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EDTC300, LearningProject

Podcasts, feelings, and DnD

Content Warning: I’m going to talk about some feelings here, so if that is uninteresting to you that’s chill. My feelings make me uncomfortable too. 

Though connected to my learning project, this post has little to do with the actual process of becoming a DM, and more about the inspiration behind my decision.

I am not a creative writer. I have a scientific mind that trusts in logic, math, and replicable results. My academic history is riddled with questionable English marks, starkly contracting soaring math and science grades.

A few months ago, a new human entered my life moving into the spare bedroom of my house. His name is Harvey. Since meeting Harvey, he essentially beat me into listening to this random podcast I was completely uninterested in, about a game I have never played, through a medium I have never cared for. After weeks of convincing, I buckled and started listening to The Adventure Zone. This is where my adventure began, and after the first few episodes, I was obsessed.

Now I have spent the last few months listening to more than 80 hours of the Balance campaign, the first of many that McElroy boys played through and recorded. They played DnD 5e rules, which is the most recent version of DnD to be published. Since Balance ended, these boys have recorded and released a series of live shows and 3 additional campaigns. I finally completed Balance, and I am so overwhelmed.

Currently, media is consumed with negativity and heartache. We are:

  • Waiting to see if there will be another government shutdown in the United States.
  • Fearing for the Muslim community of Edmonton in wake of a threatening letter being left at their mosque.
  • An accident leaving a worker injured at Evraz

I work to stay up to date on current events, and it often leaves me feeling upset at the state of our world. I know that sounds dramatic, but there is so little reminding me of any good. I didn’t realize until The Adventure Zone how badly I wanted something good. Not fluffy. But good, wholesome content.

magnus

The overarching theme of the Balance campaign was the importance of friendship and chosen families. The further we got into the campaign, the more difficult I found it to put away my headphones. I spent the last 5 hours of the campaign listening in 30 minute blocks, welling up in tears because of the amount of pure love and joy that poured from the story.

Unlike most high fantasy stories, this one focused on finding joy. There were no heartbreaking deaths, just unbreakable bonds formed between characters. There was no betrayal, just characters doing everything they could save their friends from heartache. There were no losses, just love. I have never had the opportunity to participate in content that was so deeply focused on love. I genuinely feel like this is what drew me in, and is why I am looking forward to being a DM. I want to find joy with my newly found family.

Fisher the Void Fish

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EDTC300, LearningProject

Meadheaven Cultists and Zombies?

Hosted my first DnD session this past Friday! The session itself ran a little more than 4 hours, which from what I read online is pretty standard for a one-off session. It was AWESOME. I chose our quest a few weeks ago from the Dungeon Masters Guild, an online platform where DMs share campaign content for free with other DMs. It is an incredible resource, and is largely pay what you can! So you can support the content other DMs have created, and explore the worlds they have created. We played Death Pit of Moloch, where the adventurers were tasked with finding why travelers were going missing. Our quest included five adventurers: Galbaghore, Glimmer, Baldrick, Christina, and Quinreil! As the DM, I was responsible for all non-playable characters (NPCs): Olly the herb seller, six goblins, four cultists, Crassus the Cult Leader, and six zombies.

 

I was not prepared for how exhausted I would feel after our first session. DMing takes a significant amount of creativity, and being able to create complex situations and stories on a moments notice. Tracking the gameplay of the characters, overseeing situations, and playing NPCs took so much more work than I was expecting. As mentioned in my last blog, my interest in DnD stemmed from The Adventure Zone. Listening to DnD is a completely different experience than playing. It is similar to watching basketball on television, and then expecting to be able to play at the same level. I was not ready.

Once we had started, I realized how under-prepared I was. P Having played only once before, I really had no concept of how much work a DM does before hand to take a campaign from mediocre to great. Designing situations, flushing out characters- hours and hours of work must be done prior to playing. Our next session in on February 15th, and I have to choose a new campaign and ensure that I am better prepared. I need to look into critical misses and hits. I also need to research more into battle stories, and how to build more creative descriptions, for the fun of both the players and myself! I realize now that I cannot rely solely on the content that other DMs have created, and as a DM it is my responsibility to be a creator!

