Fandom & Gaming

Luck Deficit Disorder

Once upon a long time ago we were in the midst of a D&D campaign, one of the players was famous for losing characters. To be fair to him, they were all his fault. In this campaign he was going through characters pretty quickly, he’d rolled up six or so and the last one we pillaged a crypt and he’d pulled a necklace off of a remarkably well-preserved corpse. We were a ways down the hall when he said he wanted to go put it back because he felt like taking it would jinx him. We allowed as how we weren’t going to go back with him, but we’d wait a couple of minutes. We hear the crypt stone slid aside, then screams and the sounds of something being devoured. So, being good companions, we shrugged and moved on. Now he was without a character left to play. So, we let him play the pet pig from one of his characters. That pig was amazing, racking up the battle glories as we fought our way out. We were a week out of the closes town, too busted up to hunt, when we ran out of rations…and then he really was out of characters.

© 2017 – 2020, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

Fandom & Gaming

Gaming Loophole

Once upon a very long time ago (I was 14 or so) I was playing with a fairly new DM that let my character amass entirely too much power and swag. To counter this, he told me when I hit my next level he was going to take my character and retire it to demi-god status. I was a bit heartbroken, it was incredibly overpowered and badassed and what kid that age wouldn’t want a character like that. I was dodging fights and still gaining XP and coming closer to that dreaded time of surrendering the character. I think I was within 25 points when a random encounter roll put me in the same room as a succubus. He looked at me in horror and asked if I was going to kiss it to lose a level and hold on to the character a while longer. Kiss her? Hell no, I’m going to sleep with her! was my enthusiastic reply. Yes, I lost about 3/4 of my levels, but I still had all the swag and gear, so he still had to put up with me. He never got the character, I moved first, and nobody else would let that sucker in their games, but I made the most of the time I had him, and gloried in the stress I caused that poor rookie DM as he tried to find ways to kill it off.

© 2017 – 2020, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

Fandom & Gaming


Once upon a very long time ago my best friend and I made a road trip to what was either a small convention or a large RPG/Gamer meet. Take your pick. We were pretty early so we watched the Axis & Allies games for a bit. We saw a new game coming out called Star Frontiers. Checked out some Tunnels and Trolls, Boot Hill, Star Trek, Chainmail and who know what else. We also heard some rumors about something called ElfQuest. Around noon, the DM we were waiting for showed up.

This was comfortably into the 1ed edition AD&D days, but by now everyone had their own homebrew tweaks to the game. So, we say at the table with the DM and she started in on a bag of Whataburger, she’d had a long and hungry ride to get there. So Buck and I got out books and dice and snacks together and the mandatory 2-liters of Mountain Dew and the backups ready and sat back to relax while she scarfed.

About this time, two guys wandered up. We’ll call them Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumbass. Dee was a pretty quiet sort, Dumbass wasn’t. He looked over the table, dropped his bag next to Buck’s spot with a loud crash and looked down at the feasting lady at the head of the table. “That’s a player’s chair, sweetheart,” he said, “You’ll have to stand behind your boyfriend and watch when we start.”

She rolled her eyes and replied that she was the DM.

He called bullshit and I replied with my best sunday-go-to-meetin’ manners. “Dickhead, she’s here to run the game at this table, so yeah, she’s the DM.”

He looked over at me, at this time I was around 17 and skinny as hell. I mean, tease your hair to keep your pants up skinny I’ve gotten better since, obviously.


He proceeded to make a bunch of noise about wasting a table on a chick game, so I got up, grabbed his bag and carried it to another table and dropped it off. My buddy Buck stood up when he started to say something to me and since Buck was 6’4” and of the muscular persuasion he decided to keep it quiet, since he was a weedy-looking sort with muscle tone like a canned ham and a quarter of his body weight was zits. So, Dee and Dumbass wandered off and the gaming commenced, and it was EPIC! Fights so hard we were rolling dice with sweaty palms and dripping brows But, we kept hearing him making crappy little comments all through the game. Finally, they made a break for the bathrooms and Buck and I called for a break.

