Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Chicken Little Syndrome

So many things to blog about, so little time...

I read Tabletopapocalypse and well, I felt the need to respond to it.  Mr. Skarka writes about the "demise of the table top gaming industry".  Yeah right.  How may times have I heard that before?  Plenty of times.  Table top gaming seems to be doing fine to me.  Of course Mr. Skarka seems to believe he has evidence to the contrary, because he is in the business, and has been involved with different aspects of it for a while now.  Well, I've worked in the retail side and the distributor side myself.  Does that make me an expert no?  No.  Does it make him or his associates experts?  No.

It's my opinion that as long as there are table top gamers there will be a corresponding industry, in some form or capacity.

Mr. Skarka has the "Chicken Little Syndrome", and according to him the sky is falling!  His sky may be falling, but I guarantee some people in the business are doing fine.  Maybe not everybody, but then this is probably the case for any industry.  Has he considered the economy of the last few years?  Once the economy rebounds the table top gaming industry could very well see  vast improvement.  Will he still be around to see it?  I don't know, sounds like he wants to stick his tail between his legs and run.  "The sky is falling!"

Such negativity does not help the industry.  At no point in his blog post do I see any suggestions about how to improve things. None.  Doom and gloom, and everyone that disagrees with him are wrong.  He has his evidence after all!

Maybe his sky is falling?  Perhaps his income has taken a huge hit?  I don't know, but maybe deep down he feels if he can't make money in the industry that nobody should be able to?  Perhaps that's a stretch, but some people are like that.

I could go on, but I'm going to take a hard line point of view.  If anyone in the table top gaming industry thinks that there's trouble, that there's no hope, and eventually it will be gone, perhaps you need to rethink this.  Get your head out of your ass, put on a helmet, and plow forward.  Try some new directions, be innovative, I don't know, try something!  If you can't do that, then walk out the door, and don't look back. If you do look back in a few years you will see that the hobby and the industry is still around.  In some form or another it will STILL BE AROUND.  It would be better for all of us that enjoy the hobby if you feel this way then you should leave.  Negativity doesn't help ANYONE.

Of course I may be wrong.  I doubt it, but you never know what's going to happen.  According to Mr. Skarka it's not a matter of if but when.  What we really need are optimists not pessimists.  Help the industry, don't hinder it.

Well, this appears to be my second rant this week.  Two in a row.  Oh well.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Art Theft & Copyright Infringement

Well, I'm going to try and not get all medieval about this subject, but it's going to be difficult.  Very difficult.

As an artist, cartoonist, and writer, copyright infringement and art theft is something that gets my blood boiling.  Why am I up in arms?  I found this post over at The Omnipotent Eye , which led to another blog ~ Esoteric Murmurs .  It discusses James L. Shipman II and his company Outlaw Press, and his theft of art work, and the numerous cases of copyright infringement he is involved in.  Apparantly he's been doing this for years, but because of the cost of lawsuits no one has taken him to court. Well, at least I haven't read anywhere that he's been taken to court over this; maybe he has?  I haven't read everything there is on the forums and blogs about this, but I have read enough to see this guy is as guilty as heck.  There are far too many people who say he ripped off their work for this to be any sort of mistake.  The guy is a crook.

Ken St.. Andre, creater of Tunnels and Trolls, says he can't be stopped in a comment he left on Esoteric Murmurs.  I disagree.  This person ( I use the term loosely ) can be stopped.  RPGNow, and other sites have stopped carrying his products.  If people STOP BUYING HIS PRODUCT ( I should say stolen product ) he will go out of business.  So spread the word.  Do not do business with him, or his "company".  Do not submit ANYTHING for publication to him, he will just rip you off.

He primarily sells T&T related products, and a magazine called The Hobbit Hole.   If you see anything on eBay with this type of product, be wary and do a little research.  He's been changing eBay "identities" since I guess some get compromised.

