Leetaur's Blog

Critical Role Animated Special

Critical Role has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a Vox Machina animated special. Their original goal was $750,000, to fund a 22-minute show. In less than 8 hours they raised over 3 MILLION dollars, achieving every stretch goal they set! They are now going to produce 88 minutes of animation.

And the money keeps pouring in.

You can follow their progress HERE.

Critical Role, Mighty Nein Intro

Released in December (I believe), the Critical Role - Might Nein Intro is pretty awesome!

It seems that I never am fully caught up with Critical Role! But at least I always have entertainment whenever I want it. Critical Role episodes are about 4 hours, on Thursdays. Go to the Critical Role website to check it out.

What Does the Chameleon Say?

Based on “What Does the Fox Say”, this is a creative SUSE Linux commercial :) As I’m looking more into Open Source (and hardware, particularly from ThinkPenguin and Purism), I might post more geeky Linux videos going forward.

Lindsey Stirling in The Outpost

When I watched this episode of The Outpost (aired this past Tuesday), I didn't realize that the girl bard was played by Lindsey Stirling!  I had to go back and find scene again.  The bards end up trying to rob Janzo and Talon.  This YouTube clip is just of the song they sang.

Looking on IMDB, Stirling is playing "Pock", and will be in 5 episodes.  It should make the rest of the season fun :)

Dungeons & Dragons' Place in Pop Culture

It is pretty cool that Dungeons & Dragons is again popular.  I first played D&D in 1982 with my mom, dad and sister.  Now, in my 40's, I play with my younger brother and a number of friends, both as a player and as a Dungeon Master.  I also DM for my children, all the way from my 22-year old down to my 5-year old daughter (who cannot really play, but loves to sit at the table, with her dinosaur figure).

D&D Beyond Jingle

Sam Riegel, voice actor and D&D player from Critical Role, sings the D&D Beyond jingle for the first time.  

This jingle is later picked up by D&D Beyond, and the little cartoon-intro they came up with is pretty awesome :)

D&D Beyond

I have been playing a lot of Dungeons & Dragons lately, both with my brother's group (an online group, since the players live in different states), and among my own family.  

With a large family, I run two different campaigns, one with my wife and my 3 oldest children (who are 21, 14, 13), and one is the "younger group", ages 11, 9, 8.  And my 4-year old daughter, Lizzy, always insists on being at the adventuring table.  She likes rolling the dice for the Dungeon Master.  And she also insists on being in the party.  Her D&D "miniature" is actually a toy dinosaur.

A couple months ago I discovered D&D Beyond.  Officially approved by Wizards of the Coast, and programmed by Curse, it is a record-keeping system for players and Dungeon Masters.  The DMs can create campaigns, and invite players to those campaigns.  The DM can invite players into their campaigns, and share the manuals that they buy (electronic versions of the Dungeon Masters Guide, Player's Handbook, etc, pretty much all the manuals and adventure publish by WotC).

There are subscription prices for players (Hero's Tier) and Dungeon Masters (Master Tier).  If you have a subscription to the Master Tier, that is what allows you to share the content you've bought with your players.

So how do I like the D&D Beyond?  It makes some things very easy, such as rolling up/leveling up characters, because it is all done with a step-by-step process. I also like the electronic version of the manuals.  They allow for easy searching, and it is a lot easier to have all the books available on your laptop or iPad.

Downside - to unlock the the content on creating characters, and to have electronic access to the monsters/etc, you have to buy the electronic versions of the manuals.  There has been a bit of griping in forums about having to rebuy the manuals to unlock the content, after players had bought the physical manuals.  And they cost a bit, for example $29.99 for the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide.  It cost $39.99 for the physical version, but $30 could still be a lot for some folks.

The best answer I saw to this in D&D Beyond's forums is that you have to think of D&D Beyond like a hobby shop.  Curse, who programmed D&D Beyond, is not the same company as Wizards of the Coast.  They are selling (reselling) content, and D&D Beyond has to be able to make money to offer services like that.  You can see the thread HERE.

For me, I am happy to pay extra for the digital content.  After all, anyone who produces a physical good, or an electronic service, has a right to be paid for their services.

For anyone who wants an electronic way of tracking the characters in their campaigns, or to have electronic versions of the game manuals (I think D&D Beyond has the only legal electronic copies), I happy recommend the service.

WWDC 2017 Keynote

Apple held its 2017 WWDC keynote yesterday at 10:00 Pacific time.  It ran longer - 2 and a half hours.  There were a lot of announcements at the keynote, including new Mac laptops and iMac updates, information on virtual reality and augmented reality, and more.  iOS 11 was demoed, and will be launched in the fall (probably September) alongside new, 10th anniversary iPhones.

Amelia Brightman and Gregorian - Moment of Peace

Gregorian is one of my favorite music groups (though I have a few, with very different styles.

This one is a slower version of "Moment of Peace", with Amelia Brightman (aka Violet) as the singer.  Scenes from the Passion of the Christ are intermixed with it.

Everyone have a Merry Christmas! 


Back in college I very much enjoyed writing, along with a few friends of mine.  My "master piece" at the time was a novel I was working on called "Blood Fire" (no relation to the "Blood Fire" in Terry Brooks' novel, the Elfstones of Shannara, which I hadn't read yet), an epic fantasy story in a world that I made up.  The story made it up to 140 pages.  I was using a 286 computer to write the story, with MS-DOS as the operating system, and Word Perfect 5.something as my word processor.  

I was in college when the World Wide Web came about, though back in those days there wasn't much on it yet.  I didn't have a web browser on my 286, which couldn't run Windows, though by the time I graduated I had a brand new Pentium machine, and had a 14.4K modem in it!  I certainly don't remember writing resources or pages on the web back then ('96), and even after I was running Windows 95, word processors seemed to be pretty limited.

Life happened - I got married, we had a daughter, and I graduated and started a professional career.  And now it is 20 years (and many children) later!  To make a long story short, though I would work on some stories now and then, I let my writing hobby languish.

My daughter, the one born while I was in college, loves to write.  And she challenged me to something I had never heard of before.  It is called NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month.  The idea is that you will write an entire novel, 50,000 words, in a month (specifically, November).  That is well over 1,000 words a day, and with a full-time job and lots of kids, I didn't know if I could do it, but I decided to give it a try.  You are supposed to come up with a completely new story, not work on something from before, and I followed the rules 😁.

Well, November turned into a very busy month, both at work and at home.  I am an iOS programmer, both professionally and personally, and a project I had going came very much to life and needed my attention.  I did get a new computer that I am using to program and write (see my previous post), and I did get a decent start on my new story, which right now is called Hybrid Shadows (the title may change).

Now, halfway through December, I am continuing to work on my story, with an unofficial goal of having the first draft done by March.  I am using a professional writing tool called Scrivener, and it is really helping me to organize my writing, which now that I am in the 10's of thousands of words is getting more complicated.  I am needing to track characters, places, the plot, etc, and having a tool like Scrivener has really helped out with that.

It has been decades since I have gotten this far into a story, and I have never tried to publish my work before. I am planning to this time.  If you are interested in the writing process, follow this page for the next couple of months, and I will blog the things that I discover along the way.  I am starting to follow some people on YouTube and blogs that are authors and editors, and I will link to those from time to time as well.

Also, if you have suggestions of people to follow, tools to use, or anytime else related to writing a story, please leave a comment.


The Impossible Astronaut

Below is one of my favorite scenes from Dr. Who (at least the Matt Smith version), from The Impossible Astronaut.  In this scene, Dr. Who has dropped into the middle of the Oval Office in 1969, and encounters President Nixon.  The scene is pretty cool :)