A place wherein this Dwarven Cleric can share his love of maps, dice, miniatures, and all things involving gaming and general geekery--not to mention the occasional witty non-gaming observations--whilst escaping from the humdrum existence of his routine Terran existence.

Hail and Well Met, fellow traveler! May my Stronghold provide a place for enlightenment and amusement, and somewhere to keep your dice dry. Enter and rest awhile.

27 February 2012

New Family Member

Say hello to the newest member of the Stronghold family!

A relative had him show up and try to adopt himself into their family. They weren't able to keep another dog and were ready to make a trip to the Humane Society. Instead, we spoke up. I've wanted another dog since our last dog passed away last year after 16 years.

We're not sure exactly what he is: he seems to be a lab mix, possibly an Australian Shepherd/Labrador mix. He seems to be in good health: a trip to the vet for a check-up is forthcoming.

He's quite lovable and has taken to the wife and kids very well. He IS a bit skittish and nervous, and the way he acts when you try and pet him? It seems as though he's been hit enough to be scared of a raised hand. It appears as though we've rescued him from more than just the pound.

Honestly, it's just really nice to have a dog around the castle again.

20 February 2012

Mini-map Monday: Nothingness Unsaved

I was sailing along, manipulating the GIMP like a mad man this morning. I was going to have a new mini-map all ready for the world by lunch.

And then I tried to add a secret door. The "text" function froze the GIMP. Everything else on my work desktop functioned. Not the GIMP. It was stuck somewhere in between my typing an "S" and the generation of the "S" image on the screen. It wouldn't close; it wouldn't change tools. Nothing. I had to nuke the program to get it to close down.

Of course, I was sailing along so swimmingly...so confidently...that I completely and utterly forgot to save ANY bit of my work.

Epic Fail of Stupidity.

I should know better. I do, in fact. Just five minutes before it happened I thought to myself "I really should save this." I really did.

But I didn't bother.

So, then I started over. And got distracted. Then came the Internet search for pre-generated freeware graphics to drop in to make a bed on the map actually look like a bed. Then there were the rock walls that would look better than simple scrawled lines. Then there were stairways.

I didn't ever find a good source of these, by the way.

Then I looked at the clock and realized I'd killed the entire afternoon with my angsting and my searches and now it was time to go home.

Guess I know what I'll be working on this week. And I'll settle for some scrawled lines rather than nifty looking beds, stairs, and rock walls.

Unless someone out there points me to some really cool GIMP add-ons, that is.

13 February 2012

'Zines--Print and E-*

As Tim over at Gothridge Manor mentioned, a man named Christian has started something with his Loviatar 'zine.

As you may recall, I mentioned once that my love of 'zines goes all the way back to my high school days. I fell out of the collection of these shortly after high school, but after my discovery of Loviatar, I've started collecting them again.

There's not a lot of RPG-oriented 'zines out there, at least, what I consider to be 'zines. (Kobold Quarterly, in my estimation, is a magazine, not a 'zine. Once you have some slick production value, it loses the homey-ness of a 'zine.) Perhaps the blog has replaced the 'zine of old, doing what the 'zine used to do. Slowly, though, it appears that there is a resurgence of interest in the old 'zine: colored cardstock covers, etc. in all their hand-made goodness. Print-wise, at least. Some of our colleagues out there are using electronic media to disseminate their fine 'zines. (See Lapsus Calumni for an example.)

Because of my love for these things, I'm starting a new little sidebar feature on the blog: I'll be trying to collect links for current RPG 'zines, a card catalog of sorts. For this, I'll be asking for your assistance: If you know of a 'zine -- print or electronic -- let me know. If you publish a 'zine, let me know and I'll add yours to the list. There's also an argument to be made that Fight On!, Knockspell, and Oubliette could be added to this list. If you think so, make that argument to me and I'll add them.

09 February 2012

Life, The Universe, and Everything

Yes, the answer is "42".

But that's not entirely relevant today. Today I am at the 30th iteration of the Life, The Universe, and Everything symposium, a.k.a., "LTUE", a.k.a., the Marion K. “Doc” Smith Symposium on Science Fiction & Fantasy.

I've heard about the symposium now for 30 years; this year is the first year that I've been able to attend. It's a three-day event filled with signings, readings, and classes on every aspect of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and other writing-related information. Truth be told, there are enough intriguing presentations each hour that I'm not sure which directino is UP. My wife plans on coming with me on Friday and Saturday; today I am a "conference bachelor" responsible for taking high-quality notes for dissemination to my wife.

No pressure at all there.

I've always heard great things about LTUE in general. I have to confess, however, that the first hour's presentation on "Historical Weaponry" left me nonplussed and unimpressed. It was supposed to be presented by an "expert"--turns out most of the class knew as much or more than he did.


Well, I'm off to meet Larry Correia and then on to an editing presentation. Have a good day; more reports as something interesting happens.

05 February 2012

[Real Life] The Existence of Evil

I was all ready for a string of new posts today and a new map tomorrow.

Then I turned on the news and was reminded that Evil exists on this earth. The black image here is my black armband, mourning the loss of two innocents: Charlie and Braden Powell.

A piece of trash father sperm donor decided to take his life and that of his two young sons by blowing up his house.

I'm referring, of course, to the late Josh Powell. He was the sole "person of interest" in his wife's disappearance in December 2009. He steadfastly maintained his innocence while acting in bizarre ways. His boys were living with his in-laws under court order; the Judge in the case said that Josh's home was an "unsafe" environment for the boys. Josh was granted limited supervised visitation.

Oh yeah, we should probably mention that Josh's own father is sitting in prison awaiting trial on charges including but not limited to posession of child pornography. We should also mention that the pictures and videos also included voyeuristic materials of his missing daughter-in-law, Susan Cox Powell.

Josh himself was ordered just last week by a Judge to undergo psychosexual evaluation and a polygraph test regarding what he knew about his father's "activities."

Shortly after noon today, the piece of trash pulled his boys inside the house and locked the door -- they ran ahead of the social worker that was delivering them for visitation. She smelled gas and called her supervisor. While she was on the phone, the house exploded.

This game we play, whatever the flavor or name, these RPGs... they all deal at some time with the concept of Evil and Evil creatures/individuals. A little of that Evil has leaked out today to touch the Real World.

Nothing -- absolutely nothing -- except pure Evil would consider the intentional, pre-meditated murder of a seven-year-old boy and his five-year-old brother. The darkness of a Soul who would carry this kind of thing off -- especially a man against his own children -- the darkness is incomprehensible. There is no excuse for it, no explanation, except UTTER, COMPLETE DARKNESS.

As a father of two sons myself, may I express my heartfelt condolences to both families. My prayers go out to them in this time of loss and tragedy. Madness. Senseless madness.

I'm sure the boy are finally once again in the loving arms of their mother with the loving arms of their Savior wrapped around the three of them.

Rest in peace, Charlie and Braden.
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