You don't have to believe me, just use some of the links on Esoteric Murmurs, and do some research, and come to your own conclusions.

Well, I'm proud of myself!  I didn't call James L. Shipman II a douche bag... erm... oh well.  I could have called him many, many things.  I showed great restraint.


Anyway, I hope to have the next post about the Robe of Useful Items up tomorrow.  I hope everyone ( except James L. Shipman II ) has a great Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blog of Useful Items Part One

Since my blog has been devoid of "gaming" stuff of late, I decided to rectify that.  In my spare time, I've been flipping through the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide. I was reading parts of Appendix P: Creating A Party On The Spur of the Moment the other day, and I come upon the Robe of Useful Items.  It was one of the options when giving the party items.  Now, this one is different than the one found in the magic treasure descriptions.  Well, it's a little different...

The Robe of Useful Items listed in the Miscellaneous Magic Section, has a table you roll on to determine what the patches are, aside from the standard patches.  The one in Appendix P doesn't, you just select what you want on the robe.  Also, instead of a pair of war dogs, it's only one war dog.  The Appendix P robe also has a giant owl!  Now really, how useful will a giant owl be? Especially if you are on a dungeon crawl?  Furthermore, will the owl obey the wearer of the robe?  Hah!  That would be fun...

DM: "Okay you pull off the giant owl patch, and it grows and forms into the giant owl. The orcs turn and run..."

Player: "YES! I tell the owl to chase them."

DM: "Oh do you speak giant owl?"

Player:  "Ermmm..."

DM: "The giant owl turns and faces you.  What do you do now?"

Heh, yeah, that would be fun.  Yes, I'm sure every DM handles the live animal's pulled off the robe in their own way, and if it ever comes up in a game I'm running, I guess I would have to decide.  I've got some ideas I'm working on, but the ideas aren't ready for "prime time" just yet.

As far as magic items go, I like the ones that hopefully will give the players the opportunity to be creative.  That's what I like most about the Robe of Useful Items!  Sure a wand of fireballs is nice, but it does have limited uses.  You point it and fire at the enemy! You use it to set fire to buildings!  The ROUI ( depending on what kind of patches it has ) can inspire all kinds of zany, creative actions by the players. A wand of fireballs, not nearly as many.

One of the other items on the Appendix P ROUI is a 30' tall oak tree!  At first I was going, huh?. but then I realised it could have many uses!  Of course I also wondered if you pulled it off and placed it on the ground would it take root?  Again, I guess it's up to the DM.  Then I began to think and asked my self some questions. ( I like the Socratic Method, even when I'm teaching myself!  ) Of course I'll go into this more in Part Two.

While thinking about writing about the ROUI, I did a google search, and found this .  I had actually had come up with the same darn thing in my brainstorming session for this blog entry, and I'm sure many other people have come up with the idea of a Robe of Useless Items as well.

When you really think about it the ROUI is a powerful piece of magic. I'm probably going to have a few floating around in my fantasy sandbox. Plus, I'm going to make sure I have a giant owl, or two, on one of them.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Computer Update

After a trip to the public library, and some research on the Internet, I discovered that my hard drive may not be dead.  I also got some computer books to check out, but due to a supposedly damaged DVD case, and a fee of five dollars; I was blocked from checking out the books.  Now I could have paid the five dollars, but I know the DVD case wasn't damaged when it was returned.  It's a matter of principal.  The librarian also said it had been out too long??? Then he said he wasn't sure what was going on, and the person who made the note on my account wasn't there.  I was a little frustrated, but I kept my cool.  I left without the books, but I had my notes to hopefully fix the hard drive.  UGH.

Today, I tried everything that might fix the hard drive, but all my attempts ended in failure.  I even opened the case, and reseated cables.  About the only good thing is that I now know that it will be easy to replace the hard drive.  However, I haven't given up yet, and will do more research.

Anyway, I still have the Frankenstein Machine, but after deciding to install another hard drive on it, ( I should have left it alone...) It dies. Another UGH.

