Categotry Archives: Shadowrun

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Osama Would Play A Paladin

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Categories: DDO, Gaming, LARP, President Obama, Randomness, RPG, Shadowrun, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I believe in the power of gaming.

By gaming, I mean console and computer gaming as well as pencil and paper role-playing games. To a lesser extent, I would also include board games.

When I look at the impact this hobby has had on my life, it’s a bit overwhelming.

If it weren’t for gaming, I would not have met most of my friends. Specifically, my friend Mike Diamond and I would not have met if it weren’t for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Second Edition. (We had an ongoing AD&D2E game that we played in junior high by writing on a desk [in pencil!]. It was play-by-post before there was play-by-post.) Mike and I graduated from from junior high, and graduated from D&D, together. We spent hours playing all kinds of other games: Star Wars, Starfleet Battles, Marvel Super Heroes, Rise of the Dragon (Oh my God, Shandi!), and my favorite RPG of all time, Shadowrun. We still play Shadowrun together, every Saturday night.

Without Vampire: the Masquerade, I would have never met Travis Legge. My friend came from a very different world than I did, but we shared a love of gaming. Travis was the best man at my wedding and we even ran our own game publishing company for a time. We met at a Vampire LARP, but we played plenty of other White Wolf games together: Hunter, Trinity (taint in the Tesser!), Aberrant, Wraith, and one of the most influential games I’ve ever played, Mage.

I met my wife at the same Vampire LARP that I met Travis at. We had seen each other in passing before then, but never really met. Through some boneheaded moves by other people, she ended up playing a character with a direct connection to mine. The time we spent together in-character led to meetings out-of-character, which led to her ending a dysfunctional relationship with her longtime boyfriend and starting a new dysfunctional relationship with me. We’ve been dysfunctional together ever since. Tiffanie and I have played a ton of games together, from D&D3.5 to Zombies. We still play Dungeons & Dragons Online together, when time allows.

The breadth and depth of people you meet through gaming is sometimes astounding. By playing games, I’ve had the pleasure of chatting for hours with a couple of guys from Chile (¿Cómo están, amigos?), been guild-mates with a carny (Luv ya, Bernie!), called people by some strange nicknames (Shaggy and Little Shit top the list, I think), watched someone laugh so hard they puked (indirectly due to gaming: a gaming buddy was over for Bad Movie Night. Blackula + well-placed one-liner = puke!), had the cops question me about “having an orgy in the street” (actually a mob combat in the aforementioned Vampire LARP), and so much more. Gamers have been some of the kindest, friendliest, and most genuine people I’ve ever known.

I don’t want to overstate the point, but games can be powerful tools to bring people together that never would have met or seen eye-to-eye before. Where else can you bring together an atheist with a devout Catholic, a radical feminist with a staunch Republican, a high-school dropout with a graduate student, a teenager with a pensioner, or a cop with a drug dealer? Not only have I seen these disparate people gaming together, I’ve seen them working toward common goals and having fun doing it.

So, here’s my proposal: I’ll run a game. Kim Jong-Il, Osama Bin Laden, Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Hu Jintao, Hamid Karzai, Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel, and Omar al-Bashir (along with many others) are invited to play D&D with me some time (3.5: I don’t care for 4E). Perhaps, when they’re faced with the World’s Largest Dungeon, they’ll realize their countries and causes are pretty small. Maybe, when confronted with the alien nature of a great wyrm red dragon, they’ll realize people have more commonalities than differences. Maybe, when they’ve reached level 20 together, they could usher in a new age of peace and prosperity for humanity.
 
And I bet Osama would play a paladin.

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New Poem: “This Land Is My Land”

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Categories: Poetry, Rant, Shadowrun, Writing, Tags: , , , , ,

Here’s a new poem for  everyone. I’m in no way qualified to write this poem, as I am not a Native American. I do, however, believe that the natives of North America have been dealt one of the worst hands in history. Their systematic slaughter by waves of white immigrants has been hollowed out of the history books and replaced with the “Maize; you call it ‘corn'” bullshit we get fed in grade school.
 
I apologize if some of the language I’ve used offends you. It’s my hope that, by using such abrasive terms, I’ll get your attention and you’ll think about what it means to be any color but red in America.
 
For the record, I do not advocate a native uprising, a la Shadowrun, but Indians deserve better than fucking casinos and firewater. Your comments are welcome, unless they’re hateful, bigoted ignorance.
 
This Land Is My Land
 
Niggers and spics,

kikes and Micks

(don’t forget the krauts and deggos, too)

live on land that belongs to you.

 

If your skin is red,

you’re better off dead

than deal with this sordid affair.

No one told you caveat venditor, “Let the seller beware.”

 
You trusted the limeys and frogs to boot:

they used that foot to grind you to soot.

Ashes and soot of once-proud nations:

now there’s strife in tribal relations.

 
Anima spirits, totems, and tools:

the white man has played you for fools.

Soon, painted faces gather in band,

proudly declaring, “This land is my land.”

