My eyes are on fire, having been worked hard today, so I’m going to try to not be so long winded as I can be. I’d rather have a larger word count, but it’s quality, not quantity that important.
Once I got the idea in my head that I needed other worlds for the Reincarnated campaign, I decided to read the Plane Shift Zendikar file WotC made available a couple of weeks ago. Basically, the file takes one of the worlds of Magic the Gathering TCG and gives some background and racial mechanics for use with D&D 5e. The background was what sparked my interest. I was looking for how the world was structured in relation to the five types of mana in MTG, what influence the plane-devouring Eldrazi had on the world, what the Eldrazi themselves are like, etc.
After reading the digital file, I found it points the reader towards an artbook on the Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch MTG releases. So, I went to the local Barnes and Noble and picked up the artbook. I’ve read some snippets here and there, and what really interested me was the idea that over the millennia since the Eldrazi were imprisoned, the three main creatures had become worshipped as gods, disassociated from the monsters they spawned. They become heroes in the eyes of the descendents of their victims. I thought that was a great twist on the history of the world. The kind of twist that it might be interesting to have the PCs in the Reincarnated setting have to deal with.
That is, what if the gods the PCs worshipped and worked for so long ago are now reviled for abandoning their followers to the horrors of the invader gods. This makes for a more interesting origin for the dark elves and goblins than I originally had, which was simply the pressures of wars against immigrants. That still has an appeal, especially with modern politics, but it’s almost too close to reality.
That last bit was also suggested by some of the rules in the PSZ PDF. Each race is presented in that file as a partial set of stats, but each non-human character must decide on a tribe or philosophy they are part of, which completes the race by providing the missing pieces. For example, all elves have +2 Wisdom, but the Tajuru Nation elves get +1 Charisma and the Joraga Nation elves get +1 Dexterity. There are more special items in each division, but this gives you a general idea of the importance of the subraces. Each race is also associated to a certain type of mana, which suggests personality traits and other roleplay elements.
I’d like to incorporate some of these ideas into the Reincarnated setting, as I think that world might benefit from some of these sorts of ideas. The mana flavor idea is what I want from the worlds beyond the world of the Reincarnated. I had originally had an idea for humans to have different races based on locations of origins as an explanation for skin colors and such.I have no idea if I’ll stick with that, and in fact I probably won’t. But I do know I want to get away from some of the tropes of fantasy that currently exist in gaming (like the very white high elves and very black dark elves). I’d like to more the route of the elves of Warcraft (the Night Elves are human allies and blue skinned, and the Blood Elves are orc allies and European in appearance), but different.
Yeah, so much for not being long-winded. I’ve written far more than I wanted here. I think this is a good thing, but my eyes are killing me. Time to go.
Last time was a bit of a pity party, as I look back on it. I wrote that I thought I was depressed, and I might still be. But I’m feeling better now. I can’t tell you why, though. Nothing has really changed in the household, except my sister’s stress level, which seems to have gone down a bit. She took a short “stay-cation,” which sees to have helped her. And that helps me some. And the puppy is a little less rambunctious (or she was until tonight, in which she seems to want to test me), which also helps.
The Boy and I went to the local event for International Tabletop Day, sponsored by the FLGS, Crazy Squirrel Game Store. We had a good deal of fun, even though we couldn’t stay all day. Maybe because we couldn’t stay all day. Maybe that made us put in more effort towards just enjoying ourselves. One of the other good things to come out of the day was a game called Loot ‘N’ Run. I was immediately taken by it, and picked it up during my Thursday Night D&D game. The Boy and I played a couple of times that day, and last night before our home game we played a number of times. We’ve had a load of fun with it. It plays fast and is simple to play. I recommend it, heartily.
I had forgotten last time that I’d done some map sketching for the Reincarnated campaign. I don’t think I’m going to use the sketching I did at this point. It adds some mythology to the world that I don’t believe I want to deal with. I’d rather keep things simple, and as I’m thinking like Michael Moorcock in regards to my storytelling (who never really deals with creation myths), I think not going that far, which this map idea does, is probably a good idea. Yeah, that was a horrible sentence. To simplify, my inspiration wouldn’t do something like this for a map, so I won’t.
I’ve gotten absolutely no farther with 13th Age. I just haven’t been especially inspired to read it. Not sure if it’s the d20-based system, or just that I have so many other things to read, but I just haven’t pursued it further. And I’ve been considering adding more to the reading list, re-reading the Chronicles of Corum, the other three Corum books by Moorcock in which Corum is mistaken for Lugh Silverhand of Celtic Myth. I’d mention a year or so ago re-reading The Swords Trilogy. I prefer those, as they storytelling is more fantastic, and Corum survives the series. Yes, Corum is dead by the end of his eponymous chronicles, and it seemed a bit of a downer. But the subject matter (invading gods) is in line with some of the ideas I have for the Reincarnated campaign. Just not sure I want to dig into books I didn’t like so long ago.
