Monthly Archives: March 2015


Gah! I hate the mobile style interface! I want the old web post interface back!

Not much to report this week. I got even more sick, and this weekend I had a bad setback. I worked Wednesday, followed by GMing Fate, and then worked again on Friday. What I did Friday that set me back so bad, I don’t know. I went home earlier than normal, I slept a lot, and I still relapsed (or I feel I did). Yesterday I felt pretty bad, but today, while I’m still mildly congested and still have a mildly sore throat, I feel much better. Last week though… when I had days off, I was running errands or just trying to rest and not be very active.

The Fate game went well. We adjusted a few of the PCs’ aspects a little, to make them more invoke-able/compellable, and we got a better flow of Fate Points. I still think I’m going to close out the story in the next session or two (assuming I can get more of a show of players), and do the world building, etc. A couple of the players really seemed to be interested in the idea when I discussed it, so I think it will go over well.

I’m trying to get back on track with the StarSea writing, but I haven’t gotten very far. I have been thinking on the Aphorisms for the Psionics Order. I’m trying to come up with things like the Jedi and Sith Aphorisms. They got like this:

Jedi Code J Sith Code

The original thought I had was something like “We are our own best tools,” but it seems a little too utilitarian. What I’m thinking so far is something like “We believe in ourselves,” and “The Universe has gifted us.” Those both speak to the Diest Humanist ideas I want to be the founding of the Psionic Order. They also give me ideas for the Divine Order as something like “The Gods protect the faithful,” and “Through our belief, we are Gifted.” Each side needs another aphorism, and those will be treated as aspects both for the organization and the player characters who are members thereof, like setting aspects or situational aspects.

Otherwise, I spent time some time trying to reading the darned Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and get used to the cards. I did a little reading of Marvel Heroic RPG, and the Talisman board game rules (from Mayfair), but not much. I tended to crash out soon after my head would hit the pillow.

That’s about all I have. We’ll see how well I do this week in getting myself going on StarSea, as I have to prep for a Kids D&D game this weekend, that we had to displace for both my illness and a MTG prerelease weekend. Yikes!



Beware the Ides of March…

… for they are damned hot in Fresno. It was 91 degrees Fahrenheit here in the ‘No today. The house is still pretty warm as I write this, at 9:30PM. Add to this the cold I’m fighting (which is my body being stupid; more below), and today was a pretty miserable day. Well, it wasn’t that bad, but I’ll say I’m glad I didn’t get called to work tomorrow.

Thursday night, I aspirated something with dinner, probably my drink, and it left me with a tickle in my bronchial tubes. My body responded as if I was getting a cold. I’ve had head congestion, a little lung congestion, and a sore throat. I’ve been treating myself as if I’ve caught a cold to try to get over things faster. Hopefully, one more day of rest will kick this stupidity in the butt and I’ll be back to normal by Tuesday.

There was a fair amount of discussion on my Facebook page regarding what may be going on with the Fate game I run as an alternate to LFR. One of the first things we identified was DM trust. Until about Christmas last year, we had DM X, who is pretty trustworthy, but low role play. Since, we’ve had DM Y, who is a killer DM. The kind that will have the player’s opponents ignore attacks in favor of trying to kill a fallen hero. I’m a relative unknown to the players, so they don’t quite have the trust of me that may be necessary for the creation of workable aspects.

As well, there is my own inability to direct the players in how to create the “two-edged sword” style of aspects. Also, the PCs have too few aspects to have enough to fuel things properly. There is no defined world, which means there is nothing for the players to connect to for the creation of aspects. All of these things are hurting the flow of fate points.

So, I think I’m going to wrap up this scenario that I’ve been running, and them I’m going to use the A Spark In Fate Care booklet to create a world (with the players) and see what comes of it. I’m still not ready, in my own mind, to run something in the StarSea.

To be honest, I got to thinking about the StarSea and why I’m stalled out. I’m beginning to wonder if the codification of the setting is becoming a block. By codifying the setting, I’m eliminating some possible ideas. I’m saying “this thing doesn’t belong here.” And I wonder if part of me isn’t rebelling at that idea.

Honestly, I think I could run a play test now. I’m still missing a complete idea for my aggressive race (and what exactly races provide to characters), names for skills (and whether or not a couple of skills will be group skills or not), but largely I have most of the rules for the setting. Skill modes are set, the magic system is in place. The only thing I think I need to hammer out is whether or not I’ll be using some special rules for weapons and armor, so I can include lightsaber-like weapons. Eventually I’ll need ship-to-ship combat (which is really easily handled through the Fractal). There will still need to be some details as to player actions in ship combat, but that can wait. So I could still hit my deadline, if I could get back in focus on the setting.

My doubt in the rules comes at a somewhat convenient time, as I am so close to completion of the rules for play testing. “Convenient” in the “this is a prime time for doubt to torpedo the project” sort of way. Some of the podcasts I’ve been listening to are making me question how to publish the StarSea. Do I make it a free product? Do I stick it on DriveThru and hope for the best, as a complete unknown? Do I try to pitch it to Evil Hat (assuming I don’t try to move the setting to a different rules set)? Do I try to Kickstart it, again as an unknown? Do I want to take the role of publisher up?

