Oops! >.>

Dec. 18th, 2018 07:58 am
the_gneech: (Default)
I did not mean to crosspost that image here.

Just sayin'.

-TG
the_gneech: (Default)
Starting Weight (May 30, 2018): 305
Goal: 222 by April 26
Current: 275 (28 weeks)
Weekly Target Rate: 2 lbs
Weekly Average: 1.1 lbs
Starting Waistline (Sep 18, 2018): 46"
Current: 44.5" (10 weeks)
Goal: 32" by April 26
Weekly Target Rate: 0.45"
Weekly Average: 0.15"
BP: 122/87

Well it's taken me 7 months so far, but I've lost 30 pounds, roughly 1/3 of my long-term target. :) Losing another 50 pounds by April is still the plan, but right now I'm just gonna take stock of the milestone.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)
Starting Weight (May 30, 2018): 305
Goal: 222 by April 26
Current: 276 (27 weeks)
Weekly Target Rate: 2 lbs
Weekly Average: 1.1 lbs
Starting Waistline (Sep 18, 2018): 46"
Current: 44" (9 weeks)
Goal: 32" by April 26
Weekly Target Rate: 0.45"
Weekly Average: 0.2222" (Ping Inkblitz)
BP: 124/85

This is officially my lowest weight on record– my previous low being 277.7 in 2015 [1].

No wonder my clothes are like tents on me now! ;D

I'm gonna savor this moment. :) And then make getting my lowest weight on record a habit. ;)

-The Gneech

[1] That entry actually describes my lowest as being 276.2 but without a citation and I couldn't find it. Since my scale this morning actually said 275.8, I'm still at my lowest either way!
the_gneech: (Default)



If you’ve known me for a while, you probably know that I’ve spent the past year training with Accomplishment Coaching with an eye towards ICF certification, and that it has indeed been a long, strange trip. My finals were this past weekend, and as of this writing I don’t have my results yet, but I put in a strong effort and I’m hoping for great things.


But something I’ve become keenly aware of over the past month or so is, regardless of what grades I may or may not get, and regardless of how long it takes me to reach the criteria for certification, is the value I can bring to people as a coach, today. Something that really drove that home for me was something a client wrote for me:


“I’ll admit, I was skeptical on the concept of a life coach. I wasn’t really sure if something like that would be for me. But I gave [John] a chance and, my goodness, was I blown away. After our discussions, I realized how helpful an outside perspective was. John helped me figure out a way to get things flowing in my life in a way that actually worked. His advice, guidance, and honesty was a treasure I needed and I look forward to where I’m going to go from here.”


It took me several minutes to just sit with a thing like that. I’m still kinda verklempt about it.


So now, as my year of training nears its completion, and my clients and I take stock of where we are and where we want to go, I am present to being in the process of regeneration. Later today I am meeting with someone to help me hone in on the whole Bringing The Awesome “brand” (they’ve already helped me focus my process and distinguish my services). Later this week I’m going to starting an inventory/audit/review of my 2018 projects to see where they’ve succeeded and where they still need work, with an eye towards laying the foundations for 2019.


You can bet, I’ll be working with my own coach on these things as well! All those great things my client said about me? They’re true of my coach in spades.


Building, growing, always creating. That’s how we move forward. I am excited for the next stage of the journey!




Where are you in your journey? Creating something new? Lost in the weeds? I’d love to hear from you and talk about it!


PRIVACY: Your e-mail address is stored privately and used only for e-mail newsletter subscriptions and site updates. We do not share your data with anyone.
the_gneech: (Default)

InkyGirl has no idea what I'm doing, either.

Networking events! How do they work?


I have no idea. But I’m not gonna let that stop me.


I’m a coach. A big part of my job is getting people to take that uncomfortable step and do the thing they have no idea how to do– but if I’m gonna talk that talk, I’ve gotta walk that walk. And for me that means trading out my usual tropical shirt for a nicely pressed biz-cajh button down, wrap a tie around my neck, and head to PassionFish in Reston for a networking lunch. There I’ll meet with business owners, accountants, executives, and other high-rolling grownup types to talk up the power of coaching and invite anyone and everyone to come observe and go through our Power Tools for Living workshop.


