This is our first toy review for Dread the Empire, a small company run out of Austin Texas. Tonight we’re reviewing their ‘Leviathan’ dildo, or rather, three of them. That might be a little spoiler for the conclusion; we bought all of these out of pocket. Like so many of our reviews, this isn’t as simple as ‘we like it’, the big question is if Leviathan and Dread The Empire[DTE] are right for you.
It would be dishonest if I didn’t mention that excellent and short wait times are becoming boringly standard for our experience with independent toy sellers on Etsy, we expect those now and one thing you won’t be dreading from the empire is waiting. We typically have our orders in hand at about the week mark and that’s with some rather inefficient routing by the carrier—the truck from Austin whizzes right by us to the regional distro, significantly east of us, then it has to come back our direction a full day later because we’re in a logistical donut hole from that location. Packaging is discreet which is thankfully also standard with our indie experience.
When it comes to Leviathan itself choosing your size is really important. Emily enjoys Leviathan the most as a clenching size challenge. For her that makes the Medium her best size, but I’ve seen comments about the small being too big for some. As always, when size is a major factor we include a detailed chart including our D-score rating, and you’ll find that just below. Knowing what you can take will make or break this toy for you. The shape of Leviathan heavily lends itself to the clenching use case, with a giant swell midway down the shaft, and with the lower part of the shaft being the smallest section it’s almost a vaginal plug. For those of you that haven’t played this way, this basically relies on using the sensation of being full to get off. Some women are more sensitive to this sensation than others, and Emily can get all the way to a long continuous orgasm with just fullness. Sometimes she enjoys adding a vibrator or double penetration or both but getting full is often more than enough.
Here’s the table, After the swell midway downn the toy tapers and gets smaller, so wanting for table real estate we omit that measurement.
Quick Reminder: D-score is a measurement that essentially gives us the number of median sized dicks to equal the girth of a toy. You can read D-Score more easily as “This is how many dicks this is worth in girth”. So a D-Score of 2.5 would be 2 and a half dicks of girth, to make it simple.
As you can see, there’s a huge—yuge?—size jump from small to medium. Yeah, it’s just as dramatic as the image at the top of this post makes it look. If we had to ding anywhere, it’d be here. The size jump from petite to small is pretty smooth but the size jump from small to medium is huge. I’ll be clear, there is no silicone dildo manufacturer I’ve ever gotten to know enough to buy from that didn’t have at least one case of this and some, like Bad Dragon, are downright notorious for it but I feel obligated to mention it when I see it. Jumps like this are why we created D-Score.
That being said, Emily has found a use for all these sizes. Medium is typically a solo affair, a challenge she can do with or without warmup toys, but she also enjoys dp fun with the small and petite working in tandem. Vaginally the petite doesn’t do much for her but the small switches use case from clenching toy to thrusting toy quite well—for her. Do keep in mind that we are talking about the same woman that rides a large Apollo—after some work—like a thrusting toy though.
We do feel however that petite size just loses the toys identity. If you look at the size chart above—and you can see it in the pictures—you can see how the small and the medium sizes have much larger diameter jumps than the petite in real terms. Those two sizes preserve the toys identity well with the bulging swell down the middle, but once you hit petite size that feature seems to become a victim of scale. Further still there’s only a ten dollar gap between petite and small, and for us that makes small the hands down winner between those two sizes. We can’t recommend going smaller than that, at least not for Leviathan. The medium has a price jump to match its size jump, and we’re fine with that, it’s a hefty piece of silicone and a worthy size challenge. We strongly recommend both small and medium sizes, depending on your personal preference and experience level of course.
In any size, Leviathan’s pour quality is great and there is rarely a choice of color we don’t like. Leviathan is also a very smooth toy and you won’t be finding a lot of texture here. We think that makes a lot of sense from the perspective of size challenges. All of our Leviathans have a pleasant amount of squish to them, coming in with a shore rating of 00-30 for the petite and small and 00-50 for the medium. They’re really soft and top heavy, getting all three to stand on their own for pictures was a challenge. Silicone is silicone though, and in any size but petite we recommend having some good lubricant on hand to combat the “grabby” nature of the material.
As far as Emily goes, medium Leviathan seems to be on the very edge of her tolerance when it comes to having to warm up with something else. Any bigger and she’d have to use an intermediate toy to get her warmed up for the medium. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know about where that falls in relation to your preferences, if you are a new reader I suggest hitting up our other reviews to get a sense of Emily’s size preferences. I will say, it’s likely not a beginner preference. Pushing boundaries is exactly where we think Leviathan shines the most, and with a name like that we wouldn’t have it any other way. We will definitely be increasing our soft silicone crab collection going forward, that’s for sure.
Given the large difference between the two, if you already know you like clenching focused play or want to give it the old college try, we think medium or small will cover most of you in the size department. If you are more interested in a thrusting toy the ‘Reaper’ and ‘Thunder’ models seem to fit that bill better with their more accessible diameters and length ratios, but we won’t be reviewing those tonight. Our petite and small ran us 45 and 55 USD respectively, and all things considered we think the small is the best overall deal of the three. Our medium clocked in at 125 USD and that price firmly brings it into the category of worth it but only if you know for sure that’s what you need. The 125 bracket also leaves it directly competing with many of Bad Dragon’s toys in similar sizes. Crackers comes to mind as the closest ultra-textured comparable toy—that very texture being the most divisive part about Crackers. Lack of customization options could hurt Leviathan here if you can’t find a pour you like or have a specific custom in mind, as customs are currently not part of DTE offerings. On the other hand DTE pours have features by default that will cost you at BD, triple or quad fades with glow in the dark and sparkles is not something you get for the base price at BD that’s for sure. The small is much easier to justify as an exploratory purchase in our book, and even for a size aficionado like Emily gets the job done.
That leaves our strongest recommendation going to the ‘small’ which, don’t forget, has a D-Score of basically 2 at the swell—roughly equivalent to two average sized dicks at once—and for most of our readers will be quite filling at a price that’s quite welcoming, solid recommend.
