Happy 15th Anniversary to DDO!

DDO is celebrating its 15th Anniversary!! In honor of this event, I have dusted the cobwebs off this blog to celebrate and share my experiences through the last 15 years of playing DDO.

In March of 2006, I eagerly awaited the release of DDO. My husband got his copy and I played on the trial account that came with it. A week later, I had my own copy in my hand and a brand new computer built by my husband so that I could play. This started a journey for us that has brought us new experiences and new friends.

My children were BABIES!!! BABIES!!! NOW THEY ARE TEENAGERS! My oldest was 2 and a half. My younger child was only eight months old. Yes, I had two in diapers. Now I have a 17 year old and a 15 year old. DAMN! I am old!!!

That first year was wild! We met new friends. We played every night after the girls went to bed. Weekends during nap-time. Occasionally, I would have to take an AFK to help with nightmares, ear aches, diaper changes, and nursing. Let me tell you, playing DDO while nursing certainly had its challenges. Potty-training a toddler while hosting a DDO LAN party was also a blast of fun.

As the years passed and we experiences new DDO Anniversaries, so did our relationship with friends. Some left the game. We made new friends. Joined a guild. Had a blast. Learned that if you take an AFK at the end of the Hound to deal with a preschooler with an ear infection, there was respawn…..at least back then. The silence that I returned to was amazing.

Years have passed and my children have not stopped growing. Those babies that I took care of when DDO first came out are so grown now. I am privileged that as they have grown they have expressed interest in DDO, a game that has been around for all their known memories.

Gamerteen was the first to play. I blogged all about her experiences on her first character. Her first raids. How the guild kept everything PG for her. How the DDO community stretched across servers to make her first Shroud remember able. She got a tour of Turbine in 2016 before attending PAX EAST. Got 10 year Anniversary sweatshirts. Had dinner and lunch with Devs and other players.

Amine-girl tried playing before, but she did not have the coordination nor the attention span. But in the last month, she has tried again. Mostly because she misses playing D&D. She is now level 5. We have to handle her gently because of the Autism. She gets frustrated easily. She is a “get-to-the-quest” and “run-no-optionals” type of player. I think that has a lot to do with her brain’s wiring. She needs to see it on the Quest Objectives. She usually can only tolerate one quest each night.

2021 hopefully will shine at the end of the tunnel. And not be the light of an oncoming train. I am going to start DMing again soon for my family and friends. We have four people playing DDO in the house now. Three on VIP. For now.

I cannot really put into words what DDO has brought to us in the last 15 years. I simply cannot. It has been our date nights, our going out with friends nights, game night with our children, and so much more.

As I raise a glass of bourbon tonight in celebration of DDO’s 15TH Anniversary, I am sharing with you all how those 15 years have changed my family….


Happy Thanksgiving from the Geek Family


Thanksgiving is the time where we stop and remember what and who we are thankful for in our lives.

I am thankful for a husband who has the same sick sense of humor that I do.  That supports my yarn addiction, within limits (I just found out that his Life360 app alerts him when I stop at Joanns).  That puts up with my……well all of me.

I am thankful for a daughter that shares my love of all things Geek and is just as sarcastic as I am….

I am thankful for the strides that my younger daughter has made in the last year.  She has made it out of her self-contained classroom for two regular classes this year!!!  I am thankful for her interest in gaming.

I am thankful for DDO.  This game has helped us make friends in the last 11 years.  Friends that we look forward to gaming and just talking to at night.  Geoff Hanna and his Gamer Girl are a part of our family, even though they are further away now.  They enjoy teasing my teenagers almost as much as I do.  And sometimes, just telling Pink that I am texting Gamer Girl sends her running to grab my phone first.  Good fun.  Good fun.  And no, Yv…..she does not have a boyfriend!!!

I am thankful for the support that I get when I ask a question.  I have learned to DM a group of Giggling Hobos this year as we are running Lost Mines of Phandelver.  I get to introduce Dungeons and Dragons to young kids and that is freaking AWESOME!!!!!!  I have more gaming supplies on my Xmas list!

This year I have introduced Pink to LOTRO and SWTOR.  I got to listen to her fangirl over the games.

I am thankful for gaming, both video games and D&D, to be able to connect with my 14 year old daughter.  These days are quickly numbered.  Soon she will not want to hang with mom and dad to play video games.   But right now, I am making as many memories as I can.

