Pillars are a common feature in many dungeons and ruins, and magical pillars can provide an interesting terrain feature for encounters. I'll show you how with a few supplies from your local craft store you can make great looking glowing pillars to enhance your next game.
To make four glowing blue pillars, you will need the following, all of which can be found at
In addition to the reviews and interviews I did for GeekDad this year, I also wrote a half-dozen posts about things like discovering the TV show Eureka, spooky Ray Bradbury stories, and attending the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 with my daughter. I loved writing these.
Harry Potter and the Nostalgic GeekDad (Probably my favorite GeekDad contribution this year.)
GeekDad also featured my Delving Into Dungeons & Dragons As A Family post – originally from summer 2010 – as a “wayback machine” post this July. Since this is one of my other favorites, I was glad to see it up there again.
Friday night, my younger brother came over and hung out for a bit. Then I dove into my first play of Dead Space: Extraction.
After lunch Saturday, Jenn, Kelsey, Kels’ friend A. and I all headed north for a long-planned get-together. Things kicked off with a ten person, nearly four -hour marathon Rock Band 3 session with excellent friends who accommodated a last minute upheaval in plans and did not throw sharp objects at my neck when I requested lead vocals on “Through the Fire and Flames.” Also, there were chips and salsa and Skittles. Lots of them.
With same friends, TACO NIGHT IN AMERICA, followed by several hours of general goodtiminess, including introducing my daughter and her friend to Better Off Dead. From 1:45-5 a.m., a four-man game of Castle Ravenloft in which a timely roll of 20 brought our party from the brink of doom – seriously: the Rogue who rolled it had just used a healing surge to go from “Mostly Dead” to “Leveling Up and Unleashing Hell in Dagger Form” at the toss of a die – to a zombie/skeleton/gargoyle/kobold sorcerer-crushing victory.
And have I mentioned that it’s sunny and close to 80 degrees here in Ohio today?
When I went through my journal to log this year’s books, I learned I’d been a bit lazy and had completely failed to record five of this year’s reads. Fixed.
So, here’s what I read in 2010:
The God Engines – John Scalzi. Dark. Bizarre. Innards-tangling. Not for the faint of heart, and a real deviation from Scalzi’s usual writing paths. I liked it.
Sailing to Byzantium – Robert Silverberg. I’ve liked Silverberg since I read Revolt on Alpha C as a kid, and when Kelsey was little, we read Lost Race of Mars together. This collection’s much more for the grown-up science fiction fan, and his take on Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Sharer is fantastic.
Zoe’s Tale – John Scalzi (re-read)
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling (re-read)
The Gone-Away World – Nick Harkaway. The 100 Stories for Haiti anthology reminded me that I had been meaning to read this, and I loved it. Post-apocalyptic and mind-bendy and still human. Plus it has both Pirates AND Ninjas.
Math, Science and Unix Underpants – Bill Amend
Mainspring – Jay Lake
Cleveland’s Greatest Disasters – John Stark Bellamy II
The Sagan Diary - John Scalzi. Listened to this one on the drive back from Providence in March.
Fantasy Freaks & Gaming Geeks – Ethan Gilsdorf. Couldn’t put this one down: gaming and nostalgia and adventures and explorations galore.
The City & The City – China Mieville. For me, this was 2010′s equivalent to last year’s Anathem by Neal Stephenson. It’s a mental workout to read, especially in the beginning, but absolutely worth the effort.
FoxTrot: The Works – Bill Amend
Wildly FoxTrot – Bill Amend
Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Player’s Handbook – Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt
Goblin Quest – Jim C. Hines
Daemons Are Forever – Simon R. Green. This is the second book in a series – it was a freebie from the author’s lit agency – so I started a bit behind the curve, but it was so unlike just about anything I’ve read that I got hooked pretty quickly. And James Bond references tend to go over well with me.
Found – Margaret Peterson Haddix
Locke & Key: Vol. I, Welcome to Lovecraft – Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
My Best Friend Is A Wookiee – Tony Pacitti. A Star Wars memoir from a younger fan’s perspective, growing up when the originals could only be seen on TV or videotape, and coming of age in the prequel era.
Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins. The kick-ass conclusion to the Hunger Games trilogy. Reviewing it for GeekDad earned me some serious bonus parenting points because it meant my daughter had it waiting for her when she got home from school on release day.
Dreadnought – Cherie Priest
The Odious Ogre – Norton Juster. With illustrations by Jules Feiffer, this reunited the Phantom Tollbooth words-and-pictures team for the first time in almost 50 years.
Oddball Ohio: A Guide to Some Really Strange Places – Jerome Pohlen
A Western Journal – Thomas Wolfe. Inspiring me to revisit my cross-country road trip in journal form.
Brody’s Ghost, Book 1 – Mark Crilley
Armor – John Steakley. A different, brain-cramping (in a good way) angle on the space-trooper genre tale.
Bloom County: The Complete Library Vol. 3 1984-1986 – Berkeley Breathed
Dungeons & Dragons Essentials – Dungeon Master’s Book – James Wyatt. As someone who only recently returned to D&D, I hadn’t really begun to think about taking on the DM’s role yet. This book, though, made for a great and encouraging read in that vein – thanks Kato and Wendy! – but I also got an awful lot out of it as a new player still kind of learning the finer points of the game mechanics and structure.
Even though I know I didn’t have to, I really wanted to buy my own dice for my upcoming return to Dungeons & Dragons. I had to run errands today after lunch, so I drove to the local comic shop where I picked up the d10s we use as Munchkin level counters, and yes, I will admit I was excited about buying my first set of polyhedrals in a couple decades.
So I get there, and the store’s closed. Because it’s Tuesday, that’s why. Well, I’m already out here, and even though I know full well that Jenn & I could come out tomorrow, I’ve had my mind set on new dice, and so I start trying to think of another nearby gaming or comic shop. (Yes, there’s a Toys R Us across the street, but I wanted to shop local, and I really wanted to build my set individually, mix-and-match style, and I figured a big store might only sell RPG dice by the matching set.)
The only comic shop I know by name is the excellent Bill’s Books & More in Canton. It’s well out of my way, and I’m not even sure they carry dice, so I call information and get their number, and here’s where I love the networking knowledge of geeks: Sure enough, Bill’s doesn’t carry dice, but they offer me the names of two shops that do – one of which, of course, was the Closed-for-Tuesday store in the plaza where I’m sitting in my car on the phone. But the staff at Bill’s also points me in the direction of Universal Comics, less than 10 minutes away and a local spot for Magic: The Gathering tournaments. Seemed just the kind of place that would have some dice on tap.
Aaaand, bingo: There they were, available in compartmented plastic bins and separately-packed monochromatic sets. The owner put the variety trays on the counter in front of me and I just started picking dice – one set for me, and one for Jenn, at her request. I tied hers together with a green scheme, choosing different patterns and shades and a transparent emerald d20 for good measure. My set was more scattershot – I just sort of went with what caught my eye – but I like ‘em, and they’re my dice.
After totaling the purchase and doing some unneccessary but customer-friendly rounding down, the owner said, “I notice you like green,” and he tossed in a swirled green pip die with the store’s name in the ’1′ spot. The guy knows how to earn a new customer.
At home, I spilled my new dice into my hand and rattled them on the desktop next to my also-relatively-new-but-bookmarked-with-sticky-notes Player’s Handbook.
I picked up the largest die – it’s deep purple-and-black speckled with bronze numbers – and what flashed through my head as I cast it onto the book cover was, “How cool would it be if -”
I didn’t even get to complete the thought: