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Developing to Spec (Part 4): Creating New Mechanical Benefits (with Starfinder Missing Legacy Feats)

This is Part Four of a series of articles looking at creating a set of Starfinder feats under specific constraints. The point of these is to offer practical examples of how I approach developing and writing supplemental rules for tabletop RPGs. Rather than just blather on about things as I think of them, I go over issues as I encounter them in a real-world example.

The goal of this project is to create the “Missing Starfinder Legacy Feats,” a Starfinder-compatible version of every feat in the PF core rulebook that doesn’t have an SF match. (We discussed the impact of having to do that, whether that’s a good idea or not, in Part One.)

You can find previous entries here — Part One , Part Two, Part Three — or just the finished feats (as they are written) here.

We’re done Acrobatic, Acrobatic Steps, Agile Maneuvers, Alertness, Alignment Channel, and Animal Affinity. And that brings us to Arcane Armor Mastery and Arcane Armor Training.

And a brand new problem.

Both Arcane Armor Mastery and Arcane Armor Training are designed to allow characters with arcane spellcasting to overcome the penalty of arcane spell failure when wearing armor. But Starfinder doesn’t differentiate between arcane spellcasters and any other kind, and doesn’t have any arcane spell failure mechanism. These PF feats interact with two sets of rules Starfinder doesn’t have! As a result we can’t just use the trick we did for Acrobatics and Alertness, and look for design space in the SF rules to match the intent of the version of the PF feats.

So, we’re going to have to make up some entirely new benefits, guided by little more than the feat names and the kinds of PF characters who might take the feats.

Every class in Starfinder has access to proficiency with light armor (to date, anyway), and none of the spellcasting classes (again, so far) have access to heavy armor. But there’s no problem spellcasting in heavy armor — the classes just aren’t proficient with it. And it’s easy enough to get proficiency, with a feat or multiclassing, so that’s not likely a fruitful direction for developing an SF version. On the other hand, it means any feat we create tied into light armor is accessible to all spellcasters.

That givens us a where or when for bonuses for these feats, but not a what. Worse, since we know we have to do both Arcane Armor Mastery and Arcane Armor Training, we need a bonus that can scale up, or two related bonuses. And, we need them to not give the kinds of numerical bonuses that can break the game math in Starfinder — just having Arcane Armor Training give you +2 if you can cast spell and are wearing armor, and Arcane Armor Mastery give you a +4, won’t work. they’d immediately be the go-to of any spellcaster, and might even convince soldiers to take one level of technomancer just to qualify for them.

But just because Arcane Armor Training gives spellcasters access to better mundane defenses in PF doesn’t mean it has to do the same thing in Starfinder. We could, in fact, have the feats not be training in armor for arcane characters, but training in arcane armor for any classes.

Viewed through that lens, we can decide the feats give you bonuses only against spells and spell-like abilities. That’s a much narrower field than a bonus to all ACs, but still makes sense with the names, AND is still appealing to fighting-casters who might have wanted the PF version (though we are opening it up to a broader group, potentially).

While we can’t hand out universal bonuses without risking imbalance, we can create situational benefits a player can call on from time to time, especially if they have a cost. So, what we need are defensive benefits, tied to armor, against spells and spell-like abilities, with a cost. Since we are designing for Starfinder, it seems a good idea for that cost to involve Resolve Points, and t make sure it’s useful but not a no-brainer, we should limit it’s uses.

And that leads us to these.

ARCANE ARMOR MASTERY
You can focus mystic energies into your armor, creating a powerful beneficial magical talisman.
Prerequisite: Arcane Armor Training, proficiency with light armor, Mysticism 9 ranks.
Benefit: When you expend your arcane armor talisman to reroll a saving throw, you roll 2d20 and take the higher of the two results.

ARCANE ARMOR TRAINING
You can focus mystic energies into your armor, creating a beneficial magical talisman.
Prerequisite: Proficiency with light armor, Mysticism 1 rank.
Benefit: You can take one minute and expend on Resolve Point to create an arcane armor talisman in one upgrade slot of your armor. You can only have one arcane armor talisman in existence at a time, creating another one automatically causes any existing ones to fade, and your arcane armor talisman only works for you and only when you are wearing the associated armor. While your arcane armor talisman exists, you cannot recover the Resolve Point used to create it.

When you fail a saving throw against a spell or spell-like ability, as a reaction you may expend your arcane armor talisman and reroll the saving throw.

.

