I’ve been putting off posting, hoping I could turn my mindset around. I’ve finally decided I can’t, so I’ll just post what’s going around my head.
Monday, I got my copy of The Strange that I’d been waiting for. I managed to get it unboxed before the news that Robin Williams had committed suicide. That news threw me into a funk. I am truly saddened by this event. A day or so later, I did flip through the book, but I have no real interest in reading it, at this point. Not because of the loss of Robin Williams, but rather my loss of interest in the Cypher System.
Since I didn’t work that day, Tuesday had me stewing in my grief over Mr. Williams. I can’t really explain his death’s impact on me, other than opening my eyes to some truths about suicide. I’ve always been in the “cowardice” camp in regards to suicide. That is, with a couple of rare exceptions (essentially euthanasia), I’ve always considered suicide weakness and selfishness on the part of the deceased. Having recently explored my own mental issues, and the lack of control the brain can inflict on a person’s decision-making abilities, I’ve come to realize how misguided that thinking is.
I worked the rest of the week, and got some time in to type up some of my old notes, as well as develop a couple of new ones. I’ve been thinking about governments off and on, and I think I’ll be modifying the Arcanists slightly into a serfdom, rather than a slavery-based meritocracy. I just think that makes more sense, but I think I’ll need to do a little more research on the ideas before I can make a final decision.
The end of my week needs a little set-up: When Once Upon a Time started, as the castle collapsed, Snow say to the Evil Queen, “Where are we going?” And the Queen replies, “Somewhere horrible!” There is a certain glee in the Queen’s voice that made the word memorable in my mind, and now, when something truly awful happens, that word is the first to pop into my mind, so I may be practicing some hyperbole in what follows, as opposed to my usual understatement.
This month’s D&D for Kids was horrible.
As I thought back on it Sunday, I was considering stopping running at all. I’m not that angry now, but I was then, nearly 24 hours later.
Part of me wants to ban the three kids I had at my table, although The Boy wasn’t that bad; he and I just had a rough start. As the game was starting, I was trying to give him a chance to shine, and The Boy refused to put his Kindle Fire away long enough to make the rolls I asked for for his scouting, or to hear the results. I ended up telling him to turn the game off or we would not move forward. To his credit, while he was upset, he held back the tears and kept his lower lip in check.
His sister, The Girl, at one point in her boredom crawled under the table to harass her brother, and when I yelled at her for it, she became sullen, complaining about being bored and wanting to go home, and almost refusing to participate. I now think I should have told her to leave the table.
The third kid, J., is likely in my same boat, having some level of ADHD, because he’s a comedian who can’t turn it off, and is always goofing with the minis and messing up their placement on the battlemat. Not only was he disruptive to my game, he started in on our second table, inducing a couple of those kids to start talking to him, pulling them out of their game, the three of them getting loud and obnoxious.
My yelling at the kids was such that I regularly had the rest of the game store looking at us. I wished I’d been raising my voice for the right reasons, but I wasn’t. I was embarrassed by my own behavior, and right or wrong, I passed the shame down, at least some.
In discussing this with The Kids’ parents that night, it’s been decided that The Kids will be skipping the next game. The Boy has a birthday party to go to, so he was going to be out anyway, but The Girl will be sitting next time out, too.
I think I need to send an email to the other young man’s father, asking some questions regarding J. Usually J.’s dad is nearby, but at some point, I think he left the area. I know J. would cast looks over to where his father usually sits, but I couldn’t tell if he was there, as I was maintaining eye contact with J.
I think I may have compounded the problem by including a couple of NPC fighter types as my table also ended up short a player. Additionally, The Boy eventually freed some prisoners who didn’t just run but occupied the bad guys long enough for the players to even the odds and win. It may be that the kids got bored waiting for the NPC and all the villains to take their turns. But if those NPCs hadn’t been there, I’d have had a TPK, guaranteed.
Now, thinking about it, I probably could have removed a couple of the villains, and most of the henchmen, and balanced the scenario that way. This was supposed to be the climactic battle of the adventure, so having the horde of NPCs made sense. My own lack of foresight (not seeing that the extra NPCs might be boring for the kids) may have contributed a lot to their boredom.
But they’ve never been this rowdy.
Since The Kids’ father reads this blog, maybe he and I can discuss this for future reference. And maybe I need to discuss these thoughts with The Kids as well.
Well, that’s all I have for now. Since I have a different way of looking at this month’s D&D for Kids, at least I don’t feel I’ve wasted my time and yours, Gentle Reader. Later.
I have a particularly thoughtful shower this morning. It was something of a summary of things I’d been thinking about over the course of the week. So, here are today’s shower thoughts…
I had a pretty massive post about why I won’t be buying 5e. I finally realized it was quite a bit of negativity and speculation, and decided not to include it here. While I’m interested in the system, I’m going to be looking at it for ideas for house rules should I run 4e again, but I can do that with the Basic Rules alone. Outside of the money I give them for the 4e tools, I won’t be giving WotC any more for a while. That is all.
