Happy Holidays!

Snow is falling, lights are twinkling, there’s a chill in the air, and a pile of torn up gift wrap all over my floor. My kids are running around the house testing out new toys, reading new books, playing new video games, and shrieking in glee over the letter Santa left them last night.

It’s Christmas morning.

Some people say this is a magic time of year. A time for reaching out to loved ones and old friends. A time for reflection. For gratefulness. For spreading joy and cheer. For some people it’s a time of faith and prayers. For others it’s just another day. For me it’s always been about family.

It’s that one time of year we always make the time to visit our extended family, even though we don’t really have the time. It’s the time we share meals, and hugs, and showers gifts on the kids. It’s the time to say ‘I love you,’ and to tell your friends and family how much you appreciate them.

And so, in spirit of the holidays, we here at d20diaries would like to take the time to say to each and every one of you: thank you.

Thank you for your time and your attention. Thank you for your feedback and kind words. Thank you, thank you, and a thousand more times, thank you. It means the world to us that so many of you choose to spend some of your precious time with us.

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Yule! Happy Holidays! And if you’re currently celebrating a holiday I haven’t mentioned, then happy that, too!

We wish you all the best today, tomorrow, and every day afterwards.

Best wishes,

Jessica
(and family!)

Holiday Dragon

A Whirlwind Week!

Whoooo! It’s been a busy week.

My kids had their school holiday concert this week. They were supremely excited for it. My daughter’s been practising her holiday songs and dancing around every day since they first started practising two months ago. She would give me a mischievous smile every time I saw her practising, then shut the door in my face. Haha. Anyway, the concert was a lot of fun. They sang Hanukah, Kwanza, Christmas, and holiday songs, and had a ton of fun. I had my niece and nephew with me for both shows (they do an afternoon and an evening show) which I suppose might make some people nervous. What two and four year old want to sit nice through a concert, never mind the same one twice? But they’re usually pretty good for me, and I bring them with me every year, so they were pretty excited to see their cousins put on a show for them. They had a lot of fun and were actually really, really good. Which was nice. I got to enjoy the show too, haha. I parked my niece in her stroller at the edge of an aisle so she could see, but other parents kept getting up and standing in front of her and blocking her view. I suppose they figured she was ‘just a baby’ and wouldn’t mind. Ha! She’s two and at that age where she’s using new words every day. So, every time someone purposely stood in front of her she’d shake her little fist and exclaim, “HEY! CAN’T SEE! YOU! GO! I CAN’T SEE!”

So many parents jumped and looked around shocked to see it was this tiny, cute little chubby toddler giving them a scolding. Some moved, some ignored her, some scowled at her, some jumped a foot like we were on some gag show, but either way I had a laugh. She’s adorable. Haha.

Later in the show Santa made an appearance and went through the crowd greeting kids so my niece and nephew were just AMAZED. “SANTA! ITS SANTA! LOOK AUNTIE! SANTA!!” My kids up on stage were pretty excited about it to. Apparently Santa had made a few visits to their rehearsal ahead of time to say he was coming and greet all the kids. My daughter explained to me later that night that someone from her class had written him an email to invite him to the concert, so OF COURSE he came. It was cute.


Last night we went to a fancy gala for my husband’s work. Princess Auto is celebrating its 85th year in business. Not only that, it’s a small Winnipeg-based, family owned, Canadian business that stretches from coast to coast. Many of you won’t have ever heard of Princess Auto before, but let me start by saying: no, they don’t sell cars. Haha. They were originally an auto wrecking business based on Princess Street here in Winnipeg, but as the years went on their owners were always adapting to the current and future retail market. They got into army surplus at the end of the war, mail order catalogs, and later stores. They kept changing with the times and now they have 43 stores across Canada and are opening one more that I know of this year, with a few more in 2019. They sell products in all kinds of categories: hand tools, outdoor, farm, trailer, driveline, hydraulics, and surplus (where you can find good deals on just a bunch of.. stuff. Haha). Where I live people either have never heard of Princess Auto, or LOVE IT. Like, OBSESSIVELY love it. Their customers are absurdly loyal. I suppose it’s mostly due to their ethos. Princess Auto has made it their mission, and always has, to treat their customers and employees with kindness and respect. They’re one of those businesses where the regulars come in and hang out all day, chatting and visiting and browsing. Staff probably knows them by name, what they do for a living, and about their family. Like at an independent coffee shop, or your local gaming store. A little community where everyone’s welcome. I’m just some employees wife, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the owners, CEO, and all kinds of other wonderful people plenty of times. A lot of customers bring in gifts for the staff and store, just because. I have some smoked fish and pepperoni sticks made by some happy customers sitting in my fridge right now.

