Monthly Archives: January 2016

Rocky Start to 2016

Like so many other folks, I’ve been stumbling through the month of January. Fortunately, I haven’t really had a bad time, things have just been hectic, moreso than normal.

Just before last time, my mother went into the hospital for a problem with her hemoglobin (which is still not diagnosed). The trip for a transfusion turned into a 12-day stay. So, I ended up visiting her a few times, and babysit her a few others, since she got home.

Alongside that, our cat who had cancer in one eye metastasized to her other eye, which came to a head Friday, when she became blind. We’d spent her last couple of months spoiling her, but had to let her go this weekend.

Along the way, I mentioned to an old friend on Facebook that my MacBook was getting old and likely to fail in the near future, so he sold me his old (but newer than mine) MacBook Pro. Since, I’ve been working on getting the Pro working for me. I needed a bigger hard drive, and I’m planning on making the leap to the newest version of the Mac OS. It’s been a struggle getting the upgrades to work right. The installers I downloaded first were corrupt, it wouldn’t install over the old OS, and now I’m waiting for the migration apps to complete moving nearly 800 GB of files. That will be working overnight. Hopefully by the time I leave for work, things will be done.

I also picked up a newer iPad, but I’m not using it yet as, to transfer my files, I need a computer running the new OS with my files on board. So, the new tablet is on hold until I get the laptop upgraded. And because of the file migration, I’m writing this post on my old tablet. I also have acquired a smart phone, which I’m having to figure out how to use. January has become a month of upgrades.

I feel bad about the delays for more reasons than just not being able to use a better tablet. I’ve promised this older tablet to The Boy, and I almost feel like this weekend I’ve teased him a bit. He’s been having to borrow electronics from his dad and younger sister for a while now, as his devices have been rode hard and are in bad shape. Once I can get things completed, I’ll transfer the AppleCare over to him or his dad (whoever can legally own it) and fulfill my promise to him.

I’m still on hiatus from the StarSea, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. I’m very afraid of the StarSea becoming another of my many unfinished projects, one of those symptoms of ADHD. However, one of the things I’m hoping to get out of the Reincarnated worldbuilding I’m doing is to simplify my thinking, rather than continuing the analysis paralysis I’ve been suffering from working on the StarSea.

I decided to read all of Dungeon World to get a complete handle on the game. While the system seems solid, using flattened math, I don’t really care for the terminology. It’s fine to focus on the “fiction,” but the fact that everything is a move seems very mechanistic to me, which seems counter to the stated mission of the rules. Having a “make camp” move and a “level up” move rankles me. But there are a lot of really interesting ideas about DMing in there, even if the DM advice is presented again in a very mechanistic manner.

I’ve been working on a timeline for the Reincarnated campaign, but in an example of the simplification idea, I think I need to go from a number system to a set of event titles, as I’m getting hung up on time scale. I’ve started with a 25,000 year span, going into ancient history, but I don’t think I need the detail such a length of time creates. Something I think I’ll be working on tomorrow in my downtime at work.

On that note, it is time for me to wrap things up for tonight. Later.


Fronts and 5×5

So, before last week’s entry, I saw Dave Chalker post up a link to Dragon 429 on D&, which includes what he calls his ultimate 5×5 article. Having had a DDI subscription since 4e started, I had the eMag offline already, and finally read the article. I don’t think it would have been of much use to me back when it came out and I was running my last game, as I had few alternate plotlines (or they weren’t anything I chose to follow, as my players were fairly willing to follow my main plotline where it led). I’d mentioned using a calendar of sorts in past games (mainly World of Darkness games), and those are fine, but they’re not something I want to use again. But with this new game idea, I kind of thinking about how to organize the plotlines.

I’ve also become interested in Dungeon World‘s fronts, another way to organize a campaign. I don’t remember exactly where I got directed towards those, but I think it was The Tome Show. Anyway, I think the two different methods can intersect nicely. I think the 5×5 grid can contain the Fronts as columns, with the Dangers filling the rows. I may have to use 3×5 cards to do this, or set up a custom database like FileMaker or something like that, but I am going to experiment with this as a method of organization.

