Extra Life Update

As promised I have an update on my Extra Life plans for this year. I’m going to be running Dungeons & Dragons all day long, perhaps with a break to play a board game or two as a palette cleanser. I’m hoping to live stream, but that will depend on getting some tech together in time. But at the very least I’ll be live-tweeting the crap out of every moment, with copious pictures and the odd video.

And you can get involved! If you want to play at my table for a shift, you need to do two things:

1) Donate a minimum of $20 to my Extra Life campaign (or be participating in Extra Life yourself), and

2) Send me an email at brent.jans@gmail.com with your name, phone #, and the shift you’d like to play (8am-Noon, Noon-4pm, 4pm-8pm, 8pm-Midnight, Midnight-4am, 4am-8am). I can take five players per shift, and I’ll let you know when you email me if the shift you want is available. You can sign up for multiple shifts, but make sure you can be there for everything.

Location is still TBA, but you’ll be responsible for transportation to and from, so keep that in mind if you sign up for late night/early morning games when transit isn’t running. I’ll have some snacks and maybe a dinner available (likely chili in the slow cooker) and coffee on, but please bring any snacks you particularly want.

If you don’t have time to play, you can still get involved in our game! Donate at the various levels to unlock the different ways you can affect the game:

  • $5 – Give a free re-roll to the players or DM, you choose.
  • $10 – Give the party a free Potion of Healing
  • $20 – Specify an NPC that I’ll work into whatever situation the players currently face. Just give me the NPC’s occupation, one personality trait, one physical trait in the Notes section along with your donation
  • $50 – Pick a monster they’ll have to encounter; OR, Give a random player a +2 bonus to a random ability score
  • $100 – I’ll grant the party an Uncommon or better magic item.
  • $250 – You decide what magic item the party gets.
  • $500 – The party will encounter the malevolent artifact of your choice. Hilarity will ensue.

I’ll have more details going up soon, including a streaming link when/if I have it.

Your donation is tax-deductible and will make miracles happen for families who desperately need them. You can click the “Donate” button at the top of my donation page to make a safe and easy online donation. I’ll also be at various events over the next month or so, so you can also donate to me in person. I’ll post details here.

Which RPG Do You Think Deserves Greater Recognition? #RPGaDay

What’s this? Two daily RPGaDay posts in a row!? What crazy dreamworld is this!? Yes, but first you have to read through my shameless plug.

It’s that time of year again, nerd folk, when I begin my run up to Extra Life. If you’re unfamiliar with Extra Life you can follow the handy link for more info, but in short it’s a day where I and many like me play games for 24 hours to raise money for sick kids. It’s a fantastic cause and I encourage you to join in or support it however you can. Of course one of those ways is to slide over to my snazzy donation page and make a donation. Every donation counts, no matter the size. As I’m fond of saying, if everyone who followed my on Twitter donated just $5, the price of a fancy coffee (mmm, fancy coffee), I’d rocket past my $1000 goal in not time. And then set a higher goal for myself, because I’m like that.

But on with the main event!

This is actually a tough question to answer because we live in the age of crowdfunding. Kickstarter, and other platforms to a lesser degree, have allowed us to get a lot of previously underrated or cult classic games back in print. Just a few years ago I might have answered this question with Villains & Vigilantes, for instance, but they have a new version out thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign. I could answer just about any game from the Eighties and Nineties, and tomorrow find out the Kickstarter has begun.

So maybe it’s time to make my wish come true. I would love an updated version of Sky Realms of Jorune. I feel like it was a game that didn’t really land when it first came out in 1984, partly because they immediately published a second version in 1985, which put some folks off. I discovered it on a family shopping trip to Edmonton, when I went to the little gaming/comic store that existed in West Edmonton Mall at the time. I was taken by the weirdness of the cover art, so I gambled some allowance money on it (and a D&D module, because I’m not crazy) and brought it home. I devoured the rulebooks on the drive back to Fort McMurray and new I wanted to run this game. Unfortunately, my friends weren’t as into it as I was. A game centered around trying to be come a good citizen just couldn’t compare to stomping through a dungeon, killing monsters and stealing treasure. So it languished on my shelf, often read and never played.

I know there was a 1994 third edition, and I heard mixed reviews. But I would really love a brand spanking new version of the game. The game was already ahead of the curve thematically, I want to see that theme supported by new mechanics and everything we’ve learned in the 30+ years since it was first published. Not to mention new art…sorry, I seem to be salivating on my keyboard.

What game would you like to see get its due? Answer in the comments.

