RPG-a-Day 2018 – Week Two: Wildest Character Concept

I normally don’t go for wild concepts. Sure, I’ve played a misanthrope halfilng druid, or sex-crazed sharpshooter criminal, but nothing too out there. The wildest concept I’ve ever had at my table, though? It was when I was running D&D 4E and one player floated an idea for a replacement character should his PC die that made me decide to try to keep him alive no matter what: A Vampire Pixie Paladin.

I’m sure there are all sorts of meta-game reasons why that’s awesome, but as I have a visceral reaction to vampires (they’re parasitic monsters and thus shall they ever be treated as such in anything I write), I just didn’t even want to deal with that level of cheese.

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RPG-a-Day 2018 – Week Two: Wildest Character Name?

The wildest character name I’ve ever come up with that wasn’t a joke name (like Gristle McThornbody the dwarf or Wond-R-Boy for Paranoia) is my Tycherosy Hound for Blades in the Dark: Uxorious Gethsemane-Prince, the Crimson Crow, a member of the Barbican Bastards… who is currently resting after being stabbed repeatedly during our last heist. At least he lived.

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RPG-a-Day 2018 – Week Two: HOW… has gaming changed you?

Gaming has been a part of my life for so long, I’m not sure I can accurately guess what things would be like without it. I started playing D&D in 1982 when I was 8 years old. All of my friends I met through gaming or gaming conventions. I’m writing fiction because of gaming. It’s been part of the constant background of my life for so long, I don’t think I would recognize a life without gaming.

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#RPGaDay2018 – Time to Catch Up!

Over on my gaming blog, Doctor StrangeRoll, I’ve been participating in the fifth annual RPG-a-Day celebration.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll have those posted here, too. In the meantime, you can get caught up over at Doctor StrangeRoll:
Week One: WHAT…
… do you love about RPGs?
… do you look for in an RPG?
… gives a game “staying power?”
Most Memorable NPC?
Favorite Recurring NPC?

Week Two: HOW…
… can players make a world seem real?
… can a GM make the stakes important?
… can we get more people playing?
… has a game surprised you?

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Best of Indy Nomination Time!

Thanks to everyone who came to see me on Author’s Avenue this weekend!

Each year, I participate in a local contest: Best of Indy. You can to vote daily to nominate your favorite Indianapolis business and personalities and I would appreciate your support in the Best Local Author category! So far, I have been the ONLY sci-fi/fantasy author represented on the list of nominees. I’m a firm believer that genre does not determine whether or not something is literature or worth reading.

Nuvo’s Best of Indy Contest nomination phase runs from today, August 16 through September 13, 2017.
People who receive the most nominations will appear on the ballot at the end of September.
Here’s how to find the Best Local Author Category:
  • Click Arts & Entertainment
  • Press “Continue” to proceed to page 2
  • Press “Submit” to get to page 3 where you can type in “Hans Cummings” in the Best Local Author field (as shown in the attached picture).
  • Press “Submit” again and type in the Captcha code.
  • Press “Submit” one final time to record your nomination.
Notes: Nuvo upgraded their system, so you’ll need to create a new login id and confirm your registration once editors@nuvo.net sends you the confirmation email. If you don’t see it, be sure to check your Spam folder. You can opt out of future mailings when you register.
Thank you for your support!
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The Gingerbreadening, Part the Third

matrix-gun-rack-oDecorating the gingerbread structures is done with copious amounts of royal icing and modeling chocolate. And candy. Lots of candy. I feel like Neo when he decides to rescue Morpheus, except I’m asking for “Candy, lots of candy!”

(If I was really dedicated, I’d crack into that gif and change all the guns to candy, but that’s a LOT of work.)

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Now one may think, “Gee, that looks good enough to eat!”, and you would be correct. However, you should NOT eat it. It’s been sitting out for days, collecting dust and cat hair. The modeling chocolate has been kneaded and sculpted by hands. Sweaty, germy, human hands. The cinnamon stick columns are basically tree bark and only good to eat ground up into a fine powder (I don’t recommend the Cinnamon Challenge, though).

