Wednesday, December 30, 2015

And this is why I stop blogging

So I started blogging again and now I haven't posted in quite a while. For this reason, I have a good long post not done and I keep agonizing over it. So I think I have to compete it before the next post. Well I will get there, but it most likely be three posts and a video when I am done.

Additionally I was working on Holiday stuff for family, had a trip to the ER, and completed my entry for Santicore. Not in that order.
Secret Santicore is an Online RPG themed Secret Santa

So here is what is next. Time to go over blog content. My expectations are to blog about geeky things, as I am a geek. This will include: DIY, RPG, Books, Kids, Shows etc. Lately there has been a lot of RPG, but that is due to a creative burst in that area and finally getting a gaming group going.

Generally I will try at least a post a week that summaries what I find elsewhere on the web that I find interesting. As well as focused posts on things I geek out about.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Megadungeon the Holidelve

So I have enough layers with my last post and this to allow for all the adventuring needs for a while.

The plan is to have enough here for at least a few long sessions. It should be, I hope we can have multiple sessions between Thanksgiving weekend, Christmas Week, and New Years. 

Just to make the players less squishy, we are starting at 3rd level in 5th edition. Hopefully they don't die right away. I will post some information on what goes on the layers, but after they have been played through.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Megadungeon for the holidays

So I hope to run a bit of a one off dungeon crawl, perhaps making it an annual event in a megadungeon of my creation.

I have a messy overview map and started on some of the levels. So as to not reveal spoilers for the Day after Thanksgiving dungeon crawl, I will keep no notations, but here are the maps I have so far.

The upper left is a burial site. The next four are layers around a central mining shaft.

The upper left is the ruins of a wizards tower, then its basement and caves. Then some other caves deeper down. The Right side is a vertical dungeon for flying creatures that have many niches in the shafts.

More to come.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What Walks into Town - Book Scorpions

So there is this thing called an RPG blog carnival. So here is my entry for this month's What walks into Town.

 Book Scorpions
While usual book scorpions will eat mites that eat bookbindings, when they begin to defend ancient tomb's of magic from dust mites, they can often begin to absorb strange powers. Brought into town by an uncles old book, a recovered library, or a strange gift in the mail. A book scorpion can emerge to terrorize a town. While not all wicked, they are usually perceived as such.

Each book scorpion is unique in how it absorbs magic and gains powers and unusually long life (for a scorpion.)

Sample book scorpions: (1d6 to select one at random)
1. Libram Terram: This book scorpion on emerging will generate offspring who bury into the ground and cause plants to die and people to take ill  if eating plants grown nearby. The disease will cause extreme lethargy (sleepiness) and slow creeping words moving on their skin.  For magic users taken ill they have random events (5e Wild magic table) or possible corruption (harder roll in the DCC system) accompany any spell they cast. Once the person stops eating things from nearby the symptoms pass in 2d4 days.

2. Libram Occultus: This book scorpion has lived hundreds of years and absorbed the wisdom of the ages. It is driven to find more books and absorb more information and will use any abilities to get more. It can charm a person with moderate difficulty to resist, in order to get more books. It is found stealing spell books if at all possible. Over the course of weeks and months it can acquire a horde of books in a random basement defending by charming would be assailants to it's horde. When it feels it has exhausted the supply of information in the town it will charm someone to take it on a trip infest another town. It knows 2d4 cantrips and/or 1st level spells that it can cast each once a day.

3. Libram Corpus: This book scorpion extends it's body by animating books and scrolls. Often flying books and scrolls around to maximize access to the tastiest book mites. Generally this freaks librarians out and they will panic by trying to move things back. This book scorpion can use mage hand / telekensis without any visible signs except for a random odor (roll on the table below)

Random Odors
2Sour pickled vegetables
3Petrichor (the smell before rain)
5Baked bread
6Wet Dog

4. Libram Resono: This book scorpion generates crazy sounds often leading people to become insane or crazy. It desired noise, and in the lack of noise it creates it's own. So typically during a busy loud day it will remain silent, but at night or in a quiet library it makes sounds. It acts like a minor illusion that can be cast 2d6 times a day and the sound is random and changes every 1d4 days or is always the same type.

