Blog for Stephanie Bryant, a writer with too many hobbies and not enough time.

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April 2015

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Gaming Catch-Up

Not wanting to fall too far behind on my gaming writeups, I’ll do a quick summary post:

Wednesday game: We played Time Quest, my Goblin Quest time-travel hack, and it was a lot of fun and resulted in a lot of really good ideas for improving the game. If you want to playtest it, leave a comment here or on Google+.

We’ve decided to put Monster of the Week on hold– my players’ play styles don’t mesh well enough to make it enjoyable for everyone. Instead, we’re going to playtest my Night’s Black Agents scenario, Day of the Wehrwolf, in the next few weeks, and see how well it runs. I was out sick with food poisoning this week, so we start that in 2 days.

Moving Forward: So. The apocalyptic event happened. We all leveled up to 10th level and fought a primordial in 2 phases (so, like 2 separate creatures). We did well. We lost two PCs– Ordune was literally ripped in two, and Firiel was disintegrated into her atomic parts. But we defeated the monster and learned something about its abilities, combat, and alliances. Also learned that Firiel’s patron is going to double cross and there’s nothing we can do about it if this fight goes as planned.

There was, in some of our treasure, a scroll that would undo the past 5 minutes of time. Gwenn has it. While Tristram was putting Ordune’s body onto a stretcher, she used it to undo the shot that killed Firiel. Instead, she slew the last of the monsters in that fight, and promptly threw up. Nobody else in the party knows about the world-ending events, although since their players know, and since Gwenn is presently keeping it a secret (we haven’t left Thuul yet, so we’re not safe enough to talk about it), all the players keep making references that are completely innocent, but make Gwenn blanch. Like Ordune will say something about splitting the party, or Firiel will comment that she sometimes feels downright invisible, etc. It’s awesome and good storytelling. We’re heading now into Vecna’s old house to find whatever horrific thing is in his lab. We should probably die there.

Dungeon World: We converted the Sunday Epyllion game to Dungeon World after the end of the dragon campaign. Now, many years after the Age of Dragons has ended, in the Age of Humanity, our PCs are going about our business, meddling in the affairs of dragons. We are Illustria, an illusionist wizard, Anitra, a sea druid whose natural form is a dog, and Ramona, an ancient bard with a songbook in draconic and no way to read it. We started out as circus owners, and have quickly found ourselves running away from everything until we accidentally-on-purpose released the protective bubble that covered the Hell Chasm, releasing the dragons and all the other monsters trapped within.

First Date: I played a playtest of a game by a friend of mine about going on a first date. We discovered that the math was not usable as it was– it was nigh-impossible to succeed at the game. You start with a goal– his was "to sell a timeshare" and mine was "to make him admit I’m smarter than him." The goal is public, so you can veto the other person’s goal if it’s creepy or weird. And then there’s a dice mechanic that was hard to track and harder to succeed– he’s going to go back to the drawing board on the dice and see what he can do to fix the math.

Whispering Road: We finished the Whispering Road game! After 5 sessions, each covering one act, we finally wrapped it up with a very satisfying ending. I’m going to write it up as a short story to post here in the next few weeks.

Magical Girl Anime Hair Transformation

Over the weekend, I finally achieved a hair color I’d been trying to get for over a month.

tealhairMy natural hair color is a dark brown. It is a perfectly fine color. I don’t hate it, or really anything about my hair and face, which is saying something about my comfort levels as a woman of a certain age.

My natural brunette hair

What I dislike about it is that it is wicked-hard to dye. It repels dyes. It needs to be stripped of color before dyeing can even take place, and even that takes an hour with bleach destroying my hair.

Nonetheless, when my boss said “sure” to my request to dye my hair, I already knew I wanted teal or pink. Or pink and teal. I went to a salon, discovered they were out of teal hair dye, and opted for pink and blue.

First, she stripped my hair of color, a process which didn’t take as long as it should have:

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She left a lot of the yellow tones in my hair.

For reference, when I’ve done this before, I used a 40 toner to bleach my hair, which lightens it to almost this state. I left it in for about 40 minutes, at which point the thin bits on the temples were downright platinum, while the rest of my hair was a light blonde.

