First time DMing a Dungeons and Dragons game

I finally got to DMing a session, two to be precise. And it is more fun than I previously thought it would be. I still have a lot of things to learn and made a couple of mistakes (which hopefully my players didn’t notice!) But it was fun overall. Hearing the players enjoying them and looking forward to the sessions motivates me to improve. My only hope now is that I do not become a forever DM 🥲

So, how did I get here? I got really into the whole game mechanics. I have created a lot of characters while experimenting with different classes and their subclasses(70 while I am writing this). I have ingested multiple D&D videos on YouTube. It is one giant rabbit hole.

I was playing D&D with a friend who introduced me to the game, and we left the campaign we were playing in because we were not enjoying it. My friend offered DMing for me and some other friends we convinced to join us. My friend’s campaign was one where we were treasure hunters. Our party was looking for El Dorado in a jungle setting. His sessions were fun, although we still had difficulties getting the whole party every session or even having one session every week.

As I was very vocal with my interest in D&D, my DM friend asked me if I wanted to DM a game. I liked being a player character, so I said I would only if he wanted to play as a player character. One thing led to another, and we were having difficulties conducting a single session. A player in our party became busy, and we could not continue forward without including him because of plot reasons.

And due to my intense urge to roleplay and put myself in a fantasy environment, I offered to DM. I had some ideas about what kind of adventure I would like to create. I thought a rowdy group like the one I played D&D with would enjoy being pirates, so I decided to make a nautical adventure.

The first session was stressful. I hadn’t planned to DM at all, so doing it at the spot was nerve-wracking. I had a bunch of tools in my browser bookmarks to help. And the more time I spent behind the DM screen, the more comfortable I got being a dungeon master to the party.

Currently, I am facing problems with what kind of stories I want to create. I started the campaign with a prison break, where the crew escaped from palace grounds after being captured. They then had some downtime to explore their surroundings. Their actions at the palace will have consequences. When we ended our session, the party members were about to leave the naval city.

And here is where I face my next difficulty in what kinds of things I want to introduce to the party. I am just revolving my story around them. Introducing stuff to them and building things upon what they find interesting. I was thinking of naval combat too, but I have no experience with it. So yeah, I am facing a minor setback which I hope to fix before our next session (wish me luck!)

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Why Captain America is my favourite superhero.

*spoiler alert for the Marvel movies consisting of Captain America, as well as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier*

The first time I heard about him, I am not going to lie, I thought he was pretty lame. He didn’t have any superpowers. I mean, all he had was a shield! Not some cool weapon or energy blasters that could reduce his foes to cinders. A freaking shield! That was my first impression of him. In my eyes, he was simply a boring goodie-two-shoes.

I was never really that much into DC or Marvel. I thought they were the same. That was until Marvel started gearing up for their renowned Avengers series.

I religiously watched all of the movies to keep up with every reference and to keep myself updated with everything, all but except The Incredible Hulk (sorry!) And it was during that time I got introduced to the First Avenger.

22 Days of Marvel Day 5: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) | SYFY  WIRE
credit: Marvel Studios

Meet Steve Rogers. A man with a weak constitution. Physically inferior to all of his brothers in arms. No one was willing to accept him in the army for his own sake! (He had: asthma, scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, high blood pressure, and heart trouble, among other illnesses.)

Even then, there was something that separated him from the rest. Dr Abraham Erskine saw something in him that no one else did. Because Rogers was weak, he had a perspective no one else did. Steve Rogers could use brains to outwit the brawn (as seen from his dismantling of the flag pole). He understood the power behind being strong. He was like Erskine said: “a good man”. The one who would not hesitate to put his life on the line for others. The one who would jump in front of a live grenade to protect others even when he was powerless. The one who is always at the front to lead the charge and take the brunt of the battle.

Although, there were numerous supersoldats in the Marvel films and the television series: Falcon and the Winter Soldier. None of them could ever compare to the likes of Steve Rogers.

