Catching Up

I had meant to post last week, but I got distracted, as usual. I’ve got some downtime while I ride around for work, so I’m using the WordPress mobile app on my phone to compose this post.

Mom, Infection, Palliative Care

Part of last week’s distraction was another trip to the hospital for Mom. Another UTI had her blood sugar dropping through the floor. She went in last Tuesday and should be home today. (She did, and the first night was rough, as she’s got some sores on her bottom and her special mechanical lifting chair broke at bedtime. No one got good sleep here last night.)

The biggest bit of news out of this visit was her doctor at the hospital suggesting Palliative Care. Apparently, the doctor flat out told my sister that Mom is dying. Very slowly, but dying all the same. This isn’t really news. Mom is in Stage 4 renal failure, and is not a good candidate for transplant. That’s pretty much a death sentence in 5 to 10 years. Palliative care is for chronic diseases, kind of like pre-hospice. And it’s meant to help the family as well, which would be a good thing for us. We’ll see how things progress from here.

Job Testing

I applied for a couple of different jobs recently that required online tests. These were the sorts that they claim have “no right answers.” I have since learned that’s a lie. The tests are those things that are like college aptitude tests: “Do you agree or disagree that you never lie?” “Do you agree or disagree that you like dealing with angry customers?” And one employer quite plainly told me I’d failed a test “with no wrong answers.”

From what I’ve learned, these are make-or-break tests. Managers have lost skilled workers because someone somewhere decided that these “character tests” are more important than having skilled workers.

I’m not a super enthusiastic, cheerleader sort of person, which these tests seem to screen for. I’m pretty middle-of-the-road when answering these questions. I hate that I can’t be myself in order to even get an interview.

Notepads Instead of Blogging

On to gaming…

I’ve been noticing that I write down a lot of things in my notepads that would make good blog entries. Sadly, they never get transposed to digital format. I need to keep this in mind next month for NaBloPoMo. Not using the notepads and instead using the apps might make daily posts easier.

Adventurers! Revised

The creators of Adventurers! currently have a Kickstarter going for a revised version of the game. I won’t be participating as my bank will not handle international currency. However, they have made the core rules available at the KS website. I’ve downloaded those rules and read them, and I’m going to continue to work with my new system.

While there are some nice improvements to the system, my two most important issues were only partially addressed. Shields still don’t activate often enough (on doubles, which is 1:6), although it’s easier to get Advantage while using the shield, which helps but is still too uncommon (only 4:9). And greatswords are still super weapons. I have my own plans to deal with these in my system.

Critical Hit World Building and My Worlds

In listening to this week’s Critical Hit, I was fascinated by the story of the spread of civilization and the place of Aasimars, Rakshasas and Daevas in the DM’s world. It made me think of where I’m going with both The StarSea and the Reincarnated worlds, and how I feel I’ve lost some of the focus of both. As Reincarnated is fresh in my mind, I feel I need to remember that it should have a certain “fairy tale” aspect to it that is present in the Corum novels. The StarSea should be somewhere between Star Wars, Spelljammer and Exalted’s First Age, with a sprinkling of Thor: The Dark World, as well as other of Marvel Comic’s cosmic stuff. I’m letting my desire for verisimilitude overwhelm my vision in both cases. I need to balance feel, mood and theme with need for grounding.

Digging up old adventures

A couple of weeks ago, I joked with my Thursday night gang that I’d like to see how they would deal with Moldvay Basic D&D. That spurred me to go out to my storage and try to find it. I failed to do that, but I managed to find some old adventures I’ve wanted to have handy for play tests.

One is T1 – The Village of Homlett, which is the lead-in to Temple of Elemental Evil. I don’t have that adventure, but T1 is a nice intro adventure with a base of operations for the PCs. It should be easy to convert the adventure to other systems, whether my own or Moldvay Basic.

The other is L1 – The Secret of Bone Hill. Like T1, L1 is an excellent beginner adventure, with a town and a couple of excellent quests, including the titular Bone Hill. There is a lot of easily adaptable material in both adventures. TSR could fit quite a lot in 32 pages.