Fortunately, there was a HP Pavalion hiding in the closet.  It's only about five years old, and appears to be working okay.  In fact, it appears to be a little more functional than the beast.  It's still a little quirky, but I'm working through those issues.  All I will use this machine for is accessing the Internet.

At one point today I was ready to throw in the towel, and give up for a while.  Well, at least until I get the good computer going again.  I have decided to postpone any Internet related gaming.  This thing is too quirky right now to be dependable, and it could die at any time.  I don't want to start something I can't keep going.  Same with designing the fantasy sandbox.  I could use analog methods, but after using the computer it hurts just thinking about it.  Who knows I may change my mind.

My blog posts will probably be sporadic for a while.  If this machine dies, my blogging will be very sporadic, and probably non-existant.  I think I will close with another... UGH.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Oh the horror...

The hard drive on my computer died on Monday.  The computer had been acting wonky for a couple of days before, and I knew I needed to investigate, and even realising I need to back EVERYTHING up.  However, I had a wedding to attend on Sunday, and didn't have time to work on it.

After the long drive to and from the wedding I had completely forgotten about the problem.  While I was trying to check my email on Monday, it decides to die on me, or more to the point, run check disk, and then not work.  I was unaware at the time that the hard drive was indeed dead, so I tried a system restore, when that didn't work I gave up for the day, stressed out, and headed to a bar to watch the Texas Rangers play, intending to work on the problem when I get home.

After I get home, I try customer support, but it's late, so I have to wait until the morning to call.  When I do reach "customer support", I tell him whats going on.  He tells me that it's not a software issue but a hardware issue, and that my computer is no longer under warranty.  Hhhhmmm... I'm beginning to wonder if the extended warranty would have been a good thing?  Oh well... I ask him if it's the hard drive and he said yes. He wants to transfer me to sales, but I say no thank you.

At this point I realise that all my files are toast.  I knew they would be after I attempted a system restore, but the sheer amount of stuff I lost didn't hit me until after I got off the phone.

Well, after that I look at the pile of computers and decide to piece together a machine so I can at least check my email, etc.  Well, eventually I get one to work, and I have some computer capability.  Not what I had before, and this "Frankenstein Machine" is slooooooow, but it works, and is better than nothing.  Do what you can, with what you have, until you get something better.  Otherwise you get nothing done.  This is one of my personal credos.

Yes, I should have been more diligent in backing stuff up, and I should have dealt with the problem as soon as possible, but my hard drive was probably doomed anyway.  I've never had a hard drive die before.  It's really annoying, and I'm trying to not let it get me down.  This is going to eat into my game book buying fund, which isn't that big to begin with.  UGH.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Some Quick Thoughts

I've spent the last couple of days doing a lot of blog reading, and trying to play catch up from my extended absence.  This prompted a lot of head scratching, me going "HUH?" and "WHAT?", and a "OMG, that's a horrible blog..."  Sheeesh... this is supposed to be a fun hobby.  Why so much controversy and conflict?

I made the decision to use AD&D 1E when I start my sandbox campaign.  I was contemplating house rules and decided that I wouldn't use ANY house rules for the first few sessions.  I want to see how it plays out.  It's been a while, but members of my potential gaming group have all played AD&D 1E.

Anyway, I'm headed to a wedding, and won't be able to post for a couple of days.  Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


This is the fiftieth post.  Not much to write about today, so I thought I would present another illustration from my ancient sketchbook.

©2010 Frank Anderson, Jr.

He's an odd alien.  I think I was on a bit of a science fiction kick for a while...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Ivorythorn Chronicles

I really had nothing to blog about today, so I thought I would post some of my old fiction.  I think in some ways gamers, especially DMs, etc. are frustrated writers.  I know I am.  This is the first issue that was actually on one of those "pay to read" websites.  The first chapter was free of course, but then you pay a fee for every chapter you wanted to read after that.