Anyone who’s seen me up on stage or at a convention dealer table might be surprised by the idea that I’m faintly terrified by this prospect. I love talking to groups! I love to put on a show! Right?


Well, yes. But… business is, y’know, serious business. I draw silly cartoons, I make dorky faces. In a room full of high-rolling grownup types, I feel like the Alien From Planet Goof, and that’s a scary thing.


But here’s the thing: what you’re most terrified of about yourself, is also your superpower. Yes, I am the Alien from Planet Goof. But that also means I am not a corporate catchphrase clone, there to help people conceptualize their paradigms and monetize their assets. I am a real person who will tell you straight what I think. I am creative and engaging and I bring play and fun to the heavy business of making a living.


So yeah, today I’m stepping out of my comfort zone– but I’m also doing it in full ownership of my power and potential. Let’s bring the awesome!


What Are YOU Doing?


Now let’s hear from you! How are you bringing your own awesome today? How are you going to step out of your own comfort zone?


PRIVACY: Your e-mail address is stored privately and used only for e-mail newsletter subscriptions and site updates. We do not share your data with anyone.
the_gneech: (Default)
Starting Weight (May 30, 2018): 305
Goal: 222 by April 26
Current: 278 (26 weeks)
Weekly Target Rate: 2 lbs
Weekly Average: 1 lbs
Starting Waistline (Sep 18, 2018): 46"
Current: 45" (8 weeks)
Goal: 32" by April 26
Weekly Target Rate: 0.45"
Weekly Average: 0.1"
BP: 121/76

Shaved off another pound, waistline hasn't budged, BP is great this week after being scary last week.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

-TG
the_gneech: (Default)

How can you resist a banner like this? ;D


Most people who come to me looking for coaching have heard of me through my art and comics, and so like chocolate and peanut butter, I’ve decided to combine two great things that go great together! ;D By offering my coaching services on a limited basis as Patreon subscription tiers for people who may be more comfortable working that way.


Specifically, there are three Creativity Klatch seats, as well as three full coaching service openings. Both of these include a Patreon subscriber discount, as well as access to all of the lower tier benefits for people interested in my art and merchandise.


For members of the Creativity Klatch especially, this is a great deal on the “whole package.” C’mon over and let’s get started!

the_gneech: (Default)
Starting Weight (May 30, 2018): 305
Goal: 222 by April 26
Current: 279 (25 weeks)
Weekly Target Rate: 2 lbs
Weekly Average: 1 lbs
Starting Waistline (Sep 18, 2018): 46"
Current: 45" (9 weeks)
Goal: 32" by April 26
Weekly Target Rate: 0.45"
Weekly Average: 0.1"
BP: 143/95

My blood pressure seems to be connected to a random number generator. >.> It'll be great for weeks, then be crazy high for a week or two, then back to something resembling normality for a while.

My blood pressure being up today might also explain why I woke up with a headache. :P

Anyway, still bumping along the plateau. With turkey day tomorrow and the holiday season approaching generally, I'm not too worried about it. I'm gonna keep eating right and exercising, but I'm not gonna not have holiday treats, either.

-TG
the_gneech: (Default)


Made of awesome and win.


So many things to say about Stan Lee, but I have no words still.


-TG

the_gneech: (Default)

“[John] is more than an artist, he’s also a life coach and his help is AMAZINGSAUCE!”



  • Is your project stuck?

  • Has your project not even started?

  • Do you need accountability partners?

  • COACHING CAN HELP!


    The Creativity Klatch program is a weekly meeting of creative minds. For 90 minutes each week, we will select two participants to receive intense coaching on their selected project, with input and support from the group. This is a great way to get support and move your projects forward, while making some new friends along the way.


    The group will meet on Thursday nights from 7:00 – 8:30 pm EST, and spots are limited, so sign up now for the December-March group! The price is $250/month, payable via Paypal or Square. Sign up today!