Anyway, the folks over at Princess Auto are super nice, and they always throw a great party, so it’s one of those work get-togethers that is always fun to go to. For the 85th Anniversary Gala they hosted a big dinner and dance, with a live brass band, free food and drinks, prizes, gifts for everyone, and (very important) free cab vouchers to get home. There were staff in from all over the country, and guests of honour from the early days of Princess Auto. It was a lot of fun.

My kids went for a sleepover to my Mom’s house for the evening, so I’m sitting in my living room as I type this with a hot cup of tea and… silence. There’s just the tap of the keyboard as I type, a distant drip in my sink — I really should get up and turn that off — and my husband’s snoring from the other side of the apartment. It’s so… still.

I’m not used to that. Being still.

Even when my kids are at school I’m watching other young children and trying to stop them from tearing my modest apartment apart. Life is never quiet for me. And certainly never still.

It’s weird. But nice. Give me another few hours and I’ll miss my kids. Haha. But, for now, it’s the first quiet break I’ve had in a long time.


Later this week it’s my birthday. I’ll be turning… (pardon me while I count) … 33! Yes, I literally had to count. Honestly, once I turned 18 (which is the year you’re an adult where I live in Canada) I just stopped counting. I’m an adult! That’s all I need to know. Haha. I don’t do much for my birthday. I’m not one of those people who has a big party, or even family over really. I usually just take a day off from babysitting and spend the day with my husband. My birthday wishes? Same as always! Hugs from my kids, a day free from chores and cooking, and a slurpee for a treat.

I’m a fan of the simple things. Haha.

Not sure what I’ll be doing this year. Taking my kids to school. Probably cleaning my house and cooking. Haha. But, my husband booked the day off (he’s a sweetheart), so maybe I’ll make him do all my chores for me.

Hey! A girl can dream!

So, from me and mine to you and yours, here’s wishing you all happy birthdays throughout the year. I value every one of you that comes by to visit our little corner of the internet.

A thousand thanks!


In other news, PaizoCon registration has officially begun!

PaizoCon will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in SeaTac, Washington over Memorial Day weekend (which is May 24–27). I may admit that I’m a little jealous of all you folks who are going to attend. Haha. At PaizoCon you can meet your favorite Paizo artists, authors, designers, developers, editors, and personalities. You can also play games at the Pathfinder and Starfinder Society organized play tables, attend panels and workshops, get some snazzy sneak-peeks, and (of course) buy stuff! This PaizoCon will also mark the relaunch of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (which has been getting an overhaul) and their new Adventure Path: Curse of the Crimson Throne. The Starfinder team  apparently has some secrets to share, and Pathfinder Second Edition is sure to be a hot topic, as well.

The Guests of Honor for PaizoCon 2019 are Liane Merciel (author Pathfinder Tales: Hellknight), Wayne Reynolds (freelance illustrator whose work includes every Pathfinder RPG hardcover release and the Pathfinder Iconics), and The Glass Cannon Podcast (weekly live-play podcasters who play Pathfinder and Starfinder. I’ve previously written about them here.).

Curious about pricing? Look no further!

  • 4-Day Badges are $75.00
  • 4-Day Kid’s Badges are $40.00
  • PaizoCon Preview Banquet Tickets are $45.00 and include an exclusive commemorative item available only to attendees at the Preview Banquet and through auctions or prizes at select charity events.
  • Purchasing a 4-Day Badge (regular) and a Preview Banquet ticket together are $110 ($10 savings)

For more information on PaizoCon 2019 and to register head over to PaizoCon.com. Want to learn more about the special guests? Check out LianeMerciel.com, WayneReynolds.com, and GlassCannonPodcast.com.


In other news, Wayfinder is announcing their accepted authors this week. Wayfinder is a free Paizo magazine written by fans, for fans, which features a ton of new content for the Pathfinder RPG. The issues are always a free download on Paizo’s website, and are always a treat to read. Usually they follow a theme and this year it’s not about Pathfinder at all! It’s about Starfinder! Absalom Station to be exact. They’ve been accepting entries from fans since the summer, and reading through them for another two months, and now this weekend they’re supposed to announce everyone who’s articles and submissions they’re going to use. My kids each created a creature for Wayfinder this year, and I submitted a Weal and Woe article and two themes. We’re all excited to see if any of us made the cut. My kids, particularly, are on the edge of their seats. It’s adorable. We’ve got our fingers crossed.

