Terry Stevens' Point

  • My time as master

    Posted by Terry Stevens

    Over the last three days, I've shared a few characters that I've made for various pen and paper role playing games.

    This ties into a live broadcast that I'll be doing tomorrow between Noon and 1 at Chadam Games in the Schofield Metro Center.  They sell RPGs, board games and other neato games you won't find at the big box stores.  Stop by and score some Mt. Olympus Waterpark tickets.

    Today, I'd like to share a bit about being on the other side of the table.  All pictures in this article, with the exception of the first, come from this site.  Caution.  Some NSFW language can be found there.

    After a few sessions of playing a character in RPGs, I decided I wanted to try my hand at being a Gamemaster.

    In pen and paper RPGs, the gamemaster is responsible for creating the setting, plot hooks and non-player characters that the players interact with.  The prospect of "creating a world", so to speak, appealed to me.  So, I gave it a shot.

    The results?  Well...

    There are a lot of mistakes that a rookie GM can make.  I made pretty much ALL of them, up to and including:




    Also, known as railroading.  It occurs when a GM really wants a story to go a certain way and "railroads" his players in that direction.  I should have just written a book if I wanted the story that bad.

    I also did a bit too much of this:




    Being a good GM does require having some solid improv skills.  Those, I have.  However, there is NO subsitute for good preparation.  A back up plan for a back up plan.  Alas, I had little of that, which led to very, very aimless and meandering sessions.

    Ugh.  Looking back, I sincerely apologize for anyone who playing in ANY session of mine that involved...



    GMPC = Game Master's Player Character.  I forgot too many times, that the PLAYERS were supposed to do ALL of the cool stuff.  They're the heroes/protaganists.  If I wanted to be a player, I should have just been a player.  GM Fiating the GMPC to be the hero was bad GM-ing on my part.

    Inconsistancy with the application of the rules ?




    Yup.  Did that too.

    Of course, one's mistakes are one's best educator.  Today, I'm pretty sure I could handle GM duty.  Problem is, I'm a tad short on time, schedule-wise.  With that being said, Wizards of the Coast (the company that's responsible for making Dungeons and Dragons and my favorite game of all time, Magic: The Gathering) created a D&D mini-session for ages 6 and up.

    I ran it for my kids and they had a BLAST!

    Two more things before I sign off.

    First, this:




    And then, this:




    Hope I see you at Chadam Games in the Schofield Metro Center tomorrow between Noon and 1!  I'll bring the Mt. Olympus tickets.  You bring a willingness to have some fun!

    Be Cool,


  • One more character

    Posted by Terry Stevens

    For the last couple of days, I've shared a couple of the Role-Playing game characters I've created over the years.  You met my firstMy first that I actually put some thought into, and today, you'll meet the latest.

    This character was created for a game called Shadowrun, a futuristic, urban setting where magic and technology coexist.  Enjoy.




    [May 30th, 2065 - Aztlan (formerly Mexico)]

    I learned a couple of things today.

    I learned that I have a daughter. I also learned that I will be dead soon.

    Her name was Diana and she is the only woman I have ever loved. I was a hitman for a lower Mafia family, the Bruno. She was Marco Bruno's wife, but she would never be his the way she was mine. He never knew about she and I, and never will. The Bruno were wiped out by the Adamo, a higher family that the Bruno had crossed one too many times. Every Bruno was massacred, or so I thought.

    When the gunfire finally ended at Marco's compound, the Adamo found Diana cowering in a closet. With the barrel of a gun to her head and an Adamo finger on its trigger, she tells them she is pregnant. The Catholic Church is long gone, but its habits have a way of sticking around certain Mafioso. She was brought before the heads of the family. She was offered an out. The conditions? That she sever all ties to Seattle and raise her child not to be a Bruno. She accepted their offer.

    I know all of this because she told me this morning. It was the first time I had heard her voice in 35 years. She tells me our daughter is missing. "Our" daughter. I never knew she was pregnant. I thought she was dead.

    I tell her I love her. She tells me, "Her name is Stephanie." before I hear gunfire in the receiver. I hang up the com and mask the data trail.

    As soon as I finish masking, my cell rings. It's my doctor. The cancer is spreading. It can no longer be treated by medicine or magic. I have a year, max.

