When you’re out of your twenties and well into your thirties, birthdays have lost a lot of the gravitas they once had. You can’t really skip work on your birthday and go bumming about town like you might want to, it is unlikely that there is a surprise party waiting for you at home, etc. The best you can really hope for is a above-average dinner and perhaps a little something extra that evening (if you get my drift).
I, however, do not accept that. Or rather, I will not succumb to birthday lassitude without a fight. Now before you think that this is all about my Big Trip to Vegas or something, I will also say that I needed to have a birthday that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I got about $100 in budget money to spend today and still keep it under the wife’s radar. So what to do?
Each year I buy myself a present. Sometimes it is a Hirst Arts mold, sometimes an RPG, sometimes some miniatures. If I’m lucky, some of them might see the surface of a gaming table, but more often not. This has made me a bit more frugal in my purchases lately. It isn’t that I’m poor–in fact I’m pretty comfortable–it is just that I hate the waste sometimes. I can buy a cheap miniature that I’ll never use just for the fun of painting it, but I can’t drop a lot of money on a game and then feel really good about it six months later when I see it sitting there completely unused.
This is my problem with Pathfinder. Actually, it is one of several problems, but it really the cost issue that keeps me from moving it into the “okay, I’ll read it on my bedside table” category which is how I justify these things sometimes. Pathfinder, by Paizo Publications, is getting great reviews and looks good, but costs $50. Now that is for a book that is essentially both the PHB and DMG, so it is sort of a bargain, but for a game that a) I probably won’t play anytime soon, and b) is basically an updated version of D&D 3.5, it’ll remain off the “buy” list for a while.
Speaking of bedside tables, last night I broke out Monster Manual 2 and was once again struck by the thirty-odd lines of stats that every fricking monster has. It makes for a unique quality to every monster, but also reminded me just how crunch-heavy it can be.
So, what to do? Easy. I go to Basic Fantasy, download their free OD&D knock-off (with that most important quality of gameplay, Armor Classes that actually go up when they get better), and print off the 160 pages on my work printer, and then head over to my local office supply store for 100 sheet protectors and a three ring binder.
Aside: I bought these items at Francis Office Supply in Piqua, Ohio. My church does this “shoebox ministry” thing where we give kids who come into the food pantry a wrapped shoebox full of little gifts, school supplies, etc. Last year we got the boxes from a “mom and pop” shoe store downtown, which is now closed. The church called Wal-Mart and Payless Shoe Source to see if they would contribute boxes, but neither of them would. When Francis Office Supply heard about it, they sent over a huge stack of small boxes from their warehouse for them to use. So, I could go to Wal-Mart and buy a three ring binder, but I went to the locally-owned and operated business instead, spent about two dollars more, and supported people who actually get involved in their local community.
Anyways, 100 sheet protectors and a binder? $14.75. That’s a good price for a game that might actually be played some day (and probably a bit sturdier than your average RPG binding too, not mention soda-proof). On the way back to the office I stopped by Rally’s for a spicy chicken sandwich combo in memory of my younger self’s ability to digest the components of a trash compactor ($4.25).
Upon getting back to my office, I discover the downside to cheap sheet protectors, namely that they are nearly impossible to use. Getting two sheets into every sheet protector turns out to be a lot like trying to get 80 condoms onto 80 live chicken legs. I start to wonder if this whole “let’s save some money” thing is all it is cracked up to be…
I also decide that I hate the BFRPG cover provided, so I crank out my own thanks to Google Image and the aforementioned laser printer at work. Here’s the result.
The cover artwork is by a Brazillian artist named “Reiq”. Nothing like some “Old School Fantasy Cleavage” for the cover a rulebook!
On the way home from work, I stop by the library and pick up The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie (cost: none). I’m a Christie kick right now, but more on that at a later post.
For dinner, I have bison, which is one of my favorite things to eat.
Later, I go buy a new pair of sweats (mine are pretty mankey. Cost: $20). That means I’ve only spent less than fifty dollars all day, and so I’ll probably pick up one of my friend KeeblerOrc’s molds later.
At the end of the day, my father-in-law calls and says that man has three phases of birthdays: Anticipation, Indifference, and Regret. For a guy who is in the middle of Indifference, I can’t complain too much.