Wish us luck!


Finally, I want to talk about Pathfinder Friday. This past week’s episode was AWESOME! Erik Mona, Chief Creative Officer and Publisher of Paizo, was on the show and was an amazing guest. Erik has been with the team at Paizo the whole time. From back in the Dungeon and Dragon Magazine days, when Pathfinder wasn’t even born yet. This marked his first time on the show since they got they’re snazzy, comfy set for the twitch stream, and wow! They should really get him on more often!

Erik shared a ton of information with us about the Starstone! From behind the scenes inspirations, to the history and lore of the Starstone, how it arrived on Golarion, it’s effect on the world, its powers, and how you can use it. Just a ton of interesting information. Some of it was even new to me (exciting!).

For those of you who don’t know, the Starstone is part of a giant meteorite that was called down from outer space by some ticked off aboleths in order to put those uppity humans back in their place. The meteorite was slowed and detoxified by two Azlanti gods, Acavna and Amazden, which prevented much of the devastation that could have been caused at the expense of their lives. But, the impact still shook up the world. Civilzations ended, the sun was blocked from the sky, the terrain was literally reshaped, some races fled to different locations, which even created new races. In short, it was a BIG DEAL. A long time later a survivor by the name of Aroden found the stone, raised it up from the oceans, created the isle of Kortos, became a god, and made a city for his worshippers called Absalom. Thanks Aroden! When you interact with the Starstone you undergo a series of phantasmagoric visions and experiences that is different for everyone. This is known as the Test of the Starstone, and it sort of pits yourself against yourself. This inner test determines if you’re worthy to be a god, and if so, what you’ll be god of. If you pass you can become a living god, which is sort of like a demigod and is the most available method for ordinary people to become divine. Some people managed (Norgorber, Iomedae, and Cayden Cailean), while many more died in the attempt. Around the Startsone Aroden built a temple and filled it with dangerous tests, traps, and guardians.

“The first part of the Test of the Starstone, the dungeon part, tests your character sheet, but the second part tests your character,” said Erik Mona.

The Starstone is an artifact which had a huge historical impact on Golarion, it’s people, and the Pathfinder Campaign Setting as a whole. It even has a role to play in the Starfinder universe. Which is why this episode was such a neat one to get to see. Because, despite its importance, the Starstone isn’t really something that Pathfinder has focused on. It set the stage for the game and the world, but then it’s been sort of… idle. Nothing’s really happened with it lately, in and out of game. This is something that they hope to remedy in Pathfinder Second Edition. Erik explained that they’re going to do the Test of the Starstone one day, but the question is when and how. Is it better served as an Adventure Path or a high level deluxe adventure? He also mentioned that the team at Paizo is putting in a lot of thought into some central themes which may have been neglected over the last few years. This includes Absalom (which only PFS has focused on), Aroden, the Starstone, and much more.

If you haven’t seen the most recent Pathfinder Friday episode, I highly suggest you give it a watch. You can watch it and other previous episodes on Paizo’s Twitch stream, as well as on youtube. Although, I highly recommend watching it on Twitch so you can see the Q&A portion of the episode as well.

Enjoy!

Have a great week everyone,

Jessica

Holiday Wish List!

The holidays are on their way! For many of us that means its time to buy the people around you gifts. But, what do you buy for those d20 gamers on your list? Well, read on! We’re sharing our top picks for gift giving!

First off: books! More specifically: new books that those gamers in your life probably don’t have yet. Our favourites?

Next up? Minis! Perfect for your favourite GM!

Also a perfect gift for the GMs in your life? Maps.

Finally? Accessories! Here’s our favourite awesome d20 related products!

But wait! Got young ones? So do I! Here’s my favourite d20 products to pick up for your kids!

We hope you enjoyed our top picks for holiday gift giving!

All the best, everyone!

Jessica

 

Snow, Colds, and Falling Behind

Do you ever have those weeks when you feel totally and completely busy, but by the time the week’s over and someone asks you what you’ve done you realize there’s nothing much to say?

That’s me this week. Heck, that’s me this month. The past two months, even.

I’m constantly busy with… nothing. Stuff. Just everyday life. It’s normal for most people, I suppose. And totally fine. Just hectic! (Yes, it deserved that exclamation point!).