    After I found out about the massacre of the Bruno, I escaped to Aztlan. There was no sense in taking on the Adamo in some pathetic attempt at revenge. It would have been suicide and it wouldn't have brought Diana back. I thought she was dead. I had nothing to stay for, nothing live for.

    In Mexico, I found everything to kill for.

    I drowned my loss in a wave of blood, becoming one of the deadliest killers for hire in the underground of Aztlan and thanks to my study of Sorcery, not a single one of my targets saw me coming. To this day, the barrios whisper of "El Hombre Phantasma," The Ghost Man.

    Jacob Cryer is my name. I am 65 years old and dying of cancer. I can still take a man's life in a thousand different ways.

    In Seattle, I have something to live for.

    Her name is Stephanie. She is my daughter. I will do one good thing with this life of death and bloodshed that I have lived. I will find her.



    You gotta love a job that gives you a excuse to play with HeroMachine 2.5




    Wow, compared to the last two guys I posted, that wizard of mine seems like a genuine cupcake, no?

    My favorite gaming moments with Cryer involved dialogue like this:

    "You kids don't know a fraggin' thing about music.  Back in my day we had real artists, like Justin Timberlake.  Now that guy was an musician."

    Tomorrow, I'll share my experience with being a gamemaster, or dungeon master if you prefer.

    If this sort of collaborative storytelling type thing appeals to you, don't forget, I'll be hanging out at a joint that specializes in these sorts o' games from Noon to 1 on Saturday.  Stop by Chadam Games in the Schofield Metro Center for some free Mt. Olympus Waterpark tickets and a look at some totally sweet new games to play around the kitchen table.

    Be Cool,


  • Character Study, Pt. II

    Posted by Terry Stevens

    Yesterday, I introduced you to the first pen and paper RPG character I ever created.

    Today, I'll introduce you to the first one I actually put more thought into beyond the stats on the character sheet.



    "Who am I?  I'm you, brother.  Or, at least, I was you.

    A junkie, a burnout, a lost cause.  Hopeless, and hopelessly addicted.  Sound familiar?  Yep, just another piece of white trash failing at life in Over The Rhine.

    You look surprised.  See, back in my day, whites and blacks lived together in Over The Rhine.  Now, the whites who didn't move out and all the blacks who were stuck here are left to rot in poverty and filth by a city that couldn't care less.

    Dealers, pimps and thugs rule these streets.  The police gave up on law and order a long time ago.  The only cops you see in OTR are on the take.  But you know that already, don't you?

    It wasn't always that way.  Back in my day, I knew a cop that actually cared about this neighborhood.  He even cared about a piece of crap like me.

    Officer Griffon.  Griff, if he liked you.  Griff knew his community.  He knew my dad cut out on my mom before I was born.  He stopped by almost every night to talk and see if I was on the straight and narrow.  Griff became the father figure I needed.

    No one was more disappointed than him the first time I got popped for possession.  He tried.  He really did.  Maybe someone tried for you too.  I hope they did.

    I didn't listen.  I got deeper and deeper into the game.  Everyone I hung around with sold or used.  Like I said.  Hopeless and hopelessly addicted.

    Then, I messed up.  I messed up big.  I stiffed the wrong guy.

    The firefighters told me that Mom must have been overcome by the smoke when the apartment caught fire.  Caught fire.  Like it just happened.  Like it wasn't MURDER!

    Gotta be cool.  Gotta be cool.  Relax...

    What are you looking at?  Scared?  See something you didn't like?  Heh.

    Griff found me on the Roebling Bridge the next night.  I was going to jump.  I was going to shoot up all the dope I had and sink like a stoned stone, brother.

    Griff had another idea.  He offered revenge.  He told me why he only stopped by at night.  He told me that he was a vampire, something called a Gangrel and that he had spent the last 20 years fighting another group of vampires called the Followers of Set.

    These "Setites" were responsible for almost every bit of dope in OTR and beyond.  The dealers, pimps and thugs?  All the Followers' crew.

    Including you.

    Heh.  I told Griff he was crazy too.  Then, he made me.  The next night, he showed me how to use my new abilities.  The night after that, we made our move on the Setites.  Griff didn't make it.  I barely made it.  I sunk into the earth and slept.  That was 1968.  I woke up last week.