The Ivorythorn Chronicles was in the fantasy genre, but it was a fantasy world without magic.  However, over the course of time this would change, and change quickly.  I'm really thinking I want to do a major rewrite, and  turn this into something better.  It was never intended as a novel, because it was supposed to be an ongoing story. ( That's how the person running the website wanted it... )  Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.

The Ivorythorn Chronicles ~ The Tower
Strange dreams had been keeping Luke Ivorythorn from getting a good nights rest. Each dream seemed more vivid than the last, and they were getting more and more unusual. Most of his dreams he didn't remember once he was awake, but his dreams from the last few weeks were different. He could remember every little detail, and each dream seemed to be giving him clues, or ideas about something he was supposed to accomplish. He considered it a quest of sorts.

Lying in bed, Luke recalled the dream he had just awoken from. He was standing before a large and strange tower. It seemed insubstantial, hazy, almost like it wasn't even there. In his dream he tried to walk closer to the tower, but the more he walked towards it; the farther away it seemed to get. In his dream he was frustrated, and felt out of sorts. Then he remembered that he had felt something when he looked at the tower. He had felt a presence. Thinking about that made his skin crawl, and the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. Luke knew he needed to find that tower.

Luke's stomach growled with hunger, and he hopped out of bed. He decided to go downstairs to the common room of the inn for breakfast. On the way out of his room; he stopped at the small table with the wash basin on it. After splashing cold water on his face, he looked into the mirror hanging on the wall above the table. He looked and felt exhausted, and needed a shave. He had once again fallen asleep in his clothes; which were also in dire need of washing. He decided to get himself and his clothes cleaned up after breakfast. He thought he should at least look better than he felt.

Half way out the door, Luke heard a noise coming from behind him. It sounded like a swarm of bees. Turning around he saw the mirror on the wall glowing and sparkling. The sound seemed to be coming from the mirror. He walked towards it, and as he got closer; he saw an image appear in the mirror. It was an image of the tower from his dream.

Slowly reaching out to touch the mirror; Luke felt a tingling as his hand got close. Suddenly there was aloud pop, and he was knocked to the floor. The sound and image was gone, and the mirror had returned to normal. Feeling a little dizzy, Luke headed down to breakfast. His mind was reeling as he thought about what had just happened with the mirror.


Commander Greskin Drako stood in the watch tower's balcony; which faced what he and his men had called "the Emperor's Folly". At times the tower they had been assigned to observe; didn't even seem real. There had been days when he could barely make it out with the spyglass, and at times it seemed to disappear altogether. Today the tower seemed all too real.

The wind had increased in strength, and Drako had to brace himself as he looked through his spyglass. He could see the dark storm clouds that had formed above the tower, and the flashes of lightning that struck it. Cursing to himself, he remembered the Emperor's exact orders. "Watch the tower, and report anything unusual or strange that happens directly to me, and only to me." Drake had wondered what the Emperor had meant by unusual or strange, but he had the feeling that today he would find that out.

As he observed the storm with the spyglass, Drako saw the clouds boiling and swirling around the tower. The lighting seemed alive as it struck the tower, dancing over the surface, and then back into the clouds. Drako decided this qualified as strange. He and his men would have to ride to the tower to investigate further. As he turned away to go down the stairs, the tower shook, and he almost fell down the stairs. Steadying himself on the railing Drako hurried to muster his men.

On the third floor of the watch tower, Drake found Fenris, his second in command, in the main living quarters. Looking only a little unnerved; he was trying to keep his bunk from sliding across the floor as the shaking continued. Drako chuckled.

"Drako, what's going on?" Fenris dodged a falling lantern, and then jumped to the side as his bunk narrowly missed crashing into him. Rushing past Fenris, Drako bellowed, "No time to explain, we have to get to the tower!" Of course Drako didn't really know what was happening, but he didn't want Fenris to know that.

