Category Archives: Beautiful Games

Being Evil

Tonight, I was playing in the living room with my girlfriend (Sarah) my oldest son (codename Oot: age 5.5) and my youngest son (codename Cutie Snoo, age 1.5)

It wasn’t anything fancy. Nothing organized. I’d just come back from recording this week’s podcast with Max Temkin, and rather than head upstairs to do more e-mail, as I am wont to do, I decided to stay downstairs and play with the kids.

A large part of this is because my Cutie is at a magical age. 18 months is pretty awesome. After a bit of a hiatus, he’s saying da-da again, and it pulls at my heart.

Those of you without kids might have trouble understanding how enthusiastic an 18 month-old can be. Let me explain.

You know how excited a dog can get when you’ve been away for a couple hours? (Or let’s be honest, when you’ve just left the room for a couple minutes). At 18 months, my little boy has that level of enthusiasm. He runs up to me, his face all lit up, grinning, his legs doing that straight up-and-down stomping walk that’s the closest he can get to a run.

And all the time he’s saying “da-da-da-da-da-da!”

So yeah. It’s pretty fucking amazing. I’m not going to lie.

Anyway, I’m hanging out with my family, and Oot walks up to Sarah and says, “I’m so… thirsty! Can you please… get me… a drink of water?”

His performance makes it clear that he is about to die from thirst. People in the desert don’t have it this bad. He’s really going full Shatner in his performance.

Sarah starts to get up to get him a drink of water. She does this because she loves him.

Sarah and Oot

(Exhibit A)

“You know where the water is,” I say to Oot. “You can get yourself a drink. You’re a very grown-up child.”

I say this because I love him too. Sarah and exhibit our love in different ways. She wants him to be happy now. I want him to be happy in the future, and part of that is making sure he’s self-reliant.

Plus he’s five. If we were living in the wild, he’d be hunting and cooking birds on his own. So yeah. He can get his own drink of water.

But here’s the thing, it’s a little late at night. The kitchen is on the other side of the house. It’s a whole, like, 50 feet away. And it’s late in the evening, so that part of the house is kinda dim.

And he’s five, so he’s a little scared of being alone, and of the dark.

“Will you come with me?” he asks.

This is a familiar dance. We want him to do things for himself. He wants company. We want him to be brave. He wants to feel safe.

Nobody’s wrong here. We all want good things. But they’re in conflict.

“You can do it,” I say. “I know you can.” (Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not some muy mas macho monster. If it was fully dark in there, I’d work with him. But it’s not. He can handle it. He has before. It’s good practice for him.

I’ll tell you a story,” Sarah says.

This is a compromise we use sometimes. If he hears our voices, he knows he’s not alone. So one of us will tell him a story, and it will help him go somewhere in the house when he’s a little spooked.

“I’ll tell you a story,” I say.

“I want mom to do it,” he says, moving toward the baby gate that leads into the dining room.

He’s on to me.

Once there was a little boy who really liked candy,” Sarah says. “So he decided to go exploring.

I’m going to be honest here, Sarah’s narrative structure isn’t the best. Her themes can be kinda muddy sometimes, and, truthfully, her stories are often really lacking in terms of the Aristotelian unities. But even so, I know she’s up for this. Two minutes of story will get Oot into the kitchen and back. I watch as he opens the gate then turns on the light to the dining room. Out of our line of sight. Out of his line of sight. He’s gone.

So one day he walked out into the the backyard and he found–

A Thousand Angry Ghosts!” I say. I don’t yell it. But I say it in a really loud voice. My phantom of the opera voice. I project from my diaphragm.

And from the other room, comes a high, piercing scream. It lasts for a full two seconds.

Then Oot comes running back into the living room.

You’re going to have to trust me on this, it was *super* funny. Sarah will back me up on this.

You see, most days, I’m a good dad.

Other days, I’m an AWESOME dad.

Stay tuned, everyone. Soon we’ll have bedtime stories.

Seriously,

pat

Also posted in babies, Because I Love, Cutie Snoo, Oot, podcasts, Sarah | By Pat26 Responses

A Guy Game

Today Oot came up to me and asked me if I’d like to play a game.

“What kind of a game?” I asked him.

“Oh you know,” he explains, sounding very matter-of-fact. “A guy game. Because we’re both guys.”

