Dinovember 2017

For those who haven’t heard about Dinovember: welcome! We wrote a blog post last year that can bring you up to speed, and I encourage you to check it out. For those who followed our dinoescapades last year, welcome back! We’ve been doing this for a few years now and the dinosaurs have done everything from smearing cupcakes on the cupboards to colouring on the fridge to playing with the shaving cream in the bathroom. The kids have found them building outside, hijacking a ride to school, and having music concerts. Book forts, colouring pages, cereal across the floor – they’ve all been done at least once, maybe twice.

As Halloween approached this year, I started to hear the dreaded word murmured from the corners of the house : “Dinovember.”

Almost as scary as the house on down the road with the carnival decorations and the clown hiding behind the red balloons with a bowl of candy, the word made my chest tighten. My mind searched frantically for answers. I wondered if it was too late to take a month long vacation (or send the dinosaurs on one).

dinovember mummy

After hearing at length from the rugrats that they hoped the dinosaurs wouldn’t eat their candy *again,* I had to come up with something new.

Don’t get me wrong, I love how exciting and magical Dinovember is.

I do.

And I started the whole thing in our house.

But the thing is, I didn’t expect (foolishly) that it would be such a hit. I didn’t think through the part where I would have to come up with 30 things each year for the dinosaurs to do. Or that the kids would remember just about every single thing the dinosaurs did, shaking their heads disappointingly at any repeat shenanigans. (It really is only fair I warn you, just in case you were thinking of introducing it into your household.)

So just as the pressure of Halloween costumes begin to wane, the anxiety of dinocreativity begins to rear its ugly giant reptilian head in our house.

dinovember pumpkin snowman

One of my favourites so far this year, I fear this make-shift snowman may have been part of an elaborate snow dance done by the dinosaurs as it snowed 24 hours later.

There have already been the moments of panic where I wonder what to do tonight, and sometimes I wish I could take the same tactic as some do with elf on a shelf (no way is that creepy creature coming into our house on the heels of Dinovember).

But I digress. Dinovember is happening.

It’s in full swing.

And the dinoventures abound!

Here are just a few of the things the dinosaurs have been up to this month:

Dinovember tea party

Rugrat #1 wasn’t the biggest fan of this, but Rugrat #2 enjoyed it, and Rugrat #3 loved it so much she insisted on napping with these lovely ladies, their tea set, and the table (while chanting “Tea Par-tay!” right up until she fell asleep).

 

Counting with Cheerios during Dinovember

The rugrats enjoyed the early morning snack created by this dinosaur game. The game, not so much, but it is a bit too easy for most of them (though these poor dinosaurs struggled).

 

dinosaur nests for dinovember

The rugrats, in unison, declared this “awesome.” I liked that it was super easy (and in fact done after everyone woke up, in a tiny seldom seen corner of our second kitchen).

 

castle home for dinovember

Desperate for their own place to call home, the ground-bound dinos set off on their own adventure, far from the picture perfect bird town houses. This was the biggest hit with Rugrat #3 who has exiled the dinosaurs and minis alike in favour of her ponies.

 

After last night’s hard session of castle building and takeover, the dinosaurs elected to try something a little more relaxing.

 

 

Sick of their meat and plant-based diets, the dinosaurs decided to plant a candy garden. The rugrats were sad to see the dinosaurs had stolen their candy for this fruitless project.

 

The dinos went wild with the erasable marker, colouring all over photos and the windows. The rugrats were not pleased.

 

While the two of the rugrats enjoyed a sleepover at Nana’s, the dinosaurs went went with a movie marathon – complete with snacks galore!

 

The kids thought the dinosaurs did nothing… then we found this.

 

 

 

“Yep, that’s what they did.” – Rugrat#2   Well, that’s a late night mess… and a lot of caffeine.  

So tell us, have you participated in Dinovember?

Do you know anyone who has?

If you are looking for more inspiration than our posts offer, there is tons of material out there. (Dinovember has quite the following!)

What’s your favourite one of our dinoshenanigans?

Tell us! We’d love to know. Some of our favorites haven’t been such a hit with the kids. (But man did I enjoy colouring all over the fridge and watching the kids clean that up so the dinosaurs didn’t get in trouble!)  Some of our random/last minute adventures are beloved by all the rugrats. It can be hard to tell what’s going to be a success and what will be an eye roll. So chime in! Let us know what you love!

hats

Characters Reimagined

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed the other day and found this post on 15 Disney Villains Reimagined as Princesses. It isn’t the only time I have seen something like this; there have been similar ones on Disney princesses later in their lives, Disney characters reimagined as adorable pin up girls, the 42 gender-bending Disney characters, the super creepy images of your favorite childhood characters reimagined as criminals and villains (I take no responsibility for ruining how you view these characters should you click on that link), and the less creepy young cartoon characters reimagined as adults.