Tomorrow we’ll take on Arcane Strike and… Armor Proficiency (Medium)?

PATREON
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Tales of the Brain Eaters. Three.

Sometimes, you have to move away from something to get a better view of it. Sitting in E-ville makes it difficult to truly understand the forces swirling around you in the twilight. Coming to Railroad City helps me put context around much of E-ville’s hidden society.

Things only hinted at in Evansville are spoken of openly in Indy… for certain definitions of open. I expected my inquiries to take me down, into the undercity, as they would have in Seattle where the City Below is such a strong part of the Second World. And yes, Indy has the same basement boroughs  as any major metroplex, with stairs and ramps leading down to the places where sunlight can never sear or cleanse. But the Lower tracks of Crossroads are a waystation, not a destination. You can make contact with the true Unigov there, but you can’t hold meetings with them.

That only happens at Skydeck.

Skydeck likely existed before the city was planned and platted 1821, but as with many things the colonizers took what existed and forced it to fit their culture, regardless of the consequences. Originally accessed from rooftops and (amusingly) chimneytops, Skydeck is now formed from the 13th floor of hundreds of buildings, some of which are missing many floors below 13. These are crammed window-to-window and hall-to-hall, making it possible to step over the Dropov to reach a new deck manually, but most transportation occurs with elevators and Skykeys.

In older elevators, you may have to seach for where to place a Skykey, but in most cases it’s the same as the fireman’s access. Most keys access only a few decks, and these are codified as times correlating with the position the Skykey needs to be at for that to be the correct 13th floor. The guide who took me to the common entry point, the 13th floor of the Thomas Building which survives despite the rest of the building burning, has a “Thomas Three O’Clock Key,” which accessed the area known as Ashlands by having the key rotated 360 degrees, and then turned to a 3-o-clock position. The clockface position is believed to have been standardized by the 11th Hour Society in the 1930s, when they served as Stewards of the Skydeck access points.

Ashlands is neutral ground, at least officially, less out of some agreement and more because the layers of soot on every surface and strong smell of smoke makes few people wish to claim it. from there the guide warned me not to go far, and I saw only the Stacks, as expected when seeking a sage, but saw tagger signs directing me to the Wherehouses, Galley,   De-Magiced Zone, and most troubling HighHell. I did not wander.

The sage declined to answer my questions, but even just overhearing others talk of local twilight conflicts told me much. The Kith are strong in Indy, as with much of the continent, but truly weak in E-ville. The BraiN Eating was mentioned more than once, and now I must wonder–are the Brain Eaters just defending themselves against the Kith’s influence? If I am to live here, I’ll need to know.

The Torsions are a new faction to me, and powerful only in Indiana, and their power wanes in areas called the Tippecanoe and the Vincennes, that later being the area of the Brain Eaters. The Torsions are very concerned with keeping a temporal barrier between their dominions in central Indiana, and those other counties, which manifests as a time zone caved from what should rightfully be central, but not for all the state.

But for Vicennes/Land of the Brain Eaters/ There are several factions, many minor or unknown beyond the borders of river and rock that define my new home, but which are apparently ascendant enough that no outside faction dares operate in any but the most clandestine fashion in Vicennes without some local alliance. Of these regional groups, the Red Cathedral seems most powerful, and are strongly tied to the brain eating ritual, but I know little else. The Storm Arsenal is agreed to be smaller and weaker, but otherwise a mystery. Other names–the Old Passe, the Clowder Guild, the Death Wake, the Eastcheap Livery–seemed to refer to Vicenne, but I have no context for them.

When my guide told me the Clowder Guild insisted he give me safe passage back to Railway City, which I had wrongly though was included in his services, I did not question it. I was above my depth, and I knew it.

But these are grand threads for me to follow once I return to Evansville. The Clowder Guild I must seek out, clearly, and the Red Cathedral as well.

There are things I must learn, before I dare eat a brain.

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Shield Feats for PF 2E

Okay I’m at Gen Con, but I can’t help but want to play with some of the most interesting new rules of the  Pathfinder Second Edition Core Rulebook. Shields!

Here are some new shield-focused feats. I am still trying to decide how I want to present some of the new information PF2 feats need in my blog format, so here’s a first try.

Angle Shield[General][Feat 1]

Prerequisites Shield Block
You can angle your shield to deflect part of the force of a powerful blow. When you use the Shield Block feat, your shield takes 5 points less damage than normal (minimum 0).

