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Monday, September 19, 2016

The 6 best albums to game by...

I have been running games now for almost 30 years In that time, I have come across a few albums that are simply perfect for running games, no matter what genre or system. Every single one of these albums works because they are perfect at creating a mood without being distracting. What makes them work, is that they are mostly instrumental albums, and any lyrics are not in English, which keeps players from trying to sing along, thus creating a distraction for the game. Without further Adieu, and in no certain order, here are the six most perfect albums of background music for gaming you can buy.

1. Dune (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
The Toto soundtrack to the David Lynch movie. Simply epic....

2. Peter Gabriels Passion
This album is the soundtrack to the film, The Last Temptation Of Christ. Do not let that sway you in any way, judge the album on it's own merits. Gabriel immersed himself in the music of the region, Arabic, Aramaic, and Hebrew traditional music fuzed with a modern edge, this album is a must own... Also of note is his follow up, Passion Sources, which is a compilation of some of the music that inspired the sounds of his album.
3. Akira Symphonic Suite
 This albums is a masterpiece, this album is so good at keeping players on their toes, not knowing what to expect from one moment to the next, breathless with enthusiasm and trepidation, that when I worked at the Devil's Darkside Haunted House in Kansas City when it opened in 1991, I convinced the owners to use it as background music... it continued being used after I left in 1996, presumably up until it closed.

4. Rodrigo Y Gabriela 11:11

The best musical act you have never heard of. This acoustic guitar duo operate with a level of talent most popular musicians can only dream of. If you are not hooked after watching that video, you have no soul. Of all the labums on this list, this might be the most distracting, if only because anyone who listens to it will eventually start tapping in time...

5. Beastie Boys The In Sounds From Way Out
This is the first instrumental album from the Beastie Boyz, a funk and acid jazz excursion showcasing that the Boyz talent extends far beyond just rhymes and punk. Their second instrumental album, The Mix-Up, is every bit as good.

6. Joe Satriani's Surfing With The Alien

Guitar God, Joe Satriani's signature album.

There you have it, my picks for best background music. Feel free to argue at me in the comments section.

Friday, August 12, 2016

I've got spurs that jingle jangle jingle.....

Writing for the site again, it's going slow, but I finally have enough of a foundation that the train is moving... I have am picking scabs at dozens of new entries for the district guide, and in fact have a solid outline for pretty much the entirety of the project detailing Night city beyond the sourcebook. I have collaborators on that project I believe that I am excited to be working with, John and Nancy Taft...John and I are kind of Heart Bypass buddies, we had them at roughly the same time, but we are long time Cyberpunk pals. That's in addition to some of the small contributions to the District Guide project made by others over the years. Anyone else who wants to collaborate on the project, if you have ideas from your campaign you wanna see made into Datafortress 2020 canon, please get with me, here, on facebook, or by e-mail. I am also giving lots of thought to Glass Road, and think I might be moving forward on that simultaneously. And finally, I have a side project, not related to Datafortress, one I may actually try and sell/get published... its a couple of ideas that have been kicking around my head for a while. I also think I may have finally figured out a position I can run game from, so I might be running an online game or two very soon. Any of my CP peeps, or any of my friends really if you wanna try something new, if interested, let me know as above...

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A small rant on image farming and wiritng inclusively...

Writing fan supplements for an RPG offers advantages ages that other forms of writing do not. For one, it often allows me to choose the illustrations first, and write based on them, as opposed to the more traditional way of writing, which is to pray you can find or create an illustration to match after the fact. However, occasionally I need to find very specific images, because I have written myself into a corner. And because I can't do anything easy, the specifics of these images are often crazy difficult to find, anywhere. Case in point, i Am working on a write-up for a lesser, but upcoming, Asian based street gang. Now, because I am running a game at the same time, some of this is my fault, such as, I need to find an image of a fairly attractive south east Asian girl, preferably Vietnamese or Laotian, with a horrible scar around her eye... she is third in command of a gang in Night City called the Ghost Disciples. A gang made up of orphans and runaways of mostly Asian or mixed descent. I also need to find suitable group shots, which is also more difficult than it should be. I have a simply ridiculous number of images waiting in the wings to be used, more than I will probably ever be able to use, and more added daily, but sometimes the right image eludes me completely. In these times, as I am trying to be a better ally, and a better writer, I find myself worrying a lot, especially when trying to walk the fine line between cool homage to the concepts of my favorite media, in particular Hong Kong and exploitation cinema, and cultural sensitivity. Sometimes it's impossible to avoid stereotypes, but I always try to make the character or concept more than any stereotype. When such stereotypes are present, it's due to the cool factor, and never the negative connotations. But even the positive stereotypes are still stereotypes, and still can be harmful. In the end, I write for myself, and of course for my gaming group, and while to me, having a gang based on blaxploitation and kung fu in a cyberpunk city, and having their leaders be based on Sho Nuff, Pam Grier, and Jim Kelly, who also run a pizza, sushi, and taco arcade attached to their dojo, is the coolest thing I could imagine.... I do still worry that it might come across as offensive. I worry about that, I worry about making anyone feel marginalized. I didn't used to, but I like to think I have grown since then, and these days it's important to me to be a better writer, and a better person. Without sounding like to much of a pretentious ass, in the very small niche circles of people who play Cyberpunk 2020, I am afforded a small bit of fame/infamy. Some people like people, some people hate me, but in this small circle, I am pretty well known. However, even though the creator of the game is a person of color, the game's audience, like most RPG's, is predominately white. Before I started my site, when I still lived in KC, I counted POC in my gaming group. I live in NW Arkansas now, where trying to find anyone, let alone POC, interested in playing Cyberpunk is a nightmare, one not made easier by the limitations of my back problems. Now in my online circle of friends who play the game, there are a couple of people of color. I listen to the input and feedback of these people very closely. But I worry that asking directly for it, would in itself be problematic. I am an insecure mess if you couldn't tell. Anyway, if any of you fans of the site out there are people of color, or gay, or women, or really any group that might feel marginalized, if you come across something on my site that you feel is problematic, please feel free to talk to me about it,

