Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Shadowrun Rat's Nest: I hate Fridays

The conclusion to the whole Russian mob affair is up at Neil's blog.

That played out a bit differently than expected. Last time, we we're busy making all kinds of plans to free Neil. I wouldn't have been surprised if things had gotten very ugly with some of those plans and I know that the Russians would have been after us in any case.

Rivet's player decided that he would surrender, agreeing on paying off the mob with an insane amount of money in monthly installments or working for them if he cannot make the monthly payment. I don't know, but I have a bad feeling about this.

So the rest of the scene was played out as play by email. I liked the talk between Dimitrij the guard and Neil about literature. Once again, I've met a great NPC with a lot of potential, not just some stupid grunt. And considering that we may have further dealings with the Russians, it's not a bad idea to have some sort of connection there, even if it's a slightly weird one.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Just a quick one. If you think you can quickly and quietly poison someone with arsenic, head over to The Chirurgeon's Apprentice for a good description of how people actually die from it. It's extremely unpleasant and nothing like the undetectable weapon of choice we often think it is. Even small doses ofter a long period of time will cause symptoms, although not as violently as an acute poisoning.

And all thoughts about murder aside, The Chirurgeon's Apprentice is a great blog for anyone interested in history and medicine. It also makes you really, really happy to live today and not, say, 150 years ago.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Strange Beasts: A List

Bobbit Worm

Cave Glowworms


Honeypot Ants

Net Casting Spiders

Ogre-faced Spider

Tiger Beetle larvae

Whip Spiders

Strange Beasts: Whips

While exploring a wooded area or a tropical forest, one adventurer strays a bit from the party. He stumbles over a thick creeper or root, curses and curses even louder when the creeper begins to move, feeling around for him. The next thing he knows, a creature with way too many legs is running towards him, keeping low to the ground and doing its best to cut him in half with a set of powerful, spiked pincers.

Whip spiders, also known as tailless whip scorpions are harmless for humans in the natural size, but for unsuspecting insects they are deadly. Those whips are much longer than the actual animal, up to 30cm with some species, with a body size of only 5cm, and they are used to feel for prey. Whip spiders don't have very good eyesight, but when their whips have touched an insect, they are amazingly fast and will be on top of their prey in the blink of an eye.

Let's assume a roughly Rottweiler-sized whip spider, with a body length of 100 cm or so. That makes the whips about 6 metres long and will allow the whip spider to hide in some foliage or on the ground. They don't raise their body much, so forget about hitting their less armoured underside (which isn't all that weak anyway). Those pincers (pedipalps, actually) are strong and can be moved about as fast as those of a mantis. The small eyes on top of the head may be a weak spot and if the player actually dares and manages to jump on the whip spider's back, he would be safe from the pincers, but not from the whips. Whip spiders do not posses any venom.


The photo shows a whip spider of the species Damon variegatus that I kept as a pet a few years ago. Here's some more info on them and some photos, along with scorpions and vinegaroons, on This thread at has even more photos.

Despite their name, whip spiders are not spiders and neither are they scorpions. They are arachnids and form an order of their own. Some species live in caves. Usually, they are nocturnal, but that doesn't stop them from going after prey during the day if it comes to them.

Strange Beasts List

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Being a Librarian

Here's a piece on what people don't get about being a librarian. I can relate to every single statement there, especially the last one. Allow me to quote something I sometimes want to tattoo on the forehead of people who decide about library funds:
My job cannot be done effectively by volunteers...

So true.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Shadowrun Rat's Nest: Sidelined

We played the Rat's Nest campaign yesterday, with a full set of players (plus a new one). Neil is going to write about over on his blog when he can, right now he's not in a position to because he's being held hostage by the Russian mob. Much of the session was taken up by bringing all the characters together and planning Neil's rescue. We'll get around to the actual execution of the plan next time. Um, execution...I may regret using that particular word.

So I had not much to do this evening but clutch my head and go "aaaargh, I'm going to die"whenever someone mentioned stuff like blowing the place up or going in guns blazing. I still had fun. Mike of Really Bad Eggs has written a piece on strong NPCs and player characters getting sidelined for an evening. You should go and read it.

I knew that I wouldn't have much opportunity to act and I didn't mind at all. My character has had many great moments in this campaign and equally important, he's in this uncomfortable position because of decisions I made. If I get sidelined by a GM because he wants to force a point or just because it's easier for him, with no good reason, I'd be less accepting and vocal about it, you can be sure of that. But if it happens like this, with a reason and with the promise of a good story, it's perfectly fine. My GMs can get away with pretty much anything when I know that a good story and character development will come from it, and I don't mean development as in XPs. Those are nice, but I'd rather have more background, more NPCs to interact with and changes in how my character reacts to the world. I'm getting plenty of that here.