So, it’s pretty easy to gripe about the way public schools are currently being run. Griping is always easy. Done a bit myself! But what do we do as parents to make sure our kids are really getting the best out of their school experience? I’ve mentioned home schooling in the past but that’s not an option for everyone, nor is it the desirable option for everyone. So today we’re going to focus making the best out of public K-12. This is going to be a United States centric post for obvious reasons. Also, this post is mostly aimed at schools where there is a mix of good and bad instructors and a decent chance the school will do right by your children. Some of you might have children in schools that are notoriously bad and that will be a different subject that deserves its own post.
I think for most of us the thought of having to interact with the K-12 environment again—especially for parents that haven’t been out of it that long in the first place—is way down on the list of things we’d like to do. We’re busy with adult concerns after all, and that same K-12 education left us ill prepared for many of them, hell, even a 4-year does. Why did you have children in the first place though? I can’t imagine having someone else raise them and teach them their values while you do all the hard work was high on that list. It may take the better part of ten minutes, but it’s important to talk to your kids about what they’re learning, get a feel for their instructor as a person and what they’re teaching style is, and on that note…
Ask your children what they’re learning, how they’re doing, follow-up with the instructor. It is important to know what their weak and strong areas are in the curriculum so that extra help can be more targeted. It’s also a good way to learn if their instructor takes any notice of them at all. On that note, do not use electronic communication for these questions, make sure they are done live so that you can catch signs that your children’s instructor doesn’t even know who they are or what they’re doing. It may take a year or two, but you will eventually learn to quickly spot good and bad instructors by how they talk about your children.
Go to Open House/Orientation
This is a good chance to ask those questions and identify any problems before they begin. It’s a good way to get a feel for the students and instructors outside of your child’s class. This is helpful for identifying the culture of the school. What’s the culture of the school? Are off campus field trips common? How much emphasis is put on physical activity? What are the opportunities to engage in the arts? You’ll find the school culture in the place where the attention to these areas is the most obvious. Well kept and maintained playground equipment is a sign that outdoors time is a major focus. Talk to the music instructor if they have one. If they have passion for what they’re doing it will show. They will show you any awards they’ve won or memorable moments made possible by the students. There will be pictures of past classes in any school remotely concerned with the legacy they leave. Go check out the school, the walls themselves will tell you about it.
Volunteer if you Can
If you are in a position to volunteer, do so. Not only is this a great way to show the children that this is more than a daycare service to you, it’s a way to get instructor’s conversing in unguarded moments. You’d be surprised what you can learn here. Just remember, the students aren’t the only ones engaged in heated gossip and you should confirm anything you hear before you act on it. If you know your neighbors well and are in good standing you might want to share your experiences with them too.
Look at Homework Regularly
Even a glance will do in a pinch. Here, you are mostly checking if the content is in line with your expectations. I’ve had homework come home that was clearly targeted at much younger children and I’ve had to follow up on that. I’ve had homework come home that was factually wrong in the first place. I’ve had homework come home with obvious ideological agendas that run counter to how I’d like my children raised—that was an internal conversation with the family, I know better than to think I’m going to win the ‘not everyone is special’ war with a public school. On that note, not every difference you have with the curriculum needs to end up as some busy body Facebook post, just make sure your kids know when the school is teaching them opinion presented as fact.
That’s the major ones really. Another thing you’ll have to come to terms with is that while your guidance and help is definitely preferred, most of this is up to your child. Until next time.
Communications technology sure has some interesting consequences for the couple dynamic. When I was a teen I ended up in a long distance relationship utilizing dial-up internet access. It certainly wasn’t my smartest move, but it was possible, and that was new and exciting. I’m sure there must have been a little of that buzz when the telephone was invented, or telegraphs, or reliable mail service. Each of these things in turn increasing the frequency, affordability, and options for connecting with distant people. From scorching love letters, lusty phone calls that last too long, or hot and heavy webcam sessions, long distance communication has been used to start and maintain passionate relationships—and honestly after recalling all these things, sexting seems pretty darn lazy.
Today we are pleased to bring you a review concerning the latest development in long distance love making, network controllable vibrators. Vibease kindly provided us with their signature product for this review, no strings attached. From this point forward, we will be using Vibease for the product and company name interchangeably—due to Vibease doing the same on their website and the box it ships in only saying “Smart Massager” after the Vibease logo. It’s pretty awesome that we were able to get one this way, because I’m not sure we’d be reviewing or owning anything in this category otherwise. Why? Too many unknowns at a price point that demands certainty. I dunno about you but I don’t frequently drop a Benjamin+ on a ‘maybe’. Long time readers may recall we were in the same situation with fantasy themed sex toys, and that our first was a loaner. To that end, we’re splitting this review into two major sections. First, we’re going to do a short synopsis of our experience with Vibease and list out the groups we think would and wouldn’t benefit the most. Second, we’re going to do a deep dive into the product for both your benefit and some fine grained feedback for Vibease. One final note before we get started, if you’re reading this during the initial publishing Vibease is running a 25% off labor day sale with the LABORDAY19 check out code. That’s a considerable chunk of change in real dollars at this price point.
Our experience with the Vibease was positive in a few ways. Most importantly Vibease gives us new ways to play as a couple, point of fact we think the remote control feature is the biggest strength of the product. As you read on, remember that bottom line, Vibease is an excellent way to bridge a distance gap of any size. As always, use case is going to greatly effect whether we recommend the product or not, so I’m going to list the groups of people I think will get the most bang for their buck out of Vibease.
Established couples with busy schedules
Any couple in which at least one partner does a lot of traveling
Any couple comfortable with public play
Couples with mismatched work shifts
There’s also a list of people I think could get a lot out of the Vibease with some caveats, and should read the full review and do their own investigating.
Women offering Kik or GFEs or other remote play services
Women that are into audio erotica
Women that live in places where winter traps them indoors for long periods of time (or get cold enough where they get out less)
As with any toy, there’s just some things Vibease isn’t the right solution for. Despite the marketing, we don’t think the solo experience measures up to other options available to you at this price point, or even significantly below this price point. Again, we think the strengths of Vibease really shine in you+1 scenarios and a lot of the design trade-offs are tilted towards that use. We’ll get into the specifics of that in the long section. For now, here’s a list of use cases we think aren’t well serviced at this time.
