Dropping Kayfabe

Back in October of 2014, my friend and I decided to compile all our D&D notes into one place. We decided to do that online, so both of us could access it whenever we wanted to, namely since neither of us would typically be using it at the same time. After some initial discussion about the style and layout of the contents, I was told to “do something that’s easy to read, and navigate”. About that same time, we decided to turn it into an actual, proper website, that other people would go to and use and stuff.

The decision was made to launch about a week before the 31st, because we had a bunch of Halloween-related material to post. Over the next few weeks, we changed the layout once or twice, reworked the column schedule a few times, and added or subtracted features as we saw fit. By the time we hit January, it had turned into the homegrown repository of class you all know and love.

From the very beginning, this website has only been run by the two of us.  Yes, we have multiple “staff writers”, but every single article on this website was written by one of two people. I write under the names “The Chief”, “Meepo”, and “The Mysterious Dr. X”. My compatriot uses “Pain”, “Hicks/Snout”, “Doderman”, and “GP Humongous”.

Now, as regulars of this blog might notice, the articles that appeared like clockwork, every week, were the ones written by me, and the ones that eventually stopped appearing altogether were the ones written by my friend. There’s a simple explanation for that- he got busy. I didn’t. I still had time to do it. He did not. So, he was eventually forced to stop contributing.

My friend got a new job about two and a half months ago, so he had to continue to not have time to contribute, on a more long-term basis than before. (Up until then, he would occasionally spend an entire day just writing articles every couple weeks, then I would sweep in and parcel them out, once a week or so, to make them last as long as possible.) But then. Oh, but then. I also got busy. At right around the same time, I also got a new job. Now, both of us were working 40 hours a week, not to mention the kids and wife my friend has. Neither of us really had time to do it any more. (Sure, some of you might point out that lots of people that work 40 a week still have time to do other stuff. Do you remember the miniature series of game review articles I wrote? Those took me like nine hours to write. Each. And I did like seven of them. Or, do you remember how the format of the weekly Interviews changed after only a few months? It’s because those bastards would routinely take me six-plus hours to write. Each time. There’s no way I’d be able to work and have that kind of writing output.)

What I’m trying to say is, this website took up a LOT of our time, and we had very little to show for it. I’m gonna be really real with you guys, we got basically no response. We set up an email address to talk with our readers, and we never got a single message. I can count on one hand the number of comments and likes we’ve gotten on all our articles combined. And occasionally, we might get a couple visitors to the site. Like, a couple a week. But generally, I would log in every couple days to notice the “stats” page still completely barren, just like the last time.

So, like, I said, we spent assloads of time trying to make this website everything it could be and more, and we got no meaningful response. After a while, we both kinda had the same realization at the same time- “should we even keep doing it?” The question became a moot point when we suddenly realized we didn’t have the time to do it, regardless of whether the desire was there. But the seed had been planted.

So, back in early April, my friend turned in what would become his final (as of this writing) batch of articles. I don’t think neither of us knew that at the time, however. And after that, when he was no longer contributing, I fell back into my standard response that regular readers of this blog will recognize, because I’ve done it several times- multiple articles in a row all about the same thing, and making the articles I write longer to try to make up for the fact that I’m the only one writing them. That’s where my series on Fallout came from, that’s where my series on The X-Files came from, that’s where the idea of reviewing RPGs came from, that’s where the Traiters In Our Midst column came from, that’s where my Mad Max articles came from, et cetera.

It eventually got to the point where, when I said “time to write a new article”, that would be pretty much the only thing I had time to do that day. As such, everything else that I was supposed to be doing got pushed to the background. That’s why, in early June, I took two weeks off- I finally needed to do those other things I didn’t make time for any more. (And in case you were wondering, when I was talking about “trying to get GP and Pain back to writing again” in those updates, I knew when I wrote them that wouldn’t happen).

Unfortunately, I took those two weeks off, then immediately after that, I got my job. I tried to still keep it going for a couple weeks, but it just wasn’t working. You might have noticed that, after the Great Hiatus was over, the articles got noticeably shorter- a handful of plot hooks, a reminiscence about a former game, a new item, a Traiter article (which is just me typing out stuff I already have on a list), and a couple Interviews whose format was specifically designed to be easy and quick to write (that’s why it’s the same questions each time). But even that was just too much for me. I just didn’t have time any more. And since I had to assume my partner in this endeavor was out of the game permanently (remember, by this point, it had been almost three months since last time he wrote anything for the site- or even logged in to it), if I stopped doing it, that meant that was it. As the only listed executive still actively involved in the production, it was up to me and me alone to make the decision as to whether to continue on. I ultimately said “I cannot”. I felt it was a disservice to the website, the readers, and our original intentions to attempt to keep this website limping along.