Please remember our friends and family that have lost loved ones this year.  We have some in our midst such as DDOPlayers.

I look forward to having more reasons to thank all of you next year.

May all your initiative rolls today be high!



It’s Game Day!!!!

It’s Game Day in the Geek house.  In more ways than one.  We are football fans.  Football rules this house from September through the Super Bowl.  But, today, it was D&D Game Day.

Back in June, I had asked for tips to learn to DM for my girls.  We started playing Lost Mines of Phandelver at the end of August.  The first game, I had three girls at my table.  Pink, Panda, and a 10 year old girl, Abby.  Abby has her own challenges that she faces, just like Panda.  We were short a few people for the opening game so I handed two of the pregen sheets that came with the set to Geekdad and Abby’s dad.  Both of them have played.  It was a Daddy and Daughter D&D sesson.  It was very helpful for the girls as they got to play with two experienced gamers.

Next week, we were joined by one of Pink’s friend Gabe.  The next by another girl, Lily.  So our group is the opposite of the old norm.  Female DM,  four female players, and one male.

I ran into the problem that we had missing players here and there because of school and family commitments.  These are outside of a preteen/teenager to control.  I worried about XP and some gaining too far ahead.  I went to the 5th Edition Facebook page and asked the Hivemind there.  The consensus was to give Milestone XP.  Loot still only goes to those that were there that day.

We finished Part 1 rather easily.  They went right away to Cragmaw Castle in Part 3 to rescue Gundren, but then moved back to Part 2 to deal with the Redbrands.  Now, the Redbrands have been neutralized.

Today was challenging as it was only three of the players, but I was able to have them go and run Wyvern Tor.   This will hopefully save Thundertree for next week when we have more players.

Our playtime is dragging the module out.  We only play for 2 hours.  Panda cannot handle more than that.  Actually she needs a break about halfway through the session to go outside or in the basement to stim.

I made some adjustments to help Panda and Abby.  Their handwriting is hard for them to read.  So, I give a sticky note for them to track damage on so that it does not make their characters sheets messy.

I use initiative cards on the top of my DM screen with their names and AC.  I then add the monster initiative cards with AC/HP to help me track.  they love when I take down a defeated monster.  There are cheers all around.  I also give Spell cards to each caster.  One for each spell slot that they have.  When they cast a spell, they hand me the card.  It helps them keep track.


Right now, we are playing in my kitchen.  We got a serving cart when my inlaws sold their house.  It makes an AWESOME DM cart.


We are having a blast.  The dads are jealous now.  Geekdad is starting to jump at the bit a little and wanting to DM again.  Lily’s dad’s three groups have gone on hiatus.  My brother is hounding me to DM on Fantasy Grounds or Roll20.

So, thanks for all the tips and support.  The DMing have been going great!!!

Geekmom and Pink do RI Comic-Con 2017

Pink turned 14 in September.  14!!  When did I become a parent to a 14 year old!!  Crap, I am getting old!

She wanted to do Comic-Con in November with her friends and we decided that tickets to Comic-Con would make a great present.  She wanted to get into cosplay and decided to do Lapis from Steven Universe.


She searched the internet and found all the items she needed.  Amazon Prime FTW.

So, yesterday we headed out to Comic-Con.  We met up with 4 of her friends and two other moms and proceeded to wait in line outside.


My view for most of the Con

Luckily, her wings folded back so I was able to help her get through the crowds a little easier.  I also got to hold the wings when things got tight or when she wanted to explore a vendor.


Just here to hold her wings, folks

While we were at the Con, we also took some time to do some advertising for DDO.

This was my first Comic-Con type thing.  Pink had a complete blast.  She was the only Lapis there and got tons of photo requests.  Honestly, I prefer Pax or Gaming Conventions.  I am not into meet and greets.  There were a few panels I was interested in, but the teenagers were not.  And I was there to make sure Pink was safe.  All the other teens ran off, but I was happy that she stayed with me the whole time.  Although, it could have been that I had the wallet and held her wings……


I did get to have my picture taken with the TARDIS!!!!



She did not want to paint her whole body.  The blue bandana was there to cover her scar from two years ago.  She did end up relaxing and taking it off.  The skirt came up high enough to cover.  Very few 14 year old girls want to show a vertical scar when they are trying to feel special.