Princess Jafar

Via Jessica Nahulan at Deviantart

While I think the art is absolutely stunning, I have a few issues with the first post (why does every single one have to be tiny and “perfect”? Surely Jaffar could have still been princess with a prominent nose), I do love this idea of reimagined characters, and these posts are evidence I’m not the only one.

PCs Reimagined

The same way companies like Paizo have their iconics, we seem to be hooked on recurring PCs. With six different campaigns played, four have used mostly the same PCs (well, the same PC – we play a lot of one to one gaming, so some of these recurring faces are “GM-NPCs”).

This particular PC has been created with different classes (rogue/anti-paladin, mesmerist, rogue [knife master], and now with SFRPG an envoy). She has always been human, and always charismatic.  There have been slight variants in her background, some differences in skill sets, and various alignments have been explored (from neutral evil to the most recent lawful good).

She’s had different occupations (albeit most were various versions of an adventurers), different friends (though many of the same NPCs play a prominent role in these different “lives”), and different goals, but there is still something about her that feels the same.

I sometimes think about how various versions of this character would fare if dropped into a different world/campaign. Each one has been built, more or less, for the campaign and the world it is set in – would that mesmerist have made a better ruler than the rogue/anti-paladin? Could the knife throwing rogue have succeeded in occult investigations? I’m fairly certain SFRPG’s envoy never would have managed to break out of prison and win the hearts of minds of the citizens the way the rogue/anti-paladin did.

The familiarity of this character, combined with the endless possibilities and fresh start of a new character sheet, has made for some interesting and enjoyable role playing. (Though the first version remains my favourite for numerous reasons.)

NPCs Reimagined

With these similar and yet different worlds, Ken and I find that many NPCs make a resurgence. While this started as a nod to previous campaigns, but it has become more than that.

Winthrop, a simple hunter who petitioned my first (and favourite iteration) PC, who was queen of a country, for the right to lead hunting trips in a nearby wood, was one of her best friends and adventuring companions in our Supernatural inspired campaign, and played a prominent role in the post-apocalyptic one as well.

Argus, a ship captain the same version of a PC had a tryst with was renamed Andy and was her best friend, and long time companion in yet another campaign. He’s made a reappearance in the Way of the Worlds campaign as her fiance, and has resumed his captain status with a star ship.

Way of the Wicked CoverTrik, an NPC who is part of a the published adventure Way of the Wicked, eventually devoted himself to this first iteration of my PC and her companions, but was a nuisance at best in a homebrew campaign, and actually threatened her and attacked her in another campaign. (Hmm, perhaps that’s not unlike his original nature in Way of the Wicked!)

Lys, the conniving young assistant at a church in Way of the Wicked (who did her best to undermine my PC) is the most devoted assistant in the current campaign, while Bill, a dedicated and determined cohort in Way of the Wicked repaid my PC for saving her from multiple zombies in our post-apocalyptic campaign by stealing everything from my PC while she slept.

The recent space campaign has even seen the Varisian pirate captain from my first solo campaign reimagined; now a space pirate NPC, she has had a few interactions with my PC and is bound to have a few more.

And of course there’s Davia. One of the four main PC/NPCs in one of our first campaigns, this savage blonde beauty remains so fierce and vibrant in every single one of her variants (no matter how small the cameo) she was reimagined as the top dog in our 5-star 5e NPCs: Bullies and Brutes PDF.

I love seeing a different side of these NPCs, and since their nature, their sense of duty, and their interactions with my PC are different with each campaign, their familiar face doesn’t always put me at ease (especially after that fateful night trustworthy Bill took everything!).

Have You Reimagined or Repurposed NPCs or PCs?

I have to imagine this can be a fun thing for a GM as well – why create something brand new when you can repurpose something you have? It’s great when an NPC from one campaign can appear in another one, where continuity is possible, but what if there is no continuity?

That favorite PC you created? Bring him back as an NPC in a different campaign.

That NPC or PC who was wiped out quickly because of a few bad dice rolls? Maybe in a different campaign he or she developed a little differently and has had a bit more success.

Let those characters try on a new hat, give them a chance to help you answer “what if” and see where is takes the game.

Comment Below!

Have you ever tried this? Have any of your characters made an appearance in different campaigns as reimagined versions of their former selves?

