft a whole is not without consequences. Mainly, I find myself using rules from previous editions all the time and forgetting the subtle changes that have been added for this edition.  This is mainly a problem I’ve experienced as a DM as it is far easier to remember all of the new rules specific to a player character than it is to try and recall something specific for one of your players off the cuff.

One place I’ve run into this problem a lot is the realm of Spellcasting.  Playing a spellcaster is a role I’ve long enjoyed and thus I’ve played a lot of them across many versions of D&D. In 5th edition there are many instances where the differences between the modern version of a spellcaster and its older iteration are somewhat minute. So today I thought I would do a deeper delve into all of the magic slinging classes and suss out how exactly they function differently from one another. I figure I’ll take you all on the ride with me. It may help someone else and it will certainly help me ingrain it better.  That way the next time I roll up a random encounter with a spellcaster I’ll know just how they work!

VERBIAGE & THE BASICS

Cantrips – A set of basic spells for nearly all the spellcasting classes, excluding only the Paladin and the Ranger.

Spells Known – Used to describe a situation where the spells are either memorized or just naturally known by the spellcaster. Individuals who use Spells known do not need to prepare a list of spells to pull from.

Prepared List – Some spellcasters need to prepare a list of spells to use after a long rest those spells will be chosen from either the full list of spells available at the highest level available to your character or from a spellbook.  The number of spells that can be prepared is derived from the Spellcaster’s chosen Spellcasting Ability’s modifier + the level of the Character.

Spellbook – Only necessary for a Wizard, it contains the list of spells available to prepare after a long rest.

Spell Slots – The number of spells that can be cast per day at varying spell levels.

Ritual Casting – Certain spells can be cast in a manner that takes 10 mins but when they are cast in this style it doesn’t use a Spell Slot.

THE SPELLCASTER BREAKDOWN

There are a whopping eight classes, & two subclasses, that use some form of magic

Main Classes:

  • Bard – Relies on Cantrips Known, Spells Known, Rituals and Spell Slots
  • Cleric – Relies on Cantrips Known, A Prepared List, Rituals, Channel Divinity, and Spell Slots
  • Druid – Relies on Cantrips Known, A Prepared List, Druid Circles, Rituals, and Spell Slots
  • Paladin – Relies on A Prepared List, and Spell Slots
  • Ranger – Relies on Spells Known, and Spell Slots
  • Sorcerer – Relies on Cantrips Known, Spells Known, and Spell Slots
  • Warlock – Relies on Cantrips Known, Spells Known, Spell slots, and Invocations
  • Wizard – Relies on Cantrips Known, A Spellbook, A Prepared List, Rituals, Chosen School of Magic, and Spell Slots

Sub Classes:

  • Eldritch Knight (Fighter Martial Archetype) Relies on Cantrips Known, Spells Known, Spell Slots, and chooses spells from the Abjuration and Evocation spells available on the Wizard spell list.
  • Arcane Trickster (Roguish Archetype) Relies on Cantrips Known, Spells Known, Spell Slots, and chooses spells from the Enchantment and Illusion Spells avaliable on the Wizard spell list.

For the most part we see that spellcasters can be broken down into two varieties.  They either know their spell lists and can pull from them at will or they must prepare a group of spells to pull from after every long rest.  Within these two groups you have a few standout additional features. I stuck mostly to the ones that really added extra spellcasting.

  • The Cleric – Channel Divinity will mostly depend on what Divine Domain you choose but it will add more spells to the list a Cleric can choose from and will also allow for magic-like abilities that either have their own effects or pump up other spells.
  • The Druid – Once a Druid Circle is chosen it will add extra Spells to the list where spells are chosen and prepped from and will also grant some special abilities as well.
  • The Warlock –  Switches things up a bit for the Known Spells crowd by adding in its Invocations.  These are supremely handy spells that all have their own rules attributed to each one but many can be cast over like an additional cantrip.
  • The Wizard – Has the largest pool of spells to pick from for the Prepared Spells crowd, but is limited by its Spellbook.  While Clerics, Druids, and Paladins can pull from any spell on their spell lists (level appropriate) the Wizard has to choose what spells go into their Spellbook to be further chosen for a prepared list. That spellbook helps with Rituals though as the Wizard can choose any spell from their Spellbook to cast as a ritual (provided it can be cast in that way). Finally, the Wizard can also perform any number of interesting extra magical feats based on their chosen school of magic, there are a lot of interesting choices there.