And feel special she did.  She got quite a few pictures taken with other people.  Her favorite was a little girl who thought that Pink was Sadness from Inside/Out.  Pink just made her happy and said nothing.

Ultimately, it was a great present and a great intro to Cosplay.  I was happy that her first experience went so well.  Even her friends who had cosplayed here before were surprised.

Me, however, I cannot wait until PaxEast in April.  Is anyone going??????

D&D and social skills

Panda had the opportunity this Spring to get into group at her social skills center that ran a D&D group for 6wks.  It was only for kids that go to Skills in Motion.  It was run by a DM and had 6 spots available.  I jumped on that so quick that I think her head spun.  I quickly signed her up and paid the money for her to go.

I had written in the past about people using D&D to teach social skills and to help Autistic teens.

She had a blast.  She played a halfling rogue!!!  And she did a great job.  She scouted ahead.  She disabled traps.  She did take damage, but enjoyed each session.  As a group, they rescued someone from bullies(social skills group after all)  Now, due to the nature of her disability, getting any more information than that was difficult.  She does not relay information very well and is easily distracted.  But she loved it.  The DM had a modified Character Sheet for them to use.  He gave them their real character sheets at the end. If anyone knows where I can get these it would be great.

Unfortunately, it was only for 6 weeks and it ended in May.  They originally thought that they would have a second group, but the guy who was the DM got a job.

I have been trying to get my husband to run a campaign for some time now.  Pink wants to learn to play.  She has a couple of friends who are interested.   And now, Panda wants to play more.  He keeps trying to create a campaign, but work and home are busy.

Last month, we were talking with the Clinical Supervisor where Panda receives HBTS(Home Based Therapy Services for those not familiar with the lingo).  He has recently been given free reign to do club groups with the kids at the center because he is the only person interested.  He wanted to do a D&D group.  I told him about the D&D podcast where Dr. Raffael Boccamazzo talks about the benefit of D&D and how he would run the groups.  He talked with Geekdad and I about it and asked us to think about Geekdad running a group there.

But Geekdad may be taking some college courses in the Fall.  Still working on that idea and what he needs.  Plus, his work is crazy.  So I started wondering if I could DM.

I have not played D&D for years now.  Let me think…..when was Panda starting to show signs of Autism?  Oh yeah, birth.  She was a tough baby and that continued to toddler years.  We would think about starting again, but never could.  Then DDO came out and it was PERFECT!!!

But I have NEVER been a DM.  The idea of starting is quite daunting.  I pick up Geekdad’s DM guide and start reading through.  I then realized that it was actually 4th Edition.  No go.  Back the shelves.  I grabbed the Starter Set that Pink had gotten for her birthday two years ago and take out the DM Guide for The Lost Mine of Phandelver.  I start reading through it.

I then went on The YouTube(shhhh….don’t tell Pink since I am always nagging her to get off The YouTube) and searched for the Lost Mine Of Phandelver.  I found a series from Dungeons and Dragons themselves running the quest.  Greg Bilsland –  Producer for D&D Research and Design is the DM of the group.  The group has experienced and newcomers.  So far, I am on Part 3 and loving it.  I like how he keeps taking the opportunity to explain different parts of the game.  Helpful for those new to 5th Edition as the Player Handbook was not released yet during the first episode!

So tonight, we had our monthly Family Meeting with the Service Coordinator and Clinical Supervisor and discussed the possibility of the group.  I told them that I was interested in trying to DM the social skills group, but I needed to practice my skills beforehand.  The plan is for me to run the starter set with me as DM and Geekdad there to help me when I get stuck and give advice. We will use Panda, Pink, and a couple of Pink’s friends who want to learn as my guinea pigs.  I think if I bribe them with pizza and chips, I should be good.  NO MOUNTAIN DEW.  I need to save that caffeine kick for Pink when we keep her up late on raid night!

I also realized that Panda must have run part of the module as her character sheet is the halfling rogue from the Starter Set.  Good.  It will give her an edge over her sister.  The bullies were the goblins who kidnapped the knight!

I think once I get the hang of it, the 5th Edition will be easier for me than Geekdad.  His brain is still full of 1st, 2nd, and 3.5 where I just played and never really worried about the RULES……

My 5th Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide will be here tomorrow and my Player’s Handbook on Monday.  I plan on finishing this series of the videos and watching a few other groups to get an idea on DMing.