Duck Down[General][Feat 3]

[Reaction]
Trigger: When you have your shield raised and are forced to make a saving throw.
You can duck down behind your shield, making it more difficult for spells and special abilities to target and effect you. You gain a +1 bonus to the triggering saving throw. You are no longer considered to have your shield raised.

Knock Aside [General][Feat 1]

When you are wielding a shield, you gain a +2 bonus to the Disarm, Force Open, Shove, and Trip actions of Athletics.

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Tales of the Brain Eaters. Two.

Evenasville. It’s not the Eeriest town in Indiana… but I am learning there are forces afoot that shorten the name. That think of this place, my new home, as E-ville.

In many ways this is like living in a suburb of a major metropolis, like the outskirts of Chicago, Cincinnati, or (unsurprisingly) Indianapolis. But there’s no major metropolis serving as the center of social gravity here. At least, none visible to common perception. There are surprisingly vast cave systems here, however…

If there are zoning laws in E-ville, they are either honored in being ignored, or arcane, or only cover a small part of the county’s largest—and one of only two—only incorporated townships.

The hodge-podge of buildings and land use mix in surprising ways, with metal shops right next to cemeteries right next to restaurants right next to bridge clubs. Older districts, such as Boneyard Park, often have century-old buildings sitting right next to modern drive throughs, often in the shadows of great brick edifices build in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Scottlaw, once its own town, still has clear signs of once being home to dozens of factories spewing chemicals into the now-missing Canary Creek. Museums and zoos are surprisingly common, and often surrounded on all sides by more plastic and neon edifices of corporate uniformity, as though the traditional spaces are being cut off from one another by modern, soulless progress.

(E-ville’s only incorporated neighbor in the country, Darmstadt, is a small German enclave, where old dueling rites are still performed at Saint Eligius’s Temple, on St. Eligius street, which may come as no surprise as he is the patron saint of soldiers… and metalsmiths, numismatists, farriers, ranchers, and taxi drivers. They often perform within site of the Tree of Peace, which commemorates the War to End All Wars, which legend says was nearly burned to the ground in 1939, which might explain why some locals feel protective of it.)

The food scene is particularly interesting, as one might expect in the land of the brain-eaters. Modern, corporate, franchised, uniform restaurants pop up constantly, many offering experimental dishes not available to the rest of the world, yet. They constantly appear just across the street or down the block from older, locally-owned places that often focus on comfort food.

Comfort, in fact, is one of the crucial local bywords. Not a pneumatic, power lift bed, but an old, comfortable one. Not a breakneck pace of work, but a steady, comfortable one. Tradition, community, and history are heavily leaned on to provide comfort. It’s as though something is always disturbing the residents of E-ville, always injecting disquiet into their minds. Only by clinging to comfort can generations of families remain here, and work the land, and try to survive where 10,000 years of occupancy has dictated some civilization must sit.

The modern mass-mall-eateries try to emulate this, of course. There are the Apple Barrel country stores and brunch palaces, the Craftsman Kitchen diners. But only the newest of arrivals or most transitory of tourists could mistake these for the true palaces of dozens of generations of comfort. The Blind Grasshopper’s Comfort Cafe, Citadel Bakery, and Steel River Lunchhouse have a kind of magic about them that no mass-marketed, prepackaged, manual-driven food establishment can touch.

A kind of magic that holds disquieting airs at bay.

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“One Night in Greyhawk”

Lyrics

“Grayhawk, D&D setting
And the players don’t know that the DM is getting
The creme de la creme of the game world
In a boxed set with everything but G. Gygax

Time flies doesn’t seem a minute
Since the Trithereon temple had the PCs in it
All change don’t you know that when you
Play at 10th level there’s no ordinary venue

It’s Perrenand or the Bone March or Highfolk or
Or this place!

One night in Greyhawk and you’ll find a cloister
There are priests in temples but the heals ain’t free
You’ll find a mage in every bar’s gone roister
And if you’re lucky then the mage’s a sidhe
I can feel an encounter sliding up to me

One town’s very like another
When your head’s down over your character sheet, brother

It’s a drag, it’s a bore, it’s really such a pity
To be ranting at the bard, not exploring under the city

Whaddya mean?
Ya seen one crowded, polluted, stinking sewer
Otyughs, dark oubliette
Some are set up in the under Tailor Street

Get real, you’re talking to a gamist
Whose every roll soon become famous”

With apologies to songwriters: Tim Rice / Benny Goran Bror Andersson / Bjoern K. Ulvaeus

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Rogue Genius Games and Pathfinder 2nd Edition

While RGG doesn’t have access to the Pathfinder 2e rules yet, we DO know we will want to support that game system.
One of our first releases is almost certainly going to be an update of the Time Thief.
That means it’s a good idea to get our concept of what an “iconic” Time Thief looks like settled.
So, we sent Jacob Blackmon an art order, and with just a little feedback, we got this.
I don’t know exactly what a 2e Time Thief can do yet, but I know what she looks like!