    PRIVACY: Your e-mail address is stored privately and used only for e-mail newsletter subscriptions and site updates. We do not share your data with anyone.
the_gneech: (Default)
Starting Weight (May 30, 2018): 305
Goal: 222 by April 26
Current: 279 (24 weeks)
Weekly Target Rate: 2 lbs
Weekly Average: 1.1 lbs
Starting Waistline (Sep 18, 2018): 46"
Current: 45" (8 weeks)
Goal: 32" by April 26
Weekly Target Rate: 0.45"
Weekly Average: 0.1"
BP: 131/85

So then my weight went back down and my waistline nudged back up. Stupid plateau. :P

Doesn't matter. Gonna keep going!

-TG
the_gneech: (Default)

Don’t make it perfect, just better than it was before.


Then do that again.


And again.


And again.


Want to get some awesome thoughts in your e-mail? Sign up for the newsletter!

the_gneech: (Default)
Starting Weight (May 30, 2018): 305
Goal: 222 by April 26
Current: 281 (24 weeks)
Weekly Target Rate: 2 lbs
Weekly Average: 1 lbs
Starting Waistline (Sep 18, 2018): 46"
Current: 44.5" (7 weeks)
Goal: 32" by April 26
Weekly Target Rate: 0.45"
Weekly Average: 0.2"
BP: 123/85

My weight fluffed back up, but I lost another 1/2" off my waistline this week, go fig. Still, weight is like weather and waistline is like climate, so the general trend is good. I've definitely hit plateau territory, and I'm running out of ways to lean out my diet. From here I'm either going to have to a) crank up my exercise, or b) go on a program of intermittent fasting.

Honestly, either one is going to be very challenging to pull off, as I'm constantly skirting the edge of burnout timewise as it is... and the holidays are coming up. >.>

But I'll find a way to make it work!

-TG
the_gneech: (Default)

I'M a Badass?


It’s almost exactly a year ago now that I decided “maybe I should look into being a coach.” I was reading (and re-reading) Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass and seeing all kinds of parallels to my own life– lots of searching for meaning, lots of frustration with a less-than-renumerative writing career, and lots of being stuck. One day she decided she was sick of being stuck and decided to fix it, which led her into coaching, which led her into being a book-writing rockstar making millions. So when, in one chapter, she suggested “pick someone to emulate and do that,” I figured she was a good candidate for the job.


Some hunting around for a way to get started led me to Accomplishment Coaching, which in turn led to the intimidating decision to plunk down five figures for a year’s worth of intense vocational training and personal mentoring. If ever there was a leap of faith, this was it.


So here I am, one month away from my final exams, having faced my survival mechanisms over and over again, having changed my diet and sleeping habits, having dredged up all kinds of dark muck from the swamp of my childhood traumas and unexamined beliefs and exposed them to the light, and having done Scary Adult Things like setting up LLCs and creating business bank accounts. I look back at my “to do list” around coaching and see that item number one was “Get my shit together.” Well it’s taken me a year, a lot of money, some yelling and fighting and crying, and doing some stuff that had me absolutely terrified, but I think I can finally check off that item as complete.


Phew! Now. What’s step two, again? I have it written down somewhere…


In a moment of synchronicity, Jen Sincero happened to come to Politics and Prose in D.C. on a book tour way back in March or thereabouts, so I rounded up a handful fo my Accomplishment Coaching teamies and we went to see her there… where I utterly failed to create any kind of meaningful connection with my would-be role model. It happens. But after that weekend, I kind of forgot about her and about You Are a Badass, because I was frantically trying to build a practice and reading lots of other books by Neale Donald Walsch, Debbie Ford, Steven Covey and more. I was too busy actually doing the work, to remember what had prompted me to go into it in the first place.


