John Bates

Guild of the Dungeon Masters

So, I learned about two things today, both of which inspired the Two Guys One camera that just went up on the youtube channel. Wizards of the Coast have recently released the Open Game License for 5th Edition D&D, and launched a website / online store called the Dungeon Masters Guild, or DMGuild, wherein content creators who have made homebrew additions to 5th edition can hock their wares for free or for some amount of money. In particular, internet sensation Critical Role's Matthew Mercer has put both his Gunslinger fighter archetype and Blood Hunter unique class on it for "Pay what you want" I.E. free, considering he's got them available for free other places as well.

This excites me for two reasons; One, the open game license for 3.5e resulted in many fantastic spin offs on the D&D formula that are still played to this day; Pathfinder and Warcraft RPG just to name two. I greatly look forward to seeing what sprouts up from 5th edition and see where other people take the formula. Two, the DMGuild provides a fantastic resource for up and coming DMs who aren't particularly experienced at creating new content to make their games a little more unique and memorable. It also provides inspiration for others to craft their own homebrew mechanics, classes, races, etc.

It was such a fun idea that we began chatting about 'celebrity modules', which got us onto the subject of 'Walken 'n' Dungeons' - Originally titled 'Walken & Dragons' but we decided the pun was too delicious to ignore. The idea of a 5th ed remastering that only added extended awkward pauses to all of the text tickles a very particular part of my funny bone - the absurdist part, to be specific.

I look forward to seeing what fun things come out of the OGL and DMGuild in the meantime.


Can you hear me, Major Tom?

So I woke up this morning to the news that David Bowie had passed away at the relatively young age of 69, succumbing to his battle with cancer over the weekend. I've been listening to my David Bowie station on Pandora, and reflecting on the impact influential artists make on society. 2016 has been a bad year for artists I love; We lost Wayne Rogers, the actor who played "Trapper" John McIntyre on M*A*S*H - one of the most influential shows of my developmental years - and now David Bowie, whose attitude, style, and charisma have influenced more than one performance on stage for me.

It's hard to think that these people are gone, especially when I can put in a DVD of M*A*S*H, or pull up music videos on YouTube, or - as I am now - listen to music via Pandora - the emotions and memories associated with these people are as fresh as they were the first time I actually understood Space Oddity, the first time I laughed at one of the pranks pulled by Trapper John and Hawkeye.

I don't like to deal with Death - at least, not the deaths of real people. It sends me into a depressive cycle of thought easier than anything else, but I know that if I don't talk about it then grief will build until I just explode on someone or something. So, this time I face Death head on, my heart aching and my nerve shaking, Not just because I need to - but because that is one of the many lessons I've learned from the people I admire.

M*A*S*H taught me that death is gruesome, ignoble, and to hold on to life with every fiber of my being, to my last ounce of energy because once it is gone it is gone forever. And David Bowie taught me to own my fear, to make it a part of me and never let it be used against me. So I will.

I am afraid of Death - I am afraid of the finality of it, I don't want to think about it, I don't want to talk about it. I am afraid of dying myself, of those I love dying around me, of dying anonymously, of being forgotten and of having never made a difference in anything or to anyone.

I thank Wayne Rogers, David Bowie, and everyone else who ever inspired me, supported me, or influenced me, alive or dead, young or old, famous or not. You all gave me the courage and the strength to admit that I'm afraid - and to fight, to wield that fear as a light against the darkness in my mind and in my heart, and the final darkness that looms inevitably at the end of our journey. 

As I type these final words, Space Oddity comes on Pandora - and I can't help but sit here and cry. I grieve for the loss of these people, and I rejoice in the knowledge that I am a stronger person because of them.

This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I'm stepping through the door
And I'm floating
in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today

Rest in Peace, David Bowie

Adobe Premiere Shenanigans

So yesterday's Two Guys One Camera had a bit of a hiccup until I fixed it this morning. To be precise, a 2 minute long video showing me recording the unedited footage for the episode was uploaded rather than the edited copy I had made and thought I'd exported. How did this happen? Well, it's really simple - Adobe Premiere is silly.

To be precise, Adobe Premiere decided that when I hit 'Export' I meant to export the source video - The thing that was already a stand alone video file with no modifications done to it from Premiere and thereby not needing to be exported - instead of the complete and edited sequence that I'd been working on and saved.

Why? Because I'd accidentally clicked it while going from the sequence to the File > Export feature. 

So, because of an errant mis-click Premiere did the equivalent of opening the door to drag a slab of marble into the workshop, only to turn it around and drag it right back out untouched by a chisel. As opposed to the sequence, which was a slab of marble from the same stock that had already been carved into a statue and was ready to be taken out  and placed on display.

Then, because I'm in the habit of trusting my equipment to do what I tell it to when I tell it to, I didn't check that the file was the correct file and uploaded the footage to Youtube as yesterday's episode. This was the equivalent of my, seeing a covered box outside the workshop, planting it up on a display pedestal sight unseen and assuming it's exactly what I wanted it to be.

When I woke up I noticed a few messages notifying me of the issue, which I then fixed and now we have the correct video in place and all is right with the world. Fortunately I didn't decide that the recording process of that particular video was the time to watch adult movies or declare deeply held racist beliefs. Dodged a bullet there.

So, the moral of this story? Never trust computers and always check your work.