Random Sounds
1Ringing Chimes
2Voices in a strange language
3Grinding stones
4Mellodic strains
5Thousands of crickets
6Sounds related to a character's youth

5. Libram Amorum: This book scorpion is perhaps misnamed, it doesn't just thrive off love, it thrives off of drama. It mimics other people's voices to instigate all possible drama. It also loves to find it's way to personal diaries and histories. Roll on the table below for it's preferred form of drama.


6. Libram Indium: This book scorpion loves art and finds books with art and pictures best. It also encourages new art in a violent, possessive way. It will possess anyone who displays artistic talent of the painting, drawing or calligraphic variety. It will possess them for 48 hours at a time, preventing the person from sleeping and cause them to create amazing art everywhere. Creating art in  books, walls, carpets, walls or anything avaliable. Then the possessed will be exhausted for days and not recall anything that happened. Roll for a random theme of the art.

1Female bodies
2Male bodies
3Bizzare plants
4Abstract patterns
5Harsh angular geometries
6Spell like diagrams
7Mutated forms of plants, animals and humans.
8Bright, eye popping splotches
9Poetry of (roll on Drama table above)
10Long passsages of nonsense in many languages

If you use any idea let me know how it went.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Strange things

Not sure what this is, but it is fun to doodle.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Paladins and Strange Botany, Inktober

Another few pen things.

I opened a deck of Paladin Spell cards for 5th edition (published by Gale Force Nine) and the title of the first card was....

Related to yesterdays map with the lantern tree. A secret players can find is this:
When I freehand stuff the lines are all over the place, I need to be more consistent in my letter formation and staying strait across the page.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Embachnala Compound

What do you get when with a strange elven druid sets up camp in a high desert steppe? A walled brambled compound.

Part of an adventure I have been making called The Colorless Pool

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Adventure Title

So I am doing this inktober thing. Here is a title for an adventure I am making. Not great but not bad, tomorrow should be more elaborate.

Monday, October 5, 2015


So apparently there is this thing called Inktober.

Sounds interesting lets try it. As it is for all October and making an ink drawing every day. I am late. But I will put some older ink drawings done this year to make up for it. I will also be taking some sketches and make them inked. I will also make some things related to RPG's because why not.

Costume Prep

So the idea is to have a group costume with friends for next year. Originally it was going to be this year.

The concept is to have a Steampunk Automata Alice in Wonderland Group. My wife and I being the Mock Turtle and Griffin. I tried to work on it to get it done for Steamposium this year just to get it done, and the basics are all completed. Below are some process shots. I will have more of a post later with the fabric parts and such.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Countries need Trade

Fleshing out countries starts with a name and a concept.

As I am visual I started to create a bunch of layers on my map. Once done we have to establish the tone of the past few decades, add some things for the players to investigate and act as the backdrop activity. Then we drive the rest off the players exploration.

So this took forever, but was a lot of fun for me. Key point, when world building use what you like to do. For me that includes vector artwork and thumbnail designs, random generators, and languages etc.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Maps to Countries

Part 3 of world building.

I love random generators in RPG's. However complex nested ones like those found with Wilderness Explore Revisited, are a pain to generate quickly. So one weekend I decided to learn Python (Perl was giving me grief with what I wanted), and I wrote a random generator program. It is a generic program that is specifically designed for nested tables of random generation. It takes a definition file that defines the tables and how they relate and outputs the result. I perhaps should make a video and release it for use.

I build a ton of tables for country and culture, a few of which I have included in a previous post. What is the primary race, clothing, common features etc. Then generated a good round number of countries in an instant. 32 as that corresponds to some rough bubbles I drew on the map.

Almost too much info, but I will be able to use this info to generate a lot more information on the fly. Then put it on the map. An example rough country entry is below:

Half elf Dictatorship Heraldry:  green grey Plant Symbol
Orgs:   Organization With Unlimited Funding
Exports:   magic items education stone wood Imports:   magic items preserved foods transport oil
Language:  Syllabic - Top to Bottom - Serif script - accordions - no trait -
Common Art:  Dance -  cross - yellow pink - gold -
 Women Wear:  leather - fitted - pleated - vibrant large central patterns - Off white - Blacks -
Men Wear:  felt - fitted - gathered - wild clashing patterns - Browns -  indigo cream -
Architecture:  Stone - Polynesian -
 Tradition:  Worships:   Divine being concept
 Tradition(Object):  Item:
Moderate(+3)  :   Box  :  Sustain/Heal  :     :  Creator was a Giant.  :  Nature is Bane.  :  

  Planting Festival(Specific Crop)  Femininity  Lights  Reversals  Abstinences  
 Planting Festival  Virility  Different Dress  Lights  Special Foods  

I won't keep everything that was generated, mostly to jog the imagination. Primarily what I need is some detail in order to answer questions the players have, and a few nations to be well fleshed out where they will start.

