Cosmos and Hyposmia

Completely unrelated to the usual subject of my blog this week is something I’ve thought about a couple of times in the last few weeks.

Watching Cosmos (A Space Odyssey) last night, I was impacted by the discussion of the sense of smell. Mainly because I don’t really have one. I would guess, from reading up on Wikipedia, that I’m not actually Anosmic (no sense of smell), but probably Hyposmic (having a diminished sense of smell). Yeah, I know you shouldn’t diagnose yourself, but this is an issue I’ve had as long as I can remember, so I think I’m safe here.

When I was eight, we got into an accident. This was in the days before mandatory seat belts. My brother and I were both ejected from the vehicle, but we both survived. However, I did hit my head (go fig), which is one of the causes of hyposmia. I don’t remember sensing odors after that (I don’t really remember smelling things before that, either). At least, I don’t remember pleasant ones. I can remember noting the smell of my first kiss’s breath (her breath was very clean smelling), and I can smell bad breath, flatulence, and body odor. However, I couldn’t smell the gas leak in my car a few weeks ago. I can’t smell old cigarette odors (part of how i got sick again this winter), or flowers. Trying to describe an odor to me is like trying to describe a color to a blind person. I have no references. Sodas and foods have different flavors for me, so I know I have some sense of smell, but not a strong one.

A few weeks ago, someone was talking about smelling lilacs, and I couldn’t smell them. I got jealous of the people I was with. I don’t get flashes of memory when an odor wafts by, because I can’t smell it. It makes me somewhat jealous of the rest of you who can. My memory is pretty much entirely visual, with some auditory (like song lyrics). Women’s perfume does nothing for me.

On the other hand, because I’ve never had a sense of smell (as far as I can remember), I don’t miss it, most of the time. However, on occasions when it’s discussed by others (like recently), I do. I wonder what it’s like. Something I’ll never know.


 

I was looking for an ethernet cable in some shelves I’ve got, and I found an old journal I started in high school. I haven’t taken the time to look at it yet, but I’m interested in giving it a peek. I know I have some stuff on a very Moorcock-derivative setting in there, but what else is there? I don’t remember any more. Hopefully, I’ll make time to take a look tonight.


 

I did get some writing in on the StarSea. After some comments on my Facebook, I started thinking about space obstacles and such, as well as starting to timeline who the Ür met first. That led to my rethinking who is what (that is, what the origins of some of my species are). The Starborn are probably going to become dragonkin, and the dragonkin are going to become half-Ür, or something like that. Humans are pretty much already set as the most likely species to have met the Ür first, as I’ve already had the idea that the Ür manipulated the spaces of humans to create the giant races. They’ll probably be manipulated in other ways as well.


 

I think that’s all for tonight.It’s late and I want to get out and watch the Lunar Eclipse. Later.

Realm Works Tutorial Video – Approaching Content Creation – YouTube

I kinda got to looking at videos about this program from seeing stuff about it on the Gamerati Facebook feed. I’d love to have something like this or Masterplan for the Mac. Sadly such a thing does not exist.

This video, in my opinion, is some great general advise for creating worlds and plots, not just in using this program, but even with just 3×5 cards.

 

▶ Realm Works Tutorial Video – Approaching Content Creation – YouTube.

Blech!

The past couple of weeks have been hard. After I got sick, my mother got sick, which resulted in two different trips (and stays) to the hospital. I have had issues with my paycheck, my car, and work. Work has actually been very busy, with all the GMC auto recalls, but I haven’t had much free time while there. Most of my time has been spent driving has been short, local runs from various locations to dealerships. Between all of these things, I’ve been a bit stressed and a bit distracted. And frankly, there have simply been days I’ve either been too tired or whatever to post. My reminders to post have come up, and I’ve delayed and delayed, until I simply decide it’s too late to post this week. These are terrible habits, I know.

Most of my writing has been on Wednesdays. I’ve gotten off early the past couple of Wednesdays, and I drop by the FLGS to wait for my Living Forgotten Realms game, and write while I wait. It’s kind of been convenient, but it is limited. I only get a couple of hours in, rather than the amount I have gotten in the past. I make do with what I can.