I also got to watch a great movie. Whenever I watch others roleplay, my imaginations turns it into a movie and this one featured a half-naked ork walking into a bar and demanding clothes, motorcycle and sunglasses from some random ork ganger. I mean, what's not to like.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Iron Lady

We went to see "Iron Lady" yesterday and man, I know why Meryl Streep got the Oscar. Don't expect a history lesson, this is not a movie you can watch to polish up your grade in history. But as a psychological study of an exceptional woman it's excellent and whatever you may think of her, Thatcher was exceptional.

The main reason why I wanted to see that movie was Jim Broadbent, though, who plays her husband Denis Thatcher. I've been a fan of his ever since The Crying Game and Life is Sweet. I can almost guarantee that you know him if you like movies. He's Horace Slughorn in the Harry Potter movies, he was Boss Tweed in Gangs of New York and, my personal favourite, the Duke of Buckingham in Ian McKellen's brilliant version of Richard III.

I always find it amazing how the man can go from amiable and good-natured to ruthless and threatening in the blink of an eye. I feel he's absolutely underrated and for me, he's always a reason to go see a movie. Keep an eye out for him and tell me I'm wrong.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Strange Beasts: Honeypot

I've been thinking about writing a series on all those wonderful, strange invertebrates out there that would fit so nicely into roleplaying as creatures for the players to run into, with maybe a little change in size. Porky finally gave the idea the push it needed. I won't stat them up because I want to keep it open for all systems, just some descriptions and maybe some story seeds. So here goes:

The adventurers are exploring a huge underground cave system. There's a sweet smell in the air, not unpleasant. Some searching leads them to a huge, echoing chamber filled with enormous translucent globes. In the light of the party's torches, the globes shimmer in a gentle, amber light and are quite beautiful. Most hang out of reach, but some are closer to the ground. They are smooth and warm to the touch. When a curious member of the party runs her hand down the curved surface towards the bottom, the globe secretes a liquid and now it's clear where the smell is coming from. If anyone is brave enough to taste it: it tastes very sweet, delicious actually.
A closer look towards the ceiling will reveal that the globes have ... legs? And a head and oh shit, there are giant ants coming towards them from the other end of the chamber.

The party has stumbled upon a larder of Honeypot Ants. They store food inside their body and a fully gorged honeypot ant is no longer able to move. It just hangs from the ceiling and waits for other workers to tickle it. Then it will regurgitate food, holding a droplet between its mandibles for the other ant to eat. I took the liberty of changing that details for the story seed.

Honeypot ants can belong to a number of species from all over the world, for example Australia or the southwestern US. They are fairly common and numerous and some of you may already have encountered them without realising it.

You will find good photos of honeypot ant chambers here, they actually look rather beautiful in the right light. Here's an essay on them with more good photos.

A clip from David Attenborough's series Life in the Undergrowth. I highly recommend the whole series, it's brilliant and will take you to many strange places.

Strange Beasts List

Shadowrun Rat's Nest: Ghouls

More stuff from the play by mail over at my shadowdoc's blog.

I needed to get rid of a body and I was quite sure that Neil had figured out a solution for that problem before, this was not the first time he had, um, taken care of a body that was just left outside some hospital by accident.

So I asked the GM if Neil knew any ghouls. Some creative writing later Neil did indeed know a ghoul, he even considers that ghoul a friend and Neil had also suddenly some things in his past he needs to keep hidden. Very cool. All it took were about three paragraphs to create a believable NPC with a great story and more story for my character.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Wild Ride

In case you ever wondered how it would be to go to space and back strapped to the Space Shuttle's rocket booster. Turn up the volume, switch to full screen and good luck with keeping yourself orientated. I'm feeling a bit queasy after watching it two times in a row.

via Bad Astronomy

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cthulhu Gaslight: Best Served Cold

Dramatis personae:
Daffyd (Dai) Iffans, retired soldier of the British Indian Army (Rifle Brigade), now part-time writer for a Socialist newspaper, with an interest in the East End
Catherine (Cat) Kincaid, journalist and daughter of a well-known scientist

The place: London
The time: April 1890
Part 1

Cat notices that her cab is going in the wrong direction and at high speed at that. When the driver doesn't stop (and apart from that is also not the driver she hailed), she starts whacking him with her umbrella. The man brings the cab to a sudden stop and Cat is thrown from her seat, right at the feet of two other men. All thoughts of flight are squashed by the fact that the cab has stopped in a dark courtyard, with the men blocking the exit.