Obviously every spellcasting class has some of its own variations that makes it unique, but these are the mainstays for how they work.  5th Edition is fantastic for making classes feel unique while utilizing a slimmed down structure of how they function at the core.  Like I said above, at its simplest a Spellcasting class is either a “Preparer” or a “Knower” and that is the main thing you should try to get to know about them before going into using a class.

I hope the small list above can help someone keep them straight or even be used as a quick reference tool without having to flip through pages to recall whether your Bard Goblin gets to use Cantrips or not.  I know it has helped me to put this all down.  I imagine we will see at least one new style of casting in the future, Psionics, so I’ll hopefully add that here when it makes an appearance. Let me know in the comments if you feel I could add more detail to a certain portion, or if I forgot anything crucial.  To access the comments you have to click the word bubble on the top right of this page.

Goodbye and great gaming folks!

-Melvs

Skeleton Team Mericana

Children astound me with their severe levels of passionate creativity.  I’m honestly curious where a lot of that goes as we age, though the majority of those reading these words likely maintain a lot of that same childlike passion.  My daughter Allouette, Alli for short, often displays some pretty bizarrely advanced levels of imagination, even for a five year old.  Mainly she has an aptitude for just plain making things up off the top of her head that often has me and her mother in stitches.  Though this happens a lot around here I thought you all may particularly enjoy her latest obsession with a bunch of Skeleton miniatures that I let her paint while Sarah and I were working on some of our own painting jobs.  I had originally planned to describe her creations second hand but while posting the pictures she went crazy telling me all about her Skeleton team!  So, I just started jotting her words down verbatim.  Here you go folks, I introduce to you Skeleton Team Mericana!

I have no idea where she got the name "Skeleton Team Mericana" from.

I have no idea where she got the name “Skeleton Team Mericana” from. Set pieces brought to you by Melvin Smif via Hirst Arts molds!

Skeleton Team Mericana likes to go on Monster Fights, mostly in Dungeons and caves.  There are two leaders a boy skeleton named Lyng and a girl skeleton named Nalita, they are friends too.  The biggest monster they ever fought was a big troll, not the grumpy troll from Dora cuz he’s wimpy.

Nalita

Nalita

 

NALITA: GIRL LEADER

“Nalita loves to fight bad guys with her spear staff. Her and Lyng, the boy leader, love to use their brick spears to throw dirt at monsters until they die. And she is rainbow colored.”

 

Lyng

Lyng

 

LYNG: BOY LEADER

“Lyng is a leader because he is blue and has a spear staff with a shield that is also blue.  His bones don’t fall off as easy as the other skeletons’ bones do.  He is also a leader because he is sitting in the chair.”

 

Rina

Rina

 

RINA: SHE LOVE AXES

“She loves axes and uses them to cut holes, bad guy worms in water pipes, and trees. She’s a girl and she always likes to take a rest after all her work. She eats snacks before hunting.”

 

Reng

Reng

 

RENG: GOES TO BED WHEN TOLD

“Likes to go into dungeons and likes to fight bad guys. With her sword she likes to slice brick monsters and she always does what the leaders tell her to do.  She doesn’t go to bed until her leaders tell her to go to bed.”

Langus

Langus

 

LANGUS: LOVES TO DO STUFF

“She likes to cut bad guys with her axes.  She listens to her leaders.  Her favorite bad guy to cut with axes are bad guy snakes.  It is so fun to cut down monsters with the leaders, it is her favorite thing to do.  She also loves to do stuff.”