Extra Life 2017

It’s that time of year again, when good gamer boys and girls stay up playing games for 24 hours in support of Extra Life! While the “good” part might be questionable, I am definitely a gamer and I’ll be doing my part on November 4 to raise funds for my local children’s hospital, the Stollery. I’ve provided a handy link in the sidebar to my fundraising page, so if you are so inclined please head over there and donate. Any amount is appreciated and all of it goes to a great cause. If you can’t donate, you can still help out by spreading the word and raising awareness. Share my page link with your circle of generous gamers and encourage them to do the same. The more people who know equals the more people who can donate.

Monday I plan to be back in the saddle for regular updates, and I have a few posts I’ve been working on and tweaking, getting them just right for your eye holes. And honestly, probably a few posts I’m just going to wing, that’ll hit your eye holes like a squirt gun filled with Mountain Dew. Stingingly refreshing!

Extra Life 2016 is Nigh!

extra-life_blueExtra Life is nigh! This Saturday I’ll take part in 24 hours (actually 25 hours, due to Daylight Savings) of gaming, all to support the Stollery Children’s Hospital. With my team mates from Team #Knifeshoes, I’ll be playing a mix of computer games, board games, and RPGs throughout the day. I’ll be live tweeting all day long, and possible live-streaming sections of the day as the mood strikes.

Extra Life is a fundraiser near to my heart. Of course the gaming aspect of it appeals to me, and I’m glad to have something that allows me to use nerdery for good. But I know first-hand how much it sucks to be sick, really sick, as a kid. When I was 14 I came down with pneumonia and was laid up for months at home. Under doctor’s orders I couldn’t leave the house, so I didn’t get to do much of anything except read and occasionally have the gang over for RPGs. I spent a lot of hours alone in my room, sick and bored out of my mind.

All of that is to say, if I can raise money that helps keep a child’s stay in hospital shorter, or at the very least help buy things to keep them entertained while they’re going through a stressful and/or boring hospital stay, I’m on board.

I hope you’ll support my Extra Life fundraising by donating. Or donate to a person or group near you, there are thousands taking part and likely one of them is close by. Donations of any size help, and every donation is appreciated. Maybe this is the time you go back through all those pre-paid Visa/MC gift cards and donate the dregs that have been sitting there unused. It all adds up.

But if you aren’t able to help by donating, you can still help by getting the word out. I’m going to be posting and tweeting through the day, and I know others will do the same. When you see those tweets and posts, consider RTing or Sharing to help us spread the word. Your reach can be a great boost to our Extra Life fundraising efforts and help whoever you’re boosting reach or surpass their funding goal.

Thanks in advance for any donations or boosting that comes my way, and stay tuned on November 5th for more Extra Life fun!

Extra Life is Come Again!

extra-life_blueAfter supporting a number of children’s charities over the years, I adopted Extra Life as my charity of choice about four years ago. It’s the perfect pairing: supporting a cause I believe in by doing something I love. As someone who was sick a lot when he was a child, I know how much that can suck. Adding in the suckage of it being a disease which is not easily curable (or even incurable) is something I wouldn’t want for any child. The money raised by Extra Life goes to helping hospitals in the Children’s Miracle Network, and in my case, the local Stollery Children’s Hospital. Besides helping children in immediate need, they also conduct research which will someday reduce and hopefully eliminate the diseases which strike at children.

If you aren’t familiar with Extra Life, you might wonder how I raise the money. Simply put, folks can pledge a certain amount to my fundraising effort (I’ve set a $1000 goal this year), and in return I pledge to game for 24 hours. This year I’ll be game mastering a Pathfinder game over the course of the day; for a seat at the table you either have to be running your own Extra Life fundraising effort, or make a minimum $25 donation to mine. Taking a cue from some other great tabletop campaign pages I’ve seen on the Extra Life site, I’ll also have ways people can donate at different levels in order to have an effect on the game throughout the day. I may also be live-streaming the game for the first time, but I haven’t confirmed the details on that for myself, so we’ll see.

It’s also a great social event for my friends. My buddy Devin started Team Knifeshoes for Extra Life, and I’ve been a proud member for the last three years. On the day we all gather at a single house, computers and snacks in abundance, and game our way through the 24 hours. It sort of has the feeling of a LAN party, for those what gamed in that era. It’s an event tailor-made for the introvert in me; being with my friends in a social environment without the pressure to converse (GMing doesn’t count, though is an inherently verbal endeavor). And by November 5th we usually have some snow on the ground, so it also feels good to snuggle up together (metaphorically or not) against the cruel winter winds outside.