20140922_162944

I hear this, and I sigh a little inside. We’ve tried really hard to keep the gender stereotype stuff away from him. I don’t want him to think that trucks are for boys and dolls are for girls. That boys are tough and girls are delicate. When I tell him stories, the heroes win because they’re clever instead of being strong, and sometimes it’s the prince that needs rescuing, not the princess.

But I can’t watch every piece of media before he does. Or every book before he reads it. Besides, this stuff is insidious. It’s everywhere. And I know that despite my best intentions I sometimes tend to reinforce stereotypes without meaning to.

It’s like trying to keep dust out of your house. You can do a lot, but ultimately, *you* are one of the main reasons there’s dust. You track it in on your clothes without knowing it. And even if you somehow managed to avoid that, you’d still shed skin cells. Even if you don’t want to. This constant, low-grade sexism is everywhere. It sneaks in.

But they can’t all be learning experiences. Sometimes you just want to play a game with your kid. Sometimes you watch The Princess Bride because you love it, and it’s a really great movie even though there is only one woman in it, and Buttercup is pretty much the epitome of a useless trophy damsel.

Sometimes you’re going to lose a little. That’s the way of things. It stings, but all I can do is try my best and hope he grows up having internalized less of this cultural bullshit than me. Then he won’t have to work so hard to be a halfway decent human being.

Then, years from now when he has kids, he can help them be even better than he is. And so on. I might lose a battle here and there, but I’m taking the long view. I’m aiming to win the war.

So it’s okay. We’ll play a guy game.

“What sort of guy game would you like to play?” I ask him.

“Well,” he says. “Maybe me and you could play a game where we make a house.”

I’m okay with that. It’s a good game. I did a lot of construction projects with my dad when I was little. At least it’s not killing-things game. It’s a making-things game. I’ll take what I can get.

So we go into the room and he explains the game to me. We’re dragons, and we’re making a house. In the house we’re going to make a nest. And in the nest we have some eggs. Our job is to take care of the eggs, keep them warm and safe until they hatch.

After they hatch, we’ll take care of the baby dragons. We’ll bring them food to eat and toys and soft things to cuddle up with.

You know. A guy game. Because we’re both guys.

Some days you lose despite your best efforts. Some days you win without even trying.

Be good everyone,

pat

Also posted in Achievement Unlocked!, Because I Love, Oot | By Pat84 Responses

Link Salad

It’s been a while since I posted up a blog full of random interesting links.

Here’s a few having to do with my books:

It’s odd to me, showing up on the same list as Aldus Huxley, Angela Carter, and Margaret Atwood.

Again, very flattering company. And I like the quote they used. I remember writing that one and being proud of it.

Over the years, I’ve been described as the next Tolkien, the next Scott Lynch, the next George Martin…. And while it’s flattering, I’d really rather be the first Pat Rothfuss. I have much more experience being that.

Now that I post up these three links, I realize they’re all lists of some sort. Which makes me feel kinda awful. My only saving grace is that I didn’t find these by clicking through horrible clickbait websites. (You’ll never believe what these authors did! Number 5 will surprise you!)

Speaking of, have you seen The Onion’s new parody site? Clickhole?

Clickhole

(Click to Embiggen. Seriously.)

It’s lovely as only The Onion can be.

*     *    *

In other news, here’s an article on Facebook being a whole new kind of dick.

And a blog where Vi Hart is being a whole new kind of cool.

Lastly, many of you remember Tabletop episode where I played Lords of Waterdeep with Wil Wheaton, Brandon Laatsch, and Felicia Day.

(Don’t know what I’m talking about? You can see the original, delicious half-hour episode over here.)

I laughed my ass off at the original episode, but the game was edited down considerably to get it to be 35 minutes long.

If you were ever curious to see how the whole thing played out in detail. If you ever wanted more owlbear jokes. If you ever wanted to watch my terrifying strategy unfold like a delicate flower made entirely of razor wire and the screams of angels….

Well, now you can. Because they released the extended version of the episode. More than two hours of solid gaming goodness. 

Fondly,

pat

P.S. Have I mentioned something kinda awesome is happening on July 7th?

It is. It very is.

Stay tuned for details.

Also posted in cool news, cool things, Felicia Day, Geek and Sundry, hodgelany, videos, Wil Wheaton | By Pat35 Responses

“What Ho!”- A Belated Conclusion to an Adventure.