Otherwise, I’ve been tinkering a little with mythology in this new world. In fact, Monday I got a visit my the Muse at a very Tom Waits moment. To clarify that, I’ve heard a story, I think from Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame, about Tom Waits discussing how he was once driving the 405 in the Los Angles Basin when he started getting an inspiration for a melody. In traffic, he couldn’t write down the tunes, and railed at his inspiration, begging his muse to hold off and come back later, when he could write down the melody. I simply got hit with inspiration just before bed, but it left me tossing and turning all night. I had a flurry of creativity the next day.

Most of what I’ve got so far is just sorting out the campaign front (in DW terms) and some of the adventure fronts for the 5×5 grid. I’m still hammering out a few details regarding what is true and what is mythology (“How did humans learn to create art, gods or elves?”) I realized that details like this are probably not necessary to figure out, and in fact the conflict is probably a good thing, as it gives the world a more real feel if different groups “remember” history differently. Although, I think having some myths will make the game more fun. I know in reading stories like Moorcock’s, having the narrative include the origins of some of the strange creatures the heroes met gave flavor to the world. I have an idea about the origins of lycanthropes, in those folk refusing a gift from the god/dess of the moon, who curses them to act like animals as long as the moon’s light is in the night sky.

Well, working tomorrow, and I’ve passed out once already tonight, so it’s off to bed I go. Later.

New Year’s Resolutions

Rather than discuss gaming, I’m going to discuss New Year’s Resolutions. I usually tell people “I resolve not to make any resolutions.” This year, though, I know I need to make one of the traditional resolutions.

I weighed myself a few weeks ago, and I came up 280 lbs. While I’m taller than most (around 6’1″), I’m also of a thinner build. I was happy at 190# back in the early ’90s. While I’d like to get back there, I know that’s a lot of work, and 90 lbs. in a year is doable, but probably unreasonable without medical monitoring.

I know what needs to happen. I need to get out and walk or exercise more. I need to eat a bit better. Both are just things I need to focus on for now. In a few weeks, I’m expecting to switch up from my flip phone to a smart phone (I plan on getting an iPhone, but who knows what will come of that). I plan on getting an app to monitor my movement and remind me to get off my tuchas. An app that will track steps per day would be good. I know my ADHD will work against me, which is why I’m going to need the apps eventually. My iPad is wireless only, or I’d do more with it now.

I never managed to get my friends interested in Habitica, and I even forgot about it myself until tonight as I’m writing this post. Using Habitica might be a way to motivate my day-to-day activities. I might also be able to use it to monitor my fuel intake. I don’t want to say “diet,” although it is a viable word; it’s just a word with a lot of baggage attached.

Food is also an issue. I know a lot of the last 15-20 lbs. I’ve gained has been because of what I eat at work, fast food. I don’t like carrying lunches, as they usually end up pretty nasty by the time we get to wherever we’re eating. So I’ve been eating a lot of fast food. I’ve tried to make better choices, but my batting average has been pretty hit-and-miss. I need to focus on being more hit than miss.

To not get discouraged, I’m not setting a goal. If all I lose in the next 360 days is five pounds, I’ve still succeeded. Every other person I’ve known who has set a specific goal always ends up discouraged when they can’t make it. I’m just looking to be less of me.

Now, contrary to what I mentioned before, a little about gaming. I’ve been focused for now on the Reincarnated campaign. One thing I’ve found myself doing is getting too deep into history and explanations of how the setting works. I don’t want to get into details, but I want to do a story of rebellion against an evil regime. My bad guys can’t be destroying to world wantonly, so they have to maintain some sort of infrastructure. I want the world to be reasonable, but I don’t want to overthink the setting. Again, like the Galactic Empire of Star Wars, the bad guys have to keep the cargo transports running.

Well, it’s that time. I’m tired, and I’m working tomorrow. So…