Any tips for someone starting to DM?  Videos to watch?  Things to read?

Snowy Korthos Completed!

The youngest Halfling Commando made it off Snowy Korthos Island yesterday!!!

Panda, previously known as She who makes us Drink,  and my cleric, Geekmom Mommybot TM, took off into the explorer area to finish Korthos.  We had three quests left to do: Sacrifices, Redemption, and Misery’s Peak.  We have been running  quests on Normal.  I did not want it being difficult for Panda.  I want her to enjoy the quests and get used to running her character.

I took my laptop downstairs and positioned myself on the couch behind her while she was playing on my computer.   This allowed me to be able to hop up and help her if she needed.  It also allowed me to watch where she was and how she was keeping up.

We started off to Redemption.  She helped with the valves to shut off the blasts protecting the Cannith Crystals.  She got a bit turned about heading towards the tunnels where Heyton was hiding.  Note to self, turn up my gamma when she is running on my computer to make it easier for her to see in the dark.  We dispatched the Sahuagin quickly and convinced Heyton to help Korthos.

We moved on to Sacrifices to go save Arissa.  She helped free the additional prisoners.  I had opened the levers and had to step back and let her to do the rest.  Geekmom is a little too used to Korthos speed runs.   Got to the traps.  On Normal, they do not do much damage so I just told her to run through.  She said that she had an idea.  She timed the blade trap and got through without damage.  Go girl!!!   We ignored the Arcane skellie to avoid the Mario jumping for her.  She freed all the prisoners and sent Arissa on her way home to Daddy, the Mayor of Korthos.  Turned in all our quests and repaired.

We took a break for me to cook dinner and everyone because Pink insisted that she had no idea of how to run a cleric.  Personally, I think she is refusing anything to do with being a cleric.  We then had dinner before heading off to rid Korthos of the dragon that has been besieging it.

We met the companions at the entrance to Misery’s peak and then went our separate ways.  It was a fun romp through the tunnels.  She would kill the fleshies while I turned the undead.  Always fun to turn undead at the lower levels.

I taught her to go for the casters first, then archers, while I handled the undead.  It worked well.  Many cries of “Go for the Minions!!!!” and “Get the casters!!!”  were heard in our house.

Got to the part where you first see Aussircaex in all her glory when the adventurers get her attention.  Panda wanted to fight the dragon.  Later, little padawan.  Later.

I had her stop when we were running over the ice sheet so that I could hop until and show her Aussircaex running under the ice below.  The excitement and joy was awesome.  Those types of moments in the game make DDO awesome.  Especially when seeing for the first time.  Very cool to see through her eyes.


If you look closely, you can see Aussircaex’s wings

Finally, we completed the run to find the MindFlayer and Dragon locked in a battle of wills.  We took our positions around the Quori Mindsunder and waited for our chance.  She could not hear the battle of wills with Darastrix Achthend.  She was worried that the sound would cause anxiety so she left my headset off.  We got the signal and destroyed the Quori Mindsunder.  We then watched Aussircaex take her revenge on the MindFlayer as Darastrix Achthend shattered into pieces.  We met up with Jeets, that tricky rogue, and then joined the rest of the group with Heyton.  We then took the Dimension Door out of the quest and got our lovely XP.

She was excited when she zoned out of the quest and saw that the splash-screen had a sunny Korthos instead of the snowy one that she was used to seeing.  She quickly turned in her end reward and took the ship out of Korthos.

I sent her an invite into the Halfling Commandos guild and took her on the airship.  She keep trying to stop at every quest giver between the docks to take their quests, but I told her to wait.

She was very happy to get off of Snowy Korthos.  I think that our next plan is to head into Cerulean Hills and visit Baudry Cartamon to help him out in the warehouse.

WOOT WOOT Panda-girl!!!!

What a difference a year makes….

I was checking Facebook this morning while getting the girls ready for school and found a blog post that popped up on Memories from last year.

It is about the prep that went into Pink’s First Shroud run.  I loved reading about how other members of the DDO community came together to make her first run a success.  And how excited she was to be raiding with the adults.

It is amazing to see how far she has come in this year.  Pink is epic level now.  Level 28 actually!

