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The Whirlwind Called Life


Life's been a whirlwind this summer and will be for the next five weeks or so. The RPG I've worked on for the past few years for 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming, Exploding Aces, went before the public as a Kickstarter. I'm very pleased to tell you all that it hit its initial funding with just under four weeks to go. Now we can aim for the stretch goals, if we hit some of those it will be most exciting.

As Co-Chair of Great Falls Gaming Rendezvous, a new gaming convention here in Montana, I'm in the midst of the whirlwind. Things are moving fast. The event opens in just over a month, October 5-7, here at the Townhouse Inn in Great Falls. I've spent the last few weeks juggling the gaming schedule, writers workshop, panel schedule, and volunteer scheduling. Many things still aren't finalized and will come down to the next couple of weeks. It's been very rewarding seeing Montana's gaming community come together to make GFGR a reality.

On the writing front my short story, “The Sewing Room Witch and Uncle Kitty,” will be published next month in an anthology called “The Mystical Cat.” I'll be sure to post when it releases. This summer has been busy and exciting and the great culmination will be the first week of October with Great Falls Gaming Rendezvous. Afterward I thing I'll take a long winter's nap.  

The other part is excited and ready to take on the challenges coming my way. The number one challenge is the writer’s workshop. One part of me believes that the critiquing authors will totally hate my submission and call me a joke. I’m also worried about how I’ll perform on the panels I’ve been assigned to. Will I seem authoritative, knowing what the hell I’m talking about, or will I get laughed off the platform. Arggg… I know that I’ll do well on both the writer’s workshop and the panels, but that kernel of fear is there. Maybe I should just use it to ignite my passion and overcome the fear. Good course. Hey, I think I just gave myself a pep talk. 

MisCon Schedule

CJ Ruby’s Schedule at MisCon:


8 – 10 am, setup 4 Winds Merchant Table

Noon – 2 pm, @ 4 Winds’ merchant table

Meet George RR Martin

Fri 2 – 3 (Great Hall)

Meet Kenneth Hite

Fri 3 – 4 (Great Hall)

Writers' Workshop Meet and Greet (Writing)

Fri 4:00 - 4:50 PM, (Great Hall)

Pros and Guests: Justin Barba, S. A. Bolich, Margaret Bonham, Patricia Briggs, M. J. Engh, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Deby Fredericks, James Glass, Andrea Howe, Vicki Mitchell, J.A. Pitts, Joyce Reynolds-Ward, Eldon Thompson, Parris ja Young

Moderator: Justin Barba

Participants and Critiquing Authors get together to meet and discuss how the workshop works. They'll also discuss workshops in general, and how to take criticism. Open to anyone interested in the Writers' Workshop

Convention Gaming 101 (Gaming)

Fri 5:00 - 5:50 PM, (The Cave) Rm 159

Pros and Guests: Justin Farrington, CJ Ruby, Keith Seyffarth

Moderator: Justin Farrington

Gaming at cons is a whole different animal than rolling dice in your basement. Here's what you need to know.

Tackling the Silver Screen

Fri 6 – 7 pm, (Great Hall)

Opening Ceremonies (Geek Discussion)

Fri 7:00 - 7:50 PM, (Great Hall)

Pros and Guests: Justin Barba, Rob Carlos, Kenneth Hite, CthulhuBob Lovely, George R. R. Martin

Moderator: CthulhuBob Lovely

Attend our opening ceremonies and watch CthulhuBob cry. Also find out what's happening at MisCon 26.

8 - 9 pm, dinner

9 – 11 pm, Gameshow of Thrones (Throne Room)


10 – 11 am, @ 4 Winds merchant table

Writers' Workshop Great Hall (Writing)

Sat 11:00 - 12:50 PM, (Great Hall)

Pros and Guests: Justin Barba, Margaret Bonham, Patricia Briggs, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Deby Fredericks, James Glass, Andrea Howe, J.A. Pitts, Joyce Reynolds-Ward, Eldon Thompson, Parris ja Young

Moderator: Justin Barba

MisCon's World Famous Writer's Workshop. Submit your writing to us a month before MisCon, show up at the hotel, and meet with our professional critiquing authors and editors.