Cat is told by a well-dressed gentleman that she has the choice of either being his guest or his prisoner. He makes it very clear that he couldn't care less whether she lives or dies as long as she serves her purpose as bait for Dai. So she chooses to accompany the men on her own volition and is brought to some store room and tied to a chair. The driver, his name is Ed, and another man stay behind to guard her, the gentleman leaves.

click for adventure

Dai climbs down from the roof and returns to his flat to pack some things together. When he picks up the silver bullet, he notices that it's lighter than before, that there's something inside and he also find a symbol etched into the bottom, a pentagram with an eye in the middle. He manages to break the bullet open and some fiddling produces a small roll of parchment, with writing he cannot read on one side and a diagram on the other. The symbol on the bullet has vanished.

Before Dai has time to really think about this, the doorbell rings and he is delivered a letter by a messenger boy who describes Ambrose Grant, the brother of the man Dai shot. The letter tells him that he is expected to appear at the Savile Club tonight with the parchment and that he can exchange it for Cat then. He leaves his flat via the roof again, climbs down to ground level a few blocks away and take a cab to Cat's house where he's told by her housemaid that Cat is indeed missing.

Cat has been trying to loosen her bonds, but with no success. The men guarding her are not letting her out of their sight, not even when she asks to be allowed to relieve herself. She's offered a bucket and turned backs and she declines. Ed, who is considerable more intelligent that he appears, tells her that it's nothing personal, that he's only in it for the money, just like she's working for a living as a reporter. Cat offers to buy them off, but cannot match the price Ambrose is paying them. As the hours pass, she finally manages to free herself, but keeps still, she knows she doesn't have a chance against the two men.

Dai pays the British Museum a visit and finds someone who can read the parchment. The writing is Aramaic and it means "only he who acts will be successful". He's also told that the scribbles on the back might be a circuit diagram, but with added occult symbols, one of them the Eye of Providence.

On his way to the club he takes a detour to the Dravot's Head and asks Tom, the owner and a personal friend of both Dai and Cat, to stash the parchment for him. He arrives at the club at the arranged time and is met by Ambrose, who tells him that nothing could be further from his thoughts than revenge, he considers his brother Malcolm a fool. He just wants to get his hands on the parchment. When Dai tells him that he doesn't have it with him, Ambrose is not pleased, but agrees to collect the parchment when they have Cat with them.

The storeroom turns out to be directly under the club. Dai is relieved to find Cat unhurt, but he's careful not to show any feelings to Ambrose, not his relieve and certainly not his rage at being used and seeing Cat used like that. They leave and make their way to the Dravot's Head, Ed and the other man come along. On the way there, Dai uses the time to ask Ambrose why he took the trouble of sending him the bullet with the parchment inside when he wanted the parchment all along. It turns out that Malcolm was the one who scratched Dai's name into the bullet and Dai was also the only person to be able to open it.

When they enter the pub, Tom notices right away that something is wrong. He shows Dai that he has a revolver at the ready and asks whether his services will be required. Not at the moment, says Dai and hands Ambrose the parchment. When the three men turns to leave, Cat calls out to Tom, who fires a warning shot over Ambrose's head. Dai has his revolver leveled at Ambross head and other patrons of the Dravot's Head have pulled their weapons as well. Both Ed and the other man have revolvers, so for a moment it looks like a stand-off. Then Ambrose drops the parchment, saying that it seems they have lost. As the parchment falls, Dai sees Ed pulling the trigger and shoots, killing him with a shot to the head. Tom misses Ambrose who is trying to get out of the door and the third man is killed by one of the patrons. Dai shoots Ambrose before he can run out and Ambrose goes down, coughing up blood and dying slowly. He calls Dai a fool and promises that he will return.

Tom starts to clean up his pub, the 1000 pounds Ambrose was carrying will certainly help with that. Dai finds a business card in Ambrose's pocket with the name of a very high-end gentlemen's club as well as a report on some mechanical device, written by Malcolm and addressed to one Sir Reginald. He offers to take Cat home and she gladly accepts the offer. On the way, Dai tells her what she has missed and he mentions that he fears that he may have called some kind of curse upon himself by opening the bullet. A notion Cat scoffs at, but Dai is not convinced, especially since he finds himself unable to judge Malcolm's motives. When they arrive at Cat's house, he apologises that his past has gotten her into trouble and says that he is glad nothing happened to her. She smiles and tells him that at least she didn't misjudge him...something for Dai to ponder while he drives home.