I’d rather this website produce no new content, then low-quality content.

So what does this mean for you, the Doderman Disciples? Well, the website will stay up, hopefully forever (remember, it was originally created to merely be a place to keep all our notes- that never changed), so you will still have access to all our top-quality articles and writings. As for the future? I would like this website to produce regular content again, but I just don’t see that happening without other people contributing as well. I enjoyed writing for this website, and want to do so once more, so this definitely will not be the final update the site ever sees, but since it eats up so much of my time, I don’t think it’s gonna be a regular, common thing any more, unless things change. But like I said, there will definitely be more articles. Eventually.

Roll those dice!
The Chief

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Our Most Recent Interview Yet!!

Meepo: Hello and welcome to Thursday’s Interview With A Deity. I am your host Meepo, and we will be talking today with demon lord and god of minotaurs, Baphomet. Hello, Baphomet, I’m glad you could make it today.

Baphomet: And I’m glad you asked. I think we’re gonna have a good time. I’m looking forward to it.

Meepo: So am I, my good man.

—–

1. WHO/WHAT IS YOUR PERFECT DREAM DATE?

Baphomet: Do you want a joke answer, or the real answer?

Meepo: Hmmm. Is “both” possible?

Baphomet:  My answer is “a marathon of all three Mad Max movies, a large plate of nachos, and Audrey Hepburn”. Now, you have to piece together whether I mean it or not.

Meepo: Man, I don’t know you well enough.

Baphomet: You just might, by the end of this.

2. WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE ABOUT YOUR LIFE?

Baphomet: You know, I’d go with Steve Buscemi.

Meepo: Interesting. I must confess, I’m not sure I see a resemblance. What made you choose him?

Baphomet: Well, let’s be honest. No one really has a resemblance to him. He has a very… unique appearance. But, honestly, I’m not quite sure why. It just felt like the right choice, in some secret way.

3. DO YOU READ THE COMMENTS ONLINE?

Baphomet: Oh yeah. Definitely.

Meepo: And why is that?

Baphomet: My online dealings don’t really flock to places like Reddit, or 4chan, or places that are hotbeds of offensive chatter. Even YouTube I tend to stay away from.

Meepo: What kind of sites do you frequent?

Baphomet: Well, I really use the internet primarily as a procurement tool. I buy things off Amazon or eBay, I check the stock prices in the morning- I’m teaching myself investment banking!- things like that. I read my comics every day.

Meepo: Oh? What kind of comics do you read?

Baphomet: Man, I’ve been a huge fan of webcomics for years. Wondermark, Hark! A Vagrant, Perry Bible Fellowship. Nedroid. I just started getting into Chester 5000, and I’m really liking that, although it is not for kids, I can assure you of that. But anyway, there’s a stable of around a dozen to twenty comics that I read, and I spend about an hour each day when I first wake up going through and checking all of them.

Meepo: Okay, that’s five. What are some other ones you regularly read?

Baphomet: Uh, Questionable Content, Dinosaur Comics, xkcd. Rutabaga is pretty good. Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. Oglaf, which is also not for kids. I used to read MS Paint Adventures, but it got too confusing and storylines went on for too long to continue to hold my interest. I occasionally will read Dr. McNinja, but that’s not necessarily a everyday thing. And there’s a few more I’m sure I’m forgetting.

Meepo: What about that really famous one, about video games?

Baphomet: I assume you’re referring to Penny Arcade. No, I don’t read it. I don’t really go in for video games, so the subject matter didn’t interest me. Plus, I found the language to be a bit crude for my taste.

4. WHAT IS ONE THING YOU CAN’T DO, THAT YOU WISH YOU COULD?

Baphomet: Write good poetry. Everything I crank out just sounds like bad angsty teenager crap.

Meepo: You write poetry?

Baphomet: Gotta do something.