 

Granto

Granto

 

GRANTO: EATS SNACKS AFTER LUNCH

“This boy likes to freeze monsters with his magical freezing sword. He likes to slice bad trees and make them ice. He always counts to 15 when he messes up and he loves to eat snacks, even when he’s already eaten lunch.”

 

There you have it, feel free to use the NPC concepts for your next game.  I imagine they would prove a tough adversary against your Players. Just imagine trying to deal with Granto’s freezing sword or the leaders’ dirt weapons. Hope you enjoyed this little trip into my daughter’s brain, I know I did.  She continues to surprise her mother and I daily (as does anyone’s child but DAMMIT MINE’S A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE!!).  Won’t be long my son will be right there with her, of course he’s only two at the moment so his painting style is globbing huge portions onto small objects.

He fit four shades of color on each brick piece.  Only on the bottoms too.

He fit four shades of color on each brick piece. Only on the bottoms too.

They sure do have a lot of fun painting together though.  Man I hope that continues, whether they ultimately choose to play the games I love or not it has, and will continue to be, a joy to introduce them to it.

wpid-20150115_191827.jpgHave a good week everyone!

-Melvs

 

Icy Conditions Ahead

I’ve got winter on the brain. Mainly, I just find myself wishing for a nice fluffy snowfall to have fun in with my wife and kids but I also ran a game this past weekend that included freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall as key danger elements in the game. I feel like I represented some of the pitfalls inherent of such conditions but I really wanted to look into what someone could potentially face when they are up against dangerous arctic conditions and, how a DM/GM might go about challenging the table. Figured I’d take you all along for the ride.

TRAVELING IN THE DRIFTS

When your players are traveling in winter-like conditions it might be tempting to boil any complications you have in mind down to a series of checks to see if they “survive” the trip intact. Instead, I urge you to think about all the opportunities to turn the environment itself into an enemy to harass the group! Simply having them “check” their way through the trip robs you of the pleasure of having them inwardly beg to survive it at all, and may make them think twice about accepting further adventures up in the frozen portions of whatever realm you play in.

THE COLD

The biting winds of an open plain or the raw fear of daylight bleeding away too quickly can be a very real complication for anyone traversing frozen tundra. The cold is something to be feared, like any extreme. Characters on the move may not face this as readily as those camped (more on that in a bit) but if the area they need to cross provides little in the way of shelter from the wind they could experience conditions like Frostbite or even hypothermia.

Now, I’m not suggesting you nitpick what the characters choose to wear, unless you all are into that level of micro storytelling, but it is certainly something to keep in mind for those checks against the cold weather. Increase difficulty if they are on the open plain or maybe drop the temperature dramatically if they decide to travel at night. Be familiar with the conditions above and determine in game how they might affect your players. Certainly you could look into lost hit points, fatigue, or even death. Those suffering from such ailments may even need help from that long forgotten heal check. It doesn’t need to just sit around waiting to stabilize someone.

Try being descriptive though, while the cold tends to lean towards the “checks” framework more than anything else, that doesn’t mean you have to express a simplistic Pass or Fail approach. When they pass a check perhaps they were able to use survival instincts to hunker behind a dune of snow for a time or a failure might come from a player forgetting to stay hydrated in the cold, a lapse that could hasten hypothermia. Pull on your own memories for times when that burst of cold wind made you suck in your breath, describe labored pulls of frozen air into beleaguered lungs. Set that tone.

Or cast endure elements, that might help…but even endure elements can’t help with…

KEEPING THE TRAIL

Where's the Trail

One thing a heavy snowfall can certainly impact is a group’s ability to stay on track. As mentioned, a few survival checks could be used to represent the lead scout picking their way across the snowy wilderness but even the best scout will struggle at keeping the regular trail when it’s been blocked by an avalanche, covered in deep snow, or invisible in a whiteout.

An avalanche doesn’t always need to be something your players cause and have to survive, coming across the devastation of one blocking their path could be just as eerie. You can use it as an excuse to push them through the Mines of Morierrr… I mean the nearby cave system. Another option is they may need to get creative with spells to clear the way. Lastly, it may just impede them all together, causing them to turn back and use that nice air ship fellow they met back in town.