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Status Report

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Categories: Angst & Wrath, Blackhawks, Family, Gaming, Hockey, Poetry, Shadowrun, Writing, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s been a while since I posted something, so I thought it would be prudent to put together a quick update on what’s going on in my life right now.

The Olympics are over. I’m quite happy with Team USA’s performance in hockey. Both the men’s and women’s teams medaled, which is excellent. The men, especially, should be proud of their performance. For  a team that no one thought would make it to the medals round to go to the gold game and then force overtime on the Canadian team is quite exceptional. The real superstar of Olympic hockey is not Sidney Crosby with his reputation saving, national hero overtime goal, however: it’s Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks. In seven games, he racked up an impressive eight points (seven of them on assists) and had a plus/ minus of plus-9. He also lead Team Canada in faceoffs won, “winning just under 65 percent of his draws,” according to the Fighting Sioux website. Wow! I’m sure glad that he’s a Blackhawk.

I have managed reduce my weight to 215, a net loss of five pounds from my starting weight. I’ve also gone down one notch on my belt just the other day. Slowly but surely I’m making progress on my weight loss goal. It’s not happening as quickly as I might like, but I am making progress, so I’m happy.

My daughter has to wear glasses now. She’s only two years old. They seem to be helping a lot and she doesn’t fuss with them much, so I guess it could be worse. Her eye still wanders a bit, usually when she’s tired, but she goes back to the ophthalmologist in a few months. I’m sure her current pair of glasses will not be her last. Thankfully, we paid less than $40 for them, so if she does need another pair (or two!) before the end of the year it’s no big deal.

My debut poetry book, Angst & Wrath, is published with about as much success as I’d envisioned it would have. Thanks to those of you who like me enough to buy a book of poetry. Let’s face it: America is not the culturally enlightened Mecca that, say, France is. I’m well aware that poetry is dead and that any asshat with a word processor can spew out a book of shitty poems. That’s OK though: I published the book for me.

On a related note, I’ve finished writing my first children’s book. The project is now in my wife’s very talented hands. It’s short and simple and will be beautiful once Tiffanie is done with her part of it. We’re planning on self-publishing for now, though I may be interested in shopping it around to some agents too. The title of the book is “You Can’t Tickle A Goldfish” and should be released later this year or early next year.

Thanks to a scheduling change, I am once again participating in a regular role-playing game session. I have become a full-time player in Alex Rodriguez’s Shadowrun 4th Edition game. Aside from a few minor issues, it’s been going great. I’m honestly just happy to be back at the table, rolling dice like the good old days.

That’s about it for current events in my life. My friend Dan Sehr, who’s in the Air Force, is leaving in a few days for an extended overseas tour. He’s been back in town on leave the last few weeks and it’s been great to see him again. I wish him the best of luck and hope he comes back safe and secure. We all appreciate what you do, Dan. Thanks for standing up and doing what’s right.

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My Favorites, 2009 Edition

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Categories: Bands & Music, Blackhawks, Blog, Gaming, Hockey, RPG, Shadowrun, Uncategorized, Writing

As we’re coming up on the end of the year, it’s traditional to look back and pick our favorite things from the year gone by. That’s kinda lame. Instead, I’m giving you a glimpse of my favorite things as they stand right now. There’s no particular rhyme or reason to the things I’m sharing here: I’m just tossing some things into the ether.

Favorite Band: Rush (This should come as no surprise to anyone that knows me. The seminal Canadian prog-rock group has been my favorite musical group since I was in high school.)

Favorite Rush Album: Moving Pictures (This record is full of classic jams. I must admit that I like the last two songs on the B side most of all. “Everybody’s got to [sic]evelate from the norm.”

Favorite Rush Song: “Freewill” (While not from the Moving Pictures album, this song speaks to me so much right now.)

Favorite Non-Rush Album: Cryptic Writings (As far as music goes with me, there’s Rush and everything else. This Megadeth record contains some of the most intense and personal lyrics I’ve ever heard.)

Favorite Non-Rush Song: “Little Earthquakes” (Tori Amos is a fabulously talented musician and this song is one of my all-time favorites. It’s such a passionate and beautiful piece of work. From the album of the same name.)

Favorite Book: Anthem (Thanks to the influence of Rush, this Ayn Rand novella quickly became one of my favorite books of all time. While a bit heavy-handed in its message, the ideas presented are solid gold.)

Favorite Role-Playing Game: Shadowrun, 4th Edition (I’m not a huge fan of the dice system, having cut my gaming teeth on 2nd Edition. That being said, the story elements are great and Catalyst Game Labs seems to be doing an amazing job updating the game for a new generation of gamers. I’m looking forward to what they do with FASA’s other great game, Earthdawn.)

Favorite Video Game: NHL 2K7 (Yeah, I know it’s three years old and I don’t get to play it very much, but the Charlestown Chiefs are in the running for the Stanley Cup thanks to their star forwards, Darius McCaskey and Toy Cesar [Mike Diamond is out with an injury].)