AnyDice, probabilities and my system

I’ve been doing some research on dice and probability while tinkering with A! Eventually, I stumbled across again. I know I’ve seen it before, but I’d forgotten about it.

AnyDice has immediately proven invaluable. I was able to get statistics on how Advantage (3d6, keep 2 best) and Disadvantage (3d6, keep 2 worst) would play out in a 2d6 system. And with that knowledge, I think I’m beginning to a handle on how to figure out threats and make everything else in the system work.

Right now, I’m weighing numbers in my mind, and I’m going to be comparing them to the probabilities that AnyDice is providing me, and see what shakes loose. The system will have a certain Cypher like mechanical feeling, but I think it will be just a little easier.

I feel that I’m running out of steam at this point, and that it’s time to wrap this piece up.


Playtest One – Complete

The trip to Morro Bay was fun. The ship was the San Salvador, the ship of the first European, Cabrillo, to set foot on the West Coast of the Americas, only 50 years after Columbus’s successful trip across the Atlantic. It was surprising how small the ships were at that time. She’s only about 100 feet long, and about 20 feet wide. In other words, a gaming style battle (or any of that crap you see in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies) would be horribly cramped. What still blows my mind is that they weren’t using a helm to steer the ship, but rather a tiller. They just muscled the rudder back and forth without any sort of pulley system to amplify the strength of the man steering the ship.

Morro Bay was also full of Pokemon Go! stops along the Embarcadero, as well as out to the Rock. I’ve pretty much stopped playing except on Thursdays, as the folks I play with like to walk around after the game, and Fridays and Saturdays, when the kids, their parents and I play. I’ve found it’s not working as a motivation for me to get out and walk around my neighborhood. My area is pretty dead because of sparse population and low income, which results in low cell activity, which results in low spawn rates. But walking the Embarcadero was fun, and we caught a lot of new Pokemon we don’t see locally.

I’m going to have to find some other entertainment if I’m going to continue to walk, and I have done nothing in that direction at this point.

I did complete my first set of playtests of my Adventurers! modifications. I’ve tried out the simplest modifications, and they work pretty well. Combat ran fewer rounds, and there was less bias toward one weapon over another. Although, I must admit, the sword-and-board fighter took two of the three battles, when before he took only one. It as the last round of testing that was the most telling, as both combatants were down to their last couple of hit points before the killing blow was struck by the shieldbearer. I consider that balanced.

As I wrote previously, I’m completely discarding the Dungeon World combat rules, and I need to rethink my Cypher inspired rules a bit. My initial thought had been that everything would have a simple rating that would set all difficulties related to the opposition, and that would be a straight target number. With a die span of 2-12 with modifiers between -1 and +5, an odd span of numbers (1 to 17) is created. It doesn’t feel natural.

Pulling in more of Cypher could work, with Threat Ratings of 1 to 6 multiplied by 3 to determine the Target Number. Sadly, the lowest levels in each system aren’t especially difficult in either case. But thinking about it, a 6+ isn’t that easy for rolls with a low bonus. However, the big problem mathematically is that 18 is impossible to hit, unless I include other bonuses in the system. The big problem otherwise is the amount of derivation this system includes. It’s a direct rip off of the Cypher System, and that bugs me. Needs more thought.

Why I want to do something like this is to make threat creation easy. I mentioned this before. Both A! and DW are completely opaque in this regard, which I also mentioned before. (Does a little research in DW…) I was wrong about DW: It has a pretty open Monster Creation system. I just don’t care for it, just as I don’t care for a lot of the writing in that game. For a “quick” system, it seems awfully time consuming.


Yeah, more thinking.

I think I’m going to let things go there. I’m out of steam for this entry. I need to do some thinking on how to define threats.