Dinosaurs go fishing

5 Things I Didn’t Do for Dinovember

Thirty days.  For Dinovember we had to come up with a new idea for the dinosaurs. Every. Single. Day. For thirty days. And with us being several years into this tradition, and the rugrats horribly disappointed if there are repeat adventures, it gets harder.

dino-builders

I always mean to spend the time between one November and the next coming up with new ideas, but time ticks by. At first I’m just happy to be rid of the prehistoric dino-trouble, and then as the next November gets closer, I get excited – but I forget to get planning.

dinosaur rockstars
So Dinovember arrives and, inevitably, midnight rolls around, I’m exhausted from being up so late working, and I curse those damn plastic reptiles – and myself for ever introducing it.  Sometimes I have something brilliant planned, sometimes something basic, but each time I was at a loss I would look hopefully at my husband and he would either suggest something that’s been done, or come up with something a little less than helpful.

dinos making Christmas cards

Here are 5 ideas I did not use this Dinovember:

  1. dinosmoothie“Just stick them all in a pot, and turn it on.  We can have a big plastic dino-soup. Maybe stick a dinosaur head on top of it. They can find it like that in the morning.” (While I was away for a night this month, he actually did go for the blender, but he fought the urge to turn it on.)
  2. “What if we just sent them to live with someone else?” (We actually sort of did this here.)
  3. “Just skip it.  Maybe they won’t notice.” (I thought about this one more than once, especially after Rugrat #1 started making his own when he couldn’t find what we set up.)
  4. “You could just hang them from the ceiling fan, Mission Impossible style.” (You know, because the kids wouldn’t use them to pull the whole fan off the ceiling, or turn the ceiling on and have the toys become dangerous weapons.)
  5. “They could kill me.  The kids could find them standing over my dead body. Please. I’m so tired. And the police would have photographic evidence of the killers.”

And now December has arrived and the dinosaurs’ home is once again the plastic bin. While I still stumble on them from time to time (darn those rugrats for not cleaning up!), the trouble they cause is mostly nil until next year. Which should hopefully mean I can spend less time assembling dinosaur buildings and accessories, and more time on writing projects.Dinosaurs watching Rex play in town.

Dinosaur terrorizes cardboard city.

And, in case anyone was wondering, Elf on the Shelf does not visit this home.  No, if that obnoxious little creature shows up here hoping for a new pose, it might just inspire me to use idea #1 above, or a Christmas variation; I’m all tapped out of creativity when it comes to toys for a bit.

Time to relax with a glass of wine and get back to thinking about gaming projects.

Merry Christmas from the dinosaurs

Dinovember

Warning: this post is a bit off topic for an RPG publisher’s website, maybe.  Humour me here.

If you haven’t heard about Dinovember yet, you are missing out.

This is a highlight for the dire rugrats in our lives, though by the end of the month it is often a burden on us as we scramble for yet another thing for the dinosaurs to do and Ken curses me for introducing it in the first place.

The dinosaurs got into the Halloween candy. It seems to be the way they start every Dinovember, and who can blame them?

DAY 1: The dinosaurs got into the Halloween candy. It seems to be the way they start every Dinovember, and who can blame them?

So here’s the deal: Dinovember started in 2012. The idea was that by capturing the moments when the plastic dinosaurs came to life and caused chaos in their house, Refe and Susan Tuma were “igniting the imaginations of hundreds of thousands of children–young and old–across the world.”

It took off like wildfire and since 2012 people have been sharing their own pictures of what their dinosaurs did last night.

With a new double toaster in the house, the dinosaurs seemed keen on making a midnight snack. Two points for team work?

DAY 2: With a new double toaster in the house, the dinosaurs seemed keen on making a midnight snack. Two points for team work?

It is a great way to get kids away from the screens, and back to using their imagination. We’ve often found our kids setting the dinosaurs up again, when they think we aren’t looking, and then announcing the dinosaurs did something else and showing us incredible and creative things. They are forever guessing what could be coming next, and they’ve learned to be really good sports when the dinosaurs have done terrible things (like eat some of their Halloween candy).

Another perk? I gained a better understanding of my toddler during Dinovember. How so? Well, I learned it is sickly satisfying to watch your kids scrub crayon off the fridge, after you had a great time putting it there. (Sorry kids – they’re your dinosaurs, you clean it up.)

The dinosaurs said goodbye to Halloween by smashing the pumpkins. "I am not impressed, dinosaurs," said Rugrat#2.

DAY 3: The dinosaurs said goodbye to Halloween by smashing the pumpkins. “I am not impressed, dinosaurs,” said Rugrat#2.

It’s a game we all get to play for the whole month. It forces Ken and me to be creative, and it helps the kids use their imaginations and believe in something amazing.

“There is only one thing that can make the dinosaurs come to life: MAGIC!” – Rugrat#1

I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos from this month so far; no doubt those dinosaurs will be up to more shenanigans before the month is through.

Have you ever done Dinovember? Share in the comments your favourite thing you’ve seen them do!