Goodman Games has finally released the 5E update for the iconic first two AD&D modules, B1 In Search of the Unknown and B2 Keep on the Borderlands.  And it is a hefty tome!

It’s so thick!¬† The book has every version of the two original modules, plus a somewhat expanded rework for 5E.

The best part of the book is the interview with Mike Carr.  He wrote the first module, and the interview with him about the formative years of TSR is fascinating.  It was a chaotic but brilliant company, with bad business decision making surrounded by innovative creativity and passion.    Mike Carr played the very first cleric ever.  wow!  What a thing.

I had the B1 module in my red box, In Search of the Unknown, back in the early 80’s.¬† I never actually played The Keep on the Borderlands.¬† Of the two, I think I prefer the second one, but they are both so iconic.

As almost historical documents, I do enjoy reading through both of them.

In Search of the Unknown does have a very famous element, the room of pools.  Put into the perspective of time, it is a wonderfully fresh idea, and really quite an amazing room to explore.  It provides a great opportunity for risk and reward.

The art in the original module, as in much of AD&D, is brilliant.  Here is an illustration of the pool room.  I think the art in AD&D is a critical part of what made it successful.

They updated the art for the room for the 5E rework.¬† Here it is below.¬† It’s fine…it’s even good.¬†¬† However I find the art in the original to still be fresh and brilliant.

They worked very hard on this book, and it feels complete.

I will probably get all of these, as they come out.¬† However, part of me doesn’t really see the need for it.¬† While the backstory of the modules is a delight, the rest seems, really, quite unnecessary.¬† If I were to run this today, I would probably just use the original modules.¬† I still have them, and they are actually pretty easy to get.

I’m surprised there is a market for this.¬† It seems like this book is really only for people in their 40s and 50s that played this game back in the 70s and 80s.¬† Seems like a small group.


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I did another Geocache and have noticed a trend that I’m not so sure I dig.

There are many that are just stuck underneath the cover of parking lot lights.  Seems mundane and boring.

I am still formulating my opinion on this.¬† Obviously, I can just ignore them.¬†¬† Yet when I try to do other ones, which are not simple park and grab, I feel like I’m suspicious.

And in the above picture, I AM being suspicious.¬† What the hell!¬† This poor slob is out there minding his own business. Unfortunately, he’s right by a cache.¬† So I have to wait for him, in my car, watching him, and even taking his picture!¬† That’s not right.


Inside the cache is some rubbish.¬† Maybe I’m missing something.¬† Who would want a dirty eraser thing, a paperclip, or 12 cents?¬† I never really want anything from these things, and just sign the log that nobody cares about.

So I had a bad experience.  Maybe Pokemon Go, Ingress, or the forthcoming Harry Potter thing are more to what I should be doing.

On the other hand, I do like the physicality of things.  Many times I have loved and enjoyed geocaching, so I will do a little more exploring on the state of it in 2018.

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Well I’ve had this blog for almost two years.¬† I am using it much less than I thought I would.¬† But, it’s still here.

I put most of my stuff up on Instagram.¬† It’s very easy; thoughts and postings are so disposable.¬† They may only exist for a moment or two before disappearing into the flood of content that is the Internet.¬† Instagram a good fit for this type of consumption.

I’ve been watching some of the Overwatch tournament.¬† Blizzard is pushing it hard.¬† Houston even has a team!¬† I doubt any of the players have actually been to Houston, but that’s ok.¬† Our team is called the Houston Outlaws.¬† The logo is pretty cool, and I think the Overwatch Esports push is pretty fun.¬† I hope it makes it.¬† I’m skeptical.¬† Maybe I should buy a shirt before the Outlaws go away.¬†¬† I do like the logo.

Heroes of the Storm seems to be about 1/10th the size of Overwatch, but I’m much better at it.¬† I’m diamond in Heroes.¬† I get it, even if I’m getting slower and slower.¬† Sometimes I can’t dodge the Q.¬† They also have a tournament going.¬† There was a team called the Old Gods, and I liked the name so I decided they would be my team.¬† However, they got picked up by a sponsor and now have the company name instead of their own.¬† And then they lost.¬† I don’t have a team to follow at the moment.

I’m the only person I know that is watching any of these.¬†¬† That doesn’t bode well.

In other news I did a couple more geocaches.¬† Sadly, some of these caches make me feel like I’m behaving suspiciously.¬† I like the physicality of of it over, say, Ingress or Pokemon Go, but those latter two seek and find endeavors are not very suspicious.¬† I’m looking forward to the Harry Potter one.

Disc golf is still really fun, although we need one or two more people.   We pretty much have a game every Sunday.

My Wednesday group is now playing on Sundays.  And my weekend group is now playing on Thursdays.

I’m loving reading the Stormlight Archive.¬† I read a bit each day, and it’s just wonderful.

Patti and I went on one date, but we need another for the month.  Need to get in 26 dates this year.  She wants to see The Post which is fine with me.