Okay, that went in a different direction that I expected and Dai seriously wonders whether he shot the wrong brother back in Burma. And the thing with the bullet only he could open. Call me paranoid, but that doesn't bode well.

You may or may not have picked up on the fact that Dai has fallen in love with Cat. He'd rather cut off his hand than tell her or act upon it, but how successful he really is at hiding it... We talked about it after the game and the player told me that Cat did indeed notice (I'm not surprised), but is unsure what if anything to do about it. It's something that has been part of the game without ever being spoken about or acted upon for a while now and we intend to keep it that way. Let's see what happens.

Part 3

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

7th Sea: A Forest

Characters are here

Part 1

It seems that we cannot let Don Ramon walk out of sight anywhere, not even in a forest, without him picking up a woman and a fight. We heard the sounds of clashing weapons and found Ramon engaged in a fight with two noblemen on horses for the sake of a young peasant woman, whom the noblemen apparently had offended. Since Ramon was clearly not in any danger of being overpowered, we were content to watch him send the two scoundrels on their way.

Giselle, as Ramon introduces us to her, recognised de Chevalier, but we asked her to keep quiet about this and I think she will. We changed our hiding place after that to avoid attention. De Chevalier encountered something I'm fairly sure was a badger when he went to get some wood, but from his description it might as well have been a bear.

I regret now that I didn't take the time to learn some physics from Don Salvador while I had the chance. That is something we may be in need of sooner or later and we cannot rely on finding a trustworthy healer everywhere. I did manage to take care of the wound Ramon received during the fight reasonably well at least.

In the morning, Ramon and I rode back to our old camp to meet with de Vestini who had been able to get some interesting information from his washerwoman friend. Logan and Lucia visited the village, bought some supplies and also brought back news.

It seems that de Chevalier's brother has left for Charouse over a month ago, leaving the scum of his noble friends in charge here. They do as they wish with the people, the women in particular. De Chevalier's mother supports them, but we are sure that she is forced to do so, probably to save the life of her husband. We will try to enter the Chateau tonight to speak to her. Our chances are improved by the fact that there are a number of Eisen soldiers who are still loyal to de Chevalier, but at the moment they are scattered in the countryside to avoid being captured or killed.


Things are beginning to move. Now, if we can keep Logan's player from simply pushing the nobleman who (probably) is the éminence grise behind de Chevaliers mother down the stairs, we may have a chance to solve this. Not that the nobleman hadn't deserved it, but killing him that way would cause more problems than solving them, not to mention that it would not be honourable.

I really, really need to make it possible for Marcello to learn first aid at least. With Don Salvador gone, we don't have anyone in our group who knows that to do. I managed to make a pretty god roll on the Wits trait, but I wouldn't want to rely on that with something more complicated than a mere flesh wound.

7th Sea: Back in Théah

Characters are here

Dear Isabel,
thank you for your letters, I've received the whole package now that I've been spending a few weeks in the same place. I'm sorry that I have had so little time to write, a few letters have also been lost when our ship sank.

In any case, we had been living at Don Salvador's home for some time when news reached de Chevalier that his family was in peril. His older brother had died and his younger brother had his father declared insane and his sister (next in line to the title) arrested.

In addition to this, we discovered that de Chevalier is in truth a member of the duLac family. Logan reacted badly to that, as you can probably imagine. It took us all some time to get him to agree that de Chevalier and his family are not responsible for the acts of others from that family.

We left for Montaigne on the Donna Bianca, landing about a day's ride from de Chevalier's home in Crieux. After some reconnaissance, we learned that de Chevalier's brother had a servant buy a couple of poisons. I know that one of them would cause a person to vividly hallucinate, making him certainly seem insane to others, and another is deadly given over a longer time.

Since an open attack is not to be thought of, we rode to the vicinity of Ville de Bourbon and arrived there in the evening, deciding to spend the night in a small forest a short way from the chateau. Don Ramon has been gathering wood for a small fire for, now that I think about it, a fairly long time.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monster Engine

Go and check out the Monster Engine. It's the website of artist and author Dave Devries who came up with the very cool idea of taking drawings children did of monsters and painting them again realistically. The results are brilliant and really just a couple of stats away from new and terrifying monsters for your players to encounter.

I dig this guy in particular.

