Thursday, March 28, 2013

Play D&D Next at Norwescon 36

I'll be running a D&D game at Norwescon 36 tomorrow (Friday) south of Seattle. Six seats, three alts. I'll be running with the rules in the  #DnDNext  playtest packet, which you can download for free at However, I'll be providing characters--all you need to bring is dice and something to write with. And maybe some graph paper.

The #norwescon  convention programming director tells me that instead of their standard signup sheet, they will raffle off seats for this game. Max of 6 players and 3 alternates. Players will need to be ready to sit at the table by 5 minutes into the hour or the first available alternate will be placed in the vacant seat.

The raffle will be part of their standard hourly attendance drawing. Which tickets are given to those who participate in games. One ticket for one hour. One ticket is drawn every hour. One daily prize is drawn per day. The expectation is that they will have the 9 players by 12pm on Friday ready for the game.

Norwescon 36 Gaming Schedule

D&D Next Rules Free Download

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wear Still The Coat

We don't expect the coat that fitted the child to fit the adult without tailoring. Why expect any less of old laws?  

The line above is a paraphrase of Thomas Jefferson's actual quote, edited to fit within the constraints of a 140 character tweet, plus link. Full quote: 

"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Halo 4: Cortana the Naked

I know I'm late to this party, but I just finished the campaign story for Halo 4.

I loved almost everything about it. But one thing threw me. Every time the A.I. Cortana materialized as an anatomically correct woman wearing no clothing, I lost the thread of the scene as I goggled.

I find it curious that 343 studios would decide to sexualize Cortana by ripping off her modesty. Previous versions of Cortana were unclothed, but weren't naked, AND managed to portray a "real" character with just voice acting and good writing. Why the switch to soft porn? 

Were they trying to make her more vulnerable? Maybe. Cortana was a central character of the story, and one who is failing as her A.I. brilliance burns 10 times as bright, but 10 times as short . . . But it sort of comes across as exploitation. Yes, even though she's not a real person. 

Honestly, I'm not sure where I come down on this. But it was something that threw me out of the story each time she appeared. 

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Contest: Free Audio Book

Audio Sample
Update: You can also enter this contest by sending me a message via your favorite social network, or by emailing me at with the subject line Audiobook Contest.


I'm holding another contest to give away three audible books!

The winner of this contest will receive their choice of one of my novels performed by John Pruden available on (three Abolethic books, and two Sword of Gods books).

To enter, share publicly on your preferred social network that you've entered this contest, tag me so I see it (!), and link to this webpage.

 Something like the following:

Please enter me to win an audiobook written by @BruceCordell at

On April 2nd, I'll collect all the entrants, throw them onto a spreadsheet, and use Random.Org to select three winners!

If you'd like to hear a sample of Mr. Pruden's work, click on the link below the picture.

Say "Thank you Spinning Liquid Core!"

Mounting evidence supports the conjecture that Mars was probably habitable in the past.

I wonder what disaster befell that lonely red planet, or if Mars just failed to establish an ecosystem able to cushion fledgling life from disruptive events.

An absence of both tectonic plates and a magnetic field could well be the reason Mars has no life today. It's possible that Earth's molten spinning core, which directly powers our magnetic field, is also an indirect reason we have shifting tectonic plates. Both are nice to have, if you're a planet with aspirations of habitability.

The magnetic field protects Earth from cosmic rays that would strip away the upper atmosphere, including the ozone layer that protects the earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation.

The shifting tectonic plates replenish essential nutrients on the earth's surface of geologic time, ensuring that life continues into each new epoch.

So take a moment, look down at your feet, and tell the Earth's spinning liquid core that you appreciate all it does.

(Actually, there's some evidence Mars may have tectonic plates, but they move excruciatingly slow, maybe too slow to do what's required for efficient nutrient recycling.)