Monthly Archives: February 2015

What’s that I hear? A grinding stop, maybe?

Virtually nothing to report on StarSea. Did a little editing Friday, but that’s about it.

I’ve been distracted by a lot of things this week. Yard work, chauffeuring, work, keeping up Facebook (and that’s just keeping up with daily posts). My week ended with a reminder of some personal issues that I’ve been ignoring for a while that I need to resolve. I decided not to work tomorrow to maybe deal with some of this tomorrow.

The only thing of note this week was my trip out to Reedley (a small town South of Fresno) to a game store I’ve never been to before. Morgan’s Pair-O’-Dice is a pretty decent little location in the Downtown district. I found it a little on the dark side, as it’s in an older brick building with no windows but those in the front, and to my mind the lighting was a bit dim. Friendly staff was a definite bonus, and the discount on most goods was a nice bonus. I’d definitely shop there again, if I have reason to make the drive, as it’s about 20 minutes from Fresno.

That’s really all I’ve got for now. Maybe I’ll be able to focus more next week and get back on track.



Week in Review

The focus of this blog has kind of shifted over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed. I’m including more personal stuff here than was intended. As there are probably a grand total of six regular readers, I guess if anyone was going to complain, they would have.

On Tuesday last, I has an interview with the DMV. I’m 95+% certain I didn’t get the job. The first thing the guy who escorted me out said was a helpful “when you apply for DMV positions, do this,” which was my biggest clue. On the other hand, he said I presented myself well, so there’s that.

The State of California seems to like interview committees, as this is the second State job I’ve interviewed for in my life, and both (so far) have been by committee. And the make up of the committee seems to follow a pattern: There’s one interviewer who displays the personality of a lump of stone, and one who displays human response to humor, etc. When I applied a SCIF a number of years ago, there were two stone-faces and one personality. This time it was one and one. The personality was the one who escorted me out and gave me the critique. I came away from the interview feeling good.

On Wednesday, I spoke with one of the organizers of the local con, Bookwyrm, regarding not seeing my game on the list of games. Between a possible programming problem with my submission and my tardiness, it’s been decided that I won’t be running at said convention. I’m okay with that, but I’m going to continue to work on April 18th as a deadline for having an alpha test of the rules for the StarSea. I needed the deadline or I was going to keep futzing with things forever. Again, I am good with all of this. That weekend is also a Kids’ D&D weekend, so I don’t have to worry about multiple games that weekend.

This weekend, we did something based on something I was inspired to from a podcast I’ll call “SmallCon Winter 2015”. I’ve been listening to the Accidental Survivors podcast for quite a few years now. It started as a modern settings gaming podcast out of Canada, but has mutated into general gaming. One of their traditions is that every year or two, they travel to one of the guy’s family cottages and game all weekend. They call this “CottageCon”,

As the kids had a three-day weekend, our original idea had been to go to DunDraCon, but we found the pricing too high to be affordable this year, especially as we were going to be for only one day, in all likelihood. I’ve been catching up on this podcast lately, and a few of their older episodes mentioned one of the CottageCons, so I was inspired to suggest something like that as an alternate.

So we spent the weekend gaming at the Smalls’ home. Saturday afternoon, the Boy and I played Quarriors, which has since become the Dicemaster series of games. Since he’s now becoming interested in the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game lately (the kids at school play that instead of the Pokemon TCG), and WizKids Games is now doing a Yu-Gi-Oh! Dicemaster game, I managed to get him to give the game a go. As usual, he beat me pretty handily. We played our usual D&D game that night, and I stayed the night so we could continue Sunday. The Smalls had gotten me the expansion for Pandemic for Christmas, but as the cards in my base set were in sleeves but I didn’t have extras, we couldn’t really mix the sets without wasting time unsleeving the base set, so we still haven’t used that set. We lost that one. As I had to work today, we brought “SmallCon Winter 2015” to an early end. I expect we’ll have other “SmallCons” in the future.

For all of this, I did get some work done on the StarSea rules. I’m still stuck on how I’m presenting exactly the Aggressor race (my nickname for them so far). They’re basically Githyanki, but I’d like to have a more mythological basis for them, but I may have to forgo that.

I started trying for figure out how to handle magic. Last week, I’d found a couple of example systems that I wanted to try to pull from. I ended up favoring one over the other, but still incorporating some elements of each. But then I came to a problem of how to give players what was expected from these magical knighthoods. I knew the key laid in the Extras rules, and a re-reading later, and I had an idea.

The Knighthood Extras are going to actually provide a number of benefits as a package. A “Wyrdshaping” skill, along with a choice of stunts that inform the expected practices of the subdivisions within the knighthood. For example, the Psionics have their telekinetics, espers, and physical adepts. Each is a specific set of effects, which I need to delineate. There will be additional stunts to increase the levels of effect any of the three fields can achieve. For now, I’m focusing on getting the Psionic Order up to snuff, then I can expand into the other orders later.