5. IF YOU COULD HAVE LUNCH WITH ANYONE FROM HISTORY, LIVING OR DEAD, WHAT WOULD YOU ORDER?

Baphomet: Reuben.

Meepo: No, we were wondering what you would order, not who- oh, wait. Nice.

6. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE MONSTER?

Baphomet: (rubs back of neck awkwardly) Uh, probably the minotaur.

Meepo: In retrospect, “duh” on me.

7. WHAT’S THE DUMBEST, MOST BONEHEADED THING YOU’VE EVER DONE?

Baphomet: Not making a move on Pale Night.

Meepo: Interesting. I thought you two got along. What did she do to get your goat, if you’ll excuse the pun?

Baphomet: No, that’s not it. I guess I misspoke. Make a move on her, as in try to get her. Like, romantically.

Meepo: I… see. Well, now would be a perfect chance to tell her, considering that once this comes out, she’ll likely know.

Baphomet: Yeah, I know, I just… we’ve been friends for so long, and it might just seem weird, and- oh, I just got it! “Get your goat”, because I’m a minotaur! Ha! Okay, nice.

8. WHAT WOULD YOUR BAND BE CALLED?

Baphomet: Crunch.

9. WHAT WERE THE LAST THREE THINGS YOU GOOGLED?

Baphomet: (pulls out phone) “sensitive and misunderstood”, “just needs a hug”, and “xenu”.

10. ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
-MAC OR PC?
-DC OR MARVEL?
-SONY, MICROSOFT, OR NINTENDO?
-STAR TREK OR STAR WARS?

Baphomet: Oh, Star Trek, definitely. I really identify with it in this weird way, you know? It’s all about a group of different people that all share a common goal, traveling to all these different places, and cultures, and meeting all these different people, with such diversity, and the whole point is to not interfere. To just keep them the way they are, you know? Very inspiring.

Meepo: Groovy.

11. WHAT THE HELL, WHAT IS IT YOU THINK YOU’RE GONNA FIND?

Baphomet: Man, good question. (long pause) A way to accept it.

—–

Meepo: It seems we’ve run out of time, so Baphomet, I want to thank you for deciding to come by today.

Baphomet: Oh, no problem at all, Meepo. I’m hoping we can do it again.

Meepo (here’s hoping to many more guests in the future)

CRUSH YOUR ENEMIES

This pair of thin, red leather gloves is white around the wrists, with small black squares of padding lining the backs of the fingers.

The hands of the balrog seem like nothing more than a relatively innocuous fashion accessory at first glance. However, when the wearer clenches their hands into fists, a visible aura of energy surrounds their hands, bestowing upon them significant melee power.

The wearer of a pair of hands of the balrog gains a +2 competence bonus to their Strength score. Additionally, he can act as if he has the Streetfighting feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites. Finally, if he makes a full attack action of only unarmed strikes, he gains one additional unarmed attack at his highest bonus.

The Chief (BEAT IT, CHUMP)

My Shift. ALWAYS ON MY SHIFT.

Hahaha, well hello, fair Earthmen! It is I, The Mysterious Dr. X, to bring unfortunate tidings to you and yours!

According to the instructions of my coworkers, it is something called “ID4- The Day We Fight Back” tomorrow. Apparently aliens invade every year on that date or something??? Anyway, since I handle science-fictiony matters, I was asked to please refrain from updating in deference to this most holiest of somber anniversaries.

So, uh, that’s what I’ll be doing. See you next week.

(SIDE NOTE- anyone else ever notice that, every time a holiday rolls around, it always lands on MY day to write an article!?!?)

The Supposed Interview

Hey, guys. Meepo here. I had put the finishing touches on a brand new Interview, and wouldn’t you know it, partway through editing, the program I use spazzed out on me, removing a whole bunch of my headway on the editing and formatting of the article. Now I have to redo huge chunks of it. And to be honest, considering I was just working on it for a good several hours before this happened (and all you people that are gonna comment “hurr durr, that’s why you save”- I did save. The problem was that my save deleted itself), I really don’t feel like spending time on it right now. So, no Interview this week. I’ll take some time later on this week to re-spruce it up, and we should be good to go from there.

-Meepo

Traiter In Our Midst: Descriptors- 141 Through 160

Hello, all you fine readers great and small! You saw the headline, so I’m pretty sure you know what to expect- so let’s get right to it!!!