I also want to share how grateful I am for Galbaghore, Glimmer, Bladrick, Christina, and Quinreil, who willingly sharing their Friday evenings with me as I work on this project. DnD is not a short game, and required a significant amount of commitment! I am so grateful for friends who are willing to join me on this journey. We have a hashtag on twitter for those who wish to follow along on our adventure, feel free to join us at #DnDPowerHour!

Session 1 Tweets

For this upcoming week, my goals are to:

  1. Choose our February 15th adventure, preferably with vampires (as requested).
  2. Research how to better describe critical hits and misses
  3. Look into scoring, and better understand how rolling works.

Overall, I would rate my first session a 6/10! I had a ton of fun, and I believe the adventurers did as well. I look forward to improving, and strengthening my skills.

 

EDTC300, LearningProject

Late to the Adventure

This blog post is late, obviously. It’s late as I have been at a loss trying to find something to write about.

This past week I have spent time researching how to be a DM, and the more I read the more overwhelmed I feel. As a DM you need to understand the complex rules of the game, be flexible to how your players and the choices they make in game, provide creative and engaging dialogue for the party to engage in, all while knowing the stats of both the players and the non-playable characters (NPCs). theadventurezoneflat_86

I took a break this week from my research, and chose to take extra time listening to The Adventure Zone on spotify. I have been listening to this podcast for a couple months now, and it is what inspired me to play DnD and become a DM. It is hosted by my good good boys; Justin, Griffin, and Travis McElroy and their dad, Clint McElroy. These boys have built a media empire, and what I have found inspiring is their continued positive outlook and wholesome quality content. They continually make me cry happy, emotional tears. These boys have consistently brought me into their DnD stories with their sweet goofs, genuine love, and inclusive content. taz

Though listening to these fellas may not directly provide me with the skills to be a DM, listening to live game play does provide me with relevant examples and demonstrations on what to expect. I think my nerves come from Griffin being such an incredible DM and story teller. He is absolutely captivating, and I have a lot to live up to. I hope I can be half the DM that he is.

Our first campaign in February 1st, and I look forward to all I will learn!

Ps. If you are reading this Griffin I love you never change. You are killing it. 

EDTC300

Feed me knowledge Feedly

Today I am in Ottawa, sitting in Pressed Cafe while the human I am visiting is at work. I was super fortunate to get to visit Ottawa for the Actua National Conference this passed week, but here I am exploring feedly.

I started my account with a tech, DnD, and science feed and have followed a few prominent or interesting publishers. I have been using my social feeds in the past to stay up to date on topics of interest and have recently started re-exploring twitter. While my twitter-verse has continued to grow, I have found it more and more difficult to stay informed on different topics. I can appreciate feedly as the accounts of follow continue to grow. I look forward to curating feedly to my interests!

Looking at my new feedly, I do find it a little daunting as I have started with 163 recommended unread articles. I know I don’t have to read them all, but the way it is laid out makes me feel quite anxious. I am not sure when I am going to have time to read the long list of suggested articles, and I hope that I can find a balance!

EDTC300, LearningProject

DnD Power Hour

You wake up, and nothing around you is as it seems. The memories start to come back- at first slowly, then all at once. You chose to embark on a new adventure for #EDTC300. You agreed to become a Dungeon Master, to lead your friends on extravagant journeys through fantasy world of your design. You embark on this expedition, having only been an adventurer yourself for a very short time. Why you think you can succeed at this task after one short arch, you don’t know. Is it pride? Overconfidence? It’s to late, your adventure begins now.