We then used clips and tinfoil to isolate my hair and put pink dye on the bangs:

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And then blue dye on the rest:

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Result, about 15 minutes after the salon:

2015-03-14 11.32.23

The pink washed out of my hair very quickly, though. This is taken later that weekend:


And this is 2 weeks later. The pink is almost entirely gone:

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The problem is that, as I said, my hair repels dye. It was my stylist’s first time doing “non-natural” hair colors, and she left the dye in for about 20 minutes. Her tint brush work left streaks in my scalp that lasted longer than some of the dye in my hair.

Maybe if you have very thin hair, 20 minutes is fine. For me, it’s not. What happened is that my hair was streaky and blue-green in the back where the blonde quickly started to show through the blue. But it wasn’t an even teal– it was more like streaks.

And then, I had to go to rural Missouri for a family funeral. While my family embraces me in all my weirdness, I did not want my hair color to detract from the purpose of the event. On the Sunday before we left, about 14 hours before hopping on a plane, I grabbed a couple of bottles of L’Oreal and dyed the whole thing a plain blonde.

By this point, it had been over 3 weeks since the original dye job, and it was mostly blonde with light pink streaks and blue streaks anyway.

2015-04-05 14.38.38

This dye job didn’t really do the trick of evening everything out, but it did mute all the colors so I wouldn’t be the center of attention.


The funeral was fine, and I went home after 10 days.

The following weekend, I was Determined to get teal hair. The weekend before I’d left for Missouri, I bought a bottle of Special Effects hair dye in “Fishbowl” at the local record store. I stopped at Sally Beauty Supply and picked up:

  • A bottle of level 30 toner
  • 2 packets of “blue toner” for removing yellow highlights
  • A tint bowl
  • An extra tint brush and comb
  • 2 packets of “hair coloring pre-treatment” to even out the strands and get them to take the dye evenly
  • 2 packets of “hair coloring post-treatment” to seal the strands after dyeing
  • A bag of hair clips
  • Some gloves
  • a bunch of plastic hair caps to cover my hair while it had chemicals on it

At home, I put on a shirt I didn’t mind trashing. I put in my contact lenses, because it’s really hard to dye your hair with glasses on! I put on gloves. I spread mud mask, like you use for facials, on my skin all along my hair line. The instructions on the bottle say to use petroleum jelly. I only recommend this if you want to have petroleum jelly in your hair for the next 2 weeks, because that stuff does not come out.

I set everything up and got started, first with the pre-treatment packets. Worked that into my hair thoroughly, then rinsed as recommended.

I mixed half of the bleach bottle and the bluing into a plastic Solo cup and used a tint brush to spread it onto my hair, starting at the top, focusing on the roots.

I left it in for 40 minutes, starting the timer after I finished putting the bleach on. I played video games for 40 minutes, then took the cap off and rinsed some of my hair out. It was still dark, especially at the roots, so I touched up with the bleach and  waited another 20 minutes.

After about 60 minutes, you start running the risk of having your hair fall out, so I rinsed my hair at that point and decided it would have to do.

I poured a bunch of the hair dye into the tint bowl and used the (well-rinsed) tint brush to brush it onto my hair in bunches. Basically, taking a handful of hair, separated out using the long end of the brush to part my hair into sections and pull it away neatly from my head, I “painted” the handful from the scalp to the middle of the strand, then used fingertips and the comb to work the dye out to the tips. I did this for as much of my hair as I could reach, often having to do mirror tricks to get the hanks in the back.

I put the cap back on for 40 minutes, checked, and wasn’t totally happy. I touched up the front especially, and then put it on for another 30 minutes.

I knew that the front of my hair and the top of my part would be the most visible parts of my hair, so I focused on getting those right.

When I was done, I rinsed everything for several minutes, applied the post-dye cream, waited 5 minutes, and then rinsed everything (the mud mask included) off in the shower. The post-dye cream is a conditioner, so I didn’t need to wash my hair for 2 days.

2015-04-20 06.36.032015-04-20 06.35.44

It was, unfortunately, still very patchy. It also lightened up quickly over the next couple of days.

When you ask friends “What do you think of my hair” and they pause before answering, you know you didn’t get it right.

I waited a week, and tried again. This time, I bought a second bottle of Special Effects, and used all of it on my short hair. I had a friend help me so it was more evenly done, especially in the back and on the sides (ears are such a pain!) We didn’t do the pre-treatment this time, and I didn’t want to bleach my hair and damage it more. We just put the dye in, and left it for 45-60 minutes. We played games while my hair did its thing.