Yesterday, I remembered that I had the audiobook of Badass sitting on my phone, so I decided to revisit it. And let me tell you, coming around again after the past year, it’s a very different experience. Things that had been completely theoretical, and things that had me originally say “Yeah that’s great but…” have taken on a whole new meaning. You Are a Badass could almost have been called Ontological Coaching for Dummies, and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s light, it’s breezy, it’s for the neophyte or the curious layperson, and it does a great job of introducing you to the concepts of the work.


But like the Dummies books, it’s also just a starting point. Unless you have the world’s most easygoing Big Snooze/Gremlin/Survival Mechanism, it’s going to take a lot more than a breezy read to actually get you up and at ’em. This isn’t a condemnation of the book, it’s simply the truth that a book is not a coach. And in fact, a book can be dangerous, because buying and even vigorously reading the book can feel like you’re “doing something,” even if it’s really more like a valve letting some steam escape to keep you lodged right there in your comfort zone.


But really, what else can a book do? Until a person is really ready to stand up, do the work, and really make a change, a few pounds of ink printed on wood pulp isn’t going to have any effect. The best the author of a book can hope to do is to communicate the idea that change is possible, and hope the spark of that idea lights the fire inside the reader.


You Are a Badass did that for me, and judging by its sales I imagine it’s done that for a lot of people. It couldn’t do the work, no book possibly could, but it did help me believe that it was possible to do the work, and helped me understand why I might want to.


Step two? Oh yeah! Get out there and actually be a badass. Got it.


Who wants to join me?

the_gneech: (Default)

Buddha the cat. I miss you, little buddy.


You know what? Coaches need coaches too. Here’s what I mean…


Yesterday was my 25th wedding anniversary! Which just proves that I can commit to something if I really put my mind to it. 😉 My wife and I spent the day going up to Skyline Drive to enjoy the autumn leaves in the mountains, with the intention of doing some kind of more significant commemoration when we’ve got the financial situation nailed down again.


But said financial situation, and the “Un-suck Our Lives” project generally, has been a topic much on my mind lately. My coaching practice is taking a bit longer than I would like to really take off, which largely boils down to my reluctance to go client-hunting. This is a thing I’ve always had and why, even though I probably could have made more during the dot-com boom as a freelance designer/web programmer, I opted to find a job with a company instead. My preferred mode is for clients and/or customers to come to me, rather than hunting them down.


But short of finding a life coach clearing agency (do such things even exist?), there isn’t really any way to operate in that mode as a coach. Until someone has actually had a good coach, the benefits of coaching can seem esoteric. Everyone understands that the best athletes have coaches and why; leaders in any field from business management to filmmaking understand the value of coaching and will gladly pay top fees for the best ones. But to more “down to Earth” people in everyday life, it often seems like something that just doesn’t apply to them.


So if I want to coach, I’ve got to get out there and clearly get across to people why they’d want me to coach them. And that means, for me, buckling down and going out there and actually finding some ding-dang clients.


This is where I get stuck. Not in the coaching work itself– that comes naturally and I’m actually pretty darn good at it– but in the process of finding people who can benefit from coaching and finding a way to talk to them about it. I have a project plan around that, but the best plan in the world won’t help if, instead of doing the thing, you spend the whole day staring at your computer screen telling yourself “Do the thing, already!”


Despite having some clients (I love you guys!), I’ve spent the past two months fighting with the problem of both needing and wanting more. I had an interesting epiphany about it earlier today, while talking to one of my coaching colleagues. I told her that the things I’ve had success with in the past (such as my comics), had that success because I was motivated by love. I love my comics and my readers, so when I get bogged down I remember that and it keeps me going. I loved The Hobbit Hole. I loved my cat Buddha, so even though he had FIV and we were advised by a vet that we “should probably put him to sleep,” we moved Heaven and Earth to give him 8 happy and healthy years before his body failed him.


I told my teammate that I loved coaching, but for some reason I was still getting stuck, mired in my defense mechanisms. Since defense mechanisms are a symptom of fear, she asked, “So, what are you afraid of? Is it love?”


I have been asking myself the same question for two months. Today, being coached by my teammate, an answer came to me.