The FLGS recently started selling individual Pathfinder Battles minis, and I found one that I had to have, as it’s a perfect fit to the StarSea. Here’s the image of the figure:

Tsadok Goldtooth mini

Tsadok Goldtooth mini

And here’s the link to art the mini is based on: Tsadok on Obsidian Portal. I prefer the mini, all things considered. In fact, the art is pretty crappy. I like the coat (although I think the bell cuffs would look better as bell gauntlets), the breastplate and the weapons. I found him quite inspiring, even though I’m not really going to focus on pirates. Sure, you can play and write pirate stories in the StarSea, but my focus has been on philosophy, and I’m going to stick to that for now.

In those few hours at the FLGS, I’ve managed to rewrite my definition of magic in such a way that I can explain the mechanics of Corruption. I realized that if I make spell difficulties a little higher, players can be tempted to use Corruption to accomplish more difficult spells. Stress to a new track can be levied, similar to the magic rules of the Voidcallers in the FATE System Toolkit: the difference between the roll and the difficulty becomes stress, and the spell is successful, if the character chooses to invoke the World Aspect related to Corruption. If the character doesn’t have the stress to take the hit to his morality, he gains a consequence. If he does not repent his sins (i.e. do what’s necessary to “heal the stress track”), he becomes a corrupted villain in the GMs control. He can also take stress from doing things that display callousness or excessive hubris, for which I’ll need guidelines. The only other thing I need is a seduction system, or at least some hints for seducing the players.

I’ve also been trying to hammer out the astrography (I made that one up) and the path the Ür have taken through the StarSea, so I can determine how the races have been encountered and potentially enslaved and modified before being distributed throughout the StarSea. That seems like a lot of extraneous detail, but I feel that I need it, whether the readers ever see it or not. I feel I need it because I have a couple of race ideas that may have been modified by the Ür, or maybe even created by them.

Finally, I picked up the Cubicle7 Anglerre books in PDF format from DriveThruRPG before the license ended. There are a lot of good ideas, but I’m not sure I want to include as much rule and world creation writing as is in those books. I may refer GMs to those books if they want more info. However, there are some ideas in there I may incorporate myself. I have read through them thoroughly, as they’re pretty long, but a flip-through was enlightening.

The Boy hasn’t requested us to play his game, so I have written anything about it. I have a feeling that Kindle games have taken the place of that game, and I am totally cool with that. I think I need to discuss it with him before I totally drop it, though.

That’s all I really have at this time. Later.

Sickness and Morals and Iconics, Oh My!

So, last weekend was a killer. Promptly after reading an article about not allowing distractions to keep you from writing, I was forced to allow distractions to keep me from writing. Sort of.

Friday had me doing a little yard work while I babysat my mother and then waited for her to come back from dialysis. Saturday was D&D for Kids and our regular home game. Then Sunday, I ended up sick as a dog, again after yardwork. There was no relation between the yard work and the illness, I’m sure.

The stomach flu was pretty nasty, and while I was really sick only Sunday night, I was in pretty bad shape Monday, and basically laid around and recovered. I worked Tuesday through Thursday (which means I got some good thinking/writing time in, while the past couple of days were pretty much social and chore time.

Tuesday, something made me remember a class I’d had in college regarding morality systems. Maybe later this week I’ll write an article I’ll stick up on my LiveJournal on morals and politics that I owe a friend, but I was thinking about these systems in relationship to the philosophies of the mystic Orders of the StarSea.

I haven’t cared for the alignment systems of D&D for a long time. The original Three Alignment System, which became the Nine Alignment system, has been problematic for me, and especially so after said class (in fact, at that time, I was playing World of Darkness games). The original system was obviously based on Moorcock’s Lords of Law and Chaos (since those early alignments were named “Lawful” and “Chaotic”) with “Good” and “Evil” being added later. I found eventually found the systems flawed and too dependent on DM definitions. For example, I always hated “Chaotic Neutral” or at least the way most people played it (as an excuse to behave in a random manner). My definition of Chaotic was always as a counter to Lawful’s “society first” orientation. Chaotic alignments are very individual oriented in my mind, which I think was supported in Second Edition. Admittedly, there’s going to be a bit of DM/GM with any morals or philosophy system, but I’m hoping to define things in such a way as to make it easier for prospective DM/GMs.

