Tag Archives: gaming

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!



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?

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.



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!

Planning #OperationPinkShroud

We have been in plans for the last month for what we are calling #OperationPinkShroud.  Pink is level 18.  Close to 19.

Tonight is the night!  Tonight.  Pink is so excited.  She was vibrating when I dropped her off at school.

The biggest logistic issue that we had is that Halfling Commandos and Torchwood are small guilds.  Torchwood is where the non-halflings go.  So it is the same number of people 😀  Luckily, Twitter came to the rescue!!!  Tholgrin, Evennote and BonnieBew are all coming to give her a hand.  Hopefully LAG does not try to be the 13th player tonight.

I had hoped to stream the event live through Twitch, but I am worried about it introducing lag.  I really want this to go smoothly for her.  We most likely will be making Pink “Raid Princess”.  She will get all the items and shards that she needs to build a weapon!

Wish us luck!



On a lighter subject….

There is a vulgar three-letter word right now in DDO.  It was bandied about prior to the server move, but has become quite commonly yelled in party chat, general chat, DDO forums and blog posts.  However, in light of this, I am not writing about it.

I am writing about DRESSES.  Particularly the dresses that I am making Pink and I for PAX EAST 2016!!!!

I am giving enough warning for those who may be less than impressed with fabric choices a chance to move on from my blog post today.  But for those interested, READ ON!

Pax East tickets went on sale while Pink was in the hospital.  It was a week after her emergency surgery and were bought as a bribe to make her smile.  Coincidentally, it was last day of her running post-operative infection fevers.

She was the envy of her older cousins at Christmas when she announced that I was taking her to Pax East.  Her cousins are 30, 28 and 24 so she felt quite special that they were jealous.  But she was still recovering, so no flushies were threatened.

Have I left enough room for those not interested in fashion to back out?  Oh well, if not, consider yourself warned.

Pink has been trying to decide what to wear to Pax East.  She is really hoping to meet some folks from DDO there.  And as she is a 12 yr old girl, outfits are important.  She really wants a pink wig that I can style into her character’s hair.  Ordering the wig is easy.  Hairstylist, I am not…..

As for the outfit, I asked her if she just wanted a dress made out of video game fabric.  WAY easier than trying to make armor!!!  Of course, this was before Yaya Han released coplay fabric to Joann’s Fabric.  Pink originally wanted Pokemon.  I was thinking more old school like Mario.  First, we had to decide on a pattern.  We wanted something girly but simple.  We found this pattern:

pink pattern

Now, back to questing for the perfect gaming fabric.  I thought that the Pokemon choices were slightly childish.  And she agreed.  We were looking at the Mario when something caught my eye on an end-cap.  It was a Link fabric.  But not the cartoony Legend of Zelda characters, but something darker and with more substance.


She fell in love with it!!!  We are doing pattern D with contrasting godet.  Godet for those not in the know, is the contrasting panel on the dress.  We went with a gorgeous olive leaf print.


It matches Link’s tunic and cap perfectly!!!

She is extremely excited and wants this dress done yesterday.  I think I know what I will be doing on my lunch break.

Now, if my fabric choices were only so easy.  I am jealous that she chose this one because I would have liked it myself.   I am torn between the following:

Any help?

***I am really hoping that there are some folks from DDO/Turbine at Pax East.  Pink is so excited!****

Some lessons have to be learned….

We finally let Pink play on a school night last night.  It was the first time in months.  After what she went through in November and recovering throughout December, she had decided she missed the hospital and spent the first week of January in the hospital with pneumonia.  Bad Gamer Child!!!

Pink is now level 15 and we really want to get her to epic level to have her run some of the more fun raids with us.  She really wants to run Fire on Thunderpeak.  She sits behind one of us each Friday night and watches it like TV.

Geek Dad really wants to get her into the Shroud, heroic of course.  We decided that last night was a perfect night to knock off one of the pre-req quests.  We decided to try Rainbow in the Dark.  We had two groups running in the Halfling Commandos which for us on a Wednesday night is AWESOME.  Geek Dad and I brought out our original guild characters, Wire and Theadora, who are in our guild Torchwood.  Yes, we are THAT geeky.

Rainbow went really well.  I had the glow stick which required Pink to stay close and not zerg ahead.  Best way to stop zerging!  We ran into a problem with the jumping to the pillars over the spikes.  Geek Dad had to help Pink.  He reset her settings to make it easier to see and she was all set.