We run the Thunderholme raids pretty much every Friday night.  We alternate weeks.  Fire on Thunder Peak one week and the next, Temple of the Deathwyrm.  We have been trying to make sure that everyone who wants a Thunderforged weapon has the chance to get one.   Pink really gets to shine.  She tries to keep the trash off me in Thunder Peak while also beating on the artifact.  Pink also gets assignments in Deathwyrm and goes on the Dark Side without me or Daddy.  Dad is usually tanking Aurgloroasa while I am keeping the tanks alive.

No longer do we only have approved people join the raid.  We have LFMs open to everyone.  We usually do make the statement that there are younger folks present so to keep the swearing down.  Granted, it is either Geoff Hanna or myself who forget.  She is more than used to Mom swearing.  She giggles and teases Geoff when he forgets.  His Gamer Girl likes to tease her about having a boyfriend.  Or really, she is also teasing me.

She has grown pretty confident in her gaming skills.  Loves to run new content.  She absolutely adored the quest with Jerry in it! She wears her DDO sweatshirts to school all the time, trying to get new players.

She is still quite the teenager though and requires the typical “teenager adjustments”.  Meaning she can certainly sling the attitude around.   But luckily, she is a good kid usually.  That keeps her alive.

She currently has her gnome and dragonborn characters.  Hoping to move those up soon.

I cannot wait to see where she is next year.



Sweet memories….

Do you and your guildies play “Remember when….?”?  Reminiscing about quests run?  Fun times together?  Or is just the old ones among us?

Here is a favorite memory of mine:

One night while running on of the Amrath quests, not sure which one as I hated them all, we came very close to a party wipe.  Geoff Hanna and his Gamer Girl were still alive and sent my cleric a raise.  Yay!!!  Or so you would think.

I take the rez, but something weird is happening.  I die quite quickly.  We all try to figure out what happened.  I come to the stunning realization that I just took a rez inside a Gelatinous Cube.  The Cube had wandered over my soul stone and because of the death motif on the screen, I had not seen it.

Que laugh track.  My guidies got quite the chuckle out of this one at my expense.  We had tears of laughter.


I find myself quite nostalgic today after reading Geoff Hanna’s post.  I was given a heads up last night while we were on ESO.   Reading Geoff’s blog has been part of my morning for many years.

My friends are moving.  I am so happy for them to start this next journey.  I felt the sorrow each time that a possible sale of the house fell through.  Enough that I resorted to an Old Italian Nonna tradition of burying a status of St. Joseph to help.  I mailed them a statue to bury.  I figured that all those Italian Nonnas/Nanas could not be THAT wrong.

I am happy, but sad.  They will be further away.  There will now be time zones between us.  PandaGirl does not understand them moving.  Geoff and his Gamer Girl have been a part of our lives for so long.  She thinks that they will be gone.  We have tried to explain it, but I think only hearing them on Discord will help.

This is a great opportunity for them.  A new beginning and place TOGETHER.  Not Gamer Girl moving to him, but them moving on together.  Traveling across the country together. Starting a new home together.

I am really happy.  But still sad to see my friends go.  Even if I know I will see them soon online.

Hey, don’t forget GenCon 2018.  Let’s plan it!



The continued adventures of the youngest Halfling Commando.

Pink’s little sister, aka The Reason Why We Drink, took another journey into the DDO world recently.  This means, that I get booted off my computer so that she can play as her computer cannot currently run DDO.  I end up knitting on the couch which is usually fine with me, unless I was planning to play myself.  As I was.  But I was out of luck.

She took her fighter into more of the Korthos quests.  She had originally only completed the tutorial on her first attempt.  New experiences and things are very scary for her and can chose a great deal of anxiety.  We have to modulate our tones when offering her help or advice as it can increase her stress.

This day, however, she was on a roll.  She approached the quests with a bit more confidence.   I helped her find the quest givers in the Korthos Village.  She went on to run all the quests on her own!  Pink was rolling a character to help, but TRWED( got to come up with another name for her) refused all help from her sister.

She ran all four village quests on her own, including the longer The Collaborator quest.  She did ask for some help on the puzzle in  The Storehouse’s Secret.  Daddy stepped in with that.

I was very impressed.  She wants to out into the Korthos adventure!!!  She ran up to the Mayor to start the the adventure area quests, but it was bedtime.  And time for us to log on to play.

She really wants to get high enough to play with Geoff Hanna and his Gamer Girl.  I think that the open area might require a little bit of help, especially those quests leading up to Misery’s Peak.  Hopefully, she continues her interest!