As someone who owes tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, getting paid to make fun of DeVos’s tacky seaside decor is one of few ways to both feed myself and make myself feel better. With that, I’d like to dedicate this essay to all of the public school teachers who taught me how to write.

McMansion Hell takes on on Betsy DeVos. Glorious.

Best line: how can you be so rich and have such poorly upholstered chairs

Chicago Gameday 49 event sign-up starts on Monday

Player event sign-up for Chicago Gameday 49 will start at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, Aug 20. I.e., that’s when you can grab seats in the events we’re offering for Gameday 49.

Remember: you will need a Warhorn account AND you’ll need to register for Gameday 49 in order to sign up for events.

Set up a Warhorn account:

Register for Gameday 49:

Events submitted so far include:

Dawn Patrol
Dungeon Crawl Classics
Dungeon World
Hideouts & Hoodlums
Kingdom of Nothing
Star Trek adventures
Star Wars: Edge of the Empire

View the Event Schedule:

There is still room for more events, especially in the afternoon. Want to GM for us? Just fill out our event submission form and we’ll add your game to the schedule.

Submit an Event:

Remember, Gameday 49 starts at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sep 8, and is being held at Games Plus in Mount Prospect.

#RPGaDay 13. Describe how your play has evolved

I am probably one of many people who were swept up by the Forge in the early aughts and happily drank the Big Model Kool-Aid. And I stand by that, as it was damn good Kool-Aid.

The short version is that I started the hobby as a wide-eyed kid with dreams of escapist adventures, was then crushed by all of the horrible garbage we learned​ in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and then slowly over the course of a decade figured out how the hell to actually play in a constructive, rewarding manner that acknowledged the needs of everyone at the table. Total cliche.

That said, I feel like I am currently in the midst of another transformation. I’ve written before about how I feel like I’ve been sucking wind as a GM in recent years. I don’t know exactly what is the source of my poor performance, but I feel like, at the very least, I need to take a break from GM’ing and re-assess my approach. I think I may need to unlearn some things again, it;’s just a matter of figuring out exactly what. I just know that continuing to do what I normally do isn’t going to work.

(Strangely, I’m in the same position with my guitar playing. This may simply be a mid-life thing.)

Fingers crossed that I eventually figure it all out.

11. Wildest character name?
12. Wildest character concept?


I must a be a long-time fuddy-duddy, because nothing really leaps to mind for these. I can think of a few cringeworthy AD&D PC names — “Drobghar Bladefligner” — but nothing that seems “wild,” as it were. And I once played a science fiction author whose characters came to life and demanded he write better stories for them, but that was pretty much an outgrowth of the game (Steve Hickey’s Left Coast).

I guess I need to work on this.

#RPGaDay 10. How has gaming changed you?

Paul Beakley’s answer to this question was pretty spot on and I will steal its​ essence:

I have been gaming so long that it’s hard to remember how I may have been before I started. Honestly, I feel like I had an RPG-shaped hole in my heart and the hobby was basically invented so I could fill it. If anything, RPGs have simply given me an outlet for tendencies I already had.

That said, there’s no doubt that gaming has introduced me to people and made me some very close friends, and that it has helped me learn how to deal with both myself and with people. E.g., despite being an introvert, I have no problem talking in front of crowds or giving presentations. Having been in bands has helped with this, too, but so has running games for total strangers at cons.

Plus, gaming has also exposed me to people of all kinds of backgrounds I probably would never have known otherwise. The impact on my politics has been profound.

Plus… plus, there are more than a few genres and authors I’ve discovered via games. E.g., I go the Buffy RPG before I’d ever seen the show (My wife: “Happy Birthday! I think you’ll like this”), which prompted me to watch the show, and now my son’s middle name is “Joss”. Crazy!

#RPGaDay 9. How has a game surprised you?

FFG’s Genesys surprised me by being good. I came to it in the expectation that the custom dice were a total cash-grab gimmick, and I was pleasantly surprised. I mean, the dice are still a cash-grab gimmick, but at least they’re a well-designed one. I may actually buy this game.

Burning Wheel surprised me by being the game that broke me. It was the first RPG that failed miserably when I approached it with my existing notions of how to play RPGs — i.e., you learn how to “role-play” and then individual RPGs are just sets of deck chairs you re-arrange on the Titanic.

Burning Wheel called bullshit on that and refused to work until I accepted that I could trust the text and simply run it as the author intended. This is a lesson I had to learn again with Mouse Guard, but it eventually sunk in.

In that sense, BW is also kind of answer to​ the next question, because it forever changed how I approach the hobby.