Determine Your Character’s Name with a D20 Oct28

Determine Your Character’s Name with a D20...

One of my greatest struggles when making a new character for roleplaying games is coming up with a good name. There are two factors that I always look for in a good name; it must sound cool and it must have a significant meaning for my character. The Bible is a treasure-trove of interesting names that should not be overlooked when considering a name for your latest character. These names are cherry-picked for their amusing meanings and peculiar pronunciations. Roll your D20s and enjoy! D10 Name Meaning D20 Surname Meaning 1 Chedorlaomer Roundness of a sheaf 1 Nicanor A conqueror 2 Cilicia Which rolls or overturns 2 Raca Good-for-nothing 3 Dabbaseth Flowing with honey 3 Abagtha Father of the wine-press 4 Epaphras Covered with foam 4 Ira Watchman of the city 5 Vopshi The fragrant 5 Pethuel Mouth of God 6 Uphaz Pure gold 6 Abida Father of the judge 7 Haahashtari A runner 7 Baal-Tamar Master of the palm tree 8 Gaddiel Goat of God 8 Shaashgaz One who shears the sheep 9 Shashak A bag of linen 9 Elika Pelican of God 10 Trophimus Well-educated 10 Beneberak Son of lightning 11 Halah A moist table 11  Epaphroditus The handsome 12 Sennacherib Bramble of destruction 12 Reelaiah Shepherd of the Lord 13 Bithynia Violent precipitation 13 Onesiphorus One who brings profit 14 Puteoli Sulphureous wells 14 Ahimelech My king’s brother 15 Homam Making an uproar 15 Jidlaph He that distills water 16 Telabib A heap of new grain 16  Zeruah The leperous 17 Tabrimon A good pomegranate 17 Gallio Who sucks on milk 18 Josabad Having a dowry 18 Archippus Master of horses 19 Og Bread baked in ashes 19 Philemon One who kisses 20 Diblaim Cakes of pressed figs 20 Elymas A...

Keep On Keeping On Jul08

Keep On Keeping On

When Umberto Eco sought the feedback of friends and colleagues for his manuscript, The Name of the Rose, many, while praising the creativity of the narrative, commented on the difficulty of the first 100 pages, which described life and practices in a medieval monastery. Editors, fearing readers would give up reading before the mystery actually began, also suggested Eco rework the dense opening. Eco refused. As he explained in his Postscript to The Name of the Rose, “if somebody wanted to enter the abbey and live there for seven days, he had to accept the abbey’s own pace. If he could not, he would never manage to read the whole book. Therefore those first hundred pages are like a penance or initiation, and if someone does not like them, so much the worse for him. He can stay at the foot of the mountain.” In framing the sort of mindset necessary to get through this part of the novel as a journey, Eco alludes to the kind of perseverance he expects. I got thinking about these difficult 100 pages and the sort of perseverance required to get through them earlier this month when I was loaning some books to a friend for summer reading. I handed The Name of the Rose over and commented on how much the novel means to me. “But the first 100 pages are really hard—the author tried to weed out people who shouldn’t read his book.” After thinking about that for a moment, my friend handed the book back to me and said, “Maybe not.” I’ve seen the same responses for not attempting to read Tolkien, George R. R. Martin, even Stephen King. So what makes some people able to persevere through long and difficult material? Put another way:...

Confessions of a DM: Player vs. Character Apr22

Confessions of a DM: Player vs. Character...

The thing that sets Role-Playing Games apart from other games is—surprise, surprise—the focus on role-playing! Role-play happens when a player assumes the attitudes, actions, and discourse of another person. Instead of moving a pawn across a board to accumulate points and win the game, the player creates a character, steps into their shoes, and interacts with an imagined world. A player does not lose the game if her character dies; she can create a new character and continue contributing to the shared story. There are quests and goals to achieve, but completing them does not automatically end the game, it propels the story forward. Creating a believable, life-like character can be one of the most delightful parts of RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons. Aside from optimizing stats and customizing a build, the player also gets to create a personality and back story. Often, a player will begin with a set of ideals and traits in mind for his character that will evolve as the game progresses. Being true to your character and role-playing is one of the rewarding challenges in D&D. Players are encouraged to make decisions through their character’s eyes and can be called out for using information that they possess but their character does not. Just like their players, characters have diverse personalities and goals that don’t always match up with the rest of the party. The Chaotic Druid will call down lightning on anyone who threatens his way of life while the Lawful Fighter is reluctant to kill anyone who is not first proven guilty. The Sneaky Rogue wants to hoard all the treasure for herself while the Compassionate Cleric wants to give it all away to orphans. And the Neutral Bard just wants everyone to sing a song and get...