So I was at C2E2 last weekend, walking around the main hall with a friend, nodding and occationally fist-bumping readers who recognised me. (Too much hand-shaking leads to contagion at a convention.)

Eventually my friend asked, “What’s this Acquisiations Incorporated video people keep talking about?”

“I did a D&D thing with the guys from Penny Arcade and PVP last year,” I said. “We played a game at PAX Prime on stage. They taped it and put it online.”

“Why didn’t you put it up on your blog?” she said.

“I did,” I said.

“I’m pretty sure you didn’t,” she said.

I started to insist that I had, because I *remembered* doing it. I had a blast playing with them, and I even got Nate to do up some art for that blog post:

whatHo

But then I closed my mouth because over the last two years I’ve come to realize that I *intend* to write about a lot of stuff on the blog. But in reality, I don’t actually get around to finishing about 80% of the blogs I mean to.

Right now, for example, I have over 200 blogs that are in their “Draft” form here on WordPress. I am the king of broken promises.

When I got home, I looked online and saw I *had* posted a blog announcing my attendance at PAX, then another blog with more details about Acquisitions Inc….

But no blog with a follow-up link to the video itself.

So, for those of you who are reluctant to go clicking around all higgledy piggledy, here’s the 8-part audio podcast that leads up to the on-stage event.

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7 / Part 8

In my opinion, a lot of these are even better than what happens later in the video. The video is about 2 hours, but the podcasts all together are 4-5 hours of solid geeky fun. I’ve been role playing for more than 25 years at this point, and Mike, Jerry, and Scott are the best sort of folks to tabletop with. So funny and quick on their feet. And Chris Perkins as DM is absolutely brilliant….

For those of you who aren’t into the whole podcast thing, here’s a vastly abridged, somewhat bowdlerized animated version of the podcast.

And here’s the video of the PAX game itself.

[Warning: I sing.]

If you want to see *all* the delightful, shiny geekery, you can head over to the D&D website. Acquisitions Inc has been going strong for several seasons, and it’s all archived over there. So there’s plenty to keep you busy until May 15th when the next episode of Nightvale comes out….

pat

Also posted in Achievement Unlocked!, gaming, geeking out, Tales from the Con, videos | By Pat26 Responses

Stretch Goals 2013 – $25k and $50k

Worldbuilders-Logo_Web_Smaller

 This is a Worldbuilders blog.

This year’s fundraiser has taken off amazingly fast, breaking all the records we’ve had in the past.

For example, this year we raised more money in our first week than we did in the entire first year we ran worldbuilders, back in 2008.

Needless to say, this gives me a big warm fuzzy.

Another perk is that we’re hitting our stretch goals faster than ever before. So today we’re going to share a few of those:

  • $25,000 – Peter V. Brett shaves Myke Cole’s head.

This year, we wanted to make more of our stretch goals more whimsical and fun. And as you can see just from the title, Myke Cole and Peter V. Brett started us off on the right foot.

Here’s the thing. When Myke sent in his idea, I laughed my ass off and said it sounded great….

… but I had no idea they were planning to use a straight razor.

The first I heard about it was on Twitter:

Twitter convo

And this is true. Any of you who have read my blog for any amount of time know I regularly make bad decisions in the pursuit of science, mischief, or entertainment. My attempts to distil coffee, for example. Or the time I accidentally burned a pentagram onto the carpet of the house I was renting….

Anyway, the point is, I’m the person you should be talking *out* of doing something, I’m not used to it being the other way around.

But back when I used to shave, I shaved with a straight razor. I have a few very pale, slender scars from those days that I could show you if not for the beard. It’s *hard* shaving with a straight razor, and if Peter was going to try for the first time ever on Myke….

I caved. I called Peter on the phone.

But he didn’t pick up. And I knew why. This had obviously already gone terribly wrong. Peter couldn’t pick up because he had to use both of his hands to stanch the blood that was even now gushing from Myke’s head.

I left a truly incomprehensible voicemail message that was broken up with bouts of panicked/hysterical laughter. Imagine what the Joker would sound like if he drunk dialed Batman. My voicemail was like that.

Peter called me back about three minutes later. The conversation went roughly like this.

Me: Are you guys seriously using a straight razor?

Peter: Oh yeah. I went out and bought one just for this.

Myke: [In the background. Laughing.] Pat! Is that you? Send help!

Me: So you’ve really never used one before?