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Finally, I have gone through and meticulously cleaned up all the broken links (I hope), and replaced all the old links to e-mail me with my new e-mail address ( I also used the opportunity to clean up some of the image heavy pages where things would get jumbled and difficult to read. Removed most of the background images that made reading some pages a headache (especially Lost Angeles and Autumn Blade) and in general just cleaned things up a bit. I hope you guys enjoy the effects of this maintenance run, and please, if you find a broken link, or an e-mail pointing to the old *droc* addy, let me know.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Shhhhhhhhhhhhh, don't tell anyone, but I may be working on stuff for Datafortress 2020 again...

Monday, February 15, 2016

I am still alive!

It's an abnormally warm day here, and I have been awake long enough and am on enough meds to venture out to the garage where my computer is and let everyone who might be concerned know what is happening. For most of my life I have had back problems, stemming from hurting my self while helping build levees around KC during the great midwestern flooding of the early 90's. What started out as minor pain became much worse when I was in a minor car accident a few years ago, which shifted my L5 vertebrae out of alignment about 3 years ago.. The condition has deteriorated into crippling pain that not only cost me my job, but has left me with no means to find a new one, and for the time being no source of income. I have trouble even walking from the bedroom to the living room, and only leave the house when absolutely necessary. I also cannot sit up straight, such as in a computer chair, for more than a few minutes. I am on heavy painkillers, but that is a temporary measure at best, as soon enough my body will acclimate to them. To complicate matters, as some of you know, about a year and a half ago I had problems with my heart, which led to the placement of 2 stents. Unfortunately the stents did not work, and in September I underwent double bypass surgery. It's a strange thing to be cracked open like a buffet crab leg and have your heart molested by a room of strangers... Luckily, thanks to the ACA I have insurance, but the situation has not helped matters at all. I just graduated from cardio-rehab, though the pain did prevent me from making any real progress with it. Still, my heart it seems, is at least ok again. The day I got out of the hospital, my laptop, long suffering and held together with positive thinking and angry stares, finally gave up the ghost completely, leaving me without an accessible computer. I have my old PC here in the garage, but it is ridiculously slow, still operating on windows xp. I am looking into disability, but have been denied twice already. I see my lawyer about it Wednesday, a disability lawyer who works pro bono. And just after I will be seeing an orthopedist, where we will again talk about surgery I am sure, an option that as of yet has been unavailable to me due to the medications I take for my heart. Though if I understand him correctly, surgery would help with the radiating down my legs, but would likely due little for the back pain. Still, I am trying to stay in good spirits. I am alive, doing as well as can be expected. My family is supportive. Anyway, I am just dropping this while the garage is accessible to me to let you know that I have not forgotten or abandoned Datafortress, it is merely that I am unable to update or really work on it for the time being. And all the progress I had made on an the projects I was working on were lost with the lap top. I also can't post on any of the forums I used to frequent, notable View From The Edge and the Cyberpunk 20777 Forum. If you are a poster there, pass on the message that I miss those guys. Anyway, wish me luck. Stay safe, and thank you everyone for being fans of the site.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Thank you all so very much...

I am absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude. I never dreamed I had this much support. In just a few short days your donations have paid for the next two years of hosting for the site. I am afraid I have never done this before, and so the proper etiquette escapes me. I do noy know if I should give a list of my noble benefactors, or what recognition they desire. I do know this... I am so profoundly grateful to you all, to everyone who donated money, to the people that shared the links and spread the word, the people who gave a kind word, and the people who have just enjoyed my work over the years. Thank you, thank you all, from the very deepest wells of my heart.