The Eternal Champion ending and technology in the StarSea
I had started another Moorcock series a week or so ago, The Eternal Champion. In it, we meet John Daker, a 20th Century man who is swept to another Earth (which may or may not be our own future) to become a new incarnation of Erekosë, a dead warrior from the history of his summoners. He is given the mission to eliminate the Eldren, an elf-like race of immortals. As the story progresses, Erekosë comes to the conclusion that Humanity is unworthy of being saved, but the Eldren are. It turns of that while the humans have lost any technology more advanced than cannons, the Eldren still maintain energy weapons, which they claim humans also had when they first arrived in the world. (The Eldren maintain that they were the first inhabitants of the world.) With the supertech in hand, Erekosë exterminates the Human Race, but to do so, he has to convince the Eldren to use the superweapons at all. With the horrible power at their finger tips, the Eldren had promised to never use weapons powerful enough to destroy the planet again, and instead operated at the same technological level as their enemies.
These ideas got me to thinking about the tech levels of the factions I’ve got in the StarSea, as well as the cultures associated with them. This thinking tied into some other ideas I’ve had, inspired by different sources. I’ve had ideas for unusual sorts of armor, like liquid metal armors, or force field armors. Nothing that’s a true reach here, but should every order have access to them. I also got to thinking about magical pollution, which I know isn’t a new idea either, but I felt the need to consider it.
I know an older idea I’d had was that the Psionic Order is the most technologically advanced. This is how they have managed to hold their core worlds from the Divine Inquisitors and the Arcane Conquistadors long enough to become relevant politically. They use clean technology, very environmentally friendly, and more compact and portable than the other factions. But how does that impact my other factions?
One of the ideas I’ve had in this regard is that the Arcane Order definitely has pollution-creating technologies. The pollution they create is a byproduct of their skirting the edges of total Corruption (<- notice the cap). By spewing Corruption into their environment, they avoid the machinery they use absorbing it and breaking down quickly. However, that means they and their slaves are exposed to additional amounts of Corruption. This explains the Corruption that is part of most citizens of Arcane Order worlds. So, the Arcanists also have a certain industrial overtone to them.
As to the Divine Order, I’m somewhat at a loss. I can see the Divinists using some technologies, but they should have to be sanctified by the Church. Therefore, I think their technology should be relatively Corruption-free. However, while the Psionics likely have “thinking golems,” the Divine do not.
Also, access to technology will be different to the factions, but I believe I’ve already covered this. Psionics will have the most widespread technology, while the Arcanists may build a lot, but few citizens have any, as who would give technology to slaves? The Divinists will likely have a mix; certain approved technologies might be common (farm implements, etc.), while other technologies (especially armor and weapons) will be rare amongst the commoners of the Divine worlds.
The Primals create an interesting conundrum. Even our world has examples of “primitive” people having technologies well in advance of others, such as Great Zimbabwe and the Native American city ruins that have been found in the past few decades. I’d rather a Wakanda like state be the exception rather than the rule, though. However, I want the Primals to be more than “noble savages” who live in teepees, or some such nonsense. I’ve seen and heard too many descriptions of primitive cultures that seem like Europeans with different clothing.
That’s pretty much it for this week. Later.
This week’s entry is primarily unrelated to gaming at all, so if you’re looking for gaming stuff, you won’t find it here this week. This week is about some self-discovery I’ve been experiencing this last week, and so may be kinda messy. You have been warned.
Last Monday, the TV droned on while I did other things. Katie Couric’s show came on, and they started discussing how a psychological problem had affected a pretty older lady and a man about my age. Being a sucker for a pretty face, I paid more attention. Both described their personal battles with ADHD, and the negative impacts on their lives. There was also a doctor who was treating them and was himself an adult with ADHD. It came out in the course of the segment that many children with ADHD never outgrow it, much less even have it diagnosed.
All of these folks described things I’ve experienced. It took a while for that to soak in; nearly a week, even. Impulsive behavior, not completing projects, temperament issues. And then something came along and distracted me (Hint: another symptom).
On Friday, I got the dubious honor of being lead driver for the first time. Lead driver is basically a dispatch sort of job, figuring out who is where and can get where, tracking cars transported, etc. It kinda came about because I was the one willing to do it, and the only one truly capable who wasn’t pissed off at management. Two of the drivers had been reprimanded at the start of the shift (and wanted nothing to do with the job), one driver was the wife of one of the reprimanded drivers, one was deaf as a stump, and then there was me. So I took up the responsibility.
The area manager and the two drivers who weren’t each other spouses said I did a good job for my first time out. I was (and still am) proud of myself for rising to the occasion. I’ve only been in a management/supervisorial position once before, for a few weeks, and that job was so extremely laid back (a night shift doing tech support for special monitors) and with so little supervision above me that it really didn’t feel like management.
Saturday is when things hit me. I was driving for the company, by myself with my thoughts and not feeling like listening to podcasts, so I wasn’t distracted from those thoughts. These things combined to leave me in a mood. I found myself wondering, “If I am this way, why wasn’t it discovered before? How could my life have been different, if I’d been taught how to deal with this long ago?”