The day after the last post was spent in the hospital, getting Mom’s transfusion. The day was pretty much wasted for any productivity. And apparently, I picked up something, as by the end of the week, I was sick. Last Sunday I spent making regular trips to the toilet between aches and pains, fever and chills. But by the time I got called to work Monday, I was feeling better and agreed to work. That was a mistake, as once I got off work, I spent the evening going to the bathroom in one night as much as I did all day Sunday. I continued to be sick until Wednesday morning, when things finally stabilized.

Feeling yucky, I did damned little with my week. By Thursday though, I’d managed to get some ideas down for new rules for armor, and to start a “playtest.”

The first idea was to simply eliminate the damage mitigation of armor. That’s simple and keeps to the original rules of Adventurers! I’m not really enthusiastic about this rule, as it’s basically D&D (armor preventing hits, as opposed to preventing damage), but this rules change allowed me to simply use my records of the original playtesting I’d done to test the idea. I simply ran the numbers a second time, without the armor saves. However, it made the greatsword power to reduce the target’s armor save (a power which seems to be common to all of the greatweapons) pretty useless, which I don’t consider a Bad Thing. I might run the numbers again with the greatweapon power reducing defense, but I haven’t decided for certain yet.

My initial impulse after writing these rules was that while it’s simple and actually works within the system, it just doesn’t feel right. Probably because in my mind, I’d rather have armor working as it does in reality, acting to prevent damage (“rhino-hiding” as it’s called in the SCA). Armor as hit prevention rankles me.

The other ideas I have are for an Apocalypse World style die-roll system (which is the basis of Dungeon World), but as I worked on it, I came to the conclusion that there would be additional systems I’d need. I’d have to start making decisions on how much damage weapons would generate, as well as how combat works in different situations, etc. I was starting to feel rules creep, I realize now. Again, it doesn’t feel right. A vague term, I know, but really the only way to describe how my mind is assessing the idea.

My last idea is based on the Cypher System, a series of games I’ve mentioned I really want to like, but can’t bring myself to like. The idea is dangers have a difficulty, and that determines the danger’s defense, attack, hit points, etc. Everything the danger does is a difficulty for the PCs to beat with dice rolls. That is essentially how DW works as well, so it’s a direction I kinda wanted to go anyway.

I realized as I built this rule that I’ll want to change skill resolution (which I’d originally written as DW-style), but I’m okay with that. While having a different resolution system for every aspect of the game is very D&D 1e, it’s definitely not the direction I want to go with my rules. I want a more standardized, unified set of systems.

I need to playtest the Cypher-style rules, and I’ll probably need to come up with a chart or something listing difficulties and what they mean. This was something I realized about both A! and DW: Both rely on bestiaries rather than give the DM rules for creating threats. On that level, they’re pretty opaque.

That’s pretty much all I have for now. I won’t be posting next week, as I’ll be taking a trip to the coast to see a reconstruction of one of the Spanish tall ships as it tours the Southern Coast of California.


Playtesting and Job Hunting

Where to begin…

Financial issues continue, as I only worked 5 hours last week. Basically, I never got called as work has dropped off and we now have a surplus of drivers.  Of course, the “feast and famine” effect kicked in, and I got nearly 30 hours this week. With the flakiness of my schedule, I’ve finally gotten off my ass and started looking for another job again. That’s pretty much a full-time job in and of itself.

On top of the in-flow issues, I paid my car registration online two weeks ago, and have yet to see the money taken from my account. I need to call the DMV, but I don’t know when I’ll get time for it, as tomorrow, I need to take Mom to the hospital for a transfusion, and that’s an all-day thing.

On the positive/gaming side, I managed to do some playtesting of Adventurers!, and I think the combat rules are a little broken. No, they’re a lot broken.