A couple in which either partner spends a significant amount of time in a cellular dead zone
Anyone that owns a phone that typically has bluetooth connection problems
Women with plenty of access to private alone time looking for a pure solo play vibrator that will get the job done on its own
People who frequently misplace chargers and have a tough time keeping their devices charged—this is meant as sort of a humorous gimme
Finally, the Vibease is made from body safe materials. I almost forgot to mention that as we don’t review toys that aren’t, but I’ve been careful to mention these things so far. The packaging is also nice and it comes with a drawstring pouch to aid with portability and storage. Now lets get into the nitty gritty and have some fun.
Deep Dive Review
Alright, for me this is going to be the fun part. As a note, all testing was done for the android version of the app. Since this is our first remote play toy Emily and I took a lot of time and effort going over the features of the Vibease, finding out what worked for us and what didn’t, and the first thing we need to get out of the way is expectations. The Vibease is an external wearable, and it’s sized and weighted as such. These things can only get so small and vibrators in particular become less effective as they’re shrunk down. This is why we have a bit of a problem with the ‘solo’ toy claim from Vibease. Perhaps partnered with other toys, and certainly not “ultimate”. In Emily’s case the Vibease lacks the power to send her over the edge, it can get her there, but she can’t seem to crest that hill. Adding both a vaginal and anal plug setup didn’t change that. You know what though? That’s completely fine. It’s about expectations. As people experienced with sex toys in general, and with vibrators too, we knew going in that we were going to use this thing to tease, edge, and embarrass, rather than leaning on it the way we would a larger wand vibrator, or even a comparably sized bullet vibe that doesn’t have to worry about also fitting in the wireless circuitry, and the Vibease excels at the tease, edge, and embarrass bit. We think Vibease may want to consider these facts in their marketing and make sure they’re not mismatching customer expectations and design limitations and strengths.
On that note, Emily and I just aren’t fans of narrated erotica in audio form. That’s one of Vibease’s big ticket selling points. The Vibease comes with some pre-programmed scripts that syncs vibrations carefully to audio. While this is mostly done in the form of narrated erotica, some of the free samples include background soundscapes of nature, such as the beach, or a thunderstorm. Emily actually enjoyed those more than the narrated erotica. Of course, everyone’s mileage is going to vary on this one, you know whether or not you already like audio erotica novels and I’m even willing to go out on the limb that the Esthesia—Vibease’s dual stimulation, G-spot and clitoris, insertable vibrator is a better fit for this use case by default. So far, synced audio is a walled garden experience, which we think is a bit of wasted potential. At the end of the day this is just a programmed routine timed to synced audio. There are other exciting potential applications for this! Please open this up to the creator landscape if you can. I could see a collaboration with companies that specialize in porn for women too, such as sssh.com. I could imagine creative people spicing up their workouts if they had the tools to sync their own audio.
Oh, speaking of workouts, back to the wearable size issue with vibrators. Maybe you’re a flirty show off, and maybe it would turn you on, but I imagine most people using this in public will be doing so with the idea that it’s clandestine. We think the size of the Vibease is basically perfect, but that doesn’t make it magic and this is going to print through your yoga pants. Denim booty shorts are fine though. It’s less about the coverage and more about the material. A long shirt or dress or skirt should fix that problem, it’s just something to keep in mind. If you’re already struggling to hide panty lines, you’re probably printing with the Vibease. I think for some of you that could be a thrilling turn on though and in other situations that could be mitigated just by what you’re doing. Like, I know we mentioned not liking the erotica much but if you wanna take this thing on a jog you’re probably going to be moving too much for the printing to matter and throw on some audioscaping while you’re at it? Could be fun. That’s not something we did mind you, that’s just a thing I could see being done effectively. The extra elasticity strength provided by some good workout pants would definitely hold the Vibease in place for a run.
Let’s talk about the app for a minute, and maybe a few more minutes, because the app is absolutely central and critical to the function of the Vibease. You need to create an account with Vibease to get started, which threw me for a loop for a few seconds before I considered the partner play requirements. I do think you should be able to access basic quick play and “turn the toy on” functions without signing up or signing in though, and we’ll get to the reasons why in a minute. Back to the sign up process, it was easy and straight forward. Emily and I both guffawed at the prospect of ‘signing in with Facebook’ though. I don’t care how skillfully that lizard man pretends to drink water like a human, I don’t trust Zuckerberg or his company anywhere near vibrator data. I appreciate Vibease being mindful of our connected world, but I’ll just give them an email address the old fashioned way thanks, and that’s just what we did. I don’t trust google much either with data privacy, but I trust them more than Facebook not to sell the fact that we have a Vibease or who-I-use-it-with data.
After the simple registration process you’re presented with some simple categories of use. The first is the Vibease Market where they have all their paid audio erotica options. It has a trending and new section to help you sort that out. The next section is where you access your purchased/free audio to use with the Vibease. In the bottom-right corner of this section is the Vibease icon, through which you access ‘quick play’. In our opinion this should be a more prominent option, perhaps with its own menu. We understand why they put it here—this technically is what allows you to vibrate to any audio source—but this is the only place you can access unguided solo operation of the device. We feel that warrants a more prominent placement in the UI. The third section is where you access and control your partner play experience. Behold, the best part of the whole Vibease experience. From here you can connect to other app users—hence the need to sign up—and send invites to the app through basically any app on your phone that allows you to input text, everything from Discord to the WordPress app. Once you are connected you can start a ‘chat’ with the user which lets you text, send audio or images, and of course send requests to control the vibrator functions. Using the three dots menu, you may also set up a user as a ‘trusted partner’. A trusted partner’s requests to control your device are automatically approved, the critical function for ultra stealth public play. We also appreciate the thought that went into deciding that outside of opt-in trusted partners, every control request must be manually approved by the device wearer. Good job here Vibease.