Steve Rogers is ultimately a good person. Someone every person should aspire to be. He became a role model for me throughout the movies before I even knew it. Like your average cynical person, I believed myself to be “realistic” and “logical”. But there are times when you need that person in your corner who you can rely on to make everything okay with their aura of absolute positivity. An assurance in themselves and the people around them. That is Captain Steven Grant Rogers. Whenever Steve was with the Avengers, there was a feeling that everything would be okay in the end. If Cap had turned to dust with Thanos’ snap, Endgame would have had a completely different vibe.

Steve Rogers is the type of man that exudes compassion and humanity towards others, no matter what side. With the rise of the relativist antagonist in cinema, Cap can showcase his full ability to reach the hearts of the antagonists with his charmingly naive but firm belief in the good inside all of us. The man’s heart is so pure, Mjölnir deems him worthy to wield him for crying out loud!

Besides the joke of being America’s ass and a complete boomer, Cap has had meaningful relationships throughout all his appearances. No matter who he was interacting with, he always showed them respect. Often an overlooked quality, but an important one. The three most notable to me are Bucky Barnes, Sam Wilson, and Natasha Romanoff.

James Buchanan Barnes, otherwise known as “Bucky” or “Winter Soldier” was a man Steve had known since childhood. He stood by and supported Steve all this time until he became the Winter Soldier after his freak accident. Steve never gave up on Bucky when everyone else had. Steve knew Bucky was a good person without his commands and brainwashing. In the end, it paid off as Bucky went from killing machine for the Soviet Union back to being a brother by his side.

Another best friend of Cap, Samuel Thomas Wilson, a.k.a. “Falcon”, or the new “Captain America”. After Cap woke up from his 70-year “nap”, Sam Wilson was his jogging buddy, the one who recommended Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man” album, and the one he turned to when going AWOL. Sam was always there when he needed him, had a clear conscience, and was the rightful recipient for the shield and title of Captain America as passed down by Steve Rogers.

*If you haven’t watched The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and are still reading this, I recommend you to give it a watch. It entails life after Cap’s “retirement”. And how his best buddies and the world cope with his absence.*

Natalia Alianovna Romanoff, commonly known as “Black Widow”. I feel for all those Romanogers shippers when the ship officially sunk, as I was also one of them. Natalia was a consistent figure in Steve’s life after his rebirth. From working alongside each other in S.H.I.E.L.D. to leading the Avengers after the snap. Their banter and support of each other shined throughout the movies. And this is one opposite-sex friendship that stands out to me in fiction. Even when they initially picked opposite sides in Civil War, Natasha still considered Steve a close friend and helped him escape. Steve accepted Natasha when she was unable to open herself to others. Steve trusted Natasha to have his back when things went dire. I believed Steve enabled Natasha to break away from her chains as a trained assassin since birth; it was character development at its finest. Natasha was there for Steve at Peggy Carter’s funeral. She also helped Steve move on from the snap. These were some of the most memorable moments for me in the movies.

In the end, Steve Rogers chose to go back to the past and spend the rest of his life with Peggy Carter. And we all saw it coming when he stood in the teleporter in Endgame. Steve seeing his picture frame on Peggy’s desk was the final nail in the coffin to every ship that wasn’t Steve and Peggy. A funny meme has arisen with Steve and his locket with Peggy’s picture. Cap was indeed a loyal dog.

True love bolte - MemeAdda
credit: Meme Central

What impresses me the most about Steve Rogers is that he does the right thing and follow his beliefs under any circumstances. Even if it meant he had to go against the law and his team. In the end, Steve is more than just a superhuman. The thing that came out of a bottle is just an enhancement to an already incredible human being, a hero. It is easy to empathize with him because he seems more “human” when compared to the other supes. Even when it appears that he is no match against his adversaries, he will rise to the occasion. Even when alone with Thanos and his army, he walked towards them, fearless.

He seemed powerless before a godlike being. Hell, he even had to strap his dangling forearm to his shield so that it wouldn’t fall off. He utters these words we have all come to recognize: “I can do this all day.” In the face of death, a mortal squares up to a god so that he can bring everyone back. If you had to explain what a hero meant in simple terms, this is it. I hear some people saying, “he is just reckless”. Do not fret. After all, you are talking about the star-spangled man with a plan.

r/marvelstudios - I did some color correction to the Cap vs Thanos Army screen cap
credit: Marvel Studios & juandg4

Being in-between

As a third-generation Nepali in Hong Kong. (The first generation of my family to move to Hong Kong was my grandfather, a British Gurkha stationed there), I was never really able to fit in with both my Nepali and Hongkonger identities.