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

 

But… THEN what?

There will be new ideas, and new freelance opportunities, and new projects, of course.

But I am also VERY likely to update some of our most popular Pf1 classes to Pf2.

So,

Noting that things I update for Pathfinder 2e is going to have a reconsideration of all their elements (rules, themes, art, style, niche, tone, and so on)– because when you know better you do better, and goodness knows I have learned a bunch over the past decade, and:

Keeping in mind I expect the Pf2 Time Thief is already on this list and should also handle the Time Warden:

And that I suspect some Pf1 classes will be beter served as archetypes in Pf2:

AND that I am likely to wait for official Paizo rules for some game elements (like hexes) before I build a class using them (though I could redesign to not use them):

What RGG classes would you be most interested in seeing updated to Pf2 earlier, rather than later?

Anachronist Adventures classes (and likely the rest of that book, too)
Archon/Riven Mage
Armiger
Cruorchemist
Death Knight
Death Mage
Dragonrider
Godling
Hellion
Magister
Mosaic Mage
Shadow Assassin/Shadow Warrior
Templar
Vanguard
War Master
Witch Hunter
Hybrid Class — Blasphemer
Hybrid Class — Fury
Hybrid Class — Mountebank
Hybrid Class — Opportunist
Hybrid Class — Possessed
Hybrid Class — Psychemist
Hybrid Class — Shifu

Let me know in the comments, or at https://twitter.com/Owen_Stephens, or at owen.stephens@gmail.com, or at https://www.facebook.com/OwenK.C.Stephens

Or, if you are a Patron, at my Patreon! https://www.facebook.com/OwenK.C.Stephens

 

Speculative Fiction Show Ideas

Speculative Fiction Show Ideas

Look, Amazon and Netflix are greenlighting everything else, so…

“SPOOKED” When the randomly-selected patsy of a deep cover spy mission turns out to have an honest-to-magic necromancer as a sister, spies and ghosts face off in a world that runs from honeypots to ceramic urns and pits undercover against undead.

“BLACK SPOT” For centuries the Order of the Black Spot have been hunting and killing pirates, working outside of government and outside the law. Now the King, Queen, and Jack of Spades, the royal family ruling the order, have mysteriously turned to the FBI to give information about bringing down both the remaining pirate organizations of the world, and their own Order.

“CRIME AND CHAOS” When the government becomes the problem, who can the people turn to? A mastermind thief, greedy con, addicted stage magician, reformed pacifist ex-assassin, gray hat hacker, and disillusioned counterfeiter form the ultimate crime league, with their only targets the corrupted forces who now control law and order.

“PLAN Z” Dozens of corporations and more than a few terrorist groups have access to a weaponized virus that creates undead, and the governments of the world are endlessly dealing with breakouts and pandemics in a desperate bid to prevent the zombie apocalypse. When a zone is too hot for any human to be sent in, the trained, international, experimental squad of soldiers who are immune carries to the zombie virus are sent in as Plan Z.

“GOTHIC JUSTICE” When Lady Penanggalan went to sleep in 1800, she expected her monstrous partners to wake her in a century, as agreed. Now it’s 2017, and she’s discovered not only did the other Gothic Scions betray her, most have turned to run organized crime. She is pissed, and ready to work with human law if that’s what it takes to gain her revenge. But the most powerful of those scions, the dreaded Akephaloi or “Headless Man” knows more about Lady Pen’s sleep and why her allies betrayed her than she could ever guess.

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My PaizoCon Schedule, 2019!

It’s PaizoCon time!

Here’s when I will be where!

Thursday

4-6pm, 10pm-on: Hanging around the Doubletree. Don’t be shy, come say hi! heck, if you want to be able to pitch things to me later, and you see me, “You mentioned on your blog anyone could ask for a business card” is a great conversation-opener!

Friday

9am — Starfinder Delve! I am running 20-minute slots on a table near registration. I have SUCH robo-wonders to kill you with!