Peter: I watched a five minute video.

Myke: [In the background] You watched thirty seconds of a video.

Peter: I skipped some the boring bits. It seems pretty simple. You just go against the grain of the hair….

Myke: [In the background] I think he’s been drinking.

In the end, all I could do was beg them to be careful. Partly because they were in New York and I was in Wisconsin, but also because they obviously really wanted to do this.

And also because I can’t start being the voice of reason at this point in my life. It’s just too late for me.

So:

My pleading

They kept posting up pictures through the whole process, while I did the twitter equivalent of watching with my hands in front of my face, peeking between my fingers….

Ward head

And honestly, I wouldn’t have stopped them if I could. Because they’re my kind of crazy.

Friar_Myke4

No_Sense_Crying

Ooopsie

They took video of the whole thing, but it’s going to take a while to splice it all together in a pleasing way. Rest assured that as soon as it’s ready, we’ll share it around.

(Suggestions for the soundtrack should go into the comments.)

  • $50,000 – Paul and Storm Lyrically Mock Patrick Rothfuss

As many of you know, I did a couple shows with the fabulous lyrical duo Paul and Storm early in November. In our brief stint on the road, I like to think we bonded a little. Over the long hours on the road, we learned and shared and grew closer together.

We also discussed the following song….

I’m going to let it speak for itself. The tune might sound familiar, but trust me it’s a different version than the one you’ve heard before.

Suffice to say that when I heard it, I laughed my ass off.

If you know about Paul and Storm, I’m guessing you’ve already heard about their awesome Kickstarter project that’s ending in just a couple days. But you might not know that I’m writing up a short anecdote about our time on the road for inclusion in their PaulandStormonomicon stretch goal.

If you *don’t* know about Paul and Storm, and you got a chuckle out of the song up above, you might want to check them out. And if you’re looking for a good place to start, might I casually suggest their amazingly innuendo-laden-yet-playful 5th album: Ball Pit?

More stretch goals are coming folks. We have some *amazing* stuff lined up.

So stay tuned, and thanks for spreading the word…

*     *     *

Want to learn more about Worldbuilders? You can check out our shiny new website here. Or you can get all the details about this year’s fundraiser on my blog.

There are a bunch of cool auctions up right now, as well, some of which haven’t even been blogged about yet.  If you want to get in early, be sure to check the Worldbuilders eBay page.

Also posted in Acts of Whimsy, music, My checkered past, Worldbuilders 2013 | By Pat20 Responses

Twitter Contest – The Reveal

Well folks, the votes are in on the twitter conetest.

And the Winner is… Pat Rothfuss.

Or rather, the winner is @Pat_Rothfuss

Which is to say that the winner was *not* Pat Rothfuss.

By which I mean that the winner was not me. And it wasn’t even a close thing.

With a crushing 42% of the electorate, the winner is.

MaryRobinetteKowal

Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of Shades of Milk and HoneyGlamour in Glass, and Without a Summer. In 2008 she received the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and in 2011, her short story “For Want of a Nail” won the Hugo Award for Short Story. Her work has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards. Her stories appear in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, and several Year’s Best anthologies. She is also a cast member of the Hugo-award winning podcast Writing Excuses. Mary, a professional puppeteer, performs as a voice actor, recording fiction for authors such as Elizabeth Bear, Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi. She lives in Chicago with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters.

Everyone played a good game, but simply said, Mary crushed this contest. Not only did she get nearly three times the votes anyone else did, but she managed to convince twitter itself that she was me.

It was a little disheartening, in all honesty.

Who were the rest of the players?

AmberBenson

Amber Benson is a writer, director, actor, and maker of things.  She wrote the five-book CALLIOPE REAPER-JONES urban fantasy series and the middle grade book, AMONG THE GHOSTS. She co-directed the Slamdance feature, DRONES and (co-wrote) and directed the BBC animated series, THE GHOSTS OF ALBION.  She also spent three years as Tara Maclay on the television series BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. She doesn’t own a television.

KialaKazebee

Kiala Kazebee is a writer on the internet and co-host of Felicia Day’s web show/book club “Vaginal Fantasy” on Geek and Sundry. She apologizes in advance for making you google that.

You can find her on Twitter. Forever.