Choosing my #EDTC300 learning project was difficult, because I couldn’t decide if I wanted to learn something fun, useful, or practical. I was torn between Dungeon Master (DM), cheese making, and learning Cree. Finally, I decided on DMing. Work is academic, and takes a lot of brain space. School is academic and takes a lot of brain space. So after much deliberation, I decided on DnD. It would give me a good excuse to take a step away from being “on” all the time, and force me into much needed laughs and socialization. I have friends who committed to meeting every other week to play, giving me time in between to research. An added bonus is that there are SO MANY online resources that learning this new skill should cost me very little.

dnd1

I have spent the last week or so sorting through resources and building a clear “Things a DM needs” list. I have found some awesome online resources on WikiHow and GeekandSundry. Both sights took some reading, but where very informative. Both sites recommended locating a Players Handbook, A Dungeon Masters Guide, and a Monster Manual. So off I went…

After perusing Amazon, I found the books were $36, $58 and $58 respectively. One goal of this project was to complete it spending the least amount of money possible, purchasing these book was not an option. So to the library I went! The Regina Public Library has incredible resources that are all accessible online. So I searched their website and found all three books I needed! A couple clicks of the mouse, and they were ready to pick up the next day at my local branch. The fact that library cards are free to everyone who lives in Saskatchewan makes utilizing this resource so accessible for everyone!

My friends and I were able to get together and build characters, which in an extensive process, but necessary to do before you are able to play. Character are built by each player, and are so unique. We have a Dragonborn Paladin, a High Elf Druid, a Gnome Rogue, and a Dragonborn Bard. This diverse set of characters is well balanced, as any campaign should be. There are healers, people with strong magic, and the classic brutes. I can’t wait to see them work through the campaign I have planned!

dnd2
Our next meeting is February 1st, and we will play our first campaign then. The adventures will travel to Hollow Rock, where they will meet a murderous group of cultists who want nothing more than to build their undead army. Will our adventures be able to defeat them? Or will they be doomed to join the party of the undead. Find out February 1st at #DnDPowerHour!

EDTC300

Launching into EDTC300

Hi! I’m Megan. It’s nice to e-meet you!

I am 1st year BEAD student, with a BASc in Biological Science & Psychology with a “special interest” (because I couldn’t officially minor) in gender and sexuality. I like to read sci-fi fantasy books, learn about science, and have recently started watching pokemon on Netflix. I haven’t seen anything after the Indigo League- so it’s been fun!

Bork! Bork bork bork. Bork snuff bork bork. Bork. Snuff snuff BORK.
(Hi I am Chili, pictured above. I am almost 7 and am Megan’s trusty sidekick. I like snacks, walks, and butt scratches. My mom adopted me last April after I spent a long time in foster care, so it is my duty to protect my new house from the evil cars and devil doggos that DARE walk past. So be warned, I have a loud BORK (but no bite). Nice to meet you too!)

I am currently the Program Coordinator for the EYES program at the University of Regina. I started my position two and a half years ago, and realized that we have not had a trained educator act as Program Coordinator in more than 10 years. As a program who aims to educate youth in engineering and science, I decided to come back to school and learn how to teach! So here we are.

I love using technology in a teach capacity. As part of my role with EYES, I am very fortunate to work with things like: wordpress, Scratch, TinkerCAD, HourofCode, Ozobots, EdisonBots, 3D Printers, Google Expeditions VR, and so much more. I truly believe that it is absolutely imperative that educators utilize technology in classrooms- as it is our duty to prepare youth for the future. Refusing to use technology is ignorant to the fact that our youth do not know a world without it. They have had smart devices at their fingertips for their entire lives. It is our job to prepare them for a workforce that utilizes complex technologies and code, even if this means we need to step outside of our comfort zones and learn something big and scary- like coding!

Blogging is new to me, I had never done it before last semester. I am looking forward to learning more about it’s significance in an educational context. Having a scientific background- I find talking about thoughts and feelings in an educational capacity very very weird, and I definitely have to overcome my own mindset. But I believe that this will provide new insights as an educator.

Thanks for reading!
Megan M.