Just to test a combat, I ran a pair of characters with the same stats, same armor (heavy), but with different kit. One character had a one-handed sword and shield, one had a greatsword. I ran the combat three times, twice without skills, once with skills. I never used the game’s “Heroism Points,” as the way the characters were built, they wouldn’t have any. Basically, these were just exercises in how the system works, so I used no minis or tactics. It was two characters wailing on each other until one or the other fell. What I noticed was as follows:

  • Armor works okay, but it seems very flawed. Greatweaponss reduce armor rolls and add to damage when they hit, which pretty much made the armor of the shieldbearer useless, as he kept failing the reduction rolls and taking additional damage. However, the Armor Mastery skill was amazing, enabling the greatswordsman to prevent all the damage dealt by the shieldbearer on most hits. Only a couple of really bad defense rolls on the greatswordsman’s part, along with good rolls on the shieldbearer’s attacks, enabled the shieldbearer to do any damage in the final combat.
  • Shields are virtually worthless. It only activated once in about 20 rounds (when the skill was present, but had no impact), and didn’t prevent enough damage to be worth using. As expected, the shield is too passive for my tastes.
  • The greatsword seems like a superweapon, and since there are few differences between it and other greatweapons, I think it’s just a side effect of the combat rules. The flat bonus to damage and penalty to armor rolls is mentioned above. While the one-handed sword gave a bonus to hit (due to the character builds), the plus one to hit really didn’t sway the math enough to be as valuable as the flat damage bonus.
  • Crits can be devastating. Each character had nine hit points, and crits typically scored about 4 hit points, even more with the greatweapon, upwards of six hit points. The shieldbearer only one once, in the protracted twelve round combat, but lost the other two times. I don’t think a fourth combat is necessary: the math indicates the shieldbearer will likely lose.

I’m thinking I need to go to flat damage for weapons, with crits adding a small amount and no other damage, and armor changing to a flat damage reduction. I’ll need to figure out a new way to do defense as well, working on a way to include shields as an effective defense.

It’s late and I need to be up in the morning, so…


Researching Adventurers! and Armor

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had some financial issues, but I managed to pick up a number of the Adventurers! supplements/setting expansions and read them. I’ve enjoyed them, particularly their willingness to write new systems to fit the setting in question. However, I finally found some stuff I’m not real crazy about.

Armor and shields.

In A!, combat is handled as opposed rolls of 2d6 plus derived bonuses. Attack bonus is based on either Strength or Agility, and Defense is based on either Armor or Agility. Armor heavier than light armor has either option, but penalties based on weight. (See below.) If you roll doubles on your defense roll, your shield activates and you get to ignore one point of damage.

Further, depending on the weight of the armor, you can ignore a measure of damage. Damage absorption is handled kind of like armor in Warhammer minis games: roll a certain number or higher to reduce the damage by a certain amount. The armor chart gives stats as follows (AR means “Armor Rating”):

  • Light Armor     DEF Agl     AR: 5
  • Medium Armor     DEF 3/Agl-1     AR: 4
  • Heavy Armor     DEF 4/Agl-2     AR: 3-4: -1, 5-6: -2

So, armor both keeps you from getting hit as well as mitigating damage, and a shield is a very passive defense. The thing is, damage from an attack is determined from the attack roll, based on half the excess over the defense roll (rounded down) plus 1.

For example, an attacker with a +3 ATT rolls a total of 11, and the defender in medium armor rolls a total of 8, which means the attacker succeeds by three, so the damage is 2. If the defender had been wearing light or no armor, his defense roll might have been higher and prevented more damage. The defender now gets (basically) an armor save, and with medium armor, he can reduce the damage one point. If he had heavy armor, he could potentially reduce the damage to zero. Also, if he got lucky and rolled doubles on his defense roll (a one in six proposition, which isn’t really bad), his shield would activate, which also would prevent one damage.

(In fact, as I look at this, I’m realizing just how oddball this system is in this regard, as all light armor gets you is a very feeble armor save.)

I don’t like this much at all. The armor affects how much damage results from the single attack roll twice (once by affecting the attack roll difference, once by affecting the damage), and a shield is only moderately useful and totally passive. While in history, the armor mechanics make a certain sense, the shield rules aren’t very realistic or heroic. All the rolling, it seems to me, would totally bog down play.