I do speak Nepali at home. But since I never learnt my native tongue, I don’t understand the more complicated words.

And all my life, I have been studying in EMI(English as the medium of instruction) schools. So I would say English is my first language as I am most comfortable with it.

Because of this, I have never learnt Chinese(Cantonese) very well. Most of my Cantonese knowledge comes from:

  1. Watching local TV channels when smartphones did not exist.
  2. Playing in the playground when I was younger.
  3. Being forced to speak it in a working atmosphere where I had to work with people who did not understand English.

I am also forced to speak Cantonese when I go out because I have East Asian features. Therefore, HK locals talk to me in Cantonese instead of English since they think I am a local. I am grateful for this as this pushes me outside my comfort zone to speak more Cantonese.

Even then, I feel like I do not fit in both cultures properly. Not being Chinese, it is difficult to relate with the locals when it comes to traditions. The locals and minorities grow up in different backgrounds from culture, to schooling, to media exposure. When there are public holidays, we spend them differently. It means more to the locals because it relates to their culture. For us minorities, it is just an extra holiday. We are also exposed to stuff from our own countries in the forms of movies, TV, songs, religions. Although we may get along well, there is still something that differentiates us.

This is also true for my Nepali side. I am not familiar with the language. It is enough to get by in Nepal. But I do not understand anything when watching a news report there with the advanced use of language. I still remember needing to sign my name in Nepali when I went there for some official work where they were sardonic when I did not know how to write it. “How can you call yourself Nepali when you can’t even write your own name?” Those were the words the officer said to me. I realized then that most people live in a bubble where they are ignorant of people outside it. It was also a great way to make me question my identity.

I don’t feel “local” anywhere. In Hong Kong, you are “local” if you are Chinese and your family has been in Hong Kong for generations. I was also asked by my local friends when I was “going back” to visit Nepal. I understand that they did not mean any ill will. Since I am not Chinese, they must have thought I am not originally from here. But Hong Kong is my home. If you sent me to Nepal right now, I would be lost. I would be like a tourist there.

Back in 2019, when the HK protests were still going on, one of my friends at work told me that the locals were protesting because they had no other place to go. Most of them simply couldn’t. He told me that if HK became an undesirable place to live, I could go to Nepal and even other countries because I understood English. But the locals were indeed living in a bubble that was entirely their own. Being a Special Administrative Region that had an autonomy of itself. As well as being apart from the mainland for a century and a half. Obviously, this caused the people in Hong Kong to have their own identities.

I believe there are a lot of people like me who are in-between. Not only in Hong Kong but everywhere in the world. We manage to find our own smaller group of people with who we can relate. And even introduce the “locals” into our lives. Because although this is an identity crisis, not everyone may encounter it. The present is what binds us all together. Spending time together, getting to know one another. There is a beauty in learning more about each other that I have experienced both in Nepal and Hong Kong. Even though cultures and traditions may be different. In the end, we are all the same. We are human. So we should find comfort in our differences because that is what makes us unique. Our shared experiences allow us to connect with different parts of ourselves.

This blog was inspired by personal experience and talking with friends who relate. As well as the 2017 Wong Fu Productions short film: “In Between”.

The future of VR gaming

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There are a multitude of games available in the market. But I want to talk about an idea that may end up becoming the go-to way of experiencing gaming within the next 10 years. Virtual reality (VR) gaming.

Imagine coming home after a long day of work. You take off your shoes, let your feet breathe, and plop down onto your sofa and put on your headset. Then boom! You are in another world flying with dragons and diving down huge waterfalls. VR gaming hasn’t been utilised to its full potential yet as can be seen from consoles still taking precedence in the gaming community. But VR has been making leaps in its development since it has first been introduced to us.