Twitter: @MeganLinMoore
YouTube: Megan Moore

 

ESC100

Crazy Rich Canadians

i)
Canada is a prosperous and affluent country.
Canada is officially home to the richest middle class on the planet.
Canada is home to one of the largest populations of ultra-wealthy, and the ultra-rich are only getting richer.”

A simple google search of “How rich are Canadians” quickly locates thousands of articles that essentially all say the same thing. Canadians are rich. If this is true, why have I always been so poor.

Danielle’s Self Story “Pity” shared similar sentiments to my own self-story “149 months“, in that as we both, spent our youth and now our early adult years feeling overwhelmed by our financial status. Growing up, my parents separated when I was eight. My mom, brother, and I moved in with a family we had met at church who were going through a similar situation. My mom cleaned school buses, and both her and our new “mom” were going back to school full time. We were two parents and five kids in three bedrooms, sharing a single bathroom. I never wanted to have friends over. I shared a room with my new sister until I was 14. Being from a wealthier farming community, I was angry. Everyone I knew lived in huge houses. They had their own bedrooms. None of them has divorced parents, let alone living with two As white Canadians, how were we so poor. Everything we learned in school about the Canadian identity was that we were a wealthy, happy country. My family was anything but.

Now as an adult, I barely make it paycheck to paycheck and still worry about silly little things like purchasing gas. Alicia’s story, “Got Gas?” described this feeling, and how challenging living paycheck to paycheck can be.  It reminded me that the normal narrative of prosperity in Canada can lead to difficult and frustrating conversations between loved ones. Her comment “I kept thinking about how much things cost and hoping that one day, I won’t have to be so concerned about something so simple, yet a privilege to have, a car to drive to fill up a tank with gas.” Is a feeling I am sure that is shared among a large portion of the population. My repayment assistance from my student loan has been denied. I work full-time, and am seeking part-time work. The only reason I live in the home I do is because I have three other roommates to share the rent and bills with. We all find ourselves in the same situation, working full time and barely making ends meet.

ii)
When I was writing the above portion of this assignment, I took note of my peers stories that contrasts my own experience. I was surprised to find the number of peers who shared stories of wealth. Logan shared a story full of cleaners, large televisions and gaming consoles. Nathan shared the story of his first riders game, and how his interaction with a homeless person put into perspective his privilege. There were many others stories that sounded the same. I had to actively remind myself that these peers have faced adversity in their own ways, and that money does not define their experiences. I am so grateful that they are using their contrasting experiences to challenge the narrative in Canada that Canadians are all wealthy and prosperous. Logans, “Are you Rich?” contrasted my own experience as growing up, as we did all of the cleanings whereas Logan had lovely women who were hired to do the cleaning. Though our experiences were different, I can appreciate how both challenge the normal narrative.

The Huffington Post Article “This is Why Poor People’s Decisions make Perfect Sense” really emphasized how poverty begets poverty, regardless of the narrative of prosperity in Canada.  The author of the article shares her story of poverty, and how her economic status isn’t defined by the few purchases she makes, because regardless. She’s poor. She shares:

“It’s that now that I have proven that I am a Poor Person that is all that I am or ever will be. It is not worth it to me to live a bleak life devoid of small pleasures so that one day I can make a single large purchase. I will never have large pleasures to hold on to.” 

Canadians are not all wealthy, and many of us live at or below the poverty line. Many of us spent our childhoods, embarrassed about our living condition. Many of us worry about whether or not the gas we have will make it until Friday, when we get paid. Many of us don’t have cleaners but have parents who are forced to work off hours and part-time and do their own cleaning. Being poor isn’t a choice, but the idea that Canadian are rich is being disrupted by honest authors like Danielle, Alicia, Logan, Linda, and myself.

Tirado, L. (2017, December 07). Here’s Why Poor People’s Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense. Retrieved November 14, 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/linda-tirado/why-poor-peoples-bad-decisions-make-perfect-sense_b_4326233.html

ESC100

149 months

!! URGENT. RAP APPLICATION DENIED.