2015-04-26 18.57.17

There is a single lock on the right side that is blonde, despite our best efforts, but the rest of my hair is unarguably bright teal. It’s “anime hair” in the completeness of the coverage, and the evenness of color.

I’d advise the following for anyone considering doing the same:

  • Use mud mask to protect your hairline. That keeps dye from getting on your skin and changing the color.
  • Use a disposable comb to comb the dye all the way out to the tips of your hair.
  • If you plan to get a haircut, dye first, cut second. The tips are wicked-hard to get, but if you’re going to get a trim anyway, they will end up on the floor of the salon.
  • Get a friend to help you! You really can’t get the back of your own head on your own, and your friend will be able to see all the spots you would miss. Also, dyeing the hair at your temples and near your ears is hard– get someone to help!
  • Leave the color in for a long time, unless you are trying to get a pastel (in which case, I’d go to a salon).
  • Use a post-dye conditioning treatment to lock in your hair color.
  • Use a dye-friendly conditioner thereafter to keep your hair looking healthy.

2 New Game Hacks

Last week, I stealthily released two new game hacks for Epyllion!

The Moon Mage, a compendium class for Dungeon World to let you play using Epyllion’s Moon Magic. I made this for a possible CC to be used in our Sunday night Dungeon World game.

My hack that brings Epyllion and Tiny Dragons RPG together.

Speaking of Epyllion, you might not know the Kickstarter is now live, through Sunday, May 3rd, and that my Encyclopedia Draconica entry about draconic rites of passage funded within hours! That’s exciting to me, since it means I’m definitely on deck for creating something for this awesome game!

There are still some amazing stretch goals being announced here in the final week, so if you haven’t backed the project yet, you should definitely take a look. The Friendship Gem mechanic is one of the more creative "fan mail" style game mechanics I’ve ever seen.

Catching up with family

This week is pretty crazy. Last week, I had a race-to-the-finish for the Dracula Dossier scenario I’ve been writing. The deadline was long overdue, but I was trying to wrap it up before the 1st. I… didn’t quite make it, and then my niece came into town for a visit. I probably could have finished up during the many, many hours in which a teenaged girl sleeps, but I was tired. Kids are tiring. I can’t imagine how parents do it.

While she was here, though, she joined my Wednesday night group for Golden Sky Stories (which I blogged), and then my Sunday game for Dungeon World. That’s the one where we have an elderly bard, a sea druid, and an illusionist wizard. No combat. We currently have warrants out for us, so we sneaked into the ruins of the old dragon city, still in search of whatever is making that music….

1506945_838392086186819_345225616_nOn Sunday, the day before smy niece was to leave, my mother’s husband died, and I bought a plane ticket to join my niece’s return to Missouri. I’ve been here since Monday morning, and I’ve almost forgotten what day it is.

Grief sucks. My mother is in a lot of emotional pain. She’s going through the stages, sometimes all of them at once. Denial is hard, but anger is worse. I have thoughts on that, but I don’t want to be unkind. She’s hurting, and sometimes, her anger hurts me and my sister, who are her closest support system right now. I think I am practiced at “dumping out.” But sometimes, I am human and lash back.

I barely remember yesterday. It was a lot of errands. Death means running a lot of errands you didn’t expect to run. We ended the night with wine and a utterly-predictable movie (Pitch Perfect), and pizza. In the middle of the day, though, the Epyllion kickstarter launched, and my stretch goal (the rites of passage for dragons) was funded right away. As of writing this, it has reached over $8K in funding– for a $2K project, that isn’t half bad.

This morning was the burial service for my mom’s husband. We intended a 4 PM private ceremony, but there are thunderstorms and possible tornadoes in the forecast, so we pushed it up to 11. He was buried in a cremation box, to allow him to return more naturally to the earth. We were allowed to write messages on the outside of the box. I drew a dolphin, the number 42, and wrote “So long and thanks for all the fish.” Hitchhiker’s was one of his favorite series, and I am sure he would have appreciated the sentiment. We didn’t get along, but he was a huge nerd, and I’ve been able to put into words the parts of his life that did resonate with mine. It is unusual, since words usually fail me.



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