    The Followers of Set cost me my family and the closest thing to a father I ever had.  They're still in business.  That makes me very...very...angry.

    Still don't believe me?  Think it's crazy that your boss or boss's boss or boss's boss's boss is controled by a vampire cult?

    Look at these.

    No, I wasn't born with pearly whites like these, brother.  My eyes aren't glowing red cuz they're bloodshot either.

    Who am I?  I'm Jason Malik and the second that duct tape comes off your mouth, you'll tell me where your boss is.  I'd give you til the count of three, but I'm getting hungry.



    Created using the totally awesome HeroMachine 2.5 found here.


    Malik was a character I created for a game called Vampire: The Masquerade.  He's also the first one I put some thought into regarding backstory.  A character with backstory gives a gamemaster (or dungeon master if you prefer) some hooks to work with.

    Want to tell a cool story or find a fun new board or card game?  Join me this Saturday for a live broadcast from Chadam Games.  They're in the Schofield Metro Center on the corner of Schofield Avenue and Business 51 in Schofield. Stop by and you can score tickets to Mt. Olympus Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells.

    Oh, and top that, Twilight.

    Be Cool,


  • Who says I lack character?

    Posted by Terry Stevens

    In fact, I have a few of them.

    Role-playing game characters, that is.


    This Saturday, I'll be broadcasting live from Noon to 1pm at Chadam Games.  They're in the Schofield Metro Center on the corner of Schofield Avenue and Business 51 in Schofield.  Stop by and you can score tickets to Mt. Olympus Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells.

    Chadam Games sells the sort of games you won't find at Wal-get, Tar-Ko, or Shop-Mart.  Don't get me wrong.  There's nothing wrong with Monopoly (Aside from the fact that it never ends.  Seriously.  When's the last time you played Monopoly to a definitive end?)  Checkers, chess and card games have their place too, but every once in a while don't you wonder if there's more out there?

    Answer, there is and Chadam Games carries it.

    Chadam Games also carries Dungeons and Dragons style Role Playing Game type stuff.


    Like most gamers, Dungeons and Dragons was the first pen and paper RPG I played.

    Prior to D&D, I had played and enjoyed a few video game RPGs.  Choose Your Own Adventure-style books were a favorite of mine too.  (I still have all of my Lone Wolf and Grey Star books as well as a Magnamund Companion.)

    While being a blast to play, video games and books had a very finite number of choices for the player to make.  Plus, you were pretty much the same dude every time you played.

    With D&D on the other hand, you could be ANYONE.

    So, without further ado, here's the first pen and paper RPG character I ever created:



    Created using the totally awesome Hero Machine 2.5 found here.


    Due to the fact that he was created in the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons system, Donovan Cutter was a Wizard.  In the current 4.0 edition of D&D, I would have made him a Wizard/Rogue.

    Donovan was a wandering mage-for-hire-type. That was pretty much the extent of his back-story.

    He dual-wielded wands, one that had some kind of lightning bolt attack and the other that had a frost attack (so he could totally waste annuals and perennials, yo.)  He also packed a dagger, in case he ran out of magic power.

    [SIDE NOTE:  I always hated the fact that wizards in old D&D "ran out of gas" so fast.  One spell and your guy needed to take a nap or read in order to cast it again.  L-A-M-E.]

    He also had a magical pipe that could turn any substance smoked in it into an intoxicant.  (Hey, gimme a break.  I was a juvenile delinquent, okay?)

    Anyhow, my most memorable moments as Donovan both happened during the time he and the rest of the party he was in broke into a vampire lord's castle to save some village or other. 

    At one point, the party saw a teeming brown mass approaching from a distance.  Figuring that it was some kind of dangerous, sentient slime-beast, Donovan shoots it with the Frost Wand.  The mass is frozen.  Upon further investigation, the mass ended up being a group of brownies.  (Think little, brown elves).  That's right.  Donovan frosted brownies...

    That would be pretty fearsome on the Food Network, but in D&D, not so much.

    Later in the episode, Donovan and the vampire lord were the only two left standing after a heated battle.  The vampire lord said something smart alecky, so Donovan reaches into his pouch o' magic ingredients, palms some garlic and takes a swing at the vamp's face.  The punch connects...right...through...the...vamp's...mouth!  Garlic is released.  Vamp dies (again) and the day is saved thanks to one perpetually buzzed wizard.