Panic instantly explodes across my chest. Denied? DENIED. denied. Okay it’s fine, it’s not like I didn’t know this would eventually happen. I grab my laptop and power it on. I feel the familiar heat on my lap while the screen loads. I read the email again on my phone. I need to pull out the facts before I panic.

  • Minimum payment starting on the 31st is $808 WHAT THE FUCK. THAT’S MORE THAN MY RENT AND UTILITIES AND CAR PAYMENT COMBINED.
  • That means I have seventeen days to find $600 extra to make payment. Fuck me. Fuck. It will be fine. If I cut back my grocery budget, put less on my credit card and line of credit, and don’t put anything in my savings… Okay Megan get the facts.
  • Seventeen days until my payment is due.
  • Payment is going from $263 to $808. I am going to vomit.

I guess that’s all I need to know.

Why do I have to forgo my savings to pay my student loan?? How am I going to eat. What about my dog? What the fuck. I have to go to school to get a decent job, and then all the extra money I “”make”” goes to paying back the loans I needed to take out to get an education. This system is B R O K E N. Why even bother going to school?

I can feel heat creeping up my neck. My house is stifling. I lean across the couch to open the window. The sunlight shines through onto my napping dog, she has no idea what it is like to feel constantly stressed because of money. A moment of envy flashes. SHE can pay the bills for a month, and I’ll just nap have eat snacks.

I open my budget spreadsheet, where every dollar is accounted for. I look at it with dread and I have to remind myself. School was an investment. Without school you wouldn’t have your job. Without school you would likely be an addict. Without school you would still be so so broke.

Tears well while I comb through my budget while I try and find the non-existent extra money to pay this bill, every month, for the next 149 months.

ESC100

I threw the hoodie out.

I can hear the music coming form down the hall. This is the first time I have ever been to a dance, and wanted to be there! Since I joined a few months ago Air Cadets, I have found some of the best friends. I can feel the excitement from my head to my toes, all I want is to be there. With a huge grin and a sense of belonging, I walk towards the dance wearing my favorite brown West49 hoodie and a pair of old jeans.

I find my friends at the snack table. We fill our glasses with cool fruit punch and our plates with chips and pretzels. We find a seat on the concrete floor against a wall. We didn’t come to dance, but reveled in any opportunity that we could all get together and hang out. We meet once a week and get to drill together and sit through classes, but we don’t get lots of down time. Our group sits together, the floor feels cool to the touch. We chat and laugh, watching more people arrive.

After a few minutes I walk back to the snack table to grab a bottle of water and run into one of my flight sergeants. I have a moment of nervousness, but it flees quickly. Steve is one of my favourite leaders! We are both wearing jeans and the same hoodie, only his is in black. He stares at me with utter disbelief. He says “nice hoodie” and promptly walks away without another word. When I see him a few seconds later the hoodie is gone, and he is wearing a black tank top.

He was fit, funny, had tons of friends, was a part of the ‘it’ crowd. I was tall, fat, and awkward. Though the look of disgust on his face only lasted a few seconds before he composed himself, I saw it. I have never felt more uncomfortable in my skin than in that moment. Typically when all the cadets are together, we are in the same blue, woolen uniform. Shiny boots and belt buckles. He has never seen me in my “civies”. I have always worn boys clothes because it is so hard to find comfy girls clothes when you’re bigger. But I guess he didn’t know that.

I felt disgusting. Why couldn’t I be like normal girls and wear a skirt and a blouse? Why couldn’t I be thin and pretty? If I were a guy it wouldn’t have been an issue to be wearing the same hoodie- it would have been funny. But I am not a girl, am I? I feel like a girl, I just don’t dress like one. I like wearing boys clothes, even though I am a girl. I am so weird. What is wrong with me?

I called my mom with a stomach ache and went home. I left my friends on the concrete floor with their pretzels and punch without a word.