Q: What were you for Halloween?
A: On fire.

October. I love it. Cool days, comfortable nights. If there is any better skating weather, I don’t know it. Add to it the best single holiday of the year, and things are hopping around the Stroh house.

This past week the school held its Halloween celebration. Games and fun, along with a fairy-tale walk for the wee ones, and a haunted house (put on by the 8th grade for the older students). A good time was had by all.

H and I acted out the Rumplestiltskin story. We did it in 3 parts, beginning with ol’ Rumple spinning gold out of straw. Then, led by the maiden, the walkers snuck on Rumble as he danced around his bonfire, cackling and shouting into the night:

Today I bake, tomorrow I brew
Today for one, tomorrow for two.
And still that pretty little dame,
never guess Rumplestiltskin’s name!

Finally we closed out our skit with Rumple approaching the maid and demanding she guess his name. She got it right (on the third guess) every time this year, but we’ll see if she’s so lucky next time around.

We were a 2-person crew, so in between our skit I would stoke the bonfire before hustling back to the spinning wheel. Late into the night, probably the 4th or 5th skit of the evening I was dancing around the fire, flaming brand thrust high into the night sky, and smelled something burning. Turned out ol’ Rumple had managed to set his wig and beard on fire. I finished out the act then batted myself out before scurrying to act 3. In my rush to complete the skit, I must have missed a few embers because as I acted out the last of the skit someone noted:

“Um, Rumplestiltskin, you’re on fire.”

Clearly an overstatement. My immolation was greatly exaggerated.

Raising Hell and Bales
This weekend I got to help out with a bale-raising. Straw bale construction is a big deal in this climate. Bales insulate well, and are renewable. All you need to make a building then is the framework and workforce.

Probably half a dozen families turned out to help stack bales into 11 ft. walls. It was a great community event, especially when you get to see immediate results from your work.

Plus, I’ve been missing the physical labor. This was a good chance to get out and do some honest work. That, and chainsaws were involved.

Above the Chemist
I just received a copy of a German DCC by some guy named von Harley Stroh. Into the Wilds, Deutsch, will soon be available. Collectors unite! Given the move to 4E, this may be one of the last conversions we see of the 3.5 adventures.

Behold my shipping weight! I could annihilate you in an instant!
Five years and 500,000 words later, Castle Whiterock is hitting the stands. I found out about this project way back at Gen Con 2006, and Doyle was working on it long before that. If you had a chance to get your hands on the pre-print copies at last Gen Con you have an appreciation for just how big this one is. Thicker than a phone book, this adventure might just stop low caliber bullets.*

Foolish claims aside, Whiterock was my chance to write a Greyhawk-esque town to rival my memories of the box set of the Old City. Writing the town was a last minute bid in a project that was already way over word count. The publisher likely would have been just as happy (or happier) if I left the town out, but you can't do the setting justice without it. The 20k came as a surprise to everyone else, but I think the box set is better for the writing. I fervently hope you guys agree.

*Don’t try this at home. Before you go building a Whiterock flak vest, I need to test this one out at home.

And finally, as noted last post down, this weekend I'm headed down the mountain to sleep in the back of my car, skate, write, and hang out at art installations/tattoo parlors. Does it get any better?

I think not.


Dyed Man's Party
Ye gods, but I’ve been delinquent. So much going on, there’s no time to talk about it. (If you don’t have time to write about self-immolation, what DO you have time to write about?)

Anyhow, no time for blogging, Dr. Jones.

In lieu of content --- or love --- I might as well tell you where I’ll be Friday night. Make it there, and you can beat me up for lack of posting.

Katalist Konsepts, a new Fort Collins tattoo shop, is hosting the artwork of my friend and yours, Rob Atkinson. The reception runs from 6 to 10, with tunes provided by the one and only Slim FadEy. And if you're looking to get inked, they're running a $10 off deal.

Show up, throw down. Bring your board for the after party. I decree that a good time shall be had by all.




...cause Saurus asked for it.



Punk, Punk, Goose
More and more I'm reminded just how small of a circle this gaming-thing is.

To wit:

Back in the day I was a huge fan of the Blackhammer Project. If you were into R. Talsorian's Cyberpunk, Blackhammer's digs were the place to be. All the cool web design, all the best home brew --- the folks at the Project did what the rest of us bunny punks dreamed about.

Surfing the other night I came across the Project's new home: The Dread Gazebo. Lo and behold, the Hellhound himself was running DCCs for the ENWorld folks. Even cooler, he was running some of my work.

Instant geek love on H's part. Blackhammer playing in my game. Very cool.

IGGYS: A Pointless Story About a Knife
OR Size Does Matter

Back when we all wanted to write material like the Project, my friends and I wasted all our time mudding. We'd game all night until the Swedish servers kicked us off for their school day, then go grab dinner-at-dawn at Denny's and sit around recounting our night's triumphs and failures.

They were good times, especially if you were a shy kid just off the farm, who had never really had much in the way of friends with the exception of your little brother who was ten times more socially adept than you could ever be.

Anyhow. We were mudders, largely, because we were social misfits. We wore leather, rode skateboards, and found solace in shared exile. For lack of a better moniker we were punks. And sometimes --- just occasionally --- we’d get harassed by the jocks and would-be gangsters. So we got into the habit of carrying knives.

Flash forward a decade. Harley’s headed to GenCon and --- simply out of utility --- tosses his knife into the luggage. It's a long-ish flick knife, with a tanto style blade. Heather calls it the “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka” knife.

The knife came in handy during booth set-up, opening boxes and what not, but after the first day I stashed it in my courier bag and forgot about it. Not much chance of getting jumped on the streets of Indy, especially when you have the Saurus riding shotgun with the guy that threatens to bite off his own arm* whenever he gets cornered in a fight.

Sunday comes and I leave to catch my plane home. On the way through security I get pulled. What could possibly be the problem, officer?

…Oh yeah…

IGGYS didn’t make it back into my checked luggage. It’s neatly tucked away in my carry-on, conveniently located in case I need to get at it really quick.

Okay, not a problem, I’ve been here before when I (accidentally) tried to bring a collection of metal files onto a plane. You just mail them from the airport to your destination. Not a big deal –

Except that a crowd of TSAs have gather around IGGYS. They've opened the blade and are measuring it against a ruler. Hmmm.

(About this time, Case, all-around good guy and author of the brilliant City of Brass, makes it through security, assuring the gathering crowd that I’m world famous. In retrospect, the only way he could have made it through security was because half the staff was examining IGGYS. I was the decoy.)

Finally an officer breaks free of the crowd and walks over to me. Very politely she informs me that state law for Indiana restricts the blades of pocket knives to less than 4 inches. After that, you need a permit or you get arrested, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

The length of old IGGYS?

3.75 inches.


*True story. I'll tell it to you at Christmas.