Now, there are a couple of ways damage can be increased, such as critical hits (boxcars, which nets one additional point of damage), penetrating weapons (which work like shields, giving one additional point of damage on doubles), and great weapons (plus 1 damage and -1 AR), but these don’t really generate that much extra damage (2, as the two weapon specific rules are mutually exclusive). Now, you don’t have a crazy lot of hit points to begin with, usually in the ballpark of 7 at character creation, but the mechanics seem to favor the defender, a lot.

I think I need to take this on a test run before I make a final judgement, but these mechanics seem broken to me, and something I’m going to have to tinker with to correct.

Anyway, it’s Labor Day and I have other things to do today, like enjoying the holiday.


It’s Been a Month…

And I mean that in the “What a month it’s been” sort of way.

My personal life has pretty much overwhelmed my desire to do much of anything with gaming. I did a little tinkering with Adventurers! World (my codename for the game writing project at this point), but not enough to fill a thimble, really. I am thinking about replacing A!‘s Hero Point system with an experience point system more like the Cypher System‘s, which really just adds to the rules I was already heading towards. The idea is that XP can be used to buy re-rolls or bonuses to rolls. Really, that is simply combining two resources (as A! has hero points and experience points as separate pools), and I like the simplicity of that. I’d also add in GM Intrusions, because it’s such a brilliant way of manipulating the players and adding fun to the game and the story. A! also already has a fumble/critical system, but I think I’d expand it a little. The current system just uses snake eyes and boxcars, but I think I might expand it to all doubles.

Otherwise, I’ve been forcing my way through a book I found at one of the rental offices. It’s titled The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason. It took 50 pages for the prologue to finally become part of the story, and seemed to pick up. About 100 pages in, I realized that the authors have no sense of time, as a lot is happening in a very small number of hours. They’ve gone across the Princeton campus and through the town of Princeton, including a couple of meals and meetings, all in about six hours. Kinda reminds me of our old Vampire the Masquerade games that would have multiple sessions occupying a single night from sundown to sunrise.

That’s all I really have. I don’t feel like getting into my personal stuff, partly because I’ve been covering it on Facebook and partly because there are some things I can’t get into on Facebook that connect to unresolved issues that I won’t discuss here until they are resolved.


A Little Better This Week

Still feeling a little chore adjacent doing a post, but I felt I wanted to, so I’m doing. Last week, I didn’t feel like it, so I didn’t. I think there’s going to be more whim and less scheduling to future posts. Except in November when I do NaBloPoMo.

Haven’t Pokemon Go‘d in a few days. The weather’s been horrible (around 108 degrees during the day), and the particulate content of the air, thanks to the many fires around the Central Valley, make it miserable to get out. My allergies get activated, and I’m afraid I’ll get another of my endless colds if I push myself too hard. It’s bad enough that I cough sympathetically to my mom’s coughing, I don’t need a consistent cough of my own.

I got to talking about the Reincarnated campaign the other night with one of my long-time friend’s (Rob, the Kids’ dad) about the economy of the Murder God’s followers. I’ve been trying to figure out how a huge band of killers who disdain civilization would maintain a society, and a lot of that hinges on economy. I knew I wanted the base of the society to be the enslaved, but I wondered how to things worked above that. Eventually, our discussion came to the idea that the Murder Cultists have established an economy of fear. Overseers keep the slaves terrorized, and take most of the slaves products, leaving them with sustenance-levels of products, and distribute the rest based on whoever has them bullied into service. Above that, lesser warriors move up the chain through assassination or die. Fear of their target is all that keeps them in line.

Limited amounts of weapons and armor are made. The armorers are part of the system, acknowledging that only the faithful deserve more equipment, and they prove their faith by murdering the weak. But killing those weaker than you only gets you their fear, and while fear has it’s uses, fear can’t buy you respect like killing someone above you can. Of course, the powerful are wary of their subordinates, but if the powerful truly fear their lessers, they are unworthy of their position and their lives.

That’s all I have for tonight. Later.

What to write, what to write…

I’m not in the best of moods, so take this for what you will.

I’m tired of the puppy. She just pissed on the brand new carpet with no warning that she needed out. I’m the only one that even tries to discipline her, and that work is constantly undone by the other members of the household. I’m tired of being responsible for animals I didn’t bring into the house.