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We used to do a bit of geocaching back in 2005 Р2007.  It was a good thing for us to do with the kids that got us out of the house.  It helped us explore the area.  Back then it was a little more difficult, there were no smart phones.  I had to connect my Garmin GPS to my computer with a serial connection and input the destination, then I printed out the cache information and off we went.  It was a bit of a process.  Here is a picture, taken on March 12, 2005 with Paige and Jonah opening a discovered cache.

It was really fun.  Anyway as with all things we moved on.

I stumbled on the website again, and surprisingly all my login information worked.  Looking at my profile, we did 42 caches.  Seems like so many more were done.

I downloaded the app and it’s now amazingly easy to do these things.¬†¬† First, the app shows you where the cache is.¬† No more arrow and distance estimates in real time, you pretty much know where the thing is.

In this case it took me to a light pole, and I knew somehow it was connected to that pole.

I lifted up the square base and the cache was just laying there.¬† Easy.¬† I’ll need to do one that is more difficult and see where the challenge is.¬† I think this one would have been easy even in the old days.¬† The cleverly hidden ones were the most fun.

The cache itself is like they were, a log to sign and sometimes a trinket or two to take, if you have something to leave in it’s place.

I like dice, maybe I’ll take a handful of dice with me and put them in a cache or two.

It was fun to do this and another cache right by my house, maybe I will dip my toe in a little more and see if it’s something good.

I had forgotten about geocaching.  These days, this has been somewhat replaced by Pokemon and Ingress, and I wonder if the real physicality of it will be fun.

The problem is that there are no caches at places like the zoo.  And, boy do you look suspicious driving out to the corner of a parking lot and messing with a light pole!  Or maybe that is part of the appeal.

Browsing through the caches I did at that time, and the names of the people who were active locally, all but one that I can see have pretty much dropped it as a hobby.  There was a local website which is still up as of this posting but is not being renewed, and will vanish soon.

People come, and people go.

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Already going to post another bit about the Way of Kings.

My #1 New Years Resolution for 2018 is to read the Way of Kings.

I’m on the 4th day of 2018 and I have almost completed this task!¬† I started on November 23, which is obviously in 2017.¬† So I have cheated a little.¬† By the time I will be done, it will have taken about a month and a half.¬† It is a thick book!

One struggle I have is the bad habit of only reading in bed before going to sleep, as I mentioned in my previous post about this issue.  I have been trying to break this limitation with some success.  I can carry the book with me anywhere since I am using the Kindle app on my phone when I do not actually have my Kindle with me.  So I am trying to have a bit of a read when I have some downtime as opposed to wasting that same time checking social media.

I backed the Black Piper Kickstarter album Kaladin, and it’s just really surprisingly good.

I have not been listening to the Graphic Audio version of the book.

What I lack is someone to talk to about this book, although I do have one friend who has read it.¬† That helps, but he read it a while ago; I’m behind.

I wish I was in a book club, I have always wanted to be in one.


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2017 had some nice little things happen that I am pretty happy about.  Here is a list:

Polyphenol  Рstarted taking antioxidants and my skin feels so much better.  New agey pills have always seemed stupid to me but no question of results.
Tree trim Рbest purchase of the year.  Trees look great and easy to mow and drive under
Shelves in garage – been wanting to do this for years, purged the old crappy b&n shelves and put good ones up at high cost.
Attic purge Рthrew or donated so many items.  Attic is clean now, very little left
Ugly chairs / table outside garage sale – I love the outside table set and the ugly chairs.
Pulled tree in back yard – was going to be an issue in 20 years.
Waterpic Рwow oh wow!  Teeth feel so clean after using this each night!
Power washer – need to have one of these to maintain house.
2 monitor computer – I will never go back!

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The Kingdom Death: Monster boardgame burst onto the gaming scene in 2013.  The second Kickstarter, which took in $12 million, finally ended the availability problem.  One of my friends was able to get a copy last month and we have given it a pretty good look.

It is a heavy, and it’s all the rage, but there is also a curious backlash against it.¬† The gaming elite sometimes push against it, but mostly ignore it, so it’s not included in the mainstream discussion.

However those who do play it are quite passionate.  There is a good bit of content if you choose to find it, although by the games very nature you may not want to do that as a key part of the game is surprise and figuring out how to overcome the challenges.

We’ve played 3 or 4 times and I get the appeal of the game, even if we are poor players.

It’s a survival crafting game.¬†¬†¬† Here is the official description:¬† ‘Cooperative board game set in a nightmare-horror world. Fight for your life, scavenge, craft, and band together to survive. ‘

You start out with nothing; and have to fight always more difficult creatures using materials gathered from the previous kills to craft ever better items.

I think part of the push against it is the raw horrible nature of the game and it’s graphic presentation.¬† I suppose some would even find it offensive.

I just really enjoy it.¬† Our settlement is almost wiped out, however, and we can’t seem to figure out how to succeed.¬† We’ve lost over half of our population, and it’s only year 4.