  1. Old Lady Wearing  A Wig
  2. Classy
  3. Time Machine
  4. Scorekeeper Of A Chess Match
  5. Vineyard Owner
  6. Gangsta
  7. Hand Model
  8. Attracted To Katey Sagal
  9. Terrible Shoegaze/Ambient Band With Pretentious Name
  10. Clothespin
  11. Hero Of Time
  12. Garbageman
  13. Mulder
  14. Guy Who Invented The “Om Nom Nom” Sound Effect
  15. Oprah
  16. Cancer Patient
  17. Train Conductor
  18. Xenophiliac
  19. Cowboy
  20. Guy On Bus That’s Obviously Listening To Ozzy

Haha, excellent! Hope you guys enjoy these! They are quite the… diverse choices!

The Chief (wondering whether he should spend all his money buying a Scrooge McDuck style vault for all his millions. On one hand, it would be great. On the other, it would probably cost so much he would have no money left to actually put IN the vault. Decisions)

Plots For Sale Or Rent

Well, hello and greetings, fair humanoids! And unfair, I’m not one to judge. It is your enlightening host, The Mysterious Dr. X, here to regale you with stories from the sci-fi side of the table!

You know, a lot of people here on Earth come up to me, and they’ll be like “Oh, Dr. X, I’m starting a new game tonight with my group, and I don’t know what the plot should be about, please help me!!”. After brandishing my Mysterious X-Ray at them for saying my name wrong, I usually manage to squeak out a few sentences before they disappear completely through the portal into The Mysterious Dimension X. And here they are!

  • Post-apocalypse
    • A few generations earlier, Odin had returned to Midgard (Earth) and sterilized it. However, some humans still survive in what has become the playground of the Old Gods.
    • A comet crash lands in the ocean, and upon breaking open, is revealed to be filled with a caustic black jelly. It swiftly spreads and kills all the sea creatures, then dissolves away, leaving no trace.
    • Robots! After they become self-aware and start building themselves, they- surprisingly enough- do not rebel, instead pampering us and taking care of our every whim. However, our eventual acceptance of the situation turns the entire culture into a completely sedentary lifestyle, and human production shuts down completely- food doesn’t get harvested, homes no longer get built, et cetera. After a while, the planet is devastated.
  • Star Wars
    • Old Republic: Czerka is up to their old tricks. This time, it’s believed they’re actually selling slaves on the black market. They’re weird slaves, though, unlike anything anyone has seen. They resemble wookiees, except they’re short- like two or three feet tall.
    • Rebellion: You uncover documentation that seems to imply Mon Mothma herself has been supplying information to Vader and his men.
    • Legacy: Krayt has initiated the next stage of his plan of utter domination, and all signs point to that plan being the complete destruction of the Mon Calamari race. It’s time to set up a raiding party and break into some Sith concentration camps.
  • Future
    • Animorphs, but with Dralasites and N’sss instead of andalites and yeerks. Oh, and it takes place like a thousand years in the future.
    • A sesheyan has been elected Prime Minister of the US. Immediately afterwards, he starts a war with the home planet of the Vrusk. No one has any idea why.
    • A yazirian has announced he has selected the entire ruling class of weren as his life enemy, attempting (and failing) an assassination attempt on one of them a few days later. Apparently, though, word has been made that he was forced to make that selection, but by who, no one knows.

Well, folks, I hope that was worth the time and effort! Make sure to mention my name to get 15% off your next order (not actually true- you’ll probably get banned)! I am your host, The Mysterious Dr. X, saying “every suggestion is an Officially Certified Mysterious Dr. X Stone Cold Classic©“!

The Mysterious Dr. X (seriously, don’t tell them I sent you. Bad things will happen)

An Interview For The Ages

Meepo: Hello, one and all, and welcome to the All-New, All-Different* Interview With A Deity! I am your brand-spankin’-new host, the great and terrible Meepo, here to share with you stories of the mighty and revered! Today’s guest is a bit lesser-known, but no less important, then the members of the draconic pantheon he is a member of. In fact, you could make the case that he is one of, if not the most important, member of the pantheon, rivaling that of the great Io. I think I’ll let you decide for yourself. In the meantime, our guest today is Chronepsis, Ruler Of Fate, Death, And Judgement!