While everyone else in the world has been on Pokemon Go, I decided to try out the older game by Niantic, Ingress.I was just looking for something entertaining to do while getting some exercise. The local players are jerks, and my entertainment has been spoiled. All of the younger folk at my Thursday night game are doing Pokemon Go, and there doesn’t seem to be the douchebaggery in that game, so I’m thinking of making the switch, even though I have zero interest in Pokemon Go.

I have no idea why I keep trusting in players on the Internet. Every game out there has it’s early adopters, and those folks seem to all be assholes who trample anyone new who joins. The social elements of these games are pretty anti-social.

I wonder why I bother to do this blog any more. I get five visits a post, and I haven’t had a comment in months. I’m really not enthusiastic about writing it, it’s feeling like a chore, or just a place to vent. That’s why I blew off making an entry last week.

Maybe it’s just my mood tonight. I could gripe about how work has been giving me very few hours, or any of a number of other things. Why bother?

I think I’m done for tonight. I wanted to get something up, and this isn’t really what I wanted, but obviously it’s stuff that I needed out.

Anyway, I’m done for now. Later.

Lessons In Staying Off The Internet

So, over the last couple of weeks, I’ve managed to find a way to keep from being distracted by the Internet. That’s basically by not using it and doing other things. Amazing, no? Now that I’ve gotten past the sarcastic remarks, I can get into a little bit of depth. I’m going to try to keep things short, as usual. we’ll see how that works out this time.

I started rewriting Adventurers!, adding in a few minor details from Dungeon World. With the way Adventurers! works, the partial success of DW won’t work in combat. It could make a nice addition to other skill use, but has no real function in combat, as A! uses the difference in attack and defense rolls to determine damage. Otherwise, I realized that most of the stuff I’d want to add from DW was non-combat associated (except the use of six stats instead of three). Makes the rewrite a bit simpler.

To accomplish all of this, I’m using 3″x5″ cards. I started with writing a card comparing the rules systems for each different segment of the game. One card for each attribute’s associated skills as well. At this point, I’ve focused purely on game systems that affect characters, mainly creation and combat, as well as advancement. Once I had the two different systems outlined, I started in on writing notes on the fusion between the systems. By that point, I’d already determined that DW wouldn’t have as much impact as I’d originally thought.

Additionally, I picked up and started reading Microscope. I was going to use it with the group to create the history of the subregions of the local area, but I don’t think the kids would click with it. The Boy likes to be silly, and I think the Girl would be bored with the game. I’d love to run it with a full set of adults.

That’s really all I feel the need to comment on tonight. I think I’ve managed to keep this short and simple.


Media Immersion

So, for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been kind of immersing myself in storytelling media: Movies, TV, etc. This started partly because a good friend gave me access to her Netflix account so I could watch Voltron, and about the same time, Mom ended up in the hospital again. So, I’ve basically had the house to myself in the evenings. Some of what I’ve taken in has been stuff Mom wouldn’t appreciate (actually, most of it), while some she watched as well.

In all cases, while I’ve tried to watch it for the enjoyment, part of my mind has also examined the things I’ve viewed with a critical mind. Is the storytelling any good? Were the characters handled consistently? Do the writers have a clear idea of what they’re doing with this work?

So, here’s the stuff I’ve watched lately, and what I thought about it:

Voltron – Legendary Defender: I really enjoyed this one a lot. They’ve handled it like the Thundercats of a few years ago, giving the series a total reboot. Voltron Force isn’t part of the canon, and in fact the original GoLion is more of the source, it seems.

I really enjoyed the show. There are subtle hints as to future plot events that play out naturally. In fact, the entire series is handled rather organically. I got no sense of the plot being forced (although it is strange that the Galactic Garrison cadets that form the Voltron team don’t seem in a real hurry to return to Earth), but there are plot holes that are pretty easily handwaved (like the aforementioned AWOL situation). The villains are cool and powerful and somewhat creepy at the upper ends. I’m looking forward to the next season already.