Inside of the chat area there are three nice options for remote control play. The first gives you a dynamic touch screen interface with two axis. One controls the speed of the device and the other controls the power of the device. Sliding your finger to the top right puts the device at maximum speed and power, the bottom right is low speed high power, the bottom left is low speed low power, and the upper left is high speed low power. You may freely slide your finger to any combination in between. This mode requires the most attention and intimate knowledge from the partner and long term partners are going to make the best use of this control section. The next control section is a pattern graph that lets you set the power and rhythm of the device in a repeating loop, I used this section a lot, as once it’s set you can do other things like continue to flirt in voice or chat, send pictures, etc. In the next section are some preconfigured vibration patterns to select from. I found ‘flick’ to be especially compatible with Emily. These patterns, like in the second option, will repeat until they are changed. On that note, a word about section one—the Vibease will fill communication gaps for you by simply continuing your last selection so if you put your finger all the way to the top right of the graph and let go it will stay on maximum power until it’s told to not be there. If you disconnect completely it will maintain whatever its last command was whether that’s a repeating pattern or a strength you chose in control option one.
In the next section you set-up and pair your device with your phone. Once again Vibease shows consideration to privacy here. The pairing process must be started with the device OFF. That alone prevents a ton of known hi-jacking methods. Good job Vibease. Remember those presets I was talking about in control option 3 in the paragraph above? Well in this section you can alter and save these presets. If you find any of the presets to be useless, congratulations you now have a custom pattern slot, go nuts! I know I’ve talked a lot about shortfalls in the app, but you can really see how much effort was put into the user experience. Even where we disagree with how that experience goes, you can’t say they didn’t consider it. This section too is a real highlight of the software. You may also play patterns from here so it also functions as a sort of secondary solo play mode, though it’s not as completely off the tracks as the one we pointed out before.
Finally, you get your standard three dots menu, from which you can change your profile settings, your privacy settings, check your app version, send invites to friends/partners, request support, rate the app, and explicitly log out. It’s a well rounded and well thought out options menu.
We also want to communicate to everyone how much quality of data connection matters for using the Vibease. It’s story time. We have three children, and we planned an entire date around using the Vibease. We get full on dates about once a month, they are rare and fun events and represented the perfect time to take the Vibease features for a spin. So guess what happened? Our local cell phone network decided to take a colossal shit that day. Emily and I were on separate networks and they were both affected. We fiddled with the Vibease for an hour with no luck, generating things like java null reference errors in the app and all sorts of things that would make a less tech savvy user blame the software or the device. But I also noticed that Discord wasn’t working either, for either of us. SMS was working, but that was about it. Insidiously, the cellular networks were presenting us with data bars, but they would rapidly ping pong from 5 to 1, good signal to terrible. Anything that relied on our Data connection was totally fucked, for hours. Ultimately, at an hour in to our 5 hour monthly date, we decided to salvage what we had left and ignore the device. Total, fucking, bummer. Again, this wasn’t the fault of Vibease, I’m just pointing out some inherent pitfalls that come with chaining things to a cellphone. Any of you that have had a day of PokemonGO ruined because a cell tower decided to take a dump knows exactly the kind of frustration I’m talking about. EX raids anyone? As soon as we got back home on a network that didn’t suck ass—we were mall crawling that day, we got on the public wifi at the mall and it offered zero relief as it was the first Saturday that students were back and the network was saturated to uselessness—the app worked flawlessly. No more silly Java null reference errors when trying to update my profile. This is a problem that could erroneously present itself as a problem with the device or the software, and I will renew my pleading to Vibease to have more ‘offline’ function options. Remember, you have to be signed in to even use the manual operation options.
As I mentioned above, this could be a useful device if you are a sex worker that offers GFE services or other remote play services. The privacy settings are there and it’s easy to completely control who can pester you with control requests. Again, on the privacy front, Vibease gets top marks from us. The only snag I can really see has to do with the paragraph above. There’s a lot that can go wrong with cell phone leashing, most notably, the cellular network itself, and it only takes that being shoddy on one end to ruin the connection. It’s amusing to say outright, but the weakest link in the Vibease model is the cellular towers themselves. Aside from that though, I say go for it, or at the very least consider it. If remote play services aren’t part of your hustle(thank you Tawney for the jargon), don’t worry about it.
Things to know about Bluetooth before you dive in. It’s really easy to disrupt a Bluetooth signal. Maximum range with direct line of sight is something about 10 meters, but Bluetooth signals are disrupted by a lot of things, and particularly human flesh. You can intentionally disconnect the Vibease by aggressively crossing your legs. Sorry, that’s the tech. So here are some pointers to keep connected. Keep your phone as close to the vibrator as you can within reason. Thicker clothes will disrupt the signal more. Crossed legs or putting your thighs real close together will really do a number on the signal. Keep other sources of wireless signals away, especially other Bluetooth. That’s pretty much it.
So what do we have here when we really get down to brass tacks? I think what we have is an excellent way for couples to connect over distance and to tantalize and tease each other to increase desire and stay connected. When it comes to a toy like this, the software is really what’s going to make or break it. As a standalone vibrator external wearables have too many size constraints to measure up to other options. The connectivity and the software that provides that connectivity is what makes these toys worthwhile. That’s why we spent so much time going over the ways the software could improve. As the Vibease exists now, it’s already an excellent edition to a couple’s warchest—that must be stressed, it is already good. We however, see a lot of room for the Vibease to get even better, and we hope it does.
Once again. I’d like to thank Vibease for providing us the opportunity to review a toy in this class.
We are going full nerd today, as if coming up with D-score and gabbing about the effectiveness of various fictional villians weren’t enough already. I’m warning you now, this post is full of tabletop gamer jargon, and it’s for those people. I never intended on penning my thoughts about the second edition of the Pathfinder roleplaying game but I feel like I have a lot to say about it. I wasn’t even planning on picking it up truth be told, but I received the pre-order as a birthday gift from my old players. I haven’t run a game of anything in years but when I was running, it was D&D, GURPS, and Pathfinder.