Teslasuit - A Wearable Smart Suit With Applications Beyond Imagination

Looking at VR as a form of escapism, its potential is endless. You are able to immerse yourself completely in a world dealing with magic, monsters, space and the usual gaming stuff. Moreover with the current and future tech being developed, more senses are being implemented into technology. One example is the Haptic suits and gloves to allow players to feel the sense of touch when getting shot or receiving a hug from someone in VRChat. 

Global Digital Scent Technology Market: Industry Size, Status And Forecast  2017 – 2022 - Haptic
Digital device serves up a taste of virtual food

VR gaming introduces a whole new world for multiplayer games and interactions with other people. Gustatory senses and digital scent technology is out there in the market. Maybe in the future, these technologies can be implemented in VR gaming in order to be more immersive.

2019 Omni Directional Treadmill Virtual Reality Equipment Games,Kat Walk Vr  Treadmill Simulator For Sale - Buy Vr Simulator,Vr Treadmill For Sale,Kat  Walk Vr Product on Alibaba.com

Currently a lot of its technology is too expensive or too big to be sold for regular consumers. One example is the VR treadmill. Most of their tech is only available for business and commercial use such as VR centers. However in order to truly revolutionise gaming and be closer to something akin to “Ready Player One”. VR technology must be developed to be easily accessible to the normal user like you and me.

Reference:

Aperture (2019). Virtual Reality: Our Digital Escape. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjrL6kZKgP4

Explore Biotech. (2018). Teslasuit – A Wearable Smart Suit With Applications Beyond Imagination. [online] Available at: https://explorebiotech.com/teslasuit-a-wearable-smart-suit-with-applications-beyond-imagination/

Giphy.com. (2021). [online] Available at: https://media.giphy.com/media/26AHxbQMIf0CzRdTO/giphy.gif.

Haptic (2017). Global Digital Scent Technology Market: Industry Size, Status And Forecast 2017 – 2022. [online] Haptic. Available at: https://www.haptic.ro/global-digital-scent-technology-market-industry-size-status-forecast-2017-2022/

Heim, M. (1994). The metaphysics of virtual reality. New York ; Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nathie (2020). This VR Treadmill Brings Us Closer To Making Ready Player One A Reality (First Look: Kat Walk C). YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jABB85ZTcF8

Science Time (2020). The Evolution of Virtual Reality by 2025. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d-hMZaU5Po

techxplore.com. (n.d.). Digital device serves up a taste of virtual food. [online] Available at: https://techxplore.com/news/2020-05-digital-device-virtual-food.html

The Gadget Show (2019). The Future of VR Games. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PxI7LHU_mA&list=PLnRGS-ZphN4RVEXHffWW4mWVuD-8qih35&index=24

Virtual Insider (2020). The Future Tech Of Virtual Reality. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cgZ6J5oE0g&list=PLnRGS-ZphN4RVEXHffWW4mWVuD-8qih35&index=23

Virtual Reality Technology. (2011). New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

http://www.alibaba.com. (n.d.). Buy 2019 Omni Directional Treadmill Virtual Reality in China on Alibaba.com. [online] Available at: https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/2019-Omni-Directional-Treadmill-Virtual-Reality_60786495915.html.

Sound of a dying star (ch.2)

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When I opened my eyes, I seemed to be transferred to heaven or something similar, because all I could see was rainbow coloured clouds drifting through my feet. And then as I started to get a hold of myself, I felt some pressure being applied on my biceps. I looked up to find the exact green crystal bird that had swooped down on me. Where was it taking me? Maybe to its giant crystal nest to feed its crystal chicks? I did not want to imagine that.

Another thing I noticed about the environment around me was that it did not seem like Earth. Wherever I was, it was a place with purple skies and visible stars shining in the distance. Also, something caught my attention, three of them to be exact. This place had three moons in the sky. When I looked down, I noticed this great expanse of buildings. The unusual thing is that they were not on land, rather they were floating in the ocean of whichever planet I was in. Taking a closer look at the spectacle underneath, it was a bright and noisy place. Genres of music I had never heard before and fragrances I have never come across.

We finally landed on a large landing area resembling a helipad, only it was the size of a football pitch. As soon as we landed, a group of humanoid creatures came to greet me, their skin made of crystals like the bird that had carried me here.