1 – 2 pm, short lunch or @ 4 Winds 

Pixels or Player's Handbooks? (Gaming)

Sat 2:00 - 2:50 PM, (Upstairs Programming 2) Rm 260

Pros and Guests: Kenneth Hite, CJ Ruby, Robert Thomson

Moderator: Kenneth Hite

Online RPGs provide a lot of bells and whistles and are easily accessible for players. Can table top rpgs compete? Can these same technologies be used by traditional gamers to enhance tabletop games?

3 – 6 pm, long lunch w/ the guys or @ 4 Winds merchant table

What's the Deal With Card Gaming? (Gaming)

Sat 6:00 - 6:50 PM, (Upstairs Programming 1)Rm 259

Pros and Guests: John Goff, CJ Ruby

Moderator: John Goff

There's a whole subset of gaming out there that relies less on what you roll and more on what you draw. Collectible and non-collectible Card games.

7 – 8 pm, E Publishing Today (Great Hall)

9 – midnight, late dinner, gaming, drinking


Running Games for Kids or Inexperienced Gamers (Gaming)

Sun 10:00 - 10:50 AM, (Upstairs Programming 3)Rm 261

Pros and Guests: CJ Ruby, Robert Thomson

Moderator: Robert Thomson

Roleplaying with kids or inexperienced gamers has its own special challenges, but also its own special rewards. Our GMs talk about the ins and outs of it.

11 – 1 pm, @ 4 Winds merchant table.

1 – 2 pm, System vs Story (Rm 159)

2 – 3 pm, So You Want to Run a Convention? (Rm 260)

3 – 5 pm, @ 4 Winds merchant table

5 – 6 pm, The Writing is on the Wall; The Future of Gaming (Rm 159)

6 – 9pm, dinner

9pm, Skywarrior Book Launch Party (Rm 261)


10 – 11 pm, @ 4 Winds merchant table.

Dwarves vs Elves (Gaming)

Mon 11:00 - 11:50 AM, (Great Hall)

Pros and Guests: Josh Aronoff, Justin Farrington, CJ Ruby

Moderator: Justin Farrington

It comes down to this, the bearded fighters of the mountains vs the graceful archers of the forest. Which race gets first place?

12 – 1 pm, @ 4 Winds merchant table

I Wanna See The Movie! (Geek Discussion)

Mon 1:00 - 1:50 PM, (The Cave) Rm 159

Pros and Guests: Bob Davis (Whatshisname), Justin Farrington, Rob McDonell (Illuminati Rob), CJ Ruby

Our panel of Geekologists discuss what books, games, comics etc they would like to see conceptualized on the big

2 – 3 pm, Lore of Swords (Great Hall)

Closing Ceremonies (Geek Discussion)

Mon 3:00 - 3:50 PM, (Great Hall)

Pros and Guests: CthulhuBob Lovely

Moderator: CthulhuBob Lovely

Come see CthulhuBob cry for joy and catch a sneak peek at what’s in store for you next year at MisCon 27 May 2013.

4 pm, Stone of Accord. 


Getting ready for MisCon 26. George RR Martin will be there and the crowds will probably be crazy. I’m very excited to be on a number of gaming panels. I’m on one with the Gaming GoH Kenneth Hite, and on another with John Goff (of Dead Lands fame), we will be talking about card games. Hope I can get some gaming in this year, but the schedule is so crazy that if I do get into a game it’ll have to be a pick up game. I’m bring my Exploding Aces Titanic game “Terror Under a White Star” it’s a vampyre hunt aboard Titanic with a slight complication thrown in the mix. Hope I get to run this with some experience gamers. Maybe I’ll run it as the secret GM only game. 

Jazzed to attend Skywarrior Books Launch Party on Sunday night. Hopefully one of the books launched will be “Mystical Cats” an anthology which I have a story in.

The writer’s workshop is going to be fun, although I’m a little nervous about what the critiquing authors are going to say about my novel excerpt. I’ve never presented an excerpt before I have always written a short story. So I’m very anxious about how it will be perceived. 

Great Falls Gaming Rendezvous will also be announced during MisCon’s opening ceremony. We will be announcing our Guest of Honor at that time. Hopefully that someone will be in the room. We want to create some buzz about GFGR and collect some donations to get it off and running. 