The book we used in the class, Applying Moral Theories by C.E. Harris, Jr., puts forward the idea that all morals systems can be boiled down into one of four basic systems: Self-Interest (or Egoism); Natural Law; Utilitarianism; and Respect for Persons.

  • Egoism is based on the standard that what is moral is what is good for the individual acting. Thus, morality spawns purely from the individual.
  • Natural Law is a moral system based on the idea that people are naturally inclined to do good, and not following this natural inclination is immoral. Most religious systems have some variation on this, such as attributing the aforementioned inclination as god-given (whether Yahweh or another such god).
  • Utilitarianism is can be summed up as “the Good of the Many outweigh the Good of the Few.” An example of this in the book is the justification of torture to get information to find the location of a bomb, as the torture would save the most lives, while potentially destroying the body of the tortured and the spirit of the torturer.
  • Respect for Persons is based on the “Golden Rule” idea: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” By this system, living creatures (and especially human beings) should have their lives treated with respect, and not as a means (as in “the ends justify the means’). In other words, the person behind the counter should be treated as a living being, and not a robot taking your money for goods, and they should treat you as more than the source of their paycheck.

The book examined each moral system, and how it worked, and whether it was internally consistent, as well as how it appears in the real world, with real world examples from the headlines of the times.

So, the other day, I started a bit of codification of how I thought of each Order in respect to these four systems, and as I write up the Orders and their codes, I will be referring to these notes to keep the codes in line. For example, the Jedi Order of the Star Wars movies seems to be fairly utilitarian. The Jedi are expected to give up their emotions to protect the society around them, and the use of their mind control powers on criminals (in the Jedis view) seems pretty casual (for example, when Obi-Wan Kenobi mind controls the barfly trying to sell him thermal detonators in Attack of the Clones). The Sith in those same movies are very much followers of a Egoist moral system: only they seems to know what is good for anyone else, and their personal pleasure takes precedent over the injury they might cause to another. Any cutthroat tactic is allowed to achieve they ends the Sith wants.

Finally, I also got a really solid concept for at least one of my iconic characters for the StarSea. Iconic characters have become a mainstay of gaming since White Wolf Games Studio started using them in the World of Darkness games in the ’90s, and I have to say that I like them myself. It gives the author a way to really direct the future DM/GMs and players as to how the setting works and feels. I figure I need a number of these guys, so that I can give my audience a feel for four or five different factions. I’m sure as I get to firming up my ideas, the iconic character concepts will flow a little better.

Anyway, I have to get up and drive in the morning and it’s getting late, so I need to cut this short. Later.

Again, I haven’t netfaded…

The past couple of weeks have had their ups and downs. After my last real post on February 25th, I found myself distracted, both by real life and just a variety of things. Car issues, family issues, handyman duties, etc., all found a way to draw me away from focusing on other things, like reading, writing and being creative.

I managed to finish the Kobold Guide to World Building, but the last article was a bear, as I’m not especially interested in licensed work (AKA playing in other people’s sandbox) right now, so I found the article a little boring. But there were definitely other articles that garnered my attention, such as the articles on organization building and bible creation. Sound articles with lots of good ideas and methodologies.

Last week, I got the FATE Freeport Companion, and read the crunchy bits, only skimming the rest as I’m neither a Lovecraft nor a pirate fan. For all of that, it has pretty well solidified my decision to use FATE to run the StarSea. I generally liked the d20-to-FATE “conversion”, so much that I think it will shape at least some amount of what I create for the StarSea. There are parts I’m not a fan of, such as the D&D attributes as the skill base, or the way weapons and armor are stated, but I can see reasons to do both, especially the Six Stats as Skills for my game. It gives players who are more familiar to D&D a base of understanding for their game. I think the weapons and armor rules were an attempt at simplifying similar rules presented in the FATE Core Toolkit. But these are more bugaboos for me, and I’ll be taking their intent into account as I do my own writing.