It’s been well over a decade since Pathfinder came out and the idea that there would be a second edition at all was hardly an expectation. Paizo publishing seemed pretty content with their content cycle and there didn’t seem to be any pressure to iterate from my perspective. Most things prone to having a second version usually do so before they hit a decade old, yet here we are. In the limbo period between knowing the core rulebook was coming and actually getting it I broke into a research period. Apparently there was a public play test that had been going on for quite some time and the goal of this second version was to be more streamlined and more accessible while still retaining mechanical depth.
I don’t think Paizo achieved that goal. I’ve been reading the manual every day for a week now, and there are still things I’m still learning, basic things—I’m running a game for a group in roughly another week and session zero is tomorrow. There are always rules that are more vague than they ought to be in any of these things but how much HP you gain every level shouldn’t have been one of them. Had I not stumbled on a post correcting me just today, my players would have been receiving far too much HP per level past the first. The problems don’t stop there, obvious grammatical errors and half-updates from the play test found their way into the final version. I know I know, in most circumstances complaining about grammatical accuracy would be me throwing stones from glass houses, but I’m not the one publishing a 600+ page rule book that’s entirely grammar bound. For those of you that already own it—physical copy, who knows when it will be fixed in PDF after all—if you turn to the arcane spell list short-descriptions for third level you will see Paralyze on it. The text of Paralyze will indicate that it can only target humanoids. If you go to the full text description, it is clearly all creatures. Since paralyzing creatures and humanoids were distinct spells in third edition D&D, I spent the next 15 minutes looking for the ‘creature’ version of paralyze based on the short description. It doesn’t exist. That was confusing indeed. There’s an errant comma in a Halfling weapon proficiency ancestry feat that, if you don’t ignore it, makes meeting the prerequisites impossible. Other errors and vagueness litter Pathfinder’s second edition core rule book and make an already complex system frustrating to learn. God forbid I try to teach a player new to RPGs in total through this. I’ve had the thought more than once that I should seriously consider running GURPS instead for games where Pathfinder 2 seems like a good solution.
Okay Henry I get that there are a few typos and misprints but that’s not what makes a system complicated, and you’d be right so let’s get to that. In Pathfinder 1 you start by selecting a combination of starting attributes in your main ability scores and a race. These choices underpin your character and only come up at level one. Your race never changes again and your stats don’t change very much either. From that point you select your class—normally anyway, some people figure out what class they play before they know the other bits, bear with me—and your class comes with a nice progression table that while not intuitive puts the bulk of your character progression all in one place. Every so often you take ‘feats’ to further customize your character, and there’s a giant list of them. In Pathfinder 2 you start by picking your race, this gives you some boosts to your abilities based on your choice (you no longer choose your ability scores separately by default) and also gives you access to a pool of ancestry feats, which essentially are all the racial abilities of Pathfinder 1 chopped into morsels and served slowly rather than all upfront. You acquire more of these ancestry feats as you level. You get some HP from this choice as well. Then you choose your background, this gives you more boosts to your ability scores, skill proficiencies, and a predetermined skill feat. From there, you choose your class, which gives you more HP, more boosts to your ability scores, and access to another pool of feats—we’re at three pools of feats now, ancestry, class, skill, four if you’re human, they can pick from the general pool right away if they choose too, which everyone gets access to at level 3. With me so far? Also, classes retain their list of class abilities, that are not feats, but things you just get automatically as the class levels. Finally, you get another pile of ability boosts to spread as you please. Some people have judged the former system as more complicated than the latter, and I honestly can’t understand what they mean. Just because Paizo says 2nd edition is more streamlined than 1st does not make it so. There are newbie traps galore, like multi-classing into Fighter from Wizard being strictly superior than going the other direction for the purposes of building a front line battle wizard. Don’t get me started on multi-classing itself, which would be another paragraph worth of text to explain clearly.
This is all a matter of managing expectations, something I think Paizo publishing should be more careful with. So far I’ve been very negative, but I do actually like the system so far, I love my crunch—I wouldn’t run GURPS if I didn’t—and I’m going to enjoy running game in Pathfinder 2e. We’re going to run into questions about the rules during the game, and I’m okay with that, and I’m studying hard to make sure that if I don’t know the answer I at least know where to look. Paizo however, marketed on less crunch, less fiddlyness, less complication, more ease of access. I don’t think those valuations were accurate of the new system. To be honest, based on their marketing, I was looking forward to a more meaty and mechanically deep version of D&D 5th Edition. I also don’t appreciate that there was day 1 splat in the published adventure paths(pre-made adventures designed to allow me to skip a lot of the work in coming up with an adventure on my own). Erh, I guess I should explain splat. Splat is additional rules that come to a system, and up until now, were generally contained in books that were published after launch, usually as a group of new rules. These are collectively called ‘splat books’. This time the new rules and options come in the form of adventure paths but more importantly, these ‘new’ rules were launched the same day as the new system but not included in the core rule book. This reeks of on-disc DLC in the video game industry. Add-ons should be just that, add-ons. These rule books aren’t cheap—your book wouldn’t be either if it were as big, as thick, and used as much color ink— and all the rules and character options available on day one should be in the ‘Core Rulebook’.
As for the book itself, minus the grammatical errors and misprints I pointed out above, you can look forward to the predictably awesome artwork of Pathfinder, the full color large pages with easy to read print in pleasant fonts. The paper weight is just right, and the finish of the paper is on point, though it does catch the light at shallow angles. It’s big, heavy, and imposing, a plus for me. This product is so niche I can’t give a recommendation one way or the other. If you’ve made it this far, you likely already know if this is the game system for you. Happy gaming, and don’t forget to shame bad dice!
Today we’re doing a little audio. Neither of us can seem to get the whole looking at the camera thing down. We recently happened upon a video by Tawney Seren regarding some comments she was getting from men intimidated by sex toys. This is a long one, so we recommend enjoying this while working on something else, going for a hike, or a long commute.