Like these new hungry wolf friends!

Like these new hungry wolf friends!

A whiteout certainly calls for repeated checks to keep the trail if the players decide to push forward but simply failing to find the trail might be a bit boring. Maybe some repeated failed checks lead to the front of the marching order to find themselves in an open slide down side of a small mountain towards a tremendous drop. Limited visibility can certainly impair the group’s ability to notice certain monsters that have no difficulty picking up the trail of new feet in their realm.

THE NIGHT’S WATCH

No...not these guys I meant...you know, like camping and watching the ...nevermind

No…not these guys I meant…you know, like camping and watching the …nevermind

It gets dark quick where it’s cold.  Keep that in mind when determining how often your players may wish to set camp, and the cold can be much less forgiving at night.  Don’t let the players simply say “we’re making camp” ask them where, make them figure out some safe choices.  Put that survival skill to good use.

I went backpacking over the summer in Colorado and discovered firsthand just how much wood it requires to get through even one night, and we were cold that night too.  We packed very well for every aspect of the trip except keeping ourselves warm enough.  It slipped into the 30’s (Fahrenheit) when we had expected it to stay in the 50’s.  We were awake, and by the fire, all night.  Every scrap of dead wood near us went to the flame and we were lucky as Hell that there were some greener pieces available to burn long.  So if your characters are somewhere without wood, they may wish they’d thought ahead.  At least they have magic to get creative with and once again endure elements or a bag of holding full of firewood can be a godsend.

Looks...safe enough

Looks…safe enough

The same creatures who can pick up the trail of fresh PCs can also easily harass those looking to camp.  If the players think a cave or a den of trees looks like a fine place to bunker down, why wouldn’t a small war-band of Orcs or our hungry wolf buddies? In the wild shelter is a commodity and even more so in severe weather. Don’t just assume the players have found safe sleeping arrangements because they decided it is time for their long rest, make them earn that sleep.

Now, I’ve had a lot of fun talking about winter conditions and what sort of challenges you can throw at the players but I’m sure many of you have some great ideas as well.  Feel free to post them in the comments and I’ll likely use them at some point.  If you really like the idea of a campaign set in conditions like this I would suggest you look at the Savage Worlds Campaign Setting Hellfrost, by Triple Ace Games.  I’ve written a few games using this world and it is by far one of the most well written fantasy settings for the system, and it is all about snow and ice.  If nothing else it would make a great supplement for any game with these extremes at the heart of them.  Goodbye for now and wish for some snow my way will ya?

-Melvs

Geekway to the West

I spend a lot of time talking about Tabletop RPGs.  Without a doubt those roleplay inducing, hit point crushing affairs hold the biggest piece of my gaming heart, but if I were to expose a little more of that beating flesh to you board games certainly cover a sizable portion as well!  This is why I would like to talk to you about Geekway to the West, the St. Louis hosted gaming convention that focuses on board gaming and board gaming alone.  With stunning results too.

geekwaylogoIf you visit the Geekway to the West site you will see that they’ve been at the Con game for 11 years this May.  I’ve attended the last two.  When I first attended I wasn’t sure what I would discover, my apprehensions were somewhat parallel to my good friend Toby’s, which he covered in an eloquent write up on his blog Roll and Groove, when he first attended GttW.  I was nervous about the whole thing, the crowds, not knowing the games, etc.  It was my first Convention and unlike Gen Con, which was at that time coming down the pipe, I’d be attending alone.  What I discovered was an entirely inclusive environment, full of gamers ready to flag you down if they needed one more for a game and readily help you understand the rules or, if no one knew them, pick your brain to assist the group in getting ready.  Four days of gaming flew by quick.

