Monthly Archives: November 2014

NaBloPoMo 2014 – Entry 29 – Penultimate Post

Last night, I came home to Mom in her stand-assist chair. She was kinda out of it, as she’d been asleep when I walked through the door, but fine this morning. Today included some basic training in intravenous drug administration, as she has another access for the antibiotics she’s been prescribed.

This evening, the Kids, their dad and I played another game of Pandemic. Our record remains Us 0, Pandemic 2. We were much closer to beating it than we were in the last game, losing to a lack of Player Cards. [Shakes fist] “Next time, Pandemic! Next time!”

I started reading the book I mentioned last time, Bloodstained Stars. I’ve yet to find any gaming information, but so far it looks like a really entertaining read, which is just as good.

The Smalls and I are closing out our day with X-Men: Days of Future Past. Interesting mix of X-Stories.

That’s it for today. Later.

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NaBloPoMo 2014 – Entry 28 – The Star Wars

So, while downloading the iOS 8.1.1 update this morning, I pretty much screamed through The Star Wars, the original rough-draft screenplay of Star Wars, one of the graphic novels I got a couple of months ago.

Quite the different story. Luke Skywalker takes the place of Obi-Wan Kenobi, being the elder mentor figure to Anniken Starkiller. The Jedi-Bendu battle the Sith, but Darth Vader isn’t one of them. In fact, the prominent Sith, Prince Valoran, eventually joins Anniken against Darth Vader. Wookies take the place of Ewoks, as bits of the original three movies are scattered about the screenplay.

It was a very interesting and different “galaxy far, far away.”

I could even see this series having an influence on the StarSea. The factional differences were similar to my own, with the Sith and the Jedi-Bendu being more a pair of sects of the same cult, rather than two different groups who came about separately but seem naturally at odds. (Of course, some of the other Dark Horse canon has established that the Sith are a branch off the Jedi created by the Rakatan Empire.) The graphic novel includes some cool designs for the equipment of that variant universe, which I’d like to garner some inspiration from.


I also picked up a book on the FLGS’s Black Friday bargain table for the Burning Empires game, a Burning Wheel variant set in Christopher Moeller’s Iron Empires comic series. The book is called Bloodstained Stars: An Old Warrior’s Meditations on the Art of Killing in the Iron Empires, Addressed to My Most Warlike Prince and has been on my wish list for a while. I’m not sure how much game info is in the book, as it mostly seems to be a manuscript written within the setting describing: the Iron Empires themselves and their enemies; how spaceships work and conduct battle; armies, their equipment and said usage; and general tactics and warfare in the Iron Empires. It looks like it could be a good template for writing up a setting book, or at least a book or a set of chapter on the military of the StarSea, which will be one of the main functions of the orders.


That’s about all I can think of to write about for today. So…

Later.

 

 

NaBloPoMo 2014 – Entry 27 – No Title

I went with “No Title” as today had nothing good to report, other than my irritation. Tylenol PM had the desired effect: I relaxed enough for the sore muscles to relax and relieve my sore body. However, I also slept until 2:45PM, or thereabouts. I barely saw any sun, and that was what came through my bedroom curtains. We’ll see if I can get to sleep tonight at a reasonable hour, or if I’ll be awake all night.


Mom didn’t come home from the hospital yet, and pretty irritated at this. When she first went into renal failure, she went to the hospital for a week and was kept in bed to the point we had to take her back, and from there into a rehabilitation center for a month. We did that with my father, and he never came home. Never mind that Dad’s problems had a different source, it scared us a bit to do that. We learned at that time that the hospital probably got fined for that. They aren’t supposed to release patients worse than when they came in.

Since that’s probably in her record now, when she gets these infections, they keep her for a long time, usually a week. She wanted to be home for Thanksgiving, she told them that, and from what my sister observed, she was probably in physical condition to come home. But to cover their asses (or at least that’s what it feels like), they’re keeping her at least until tomorrow. There is some bullshit about maybe releasing her with out giving her dialysis and thus sending her home so she is forced to return to the center the same day (which is in the same complex), but we don’t know if they’ll be that stupid (although, considering their track record, it seems likely).

Because she wasn’t home, we didn’t do a real Thanksgiving dinner. That makes me a bit resentful. Should I be thankful she’s still alive? Definitely. On the other hand, it just feels like they are covering their asses. It’s annoying to feel she can’t be here because of bureaucratic bullshit.