On the other hand, I’ve been thinking about doing some deconstruction on Dungeon World. I was reading a little about the system somewhere (a Wiki/a page somewhere, I think), which had some of what I want. I really want to get in and figure out what the bare minimum of the system is, and how I can maybe try building something more personalized to the settings I want to explore. Stripping it all the way down to the bone like I’m thinking might be going too far, and may be a lot more work than I need to do, but I feel the need to do it, regardless. The Apocalypse System is fascinating to me, and I think I need to indulge that. That may also be what’s blocking me on reading 13th Age.
In fact, I was approached by the owner of CSGS a while back about a D&D “Summer Camp” for kids at the store, and I think if I did it, I’d use Dungeon World for it’s simplicity. I don’t know that I can do the “Summer Camp” any more, with the responsibilities to the house, but the idea is still in mind, and Dungeon World is a possible game for it. It doesn’t sell as many D&D books, directly, but it’s what I’d like to try.
Well, outside of a quick comment on Pinterest giving me ideas for things in the StarSea as well as the Reincarnated campaign, shaking up my creativity and making me realize I can be a bit hidebound, I’m pretty much done for tonight. I’m hoping things continue forward like they have the past couple of weeks (with things feeling better). Time will tell.
That’s it. Later.
Last week ended up being pretty rocky. Somewhat hellish, even. After the fire and my last post, we took my mother to the hospital again, as she’d been having bathroom issues since Friday. She was diagnosed with C-Diff again. On the upside, she was released the same day. The downside was I had to go retrieve her. Wednesday as pretty decent, as I worked. I was lead to believe I’d be off early, but I ended up finally checking out two hours later. Pay is great, but I was looking forward to getting out early. Thursday was okay until game time, but then I learned something else about technology that I didn’t know before: Group texts require your cellular data to be on. I usually leave mine off to keep usage down. So, I ended up sitting at the FLGS for an hour and a half because I didn’t realize that a text cancelling the game had been sent 24 hours previous. The week ended with having to put one of our dogs to sleep as she had advanced congestive heart failure. On top, Saturday morning, as I was leaving for the Kids D&D game I run, my laptop crashed on shut down, and my Launch Services crashed again, forcing me to run the script again.
The past couple of days have been better. I’ve started reading through 13th Age a bit, and a little other poking around. I did some thinking about the status symbols of the Raiders in the Reincarnated campaign, and I think I’ll be basing it on weapons and armor. A slave has no weapons, a freed man has a knife, a full warrior has an axe, an overseer has a whip, and powerful warriors have armor in addition to their weapons. This idea came from thinking about the economy the raiders might have substituted for a coinage system, core to civilization, which they would see as a sign of weakness. I need more than this, but it’s a start.
That’s really all I have time for tonight. I got involved in a long conversation on Facebook regarding how magic might change a medieval society, and got distracted from this, but it was a good conversation.
So, I have my laptop fixed. It took all week, but I finally found a forum with the answers I needed.
First thing I did was backup my files. That took quite a while, as I have so many files locally. Then I scanned both my old laptop and the new one with Norton Antivirus. I followed that up with a Mac specific program called ClamXav. Norton proved what I paid for it (free app), but ClamXav found a couple of virii on each box, which I quarantined. However, that didn’t fix things. Each scan took a day or more, again because of the number of files I keep locally.
Ultimately, I did a search for the specific phrasing of the error, and found some forums that told me what I needed to know. Saturday night, while watching The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (I haven’t seen any of the other movies, and I now don’t feel I need to), I managed to execute the cure, a command-line process kill, and fix things. Apparently, since they introduced OS 10.11, there has been an issue with the Launch Services commands. When LS croaks, it hoses the Applications and Utilities folders. The apps are still there, but the OS can’t find them. But the command-line Terminal is an app, so you have to trick the OS into showing you an app, and they’ll run. Apple seems to be aware of this problem, but doesn’t seem to be doing anything about correcting the problem. And after releasing an update that hosed USB ports, or something like that, I’m still in a state of lost faith where Apple is concerned.
I managed to start getting things back up and running yesterday before bed. Some of my apps were screwed up by this, like not showing icons and such. When I didn’t complete things by 1AM, I went to bed. About 2:30, I was awakened by my frantic sister. There was a fire in our side lot, and I became a firefighter in short order.
I’ve written quite a bit on my Facebook about it, and if you’re a friend, you can read that there. I’m fatigued of it, at this point, but I expect I’ll tell the stoies a couple of more times this week. Once at work (as I didn’t work today; thank you, dumb luck), once for my Thursday night crew, and once more Friday night with the kids.
Between all the other crap of last week, I read a little of 13th Age, as I’m getting to The Tome Show 13th Age episodes from last year’s GenCon. Just an option I’m considering for the Reincarnated campaign. Cypher is also in the running, but I’m really not very enthusiastic about that option.
But that’s all for this week. Even after a nap this afternoon, I’m thinking I’ll be in bed as early as possible. So…
Today has been a pretty shitty day, and it has erased all memory of anything I might have posted about today. My new laptop, that I’ve only had up and running for exactly two months, has developed a psychotic system problem that makes no sense, and I’m going to have to try to do a clean install, again.