Sadly, Dee wound up stuffed in a tall metal trashcan headfirst and somebody beat on the sides of the can for a while. Dumbass went headfirst into the toilet. We never did find out who would do such a thing, and I’m still not sure to this day why my shoes were soaked so bad I had to run out and change into cowboy boots before we could finish the session, I must have really been sweating those dice rolls.

© 2017 – 2020, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

Fandom & Gaming

Meteor What?!

One upon a long time ago, I was on a deployment and we were playing D&D one night to have a little fun and kill some time while we waited for the aircraft to return. I’m DMing and running an NPC in a wizard duel with a player, I go to throw the spell and brain-locked on the game. Finally I yelled out “Meteor Bukkake!” At least one double-nostril spray of mountain dew and I had a few minutes to kick start my brain while everyone is laughing. I still can’t think about a meteor swarm without a chuckle.

© 2017 – 2020, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.

Fandom & Gaming

My Lifelong Battle Against the Chain-Mail Bikini

Back in about 1979 or so, in my teenage years, I found myself in the oddest of arguments with someone who’s name I can’t recall, but I do remember that he smoked mind-boggling amounts of marijuana. I can’t say he was a pothead or stoner, because quite frankly that just doesn’t capture the scope of the amounts he consumed. Cheech & Chong amounts.

Damn, I went and got distracted again, you’d think by now you leaned to rein in my digressions, but no, there you go being an enabler. Wink

Anyway, so I was discussing the seeds of a concept I had for not only stories, but this way-too-cool game I found out about called Dungeons & Dragons. First of all the Sinsemilla Kid wasn’t at all approving of D&D, he said it would do weird things to my mind.

Oh sweet irony.

But, his main objection, as he thumbed through the latest issue of Heavy Metal was with a notion I had that the bad-ass sword-swinging knights in vast amounts of steel and leather would be men and women that had proven themselves in huge nasty battles with each mile of entrails and barrel of blood lovingly documented.

I said I was a teenager, you expected anything else?

So, the aforementioned weed-chimney looked at me like I was insane. “Chicks can’t be knights.”

Wait-a-friggin-minute… did he just look up from Heavy Metal, a magazine depicting women that made Barbie look properly-proportioned, and telling me that my notions of fantasy reality are skewed? Ok, this is a debate I’ve had many times, but I once again raise my standard and say “DOWN WITH THE CHAIN-MAIL BIKINI!”

One of the more interesting parts of writing fiction, especially fantasy is that you get to build an entire world, you draw the maps, place the oceans and mountains and forests, and then you tweak and tinker and consider things like would jungle and desert be found in close proximity? What creatures will there be, and why? Its not enough for me to know there is a dragon, but how they came to be, and what can they do, and how hard would one be to kill?

But how does one justify women in something that could only be referred to as a chain-mail bikini? I mean is it that hot there? Why doesn’t it cover the more likely targets for an attacker, like the gut and lower back? Padding. No I don’t mean a female warrior should stuff her bra, I mean that chain resting on skin is nearly no protection at all. And with the little bit of her covered she’s going to chafe, sunburn, windburn, roast, freeze and attract the attention of everything that could be considered the wrong sort for miles around.

Fantasy has to have fantastical elements, but a woman dressed like that is only handy for attracting the interests of teenagers and teen-agers that grew up and now have really bad comb-overs and only emerge from their mom’s basement to go see who’s wearing the hottest Xena costume at the upcoming Con.

Well, that may be harsh, but c’mon!

The formula that makes fantasy work is having a proper mix of the real and the fantastic. Build a world that has understandable structure and laws so that when the really weird starts to happen the reader doesn’t roll their eyes.

It’s a little something I like to call blue-collar fantasy.

By the way, women can be knights and kick some serious ass.

© 2009 – 2020, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.