(Chronepsis exhales and nods)

Meepo: So that’s all I’m getting? Not even a hello? Well, you nodded, which I suppose counts.

(Chronepsis stares at Meepo)

Meepo: Hm. Well, this interview will be… memorable. Quick question before we start. That harp floating around your head. Can you play it?

(Chronepsis snorts, harp starts playing on its own)

Meepo: Nice. Can you shred on it?

(Chronepsis rolls his eyes)

—–

1. WHO/WHAT IS YOUR PERFECT DREAM DATE?

(Chronepsis scratches a shape on the ground resembling two triangles with their top points touching)

Meepo: Hm. Okay. Well, that’s the symbol you see in games and stuff for hourglasses. I think I saw something in my notes about you mentioning an hourglass.

(Chronepsis stares at nothing)

Meepo: Ah, here it is. Says here you spend your time in a cave filled with hourglasses representing the remaining life of each dragon in the multiverse.

(Chronepsis continues to stare)

Meepo: Quiet night in with your special gal, got it.

2. WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE ABOUT YOUR LIFE?

(Chronepsis shapechanges into a human)

Meepo: Should I… I don’t… I don’t think I know who that is.

(Chronepsis shapechanges into a lion with a black mane)

Meepo: Okay, you look like Scar from Lion King. Oh, wait! Scar! Jeremy Irons! Got it.

(Chronepsis turns back to normal)

Meepo: Good choice. I assume he’d voice you in the animated movie. I think the prosthetics would be a little much to do it live action.

3. DO YOU READ THE COMMENTS ONLINE?

(Chronepsis blinks)

Meepo: Who am I kidding. You probably don’t even own a computer. Next question.

4. WHAT IS ONE THING YOU CAN’T DO, THAT YOU WISH YOU COULD?

(Chronepsis crosses his eyes and sticks his tongue out)

Meepo: Yeah, that’s a good point. Immortality probably does become a drag after a while. Not natural, you know?

5. IF YOU COULD HAVE LUNCH WITH ANYONE FROM HISTORY, LIVING OR DEAD, WHAT WOULD YOU ORDER?

(Chronepsis squints, lost in thought, then shrugs)

Meepo: Do you even eat anything?

(Chronepsis resumes staring)

Meepo: …You know, I’m just gonna put you down as a “free bread” kinda guy.

6. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE MONSTER?

(Chronepsis snarls silently and seems to grow multiple heads)

Meepo: Hydra. Nice. Hydras are cool. Hydras? Hydra? Hydrae? Man, I dunno.

(Chronepsis’ illusory heads whip around momentarily, then disappear)

7. WHAT’S THE DUMBEST, MOST BONEHEADED THING YOU’VE EVER DONE?

(Chronepsis’ harp starts playing the theme song to Interview With A Deity)

Meepo: Well, I never! It’s not exactly like you’re being the best possible guest you could be, either! I’m doing the best I can, but you’re just not giving me much!

(Chronepsis shrugs again)

8. WHAT WOULD YOUR BAND BE CALLED?

Meepo: You know, before you even say, I wanna guess. See if I can guess it.

(Chronepsis nods in deference)

Meepo: Alright, let’s see. Time?

(Chronepsis stares)

Meepo: The Clock Watchers?

(Chronepsis stares)

Meepo: How about No One Can Stop… The FATES!

(Chronepsis stares)

Meepo: I dunno. Portable Trampoline? World’s Biggest Hard Candy? Sippin Dat Sizzurp? I got nuthin’.

(Chronepsis makes a brief gesture with one claw)

(Meepo’s phone goes off)

Meepo: Oh, a text. Sorry about that. Give me just a moment.

(Meepo studies his phone for a moment)

Meepo: I assume this is from you. I don’t know what “hotararea de ieri pentru totdeauna” means. I don’t even know what language it is.

(Chronepsis blinks)

Meepo: You know, okay. You don’t want to tell me, fine. Give me a minute.

(Meepo starts pecking away at his phone)

Meepo: Okay, apparently- assuming this app is correct- it’s Romanian for “Judgement Of Yesterdays For Eternity”. Sound about right?

(Chronepsis nods)

Meepo: You couldn’t have just said that?