I’ve let go of that at this point, especially after starting to research this condition. As I was reading about it, I was seeing quite a bit of myself in the symptoms, and on some review, I can see moments in my past that hammer the idea home. The conclusion I’ve come to is: I’m an undiagnosed adult with ADHD.
I’m self-diagnosing, and I know that I could be wrong. Way off, even. As I said, though, I sure seem to fit most of the symptoms on the websites I’ve looked at (WebMD and Wikipedia). Actual diagnosis is beyond my means right now, even if ADHD is a recognized disability, and treatment is way out there. Fortunately, there are ways for me to help myself, like lists and other things to help me keep on track and focused.
Coming to this realization the past few days has been like such things are often described. It’s like a light has burst from the clouds and and there was the singing of angels saying “There’s a reason for your life being like it is: You aren’t just a screw-up.” (Low self-esteem is a symptom.) Feeling I have something that I can be aware of means I can monitor my behavior a little better and try to find strategies to self-correct. Being aware of what’s happening, I’m seeing myself getting distracted and trying to refocus on my original thoughts.
I could probably write on this forever and a day (provided I don’t get distracted :-) ), but really, I’d be going around in circles, and none of us needs that, so I’ll end this week’s post here.
Last week was another busy week. Work stayed local, for the most part. I got out of town once, and I did get a little done.
(Oh, hey look! There’s a horizontal bar button! DUH!)
One of my thoughts was on using the Changeling the Dreaming “realms” for adjudicating what can be affected by magic in the StarSea. Unfortunately, after looking at the old LARP rules (the only rules I have in easy access), I question my thinking.
Changeling the Dreaming uses a “verb/object” wild magic system. That is, you have an “Art” (or actually, a number of them) which determines what you can do (your verb), and “Realms,” which determine what can be affected, either by type or area/time (your object). Sadly, only two of the eight or so Realms isn’t extremely specific to the setting.
The Dragonlance Saga Edition had something similar, but far too many divisions, and no real “object” section. More accurately, the object is part of the verb and the magical divisions. In that game, there was arcane magic, which only affected directly nonliving things (for example, fire and lightning can be used as an offensive power, because you’re controlling the element, not the target), while divine magic directly affected living things only.
At this point, I realize I’m way off track from my original idea. My thought was to simply find something I could use for guidelines for determining difficulties for magic rolls to affect large numbers or spaces. I think part of this can be dealt with by simply re-reading the FATE rules. It’s been a while, and I just took a moment to review some of the pages that deal with areas-of-effect, and that pretty much confirms my need to re-read.
I also had some thoughts while reading the second series of the Hawkmoon books. The first book was a bit of a slog. It seemed a bit directionless. It’s obvious that this series is meant to tie Hawkmoon into the Eternal Champion mythos, which isn’t even hinted at in the first four books. There is very little excitement in the first book, and very little of the trademark Moorcock backdrops.
In the second book, as Hawkmoon starts off in a severe depression, but is eventually brought around and transported to an alien world in which the humans present live amongst massive trees, so large that they can ride horses on the branches! That made me remember the wondrous elements of Moorcock’s settings, the images my brain created from his writing, and I realized I was missing this sort of fantastic elements in settings I read and run in recent history.
D&D 4e mentions fantastic settings frequently, and I feel I was pretty mediocre at this in recent history. I want to describe much more fantastic places. One of the steps in that direction I want to go is towards more unusual worlds. Currently, my worlds are spheres, but I’ve been thinking of going back to flatworlds. I’m not sure yet how I’d handle one side, as I only really want to handle mapping one side of each world, to save myself time and complications. But I like the idea, which is an old one I had discarded and am now revisiting.
I’ve also been giving some thought as to how the politics work again. In the real world, as well as the influence of Star Wars, the knighthoods didn’t/don’t directly rule. So, I think I need to do a little research into how the knighthoods of Europe (as I don’t know of any similar organizations in other regions) operated. Building on that aside for a moment, Europe and the Middle East seem to be unique in the creation of the knighthood. While other countries had nobility, only in Europe does there seem to be international organizations like the Knights Templar or Hospitaler that operate separate from the ruling juntas. However, I want to do some further research into these sorts of groups to see how they operated, and apply it to my own knighthoods.
Anyway, that’s pretty much all I have for this week. I’m tired, and I’ve got a car recall to deal with tomorrow, so I’ll be headin’ for beddin’ now. Later.
Not much to report this week.
I used my iPad to “scan” some images I had drawn in Notepad 1, but then accidentally overwrote them re-downloading the folder of files for Notepad 1 from the iPad.
My work week left me exhausted (which makes me wonder if there isn’t some other issue going on with my body or sleep cycle), and I had very few long trips that would allow me to actually write.
I really didn’t even give the setting much thought. I’ve had some personal issues on my mind this week. So much so that I’ve thought on little else without some external distraction. Nothing I’ll comment on here, but I might start journalling elsewhere (and privately) about the issue.
That’s it for this week. Sorry to disappoint all six of you who read regularly. Later.