Is Old-School Pokémon Going to Give my Kids Nightmares?

Pokemon

My kids are officially obsessed with Pokémon. In a way, this is great news for me. After years of dealing with the likes of Thomas and Friends, I can finally bond with them without having to do any research. I was into Pokémon in the 1990s, so the kids are in my wheelhouse now.

I gleefully fired up a game of Pokémon Red for the kids to share my introduction to the franchise with them. Unfortunately, it was only after I got them hooked on the game that I remembered the downside to sharing my childhood entertainment with them: some of those early installments are really messed up.

I’m not talking about the dissonant nature of a game that talks about the importance of treating Pokémon well but then encourages you to capture them and force them to battle. That’s a flaw of the whole franchise, but it falls under the mantle of, “this is just a video game, so don’t overthink it.”

No, I’m talking about a place called Lavender Town. That’s where the original games go from fun-filled adventures with cartoon creatures to creepy horror with some truly disturbing backstory. Lavender Town is where the game introduces ghost Pokémon, and as far as I know it’s the only part of the franchise to really explore death.

Read more at BabyCenter.com!

How Do You Talk to Your Kids About Racism in America?

Racism

I live in a small town in New England. Beautiful fall foliage, cold winters, friendly neighbors…the type of place you find on greeting cards. Well, except that most greeting cards don’t mention the occasional racism and Nazi iconography.

That unfortunate graffiti rests on the sidewalk near my kids’ bus stop. The swastika served as a reminder that there are stupid jerks everywhere. It also serves as a reminder that I need to talk to my kids about race in America.

Read more at BabyCenter.com!

The Many Worlds of D&D, part one

Dungeon Master

Dungeons & Dragons has never been about one single fantasy world. In fact, beginning in the 1980s, the game spawned a multiverse that stands on par with anything churned out in the comic book industry. Through the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition years especially, D&D became home to dozens of parallel fantasy worlds.

Read more at the Screamsheet!

Gremlins of Greystone Valley

Gremlin“I’m sorry,” Sarah said. “I didn’t notice we were being ambushed until it was too late.”

“Don’t be sorry,” Kay responded. “Gremlins can be all but invisible when they want to be. You probably wouldn’t have seen him even if you’d been looking right at him.”

“It wasn’t . . . really an ambush,” Dax groaned sluggishly. “To them, this is all a game. A very cruel game where somebody will probably get killed. And people wonder why I don’t like to think about ‘fun’ in this valley.”

Known as troublemakers and baby-stealers, gremlins have a reputation for cruel tricks and cunning traps. Like fey, they enjoy pranks, but they are much crueler about them. A faerie might have a laugh by turning a person’s nose blue, but a gremlin would find it funnier to cut that person’s nose right off.

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Conquest of Greystone Valley Excerpt: The Return

Castle DoorConquest of Greystone Valley is a sequel, but it’s also a good jumping on point for newcomers to Greystone Valley. Somebody has tampered with the memories of both Sarah and her mom, leading them to have forgotten many of their old adventures.

In the excerpt below, Kay and Dax have retrieved our somewhat amnesiac heroines and are bringing them up to speed. If you’re wondering what this Greystone Valley place is and who conquered it, here’s your chance to learn. Continue reading

Pathfinder Rogues Gallery: Samuel the Hunter

Samuel the HunterIn life, Samuel was a mortal bounty hunter. Originally self-serving and hard of heart, he grew less selfish with age, ultimately settling into a code of his own and never straying from that. When he died and found himself before the goddess of death, he received not a judgment but an opportunity to serve the goddess. He now serves as the huntsman of death, tracking those who alter the wheels of fate.

Read more at the Screamsheet!

Dwarves of Greystone Valley

Dwarves of Greystone Valley

Dwarf

“Believe me, if there was a better way to approach without being seen, we would take it,” Dax responded. “I hate those tunnels—they’re so dank and dreary. The moisture and cold air will almost certainly make my rheumatism act up. But Castle Greystone is surrounded by trackless foothills and thick forests. The southern pass is our best hope of getting to the Great City. The caverns are dark and deep, but they’ll bring us right beneath the city, although I’m sure we’ll all perish before we’re through.”

“So, what will we be facing down there?” Sarah’s mom asked. “Dragons? Trolls?”

“Worse,” Dax said. “Dwarves.”

“Dwarves?” Sarah asked. “Like short people?”

“Short, hairless people that live in the deepest caverns and . . . ugh . . . sing sometimes.”

“They don’t sound that bad.”

Dax scanned the horizon and took the lead as they got going. “Sometimes,” he moaned, “it seems like everybody else is speaking in a foreign language.”

Not quite fey but not quite humans, the dwarves of Greystone Valley inhabit the darkest depths of the mountains. They are fierce protectors of the treasures that lie beneath the earth, and often fight dragons and trolls, whose greed drives the dwarves into a frenzy. Continue reading