Some of my thoughts on magic are needing to be rethought, as some of my reading pointed out an internal inconsistency I want to resolve. It’s nature versus it’s use are presently a bit at odds, so I need to take some time to tinker with things to resolve the issue.

I haven’t done any work on the “galactic” map since I created it. It’s been percolating in the back of my mind as I’ve been looking at images of the Milky Way Galaxy (or Earth’s viewpoint of it). It’s very much in the air right now, so I’m not particularly worried about details right now.

Friends and I watched Thor: The Dark World again last week, and I was reminded about how much I liked the battle scenes in Asgard, and how I want it to be able to point to those scenes as examples of play. It also helped me resolve an issue; part of me as thinking I needed fighter ships, like X-Wings. Nope, that part can be played by “skiffs” with weapons.

The Boy hasn’t pushed on the Warcraft rip-off I was doing, but we did download the WCIII Demo so he could get a feel for it. However, because he hasn’t pushed on it, I haven’t really done any work on it, except making a list of monsters to serve as “creeps”, as WCIII calls them (“wandering monsters” to us Old Timers). I plan on dividing them up into rings, so that some of the critters make more sense around the center of the map, where my Most Evil Enemy lies in wait. They’ll essentially be a 5th army that the Boy will have to face, which will be easier if he makes as many allies as he can before he faces them.

Well, my eyes now feel like gritty little balls again, so I think I’m going to call it a night. Later.

In honor of GM’s Day

I wrote this filk of Shakespeare’s Henry V “St. Crispin’s Day” speech when Gary Gygax died in 2008. I thought I’d repost it here.

To misquote the Bard:

He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Game Master’s.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Gee Em’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall their names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Gary the King, Arneson and Stafford,
Jackson and Miller, Rein-Hagen and Perrin*-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Gee Em Gee Em shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that rolls his dice with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That gamed with us upon GM’s day.

*Gary the King = Gary Gygax
Arneson = Dave Arneson, Gary’s co-author
Stafford = Greg Stafford, creator of Runequest
Jackson = Steve Jackson, creator of GURPS
Miller = Mark Miller, creator of Traveller
Rein-Hagen = creator of the Storyteller System
Perrin = Stafford’s co-author

Progress, Slow But Sure

So, I decided to basically re-read the Kobold Guide to World Building and doing my note-taking outside of work, and made some good progress. Of course, I’ve also found some areas that need some fine tuning. For example, I’ve been defining what magic is, in and of itself, but that’s led to a couple of questions. I’ve defined magic as a psycho-responsive energy, but it can be used as a power source for vehicles and other equipment in the universe I’m developing. How do these two ideas relate? Do engines and batteries emulate sentient minds, thus being more like computers than anything else? I’m still trying to reconcile these two ends of the spectrum into a cohesive whole. I may not need to, but I don’t want to hand-wave too many details.

I also started on a starmap. So far it’s just a hex map with a galaxy overlay, but it’s a start. It gives me a way to get the regularity to the planets’ spacing that I want (to represent the manipulation the Ür did of the world in the StarSea) as well ideas about density of the worlds within. One of the earlier iterations of the StarSea was called “the Twenty Spheres” (the spheres part referencing the crystal spheres of Spelljammer, which I was stealing from at that time), which is in my mind as I think on the setting. However, I recognize the value of having some portions of the map undefined, to allow players to fill in the details or develop their own stories. It’s a start.

Finally, the Boy and I finally played a little more of the game I’m cobbling together for him. We dealt with his first combat, and I have to say, while it worked for a one-on-one combat, I didn’t like the feel, and I don’t think it would work well with larger groups. The system I developed has each unit having a factor of 5 hit points (5, 10, 15, etc., …), and having a number of six-sided dice for melee and ranged combat. Roll the dice, do damage to hit points, after subtracting armor. The problem that I have is that tracking a large number of hit points for a large number of units might be a time sink later. I think I’ll be lifting more of the Warmaster combat system, which is a simplified version of the Warhammer Fantasy Battle system.