Ten years ago I had a life that, while not perfect, was certainly successful. Friends and family, a house I loved, a cat I loved, and so on. Then my Aunt Iris died. Then my parents died. My best friend and business partner died. We lost the house. Buddha died. So many of the things I loved were suddenly and painfully gone. And it’s hard, now, to let myself love things, because I don’t want any more things that I love to be torn away.


My teammate said, “So you’re not afraid of love. You’re afraid of loss.”


And honestly? I think that’s a big piece of it. The immediate pain of grief has largely passed, but the trauma of it is still there. I think that on some level, I’m afraid of building a new life, because I don’t want to risk having it come crashing down again.


These ideas are an illusion, of course. First, there are so many things in my life I haven’t lost, not the least of which is my wife (as our 25th anniversary so clearly demonstrates). I have friends. I have Dasher and InkyGirl, who are also great cats. I have my comics. As tempting as it may be to think of myself as being bereft, the truth is that I am actually surrounded by things that I love every day.


Secondly, I am perfectly capable of building anew. I have many new friends, who I’ve made in the intervening time since so much of my previous life collapsed. I’m building new skills as a coach every day. I’m creating a whole new self based on the values that I think are important, instead of those that I’ve passively “inherited” from my upbringing or other external sources.


I don’t think that fear of losing the new life I want to build is necessarily the thing that’s immediately jumping out at me every time I drag my feet about hunting for clients. There are plenty of “lieutenants” of that fear I get to play with around that specific issue– insecurity, being trained to come from lack instead of coming from abundance, attachment to outcomes as a validation of self– but I do think that fear of loss is the Boss Battle of my Client Game. All these other little fears are what the fear of loss throws at me to get me stuck.


Knowing that, I can see these other fears for what they are: distractions meant to keep me small and disempowered. And seeing them as such, strips away a lot of their power. I’m sure I would have realized all this eventually on my own, but being coached by my teammate absolutely saved me tons of wasted time and energy to get there, and for that, I’m very grateful.


Fear of loss? I’m coming for you, Jack.

the_gneech: (Default)
Starting Weight (May 30, 2018): 305
Goal: 222 by April 26
Current: 279 (22 weeks)
Weekly Target Rate: 2 lbs
Weekly Average: 1.2 lbs
Starting Waistline (Sep 18, 2018): 46"
Current: 45" (6 weeks)
Goal: 32" by April 26
Weekly Target Rate: 0.45"
Weekly Average: 0.2"
BP: 132/78

Broke into the 270s, that's progress!

-TG
the_gneech: (Default)

Ragnarok and Roll, by HarryBuddhaPalm

Ragnarok and Roll, by HarryBuddhaPalm


My Storm King’s Thunder game has been waiting in the queue for the past several weeks while one of the other DMs in the group runs his game; but we are due to get back to it soon, and I’m starting to look with serious intent at what comes after the big finish.


Assuming the characters solve the mystery of the Storm King’s court, rescue all the peeps who need rescuing, defeat all the baddies who need defeating, and restore the Ordning among giant-kind, they will probably be somewhere in the 12th level range. At that point, it becomes more difficult to realistically look at the Silver Coast in terms of a sandbox/hexcrawl environment– and I am trying to resolve that with the tenets of my DM’s Credo.


Random, everyday hazards of a fantasy setting are not going to be a problem for these guys… the way I put it in conversation recently was, “The Avengers don’t wander around New York taking down muggers.” Once you’ve defeated Thanos, what’s next? And more importantly, how do you integrate a threat on that kind of scale in a way that doesn’t just shove them down the players’ throats? Having Galactus show up and threaten to eat the world is pretty darn railroadey. >.>


Another challenge for me in this particular area is that I just don’t natively think in “high level” style. The majority of my campaign world is fairly mundane: think Middle-earth instead of Asgard. At one point, while they were hunting down Svartjaw, one of my players mocked the Thane of Acholt by asking “What kind of lord doesn’t even have a magic weapon?”