I started The Star Wars (the graphic novel based on Lucas’s original screen rough-draft screenplay) after I finished that last novel. I’m now going to go in and read some more of it and try to get to bed before too late.

Later.

 

NaBloPoMo 2014 – Entry 26 – Sofa King Tired

Long day. Work was a drive to SFO. That was easy; getting out of the City was a bear. 101 Southbound was pretty crowded, with stop-and -go traffic. Had to stop in Merced (which means backtracking) before coming home. 99 from Fairmead (just South of the 152 connector to 99) was a crawl. Got off in Madera and made better time on the backroads into town. Started at 7:30, off at 6PM exactly.

D&D was played immediately thereafter, then Afters, and now I’m home.

My neck and shoulders have been achy all day, so now I’m going to take some Tylenol PM and hope the muscles relax and let me sleep.

Later.

NaBloPoMo 2014 – Entry 25 – Life Slaps You Sometimes

Last night, I finally finished The Dragon In The Sword, and was mightily disappointed. I forgot that by the point this book was published (1986), it seems Mr. Moorcock had come to the conclusion that his fans were detached from reality. Both this novel and another I’d read about the same time (The War Hound and the World’s Pain) included a none too subtle message at the end that these characters exist in fantasy worlds and that real life should be embraced. War Hound was particularly blunt with this message.

It seems odd to me that a man who’d made his living off of people buying his fantastic stories should admonish his readers to basically not buy his books. Considering that he wrote more novels of Elric over the years, the warnings seem disingenuous. Admittedly, it seems John Daker (AKA Erekosë) is Michael Moorcock (same birth year, same birth city, etc.), but I still was disappointed that the end of this book contradicts material about the same character (his reunion with his lost love and their demise is detailed in another novel). It more seems he’s dealing with his own issues, especially as Daker is said to be married in the first novel, and then talks about finding his lost love on our Earth, ignoring that marriage even exists. I am aware that Moorcock divorced at some point, so maybe this is a hint of his personal life. Either way, I pretty much hated the end of the series. That won’t stop me from reading others by him, but I’m not happy with this book, and I ready to move on to something else.


While driving today, I was listening to the Satyrsphere, and one of the Mystery Musicals had me sobbing and crying to the point I could hardly see. I was blown away by how many different levels this song hit me, both good and bad. I see myself in this song, although after my reaction today, I think it will be a while before I listen to it again. I hope you enjoy Fight the Dragons from Big Fish the Musical:


That’s it for tonight. I drive again tomorrow. I’m hoping for a LFR tomorrow night, but I’m not holding my breath. Here’s hoping for a good day. Later.

 

NaBloPoMo 2014 – Entry 24 – More Research

Worked today and will be working tomorrow. After a few weeks of crappy checks, I’m going to have at least one pretty good one. Probably not full time levels, but not bad.

Mom’s infection was caught pretty early, so it looks like she’ll be home for Thanksgiving. Something to be thankful for.

Dug into some of the Wikipedia research I’d been doing into knighthood and the orders of old. A lot of lists of orders and the pretty minor distinctions between those of eld. Lots of extremely boring stuff. I haven’t quite gotten to the Teutonic Knights yet, but I’m hoping there will be some good stuff there, as they ruled a chunk of territory in Northeastern Europe around Prussia for a while. That will hopefully give me more idea of how the orders of the StarSea will operate.

Well, working tomorrow means bedtime now. Later.

NaBloPoMo 2014 – Entry 23 – Ugh.

Got home around 3AM after the game, and I’m surprised I wasn’t more tired. It took a while to get to sleep, but once I did, I slept until nearly 1PM. I spent the afternoon trying to get more of The Dragon in the Sword read. I really want it to be done. It’s really dragged along, but now that I’m within the last 50 pages, it’s finally picking up.

By the time I got up, my mother had left for dialysis. The dialysis center needed to change her schedule to accommodate the holiday next week. When she got home, she complained of being cold. Within an hour, we’d figured out she was sick and needed to go to the hospital.

This time it seems likely it’s sourced in her “sidecar.” Neuropathy, a side effect of diabetes, causes muscles to pull incorrectly, which causes bones to shift from their proper alignments. In Mom’s case, the metatarsals of her little toe on her left foot sticks out now, creating a lump on the outside of her left sole. That rubs and can get an ulcer. We noticed this Tuesday, and Thursday she was at the podiatrist, who debrided that day. However, as her left foot was warmer to the touch than the rest of her, it seems likely that’s where the infection is.