Hey everyone. It sure has been a while hasn’t it? A couple months now by my count. There was some personal stuff responsible for the initial break, but I can really only chalk that up to two maybe three weeks of absence. That was pretty awesome though, see my wife and I hadn’t had a honey moon and we decided to do one ten years later. Due to the nature of what we had going on those two weeks and to protect the anonymity of some very special people, I can’t share the details of that trip with all of you. Trust me, that’s difficult on this end.
The rest of that break came from some creative emergency brakes that seemed to seize up around the question of form and function. I wasn’t hitting targets and living up not only to the things I’ve promised myself but content I’ve teased to you. It turns out very young children created more scheduling difficulties with audio and video formats than I had anticipated, and I still stand by the idea that they’d be largely pointless without Emily present. Emily has her own projects that are suffering from the same issue, so we had a serious talk today about arranging for the children to be watched more frequently. The written blog is easy enough to do with children, and sneaking a few pictures for banner images is pretty easy. Getting good audioscapes and framing that survives for more than a minute or two however isn’t. Compounding that issue, our eldest has gotten old enough to be much more curious about things he’s not allowed to see and he can glance over a screen and read it much more quickly than he used to.
On that last point I’m pretty happy all things considered. Just earlier this year he was hardly able to consider reading a book with chapters in it and now he’s got the first Harry Potter book under his belt and is a good way through The Chamber of Secrets. He starts 3rd grade later this year. His reading had always felt a bit behind to me not even a few months ago, and I’m very relieved.
As for getting bigger blocks of time for our projects we are going with the tried and true child swap. We get a night of unrestrained adult time far more frequently and so does some lucky other parent. The price of that for both parties is having a house full of 6 kids all under the age of eight far more frequently. Ah well.
This is a follow up to our intoduction to Warchest building. On more expensive sex toys we often issue the warning that you should be covering your bases before indulging unless you’re absolutely sure. A reader engaged us and asked what covering the bases looked like. Sure enough I went back and read that old post and while it talked a lot about the things you ‘could’ get we never went as far as making specific recommendations. So without further ado, here are our warchest basics. Some of these items are available through our affiliate link at Peepshow Toys. If you like this content and want to support us, using that link is very helpful.
Nothing puts a damper on fun time like dryness. Whether that’s parts that should be lubing that aren’t, or parts that can’t lube themselves, nothing says party pooper like too much friction. We recommend having at least a water based lubricant handy for a few reasons: they won’t damage your body safe toys, the good ones come in all natural body safe formulas, they work with your bodies natural lubrication, and they are easy to clean. I’ve reviewed one of our favorites in the past, but we have three go-to water based lubes.
The first on the list is Sliquid Naturals H2O. We’ve been using his lubricant for years and it is excellent. We’ll go into more details when it gets a proper stand alone review later, but the basics are it’s a medium thickness all natural water based lubricant that is Glycerin and Paraben free.
Next up is System Jo Agape. Yeah yeah, we snickered at the name too. Just like the Sliquid, System Jo Agape is free of harsh chemicals. Agape goes one step further on the marketing however and claims to be perfectly pH balanced for especially sensitive vaginas. So if you have had issues with sensitivity to lubricant before you may wanna stop here first. For our use, it’s a bit thinner than the H2O and whether or not that’s a good or bad thing is up to you. We use both regularly.
Our next favorite water based lube, and the one that gets the most use out of us by far is Bad Dragon’s Cum Lube which we did a full review on here. TL;DR, this ultra thick lubricant is a go-to when having back-door fun with toys that can’t be used with silicone lubricants. It’s got excellent staying power but can be hard to work with.
If you’re into anal play that doesn’t involve silicone toys (glass, metal, fingers, dick) we also highly recommend getting a silicone based lubricant. There are some drawbacks related to the strengths. Silicone based lube really goes the distance in anal applications as it won’t be absorbed by the body, and it stays put, but that strength also makes it difficult to clean. It’s a trade-off we feel is worth it to avoid the hassles of re-lubing. We’ve had that happen just as an orgasm was building and Emily lost her hard earned build up as a result. Don’t let that happen to you! Our go-to for silicone lube is currently Gun Oil.
The next base we need to cover is external stimulation with the clitoris in mind. Unlike lubricant, which is widely needed regardless of situation, this is one of those things you have to judge based on need. Do your hands got you fam? What about your partner? If availability and effectiveness are satisfactory you can skip this and cover gaps in the warchest that would do more good. But if you’re looking for something more out of your clitoral experience we have a few products we highly recommend.
The Shibari Mini Halo offers broad area coverage and decent power in a compact cordless format. We haven’t done an in depth review of the Mini Halo yet but we’ve owned it for quite a while and it is due. Spoilers, we like it. You can pick one up at the affiliate link above.
Also available from Peepshow is the Satisfyer Pro Penguin, an absolutely adorable entry in the air pulsation category of vibrators. These vibrators offer targeted intensity that’s a little much for some people, but we find immensely pleasurable. Its less cutely shaped but otherwise identical cousin, the Satisfyer Pro 2, can sometimes be had for less depending on the sales going so check that out as well.
Toys that you stick into things are the bulk of what we review here but it needs to be said that this is only one piece of the warchest puzzle. Some women just don’t respond much to penetration and others, like Emily, basically can’t get off satisfactorily without feeling a bit stretched. Here are two basics to help you cover this base, but there are many more out there.
Recently reviewed, the Vivo by Uberrime is a great way to start on a body safe penetration journey. It safely covers G-spot and P-spot play and comes in at an affordable price for 100% body-safe platinum cured silicone.
If you’re a little more adventurous with designs, the illithid by PleasureForge is also a very affordable way to get into body safe penetration play with a large degree of texture, and PleasureForge does some amazing pours.
Those three areas will largely cover your basics. Once those are settled I recommend getting into mood setters, like music, candles, incense, lighting, soundscapes, or whatever it is you can think of to create atmosphere. We’ve also covered several advanced penetrative toys at higher price points, so check our post history. Once you have these basics covered you can start drilling down into getting specific features for specific needs. If your spouse travels a lot your needs are going to be different than if you see them every night. It’s just the way it is. Build your warchest to suit you.