VeronicaBelmont

In the world of SFF, Veronica is the co-host of the science fiction and fantasy book club, podcast and video show The Sword and Laser. She is also a member of the monthly Google Hangout show, Vaginal Fantasy, where she drinks too much and waxes intellectual on paranormal romance and erotic scifi and fantasy.

Otherwise, you can find her weekly on the tech-help and how-to show Tekzilla, or as the technology contributor to PopSugar Girls’ Guide show, The Sync Up.
  • @PatRothfuss was my assistant, Amanda, with 14.05% of the vote

AmandaHoerter

Amanda and I have known each other for years now, and she’s been reading the blog for even longer. Not only is she my personal assistant (aka Pat-herder) but she’s also developed a creepy knack for impersonating my phraseology. She’s good enough at mimicing me that shes’ managed to fool Sarah once or twice, so it’s not really surprising that she also tricked 14 percent of you….

She tells me she’s considering getting her own Twitter account now, though she worries she’ll feel significantly less cool than while she was pretending to be me.

PatrickRothfuss

I am the actual bonafide Pat Rothfuss. Or at least I thought I was until I lost my own fucking contest.

*     *     *

First and foremost, big kudos to Mary Robinette Kowal, who was above-and-beyond cunning and devious. Her charity, Con Or Bust, will receive $1,000 from DAW Books, and bragging rights for all of eternity.

She already did a bit of strutting, walking around parts of World Fantasy con looking like this:

MRK as Patrick Rothfuss
I expect I will never live this down…

Secondly, I’d like to thank all of you for a lovely game. Even with a few hiccups, I’m very pleased. Once again, you’ve proven that my readers are some of the brightest, wittiest, snarkiest folks a writer could hope to have.

And thank you to Mary, Amber, Kiala, Veronica and Amanda for spending a couple weeks being me.  I can’t stress enough how much I appreciate y’all taking time to goof about with me. You should really check out their work if you haven’t already. Because while they’re quite good at being me, they’re much better at being themselves.

In the next couple weeks, I’m hoping we might be able to schedule a Google hangout together and talk about the contest. But that will probably have to wait until I’m back in the US….

Tonight, (Monday night) I’m going to be doing my reading and signing in Oxford. I hope to see some of you there….

Fondly,

pat

p.s. I wrote  goodly portion of this blog using stolen wifi on a moving train. If you ignore my minor typos up here, I’ll ignore yours in the comments below. Sound fair?

Also posted in Achievement Unlocked! | By Pat81 Responses

Twitter Contest – The Voting

Okay folks, we’ve been running our game on twitter for almost two weeks.

It’s been fun, but now we’re just a day away from Halloween. That means it’s time to start voting on who you think the real Rothfuss is.

But first, some things to consider:

1. Voting starts now, but the contest isn’t over until Midnight on Oct 31st. (And just to be clear, we mean midnight in  American Samoa (UMT-12.) We picked that time zone so *everyone* gets all of Halloween to vote.)

But the contest will continue right up until midnight. Our players will continue to campaign for your trust and affection right up until the end.

2. You can vote even if you’re not on Twitter. I’m REALLY not trying to get people to sign up on there.  That’s why I set up the site where you can follow all the accounts even if you don’t follow twitter and don’t know much about it.

I’m serious about this. The only point of this contest was to have some fun and catch the attention of my readers who were already on Twitter. Every time I hear someone say they joined twitter just to participate, I die a little inside.

I am Jack's mute horror

3. You can vote here:

[polldaddy poll=”7507110″]

4. I’m well aware that there are ways to circumvent this sort of online poll. There ware ways you can vote multiple times and stuff the ballot box.

I’m sure that my readers are above that sort of small-minded douchery.

5. If you *are* on twitter, and you’d like to declare your allegiance to your Rothfuss, this is the best way to do it.

“I think that @PatTwitterHandle is #TheRealRothfuss.”

We’ll pick some random winners from the people that have backed the right horse in the contest.

6. I also welcome your rampant speculation as to who the other five fakers are. That’s been one of my favorite parts of the game so far….

Might I recommend something along the lines of:

“I think @PatTwitterHandle is actually @Davidbowie. #RothFaux

7. For folks that want a chance to win cool stuff, but who don’t want to gaze into the twitter abyss, there’s a contest going on right now on right now over at The Tinker’s Packs.

All the details are over here.

There. That’s seven things. I’ll leave it at that. Seven’s a good number.

pat

Posted in Beautiful Games | By Pat54 Responses
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