Blog post frequency update for regular readers

I’ve been posting almost daily since mid December and I’ve had a blast doing it, but alas, I can feel the winds of change blowing.

I have a couple of new projects that are starting to take up a bit more of my time, so I’m going to dial back the frequency of my posts here.

First, for those who enjoy my writing, I’m trying my hand at fiction. I’ve been writing a piece of fantasy fiction to be more specific, inspired by one my homegrown Dungeons and Dragons campaigns. As of now, it’s shaping up as a short story but could turn into a novella depending on where the adventure ends up going.

D&D material is copyright protected by Wizards of the Coast, the company who owns all things Dungeons and Dragons, but they have a pretty cool licensing construct that allows folks to create and then publish content on their approved site at the Dungeon Masters Guild. Publishing here ensures Wizards of the Coast gets a cut as well as the content creators. So, stay tuned. I’ll let you all know when it’s out there.

Second, I have another graduate school class starting up next month called Developing Value Through Business Analytics Applications, which will of course take up quite a bit of time.

Given those two projects, along with the current Dungeons and Dragons campaign that I run, the future podcasts I’m scheduling, the book signings I’m putting together for spring, and the public speeches I’m working on, I’m going to shoot for one post a week, rather than one post per day, and see how that goes.

As always, thanks for following and in the words of the immortal Bartles and Jaymes, thank you for your support.

R.L.

 

Change of pace: a Dungeons and Dragons post

Sometimes when the political environment gets too toxic, when Facebook gets too nauseating, when Twitter gets too trolly – all of which seems to be the case all the time these days – you must have somewhere to retreat. Sanity demands it.

For James Taylor, that place was up on the roof. For the Flock of Seagulls, it was just a matter of running, running so far away. For me, that place is Dungeons and Dragons.

Of course, D&D is not a physical place, it’s a game. And it’s not a “regular” game where there is a defined objective with winners and losers, it’s a role-playing adventure game. D&D is more of a shared story-telling experience, set in a fantasy genre, than it is a game with boards, pieces, and moves.

I have a regular group of players that I play D&D with and each of us takes a turn “running” the game. The person who runs the game is affectionately known as the Dungeon Master or DM for short. A “game” can last anywhere between a single session of a few hours (called a one-shot) to an entire campaign which might last months, or even years! I’ve been the DM on this current campaign since early December.

Here’s what I’ve discovered after picking up D&D again, several editions and about thirty years since I last played. There are different kinds of players out there. There are the psychos: people who play evil characters who just want to roll dice and kill things. There are the grid lovers: people who spend an hour arguing over whether the shape of a particular spell hits a certain person because of the location and distance of all the stalactites and stalagmites in a cave. There are the rule hounds: people who keep their player handbooks open so that they can quickly question, check, and recheck every decision the Dungeon Master makes to ensure it comports with the rules.

And then there are guys like the guys I found. The role players.

For my money, this is where the game turns in to the retreat you want it to be. The role players create dynamic, flawed, interesting characters and play true to their character’s strengths and weaknesses. But more than that, they breathe life into the characters they have created. They give them accents. They create interesting back-stories for their characters and play them according to what baggage they might be carrying with them – figuratively and literally. They let the dice determine the outcomes – for better or worse. They trust the DM to sculpt the story in such a way that they are surprised, motivated, frightened, and above all, entertained.

The more immersive one is with the characters that he or she plays, the more fun everyone has.

If you enjoyed this change of pace, stay tuned because I’ll be writing more on D&D in future posts. I’m also working on some Dungeon and Dragons inspired fiction which I may share some snippets of here as well.

Happy gaming!

My D&D Story

Sometimes you just need to mix it up a bit.

And after the 2016 election I, yes even I who loves politics and who has a degree in Political Science, became sick of the spectacle. I didn’t publish anything on this page because I didn’t want to link my name with the political shenanigans I was seeing unfold. So I let the page go dark.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, my new creative outlet had been taking shape.

Perhaps it was sparked by my first visit to Dragon Con in 2016. Perhaps this is my latent nerd finally emerging from its nerdy little cocoon. Perhaps this is just my midlife crises! Whatever the spark, I rediscovered after about a 30-year hiatus, the game of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D).

I played D&D when I was in middle school but then high school happened and I became too busy, too cool, too whatever, and so I stopped. Let’s face it, the quarterback of the football team was probably not playing D&D. You know who was playing? The nerds.

Fast forward 30 years and do you know what people are calling those same nerds? The boss!

The world has changed. The richest most influential people on the planet are nerds. Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg, Musk. These are the movers, shakers, and innovators. But to be honest, I’m not playing D&D again because geek is chic (which it is); I’m playing because it’s an absolute blast!

I’ll post more updates as we go, but believe it or not, I’ve started a YouTube channel exploring  my new hobby (D&D)! I expect it will have a VERY niche audience, but that’s fine too. Happy gaming.

Back to D&D basics – creating a character (VIDEO)

After my little detour in to some of the more, shall we say, asinine things that pop up from time to time regarding Dungeons and Dragons, it feels nice to get back in to some classic D&D basics. Namely, making your own character.

For me, this is admittedly one of the more intimidating tasks in D&D but also one of the most fun! There are so many inputs in to character creation that it’s difficult to chunk it in to logical steps. But at the same time, the fact there are so many inputs is what makes creating your own player character so much fun.

The other cool thing about making a character is that it’s a part of the game that doesn’t require you to try to schedule a bunch of time with a bunch of different people.

It’s just you, your player’s handbook, your imagination, and a blank character sheet.

I hope you enjoy video 1 in what I hope becomes a very instructive playlist for the beginning player.

Is D&D Demonic, revisited (VIDEO)

A few days ago I uploaded a sort of “tongue in cheek” video tackling the age old question, “Is Dungeons and Dragons demonic?” That video prompted quite a bit of commentary on some of the D&D sub-reddits. I thought some of the commentary was quite thoughtful, which caused me to reflect a bit on the original video.

The result was a “part 2” video which I just uploaded this morning.

Is D&D Demonic

Image via YouTube screengrab

I hope you all enjoy this approach as well and tangentially, it sort of occured to me that this might be a great lead-in question to have a conversation using “street epistemology.”

For those unfamiliar with the term, street epistemology is a “dialectical approach intent on helping people reflect on the reliability of the methods used to arrive at deeply-held beliefs.”

In other words, while in the process of explaining what D&D is so that ones fears are assuaged, you can probe what gives your interlocutor confidence that demons are actually real! Pretty cool huh?

So even though these two videos are a part of my Dungeons and Dragons playlists, they are also the first of a new series of videos I’m cataloguing under the playlist: Critical Thinking. Something for which we seem to be in very short supply!

I’ve built my Twitter following more or less under the umbrella of tackling irrational ideas, so hopefully this cross-pollination will grow some pretty cool fruit.

I hope you enjoy it! And please subscribe to my channel if you haven’t already!