Friday, September 01, 2006

FLGS & WSJ

That's a Tablet Golem on the cover.  Sumer-ific!Today I forgot to bring the novel I'm currently reading to work. (For anyone that cares it's Winds of Gath by E.C. Tubb, one of the Dumarest of Terra series. Fun stuff.) I usually knock out a few pages while eating my lunch. I also forgot to bring my lunch. What can I say? I'm the kind of guy that can recite the FASERIP stats for Spider-Man from memory, but only forgets to take out the trash about every other week. Anyway, I decided to spend my lunch hour walking over to the Friendly Local Game Store for reading material and then getting a bit at one of the hipster cafes downtown. My hope was that the FLGS would have either Dungeon Crawl Classics #33: Belly of the Great Beast for my current campaign or Mastering Iron Heroes for my next campaign. No go on either. I pondered getting DCC #23: The Sunken Ziggurat (pictured at left). It looked pretty rad, combining a Sumerian archaelogical theme with good ol' fashion dungeon crawling. Eberron DM's might consider dropping the Ziggurat into the tomb-haunted continent of Xendrick for some Indiana Jones type escapades.

While I'm mentioning Iron Heroes in passing let me note that I've sorta been warned off of Song of the Blade, Malhavoc's first level model for IH. Word on teh intarweb is that it's a conversion from an unpublished D&D manuscript. I'm not against adapting one d20 product to another but I'm not going to pay good money and hope somebody else did the conversion to my satisfaction. Heck, I half talked myself into purchasing The Sunken Ziggurat as material to use in IH. More importantly, I have some doubts as to the plot. Apparently the opening to the adventure involves being sent by the mayor of a small town to find a hat. I wish I was making that up. Anybody got Song of the Blade who can confirm or deny this report?

Anyway, I left the gaming joint empty handed and headed down to the cafe. I ended up reading the Wall Street Journal instead. I work in banking but this behavior is really inexcusable. But I did learn something pretty interesting by reading today's WSJ. I don't know how many of you have heard about Socially Responsible Investments (SRI). I first heard about them a few years back in a nifty NPR report on Domini, one of the leading SRI funds. The basic idea behind SRI funds is to put together a well-performing mutual fund that avoids investing in companies the fund perceives as, well, evil. I've done some meager research into SRI funds because my wife and I have a small amount of money squirreled away for our daughter's college fund. Rather than have that money sit in savings, I was hoping to get it into one of the larger SRI funds, like Domini or Pax or one of the green funds. The idea behind going SRI was that I would be to grow the money while making sure Haliburton and Lexcorp didn't get any of it.

The article in question discussed how Pax shareholders were going to vote on changing some of their standard for what they consider ethical companies with who they will do business. Pax has been underperforming for the last year or so and maybe needs to make some changes. But that's neither here nor there and since this place is called 'Jeff's Gameblog' and not 'Jeff Bores You To Death Talking About Finance' I will get to the interesting part. The article mentions that the SRI funds as a whole are being radically outperformed by the Vice Fund, which sinks all its money into tobbaco, alcohol, casinos, and defense companies. I can't make up my mind if that's the best or worst thing I've read all day.