No deaths up to until the named beholder.  I had moved up enough while pulling back the rusties to find him.  Pink shouted out, “I want to get him” and ran forward.


Some lessons a parent cannot teach a child.  They must learn them on their own.  Running ahead towards a beholder just happens to be on that Pink learned last night.

We made it quickly to the end where I got to make sure that Pink remembered her Rainbow colors.  She did the puzzle on her own.  I popped in the glow stick.  The end boss showed up and was quickly dispatched!

Recalled and sent Pink off to bed.  She is still building back up her endurance and needs the rest.

All in all…..a good night to be had.


***For those who remember, I had stated that I would give a full update on what happened with Pink in November.  I have written it down but hesitate to post for two reasons.  One, she is almost 13 and is media aware.  The other, well….let’s say she should not have been allowed to get so sick.  She had her appendix removed on Nov 3.  November 11, she had to have four hours of emergency surgery to save her life from multiple stomach abscesses and sepsis.  After we brought her back to the hospital twice between Nov 8 and Nov 10th and were sent home.  Then she got pneumonia in January.  Those are the bare bones of it.  We are super happy that she is almost back to full health.  She lost a lot of weight and is gaining it back slowly.  Hopefully within the next few weeks, she can return back to everything she enjoyed.***


The Sharn Syndicate

Monday and Tuesday morning in our Geek family was rough.  We were having a FA couple of days.  Those not in the know, FA stands for F&&K Autism.  My gamer child was showing some stress from it so while her sister was out of the house, I bought her The Sharn Syndicate expansion pack and took her on an adventure.

DDO has helped me reduce much of my stress from real life and I needed to give my gamer child some much needed one to one attention.  Geekdad was on a conference call.  So Off we went!

Stand Your Ground with Maxwell Statler went swimmingly on Hard.  We were both level 6 so I decided to ramp up the difficulty.  We had done all of 3BC on Normal because I wanted her to enjoy the game, not feel it was too difficult.

Next we ran over to Dirty Laundry.  I grabbed a hireling rogue to help with the traps.  She was not a bright bulb.  She liked to stand IN the trap while looking for it.  Either that or she really enjoyed the spike trap in a personal way.  But the trap was disabled.  The quest completed.  We were on a roll.

The Stormreaver Fresco was next on the list where we were betrayed by that warforged, Zircon.  That dirty rat! But we made it out of the bank without a problem.  Even on Hard.

Next up was The Bookbinder Rescue.  I had our useless hireling rogue to assist.  First fight, one of the Binders offed herself in the trap.  Thanks for waiting to be rescued.  Geekdad was off his conference call so we dragged his rogue into the quest with us.  First try, Grammah appeared in the hallway while we were in the rooms fighting.  Dead.  Take 3, we kill off everyone but Grammah Binder decided to bug and fall on top of the bookcase.  She had fallen and could not get up.  No matter how many times we tried, the old crone refused to budge and leave the house so that we could end the quest.  Sigh…..

So, that taught my gamer child two lessons.  One, quests bug.  Two, in-game support never showed.  So off we went to try Take 4.  Success.  Grammah leaves the building.  XP is awarded.  Only took four tries.

Repossession went easily.  Geekdad removed all the traps and we got maximum XP.  SWEET!

Last quest is usually my least favorite, Come Out and Slay.  But we had Geekdad and we were on a roll to finish.  Got into the tenements pretty quickly.  Bounced up the crates to run across the top and we dropped down.  By we, I mean my gamer child and I.  Geekdad was up top killing things.  He was close enough for the quest to end but died.  OOPSS.  Only a level 6 cleric so I could not rez him.  He had to recall.  Gamer child and I finished out and left Geekdad dead in the quest.  He was not on the chain anyways having only joined to get us through The Bookbinder Rescue.  He then announced,

“Dad never forgets.  Dad remembers The Sharn Syndicate”

Sorry sweetie.

We finished The Sharn Syndicate.  I had gamer child take the Nicked Longsword which she now LOVES.

The family that slays together, stays together.

Next up……Delera’s Tomb!

Abishai PSA

The Gatekeepers would like to remind adventurers that no matter how much Abishai sound like cows, they do not appreciate being milked and that The Gatekeepers faction is not liable for any damaged received by adventurers attempting to milk the Abishai.