Additionally I generated something happening in each 72 mile hex, something that would be well known, and possibly provide good adventure hooks.

2501: Has a Castle/Citadel:   Castle Foundations Only  Invaded by:  Elf  arrow Traps   Lighted Atypical Construction  

NPC:  Drow - male - Name:  Patter  odd  regret  
- I Will Find You: A character wants to find a lost or kidnapped loved one, whatever the cost.
- Clothes:  Chameleon  Clothing - Domain:  Gossip/Reputation - Hobby:  Dicing -
2502: Has Relic or Ruin:   In a large crater of  Thicket   crumbled & decayed  Artifact:  Sword  
Guarded by:  animals  
2509: Has Lair:  Ledge:   2d4 Giant Rams  (Fully Occupied)  

Then overlay a ton of this stuff on the map, whew. Next article I will talk about fleshing out a country etc.

Friday, September 11, 2015

From Ideas to Maps

Part 2 of creating my campaign world.

From ideas and a single location, now I needed context. So I began.

I took a small location on this map, "the cradle" which would be the site of an unusual binary star system with 9 habitable planets. It would be entirely my world and campaign setting, so I created some key events of the last 7000 years and now we need to go from the big to the local.

The big events can fit on a 3x5 card and are simply a framework to describe history when needed. So we need to zoom rapidly to something more manageable.

To do this we need planetary terrain. Enter Donjon's fantastic tools. This one generate planets. It is nice, but you need to do a lot of testing to find a pattern you like. You can create it from scratch instead, but when doing 9 planets and wanting some variety it was actually faster to start with a generator. I fine tune and do a lot of work later.

Here is the interface.

Here is world 8 of the ones I created, and the starting location of the Bellflower and Bamboo campaign.

Now that we have a planet with some details figured out it is time to figure out how big things are. So I took the file and put it in iDraw for Mac (vector editor, as I like the tools and options. Illustrator,  inkscape etc would also work. Or you can pull into a raster editor your choice)

I took a vector map of earth and overlaid it to get relative dimensions. 

I wasn't quite ready to trace the whole of everything in vector form, so I took it analog.

Then I began to trace everything and detail out the map.

Next time I will go over how I created the nations.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Bellflower and Bamboo, or The Mountain Campaign

My recent world building has taken place over several years and a bunch of ideas that have slowly germinated into a new campaign world for roleplaying.

Here we go through the initial process of creating it.

First, I had some ideas that I needed to put together. Some I will not explicitly explain as people will play in my world and mystery and uncovering mystery is a key element.

- Sci-Fantasy
- Relative Time Streams
- Why can races inter-breed (How do you get a half-orc, half-elf, half dwarf?)
- If dragons live long lives, what is their long term game?
- Why do dragons typecast into color based races and stereotypes? Why can't you have a yellow orange dragon that breaths lightning? What about a blue dragon that breaths water?
- Rise and Fall of civilizations
- Separate yet not in the multiverse

Once those ideas were there I created a story in my mind of a location, a mountain with caves a town nearby etc. Then came a map I made during coloring time with my kids.

Now how to create an actual campaign world, next time.

Note that for now, the entirety of the campaign is set in one speck on the far right of the map.

Monday, August 31, 2015

RPG a Day The End

My computer has had issues, so I have a new laptop so I am finishing up in a single post.

Most memorable encounter: Not sure which is most memorable.

Favorite RPG website/ blog: Dysons Dodecahedron and a whole bunch of others

Rarest RPG owned: Unusual, but in the day of pdf's it is hard to say any are specifically rare.

Favorite RPG playing celebrity: Not that I know many. I really like watching Acquisitions Incorporated, and Tabletop, and Titansgrave.

