30 November, 2023

 It has been a while since I posted here, and I now firmly intend to correct that. I have many things tell about the AD&D 2e game that I ran from 89 to 97. It took place on an imagined southern-hemisphere continent of Middle Earth. But until then, I have something serious that I have to share.

For those of you who might not know, we are Michael and Marta Moscrip. Marta is a special education para pro, working to help children with special needs in our school district succeed in school. I am a writer, focusing mostly on game materials and short stories.

My mom lived happily with us for over a year and a half. Her passing at the end of July threw us into turmoil and devastated our finances due to her lack of life insurance.

Several months ago I applied for disability due to my fibromyalgia. They contacted me recently, and the application is progressing well, but will take a little longer. However we are now two months behind on our rent and our landlord will wait no longer. We hope to be stable again within the next couple of months, but until then we are reaching out to you to help us.

It is not easy asking for help like this, but we have no choice. I pray that it will not change your opinion of who we are. We have loved living in our house. It has been our home. It is where our children grew up. We deeply appreciate any help that you can give. It means everything to us. We love you all.


You can enter any amount by clicking on the box.

14 July, 2021

Oakfell Vale Out Now

My long-awaited adventure for old-school D&D and NGR is available now at DriveThru RPG. Here is the link!
Available Here
 Oakfell Vale is a secluded, heavily forested little valley watched over by a temple of druids. Except they don't really watch over it anymore. They have become complacent over the years, and loathe to interfere in the natural life of the vale. Unfortunately, there has been something growing in the vale, a terrible corruption, which is anything but natural. It is up to the players, if they choose to do so, to fire up the druids and do something to stem the tide of corruption before it's too late.

Many thanks to Zzarchov Kowalski for publishing this, and to Chris Huth and Kelvin Green for the art. Also, a big thank you to Dyson Logos for the great work he did with my maps!

04 May, 2021

by Andrew Domachowski
 I am currently putting the finishing touches on a cyberpunk novella. The protagonist was inspired by the painting to the right. In discussing the character in the story, my wife suggested I think about why it was important for her to be a black Hispanic woman. There is nothing in the plot of the novella which absolutely requires her to be black, or Hispanic, or even a woman, but I think it is this very fact that makes it important that she is.

A few years ago, on Martin Luther King Day, I wrote a short piece about an episode of the original series of Star Trek, The Ultimate Computer, episode 24 of season 2, from 1968. I think it goes a little way toward explaining what I mean by that, and I've reprinted it below.

I watched this episode again today. I watched it specifically because it was today. Mainly, this story is about limiting the extent of computer automation, and how taking risks to achieve things is a vital part of humanity. But beyond that, this episode has something perhaps less obvious to say.

At no point, during the entire episode, is any mention or reference made to the fact that Doctor Daystrom is a black man. He is the most brilliant computer scientist of his time, an unparalleled genius. He is also deeply troubled by his own legacy. He is eventually driven past his breaking point by the events of the story. But all these things are the triumphs and failures, the accolades and problems, of a scientific genius, not of 'a black man'. This character could have been played by any actor. He was played, wonderfully and passionately, by William Marshal. But the colour of his skin made no difference, in any way. He was a scientist. He was a person.

I give great credit to my parents, and to the other family surrounding me in my childhood, that I saw nothing out of the ordinary about this fact. To me, all people looked different. All individuals were unique, and yet all people were the same. We are all people. Differences in culture, language, appearance; all these were fascinating things to be learned about and appreciated. Only later, as I learned about history, and saw in the news the strange and unreasonable ways in which some people regarded such things as skin colour, did I realise how powerful the subtext of this episode was.

30 November, 2019

Dark Crystal TV Show

Edit: I have changed my mind drastically about this show. I plan on writing a follow-up sometime soon, but after watching the rest of episode 1, I watched the remainder of the series in 1 day. I found it to be excellent.

I tried watching the Dark Crystal tv series. I made it about 25% through the 1st ep. and shut it off. I was surprised to then see huge amounts of critical praise for it .

- The whole background of the world is changed. I suppose it's possible that some kind of 'reveal' would have the tv show background turn out to be some kind of ruse by the skeksis, but I doubt it. The revised history of who the skeksis are is not nearly as interesting, and is just dumb, right off the top. "They're from space!" takes a high concept and turns it into a cheap low-ball.

- The population of the gelflings is segregated into a cheesy 'X number of cities, each with it's own bluntly simplistic character' system, like a video game or a 2000s YA novel. Another hack device.

- One of the last scenes I watched was a fly-through shot of some kind of library or scriptorium. A great deal of screen time was lavished on this space that felt like the set decorators got started on it, but didn't have time to finish. Comparing it with similar classic Henson spaces, it feels positively empty. There was also no point to the very long fly-through, except showing off the created space. This felt very unlike classic Henson and the Dark Crystal, where the awesome environments were there in support of what was going on, rather than being the point in themselves.

- The very last scene I watched was this same sort of thing again. Scene of characters talking about leaving one location and why they were going to a different location. Extended shot of them leaving, showing off creature movement, but nothing else going on. Same, from another angle. Same, from another angle. Same, from another angle. I get you worked really hard on these things, but that does not mean you give them screen time compared to how much time you spent making them. You give them screen time appropriate to the story and what you're getting across. A fail.

17 June, 2019

Gellarde Barrow

The legends of the mountain-folk are calling. My first small dungeon adventure is up now on Drive Thru RPG. The monsters are statted up for NGR, but they are easily statted for any old school dnd-style game just by interpreting the descriptions. It's pay-what-you-want, so please give it a read! If you like it, you can always go back and buy a copy as well.

Find it here: Gellarde Barrow at DriveThruRPG

24 April, 2019

What Playing 5th Edition D&D Feels Like To Me

[I specify "to me", because I am not you, so I don't know how it feels to you. It clearly feels pretty good to quite a few people. If it feels great to you, that's awesome. I'm not attacking you, or trying to change your mind.]

[Also, below, "5e" is not in any way a DM. It is the rules system, nothing else. "Me" is myself as a player or DM, either one.]

I need to go through a door into a room where I need to solve a problem. There is a box outside the door with 68 specialised tools all jumbled together. I can take one into the room with me. I rummage through the box and pick a screwdriver, thinking "this seems versatile".

5e: "That's not 'versatile'. That tool is for driving quarter inch flathead screws, little mister, and that's all!"

Me: "Uh.. ok?"

I go in the room, and there are two boards partially nailed together. I need to either finish nailing them together, or separate them. I flip the screwdriver around and start hammering the nail with the handle.

5e: "Whoa down there, tiger! As stated earlier, that's a screwdriver, not a hammer. You need to turn that back around and hold it by the handle."

I turn the screwdriver back around, and start using it to pry the two boards apart.

5e: "Hey now! No can do, MacGuyver. That screwdriver is for driving screws. I mean, it's right there in the name, see? You had plenty of opportunity on the other side of the door to pick a hammer or a crowbar, but you chose the screwdriver."

I try to put the screwdriver through my head. It does not work, because my head is not a screw.

Me: "Screw you, 5e."