There will be future posts with details regarding the game I’m running and how you might, if you’re in the Edmonton area, sign up for a seat at the table. But if you’d like to make an early donation, please check out my secure donation page. While I will collect donations in person, donating through my page is the easiest for all concerned; the money goes directly to Extra Life and you get a receipt from them right away via email. You can even donate anonymously if you wish. And if you’d rather wait and see what I have in store for the game before donating, that’s cool, too. Stay tuned in the coming months for those updates.

And I’ll be saying this a bunch between now and the end of the campaign this year, so get used to it now: Thank-you to everyone who has already donated this year! Between online and in-person donations I’m already a fifth of the way to my goal, and looking forward to hitting and maybe even surpassing it. If the past generosity of my friends and fellow gamers holds, I have no worries on that score.

Emerald Spire/Extra Life Update

4A-7uuL6ek1iJEjSSYLUMGTE5DruF6OZu_TNdGAkW1oAs I mentioned, I’m GMing The Emerald Spire for Extra Life this year. In preparing for the big day, I’ve had to make some changes to how the dungeon delve will work. If I were running this at home, for instance, the normal flow of events would go something like:

  • party hears about dungeon
  • party heads to dungeon
  • party explores dungeon for a bit
  • party returns back to town as supplies/hit points dwindle
  • repeat as necessary.

Because I’m trying to cram as much game play into the day as possible, I’m trying to eliminate everything except for the “party explores dungeon” part of the cycle. But resupplying is critical; the group needs to get access to new magic, magic items, spells, and equipment if they’re to remain competitive with the denizens of the Spire dungeons. Of course, I can’t just have a travelling magic-shop appear at random throughout this super-dangerous dungeon complex, that would be a little ridiculous.

So the solution I came up with solves a few of my issues. About 500 years ago, the local ruling goblin tribe used the Emerald Spire as a unique form of execution; troublemakers were dropped in the dungeon to survive or not as best they could. That goblin empire was destroyed, but “good” ideas never die. Fast forward to now, where the nearby Fort Inevitable, home of an order of Hellknights working to keep order in the area, have revived the practice of exile to the Spire (duration dependent on the crime). For them it has the potential to solve two problems: if troublemakers don’t survive, they get their desired execution. If they do survive, they can provide valuable intelligence about the Spire’s interior and occupants. With the added incentive of being allowed to keep any mundane treasures they find (anything not an artifact, basically), most exiles opt to explore rather than cower in a corner.

With varying success, of course. Which leads to the solution to my resupply issue; the place is going to littered with previous failed explorers. Depending on the level, that could mean bodies lying all over the place, or it could just mean the occupants have a bigger store of supplies than usual, as they loot the bodies of unfortunate prisoners. Either way, the players should be able to get the supplies they need without feeling too much of a pinch. And of course the good stuff is farther down, since only the truly skilled (and well-equipped) would get down to the lower levels before meeting an untimely end.

All in all, it looks like we’ll have an hilariously fun day of dungeon-delving action. I’m looking forward to the shenanigans and the inevitable rising character body count.

There is still time to sign-up to play; I have a few seats left, so if you are here in Edmonton and want to get involved, please fill out the form and join us. And if you want to support the game but aren’t able to join us on the day, please donate. Every bit helps, and it all goes to support the Stollery Children’s Hospital.

Extra Life is Almost Here!

4A-7uuL6ek1iJEjSSYLUMGTE5DruF6OZu_TNdGAkW1oOnce again I’m taking part in Extra Life, a fundraiser by gamers to raise money and awareness for children’s hospitals all over the world. Last year I did a mix of tabletop and computer gaming. This year, however, I’m going full tabletop, baby! For the full 24 hours I’m going to GM the Emerald Spire Super Dungeon, a 14-level behemoth put out by Paizo. I’m really excited to give this a whirl, and I can’t wait to see what shenanigans my table gets up to.

Because this is a special event, I’ve made some special rules just for the day. We’re using pre-gens to cut down on non-playing time. Levelling will happen “MMO style”, with characters levelling as soon as they reach the right XP amount (we’ll be using the Fast track). Players will have just 10 minutes to level their character, and then we move on. If a character dies, that player must make an additional donation to Extra Life to bring the character back and keep playing.

And characters are going to die. Oh, yes. But I don’t want to waste in-game time with the party trying to find ways to being a character back to life. So for this event, the Emerald Spire itself will bring characters back to life, interfering with the natural order of things for its own twisted purposes. But just because it brings you back, doesn’t mean it brings you back…right. I’m creating a list of Emerald Spire Resurrection Effects, which should provide hours of entertainment. Well, for me, anyway, and that’s the important thing.

So if you’re in Edmonton and want to play, you can sign-up here. And if you aren’t in Edmonton, or are but can’t make it on Saturday, you can still support our brave adventurers and Extra Life by donating. Every bit helps and is appreciated.