10am — Pathfinder 2e Delve! One table over. Kill-you, kill-you,. kill-you is three actions, right?

11am — I’m hanging out near the Seminar rooms, keeping an eye on things.

12-12:50pm — Seminar: Industry Insider: How do Ideas Become RPG Products? (Cascade 8) It’s just me, so come with your questions!

1-1:50pm — Lunch! Almost certainly in the hotel restaurant or nearby table. Again, come say hi!

2-5:45pm — Into the Emerald Star Spire, part 11. Six years. 10 conventions. One persistent dungeon. I believe all the seats are full.

6pm-On: Floating about at the hotel!

Saturday

9am — Pathfinder 2e Delve! I promise to use the new rules. I don’t promise to use them correctly. 🙂

10am-12:45 pm — Lunch! Or… Brunch! Or, look I’ll need food from somewhere. 🙂

1-5:45pm — Into the Emerald Star Spire, part 12. I’m giving them bigger plasma cannons this year. How far can they get? Again, I think this is full.

7pm — Preview banquet! I have many hats in this industry, but I’ll have my Starfinder Design lead hat on for this event. Right? I mean… right?

10pmGrimmerspace launch party! (Cascade 13) Cash bar. Come say hi!

Sunday

9am — Pathfinder 2e Delve! How goofy am I as a GM b y Sunday? Come find out!

12pmRPG Writing and Editing Workshop! (Cascade 8) With two members of our AMAZING editing staff, including our Managing Editor Judy Bauer! Simple editing test included.

4-6pmOblivion Oath Live! Come see why Pickles are Magic! We play for an hour, do Q&A for an hour, and it’s all streamed!

Monday

10am-1pm — Gaming With Staffers! (Cascade 12 & 13) What game? I dunno! Let’s find out together!

The Bottomless Tombs, Intro

The Bottomless Tombs is a 1st-level Pathfinder-compatible adventure that is designed to offer some experiences not common to 1st-level play, but still totally appropriate for beginning characters.

It uses this map, with Cartography by Dyson Logos. The map is available for use free through a license from Dyson Logos, thanks to his Patreon. This is a spectacular service to the hobby, and I heartily encourage any fan of RPG maps to go support him!

Bottomless Tombs

 

The arrow in the lower-left-hand corner indicates north. The Bottomless Tombs are an ancient Merothian barrow near the town of Redstone… or whatever ancient culture and town make sense for your campaign.

The barrow is built off a single central shaft, which is choked with weeds and roots, and the rotting wreckage of several cranes and other excavation equipment a band of adventurers tried to use to reach the bottom a decade ago… before some disaster sucked in most of their equipment and they left.

The people of Redstone don’t talk about the Bottomless Tombs much, and most adventurers have ignored it for years.

But now, people in Redstone are getting sick and no medicine or magic keeps them well for long. This happened once before, 100 years ago, as a half-elf who has run the town;s general goods store for more than a ten decades–Merinn Longear–will tell the PCs. When a root dislodged the lid of a stone casket somewhere within the first few hundred feet of the shaft, the ghost of “Chagral Chagrot” that grave cursed the town with boils and fevers. Adventurers went into the tomb, cleared away the roots from Chagral Chagrot’s casket, set the lid back on, and the curse was lifted.

And Chagral Chagrot’s ghost gave each adventurer one Secret of Power as a reward.

Letters have been sent to the major church in the nearest big city, Hoard, but it will take weeks for it to arrive and help to be dispatched. By then, several children and elderly within Redstone will have died.

Merinn Longear has a great-grandson who is sick. She asks the PCs to descend into the Bottomless Barrow, find the casket of Chagral Chagrot, and put it right. She will happily give them all the rope, pitons, and climbing kits they can carry to assist with this, and offers a reward of 50 gp each, her century-old emergency fund, if they succeed.

Preparation

Redstone is not a large town, but it does have a population of almost 2,000 people. It has an aging 5th-level mayor, who is not much of a climber, and a 4th-level hedge witch, and a 3rd-level weather cleric, both of whom are happy to help prepare the PCs, but are needed in town to keep victims as well and comfortable as they can.

The PCs can do some research and asking around in town. Successful DC 14 checks with the following skills produce the listed information.

Diplomacy (gather information) — [1st check, or Knowledge (local)] The hedge witch has a store of sunrods (she has 10) she is likely to be willing to part with for a good cause (she is).