If you want to eat it, do what we do: make a veritable army of Gingerbread Mans (yes, I call them “Mans,” you can thank StrongBad for that) just for eating (and invading Gingerbread villages).

If you want to see all the pictures, here’s a handy-dandy slideshow¬†at Photobucket. Unfortunately, since I didn’t take the time to rename all the files to put them in chronological order, it’s kind of a random look at the week+ we spent, rather than anything that makes sense.

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The Gingerbreadening, Part the Second


(Trying to get WordPress to put images where I want them is always a struggle when I have more images than text, so I apologize for the presentation.)

In one respect, building a gingerbread house is like any other construction project: you need to start with a plan.

(You can click on the images to enlarge them.)

Many gingerbread books include plans for the structures they feature (some do not). There are also some available online. You can also create your own by constructing your buildings out of cardstock or cardboard, then using the finished pieces as templates for your baking.

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Part of our prep work also includes making modeling chocolate. Domed and round structures are really hard to make out of a cookie, so using a flexible medium eliminates a LOT of stress.

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The Gingerbreadening, Part the First

There comes a time of year when spices emerge, vast quantities of butter, sugar, and eggs are acquired, and the baking begins.

This is not an activity that comes without planning. Architectural plans are drawn up and mock-ups are created in cardboard, then used as templates.

Pounds upon pounds of confectioner’s sugar (aka icing sugar aka powdered sugar) will be used in quantities that could make the kitchen look like a cocaine den.

This time of year is called THE GINGERBREADENING.

2014-11-22-18-20-52Each year has a theme. The last time The Gingerbreadening happened, it was a village square. This time, it is Tim Burton’s “A Nightmare Before Christmas.” Normally, part of the challenge of building gingerbread structures is keeping everything straight. It’s like building a house of cards: if your cards were made out of cookies. I don’t know if purposely constructing warped, crooked structures is going to make this easier or more difficult.

Thus far, only the base has been created. Well, that’s not true. All of the gingerbread pieces are complete and ready for assembly. But, in order to assemble them, a baseplate must be made ready. It is little more than a foil-wrapped cardboard box covered in white fondant.

Fun fact: different brands of mini marshmallows are different colors. Even when the coloring additive in all of them is Blue 1. One batch had a definite blueish cast. Another was more yellow. The third was sort of a neutral, off-white. Once the building are in place and decorated, it is doubtful anyone will notice.

Echo Station 3-T-8. We've spotted Imperial Walkers on the north ridge!

Echo Station 3-T-8. We’ve spotted Imperial Walkers on the north ridge!

My wife left me alone with the base while the fondant was drying. This was the result.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

RyllBobFactual statement: I am Bob. My friends call me Ryll Bob. It is because I am a Ryll.

Affectionate mocking: They are not very witty.

With sincerity: I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving. There are many thing for which one can be thankful. Friends, family, health. It is my hope you are thankful for all of those things. I am thankful for my friends at Cytherean Academy: Zack Jackson, Jenny DuBois, Dravs, and Xal. There are not many Ryll here and they make life less lonely.

My knowledge of Earth culture is limited. I have never even been to Earth. As I understand it, Thanksgiving, like many holidays on Earth has changed meaning over time as people of different beliefs have appropriated it. For us, in the 43rd century, we see it simply as a time to celebrate the good in our lives and to give thanks for those things. It is a time to put aside differences and grievances and enjoy the time we have together.

With puzzled hesitation: Dravs has told me there is an Earth custom of singing a song for this celebration. I do not know how he knows this, as he is Devoran and generally seems to be ignorant of Earth customs, but he is my friend and I will trust him.

[Error: translator not programmed for harmonizing]: Happy Thanksgiving to you. Earth is a melted zoo. Turkeys hate thanksgiving. But they taste really good.

With great concern: That is not a very good song. It was my understand than it would rhyme more. Dravs may have been pulling a prank on me.

Insincere threat: He will pay for this.


Happy Thanksgiving from VFF Publishing!


Ryll Bob drawn by Stan! You can read about Ryll Bob and his friends in Zack Jackson & The Cytherean Academy and Zack Jackson & The Hives of Valtra.

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Nominate Me for Best Local Author – Indianapolis

Nominate me for Best Local Author – Indianapolis

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