Taking the steps two at a time, he made his way to the second floor. Jenkins, Baldy, and Twilight were there, and they had been playing cards, or at least they had been until the watch tower had started shaking. They looked up at Drako, but before they could say anything he bellowed out another order, "Gather your gear and weapons! We ride to the tower! If we do this right the Emperor will pay us enough gold to last the rest of ours lives!" The cards flew threw the air as the men jumped out of the chairs.

On the first floor, Drako found Leo sharpening his sword in the armory. "Let's go! We ride to the tower!" Leo sheathed his sword, and grinned. Grabbing the rest of his gear he quickly followed behind the other men who were members of Drako's mercenary group.

On the ground floor; as everyone prepared themselves for the journey, the large main door opened, and the last member of their group; Mankle walked in. A very large and muscular man, Mankle appeared worried. "Uh...boss...there's a storm coming....lot's of wind....and the horses are spooked....and...."

Drako looked at the man, and wondered how he had let his sister talk him into letting Mankle join his group. He was large and strong, and had come in handy a couple of times, but he wasn't too smart. That had turned him into a liability for him and the other men a couple of times in the past. He growled at the large man, "Mankle I want you to stay here, and guard this tower. That's all! Don't do anything else, don't touch anything, just guard the watch tower! The rest of us are riding to the Emperor's Folly." Mankle looked a little disappointed, but Drako had more important things on his mind than Mankle's feelings.

Once outside the men quickly calmed the horses, and rode towards the tower, and the ever increasing storm.


Emperor Falroden stood before the ancient vault, and admired the craftsmanship that went into it's construction. He grabbed the handle to the large metal door, and with very little effort swung it open. He marveled that it made no sound as he pulled it open, and that he stopped it with ease; despite the fact that the metal doors were immense in size. This never ceased to amaze him.

Entering the vault, the Emperor noticed the large round crystal in the ceiling began glowing brightly enough to see by. Just a week before he needed a lantern once inside the vault. He walked to the center of the vault, which contained a large, ancient book sitting on a stone pedestal. As he ran his hands along the edges and over the ornate leather cover; his father's words came flooding back to him.

"Son, this is our families greatest legacy. Guard it with your very life! Of all of our great treasures this is the most important of all." After his father had shown him the vault, and the book inside; he had died within a week. Every day since his father died he would visit the vault, and inspect, and in an odd sort of way; admire the book. At first he was afraid to touch it; almost fearful that the ancient book would crumble into dust, and be lost forever. Now the book appeared to be in perfect shape; a flawless example of some long forgotten bookbinder's craft.

The book was closed and secured with some kind of circular clasp; but with no visible lock or means to open it. On the cover the metal circle was engraved with runes, or markings. None of his scholars could decipher the writing, and none of his engineers,or metalsmiths could open the clasp. He had given up trying to open it years ago, and was never really sure he should open it if he could. However, everything changed a week ago when he noticed that the metal circle had slowly started spinning, and every day he noticed it was spinning a little faster. Today it was spinning so fast the markings were a blur, and the circle appeared to give off a slight glow.

Emperor Falroden stood still and reached to touch the spinning circle. A spark flew from the clasp, and struck his hand. He felt his arm go numb, and watched as the circle stopped spinning. He heard a click, and saw the clasp open. At long last he could finally open the book.


Luke packed some supplies he had purchased in preparation for his upcoming journey to find the mysterious tower. He looked outside the window, and noticed it had gotten darker, and he thought he had heard thunder. Walking over to the window he had to pass the mirror, but he avoided looking at it. He leaned out the window, and looked up into the sky, and shuddered. He had never seen such dark and ominous storm clouds in his life. A loud boom startled him, and he saw a flaming ball fly out of the clouds, and towards the ground. Then there was another loud boom and flaming ball, and another....and another....

To be continued...

Well, that's the first "episode".  I'll look over the other chapters, and post another one in a week or so.

Out of the Dim Past...