[2nd check] Some gnomes came to town asking about the Bottomless Tombs a few weeks ago, but they stayed only a day and left with no suggestion they were going there.

Knowledge (arcana) — Tombs of this kind were at one time used to bury genies, the long shaft being a way to ensure the element of air still had access to the graves of the air djinns.

Knowledge (dungeoneering) — Even if the tomb was totally emptied decades ago, chances are vermin have moved in, and possible goblins, mites, or other minor subterranearn humanoids. Also, it’s going to be dark. Bring lights.

Knowledge (religion) — Ghosts are one of the few forms of undead that aren’t almost always evil… but the majority still are. Even if destroyed, they can reform under the right conditions.

Other reasonable preparations can be made, but The Bottomless Tomb awaits!

Staging Area

Area 1: Entering the Shaft

Area 2: The First Passage

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Real Mental Health Issues: My Traumas (2)

This addresses and describes trauma I have suffered, and if you don’t have interest in knowing about that, or if it’s not in your mental health best interests to read about cruelty, assault, or being immobilized, don’t read this.

It’s okay. I’ll get back to imaginary creatures and game spells later. At my therapist’s recommendation, and with their support, I am both making a list of the potentially traumatic events in my life, and trying to nail down details about them I have forgotten.

It is exhausting, frightening, shocking work.

having been diagnosed with civilian PTSD, I also think it is important work for my own well-being.

This is a frank discussion and description of some of that trauma. If you’d rather not be exposed to that, it’s perfectly all right to skip this. I’ll go back to pastiche supervillains ideas and my take on politics and gaming later.

This content is mostly about alcoholism.

My father was an alcoholic. He and my mother tried to control his alcoholism with rationality and intelligence, because they were rational, intelligent people.

It did not work.

My father was never violent. In fact, I have never witnessed any violence against any member of my family except myself, and I have never witnessed any member of my family be violent except myself.

I have assumed, for my entire life, that since my father was never violent, there was no trauma to me associated with his alcoholism.

When drunk, my father made promises that not only would he not keep, he would not remember.

All the alcohol in the house I grew up in was kept in a cabinet that, after he had consumed the two drinks a night my parents thought was reasonable, my mother would lock.

Then, when he felt he needed more alcohol, my father either had to try to force the doors of that cabinet open just enough to pry a bottle loose with a bent coathanger, or go out.

He never drove to get alcohol, and never drove after having even one drink.

He did, however, call a taxi… of just take a walk. We lived 3 houses down from a bar and restaurant (The Mont, in Norman, OK), and late a convenience store was even closer,

As early as 5 or 6, if I woke up late at night and my father was going out, he might take me to the Mont as 10 or 11pm, after everyone else was asleep. I could sit in the restaurant section, and he’d sit right next to me, on the other side of the railing that demarcated the bar.

I learned to play chess with him, and later the game go, at that bar.

As I grew older, he was more likely to walk to the store, buy a bottle, and come back and we’d play games at home. My earliest game experiences–chess, go, checkers, pitch, and a civil war wargame/boardgame I don’t know the name of, were with my father, but only when he was drunk. We almost never got to finish those games, because he’d become too drunk to keep playing. Usually he’d fall asleep, or begin to cry about international politics he’d slurringly try to explain to me.

This was all I knew. To me, this was normal.

I did that less once I had friends, and could play games with them. No because I was avoiding my father, but because the window during which he could play got shorter and shorter, as he drank more, faster.

After my sister went to college, it began to be normal to come into the living room in the morning to discover my father had passed out after unlocking the door to come into the house, and we had, for an unknown period of time, been asleep with our front door held open by his body being slumped across our doorway.

My mother told my father to stop getting drunk at home, so he would take a taxi to a motel, and get drunk there, often paying people to spend time with him because he disliked drinking alone.

In my mid-to-late teens, I met some of the people he paid to spend time with him. They suggested I could pay them to spend time with me. They also suggested I could get the money to do so from my father and he wouldn’t even notice.

I am sure I could have.

My father was a sweet man who loved me, and was doing the best he could.

He and my mother were going to take my wife and I out to dinner on our first wedding anniversary–but he got too drunk and couldn’t do it. My mother had to call me, and confess he had moved out a few weeks before, and they hadn’t told me because they didn’t want to ruin my anniversary dinner.

My mother took us out without him.

About a year before he died, in an effort to get him to go back into rehab, I told him he was drinking himself to death.

He told me he knew, and that was what he wanted. He wanted to drink himself to death.

He did.