Friday, July 4, 2014

D&D Next

Hal from opens the D&D next starter set.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Hythum for 4th Edition D&D

I wanted to share a 4th edition D&D adventure I wrote between 2009 and 2010.   It's called, "Hythum", the name of the world where the story takes place.   It started out as a Neverwinter Nights 1 module, then I tried to convert it to Neverwinter Nights 2.  The project was too large and complicated, with my kids growing I couldn't finish it.  4th edition D&D came out and although I don't really have the time or opportunity to play right now, I wanted to read about it and learn it.  I decided to write it as a 4th edition pen and paper module.  

It's quite large, about 400 pages if I recall correctly.   It should take a group of 4 or 5 brand new 1st level characters to 10th level.   

Hythum can be downloaded from    The module is in PDF and word format.  There is spreadsheet with notes about XP that should be earned per chapter.  I've also uploaded all of the raw maps.  The maps are embedded in the module and aren't needed separately unless someone wants them.  Perhaps to print a large scale copy more easily, or to share them using an online gaming program.

If you check it out, let me know what you think.  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Very funny t-shirt on woot today.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My son and I read "A Wrinkle In Time" by Madeline L'Engle for his school book report. I read the story when I was a little older than him and recall really enjoying it, although I could not remember much. I enjoyed it all over again. It was a bit advanced for my nine year son but he did well and wound up with an A+ on his book report. Today I stumbled on a TV\direct to video release of "A Wrinkle In Time" by Disney on netflix. It's not great, but considering it was a direct to video style production, it was quite enjoyable and a nice way to finish the experience with the book, particularly for my son.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tom Clancy - Dead or Alive

My father in law loaned me 'Dead or Alive' one of Tom Clancy's latest books. I've always been a fan of the Jack Ryan series of Clancy novels, but I stopped reading them after 'Bear and the Dragon', when Clancy switched from Jack Ryan to Jack Ryan Jr. I have to say how pleasantly surprised by 'Dead or Alive' It's well written (which is no surprise for a Clancy novel), exciting and relevant for the current time period, as opposed to his early books like, "The Hunt for Red October". All of the old characters I remember are there, just as vivid as ever. It feels very much as if I am revisiting an old friend. I have about 200 pages to go, and I've borrowed 'Teeth of the Tiger', the first Jack Ryan Jr book which I skipped. In December the Next Jack Ryan book is coming out. I am eagerly looking forward to it.

Mass Effect 1 and 2

During the summer a good friend of mine picked up Mass Effect 1 and 2 for me. They were both fantastic games. They had a very cinematic feel and were better than most other computer RPGs I have played. In most computer RPGs the combat system seems to evolve into a pause, heal, pause, use power, pause heal kind of pattern. It become pretty dull. In both Mass Effect 1 and 2 that wasn't necessary, although you can and do need to pause. It really felt like it found a nice line between a 3rd person shooter and an RPG combat system. I would highly recommend both games to anyone. They can be purchased online through Steam. I can't wait for Mass Effect 3 next Spring.

Friday, July 1, 2011


I purchase two roku units in early June and cut way back on cable service. We had two DVRs and a pretty extensive lineup of channels through Comcast. Now we have one DVR and the economy plan. We subscribed to Netflix steaming service and hulu plus, for a total cost of $17 per month. After recouping the cost of the roku, which are $75 each, we’ll be saving a lot of money.

The Roku with Netflix and hulu plus has really changed the way we watch television. We only kept cable to watch particular shows that are not (yet) available through Netflix and Hulu. Other than the shows we record on the DVR, we never watch cable. It’s all on demand viewing via Netflix and Hulu. I don’t think our kids have watched any television through cable since the switch.

The savings and selection are nice, but there is a downside. First and foremost, there are almost no live sports through the Roku. You can watch live baseball for a fee, but I only watch Big 10 football. I will sorely miss that.

The biggest problem impacts some television models and Roku has been trying to resolve it for 4 years+ Sometimes when switching to the Roku you will only see a green screen. This only occurs if you are using an HDMI cable with specific television sets. I want to use the HDMI cable to get a 1080 picture when it’s available. There are a variety of ways to work around this problem. You can restart the Roku but this takes 3 minutes. You can reseat the HDMI cable but this is hard on the cable and I’ve read you can damage the cable or the HDMI port on your Roku or TV. Reseating the cable every time you want to watch TV is a real drag. I have found if I switch from a HD signal off another HDMI device to the Roku it’s fine 100% of the time. If I switch from a standard def signal or a device using component cables, it produces the green screen 100% of the time.

I’ve read you can set your Roku to 720p max or use component cables, but I really want that 1080p picture when it’s available, so I haven’t tested these methods.

Roku forums and support have been pretty good. I had trouble setting up one of the two units I purchased and their support staff did an excellent job resolving the issue. Information on the green screen issue has been inconsistent and unclear.

Now that I have a way to make my roku work 100% of the time, I’m quite happy with the purchase. It’s a nice addition and has really changed how my family watches TV.