I'm amazed I still have this sketchbook.  It's from when I was a senior in High School.  I actually used some of the sketches in my Traveller campaign.  Man, that was a long time ago...
©2010 Frank Anderson, Jr.

The spider is humongous, and has a few small buildings on it.  I'm not sure what I was thinking.  It's not too bright to build a house on a giant arachnid!  Especially one that sheds it skin when it needs to grow.  I'm not sure what the skeletal remains are from?  I was probably thinking some kind of alien at the time...

Filling the Sandbox
©2010 Frank Anderson, Jr.

The above map is Stonethorn Outpost.  I mentioned it in my last post.  It's a work in progress, and at first I didn't really like it, but I think it's going to work out.  I'm about 90% finished with the basic layout.  Al I really need to do is add some minor details.

Miscellaneous Ramblings
I made a trip to the used book store this evening, and found some great stuff on the gaming shelves, but alas the money tree hasn't been watered lately; so I was a more than a little short of funds to purchase anything.  One of the things they had was a copy of Monster Colosseum for $19.  Of all the things they had in stock I wanted that one the most.  The box was in sad shape, but it appeared to have everything in the box, but I could be mistaken.  They also had the Dr.Who RPG boxed set, but wanted about $50 for it.  There was also had numerous modules for it.

I'm thinking about running a Classic Traveller online game via PbP, PbEM, and perhaps even via chat. I wanted to do something different aside from the fantasy stuff. I'm sure there are plenty of opportunities for online fantasy, but maybe not online science fiction? I need to do some research concerning running a campaign online.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lamentations of a Frustrated Gamer

No, I'm not poking fun at James Raggi.  The name of his game inspired the title of this post.  That's all...

I live in a fair sized city, a suburb of Dallas, and what really irks me is that there is not one FLGS, not even a comic shop here! At least that I know of...  maybe one has opened, and I just don't know it.  We used to have a Lone Star Comics, but it closed a few years ago due to the failing economy I guess. Other stores in the chain are still open, but I want one here in this city. Sure the Barnes & Noble at the local mall carry some games, but certainly not any of the esoteric board or miniature games! And it certainly doesn't carry a wide variety of role playing games!

Sure, I could order online, but there's nothing like going to the local gaming store, and browsing the shelves, looking at miniatures, and if the store has a gaming area, watching people play, or even getting into a game. Ahh... I miss the good old days.

If I had the resources I would open a proper game store, but that's not likely to happen anytime soon, unless I happen to hit the Lotto. However, there's a greater chance of Taimat flying out of the sky and landing in the front yard, than me striking it rich through the lottery.

I had lunch with an old friend last week, and I mentioned that I was getting the gaming bug again. He perked up, and asked what I would run, and I mentioned AD&D 1E. ( Of course I'm also considering Labyrinth Lord. )  He said that might be interesting. So I have at least one player, two if his son is interested in playing. The only drawback is that he lives about an hour or so away on the other side of Dallas, and due to financial constraints I sold my truck. I'm shooting to start this campaign next spring.

Of course I would really like to PLAY in a RPG campaign.  Sometime, somewhere...  Have dice, will travel!

The Book Quest continues...
Back in May, I wrote a post about buying gaming books off eBay. Well, the AD&D 1E DMG I bought was in really sorry shape. I think I can clean it up some, but I think I'll just keep looking for one at the Half Priced Books for a better copy. I'm really leery of eBay now, but I'll probably still use it some.

Filling the Sandbox
I was up early this morning, and decided to start on my new fantasy sandbox. I wasn't really feeling that inspired so I just decided to start mapping an abandoned dwarven outpost. One that was still in the early stages of construction when it was abandoned. Fairly simple, just a couple of caverns, and a few rooms the dwarves have carved out. A lot of unfinished tunnels, and dead ends.  There's also a "bottomless pit"...