Given the assumptions of D&D, it was a legit question. The answer was twofold: first, he didn’t have a magic weapon because mechanically he was a Knight from the back of the Monster Manual with his greatsword swapped out for a longsword and shield; and second, because my conception of the world is that magic items of any kind are super-rare. Does Theoden of Rohan have a magic sword? I mean, yeah, he might, but the text never mentions it. The moment of Theoden taking up his sword and all his men losing their shit about it is supposed to be because Theoden King is Awesome, not because he has a longsword of leadership.


But even with magic items being scaled back the way they are in 5E, it is absolutely not the case that magic items are super-rare in D&D, nor in the way I’ve structured the campaign. Everyone in the party has at least one and probably two or three pretty wifty items at this point, either awarded as treasure, or because to accommodate one of the players’ desired campaign style I created a “vaguely 3.x” subsystem to allow them to spend treasure on items.


In short, I’m still bringing low-magic thinking into an intrinsically high-magic framework and that also applies to my adventure design. On some level, my idea of a “high level conflict” is the characters being at the head of armies taking on a million bazillion orcs; but D&D‘s idea of a “high level conflict” is more like “one of Demogorgon’s heads declares war on the other and as a result the cosmos is being torn in half.”


I… just don’t think that way. O.o To lean on the MCU metaphor, I love-love-love the “ground level” threats of Captain America: The First Avenger and Spiderman: Homecoming, and I can even enjoy Thor: Ragnarok for a romp or two, but Infinity War kinda makes me check out. Crazy-big cosmic adventure is a foreign language to me.


Going back to the matter of high-level adventures and the sandbox/railroad dichotomy, the hugeness of high-level threats is part of what makes it hard to relate to them in a sandbox context. CR 15+ things don’t just wander around the world waiting for your players to bump into them. They are things like Cagarax the Red, the ancient dragon who claims the Silver Coast as his terrority, or Iuz the Old, cambion emperor of the realm who bears his name, or the Cult of Elemental Evil spilling out of their temple and marching across Veluna. The world is only stable enough for low-level sandbox play because these major powers are content to lurk in their lairs for now. When it comes time for high level adventures, these are the sources that trouble is going to come from, but the moment I decide “Iuz is going to go on the march,” that is me deciding what the adventure will be.


Now, my players might be totally fine with that; years or decades of “the DM creates the adventure and we show up for it” style play have pretty much made that the norm. And as long as everyone’s having fun, that’s hardly “wrong.” But I have been striving to change my approach to gaming, and if I am serious about making “player empowerment” a priority, I have to examine that facet of things. I mean, I can just decide “Iuz is going to go on the march” and then ask the players, “What do you want to do?” It’s entirely possible they might reply, “We buy popcorn and watch.” In that sense they’re perfectly empowered. But I suspect if I tell them Iuz is marching, what they will hear is “The adventure is over there, go get it.”


And if I tell them “Iuz is on the march, and Cagarax has decided to take the city of Argent as his new lair, and Elemental Evil is spilling out of its temple, what do you want to do?” they may very well just go, “Uhhhh….?” and vapor-lock. In a low-level sandbox, choosing not to take on the lizardfolk lair because you’re going to the barrow downs is not the end of the world.


Choosing not to mess with Galactus because you want to focus on Thanos? Just might be. >.> Where’s the “choice” in that?

the_gneech: (Default)

There are no rooms to hole up in, here!

There are no rooms to hole up in, here!


In response to my last post, over on Dreamwidth Terrycloth asked, “Why would you stop your party from taking short rests? I thought short rests were assumed between each encounter.” And since I did mention it was a topic for another post, here it is! 😉


In 5E RAW, short rests take an hour, during which you can spend hit dice to regain HP, as well as any class features that recover on a short rest (such as arcane recovery, ki points, and the like). Terrycloth clarified in a later comment that he uses the “short rests are 5 minutes” variant from the Dungeon Masters Guide (which is closer to the 4E version), on the grounds that:


4e improved its play a lot when it shifted to monsters with fewer hit points and more damage — having to fall back on at-will powers instead of being able to use your encounters was tedious. To get interesting combat you need to have options.