If I were to have a complaint, it would be that the game is slightly too luck driven.¬† Even the most brilliant strategy can fail with a bad draw or roll.¬† A series of bad draws and rolls can lead to an eventual, inevitable wipe.¬†¬† It’s not fair at all, and is realistic in that way, I suppose.¬† Perhaps later luck plays less of a role, but for us, bad luck has been devastating.

The best part of the game is the AI system.¬† The actions of the creatures are determined by a sort of programming deck that is created, and it’s pretty varied and interesting.¬† So the more you play, the more you can predict what the creature might do, and then you can out think it, which is actually like life, where experience counts so much.

Overall I find the game to be a refreshing change, although I am thinking frustration will lead us to move on before too long.


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Brandon Sanderson is my favorite author.

I have read a bunch of his stuff.  However, the Stormlight Archive has been out of reach for me.

Three or four times I have started reading the first book, The Way of Kings.  Each time I puttered out, overwhelmed, frankly, with the huge number of people, places, and pages.

It’s just a very intimidating book.¬† It’s 1000 pages or so, the first of 10 novels.¬† 10!¬† This is his magna opus, a task requiring 20 years, and I want in.

So my first New Year’s resolution (I love New Year’s resolutions!!) is to read this first book.¬† And I started early.¬† As of this writing, I’m 19% through.

I’m doing a few things differently this time.

First, I am reading the summary of each chapter after I finish them.  I do this each morning.  This is really helping me!  All the important names are in this summary, and finally, after a couple hundred pages, the names are starting to repeat.

Second, I have a three copies of the map, above, printed out and set where I do most of my reading.  When a location is announced, such as the Shattered Plains, I find it on the map.  This is also really helping me!  I ordered a poster sized map, and will be hanging it up on the wall.

Third, I am determined to break the habit of only reading right before bed.¬† I need to read throughout the day.¬† The chapter lengths are very good for me; each one is 20ish minutes or so, that’s about my current attention span.

Fourth, I have the Graphic Audio version of the first part of the first book.¬† It was expensive.¬† I love these guys and try to get them money so that they do not go away.¬† But they make it hard.¬† 5 parts for the first book!¬† So expensive.¬† $149 for the first two books.¬† On the other hand, that’s 74 hours of content!¬† WOW!¬† I might do it.¬† I have listened to the Mistborn books this way a few times, I just really enjoy them.¬† If they put them on sale, I will probably do it.

So far, I am really enjoying the book, and when a name comes up that I don’t remember, I stop reading and go look it up.¬† I’m not going to get lost in this book this time.¬† Fortunately, the fan base for this series is massive, and the content about it is astonishing.¬† There is no issue finding out anything about the book that I am confused about.¬† Sometimes this can lead to a spoiler, but for me it’s a necessary evil as the alternative is I will get lost and then put the book down.¬† Not this time!

I’m pretty excited about this first New Year’s resolution.

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It’s been a good year for us.¬† There is much to be thankful for:

  1.  My parents coming for Thanksgiving.
  2. A good, well paying job with excellent benefits, great co-workers and a good manager.
  3. A nice house
  4. Wonderful family life.  Our last full year with Paige before she heads off to college.  Big changes coming, today I need to just enjoy while all four of us are here.
  5. Plentiful friends.
  6. We are all healthy and happy

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I live in Pasadena, TX, and the Texas Renaissance Festival is a couple of hours away.   We usually go once per year, although sometimes twice.

We like to make it into an event.  This year we stayed at La Torretta resort, which is close to the Faire.

We arrived on Friday night and I was impressed with the resort.

Here we are at the dinner place, which was ok but overpriced.  The weaked part of the resort.

Draco recorded a bunch of stuff, I wonder if we will ever see the footage.  Here he is threatening me with his camcorder.  I like this guy.

Gandalf inquired and we found out there is a fantastic room which we essentially hijacked for ourselves.  Boy it was perfect.

A fun game called Elixir.  We played games until past midnight on Friday, it was really wonderful.

The next day we actually went to the faire.¬† We’ve been so many times, nobody cares about actually seeing anything, it’s about hanging out.¬† Here we are about to throw some axes.

A shot of Patti and me.¬† It’s blurry, but the only one we got of us.

A toast to friendship with some hot mold wine.

Knife game.

A very good Gandalf the white!


A cool new dragon, I don’t remember seeing this before.¬† It was cool.

I was able to get my axe in a star!  Nice.

Saturday night was more games, I got to play Xwing with Alex, and it was very fun.  He beat me pretty bad.  Was fun, my IG-88s will be back.

Sunday morning we played some disc golf.  It was a perfect course.  So nice, it was cool and just was so much fun.

Overall it was one of those weekends that will be remembered forever.¬† It was so great.¬† I’m very lucky to have friends such as these.¬† We’ve traveled with them before with great success, and maybe a Star Wars Disney 2020 trip is a good thing to plan with them.


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