Why was it abandoned? Frak... I have no idea. I'm still working on the map, but I imagine it was probably abandoned due to a number of reasons. The major one being that it just wasn't a rich mining spot, sure there was plenty of stone and rock, but no precious metals or gems. The two things dwarves covet the most.

Mainly, this is a project to get me started and to get the creative juices flowing once again. After I finish Stonethorn Outpost, I'll take a more structured approach to creating this new fantasy sandbox. If I get tired of working on it, I can always design a module for another game. Switching genres always seem to help when the creative well runs dry.

All for now... keep those swords sharp, and your mind sharper.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Not so strange changes...

Well, since I've started blogging again I decided to do a little house cleaning.  I changed the "Featured Blog" link on the sidebar to "Mystery Blog".  The "Mystery Blog" will not always be a gaming blog, but hopefully something a gamer will find useful, or at least interesting.  I actually may change it to "Mystery Link", but I guess what I finally decide to do will remain a mystery for now.

I've also changed the blog title graphic, but I'm not sure I'm going to keep it this way.  Need to do some thinking on the masthead because I'm not sure what I want.

One day in and I've gained ( or regained? ) a follower.  There was much rejoicing...

Woo Hooooooooooooo!

A while back I wrote about creating some maps for Tim Kask.  Well, a few weeks ago I received my contributors copy of the module he created for GenCon!  This is what inspired and motivated me to get busy again.
Okay, enough for now.  I hope everyone has had, or will get the chance to game this weekend.  Remember, keep rolling those dice!

I'm finally back...

158 is the number of days since I last made a blog post. I wasn't going to go into too much detail about my extended absence because I'm sure you've got better things to do with your time. However, I feel something of an explanation is in order.

After I made my last blog post I was hit with some excruciating pain in an area where a guy doesn't really like pain. Let me tell you it was BAD. So I curled up into a ball, and laid in bed for a few hours. This had happened before, and I had to make a trip to a medical clinic. ( I was at work at the time... ) As I was laying there I began thinking that this could be something different than before, OR the doctors had been wrong. One said a hernia, the other epididymitis. They finally decided on epididymitis. This was a couple of years ago. After I could get up for a while I did some research, and realized the doctors had more than likely been wrong. I was positive I had Cyclist Syndrome, or Pudendal Nuralgia or Pudendal Nerve Entrapment (PNE). To put it simply a nerve in the pelvic region gets entrapped, and pain ensues. Lots and lots of pain.

The whole problem was caused by having a really lousy desk chair, and sitting for hours at the desk working on the computer, and also sitting on bar stools way too much. Sitting on a hard surface, or doing a lot of bicycling is the primary cause. I hope all my fellow bloggers have good chairs that are well cushioned!

I did some more research and concluded that if I didn't need surgery then rest was the way to go. That and OTC pain killers. Only time would tell. I didn't have medical insurance, and couldn't afford a trip to the doctor's office. Why pay for a wrong diagnosis and treatment anyway? So I spent a couple of weeks not doing much, just laying in bed, when my back decides to go wonky on me as well. ( I was diagnosed with a herniated L5. ) Yet more pain...

This whole episode let the winds out of my blogging sails so to speak. I was discouraged. I couldn't sit at the computer for very long without ending up in pain, so I had to curtail my writing, and reading of other blogs. I also missed two local conventions I really wanted to attend. All of my writing, mapping, and design projects got put on hold.  I was really discouraged after this.  This past summer wasn't all that great, but I'm moving on.

Well, the PNE finally cleared up after a couple of months, and the back is about the same it's always been, sometimes good, sometimes bad. The medical problems, and other life issues kept me from the gaming blogosphere for quite a while.

I've just recently started reading blogs again, and something I'll write about next time encouraged me to get back to gaming, or at least writing about it; until I find a group to game with. So for now I'm back, and looking forward to getting back on track. I would have been back sooner, but I got hit with a nasty virus about a week and a half ago. It's always something it seems...

My apologies for the non-gaming post. I just felt like I owed the people that started following my blog an explanation.