9. WHAT WERE THE LAST THREE THINGS YOU GOOGLED?

(Chronepsis motions towards Meepo’s phone)

Meepo: Okay, let’s see. (Meepo waits a few moments) …This is blank. It opened up three internet tabs, and none of them have anything on them.

(Chronepsis nods)

Meepo: Hm. So when I guessed earlier you didn’t own a computer, I suppose I was correct.

10. ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
-MAC OR PC?
-DC OR MARVEL?
-SONY, MICROSOFT, OR NINTENDO?
-STAR TREK OR STAR WARS?

(Chronepsis turns green)

Meepo: I… I don’t know what that means? You like green? Luigi, from Mario Brothers? Incredible Hulk? Greedo? You gotta give me something to work with.

(Chronepsis’ head grows fins on the sides)

Meepo: I got nuthin’. Wait, I have an idea. Hold that pose.

(Meepo takes a photo of Chronepsis on his phone, then types a few things and waits)

Meepo: (consulting phone) Are you supposed to be… Fin Fang Foom?

(Chronepsis flaps his wings)

Meepo: Uh, okay. For all you that don’t know, Fin Fang Foom is a giant alien dragon from Marvel Comics. So I guess he chose part two, and Marvel as his answer.

11. WHAT THE HELL, WHAT IS IT YOU THINK YOU’RE GONNA FIND?

(An hourglass appears in front of Chronepsis, which promptly turns over, emptying the sand from the top section)

Meepo: You find… that someone or something is gonna run out of time? That definitely sounds like something you would say.

—–

Meepo: Well, I think I’m gonna call it with that! I feel it’s safe to assume after that you all feel a little smarter for being able to figure all those out. I know I did. Here we are, my first time in the big chair, and I gotta play Charades for the evening. But hey, it was interesting! Thanks, Chronepsis, for visiting!

Meepo (well, I knew I would be getting a difficult guest one of these days)

* Note- not actually new or different

I’ve Been Debating When To Talk About This. The Debate Is Apparently Over.

Back a while ago- like, twelve or thirteen years ago- I happened to get in on the ground floor of something that only in retrospect did I realize would change my life. An acquaintance of mine from high school was putting together a Modern game, since Modern had come out the summer before, and Urban Arcana was about a month from release. A mutual friend knew that I played D&D, and so suggested me to him, if he was looking for more players. Luckily for me, he was, so I was asked to show up.

When I arrived, there was my school acquaintance, our mutual friend, and a few people I didn’t know. At that point, the team consisted of:

  • El, Mexican gunslinger
  • Hugo, underworld pit fighter
  • Hanis, expert hacker
  • Snake, military sniper
  • Vlad, federal agent
  • Jezebel, unregistered nurse

We played a session or two, then the DM bought a copy of Urban Arcana. The method with which the contents of the book became available to us ingame are too ridiculous to recount here, but suffice to say it was ludicrous. Literally the next session, we had a new player. Hilariously enough, the new person turned out to be Pain. That’s actually how, when, and where the two of us met. But that’s beside the point for this particular story. The team at that point consisted of:

  • El, lycanthrope gunslinger
  • Hugo, drow swordsman
  • Hanis, half-dragon hacker
  • Snake, half-fraal sniper
  • Vlad, revenant
  • Jezzebelle, half-celestial divine mage
  • Stone, grimlock boxer

Over the next three or four levels, we would switch DMs twice, lose Vlad, and see him replaced by:

  • Alec, catfolk drug dealer

And right around that point was when things started… happening. The player of Alec (who also played Vlad until he died) left the game after just a couple sessions, then Jezzebelle’s player quit maybe a month later. Her boyfriend, Hanis’s player, quit almost immediately after that. Then, due to unrelated matters, we took a break from playing for a month or two. When we returned to the game, El’s player was not invited to rejoin. By that point, however, we had found a new player to take over Jezzebelle. So by then (we were around level ten or so by this point, and it’s probably 2005 by then), the team was Hugo, Snake, Stone, and Jezzebelle, with the other four (Alec, Vlad, Hanis, and El) all relegated to occasional NPC appearances.

Over the next couple years, the sessions would happen more and more infrequently, until it was sometimes months between sessions. Eventually, they would stop altogether in approximately 2009, with the party at about level 17. Since then, we’ve played one session- in 2011, I believe- that was left unfinished. All evidence suggests it will remain that way permanently.