Boy has this review been a long time coming. Several weeks ago I went to check out the Uberrime studio in Orlando Florida to see first hand how the silicone dildo manufacturing process went in detail. I’ve aluded to this visit before in previous blogs and on twitter but enough of what I saw fit the category of trade secrets and other confidential items that there hasn’t been a story on that. Suffice it to say however, I learned a lot and the visit has been a great asset in informing some of my critiques. At the conclusion of the visit I was presented with a surprise bag containing a Vivo and I’ve been eager to review it ever since. I also left my backpack behind, but some weirdo named Peter Parker was kind enough to ship it to me. (Seriously though, thanks Marco and hilarious shipping label)
Vivo is one of a set of three themed dildos: Spiro, Vivo, and Amo which mean “I breathe”, “I live”, and “I love” respectively. Vivo was the first sculpt in the set. Vivo is directly advertised as designed primarily for harness compatible G-spotting and P-spotting, which makes my job a whole lot easier. We typically buy and review toys that are deep into the fantasy genre, and many of these toys have no stated design goals. You’ll see in most of our reviews an exhaustive enumeration of the ways the toy can be used—that comes from no stated design goal, we have to work that out. We will still be going over the ways we enjoyed using Vivo, but at least I have a hard design goal to measure it against. Let’s take a look at Vivo.
The most striking feature of Vivo is the head, which makes total sense for a G-spotting toy. The head is prominent compared to the shaft, which you will be able to see reflected in the measurements section. The best feature of this rounded and somewhat triangular head has to be the “flat” side pictured both below and in the banner image.
This is the feature that does the most work on Emily by far and the experience matches the design goal. Emily has always had trouble finely manipulating toys to hit certain areas—her arms just don’t quite reach out far enough to get that kind of control—but as her partner utilizing the flat head and upwards curve of the shaft made hitting her G-spot effortlessly effective. That fact should not be overlooked by potential harness users. On that note, Vivo is approximately shore 8A, and as you can see in the photos, stands easily and doesn’t droop easily, which is also important for harnesses. I also used that flat bit of the head to smack Emily’s clit around a bit, because I have something of an obsession with re-purposing design elements. Just under the head are some slight but definitely perceptible ridges, followed by a very smooth shaft that tapers slightly wider as it hits the harness friendly base that also lends the Vivo anal use safety.
I do have to address a bit of an elephant with the review though, as the colors I got are very non-standard. That’s not a big deal to me per se, in fact I think I’m more fond of those pearled transition pours from a daylight viewing perspective, but mine came with glow pigments, and not just a little bit either. These are some of the brightest glows I’ve seen in the industry and I can actually see the toy casting light onto my hands from a decent distance once it’s fully charged. The only toy I have that comes anywhere near this is HodgePodgeEntourage’s Sylph. That leaves me in a bit of a pickle because Vivo isn’t normally available with glow pigment. It’s not to say I’m not appreciative, quite the opposite, I enjoy this light show immensely, and that’s exactly why I’d like others to be able to have it. So I’m gonna post that glow picture and implore Uberrime to find a way to make a glow variant as a standard option.
With that out of the way, lets get into one of my favorite parts of this gig, measurements and charts! Lengthwise, Vivo is 6.5 inches usable and 7 inches total length, the rest of the measurements are in the table below.
Mid Shaft Measurements
Lower Shaft Measurements
Quick Reminder: D-score is a measurement that essentially gives us the number of median sized dicks to equal the girth of a toy. You can read D-Score more easily as “This is how many dicks this is worth in girth”. So a D-Score of 2.5 would be 2 and a half dicks of girth, to make it simple.
For those of you paying attention, you’ll remember that Emily is something of a size queen. Measurements like these generally strike us as ‘beginner’ in feel and that holds out here. That’s not a sleight though, it just reflects Emily’s niche tastes. I’d be hard pressed to come up with measurements more suited for mass market than these given the design goal. Remember, that D-Score of 1.0 on the mid shaft isn’t “small’, it’s a full size average dick. It is however small in comparison to the toys we most frequently use, which swing around D-scores of 2.5 or more. This just reflects her preferred play style, which is full of stretching, knotting, and grinding. What these measurements reflect is ease of use in thrusting applications, harness compatibility, and targeted play—hey that sounds familiar, design goals. Reviewing Vivo seemed an excellent opportunity to point out how these measurements influence use.
Now let’s get into another great feature, the price. At 59 dollars, either from the Etsy shop or straight from Uberrime’s website, I don’t have to caveat or walk back recommendations on Vivo around a mid 100’s or higher price tag the way I generally have to do when reviewing fantasy toys. Just like those fantasy toys, Vivo is made from 100% body safe platinum cure silicone. Vivo is an excellent and affordable way to introduce someone to body safe products without chasing them off with features like suckers, huge sizes, and animal-like profiles. That’s exactly what I recommend Vivo for; an affordable and effective entry into body-safe materials that makes good on its advertised design features.
Boy has it been too long since we’ve done one of these. Took a hard turn to family/relationship segments and book reviews, and while I certainly missed focusing on those after the rapid fire series of sex toy reviews, it’s long since time to get back to it.
Today we’re looking at Chance (unflared), manufactured by Bad Dragon, in a large size, medium firmness, and equipped with the cum tube accessory. There, that was a mouthful. First we’re going to take an overall look at Chance’s design and aesthetic, and then were going to go over how each of the options selected for ours affects its use, what adjustments to that formula could mean for you, and what preferences this toy gels with.
First lets address the most obvious part of Chance’s design, it’s hung like a horse. I’m not exactly sure what the motive was behind that; I have several plausible ideas but I didn’t reach out and ask so I won’t pontificate. It’s ultimately not important and I’d rather deal with the reality of the design rather than the motives. Chance is one of Bad Dragon’s most prolific and popular models if its prevalence in independently produced pornography or conversations inside the fantasy toy community are in any way representative of the market interest. There are always questions about Chance, what size should I get?, how big is it really?, and so on. When Emily showed interest in one she was afraid I’d not be open to it, she was embarrassed because even though it’s a fantasy genre toy it has roots in reality that she was afraid I’d judge her for.