I think that’s all I’ve got for now. I’m running out of steam on a lot of levels, so I think this will be the end of this week’s post. Thanks for reading. Later.

Descriptive Descriptiveness

This week, our LFR DM cancelled again, so I continued our impromptu Fate game. We got a couple of more of the concepts going, but the players still aren’t doing much with invoking their aspects, but that’s probably because I’m not suggesting it much. I’m calling for rolls regularly, but usually when the players say, “I want to do [X].” I’m not enough in the habit of suggesting that an aspect would apply. Something I need to remind myself to do while I’m GMing Fate.

As before bed reading, I’ve been reading through the Eldar Harlequin articles in the new issues of White Dwarf Weekly, in between articles on the mechanics of magic in various Fate-based games. The Harlequins have been a favorite of mine for a long time, basically since their second appearance in a compendium of WD articles. I even created a Champions character based on the Harlequins for a game in the early ’90s.

Otherwise, the reading I’ve been doing has given me some ideas on how to handle other magics than what I’m building right now, such as Mage the Ascension. However, I’m getting a handle on a variety of mechanics that are nudging me towards a more complete mechanic for the StarSea.

Between all of that, I wrote up paragraph descriptions of the species (including my yet to be named Bad Boys) and the Orders. I plan on printing these paragraphs on the play test character sheets, and using them as a basis for longer write-ups when I go to make a publication worthy text. I need to create aspects for each, which means teasing them out of the descriptions, but that shouldn’t be too tough.

I’ve also managed to name a couple of the skills I plan on using, most of which are renames of the Fate Core skill list. I have a couple of possibilities for some of the other skills, but I’m short on others. If nothing else, I’ll simply use the names as they  already exist, and rename them later.

One thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve drifted away from one of the elements I wanted to include, special weapons. Like the lightsaber, I wanted different orders to focus on certain styles and forms of weapons. However, in a game like Fate, in which weapons are typically just tools for exercising combat skills, special weapons have less of a place. They could be built as extras, but I’m wondering if there’s any point in doing that. There are rules for having superior weapons in the Toolkit, but I’m a little leery of using them. Hmm… I did just have a thought on how special weapons could be modeled. I need to think about it more before I discuss it, as it’s a big departure from the regular systems.

So, that’s pretty much all for this week. I’m out of steam on a lot of levels. Later.

Facing a Block and Pushing Past It

I’m just going to jump right into game development stuff, as there really wasn’t anything personal worth discussing.

Well, after a little research, I noticed that the Toolkit does include races as part of the mode spread for a fantasy world example. As I tinkered with it, I came to the conclusion that it was a great tool for developing the personalities for the races. It was frustrating, otherwise. I could come to descriptions that didn’t include a lot of overlap, which was a problem for me. I did get ideas for more details than I’ve had, though.

This lead to my block, though. Like most settings, I want Humans to be the race that is the balance of the others. At present, I find the personalities of the other races a little on the peaceful and friendly side. They’re all… “Good Guys”. Elves are an ancient race associated to dragons, having dragon blood in their veins. They were also the dragons’ emissaries in the wars against the Ür. The Dwarves are more spiritual, living golems, with a more calm, less grudge-oriented personality than is typical. The Gnomes are somewhat insectile, but also the mischief makers. Now, I think I need a warrior race, a race that stirs the pot even more than humanity does. The race to be the Bad Boys who work with the Good Guys, like half-orcs and tieflings in 4e. These are valuable archetypes that I want represented, but with orcs being the result of Corruption, as well as avoiding the bad genetics of interspecies breeding, half-orcs don’t fit. And tieflings are even farther out of the realms of possibility. While I’d like to have a mythical background for the race, I think I’m going to have to go in a different direction. The idea of animal people (more so than the vaguely animal linked races I already have) does not appeal to me, for reasons I’ve mentioned before in this blog, some time back. I didn’t know what that direction was until just this moment, but an old idea just popped into my head that I’m going to have to tinker with.

As well, I submitted my pitch for the Con game today, maybe a little late. However, here’s what I submitted:

Title: Rediscovered Treasure

Description: Mystic knights sailing techno-magical ships through a sea of stars, waging a war of ideas to restore an ancient realm.

A world has been rediscovered, lost to the realm for centuries. Your Order, the Knights Psionic, need this new world and its resources to increase their standing in the coming wars. Have the other Orders learned of this world? Have they sent agents to claim it? Will the war of ideas turn to a war of violence and bloodshed over this new world? Your cadre has been sent to find out.

Pre-gen characters will be provided. No experience with Fate required.

I submitted for early Sunday, as the Kids’ D&D game is scheduled for that same Saturday. I’d rather not run so early in the morning, but I was going to have to either way, and I’d rather not do two games in one day again.

Well, that’s all I have time for tonight. Off to drive tomorrow! Later.