Penny Dreadful: I picked up the DVDs of the first season a while back, and I actually watched the first couple of episodes before Mom was sent to the hospital. Now that I’ve completed the series, I can say I’ll happily give the disk set away.

The idea behind the series is a kind of “What if…?” focusing on the kinds of stories that were present in the Penny Dreadfuls of Victorian England. Those were cheap, tawdry novellas combining crime, sex and the occult. The main character is Mina Harker’s father, Sir Malcolm Murray, with Jonathan Harker playing no part in the story. Murray is a “Great White Hunter” who is determined to free his daughter from the grips of Dracula, who never appears in this season, but rather is represented by another, Nosferatu-like character (probably because the writers realized they misplayed the Count).

I felt this series was directionless and focused too much on being a “cable show.” There is a lot of sex and violence in the series, for no apparent reason than to titillate or terrify the audience, and failing to do either. Related: Apparently, absinthe had the power to make straight men gay for the night. (I have no problems with homosexual or bisexual behavior, as long as it makes sense for the character; the scene in question did not.)

The quest for Mina is eventually completed, but it seemed overly drawn out, almost forgotten most of the time, with constant delays and misdirections (usually for sex or violence), until the final episode of the season. Then, it seemed like the creators decided they should wrap up the main plot unless the series was not picked up and rushed the ending.

All in all, I think the series didn’t deserve the second and third seasons, and I am not surprised it was cancelled before the fourth. I simply can’t recommend the series.

Brain Dead, S01E01: Another series that doesn’t seem to know what it is. The commercials suggested the series was to be a comedy, but the creators (who created The Good Wife, a very serious show) seem to want a level of drama to the series. The series revolves around why politics are so crazy in 2016, and the Macguffin that’s causing the insanity is some space ants that came to Earth in an asteroid that crashed in Russia. Every time the bugs seem to be influencing someone, our heroine hears All I Want Is You by The Cars. This is more jarring than funny, and the exploding head (handled in the usual “off camera” manner) only serves to make the series more grim. Without a direction, I can’t see the series lasting long.

Person of Interest, Final Season: Fucking brilliant! The storytelling this season has been focused and well thought out. The battle between the Machine and crew and Northern Lights and Samaritan seemed well done and believable, for the most part. The stoicism of Reese and Shaw was shown to be a veneer each character used to hide their true feelings (and yes, I know Shaw was supposed to be a sociopath; she maybe the diagnosis was wrong, or maybe she grew as part of her character arc). The finale, with the final fate of the characters revealed, had every character meeting a logical fate.

I admit that my love of the subject matter in the cases of Voltron and PoI may be influencing my opinions, but I feel that if either of these franchises had produced crap, I would see it for such. Of course, the above was my opinions, and your mileage may vary.

I’ve been tinkering with Dungeon World and the two-page RPG Adventurers! RPG. Last Saturday, I was at my FLGS talking to an old friend who had more experience with DW, and I was explaining my issues with DW‘s lack of organization. I failed to convey to him that I am interested in tinkering with the system on a pretty deep level. When the subsystems are scattered throughout the book, it can be difficult tinker with things and know how it will affect balance and game play. But he did follow my rambling enough to convey to me how DW is not good for long running campaigns like we tend to run in our home game.

So, later that day, as I was looking at adding things from A! into DW, eventually I realized:

Why use Dungeon World as the core system and not Adventurers!?

And the more I’ve thought about it, the more I liked the idea. I was looking at eliminating classes and the pseudo-Vancian spellcasting of DW, and I realized it would be easier to add the things I like out of DW and mix them into A!. I think this is going to result in rebuilding the A! system, as it is a three attribute system, and I like having six attributes (especially as they use two physical stats and one mental, like the Cypher System), as well as some other minor issues. But I think I can work it out pretty easily. And then again, I may be kidding myself. I think two systems with the same dice mechanic can be mixed-and-matched in some respects and work together.

That’s pretty much all I’ve got for this round. Later.