That confusion isn’t unwarranted, it’s a reasonable thing to be cautious about revealing in my opinion. Now in our case, I thought it was cute that she’d think I’d judge her for that, but it’s definitely not the first thing I’d own up to in a new relationship, that’s for sure. More important fish to fry. Point is, I thought her apprehension was cute, but it was definitely understandable and I don’t want to downplay the apprehensions others reading this might feel about it. On to more design elements!
Chance has a large length to girth ratio and has a large heavy base which lends itself to several types of play. Chance, especially in large size, is a good toy to lower yourself onto from an ergonomic standpoint—there’s not as much squatting involved before you get some reward; you don’t have to completely touch your thighs to your calves to hit your limit either. This removes some of the need to set up on things like chairs, or to hold the toy—which is good because it’s quite heavy—and reduces maneuvering in general. In partner play the high length ratio lets your partner be farther away and take more comfortable postures themselves. I’ve mentioned the performer Keri Berry before in my first list of people I follow, but she has several works that highlight this feature far better than I could describe it—there’s one in particular you can check out here where even the preview video shows a lot of these benefits in action.
Other design features of Chance include the slightly flared out head with bumpy textures—there’s a version of Chance that is specifically flared more (this is something horses actually do), but both versions have a pronounced head feature. The head is one of Emily’s favorite things about Chance. It’s got pop and is aggressive. The flared version is somewhat notorious for being hard to insert, and even the unflared version requires some coaxing and/or working up with another toy to accommodate the blunt head. Between the two pictures you’ve probably noticed the vein texture added to the shaft, along with the ring towards the middle. Though some of you might manage it, don’t look forward to feeling that ring on a large—at least not vaginally—it starts approximately six and a half inches down and that’s deeper than many women can go total. Fortunately, the shaft is plenty textured and that texture is very perceptible.
The Size Factor
We ordered our Chance in large which comes with 12 glorious usable inches. The girth of the head is 7.25 inches in circumference, with the shaft clocking in at 6.75 inches around. This gives head and shaft D-scores of 2.6 and 2.2 respectively. That’s not anywhere close to the very large range but it’s also nothing to sneeze at. However, most toys that get to this length are at least 3.5 D-score somewhere along the length and that makes Chance slender by comparison.
Quick Reminder: D-score is a measurement that essentially gives us the number of median sized dicks to equal the girth of a toy. You can read D-Score more easily as “This is how many dicks this is worth in girth”. So a D-Score of 2.5 would be 2 and a half dicks of girth, to make it simple.
So what in the world are we going to do with all that length? As I mentioned before, at least vaginally, most of that length is going to be sacrificed on the altar of ergonomics and aesthetics as I mentioned above. Anal use is a different story. Though we haven’t worked up to attempting it yet, it’s no secret that Chance is a fan favorite for deep anal exploration for the brave, well beyond the sigmoid. I’ll say this explicitly, this is very advanced use and I can’t recommend trying it to anyone who wasn’t already considering it and very experienced with anal play.
If you want to get to a smaller size in the context of anal play we could see that for sure, we’d definitely have tried a medium by now, but vaginally we think going below large loses much needed girth.
There are a few factors playing into our choice for medium firmness. As slender as it is, Chance has some difficulty holding itself upright even at medium. I couldn’t recommend using soft even on the large, for that reason. However, if you went to firm and were using Chance for anal play, it might not comfortably follow your contours. That said, the firmer you go the more pop you’ll give the head and the more you’ll feel that shaft texture. You’ll also be making insertion easier as you go firmer. We however, think medium is the perfect firmness for a large unflared Chance.
The Cumtube Accessory
I find this accessory to be a mixed bag that largely depends on what toy you’ve paired it with. Sometimes a cumtube can be an excellent addition to play and other times it just gets in the way. We feel like a large Chance benefits greatly from the accessory. As I mentioned before, Chance is a heavy toy that stays where you put it, and although it isn’t suction cup compatible it’s easy to arrange things such that you have one or maybe two hands free to enjoy the accessory with. On smaller toys and without a partner, utilizing a cumtube can require you stop the action in a way that kills the moment. This is entirely avoidable with Chance. Chance is somewhat girthy and also well suited for depth play and the cumtube fulfills an important and practical role in keeping things lubed up without having to break the action up. A cumtube is a solid recommendation for Chance.
Purchasing & Cost
Our Chance was a Black Friday steal at 80 bucks but the normal cost for what’s pictured above is approximately 150. That’s high enough to issue our “bases covered” warning. What’s that mean? Well it means that before you drop that much cash on a toy this niche make sure you have your basic kit essentials covered. Have you found the lube that suits you yet? Do you have a more basic dildo? A strong vibrator? A womanizer perhaps? (We are in that price range after all). We absolutely adore our Chance, but we would not pay full price for one if we didn’t have all our kit needs covered first for sure. We’re passing that practice as a recommendation on down to you.
As for purchasing itself, due to current wait times for customs (dead on the edge of the terms of service limit for the bulk of people discussing such things with each other—4 weeks), we highly encourage you to watch for new pre-made inventory that suits your needs, as it drops 3 times a week. If you follow Bad Dragon’s twitter account you can be notified of drops that way. They’re usually on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the afternoon (from an eastern time zone perspective anyway, GMT -4), and there’s always a mad rush to grab them. 12 drops is an awfully long time to go without seeing a suitable Chance in my experience. I will say however that I am generally able to browse drops as they happen. If you cannot you may not have as much luck scoring a popular model in the configuration you want, but you should at least give it a try for a week and see how you fare.
We absolutely adore our Chance and it’s one of our favorite toys in our entire collection. While solo thrusting can be a bit awkward and clumsy due to the weight and size of a large Chance, the advantages in other forms of solo play and in couple play outweigh the downsides for us. We can simply reach for a different toy more suited to the one task Chance doesn’t do as well if we want to. While we do have large caveats on a purchase recommendation, which we mentioned just prior to our conclusion, if those aren’t deterrents for you then our recommendation to take a chance on Chance in this configuration is very high.