Looking back over what I wrote so far, I realize that I probably sounded a bit overly melodramatic at the beginning, talking about how it changed my life and such. But the thing is, it did. If I had never joined that game, I would have never met the people in it (including Pain), I never would have had a chance to play Modern (which, in case I haven’t mentioned, is my favorite RPG). Plus, this happened right after I had started playing D&D. I’d been playing for maybe two months when this Modern game started. I honestly can’t tell you how my life would be different if I hadn’t joined that game, because it’s affected my life in so many ways I can’t even imagine myself without it.

I spent six years with these characters, you know? I saw everything that happened to them. The clones. The aliens. The dragons. The kids. The castle. The mountains. The displacer beasts. (I understand those sentence fragments don’t actually mean anything to you, but rest assured there’s a story behind each one of those phrases that’s long enough to get a whole column out of. Each.)

In about 2010, we created a spinoff campaign that took place in the same canon as this Modern game. As such, it was retroactively dubbed “Alpha” to the spinoff’s “Beta”. The concept was that it would follow an unrelated group of characters while they visited the locations of the major events in Alpha, and saw how things had changed due to whatever had happened there. Unfortunately, in practice, the only connection between Alpha and Beta was that Beta was stated to take place three years afterwards. It turned into a weird amalgamation of Animorphs and Silent Hill. You see, that characters were children- well, teenagers- and they fought monsters like you would expect to see in something like Resident Evil. The characters never visited any of Alpha’s locations, or got involved in any of their old operations, or anything.

Which was kind of a missed opportunity, I suppose. But I have no one to blame but myself (since I DMed Beta, while I notably did not DM Alpha). Anywho, Beta didn’t last long- I have very little confidence in my DMing ability- and the idea of Alpha was basically done for, never to return.

Until.

Fast forward to about six months ago. During a writing exercise, I craft a story about Alpha. That brief mention I made of “the kids” earlier? Well, while Alpha was still going on, a lot of the characters ended up having children over the course of the game.

  • Hugo married a human and had a daughter, Lily.
  • Stone and Jezzebelle had a son, Jewel.
  • Jezzebelle also had a son with Snake, Evan.

Anyway, about six months ago, I wrote a story about the three of them adventuring together. And it got me thinking. See, since Alpha ended, the person that played Snake stopped coming around. So it was Hugo, Stone, and Jezzebelle, was all that was left. Each one of them, during the run of Alpha, had a child. And I had always wanted to bring back Alpha. But I know it’ll never happen.

So how about the next best thing? How about a campaign about the children of Alpha- Lily, Jewel, and Evan?

The only roadblock- in the intervening five years, I have not gotten any more confident about my DMing capabilities.

The Chief (there’s another game that, in its own way, is just as important as Alpha is. I sometimes refer to it as “D&D’s Alpha”, since it’s a fantasy campaign. Maybe one of these days, someone will tell you the story behind the Sons Of Fate)

IMPORTANT DDN INFO 2: THE INFORMING

Hello again, Larry here. After a bit of negotiating, we’ve taken care of business, and the (still truncated, sadly) staff here at the Doderman Defense is ready to get it going once again!!

First, however, a couple slight addendums to the normal schedule. First off, we’ve added a new staff writer (or, more specifically, promoted a former part-timer)! As a consequence, Chief will be stepping down as head writer of Interview With A Deity, with former co-host Meepo taking the reins full-time.

Second off, until the matter with the other writers gets resolved, the Doderman Defense will be continuing to operate at a more limited capacity for the immediate future. Because of that, the DDN will be doing what we should have done a long time ago, and are temporarily shifting our posting schedule. So, for the time being, the new update times for our content will be:

  • The Chief: Mondays
  • Meepo: Wednesdays
  • Mysterious Dr. X: Fridays

What that means for you, personally, is that that’s when those writers will update. They won’t necessarily always update with their personal columns every week. Meepo might do an Interview one week, then a Modern column next week, for example. But anyway, the writers are still putting their finishing touches on their articles (or, you know, waiting until the night before in a blind panic, whatever works best for them), so this schedule won’t actually be starting until next Monday. But I didn’t want to wait another week to let you, the beloved fans, know that your favorite stop for quality homebrew has returned!

See you right here next week, everyone!

L. Doderman (don’t worry, I’ll still be contributing occasional articles too)