#RPGaDay2015 Day 21: Favorite RPG Setting

Forgotten RealmsAnother easy answer. My favorite RPG setting is the Forgotten Realms. Although it has existed for various editions of the game, my absolute favorite version of the campaign is the first one, the gray box released for AD&D 1st Edition, in 1987. This was the first campaign setting product I purchased for myself, because I wanted it, independent of the wants/needs of my gaming group, and it left a mark on me. I didn’t understand why exactly back then, but it is clear as day now, looking back.

The Forgotten Realms would go on to be super developed by TSR/Wizards, to the point of becoming a joke. But back then, the gray box? That wasn’t the case. That box was brimming with possibilities. There was a lot of detail about the world, yes, but it wasn’t an exhaustive encyclopedia, more like a catalog of bits of fact, myth, and legend. You would get just a few words, a few sentences, about a place, a group, a situation, and then it was up to you to fill in the blanks, to figure out their future. The gray box was a snapshot in time of the Realms, and what happened next was entirely up to you, up to me.

I ran with that. The Realms became my home away from home, my default fantasy world. All my adventures took place there. I became a citizen of this world as much as I was of my own. In many ways, I still am.

A few years ago I wrote a post titled Why I Love Thee, Forgotten Realms, in which I go through my history with the campaign setting, and write about why I fell in love with it. Check it out.

#RPGaDay2015 Day 20: Favorite Horror RPG

vtmThis will surprise no one. My favorite horror roleplaying game is Vampire: The Masquerade. I’m not a fan of horror in any form, as much as I may have enjoyed the couple of Call of Cthulhu games I’ve played in the past.

Vampire is different. It is personal. It is internal. It is about the horror of what you become when you let yourself go. It is about letting go.

I’m going to cheat here. A few years back I wrote a post titled Why I Love Thee, Vampire: The Masquerade, and you should just read that to know why this is my favorite horror roleplaying game.

[Answers in Sociology] Chapter 12: Family

As part of my BSN program I’m taking a Sociology course. Each week we have to answer questions from each chapter and post them to our online discussion board. I’m reposting some of my answers here if I find them to be insightful or conducive to conversation. Our textbook is You May Ask Yourself: An Introduction to Thinking Like a Sociologist, by Dalton Conley.

CHAPTER 12: Family

Define Nuclear family and elaborate on how it became the norm.

According to Talcott Parsons (Conley, 2011, p. 428), the nuclear, or traditional, family is the term given to the family unit consisting of the idealized model of a male breadwinner, a female homemaker, and their dependent children. This model emerges after the end of WWII and the return of the troops to the labor force, and the women who had taken over their duties to the home space. In the 1950s, it accounted for the majority of families in America, with 86% of children living in a two-parent household, and 60% of children born into homes that fit the description (Conley, 2011, p. 428-29). Parsons argued that the nuclear family was the ideal family model because it fulfilled “society’s need for productive workers and child nurturers (Conley, 2011, p. 432).”

Is this still the traditional family form in the United States?

Not by a long shot. According to Livingstone (2014), based on a Pew Research Center analysis, “Less than half (46%) of U.S. kids younger than 18 years of age are living in a home with two married heterosexual parents in their first marriage[,] a marked change from [73% in] 1960, and [61% in] 1980.”

If not, what other forms of ‘family’ have emerged and discuss the social causes for their emergence?

There’s quite a variety of family arrangements beyond the traditional model; many of them have always been present, but were silently ignored as they were not the norm. Whether divorce rates are rising (Ingraham, 2014) or falling (Cain Miller, 2014), remarriages are actively on the rise, with 15% of children, whether born to the remarried couple or from a previous union, living in a remarried household (Livingstone, 2014). There is also cohabitation, where couples are in an intimate relationship not formally sanctioned by a legal or religious body; single-parent households, like the one I grew up in, with my mother raising three children; extended or multigenerational families, with various generations of the family living together for cultural or economic reasons; and even no-parent families, where children live with another relative.


Cain Miller, C. (2014). The divorce surge is over, but the myth lives on. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/02/upshot/the-divorce-surge-is-over-but-the-myth-lives-on.html?_r=0&abt=0002&abg=0

Conley, D. (2011). You may ask yourself: An introduction to thinking like a sociologist. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.

Ingraham, C. (2014). Divorce is actually on the rise, and it’s the baby boomers’ fault. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2014/03/27/divorce-is-actually-on-the-rise-and-its-the-baby-boomers-fault/

Livingstone, G. (2014). Less than half of U.S. kids today live in a ‘traditional’ family. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/12/22/less-than-half-of-u-s-kids-today-live-in-a-traditional-family/

#RPGaDay2015 Day 17, 18, 19: Favorite Fantasy, SF, and Supers RPG

Catching up on three-days worth of posts by writing about my favorite fantasy, sci-fi, and supers roleplaying games.

Rules_Cyclopedia_coverFavorite fantasy RPG, without a doubt, is Dungeons & Dragons. Let’s face it, without D&D, I would not be a gamer. This was my gateway drug, my first friend, my doorway into a whole new world of wonder. Yes, I may not play it right now, I may not have played it for a few years, I may not be thrilled about the current incarnation of the game, but at the end of the day, I still love D&D. My favorite iteration of the game was the collected Basic D&D rules in the Rules Cyclopedia, which is why I include the cover image to the right.

CyberpunkMy favorite sci-fi game is Cyberpunk 2020, which I already wrote about on Day 4. My sci-fi tastes tend to veer towards street-level glitzy future dystopia, and Cyberpunk delivers. Now, that said, for years I was totally enamored of Shadowrun as well, because it was D&D Cyberpunk, and sometimes that’s what you wanna play. And because I can’t make up my mind, my Sci-Fi Top 3 is completed by the very awesome Robotech RPG. I never cared too much for the system, but it was Robotech, and how could I not love transformable mecha?

conventioncomicsampleLastly, my favorite supers RPG is ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying. I’m not really into superhero RPGs, but this one hooked me right from the start. It uses a system that’s kind of a combination of the old Marvel Super Heroes RPG and Fate, featuring random character generation and quirky powers. It is easy to learn, easy to play, and lots of fun. I ran a game of ICONS at Gen Con a few years back where the player characters were con attendees given powers based around different types of games, and they had to battle the might of game creator Steve Kenson turned into the villainous RULES LAWYER! It was a blast.