The next year I attended merely one day of the event due to a family function filling up the remainder of my weekend.  I had signed up to help with the library too, and sadly had to back out.  The one day I was there was very eventful though.  I fell in love with an odd little game called Space Cadets: Dice Duels, and even won a copy of the game just for playing it.  Last year I even helped out some would be game designers by being a volunteer game tester.  It was a cool experience especially because, as anyone who knows me well can tell you, I really love just talking to other gamers about their passions and few have more love for gaming than someone putting themselves out there as a designer.

This year I plan to attend all four days and will likely volunteer to work the library if they need me.  Speaking of said library, it is huge.  The folks who run the con have collected hundreds of games, many of them with multiple copies, to lend out to the more than one thousand attendees. Truly a board gamer’s delight!

A few things to note about this con if you intend to consider coming on down to play some games with me, you know you want to.

  • Date: May 14-17
  • Place: Westport Sheraton Chalet – St. Louis, Missouri
  • Price: For all 4 days
    • Early Bird: $35.00 until Monday 01/12/2015!
    • Online Post 01/12/2015: $45.00
    • At the Door: $50.00
  • Online badge purchasers also get a free board game at Check in! (Last year I got a copy of the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game)
  • Let me reiterate the above…Free Game folks, Hell the game I got last year retails for $30 and I paid $35 for my badge.
  • There is a Play and Win contest for some games, whenever you play them you are entered into a lottery to win that copy at the end of the Con.  Last year I won Space Cadets: Dice Duel.
  • There are contests
    • Game Design Contest
    • Certain games like Crokinole & other Attendee run games
  • Support for Designers
    • Prototype Lab
    • Playtest area
    • The design competition
  • Merchandise
    • Trade table where you can trade your old game for something new
    • Vendors can set up tables too.  Last year I met with William Mandry, creator of the excellent pocket game Survivalistic.

I could go on but at this point just visit the website here because you are obviously interested enough to maybe get a badge.  I’d love to see some of my readers attend.  Would love to meet some new folks and would love to see some old friends again.  Come beat me at a game, I’m abysmal at boardgames anyway (despite my love for them) so it should be easy.  Hopefully I’ll see you at the Con!

-Melvs

 

Arm Yourself With Confidence

Melvin here. I’d like to introduce you all to Erik, he is a friend and fellow Vagabond Gamer. Like Topher, Erik has agreed to be a contributor to the blog from time to time, and after reading his heartfelt post below I think you’ll agree he’s a good fit. Welcome Erik!

I’d contend that for each and every person who calls themselves a gamer there has been a moment in their life that they’ve been having a conversation with someone and thought, “you know, I’d bet they’d really love gaming.” Far too often though we’re crippled by a fear of inviting them. So rather than extend our gaming circle, and to spread the happiness we’ve found in the hobby we simply sit in silence. We let our potential convert slip away.

Why do we do it? Why does the fear exist. In this, the age of the Geek, why do we neglect our responsibility to bring others into the fold? We live in an era where things such as “nerd hot” and “geek chic” are truly a thing. Movie stars, regarded by the mainstream as the paramount of cool, openly admit to being gamers. So why then do we so often find ourselves tongue tied when given a clear opening?

Unfortunately the answer isn’t easily discovered, and more often than not it’s personal. I can’t tell you what it is that’s crippling you, but I can tell you what was crippling me. More importantly, I can tell you how I got passed it. Perhaps a piece of what I have to say will help someone who is unable to summon up their courage and invite that friend, relative or coworker to come to the table.

When I first started gaming, I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. As far as I was concerned each and every person on the face of the planet should have been gaming. I was in middle school at the time, and started inviting friends to come and play on the weekends. I got a handful of friends together one afternoon, sat down with my prefab Dungeons and Dragons module and started to run my first game. Not a single person at the table took it seriously.

As it turned out, most of them were there to be nice. Those who were remotely interested in playing jumped on the bandwagon of turning it into a farce rather than a game. I had adventurers tearing doors off hinges simply for the sake of it. Setting houses on fire if they had no treasure in them. As a 13 year old kid running his first game for his friends, or people he thought were his friends, that’s not the easiest thing to deal with. I was at a total loss of what to do, and in short I just wanted to take my dice and books and run off to cry.