I also need to come up with a more complete tech tree for each of four races, encounter charts for the explorable regions, and the great enemies in the center of the map. I’m going to be stealing a lot from WarCraft III for all of this. Although the Boy through a wrench in some of my ideas when he decided his elves would be spider riders. “What, are your elves drow?” I said to him. “No, like The Hobbit,” says he. So he wants his elves to be a little like the Mirkwood elves of The Desolation of Smaug. My plan had been for the insectoid portion of the Scourge become the Big Bads of our game. Back to the drawing board on that one, I guess.

So, that’s it for now. Later.

Culture, Technology and Superhero Cartoons

This week has been somewhat topsy-turvey. My mother’s health went haywire again, I had an interview Thursday, D&D for Kids yesterday (at least from my point of view), and our regular D&D game (which I am thankfully no longer DMing). Mix in a couple of full days of work, some job hunting, and it’s been a pretty full week.

When I could get it in, my reading of The Kobold Guide to World Building got me to thinking about technology and culture in the StarSea, especially as those chapters were what I was reading at that moment. I’m beginning to feel like i need a physical copy of the book, as I’d like to be able to use it as a workbook and take some notes from it. Having pad, paper and Kindle in my hand while driving would be cumbersome to say the least.

I’ve done some of the kind of thinking suggested in those chapters, but not enough for my tastes. Or at least not to the detail discussed. The articles I’m thinking of break culture and technology down into categories. Some I’ve given some thought on, and some I’ve missed. I’m going to want to recover that chapter eventually. So, getting a physical copy of the book is more desirable. I’m not sure what author’s chapter I’m thinking of. One of the weaknesses of eBooks is not being able to create a mental map of the book, something I’m sure I mentioned before.

There was also discussion of repercussions of design decisions on other aspects of the world you’re building. That one struck home, as there are decisions I’ve made that I hadn’t considered some of the ramifications of. For example, I’m calling my elder race the Starborn. My initial thought was for them to live in space, living in mobile space stations that wander the StarSea. However, the repercussions of the wanderer idea are some I’m not happy with. Implications of the Starborn as aloof or arrogant, or too adapted to life in space. Both seem to make the Starborn unplayable (especially the physical mal-adaptation), at least in my mind. I need to consider some of my choices a little better, and I feel this particular series needs some additional thought to make a more playable race out of the Starborn. There are likely other decisions I’ll need to re-examine.

In regards to the game for the Boy, I didn’t really do much for that this week, other than taking the time to combine my notes. I had a computer document that has most of my notes regarding the rules, as well as a notebook with other notes. It’s where I’m documenting rules calls I’m making during play. I went through the two, compared them, and made the computer file the complete draft. I’ve got a long way to go to a final draft level, and that game is not a priority.

Finally, I picked up and watched the new DC Comics animated movie, Justice League: War. This one is a follow up to the Flashpoint movie they put out late last year, which was an adaptation of the series that closed out the “Old 52,” and set the stage for the “New 52.” Justice League: War” is based on the first six issues of the new version of the Justice League, and tells of the team’s formation. If you’re not a comic book person, the New 52 is DC Comics “reboot,” which seems to be an acknowledgement of Jim Lee’s partial ownership of the DC Comics line along with Dan DiDio. I’ve been less than enthusiastic about what I’ve seen of the New 52, and I stopped buying DC Comics well before this “reboot” was initiated.

As a little preface, I have enjoyed the DC Comics animated movies. The storytelling, with one exception, most of them have been stellar in the storytelling regards. There’s plenty of fighting in them all, but prior to this one, with the exception of Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, the movies have generally been stellar. This one wasn’t so good. I even found the more or less heroes-cum-borderline villains of Flashpoint more compelling that the majority of the team in this one. Except Batman. Batman was handled just about perfectly. Green Lantern is handled well, but I think was just a little too much of an ass throughout. The New 52 version of Superman seems to have become an arrogant bully, Wonder Woman is written so one dimensionally as to be a joke. And the removal of Aquaman to be replaced by Captain Marvel (who calls himself “Shazam”) was a horrible choice, especially with the effort Geoff Johns has been making to turn the King of Atlantis into a solid character. At some point, I’d like to read the comics this movie was based on to see if they’re really as poorly written as this movie was.