Favorite RPG of all time: It is a toss up between Dungeons and Dragons and Star Wars D6 by West End Games

Friday, August 28, 2015

RPG a Day 28

Scariest Game you’ve played: I avoid scary games, so not really applicable.

Favorite game you no longer play: I consider that any game could come back around so not an issue really. Recently had a Star Wars D6 one shot, so they come back.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

RPG a Day 27

Game you would like to see a new / improved edition of: I really don't have one in mind.

Favorite idea for merging two games in one: I am working on an adventure using random tables and ideas from several sources, Maid RPG, Lamentations of the Flame Princess and Dungeons and Dragons. More content not rules, but I have considered using a modified version of traveling rules from Ryuutama in Dungeons and Dragons. I also am considering using boardgames maps to help define some game locations such as the Gardens of Alhambra pictured above.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

RPG a Day 26

Coolest Character Sheet: Oooh rabbit hole, I am a sucker for any well designed character sheet.

Favorite Inspiration for your game: Anything and everything

this post was longer but failed to save, oh well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

RPG a Day 25

Favorite RPG no one else wants to play: It is more a thing of getting people together with time to play than which game.

Favorite Revolutionary Game Mechanic: Revolutionary is a strong term. I quite like the advantage and inspiration mechanics of 5th edition dungeons and dragons. I like the stunts mechanism of Fantasy Age (I forget what the similar thing is called in the new Star Wars RPG).

Monday, August 24, 2015

RPG a Day 24

Most Complicated RPG owned: Pathfinder, I only own some PDF's but it is extremely crunchy

Favorite House Rule: Rule Zero, and make it up as needed.

I finally ran an adventure in my new campaign setting with my wife, son, and two nephews. It went rather well but I had to make stuff up on the fly. Because I had a sense of the overall history of the setting, the fact my one nephew wanted to be from the future and the other a companion to a time traveling meddler wasn't too disruptive.

The crew meet in the city of Independence, the capitol of the Conclave of Equals. One of the newest nations and certainly not stable or effective with it's tri-cameral legislature and a committee for an executive branch. So far that has not come into play yet, but a gnome is hiring hands to help with a crashed shipwreck. They jump at the chance and find themselves near a druid ship smashed against some rocks. By the end of the adventure they have battled an incubus over a merfolk chest and a dozen merrow(squid like merfolk), and that still doesn't explain how the gnome knew that stuff was there or why there was an incubus involved at all. Perfect for some followup adventures.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

RPG a Day 23

Coolest looking RPG product / book: Art is one thing I love in RPG's. Many have great art.The old Basic series had great evocative art. The new Dungeons and Dragons has great realistic style art. A Red and Pleasant Land has great quirky style art. Blue Rose has a fantastic cover art, but I have not bought it to see the internal art. Ryuutama and Golden sky stories also have great artwork.

Perfect game for you: There is no perfect game, just games that fit the time and people.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

RPG a Day 22

Best secondhand RPG purchase: I don't have my original Star Wars D6 book, so getting a new copy was the best I can think of.

Perfect Gaming Environment: I would love a geek chic table and a room with tons of bookshelves.

More to come later.

Friday, August 21, 2015

RPG a Day 21

OVA: Anime Roleplaying game image

Favorite Licensed RPG: The only two I have ever played are Star Wars and Wheel of Time. Star Wars is better. Which would I find fun to play in?

Favorite RPG setting: Most of my favorite settings are my own. A few I have played in include, Forgotten Realms, Golairon(sp?) and Shadowrun.

Others I like and have read, but never played in, include; Spelljammer, Red and Pleasant Land, Planescape, and Dragonstar.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

RPG a Day 20

Will still play in 20 years time: Well the red box set I got sometime around the Seoul Olympics era. So that was well over twenty years and I pulled out the included adventure and re-ran it partially recently. So what might happen with my current stuff in twenty years.

Likely it will be Star Wars D6. It has lasted better as a mechanics system than the BECMI Dungeons and Dragons. Likely I will also pull out the weird and nostalgic. Fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons seems like it will have some staying power in a smaller more flexible rule set of that game.

