Monthly Archives: August 2014

Another Non-post Post

Since I posted so late last week, I’ve got little to nothing to post this week. But, I want to keep up the habit of posting weekly, so here goes.

I worked Wednesday last week, but I worked in one of the busier offices and was basically running all day. That was followed by Living Forgotten Realms in the evening.

Thursday, I chauffeured for my mother, and in the midst of that had my car break down. I then proceeded to stress out over it and got no sleep.

Friday, I dealt with the car. Turns out car batteries don’t like the kind of heat we’ve had here locally this summer (many days over 104°). I did also talk to the kids about the “D&D for Kids session from Hell,” and got it confirmed that even they felt that the adventure was too slow because I ran too many monsters and NPCs. Live and learn.

Saturday, I worked and drive a car up to SFO, and on the way back, got rear-ended in the Morgan Hill Taco Bell parking lot by an insulting lady.

Sunday, I went and saw GotG again, with The Boy. While he was seeing it for the first time, and asking questions about the plot (he has trouble waiting for the plot to unfold and wants to jump ahead, ALL OF THE DAMNED TIME), I was looking for some of the Easter Eggs I missed the first time.

I worked again today, and it was a lot of short runs, so I didn’t bother to type. I have tomorrow off, so I’m planning on focusing on getting more of my old notes typed up.

That’s it. Later.


A Week of Ups and Downs

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.

A New Edition of “Shower Thoughts.”

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.


Took a week off…

Not much to report this week. I’ve more been watching my behavior than anything else. I had most of the week off, but I was spending it A) writing the last post, B) keeping a promise to help my friends’ kids clean their rooms, and C) trying to recover and catch up on other things that got left behind while I was dealing with other stuff, like work.

I did do one gaming experiment on LFR night (Wednesday). I’ve been playing a Tiefling Warlord/Wizard named Morthos. Morthos has never had the best of luck, never being able to execute his First Level Daily power successfully until 4th level, and then getting a critical hit and killing the foe so that the secondary effect didn’t take effect. He died and was raised, and I decided he came back dark, tainted by the Shadowfell. My rolls for him generally suck, and it’s gotten worse recently. It’s been truly frustrating that I couldn’t seem to roll consistently, unless it’s consistently under 10. From what little I could see, my rolls for him aren’t average. I mentioned this at one of our Afters sessions a few weeks ago, calling the character cursed. One of our players is a civil engineer, and pretty science-grounded, and he… disagreed. 🙂

We got to a break between adventures, and I decided to run a fighter I’d run before. Xarthal Gark is a half-orc great weaponmaster with a greataxe. His catch phrase could be “Don’t run; you’ll only die tired.” Lots of mark-and-chase powers, as well as a few blasts. Outside of getting a little ahead of his allies and getting hammered for it (about 60 points in the first round), Xarthal did well. My rolls are much better, consistently being closer to 10 than not. I got no crits the other night, but I also didn’t miss often, and when I did, I still did damage thanks to a couple of wise power choices. And unlike Morthos, with whom I change dice frequently throughout the night, I never changed dice. I switch dice after more than two rolls under 5, and I’ve had nights in which I’ve discarded all 7 of my d20s.

So, my conclusion is that Morthos is indeed “cursed.” I have no idea if it’s something about my ideology of the characters making me handle my dice differently or what. I’m going to finish this adventure with Xarthal, and may continue with him for a while. I know our paladin wants me to change back to Morthos immediately (I’m sure he thinks I step on his toes), But I’m sticking with the character for a little while. After this scenario, I’m not sure what I’ll do. Will I bring back Morthos, or will he fade into the shadows, never to be seen again? I’m not sure right now.

That’s about it. Like I sad before, I have little else to report. Later.