I was suspicious of everything at this point. Waking up to find myself being the only one on Earth, walking down the familiar streets of Manhattan, to find a gigantic crystal bird which somehow managed to bring me to this strange planet while I was unconscious. This had to be a dream. I pinched myself hard, only to reel back at the pain. “Oh, my god!” The entourage of crystal men and women looked at me in confusion: “Is this normal behaviour on your planet?” one of them asked me.

No.. This couldn’t be. This was real.

Sound of a dying star (ch.1)

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My name is Edison Ramirez. 39 years old and living by myself. I work as an audio engineer. When I woke up today, there seemed to be something amiss. The streets were quiet and I could not hear the birds singing their usual songs. The cars on the street had come to a standstill. The streets were also void of people.

I put my deathstrider 78X1 on and listen to the latest hits with its booming-bass system. I take a step out on the streets of Manhattan and go for a jog. As I pass by the cars, I notice that there were no one inside them. That was weird, was the whole city playing a prank on me?

I was supposed to do some checks on the sound system of a huge club downtown. But no one would be complaining if I didn’t show up tonight right? After all, I seem to be the only one in this city. That was when I heard it, a beautiful harp-like melody coming from somewhere close. With a sudden burst of speed, I ran as fast as I could directly at the sound. Maybe I wasn’t alone after all. That was when I saw it, soaring past the tall skyscrapers gracefully with its shimmering green feathers that seemed to radiate alongside the sun. It appeared to be a large birdlike creature about the size of a human.

As I continue to stare at its beauty, it notices me. It makes that beautiful sound again, lulling me to sleep and proceeds to swoop down at me. I then realize that it wasn’t as big as a human but two or even three times bigger than a fully grown man. I stand still in fear, unable to move a muscle or perhaps it was a spell cast by the bird.

And then, everything turns black.

Success!

A life well lived to me is one where you were close with your loved ones.

A life well lived is one where you could say you were a good person in life.

A life well lived is one where you made a difference to other people in a positive way.

A life well lived is one where you came into terms with yourself and loved who you were.

A life well lived is one where you were happy in the end.

A life well lived is one where you accepted other people despite their differences and hardships.

A life well lived is one where you loved with all of your heart.

A life well lived is one where you made time for the people you care.

A life well lived is one where you were loved.

A life well lived is one where you felt.

A life well lived is one in which you mattered.

Aiming for the bullseye

I don’t really have a target audience in mind. I guess anyone that find my posts interesting is free to follow my blog. This blog is a part of my writing journey, helping me to find my voice in this great ocean of content and creators. Right now I am too lazy to think of something to write, just following the blogging course from blogging university. But if I do write something of my free will, it will probably in the lines of sport and pop culture. As well as some short or long stories. We’ll have to see.

Why Thoughtfroth?

So why did I choose Thoughtfroth as the name for my site? It is because I want my posts to be thought-provoking, as well as the fact that I have always found froth to be intriguing. Ever just catch yourself looking at froth from beer? No? Just me? (I don’t drink alcohol by the way!) I have also decided to keep the tagline: ‘Let it surface.” As in letting ideas surface to the top or something following that line.

I know most people find it hard to name something important to them, for example, names of their children or if they find their username taken on an MMORPG. Hell, I’m in the same boat. But the name ‘Thoughtfroth’ gave me a good feeling. It just ‘clicks’ with me.

Let’s walk the flower path together

Hello beautiful people, and welcome to my blog. Currently, I am taking the blogging course from the blogging university, and this is my attempt on the first task.

So, first and foremost. My name is Richard, nice to meet you lovely people. And the reason I am starting to blog is that I want to give myself some purpose in life. As well as people telling me that blogging is a prerequisite for all writers in this current day and age.

Like I have written in my previous blog, I will be writing about anything and everything I feel like writing. I am trying to make blogging a habit of mine. And I am trying to start the new decade off with self-growth. Hopefully, this will prove to be the start of a chain reaction that pushes me into becoming someone I can look back years from now, lying on my deathbed with no regrets.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read one of my very first blogs. It may not be up to the standards of blogging elites such as you guys, but I am willing to learn and improve every single post. ❤