Favorite Horror RPG: No, no, no. Horror is not for me. Mystery is good, but that may be a good thing to look for in an RPG.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

RPG a Day 19

Favorite Published Adventure: You mean people play these straight and not just mine them for ideas? No probably my favorite I have run was a portion of the Adventure published with the Wheel of Time campaign setting, perhaps that was because I was devouring the available book while the game happening.

Ones I would like to run or play in. Princes of the Apocalypse by Wizards, old school modules such as Ravenloft or Temple of Elemental Evil. It would be fun to adapt the Red and Pleasant Land as well.

Favorite Supers RPG: Never really played one. Marvel and DC are interesting but tangential to most of my interests. 

Anime has over the top hero's and characters and I have played BESM once, and would be interested in playing OVA in an over the top campaign.

Crazy Hair Random Table
Roll d10 for color 
(d4 for common colors)
1. White
2. Blond
3. Brown
4. Black
5. Red
6. Blue
7. Green
8. Purple
9. Orange/ Yellow
10. Rainbow
Roll d12 for Style or Quirk
(you may roll twice, d6 for more normal)
1. Straight
2. Curly
3. Short
4. Long
5. Shaved
6. Roll twice
7. Braided
8. Spiked
9. Swooped up
10. Constantly Moving
11. Super Bangs
12. Huge
If you roll two things that contradict great.
A mullet is someone who rolled short and long.

Note: I have found Pinterest to be of use when bookmarking. I tend to be visual so seeing an image is quicker recognition of the link. So I do try to include an image in each post. Most are generated by me if not credited, and by generated I mean either in a graphics program or by a camera. Museums are great when they have diorama's to photograph.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

RPG a Day 18

Favorite Game System: Same as what I mentioned yesterday. While boring perhaps, I still like Dungeons and Dragons, in large part due to familiarity in play.

Favorite Sci-fi RPG: My favorite is West End Games D6 Star Wars. I think that sounds like a broken record. I also quite enjoy the ideas presented in the setting of Dragonstar by Fantasy Flight Games.

I do also look forward to more playing the current Star Wars RPG.

Monday, August 17, 2015

RPG a Day 17

Backdated post as I missed posting on time.

Funniest Game you’ve played: Probably the one Today. I decided to run my nephews through an adventure in my new campaign world. My one nephew wanted to be the apprentice of a time traveler magician, the other nephew the descendant of that time traveller.
Initial sketch of the continent

Perhaps I think it funny because of the characters, and the bombastic stylings of those at the table. My son and wife also played characters and we ended up winging it through an adventure in my sandbox campaign. Overall it went well.

The cast was (all 4th level as that is where they wanted to start)
- A human technomancer from the future, with spell "apps" on his iPhone like device.
- A dragonborn bard, with some lost memories and knows a time traveller and thinks he has travelled in time, a bit fuzzy though. And a penchant for singing song snippets through the game.
- An Elf warrior
- A dragonborn shaolin monk

Favorite Fantasy RPG: Hmm. Dungeons and Dragons continues to be my favorite. However that is a bit boring to note. I haven't played many, but have read many but until I play them they don't really count.

Some I think would be fun to play would be Ryuutama and Fantasy Age.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

RPG a day 16

Game you wish you owned: at the moment I am good. Between my brothers and my neighbor we have a ton of material between pdf and physical. Most of the things I want I can purchase, but much of my time is hunting down ideas and writing my own stuff, so not a ton is driving my interest at the moment.

Longest game session played: one year a bunch of cousins and I played for something like 5-6 hours in camp chairs in the middle of the desert while camping.

When last I posted I mentioned how my currently developing campaign is being put togeather. Once I had the concept of 9 planets in a binary star system that are habitable. The other thing of interest was basing a campaign off a world with mysteries, with xp awarded for the standard dungeons and dragons things, but also for completing personal goals and discovering mysteries.

While I have not finished how to create random mysteries in addition to world and national mysteries, it remains a compelling ingredient to my campaign. I am compiling interesting tidbits, like this interesting flask I saw at the ren faire.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

RPG a day 15

Today's questions are very boring. Having never played a convention game nor had campaigns last longer than a month, there is not much to tell.

Favorite convention game: none

Longest campaign played: 1 month

So instead let me talk about how I have started my current world building. Over many years I have had disconnected ideas never used, then when drawing with my kids they took my paper and put a bunch of random dots and told me to do something with them.