    Try doing that in Monopoly.

    Be Cool,


  • Why we have the day off

    Posted by Terry Stevens

    One of the more moving songs about war and its heroes comes from none other than Heavy Metal legends, Motorhead.  Don't worry, it's about as non-metal as a metal band can get.  It's almost Pink Floyd-ish in its execution.

    Enjoy, and remember the real reason we have the day off on Monday.


    Be Cool,


  • Beating it to the punch

    Posted by Terry Stevens

    502 Bad Gateway.


    I just wanted to be the first to say it for once.


    Thanks for your patience as we work through our IT issues.  They'll be remedied soon.  I hear we're upgrading to one of these bad boys.


    ATARI 2600

    Problem solved, baby.

    Be Cool,


  • My kids are bilingual

    Posted by Terry Stevens

    I don't know if you experience this phenomenon in your household, but this is what goes down in the Stevens household.

    When my children become especially beligerent, they stop speaking English and start speaking a completely different tongue.

    This new language is characterized by a higher pitch to every word along with extended vowel sounds.

    I call it Whine-ese.  (Rhymes with Chinese.)



    PICTURED:  Kids who hate it when Dad says, "I don't speak Whine-ese."

    Be Cool,


  • Guess I'm gonna hafta read books now

    Posted by Terry Stevens

    Lost is over.

    24's done.

    American Idol ends tomorrow, but I stopped watching it the second I heard Crystal Bowersox sing.  I mean, seriously.  How does she NOT win?

    Anyway, I've been looking to cut back on my TV watching for a while now.  I've been getting a little bored with watching other people have fun adventures.  I'm thinking it's time I made up a few of my own.  I'll figure out what that means while you check out one of the best tributes to TV ever put to music:


    Be Cool,


  • It's Friday and I'm not feeling wordy

    Posted by Terry Stevens

    Whaddya say we enjoy some 80's dance pop goodness courtesy of Real Life?



    On the air, on the Blog, we prefer to let the music do the talking.

    Be Cool,


  • Being funny vs. making money

    Posted by Terry Stevens

    The latest viral ad that's been making the rounds lately is a pretty funny one.



    As a guy who's right in the target they're looking for (i.e. parent of youngins who isn't adverse to hip-hop), I think the spot is hilarious.

    I also couldn't remember what vehicle it was for seconds after watching it.

    Look, I LOVE humor in ads.  Heck, I write spots that incorporate humor whenever it's appropriate.  Funny ads are fun to listen to, but if they don't sell a single thing, well...

    Someone just squandered a ton of money.

    Looking at the Swagga Wagon spot again, ask yourself, could any other minivan have worked in that ad?  You bet it could.  That spot could have been for a Chrysler Town and Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odessey, Kia Sedona, Mazda 5, Nissan Quest, Volkswagon Routan, or a Ford or Chevy minivan if they'd start making them again.  (Seriously, Ford and Chevy.  Make a new minivan that wins the gas mileage game and the world is yours.)

    I like this ad, but at no point does it convince me that the Toyota Sienna is any better of a buy than the minivans I listed above.  The sad thing is, the Toyota Sienna's unique benefits could have easily been worked into the song without runing the concept of the spot.

    The new split screen video monitor for rear seat entertainment, plenty of power jacks for the kids' video games, A/V inputs for your Ipod or Iphone, the super-roomy cabin, the booty-load of cargo space, THE RECLINERS IN THE SECOND ROW SEATS!  For real?  I so want one of these vans now.

    Make a few clever rhymes about the stuff that sets the Toyota Sienna apart from the rest of the minivans out there.  Then you can sell the van and get a few chuckles out of the audience.

    Want an ad for your biz that makes the funny and the money?  Call 842-1672 and ask for Dawn.

    Be Cool,


  • If today's your birthday...

    Posted by Terry Stevens

    You share it with Pete Townshend who turns 75 today.

    If today isn't your birthday, feel free to check out this solo number from Pete anyway.



    Be Cool,


  • Repeat offender Pt. II

    Posted by Terry Stevens

    Here's the ad that won 1st place, Best Commercial, Medium Market Radio, 2009.

    This is probably my favorite ad that I ever written, produced and voiced to this date.

    Be Cool,


    Fitness On Demand