Winter’s here to stay. It’s cold, but not really cold. There’s snow, but it’s not really snowy. It’s a strange sort of in between. It’s cold enough that everyone in my house needs to wear full winter gear, but it’s also much warmer than it should be. We’ll get way colder yet this winter. We’ve got a bit of snow, but not a enough to make snowmen or go tobogganing (that’s sledding to those of you outside Canada).

With the cold came colds. My son’s been slowly fighting off a sickness for over two weeks. He finally took a sick day for it, and went back to school just the other day. And of course he came home sick again already. Poor thing. My daughter’s getting sick now, too. Not surprising, of course. But, unfortunate. Luckily it’s not a horrible cold. They’re not nauseous or anything. It’s just one of those lingering ones where you just have a sore throat, cough, sniffly nose, and a some mild fatigue. THAT. That’s what they’re trying to power through. For weeks.

My kids are getting excited for Christmas. They’re practising a ton of songs for their Winter Concert at school, which means I get to hear them sing and dance each day. My daughter’s particularly excited. She loves to sing. They’ve also made their wish lists, and decided who they’re going to ask for what gifts. Top of their list? A bunk bed and a Nintendo Switch. Also, my son wants to raise two hundred dollars to donate to help save the Piping Plovers (adorable little shore birds) of the Great Lakes. I’ve told him he needs to set his goals a little lower there, but he’s a dreamer. My little environmentalist. I guess I need to ask for a winning lottery ticket for Christmas. Haha.

We’ve got swimming lessons once a week to squish in amongst chores and trips to the laundromat. My kids adore swimming, but they’re about as graceful as a moose. They get the job done, but it does not look pretty. Haha. My daughter’s particularly adorable to watch. Even when she sinks and is clearly the worst swimmer in her class she’s got this humungous grin on her face. She’s just so damned happy to be there. She’s got such a great attitude.

In other news, I’m about to have two fewer kids on my hands. My sister-in-law is off on a trip with her sister to Egypt — she’s obsessed with Egyptology — which means my brother took some time off to spend with his kids and I find myself without them for two weeks. What the heck am I going to do with myself when my own kids are at school? I’ll be ALONE. That’s like… unheard of! It’s also awesome! I’m so behind on everything it’s my well-deserved chance to catch up. I’ve got chores to do, errands to run, a blog *cough cough* to pay some much deserved attention to, the rules to Traveller to learn, hundreds of surveys sitting in my inbox, and campaigns to prep and GM. Perhaps most importantly I have a ton of work to do on a special project I’m working on with my brother.

Special project? How intriguing!

Yes! It is!

It’s called Realms of Atrothia, and you can expect to hear more about that in the very near future!

In similar (but not quite related news), the call for Wayfinder Issue #19 submissions ended on Halloween, and both myself and my children submitted articles for consideration. Wayfinder is a free fanzine you can download on Paizo’s website. Issue #19 is going to be a Starfinder issue that focuses on Absalom Station! My kids each put together an Alien Archive entry, while I wrote a ‘Weal or Woe’ article, and two new Themes. Although I’m nervous, my kids are literally bouncing with excitement. They can’t wait to hear if their submissions will be accepted. Unfortunately, they have a bit longer to wait. Authors won’t be informed until early December if their creations will be used. Yes, that’s at least two more weeks of hearing “Mom, do we know yet?”, “Mom, how much longer do I have to wait?”, “Mom, how much longer NOW?”, and “What’s taking so long?”

Man, I hope they both get in. I can imagine the tears if only one of their articles gets accepted. I’m sure if their articles get accepted and mine don’t I’ll never hear the end of it. Haha. That’s alright. I’m sure my pride in them would far surpass my personal disappointment. I hope.

Wish us luck! (And best of luck to any of you who submitted an article to Wayfinder!)

On the Pathfinder Playtest front I have to admit, I am playtested out! Thankfully no more rules updates are coming. But, I honestly just want to go back to the warm comfort of regular Pathfinder for a while. Preferably a long while. Unfortunately, that’s not in the cards, as I’m still involved in a play by post run of Doomsday Dawn and another of the Pathfinder Society Playtest Scenarios. Oh, well. C’est la vie! I’ll enjoy the experience while I still can.

You know what I AM enjoying? Starfinder Wednesdays on Paizo’s Twitch Channel! If you’re not watching them you really should!

All the best everyone!

Jessica