Via Not Exactly Rocket Science (a very cool science blog, I highly recommend the linklists)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Shadowrun Rat's Nest: Trolls and Ghosts

New stuff from the Rat's Nest here and here.

The second entry is the result of a massive play by mail game I've been playing with the GM over the last week or so. It's enormous fun, even though it has kept us awake until 4am occasionally (just one more more).
I find play by mail useful for character development. Things you want to do with your character that don't have a place during the actual sessions or that would just slow down things too much for the other players. It also gives you the chance to write about the character's thoughts and feelings much more clearly than you can usually bring them across when sitting around the table.

I highly recommend adding play by mail to your campaign if you want some serious character development, but be warned: it's a time suck.

Cthulhu Gaslight: Egyptian Murders

Cast of Characters:
Thomas Roquefort, American, archaeologist and adventurer, recently arrived in London after an expedition to Egypt
Richard George Thomas Lumley, second son of the Earl of Scarbrough
Jasper Burnside, physician and in the last two years something of a hermit. It's common knowledge that he has lost someone close and there are rumours aplenty for those willing to listen (he's my character)

London, November 10th 1890, Monday

All three arrive at the club at the same time. Richard choses to read while Thomas and Jasper play chess and make small talk. Other guests at the club are Sir Thomas Kincaid, a renowned archaeologist and friend of Roquefort, who is deep in conversation with Dr Mortimer Laydon, the Royal physician.
For Thomas, who knows Kincaid well, it is fairly obvious that the man is distressed and nervous, but Kincaid doesn't want to talk about it at the moment. Higgins, the butler of the club, brings a visiting card by a non-member who wishes to meet with Kincaid and Laydon, who leave to meet their guest in a room upstairs.

A few minutes after that a slight noise can be heard, like metal on metal, followed by a cry of pain. That's enough to bring both Jasper and Thomas running upstairs, Richard follows more slowly since he hasn't heard the cry. They arrive just in time to see Higgins open the door to the room which proves fatal for him when a person in a black burnous attacks him with a knife. When the attacker sees that he's not alone, he quickly moves back into the room with a curse in a language Thomas recognises as Egyptian Arabic.
*click for adventure*

Richard goes into the next room in search of a weapon, Jasper attends to Higgins (who is already dead) and Thomas opens the door, gets shot at and shoots back, hitting but not stopping the last of the two persons in the room who flee through the window. Left on the floor is Dr Laydon who has been pistol-whipped and who is unconscious. Jasper sees to him while both Thomas and Richard follow the attackers out of the window into the backyard, but they cannot find them any more.

The fired shots have already attracted the attention of the police and constables are arriving at the club. Everyone is gathered in the main room and an Inspector Fox takes their statements. He also wants to take the statement to Dr Laydon who has woken up in the meantime, but has to wait until Jasper allows him to. Laydon is in fairly good shape, but not all that helpful. At least he can tell Fox that the gentleman (albeit in rather cheap clothes) who left his visiting card showed Kincaid some documents when four men in burnouses came through the window and abducted Kincaid. The gentleman was obviously in league with them because he left the same way, not without taking the documents with him.

Thomas takes a closer look at the dagger and at a small scroll Jasper discovered in the upstairs room. The scroll shows a drawing of Thoth, as does the handle of the dagger, an exceptionally big weapon.
Inspector Fox invites all three of them to the Yard at nine o'clock next morning and hints that the whole affair might be connected to very important things.

November 11th 1890, Tuesday

Thomas and Jasper arrive at the Yard a bit early and are brought upstairs where they meet Inspector Fox again as well as Doctor Laydon, Sir Jeffrey Hull (the Queen's Counsel) and Lady Catherine Kincaid, Sir Thomas Kincaid's daughter. Richards arrives fashionably late.

When everybody's there, Fox explains that there has been a series of murders at the East End, all of them prostitutes, where a drawing of Thoth has been left at the scene. Kincaid had been asked by the police to act as a consultant and he seemed to have come to some results that he wanted to present at the Yard today, which may well be the reason for his abduction. Since he's gone, the police would like to enroll Thomas, Richard and Jasper to give the case their professional opinion. When Richards argues that he doesn't have a professional opinion, Fox takes him aside and says something to him that makes him think otherwise.

The murders are thought to have a connection to the Egyptian League (a club dedicated to preserving and acquiring Egyptian artefacts) by the public and the Royal Family is eager to clear that up since Prince Albert Victor is chairman of the League. Kincaid had talked to the Prince and had been given information important to the case. It seems that Dr Laydon knows something as well but cannot reveal it since he's bound by his professional discretion. Sir Jeffrey says he might be able to arrange an audience with the Prince.