Favorite Board Game: Zombies! (This game is so much fun and so easy to play. I like that it’s as competitive or cooperative as the players choose to make it. I just picked up Dante’s Inferno, also by Twilight. I hope it makes this list next year.)

Favorite Food: Pizza (Goddamn, I love pizza!)

Favorite Drink: Coke Zero (This diet soda doesn’t taste like carbonated poo, so it’s epic win in my book.)

Favorite Hockey Team: Chicago Blackhawks (Sorry, Rangers, but I’ve officially committed to the Indian.)

Favorite Hockey Player: Jonathan Toews (Sid the Kid is great, don’t get me wrong, but Captain Serious is the anchor of the Blackhawks bench. Go get that cup, Tazer!)

Favorite Actress: Eliza Dushku (I’m sad that Dollhouse was canceled. The show reminded me of how good an actress Ms. Dushku is. And she’s certainly not too hard on the eyes either.)

Favorite Actor: Christian Bale (Bad Bat-Bale notwithstanding, Christian Bale is a phenomenal actor. American Psycho and The Machinist are in my top 10 movies, easily.)

Favorite TV Show: Star Trek: The Next Generation (I know it’s been off the air for about forever, but my Saturday nights were spent in front of the TV watching this show for a good part of my adolescence and teenage years. It’s one of those shows that makes you think that humanity’s not totally fucked up.)

Favorite Movie: Shawshank Redemption (Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins are superb in the ultimate prison movie. Anytime this flick is on one of the TV movie channels, I have to tune in and finish watching it, even if it’s halfway over.)

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…And A Happy New Year

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Categories: Blackhawks, Christmas, Family, Gaming, Hockey, Loves Park, Poetry, Shadowrun

Now that the holiday season is winding down and life is returning to a semblance of normality, I’d like to thank everyone for all the gifts I’ve received throughout the year. 2009 has been a tough year for many(the McCaskey family included) and the help, support and camaraderie of family and friends has been invaluable. Your gifts, both tangible and otherwise, have helped sustain us, keep us sane and generally lift our spirits. Thank you.

As we look forward to 2010, there are several reasons to be hopeful:

  • Things are starting to come together with some of the writing projects I’m working on: big news on at least one of them is forthcoming.
  • I’m finally going to be rid of the house in Loves Park that has been the bane of my existence for the last six years.
  • I’m still involved in my first tabletop role-playing game in many years, Alex Rodriguez’s Shadowrun 4th Edition game. It’s epic and I’m happy to be a part of the story, even if I can’t be at every game physically.
  • I should be running my own tabletop game coming up soon.
  • My daughter keeps growing and developing everyday. Some days are challenging, some are a breeze, but she makes it all worthwhile.
  • I will be back in school in the fall, barring any unforseen snafus.
  • The Blackhawks are doing great this year! I don’t want to jinx it, but this could be the year Lord Stanley’s cup returns to the Windy City. At the very least, it’ll be an entertaining ride, even if Chicago doesn’t hoist up hockey’s Holy Grail.

So, here’s to the future. May it be better than our past!

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Time Flies…

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Categories: Blackhawks, Cold Sun, DDO, Hockey, IceHogs, OGL, Rockford, Shadowrun

So, it’s been almost three months since I posted a new blog entry. “WTF?” you might ask. Truth is, several things have kept me from the bliggity-blog page:

  1. Dungeons & Dragons Online is now free to play! Come join me on the Khyber server. My characters are named Mana Starfire and Iocasta. I usually play a few nights during the week, after I put Muirne to sleep (around 7:30 CST).
  2. I am playing virtually in a Shadowrun 4th Edition game run by my friend, Alex Rodriguez (not the basball player). Using a PHPbb message board, all of the game’s legwork and downtime activities are managed without using up valuable time at the gaming table on Sundays. This is a great idea and I’m glad to be able to get my tabletop gaming on without actually being at the table.
  3. Cold Sun is almost ready for alpha testing. What is Cold Sun? Cold Sun is my first solo attempt at a tabletop RPG. It’s a post-catastrophic contemporary setting, in which mankind’s hubris is proving to be his downfall. The struggle to survive against the forces of nature and man is the focal point of the game. The system is based on the 3.5 OGL SRD from Wizards of the Coast. Veteran 3.5 players will recognize the nuts and bolts under the hood, but the system’s far more flexible and intuitive than standard d20.
  4. Hockey season has started! Woot! As a matter of fact, I had the chance to go to my first Rockford IceHogs game of the season last Saturday. It was a great game (after the first period) with multiple fights, close scoring chances, an overtime and a 9 round shootout! The Blackhawks aren’t looking too bad either, if you ignore the goaltending crisis that seems to be shaping up. I hope Cristobal Huet can pull it together and start putting up some numbers. Ce qui la baise, Chris?
  5. And, of course, all the other various and sundry bits of modern life.

I will endeavour to be more timely with my blogging going forward. After all, I’ve got a game to start building Internet buzz on! 🙂