It didn’t take long before one person at the table flat out said “this is boring, let’s do something else.” So my group of friends who I’d invited over to game all left to go do something different and I decided to stay home. I was emotionally scarred and from that point on couldn’t bring myself to even raise the question of gaming to anyone. Not just for the short term either, but for years.

I got into a handful of groups in High School, and a few more at Junior College. Nine times out of ten I’d start as a player and then they’d ask for people to volunteer to GM. I’d end up behind the screen and running the game, but I’d never be putting a group together. I never invited a single friend to come and play. I always just found a group, and made an effort to be accepted. When friends would ask what I was doing at lunch, or what I was doing on Tuesday night or whatever… I’d just mumble nothing. I refused to risk the humiliation I’d felt in Middle School.

Then I met a buddy of mine named Shriane Dream Phoenixx, and this man helped me fall back in love with gaming. He was someone who had fallen so in love with a system that was inherently broken, that he went to great lengths to resolve the issues with it. He sunk hundreds of hours into fixing this game system, and then went about putting together a group. He asked everyone, because he wanted to play and he believed in his soul that anyone can have fun at the table.

After the third or fourth person who turned him down I asked him about it. “Shriane,” I said, “how do you do it? How do you put up with the rejection? How can you just casually ask someone if they’d be interested in playing?” His response was simple, “Because I want to play. See dude, all they can do is say no. Or all they can do is mess up a single session if they’re not into it. When the dust settles, the game is still there, and I’m still going to love it. However, you can’t play without players.”

You can’t play without players. That right there my friends is the cold hard truth. Sure, not everyone you invite is going to want to play. Not everyone who gives it a chance is going to stick it out. However, if you don’t make the effort to bring people in, you’re going to be stuck without a group. The fact is, we as gamers are happy with our hobby. It brings us joy, relaxation and a creative outlet. The benefits we reap from it are vast and there is no reason for us to be ashamed of it. Those who choose to mock it can only do it once, and then we don’t invite them back. Those who believe it’s not their cup of tea can only say no. Those we bring in, however, are the true worth. The friendships forged around the table, and the enjoyment shared makes the “nos” worth it.

It’s not a cure all, and I can’t say that making this decision is going to lead to the situation being comfortable. However, keeping in mind that the worst they can do is say no will help. I wouldn’t be gaming with my local group of friends if I’d not made the effort to ask. Take the risk, who knows what you’ll find.

-Erik Taylor

Gaming in 2015

I’ve made no secret that ever since I joined Twitter in March of 2012 I’ve entered into my own kind of gaming renaissance.  2013 was a year for growing my knowledge of new Tabletop RPGs and board games I’d never played.  Then finally this last year was one for growing my professional association with the hobby I love, utilizing this blog, my many connections through Twitter, and even a bit of Google+.  Of course, beyond all that, every year has been one of making new connections and, more importantly, friends.  So let’s just say I’m very excited to see where 2015 takes me, the industry, and my good buddies.  Let’s see what’s planned in the new year!

FOR THE INDUSTRY

By far the biggest story of last year was the release of the 5th Edition rule-set for Dungeons and Dragons and I am certainly looking to the future for what they have planned.  As of right now we know that Wizards of the Coast (WotC) plans to release two items in early 2015, currently March 17.  There will be the Elemental Evil Adventurer’s Handbook and it will be herald of another large adventure series called Princes of the Apocalypse.  At this time I’m not seeing a second adventure following PotA the way they handled Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat but perhaps it just hasn’t been announced yet.

What we know is that WotC has once again teamed with an outside company to craft both the handbook and the adventure.  This time they will be utilizing Sasquatch Game Studio LLC.  They are relatively new on the scene, having launched a successful Kickstarter back in the beginning of August for their Campaign Setting Primeval Thule, but the company houses industry veterans Richard Baker, Stephen Schubert, and David Noonan (I’d also be remiss if I failed to mention that my friend Scott, the Angry DM, helped out on Primeval Thule so I’m hoping to see his name in the credits once more).  I had the pleasure of speaking with the folks behind the studio at Gen Con last year and walked away impressed by not just them but their product.  I’m currently awaiting the 4th Edition version of their Primeveal Thule setting but considering their current partnership they might be busy.