So I did. One of the things I added was a location called The Cradle, next to the great barrier nebula.

Then my thought was to make it a place of mystery, and locate some of my various ideas there. While this is where it started, my only focus has been the fantasy setting in The Cradle. A binary star system with 9 habitable planets, makes for a great place for possible spell jamming style adventure and more.


Friday, August 14, 2015

RPG a day 14

Best convention purchase: I have been to half a dozen anime conventions, one steampunk convention, but never a gaming convention. As for the conventions I have been, to I really like my LastWear Neo-Hakama pants (sadly they are out of business), there are just far too few opportunities wear it.

Random tables for you on clothing

Multiple Clothing Styles (d4)
1. Everyone wears the same thing
2. Class distinction in clothing
3. Gender distinction in clothing
4. Class and gender distinctions
Clothing Material (d6)
roll 1d2 times
1. leather
2. cotton (d2 1 fine/ 2 corse)
3. linnen
4. felt
5. wool
6. unusual fabric

Clothing Cut (d4)
1. loose cut
2. fitted
3. bifurcated
4. un-bifurcated
Clothing Patterns (d12)
1. small border patterns only
2.muted Large central patterns
3.muted all over patterns
4.vibrant large central patterns
5.vibrant all over patterns
6.wild clashing patterns
7.nature patterns patterns
9.gradient patterns
10.embroidered patterns only
11. roll twice
12. roll for specific symbol here
Clothing Traits (d8)
1. revealing
2. conservative
4. pleats
5. gathers
6. tied
7. clasped
8. asymmetrical
Clothing Colors (d6)
roll 1d2 times
1. tans
2. browns
3. blacks
4. off white
5. 1d2 bright colors
6. 1d6 bright colors

Bright colors (d6)
1. red
2. yellow
3. orange
4. blue
5. green
6. purple

Favorite RPG Accessory:

My favorite right now is my newest. The RPG bookmarks set shown above. Good bookmarks are a lot of fun.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

RPG a day 13

Most memorable character death: Most of the time I have played as the Dungeon Master and really I have no most memorable death of my characters. When young we rotated through characters so frequently they rarely saw a second adventure and many survived by the fact alone.

Favorite RPG Podcast: I don't really listen to many, but I have enjoyed the the Acquisitions Incorporated Podcasts.

As todays questions don't really provoke anything very interesting here is a map I am creating for a new campaign. The Bellflower and Bamboo is my tentative title.

This the the political map, I am still working a bit on it. The legends are ugly still and the terrain and names have yet to be added. As this is a vector file, I also have a ton of data on trade, exports, imports etc on another layer. So here is another view of some layers of the file, I am also trying to develop the architecture, clothing, adventures etc. I have a randomly generated feature per hex. (Hex's are 72 mile hexes and could further be broken down into 6 mile hexes as needed.

Imports and Exports listed as red and blue icons, the relationships of where they would export to are then mapped. The composite trade routes would be next. What each nation produces influences their behavior, style, and what is going on.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

RPG a Day 12

Old RPG you still play/ read: I have mentioned it before, West End Games Star Wars D6 system comes out every few years to read or play.

Favorite RPG illustration: This is a hard question as I like a lot of different styles and artworks. Larry Elmore and the red dragon cover of the Basic set was one of the first that really captured my imagination.

Others are numerous and varied. I have a ton favorited on Deviantart, and I lurked a ton around elfwood back in the day before deviant art (which is still kicking around apparently).

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

RPG a Day 11

Weirdest RPG owned: Maid RPG, not because of strange alien vistas or bizarre rules, but just a very different mind set. First of all, it is more Slapstick comedy as genre which is weird for an RPG. Secondly it is the parody of the concept of French Maids in Japanese culture, translated to english. Which is a bit brain twisting if you haven't watched a lot of Japanese Anime etc.

Which for my kids won't be an issue given they want to go as Naruto, Hinata and Sakura for halloween.

Sora trying on a Sakura costume
after making a mess in the front room.

Favorite RPG writer: Monte Cook ranks up there. His Numenera setting and his alternate players handbook in arcana evolved is amazing. Kamiya-sensei also has some great RPG's that have recently been translated to english. Golden Sky Stories is one I am working on playing with my kids.