Category Archives: Gaming

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?

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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.

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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.

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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!

Meet the newest Halfling Commando

Hi folks!!!  Not much going on in the Geek Family right now.  Quests are quests.

But recently, Pink’s little sister gave DDO a try.  She designed a character.  Halfling, of course.  I had her make a fighter since it is the easiest for new players.  She chose a great axe to be like Geoff Hanna.  What is it about Geoff that my daughters like so much????

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She ran the tutorial all by herself.  She had me help when she got turned around in the quest and when she needed to climb over for the lever.  Once I got her on track, she waved me off.

She did manage to complete the quest, but has not played since.  I think she mainly wants to dress the character…lol.  She is quite the fashion diva.

I also think that she was looking for Geoff Hanna and his Gamer Girl.  As a matter of fact, she is wearing her Ewok outfit for his Gamer Girl.   She got the shirt for Christmas from her uncle and was not impressed until I told her that Geoff’s Gamer Girl loved Ewoks.  Now, she will wear it all the time.

One of Pink’s guinea pigs was found to be dying one night while we were on Discord.  Craig had to deal with a hysterical Pink while I got to hold the dying guinea pig to give it comfort.  This left poor Amanda lost.  She was upset that Pink was crying, but unable to verbalize it because of her Autism.  Geoff, his Gamer Girl, and two other guildies were on Discord talking while we were dealing with the situation.  Amanda put on Craig’s headphones and listened to them.  She occasionally said Hello and told them what was happening.  They kept her busy and safe while we dealt with Pink and the guinea pig.  They are true friends, even through the distance.  They made sure that she never felt alone. So, she wears this outfit for them.

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Not sure if she will return to DDO, but it is a start.  Right now, she is playing MineCraft on Pink’s computer.

Still raising Geeks here……

 

Ahem…..it is me.

Dusting off the mic.  Wiping away the cobwebs.  Trying to find where I put everything.

I have not posted a blog post since May of 2016.  As soon as we got back from Disney, I started my Christmas crafting projects.  Christmas Crafting may not sound like much, but I had two double-knit scarves to knit.

Double knitting is a knitting technique that allows you to produce a double layer of Stockinette stitch fabric with mirror-image colorwork while knitting both layers at the same time.

Here is an example of Pink’s Star Wars Double-knit scarf. The hyperlink with bring you to my Ravelry project page which has more pictures.

As you can see, one side is Black for the Dark Side and the other is a self-striping rainbow yarn for the Light Side.  It is almost 6ft long.

My husband also got a double knit scarf.  The difficult with his is that I used lace weight yarn(really thin) on size 0 needles(really tiny).   There were 10 charts.  Each chart had 8 rows. Each row is 100 stitches.  That is 80,000 stitches.

Here is his The Name of the Doctor. The hyperlink with bring you to my Ravelry project page which has more pictures.

Then there were the 4 pairs of gloves/mittens, one lace shawl with beads, two baby sweaters, two Denver Broncos Halfling Commandos, one toddler quilt and one full-size quilt for Tessa.

Oh, then there is work.  My company decided to sell us to a vendor company like we were chattel.  After working for this unnamed insurance company since 1999.  Very uncool.  Plus I have had three different supervisors in the meantime.  Three different people to bring into dealing with me.

Our DDO gaming dropped a bit as well.  Listening to people complain in my ear for 8+ hours a day made putting on my headphones and trying to keep people alive seem like torture.  Clericing had gotten VERY stale.  I was getting to the point of wanting to let people die just for the fun of it.  Woah…..backaway!!!  So we aimed to play Gnome Gnight, Halfling Commando night, and Halfling Commando raid night.  Gnome Gnight is hard as I work a 9 hour day until 7:00pm.  Getting on for 8:00pm can be torture depending on my days.  So, some nights we do not play.

Someone, who may or may not have a blog and may or may not have a Gamer Girl, mentioned another game to relieve some of my stress playing cleric.  We met those folks, who shall remain nameless to protect their identities, over on Elder Scrolls Online.

ESO is a lot easier for me to play by myself.  I love DDO and have no intention of leaving, but I get lost very easily inside quests.  Plus, I do not solo well in DDO with the healing-based clerics that I build to help the guild and Pink.  I love being able to just run through destroying things in ESO.  It gives me a better outlook so that I can come back and play cleric on DDO.

I let it slip to Pink on New Year’s Eve that I had let my blogging fall behind this year.  She was most displeased.  I told her that I would start up again.  And my husband already reminded me twice.  It does not help that I am like a squirrel with ADD on coffee.

So here we go again…..starting off in the New Year.  Still Geekmom.  Still will blog about Geeky things, family, crafting, and gaming.  May add in some ESO for the fun of it.  I have two geeky knitting project planned that I hope to enter into competition.  So it shall be a fun year.

Hope all is well with you!