In the meantime, I’ve been reading the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying system (which I mentioned last week), as well as working my way through the Yugi-Oh rules for the Boy. That one I’m finding I really don’t like. It’s very much an exceptions-based game, with the exceptions being on thousands of cards with super-fine print. The Boy seems to innately understand the tactics of the game (beyond just having played the game more than me), and I feel like I’m just not getting it. He’s already mastering the new decks we got Friday night, to the point he completely had me stymied in three rounds the other night. Part of that is my trying to play with cards I haven’t read yet, but part is not getting the game. I’m amazed by it’s complexity. I got pretty frustrated last night, and expressed it in a way I could see hurt the Boy’s feelings. He so wants something he can share with me and his friends. I rather want that, too. I’m just not sure I can hack this particular game.

I need to call it a night. I’ve barely been up 12 hours, and I’m already feeling ready for more sleep.






I didn’t manage to get anything done with that ship image I discussed last week. I worked almost every day this week, as a lot of the retirees I work with are taking days off. The day I was off, I was taking care of odds and ends of life.

However, Wednesday night I got the opportunity to run a serious Fate combat. I’m a bit disappointed. Maybe its because they don’t have a full compliment of aspects, but I’m just not getting the Fate Point flow I’m told is supposed to be happening. I spent most of mine, and the players spent theirs, but there was not recovery. There were virtually no compels, as there was so few applicable aspects to be compelled. This leaves me wondering if the Fate system is just not something I can make work for me. If adults can’t get into the flow of the system (and that includes me), how am I going to get the kids in my regular game to go with the flow?

On the other hand, while listening to Accidental Survivor podcasts while doing all that driving, they’ve mentioned a website regarding a large number of hacks for a system called Cortex, in particular the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying flavor. Cortex is the house system of Margaret Weis Productions, a game company started by one of the authors of the Dragonlance novels.

I picked up the MHRPG Basic Game book when it was available, and I was quite enchanted with how characters were described in that game. They’re very similar to Fate, with the hero or villain’s powers described as an umbrella term with mechanical powers attached. For example, Captain America has a “power set” called “Super-Soldier Program,” that encompasses all his physical capabilities (including the limitation that the government or popular opinion turning against him can cause him emotional issues that allow the GM to mess with him), and his “Vibranium-Alloy Shield,” that covers all the cool stuff he can do with his shield. There is more to every character, but those items are similarly simple in definition.

On their site, MWP says that they are going to create a new system based on the Marvel rules, as Marvel has terminated MWP’s license (or Disney has). Their generic rules are also available. I’m thinking already about the possibility of switching systems. It makes me feel a bit flaky, considering this change so late in development of my setting, especially after the amounts of money I’ve spent on Fate system books, and the time I’ve invested. However, I have to have a game I can run and get the expected results, or better, that I can convey to my players succinctly.

I may need to consult with my local expert at the game, Scott. I know he reads this blog regularly and may be able to advise me on how to get things running correctly with Fate. If not, I really have to consider making a change. Time will tell.

Well, I work tomorrow, so I have to call it a night. Later.

Trying to find my way back

I’ve spent most of this week dealing with that reminder from the past. Thursday, I posted this one Facebook:

I’ve just realized that what’s been disturbing my sleep all week is an internal conflict of my morals regarding my legal obligations versus my opinions of the morality of the practices of those to whom I have the legal obligations.

Suffice it to say I believe I resolved this Friday, after doing some research, and I don’t believe it will be a problem again.

This was a major distraction, but one I didn’t fell I could avoid. It only added to my situation though, and didn’t cause it.

I think I need a break from the mechanical/author-ish end of the StarSea for a little bit. I realized this after I found an app that allows me to print from my iPad. I printed the following image:

Eberron Elemental Airship by Steve Prescott, 2004. Copyright Wizards of the Coast. No challenge is intended.

I actually have a better image, one that seems to be print quality, or closer to it. I prefer this image to some of the other images from the setting, as there are people visible in the ship and that the ship is shaped aquatic but by it’s lack of sails acknowledges that it is powered by something other than winds.

Last night, when I got home after D&D, I hunted up the adventure that the graphic is originally from. The deck plans look like this:

Copyright 2004, Wizards of the Coast. No challenge intended.

The two are unrelated. It looks like the editor simply commissioned two pieces of artwork and didn’t think that the two images needed to match. Kinda typically sloppy WotC art direction.

But as I looked again at this ship in the first image, I realized that in the past couple of weeks, I’d lost my way by focusing a little too much on the game mechanics of the setting and loosing track of the stuff I wanted to focus on. “Too much crunch, too little chrome.”

As a little but of a distraction, I want to do more appropriate deck plans for this ship. A creative exercise, if you will, related to the StarSea. Maybe get those juices going again, to help me resolve some of my choices. I’m having a horrible time with names this go-around, and it’s making me freeze up. But I need something to kickstart me again before I lose interest and put the setting on the back burner.

My eyes are feeling it, so I’m thinking it’s time to call it. Later.