Dungeons and Dragons may be the big dog in the room but there are certainly other companies and games I’m keeping an eye on.  One of the releases you may recall me being excited for is Iron Kingdoms Unleashed from Privateer Press.  I wrote about the Press Panel I attended at Gencon for the product and I’m hoping to get my review copy any day now.  I’m all geared up to read about this interesting foray into Role-playing.  It seemingly promises to be very different from most games I’m used to.  If you’re a fan of Pinnacle Entertainment Group’s Savage Worlds system, and especially their Deadlands setting, keep an eye on their news feed as just a few days ago they announced that the long awaited third Deadlands plot point is soon to be launched called Stone and a Hard Place.  Monte Cook Games had a strong 2014, winning numerous Eenies for their RPG Numenera and I expect to see some great things in 2015.  Also, we can be certain Paizo will continue to put out quality items, I’ve just never paid much attention to them.  Maybe I’ll try better for 2015.

One last bit of industry I’m wildly interested in, that doesn’t have a firm future, is Trapdoor Technologies and their amazing product Codename: Morningstar.  Sadly their Kickstarter doesn’t look promising at just about 18% of their fund amount with only three days left.  Obviously I’d like to see them fund, and their is still time if anyone wishes to go support this product I yearn for, but I have to admit I’m not hopeful at this point.  I’m still hopeful we’ll see something from them though, they have a vision for the future of how we game that I certainly support and, despite what some say, is nowhere right now.  I’ll continue to keep in contact with them even if their Kickstarter fails to fund and will continue to support them in any way I can going forward.  They are good people and I think they have something special to share with us.

MY PERSONAL HOPES FOR 2015

Obviously I plan to try and grow my impact with this blog, and possibly through some other channels.  I am upping my Con attendance, having been invited to a few in a press capacity.  Currently I plan to attend Origins in June and certainly Gen Con in August but there may be more in the future, I’ll let you know.

One of the things I was most proud of in 2014 was dipping my toe into mixing volunteerism with my love of gaming. It started with running a panel at the local Teen Fandom Con on tabletop gaming then culminated with running a game once a month for teens interested in learning the hobby.  I fully intend to continue running my once a month game, as the kids and I are loving it, and am hoping to bridge this into something more eventually!  What I would love to do is see if there is a way to partner with some volunteer groups that deal with either at risk kids or individuals with illness that may like to escape for a while into a world of fantasy.  Another idea is to run games for charity where people donate to be a part of the game.  These are bigger picture ideas though and I may not get to them in 2015, but I may start laying the groundwork!

Another little concept of mine is to perhaps do either a bit of Vlogging or finally start up that Podcast my buddy Topher and I always talk about doing.  If I don’t start my own podcast I at least hope to take a little time to visit with my good friends at Gamerstable across the state line and do a little guest work, if they’ll have me.  I’d love to see the Vagabond Gamers G+ group we have grow some, great group of gamers there if you want to meet with some online folk!  Who knows, maybe I’ll do some sort of collaborative work with Toby Gee over at Roll and Groove, he’s family so he might be honor bound to accept any proposal I through at him anyway.

I plan to get fit!  Maybe I’ll bring back a bit of geeky exercise information, like when I wrote a piece on my mental/physical prep work done to get ready for the Marathon I ran.  I know a few people who use apps to play out scenarios while they run.  I should probably check those out, maybe I’ll review a few for you all.

If nothing else, I hope my year is full over gaming. Hope yours is too!  Let me know what you have planned below if you so wish!

-Melvs

P.S. Keep in mind 2015 is the year they visit in Back to the Future II so you can expect all of that stuff too.

Like... Jaws 19

Like… Jaws 19