Having people hoarding every resource in 5e was the same way. TEDIOUS.


One of the actual gameplay things that bugged me about 4E, especially in its early stages, was that every encounter was exquisitely balanced to perfectly challenge an on-level party at full strength– which was facilitated by the 5-minute rest after each one. The concept of the “encounter power” was what encounters were built around. I agree with Terrycloth that 4E was tedious, but I would actually say that easy resting was one of the things that made it so! It was a well-oiled game-mechanical machine but… it quickly became… monotonous.



  1. DM sets up room, everyone rolls initiative.

  2. Players use encounter powers.

  3. Monsters use encounter powers.

  4. If either side survives, whittle away with “at-wills” until encounter over.

  5. 5-minute rest, rinse, and repeat.


In my group– and mind you, we were veterans who’d been playing D&D for decades– all creative efforts just dried up. Everyone spent the encounter staring at their character sheet wondering which power to use next, or, if their powers were expended, going “Sigh, I guess I attack.”


It was, frankly, boring. Say what you will about the lack of interesting character options in 1E, having a character sheet the size of an index card definitely encouraged you to think outside the box in a tough situation (if only because the box had nothing in it).


I’m not advocating the elimination of encounter powers (or, in 5E parlance, “class features that recover on a short rest”) or the elimination of short rests by any stretch. My tabaxi monk would beat me up if I did. But I do believe that powers should be expended, and that the choice to stop and recover those powers should have a tactical cost to make it interesting. A 5-minute rest is trivial, and if you assume that there’s a rest after every encounter, then those powers are not “expended” beyond the couple of rounds that any given combat lasts.


5E combats are short, man.


Now, if the short rest is an hour, that makes a difference. From a narrative stance, an hour is a significant chunk of time and if you’re up against a ticking clock you’ll want to weigh the value of the rest versus the time lost. Add wandering monsters into the mix, and you’ve got an even bigger choice: do you gamble on having monsters appear, thus losing both the time and the benefits of the rest?


As my gamemastering credo and my GMing style generally have evolved, I have come more and more to love “emergent” play– that is, instead of me “creating a story” and “running the players through it,” I much prefer to put the pieces of the world in place, say, “Go!” and see what happens. I can (and do) make educated guesses as to the general way stuff might shake out, but I am not attached to that result. One of my players sometimes asks after a session “Were we supposed to [do some thing]?” or “Did you expect us to [do some other thing]?” and I understand why– I once ran my game that way. But I have found over the years, running that way is a lot of work, and doesn’t generally reward the effort put into it. My honest answer, these days, is “I was fine with whatever you did. You’re the stars of the show!”


Reliable short rests mean that the party is always at or close to full strength– which would put the relative ease or difficulty of any given encounter mostly in my control. That, in turn, means that building encounters is basically me deciding how it will go. “This fight will be a pushover. That one will be a terror.” While it’s true that players always zig when you expect them to zag, it still results in me largely ending up in a position of controlling the flow of the adventure during prep, instead of letting the game unfold at the table.


I want the players to be in charge of that. I want them to decide “Hmm, reserves are low, maybe we should back off…” or “Six goblins? We can take ’em!” But for that to even be on the table, reserves have to be able to run low! Thus, resting has to be limited.


The flip side of that is that encounters have to be diverse. Since I can’t depend on the party being full strength at the start of every encounter, my overall trend is for the difficulty of any given encounter to be lower than they would be in a 4E (or 3.x/PF) game. In old-school D&D, and in the game as I try to run it, it’s not the dragon that kills you– it’s the fact that you took on the dragon after fighting waves and waves of kobolds that does it. 😉


In Terrycloth’s case, it sounds like his players are super-cautious, and based on how he describes his encounter designs elsewhere in the thread, that’s understandable. My players, on the other hand? Have no chill whatsoever. XD The bigger and more dangerous the monster, the more eager they seem to be to go poke it. It has been a combination of luck and teamwork that has kept their characters from getting killed time and time again, which is exactly how it should be for heroes.