SIFRP - House Alastar edition

Finally, more news from Westeros. Here's a link to the SIFRP game I'm playing in at the Sandbaggers Game Club. Enjoy... 

Мои твиты


SIFRP Report - A new story begins

We started a SIFRP campaign (a parallel game to mine) at the SGC with Robert Thomson as Narrator. We had four players last night with another joining next week. Each player created two characters, which I believe is a must for SIFRP. It's not a conventional rpg where characters march around the land in a group fighting bad guys/monsters and taking their stuff. It's a dark but subtle game of politics, love, hate, schemes, betrayal and false hope. The incredible game system created by Robert J Schwalb emulates GRRM's epic tragedy to the T.

I'm excited to begin playing my characters. Ser Eucliff Vermusgen, called Black Tongue because of his blunt manner and his disgusting habit of chewing Myrish black-leaf. "Boy, where's my spit bucket," he shouts to his squire,  Humphrey Alastar (grandson of his liege). Black spittle flies from his lips darkening his white beard. Did I mention Black Tongue is 70, he doesn't much care what folks think, he knows when he's right and when he's wrong. Black tongue has an animal cohort, a Wolfhound named, Porthos. 

My second character is a 13 year old boy, born into a family of traveling mummers. They are the Starhaven Mummers, House Alastar's players. Anton Jelico also has an animal cohort, an extremely large bob-tailed ally cat name Stranger. Anton has the quality (or curse)  third eye. He dreams strange dreaming's. This session he dreamed a boar attacked a white skull stomping it three times and crushing it on the third blow. The skull bled. The next day a Dornish Knight sworn to house Manwoody (who's emblem is a white skull) was maimed in a hunting accident by a wild boar. (Ser Eucliff has begun calling the knight, "Ser Pigstuck,". Black tongue strikes again.)

The session was near ending when a banquet was held a Castle Starhaven where Anton sang (and earned 11 silver stags) and he met Septa Meredith introducing her to Stranger, who was picking on dogs, Porthos and Black Tongue weren't there. He told the Septa of his dreams and interest in the Seven, the Stranger being his favorite. His father is from Pentos worshiping the Shepard, his mother from Lys she pays homage to the Lord of Light. 

Next week is a wedding. All the PCs were boarding ships to take them to Helm Crest near King's Landing. Can't wait to get back to Westeros. It's fun to be a player in such a cool system with a terrific storyteller. I only hope to learn a few thing and become a better Narrator/GM. 


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Guy Fawkes' edition / SIFRP Report

A new game of SIFRP game begins tonight. This time I'm a player not the Narrator. Last week we created our House and new characters. Our new House is in the Stormlands, on the eastern coast of Westeros. The story of House Alastar begins 10 months into the events depicted in GRRM's Game of Thrones (the time when House Glastone's story left off). I made two characters: Anton Jelico,13 year old, only son of Visaryes & Vivian Jelico. My father is the leader of the Starhaven Mummers (Lord Standish Alastar's Players). My other character is the venerable landed knight, Ser Eucliff Vermusgen, nicknamed "Black Tongue" for his disgusting habit of chewing Myrish black leaf. He resides at Hall Millwater and is 70 years old. He's a tough old codger. 

House Alastar's words are, "Stubborn, Fierce, Loyal, " their signet animal is the badger. Their coat of arms is on a Per Pall field, the charge is a white badger above a azure base, the sinister is orange, the dexter is black. House Alastar is suffering a period of decline. They did not support Robert in his rebellion against the Iron Throne. Our current Lord, Ser Standish Alastar's, father and older brother took the black after Robert won his throne. House Alastar is powerful and wealthy, but lacks status. 

Both of my characters took animal cohort as a quality. Ser Eucliff's wolfhound, Porthos, and Anton's half wild-cat Stranger. Anton also has 3rd eye, so he often dreams his cat's nocturnal wanderings.

I'm looking forward to meeting the other characters, and await the wraith of Robert, our Narrator, I did off two of his characters in the Glastone campaign (he burnt 2 destiny points to save his squire and Valaryan steel heirloom). 

I hear that winter is coming. 


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