Hopefully, we’ll have her back home by Thanksgiving, but I’m not counting on it. They usually have her in the hospital for about a week every time she gets an infection like this. She’s had quite a few in the past couple of years.

That’s all I’ve got. I work tomorrow. I’m supposing since Thanksgiving is the biggest time of travel across the US, the rental company I work for is needing me to be driving again after working two days already this pay period (mine are Fridays to Thursday, with weekly paychecks). More money in my pocket for Christmas, I guess. Anyway…

Later.

NaBloPoMo 2014 – Entry 22 – 200th POST! D&D Night, Finally.

Tonight, we are playing our home game of D&D 4e. Our last game was cancelled, and my weekly LFR has been spotty the past few weeks. It’s good to get a chance to actually play again.

Not that this is anything special to some, but I witnessed something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before: A plane flying over the clouds. Work today included a drive up to SFO. While it was rainy on the way up, it was fairly clear near the airport. I heard a plane over head, looked up, and saw a plane climbing through the spotty clouds. It was a very interesting sight.

I need to get back to the game. Later.

NaBloPoMo 2014 – Entry 21 – No Time!

Started research on knighthood and it’s origins. Seems there was some influence on the concept from the Middle East, and not crusaders, but their Muslim opposition. Very interesting stuff. And not unique to Europe. Will need to boil down for the StarSea.

Had a really cool dream this morning that seemed like a cool game. Groups of outlaw heroes who kidnap those who hunt them, show their oppressors their true colors, then set up a test in which the outlaws are in danger. If the above-board hero is willing to sacrifice himself to save his enemies, he can be trusted and asked to join up. If not, he’s sent on his way. Seemed like a great, if flawed, set up for a game.

Worked all day. Will be working tomorrow. Need to get to bed. Later.

NaBloPoMo 2014 – Entry 20 – d20s and Cypher

I’m trying to do the “No Shave November.” I’m trimming the chin and moustache to try to match length with the jowls, but I just don’t think it’s going to work out. I have a thin beard on the jowls, as well as some major bald spots, so I’m thinking this beard isn’t going to work out. *Sigh.*


So, my shower thinking was about the d20 post the other day. I have to admit I think the Cypher System is probably the best application of the d20 in any system. However, I took to time to find another d20 system I knew of that I wanted to examine.

After the post, I managed to hunt up my Traveller: The New Era, Game Design Workshop’s attempt to revitalize the Traveller system back in the ’90s, after MegaTraveller didn’t work out. That system runs off the same 2d6-1 rolled stats. Those stats are added straight to a skill rating to determine an “asset.” Assets determine the roll needed to succeed, rolling low being better. The asset is multiplied by 4 or 2 for easier tasks, while harder tasks are handled by division by the same numbers. For example, say I want to pick up an object. My Constitution is 6 (average) and my Climbing is 3, my Climbing Asset is 9. An Easy Climbing task is 36 or less on a d20 (guaranteed success), an Average task is 18 or less (a 90% chance), a Difficult task is 9 or less (45%), a Formidable task is 4 or less (20%), and Impossible tasks being a 2 or less (10%). A raw CON task would be 24/12/6/3/1. The game cautions GMs about how difficult a stat-only could be overwhelming for a party because of these number.

Looking at this, I thought it was a bit too easy for characters to succeed, but it is predictable and the numbers don’t look that crazy to me. The Easy number might make those rolls too easy, but I think it’s tolerable math.


The Cypher System works on a roll high system, but it is admittedly a simple, easy-to-use system. The GM sets a difficulty between 1 and 10. Skill training and other modifiers draw the difficulty down, as well as players using Effort (basically hit points). The final resulting Difficulty is multiplied by three and that’s the number that must be exceeded on a d20, with 18, 19, and 20 getting bonus results, and one on the die creating a “GM Intrusion,” an opportunity for the GM to mess with the characters, within reason. Yes, at Difficulty 10, the players must use Effort or have skill to have a real hope of affecting the target or beating the obstruction. In example videos, Difficulty 3 gets used, a lot (more, in my opinion, than necessary). This will give you pretty predictable results, both for the GM and the players.

I like the system, but I’m now finding the “special numbers” a throwback ruling, and I was simply feeling that creating the StarSea in the Cypher System was going to take more work than I want to put in, and not result in the more freeform feel to the game I think I can achieve by using Fate.


I really don’t have much else going on today, so I’m going to call it a post for tonight. Later.