Keep in mind, this is all very theoretical. Unless you’re actually designing the archetypal “20′ x 30′ rooms connected by 10′ halls” old-school dungeon, you may not be able to even tell where one “encounter” ends and another one begins. In my most recent scenario, the party was confronted with a fortress on a floating island, with a big villain and his minions, some potential allies, a dungeon underneath, and portions that were hostile to all– and being the perverse lot they are, they split up and went off to poke different parts of it. Was the rogue and wizard up in the villain’s tower “an encounter”? What about the rest of the party fighting minions down in the fortress courtyard? I mean… yes? But neither of them fit into the “encounter-rest-encounter-rest” model. It’s just the story that emerged.

the_gneech: (Default)
September and October have been something of a rough spot, productivity wise. I spent a lot of September just plain sick, and while I did finally get through that, the time since then has felt kinda like being in a plane that goes "brrzzt... brrzzt... cough!" and doesn't want to stay in the air.

I don't want to get into the quagmire of why that is; what I want to focus on right now, is what to DO about it. I need to get my shit together in order to make a living, and I want to get my shit together just because I'm tired of being somebody who, well, isn't that. >.>

Working with my own coach, one thing I've distinguished is that I have been "all over the place" in terms of focus. I mean, this isn't news– I'll be all excited about writing for a while, then all excited about my comics for a while, then all excited about D&D for a while, then then then... And that drive and excitement can lead me to accomplish great things. But the downside is, it can also lead to dozens of promising starts that end in frustrated fizzles. Another book not finished. Another commission sitting in the queue for months. Another day gone by without finding a new coaching client.

My go-to here would be to rail against the tyranny of time, which is one of my favorite enemies. I get into the zone and focus on a thing, something I'd like to accomplish in a few hours or a day's work, and three weeks pass. It's very, very, VERY annoying.

But it's also the world that is, so what good does railing against it do? None. I have to find a way to work with reality instead of against it.

So that's what I'm focusing on today, starting with this journal entry. I want to get back to daily writing and/or journaling, because that is something that always helps keep me both focused and happy. To that end, I've hopped back onto 4theWords.com to gamify it. Lady Rowyn and Inkblitz used to be my pals there, and I don't know if either of them are still on it, but it was fun having writing buddies. I'm also looking for ways to "clear my decks" because I feel like I'm spread too thin. I've barely touched my Twitterponies in a long time, and I feel guilty about that. I've got outstanding commissions, and I feel guilty about that. I've got rewards promised to Patreon subscribers, and I'm always worried about making sure those get done in time– it feels like it's always the last week of the month and everything's due.

(Speaking of which: it's the last week of the month, and everything's due.)

Finally, I will cultivate my daily meditation habit to help calm my yakkity-sax mind. I used to meditate a lot more often, while riding in the car, or on a break at work, or whatever, but somewhere along the line I fell out of it. Probably stress is a factor– the stress of current events, of being worried about money, and ironically the stress of mental noise itself that meditation is the treatment for. It's kind of an insidious trap that the problem itself is the major impediment to the treatment of the problem. XD

So, yeah. Consider this entry #1 of my new daily journaling habit. XD And I've hit about 600 words here, not bad! ;) I have in mind to write a followup to my D&D blog from the other day about wandering monsters, too, but that might wait until tomorrow.

-TG
the_gneech: (Default)
Starting Weight (May 30, 2018): 305
Goal: 222 by April 26
Current: 281 (21 weeks)
Weekly Target Rate: 2 lbs
Weekly Average: 1.1 lbs
Starting Waistline (Sep 18, 2018): 46"
Current: 45" (5 weeks)
Goal: 32" by April 26
Weekly Target Rate: 0.45"
Weekly Average: 0.2"
BP: 121/79

Meh! I blame autumn, making me want all the comfort foods. :P Sleep hasn't been great either. Gonna fix it.

-TG

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