My old laptop, which I’m using to write this, was frozen on January 26th. I took my new laptop to our D&D game last night, and it was working fine when I left. I got home and went to bed. When I started it up this morning, the Finder (Apple’s file system app) was failing to find any of my apps. Files are fine, but apps are all broken or missing. Trying to use the Finder to copy off my files failed, as it kept trying initiate an app that has nothing to do with copying files. So I had to set up an external drive to copy my files onto another external hard drive, so I can later create yet another drive to clean install the OS and restore from this computer, again.
Two months after upgrading from OS 10.6.8 to 10.11.2, and FIVE DAYS after upgrading to 10.11.4, and the system has crashed completely.
It used to be that Apple products “just worked.” In the past two months, I’ve had so many problems that I’m considering never buying another Apple product. Their products are becoming so convoluted that they’re impossible to use.
But right now, I can’t afford to go out and replace everything again after two months time. And I shouldn’t have to. But right now, Tim Cook and crew could go piss up a rope, as far as I’m concerned.
Last I posted, I thought I’d have time to do some stuff while caring for my mother. Yeah, right. Taking care of an elderly person, especially when they have intestinal bugs is a full time job. Made even worse when they can’t get around well. There’s lots of clean up. And fetching and carrying. So, it becomes impossible to focus on anything for long.
Worse, after seeing all the cool stuff the other artist in my Thursday night game was finding on Pinterest, I signed up too, and spent a couple of nights running down those rabbit holes, AKA wasting time.
I’ve barely given two thoughts to the StarSea in the past few weeks, outside of finding images on Pinterest that are appropriate. I think that setting is going to be on vacation considerably longer than I had thought. I need something to prime that pump again before I’ll get back to it.
I haven’t really done much more mechanically with the Reincarnated setting, either. I’ve looked at a couple of small press games, but haven’t settled on anything yet. What I have settled on the idea that I want some level of tactical combat. The idea has crept into my head involves all the foes the PCs face being represented on the battlefield by miniatures from Games Workshop. This idea got started since part of my inspiration is Age of Sigmar. The idea of wererats as enemies, and thus the mythology of their status as a curse of the moon goddess, was inspired by having a collection of Skaven. So, I’ve been poking around for systems that include a tactical option that aren’t D&D, past or present. I mentioned Bare Bones Fantasy last post, and it allows for “multiclassing,” so it’s high on my list for now. The tactical rules for Fate in War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus would be useful, but I don’t know how well the kids would handle the Fate System.
Otherwise, I’ve managed to find some other GW figures on sale at the local Hobby Town, and I’ve started building them and others in my collection. I’ve gotten a few evenings to build figures, and I’m hoping to keep it up. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy building minis.
That’s really all I’ve accumulated over the past few weeks. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get back to posting more regularly again.
Posting a day late because there was no pressure to have things posted last night. That’s because my mother is finally home, and I have to stay home with her for a week. Usually, I try to get the blog post done before Monday, since Monday is usually a working day. I fail a lot, but I try. That’s the plan. Now, all my plans are disrupted for a week or so.
I pretty much have an intro to the Reincarnated world. I need to find a better name for them, but that’s always a persistent problem for me. I already know I need to edit the intro, as I think it’s probably too long. I want to keep it under one page, and it so far only covers the history of the world up to the point the PCs die the first time.
Yeah, the first time. I’m going to use the magic of the reincarnation as a system of checks and balances. I got the idea from interviews with Keith Baker as he was discussing his new game, Phoenix: Dawn Command. In P:DC, the PCs are phoenixes, people who resurrect every time they die, which is also used as the leveling system. However, eventually the resurrection goes awry and the characters finally move on to their final rest. The quality of the character’s death determines how they advance, and the more meaningful the death, the better.
I like the idea of having limited numbers of resurrections for PCs, loathe as I am to kill PCs. I think having a system to encourage heroic death would be a good thing, while giving the PCs a reason not to throw themselves into stupid deaths is a good idea. What I plan on adding in is that the PCs suffer some derangements from their resurrections, eventually loosing their identities and becoming psychopathic, angelic killing machines.
I did finally finish Dungeon World and the attendant files. That’s the first game book I’ve finished reading cover to cover in a while. I’ve also been reading some of the setting books I got a while back from Bundle of Holding. Something clicked in my head that as it stands, my players will miss tactical combat. I will too, for that matter. Part of my plan has been to find a use for some minis I’ve purchased and didn’t know what to do with (the Skaven figures in the Warhammer Fantasy Battle Isle of Blood starter and the Khornate warriors in the Age of Sigmar starter), so I’d like something with a tactical system. I think one could be added to Dungeon World easily enough, although I also know that goes against the concept of the game.
I also want something that allows for easier multi-classing, which is rare in Dungeon World. I want my elven warrior-mages and such. That means either creating my own classes or manipulating the existing ones if I choose to use DW, or I go with another system. I got out Bare Bones Fantasy to look at, and it could work, as it gives me the things I want listed above. I have time to consider, and I might even do a few sessions in a number of different rules sets.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. I’ve got to be up for nursing duty in the morning.