The Tale of the Ivory Tinderbox...

A violent blizzard howled and blew in the winter-besieged lands of Sumarak. In the valley of Mali Potok, a small hut sat high on a flat amidst the sloping terrain. Two Coquillites settled in to wait out the raging storm. The tortoise-like beasts were bundled in thick blankets in front of the comforting glow of the fireplace. The elder Coquillite, Sharlie Ezuchion, stood up and stirred the bubbling soup in a dingy black pot sitting over the fire. The other Coquillite, his grandson Gadgel, had just arrived after a long trek through the blizzard to visit on the eve of Ember’s Light. Gadgel shivered under the blankets, doing his best to rid the cold from his bones. “’Twere foolish of ya to come visit in this blasted blizzard,” scolded Sharlie, glancing over his spectacles. “’Twould take a bigger storm than this ta keep me from celebratin’ Ember’s Night with ya,” replied Gadgel, snuggling deeper into the comfortable chair. The young lad blew on his tea before taking a sip of the warming liquid. “Can ya tell me the story of how Ember’s Night came ta be again?” The elder Coquillite chucked, his long wisps of gray beard trembling from the laughter, and set the soup ladle aside as he sat down in the opposite armchair. “Oh, I suppose I could while the soup’s simmerin’.” Sharlie cleared his throat and began his tale. “Long ago, when the land were still young from hatchin’ from its egg, all the Coquillites only knew summer. All were warm, and the harvest came and went every month. But the Lady of the Winds, ha controls the warm winds and power over the storms, became displeased, for the Coquillites, in their comfort, forgot she gave them their harvest. Her heart...

A Super Christmas

Mild-mannered Maggie burst out of her high-rise office building and slalomed through the pedestrians. Though she could hear an argument ten blocks away and easily zoom in to settle it, she tuned out the minor distractions to focus on her main objective. Checking her watch, she accounted for traffic conditions and weather and grinned. She was determined to make it home in time. “Oh, dear.” The small lament tugged at her as the streetlight changed for her to cross. Behind her, a heavily laden, elderly lady hobbled to make the light, but dropped one of her packages. Maggie sighed and went back to help the woman, who thanked her profusely as they crossed. Nodding, Maggie checked her watch again. She still had enough time. As she waited at the bus stop, a blur sped by her and grabbed the nearby Salvation Army bucket from underneath Santa’s nose. She cursed under her breath and sped after the jingling thief, not worrying how she looked running down the sidewalk in her tight-skirted suit and high heels. Apparently, everyone else was too involved in their own cellular worlds to care. Maggie’s blood boiled. Not on Christmas Day! “Gimme your wallet.” Maggie paused her pursuit at the all-too-familiar words of a mugging. She peered down an alley where a scrawny guy was pointing a gun at someone. Maggie shook her head. Really? She took off one of her heels and flung it at the fleeing felon, striking his hand before he rounded the corner. He dropped the collection bucket with a squeal, turned back to sneer at Maggie, then ran off as nearby citizens filmed him with their phones. Maggie hoped one of the bystanders had the sense to call the police. Dashing down the alley, she saw...

Retcon, God, please retcon Nov06

Retcon, God, please retcon...

Retcon [RET-kon] (verb): to change the past events [in a LARP], often to correct the story (derived from retroactive continuity). Arthur, a lowly and uninspired bard, hates his character. But he’s been cursed so that if he dies, his entire party perishes along with him. This is the setting for “Retcon,” an episode of Geek and Sundry’s LARPs. Arthur cares too much to see the entire party die, but he does not want to continue on as a bard. As you watch him drown himself (and his sorrows) in the hot tub at the end of the episode, you can understand his fervent wish for a retcon. Ah, the retcon. The creator’s bane. Something gets a little too out of control, too confusing, or too boring, and suddenly we just have to go along with a whole new set of information. Certainly, retcons have been done well in the past, but the purist inside every geek cringes a little when they become necessary. Yet, recently I felt like Arthur. My prayer was this: “Retcon God, please retcon.” It is because I love her that I stand over my fallen loved one and, like Kat does for Arthur, call out for a Divine Shield. My mother has been battling Stage IV colorectal cancer for the last five years. Recently, she went to the hospital with banana-yellow skin—not a good sign. An ultrasound and CT scan failed to reveal the problem, but then an MRI told the story. Best case scenario was a gallstone blockage, worst case was complete liver failure. A cancerous tumor on her liver had swelled, causing a blockage. A stint in the liver could remedy the problem, but chemotherapy for the rest of her life would probably be necessary. The afternoon she...