And before this, I picked up a stealth release called JLA: Trapped in Time. This one is obviously a pilot for a new animated series. It was a horrible mismatch of characters and story lines, with no relation to other series that have borne the DC Comics logo. The JLA line up is an Aquaman short of being the Super Friends, and the Legionnaires chosen were a terrible mismatch to the JLA, and never appeared in the LSH Animated series. To boot, the Legionnaires chosen (Karate Kid and Dawnstar) have been redesigned to look like characters from the later seasons of Super Friends, the Samurai and the Indian Chief. As well, both were given additional powers. Karate Kid’s powers made sense (detecting weaknesses in the structure of his target), but Dawnstar’s new powers have nothing to do with the core of her character (of course, that might point to how weak her original concept was), but seem to be added into make her some sort of literal angel (lots of light and healing powers). I was disappointed with this release as well.

On the upside, it looks like the next movie, Son of Batman might be better. We’ll see, later this year. It’s also my understanding that later this year, Warner Bros. will be putting out an animated movie based on the Arkham Asylum video games. If they handle it right, it could be a winner as well. However, the DC Studio needs to get it together, I think, or they’ll lose this customer.

As a final note, I’ve also been binging on the Fox series, Fringe. I’m down to the final three episode of the final season. I’m really enjoying the storytelling, although I think there have been a couple of episodes that have had characterization issues, especially with the change of focus in the final season, away from Olivia Dunham and towards Peter Bishop. However, the story is strong otherwise, and as I said, I’m looking for the final episodes.

Well, I think the fork is pretty much stuck for tonight. See you all next time. Later.

It’s That Time, Again!

Honestly, it gets difficult coming up with titles for these things.

Anyway, here’s some talk about gaming!

Yesterday, we started playing the game I created for the Boy. I need to fill in some details, like encounter tables (i.e. what dangerous or cool things will the various civilizations encounter while exploring their space), and I need to tweak the resource acquisition rolls, as I don’t think they produce enough versus the costs of things. I’m basically using the tech trees and units from WarCraft III to simplify my thinking, so I don’t have to devote so much time on the design of this game. Why reinvent the wheel, especially when I don’t know how long the Boy’s interest will hold? He did want to do more and more turns, so we ended up playing five turns (between me looking up things and trying to determine costs for new units and such off the cuff, and running three other civilizations). He wanted more, so I may have something that will satisfy him for a while. This week, I’ll try to get some of my notes better integrated and complete some of my tweaks and charts so we can hit the ground running next weekend.

I got back to writing in the car while traveling this week. I discovered that I hadn’t written anything in my notebooks since early December, though. I think being sick affected things, as did getting a Kindle and focusing so much on reading FATE. I did write a little on races the past couple of days, as that was on my mind, and I’ve got a couple of sketches that I think will lead me to some decisions down the line. I’m going to continue this trend going forward, and write a page every work day before I read anything from the Kindle.

My current reading has been The Kobold Guide to World-Building. I’m pleased from my reading to discover that I’m pretty much ahead of the ball so far. There’s a little in the realm of business and marketing that was unknown to me, but the basics of world-building are something I seem to have a firm hold on at this point.

Something else I’ve realized I need to do is start transcribing my hand notes. After that long break, I had forgotten some of the decisions I’d made and dangling ideas I needed to work on. I think I can make them into a simple .mobi file with Calibre, which would allow me to reference them more easily than carrying around 4 notepads.

Well, I’ve spent most of the past hour trying to deal with memory problems with this laptop, so I’m going to call it for tonight. Later.

