Rest in Peace, Nick Nikolaidis

Nick Nikolaidis, aged 78, of Bethel, Vermont, passed away peacefully on Friday, March 29. He was born on May 31, 1945 in Athens, Greece to Anna and Miltiatis Nikolaidis. 

Nick immigrated to America in 1963. He embodied the immigrant’s American Dream, arriving in New York City with $20 in his pocket. His first job was at Morgan Guarantee (Later JP Morgan/Chase). In 1966, Nick met Heidi Boepple on a blind date in New York City. They married in 1968. 

While driving through New England one weekend, Nick and Heidi became enamored with central Vermont. Rather than spending their savings on a planned vacation to Aruba, they bought a one-room cabin in Bethel. It was their primary residence for more than fifty years. They owned and operated the Buckboard Restaurant in Randolph in 1976, and later the Black Forest Café and Caterers in Bethel. Nick worked in the foodservice industry for his entire adult life, including time spent catering at the Green Mountain Horse Association in South Woodstock, VT and weddings, parties, and auctions. 

Nick’s favorite pastime was collecting postcards. He was an active member of several postcard and stamp clubs. He can be fondly remembered sharing his love of this hobby at the Bethel Forward Festival. He was a founding member of the Bethel Business Association, a longtime member of the Bethel Historical Society, and an active member in the Bethel Town Hall restoration project.

For the past 8 years Nick showed his love and dedication to Heidi through his diligence and care after her stroke. She was able to live in her own home for the majority of that time because of Nick’s unwavering devotion.   

He is survived by his wife, and his son, Peter, whom he referred to as his “pride and joy.” 

A memorial service will be held at the United Church of Bethel at 2 pm on Friday, April 19th, 2024 with Pastor Thomas Harty officiating.  A reception will follow at the White Church. The service will also be livestreamed via YouTube.

The family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to Gifford Medical Center, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, and the Cedar Hill Nursing Home for their support and care during Nick’s final days. Special thanks to Craig and Tonia Pratt for their years of loving care for Nick and Heidi. 

Nick showed care by providing delicious food (especially spanakopita) for his loved ones and community. His passion for good food, wine, and the Bethel community will be sorely missed.

Giving FoundryVTT Another Chance (thanks to SSH)

A few years ago, during peak COVID, I was playing role-playing games (like Deadlands and Dungeons & Dragons) 3-5 times a week. I was glad to reconnect with my favorite hobby as a kid, and also to reconnect with friends with whom I’d lost touch.

Initially, I played on because that was where my D&D friends were. But some time later, my Savage Worlds (mostly Deadlands) friends introduced me to I was blown away at how polished the UI was, and the great support for Savage Worlds that Roll20 lacks to this day.

But Foundry was not without its drawbacks. I won’t go into a comparison of the two platforms – there are dozens of those just a Google or YouTube search away if you want them. The one drawback that Foundry had which Roll20 could not claim was simple: every time I tried to upgrade Foundry from version 9.something to 9.something+1, it broke my games. I reached out to Foundry’s “support” on Discord, which was a complete joke. I was told by one lurker in the channel that he could not help because I was running on Windows. So I backed up my configuration, ported it over to a Linux server, and… reproduced the problem. Still no help was to be found.

Eventually, I gave up. Despite having invested hundreds of dollars and – more importantly – dozens of hours configuring Foundry to my and my friends’ liking, I gave up and went back to Roll20.

And almost immediately questioned my decision. Sigh. After a few months on Roll20, and seeing more Savage Worlds games and modules available for Foundry, I decided to give it one more shot. After all, there was a Mac version now, and I could hack at it locally on my MacBook, so why not?

It took a couple hours, but I eventually successfully migrated my old Foundry 9.x installation and worlds to version 11. I was thrilled to see that – somewhere between 9.x and 11.x, the bug I experienced which broke my worlds during upgrades – had been fixed!

But I had one lasting problem – I like having my Foundry server local on my laptop (especially when working offline on an airplane or in Vermont when the power goes out), but I need a way to let my friends play on it too. And I don’t want to have to remember to back up and restore and move my world around from my Mac laptop to a Linux or Windows server, having to deal with path differences, and re-licensing it every time I start the server.

The solution? I set up SSH forwarding to redirect traffic sent to my Foundry server on to my Macbook.

ssh -i my_ssh_key.pem -R my.foundry.server:30000:localhost:30000 -p 2222 [email protected]

This command allows you to access a server running on your local machine via port 30000 on the remote server my.foundry.server, by creating a reverse SSH tunnel through the remote server.

  1. ssh: The command to initiate an SSH connection.
  2. -i my_ssh_key.pem: Specifies the private key file (my_ssh_key.pem) to use for authentication. This key should correspond to a public key that’s authorized on the remote server.
  3. -R my.foundry.server:30000:localhost:30000: This creates a reverse tunnel that forwards connections to port 30000 on the remote server (my.foundry.server) to port 30000 on your local machine (localhost). This is useful if you’re running a Foundry Virtual Tabletop server on your local machine and want to make it accessible from the remote server’s address.
  4. -p 22: Specifies that the SSH connection should be made to port 22 on the remote server. This is useful if the SSH server on my.foundry.server is configured to listen on a non-standard port.
  5. [email protected]: Specifies the username (ubuntu) and hostname (my.foundry.server) of the remote server. You should replace ubuntu with the appropriate username for your remote server.

Now, as long as I can reach my foundry server (on port 22 in this example) and have a decent speed connection, my friends can play on my server while I have the convenience of having it local with me wherever I go.