Jasper asks if there are any photos of the victims and if there were autopsies. He's allowed access to the records which include fairly gruesome photos. Fox says that the police assume that the murdered must have some skill with a knife, a butcher maybe. Jasper suggests someone with a medical degree and is met with disbelieve from Laydon, who simply refuses to even consider that. Whatever the profession of the murderer, he has removed one organ from each of his victims: liver, lung and stomach.

Thomas takes another look at the knife and can decipher the inscription: "there is no peace on the other side". The hieroglyphs also form the word "Ni ha lat hotep" and he has heard that before, but simply cannot place it.

They agree to work on this case and promise regular updates for Fox and Sir Jeffrey as well as Lady Catherine of course, who is understandably anxious for her father.

Yes, yet another 1890s Cthulhu-round. One of our players wanted to GM and we didn't want to add another player to the two 2 player-rounds we already run, so a new round it was. We decided that the characters all knew each other because they are members of the same club, so it was fairly easy to get them together.

The GM obviously put a lot of work into the adventure. There were quite a few handouts, something I always like. The strength of this GM is the ability to create believable characters, it's something that makes him a great player and it's a gift for GMing as well.

We had a hilarious moment when Jasper made some small talk with Thomas over a game of chess and Thomas put his foot in it, I'd say easily up to the knee at least.

*the other players may not want to read why*

Jasper has lost his wife in childbirth, the baby didn't survive much longer. There were quite some rumours about that, including the one where he killed his wife and child on purpose. Thomas knows that people talk, but has not heard the rumours. He tells Jasper that and says "Well, if you listen to rumour, we both are child murderers or something." I almost howled.

Jasper makes a roll for composure and manages to keep a straight face. Thomas makes some more small talk, managing to touch two more really delicate issues. If he had been trying on purpose to make Jasper uncomfortable, he couldn't have done a better job.

You can read Richard's point of view here and here

Monday, March 5, 2012

(Late) GM Appreciation Day

To my GMs (you know who you are):
Thank you for giving me whole worlds to play in, making me fear for my life, for allowing me to fight or to run as I chose, for giving me moments of triumph as well as letting me lose.
Thank you for all the well-prepared adventures I then proceed to sabotage as best as I can (I'm not sorry, that's my job).
I've lived quite a few lives under your guidance and they all were awesome.
You guys rock.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Old Stuff Day

It's Old Stuff Day, the day to repost stuff you have written in the last year or even further back that you feel didn't get enough attention then or still deserves attention or that you just like in particular.

My choice is a post I wrote for >Speak Out With Your Geek Out. Last year in September author and blogger Monica Valentinelli came up with the idea of inviting geeks to write about their hobbies, share their passion. It was a lot of fun, a great way to meet new people and learn new things and I really hope it will happen again this year.
Here's what I wrote about roleplaying, a piece I really like and I think it pretty much captures why it's such a passion of mine:

I've been a woman, but mostly I have been a man.
I fell in love with men and women and I married (a woman).
I stood my ground against powerful enemies, but I also turned and ran to fight another day.
I was hurt many times. I went insane and I died (quite a few times). I came back from the dead. Twice.

I know how to fire a cannon, a crossbow and a blunderbuss, I can use a sniper rifle, but at other times I can't hit a barn door at five feet. I know Kung-Fu and I can use a lariat and a whip.
I've been a hero, a scoundrel and sometimes a coward, but usually I'm a survivor. I tend to be very loyal to my friends and God help you if you mess with them.

I've flown an airship and several spaceships, I've driven a steam powered carriage with eight legs, a 1935 Buick and I know my way around a sailing vessel.
I can ride a horse (but I prefer a mule), I know how to ride an elephant and I know how to get a herd of cattle where I want them. I can speak to rats.

I've been shipwrecked on a lonely island, I have traveled by dog-sled through the Arctic, I have crossed deserts and I got stranded on a planet light years from home. I have been hunted by the Inquisition. I've disarmed a bomb, with the countdown at 0:01.
I've fought vampires, werewolves, demons, aliens, things straight out of nightmares - but the scariest enemies often were the normal humans.

I have been a vampire, a ghoul, a mage, a cowboy, a scientist, a doctor, a pilot, a soldier, a merchant, a hunter, a smuggler, a professional poker player, a reporter, a diplomat and once I was a ghost.

I play pen and paper role-playing games.