On Driving

Last time, I mentioned that the Boy wanted me to create a game for him. I got clarifications on some of his ideas, and I was correct in my assessment that he wants a board game version of WarCraft, with a little Minecraft mixed in. So I dug out my BradyGames strategy guide to WarCraft III and started looking at how the game works. I’ve never really played it. I played the previous two games, StarCraft, and the III demo, but I never took the time to dig into the actual WarCraft III game itself. However, I understand the basics. It’s economics control, basically, at least as far as the Boy will be concerned, especially as I’ll be avoiding trying to handle things as a real-time game. I’ll be doing turns, which we’ve agreed will be a month each. I may add in some seasonal rules, but I don’t know. He doesn’t seem to want a whole lot of simulation.

I was trying to use the free version of Hexographer to make a map for the game, but the random nature makes me hesitant. I know I could edit the result, but I’m not sure I like the results. I plan on taking some time to read the docs for the program, but ultimately, I think I’ll do my own. As implied by the program choice, I plan on using a hex map, and I already discussed this with the Boy. I’m probably also going to use a megahex system, too (That is, each hex on a big map will be represented by six smaller hexes on a more refined map). And eventually, I’m sure I’m going to have to make tokens and things for gold and wood and people (workers and soldiers). As well, I’m going to be working on three other races (he’ll be playing elves while I’ll be creating dwarves, humans and dragonmen) to vex the Boy with. However, I’ve already figured out that I’ll be building things as I need them, so I should be keeping myself from being overwhelmed too quickly.

I’ve started trying to complete the Savage Worlds Explorer Edition rulebook. I stalled out about the time Numenera came out last year. I need to start making characters for some of these games I’m explore. I did some for Bare Bones Fantasy, and I wasn’t especially enthusiastic about the results. Even though you can pretty freely mix-and-match classes (since classes are skills), I felt the results were pretty blah. I think it relates to the Old School mentality that PCs shouldn’t be especially skilled when the game begins. That also seems typical of percentile based games, and I’m not sure why that’s so. I remember my PCs in the old FASA Star Trek game weren’t especially skilled at creation, either.

I like that in many modern games, characters seem skilled. Our characters in our new 4e home campaign feel competent (even if my character did get KO’s last time). And I like that SW and FATE characters seem competent, too. I want that in my games now.

Which kinda brings me to driving. That’s what I do for a paycheck currently (note I did not write “living”). I’m a transporter for a major rental company. You can find out which one from the Facebook link in the upper right corner of the page. Driving is one of those things I feel fairly competent doing, even though I started driving fairly late (I was over 25 when I finally learned to drive). Most of the time, driving for work is just short hops around town, with plenty of traffic to dodge and no time to become engaged in the process of driving. You’re simply trying to get from one place to another.

But occasionally, we do a long haul on the right roads at the right time. Yesterday was one of those. We had to move a few cars down to Hanford. Our usual route is Freeway 99 to Highway 43. Yesterday at 9:00 AM, 43 was mostly clear once we got past Selma and the old man who was having difficulty figuring out where he was going. Then, the trip became almost magic.

This seems to happen on straight-aways for me. You get out on a straight-away with little traffic around. Our cars are pretty well maintained, especially the alignment. All of us use cruise control (typically), so really, all the driver is doing is making sure the car doesn’t hit something that causes it to weave in the lane, which is a pretty minimal load on the cranium stuffins. For some amount of time, you’re free to just let the car do it’s thing and let your mind relax and enjoy the passing of the countryside. I usually turn the radio on as soon as I’m in the car, listening to my favorite local channel most of the time, but occasionally turning on SiriusXM, which is in many of our cars, and listening to Channel 25, ClassicRewind. (An aside: They call their channel “Music from the second generation of rock legends,” and “the Cassette Era.” Makes you feel old when your high school music is now considered “classic.”) You end up just rolling along, enjoying the ride.

Until you encounter traffic again and your mellow gets harshed. No good thing can last forever, it seems. But it’s getting to drive around like this, on the company’s dime, that makes the job fun. If I were like the rest of the old guys that do this job, with an outside income, I think I’d just about have no complaints (except for the folks who can’t leave their religion or politics at home).

Well, it’s gotten late, and I’m pretty much done with these subjects for tonight. Later.

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