Graph and Line

Recently I saw something on Google+ which was kind of cool. It was a composition book but the pages were half graph and half ruled which several people liked. But the composition book style (like the typical ones you’ve seen) cost $5 which seemed a little steep to me. Especially when you can thrown your own together plus customize to you liking (iso, hex, different graph sizes, etc.) with sites like to generate the graph portion. For example, it took me a few minutes to do a Hex-And-Line, Graph-And-Line, Iso-And-Line pages (download the PDFs as usual) sheet and you can print as many as you like. Happy graphing!

Book Club Breakdown

I’m a member of a science fiction book club at a local book store (Octavia Books, support your local indie bookshop!) The way we choose books is that the each member gets a go to pick three books in a “theme” to be read one per month for three months. For example, the current triplet of books were chosen by me. They follow the theme “Relationships in Nature” representing parasitic, symbiotic, and predator/prey relationships. The books that I chose are:

It is customary to give an introduction to the author/book (excluding the plot since that is left to the reader to discover) and to that end I put together a list of items that make it easy for me to give an interesting lead in to the book to be read (at least I hope I do!) If you are involved in a book club you might want to follow the same process and so I present it here.

Discuss the author, with the following information suggested:

  • Author’s full name.
  • Place and date of author’s birth.
  • Year that the author began writing (not necessarily when they first published.)
  • First publication ever for the author, title and year. (Could be a book, periodical, etc. Whatever is relevant.)
  • Place and date of author’s death and perhaps add circumstances if you wish (if applicable.)
  • Profession other than writing (if applicable)
  • General overview of awards, grants, notable mentions, etc.
  • Other tidbits of interesting or notable information about the author (e.g. how many books has the author published.)


Discuss the book, with the following information suggested. (Note: stay away from the plot of the book and its relation to the theme…leave that to be discussed by the group.)


  • Book’s name
  • Publication date of the book and the author’s age at the time of publication.
  • If book is part of a series, what is it’s order in publication? In the chronology of the series timeline?
  • What awards are specifically associated with this book.
  • Award winning books the year that this book was published to give some context of what people were reading. The ones I chose are the major ones Hugo winner, Nebula winner, and BSFA winner, but I also use the Campbell Memorial Award winner. There are others of course.

Of course this is geared towards science fiction since that is the genre of our group, but it can easily be modified for other genres. I hope someone find this helpful.



Ramblin’ Man

magazine-streetI like to walk. I see things. I think every once in a while that I see something in the neighborhood that someone might like to know about. So I’ve created a Twitter feed I call


(Ramble as in talk, ramble as in walk, do you see what I did there? *grin*) If you’re interested in goings-on around the neighborhood generally between Jefferson St., Audubon Park, Prytania St., and the river, then this is a Twitter feed for you.

This feed might include comments about things going on at businesses (sales, job openings, cool merchandise, etc.) I am not being paid by anyone to say anything in particular (so all opinions and helpful comments are my own.) I’m just doing this as a friendly service for the community.

Tokens + 1

A while back I was going through back episodes of a few podcasts (cannot remember if it was The Tome Show or Dungeon Master Guys) I’d found when I heard about a do-it-yourself project for creating your own tokens for tabletop RPG from the Newbie DM. Like me, a lot of folks prefer miniatures but I could see the appeal for a gamemaster not to have to haul a case of minis around for things like conventions or game nights not at your house so I checked it out.

I liked what I saw.

I’m not going to rehash that post since Newbie DM did a great job laying it out, but I do have a couple additional comments to recommend based on my experience.

1. Use glossy photo paper if you can.

This will help the picture pop a bit and look nice.

2. Use Clear Epoxy Circles to Dress It Up

I didn’t have a need to do the one side normal other side bloodied since I my RPG of choice is Pathfinder. Of course, the B-side of the token could represent other things, even a different creature if you want to double up on the token which would cut the number of token’s needed in half (assuming you don’t need both creatures at the same time.) I happened to come across some 1 inch clear, epoxy circles that are used to make bottle cap necklaces an it occurred to me that they could be used to dress up the tokens. I ordered some and the tokens came out very nice. If you wanted to do away with the washer altogether you could just stick the token picture on the epoxy circle and be done. The result is a lot lighter than the version with the washer, but I prefer the token having a little weight to it.

Before applying the clear, epoxy circle.

Before applying the clear, epoxy circle.

After applying the clear, epoxy circle.

After applying the clear, epoxy circle.

3. Provide a Little Padding

When playing at a friends house on his gaming table (grid paper covered with plexiglass) I noticed sliding the tokens around could potentially scratch the surface (bad GM! Bad! Bad!) I recalled that I had some felt furniture pads in the closet so I grabbed them and behold, the pads we also 1 inch in diameter and fit perfectly so problem solved. If you don’t want the thickness of the felt pad you could also use thin foam sheeting or just plain paper.

After applying the felt pad.

After applying the felt pad.

4. Enlarge!

For large creatures you could go to a bigger base (they do make larger washers) but larger washers do tend to be more expensive which defeats the purpose of the project. What I did was to take one of those magnetic business cards from a local pizza joint, cut a one inch circle out and glue it to a 2 inch diameter cardboard circle. The washer sticks to the magnet and viola! You have your large (or enlarged) NPC or creature.

Magnet + cardboard gives your token a new size class.

Magnet + cardboard gives your token a new size class.

You have a lot at your disposal for what to put on the tokens. You could even justcut things out of a magazine if something strikes your fancy. One one case I needed a bad guy with a scar on his chin and decided to create one with a little graphics editing.


Hope someone finds these variations useful and thanks to Newbie DM for the original post!

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