Monthly Archives: October 2016

Catching Up

I had meant to post last week, but I got distracted, as usual. I’ve got some downtime while I ride around for work, so I’m using the WordPress mobile app on my phone to compose this post.

Mom, Infection, Palliative Care

Part of last week’s distraction was another trip to the hospital for Mom. Another UTI had her blood sugar dropping through the floor. She went in last Tuesday and should be home today. (She did, and the first night was rough, as she’s got some sores on her bottom and her special mechanical lifting chair broke at bedtime. No one got good sleep here last night.)

The biggest bit of news out of this visit was her doctor at the hospital suggesting Palliative Care. Apparently, the doctor flat out told my sister that Mom is dying. Very slowly, but dying all the same. This isn’t really news. Mom is in Stage 4 renal failure, and is not a good candidate for transplant. That’s pretty much a death sentence in 5 to 10 years. Palliative care is for chronic diseases, kind of like pre-hospice. And it’s meant to help the family as well, which would be a good thing for us. We’ll see how things progress from here.

Job Testing

I applied for a couple of different jobs recently that required online tests. These were the sorts that they claim have “no right answers.” I have since learned that’s a lie. The tests are those things that are like college aptitude tests: “Do you agree or disagree that you never lie?” “Do you agree or disagree that you like dealing with angry customers?” And one employer quite plainly told me I’d failed a test “with no wrong answers.”

From what I’ve learned, these are make-or-break tests. Managers have lost skilled workers because someone somewhere decided that these “character tests” are more important than having skilled workers.

I’m not a super enthusiastic, cheerleader sort of person, which these tests seem to screen for. I’m pretty middle-of-the-road when answering these questions. I hate that I can’t be myself in order to even get an interview.

Notepads Instead of Blogging

On to gaming…

I’ve been noticing that I write down a lot of things in my notepads that would make good blog entries. Sadly, they never get transposed to digital format. I need to keep this in mind next month for NaBloPoMo. Not using the notepads and instead using the apps might make daily posts easier.

Adventurers! Revised

The creators of Adventurers! currently have a Kickstarter going for a revised version of the game. I won’t be participating as my bank will not handle international currency. However, they have made the core rules available at the KS website. I’ve downloaded those rules and read them, and I’m going to continue to work with my new system.

While there are some nice improvements to the system, my two most important issues were only partially addressed. Shields still don’t activate often enough (on doubles, which is 1:6), although it’s easier to get Advantage while using the shield, which helps but is still too uncommon (only 4:9). And greatswords are still super weapons. I have my own plans to deal with these in my system.

Critical Hit World Building and My Worlds

In listening to this week’s Critical Hit, I was fascinated by the story of the spread of civilization and the place of Aasimars, Rakshasas and Daevas in the DM’s world. It made me think of where I’m going with both The StarSea and the Reincarnated worlds, and how I feel I’ve lost some of the focus of both. As Reincarnated is fresh in my mind, I feel I need to remember that it should have a certain “fairy tale” aspect to it that is present in the Corum novels. The StarSea should be somewhere between Star Wars, Spelljammer and Exalted’s First Age, with a sprinkling of Thor: The Dark World, as well as other of Marvel Comic’s cosmic stuff. I’m letting my desire for verisimilitude overwhelm my vision in both cases. I need to balance feel, mood and theme with need for grounding.

Digging up old adventures

A couple of weeks ago, I joked with my Thursday night gang that I’d like to see how they would deal with Moldvay Basic D&D. That spurred me to go out to my storage and try to find it. I failed to do that, but I managed to find some old adventures I’ve wanted to have handy for play tests.

One is T1 – The Village of Homlett, which is the lead-in to Temple of Elemental Evil. I don’t have that adventure, but T1 is a nice intro adventure with a base of operations for the PCs. It should be easy to convert the adventure to other systems, whether my own or Moldvay Basic.

The other is L1 – The Secret of Bone Hill. Like T1, L1 is an excellent beginner adventure, with a town and a couple of excellent quests, including the titular Bone Hill. There is a lot of easily adaptable material in both adventures. TSR could fit quite a lot in 32 pages.

AnyDice, probabilities and my system

I’ve been doing some research on dice and probability while tinkering with A! Eventually, I stumbled across again. I know I’ve seen it before, but I’d forgotten about it.

AnyDice has immediately proven invaluable. I was able to get statistics on how Advantage (3d6, keep 2 best) and Disadvantage (3d6, keep 2 worst) would play out in a 2d6 system. And with that knowledge, I think I’m beginning to a handle on how to figure out threats and make everything else in the system work.

Right now, I’m weighing numbers in my mind, and I’m going to be comparing them to the probabilities that AnyDice is providing me, and see what shakes loose. The system will have a certain Cypher like mechanical feeling, but I think it will be just a little easier.

I feel that I’m running out of steam at this point, and that it’s time to wrap this piece up.



Playtest One – Complete

The trip to Morro Bay was fun. The ship was the San Salvador, the ship of the first European, Cabrillo, to set foot on the West Coast of the Americas, only 50 years after Columbus’s successful trip across the Atlantic. It was surprising how small the ships were at that time. She’s only about 100 feet long, and about 20 feet wide. In other words, a gaming style battle (or any of that crap you see in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies) would be horribly cramped. What still blows my mind is that they weren’t using a helm to steer the ship, but rather a tiller. They just muscled the rudder back and forth without any sort of pulley system to amplify the strength of the man steering the ship.

Morro Bay was also full of Pokemon Go! stops along the Embarcadero, as well as out to the Rock. I’ve pretty much stopped playing except on Thursdays, as the folks I play with like to walk around after the game, and Fridays and Saturdays, when the kids, their parents and I play. I’ve found it’s not working as a motivation for me to get out and walk around my neighborhood. My area is pretty dead because of sparse population and low income, which results in low cell activity, which results in low spawn rates. But walking the Embarcadero was fun, and we caught a lot of new Pokemon we don’t see locally.

I’m going to have to find some other entertainment if I’m going to continue to walk, and I have done nothing in that direction at this point.

I did complete my first set of playtests of my Adventurers! modifications. I’ve tried out the simplest modifications, and they work pretty well. Combat ran fewer rounds, and there was less bias toward one weapon over another. Although, I must admit, the sword-and-board fighter took two of the three battles, when before he took only one. It as the last round of testing that was the most telling, as both combatants were down to their last couple of hit points before the killing blow was struck by the shieldbearer. I consider that balanced.

As I wrote previously, I’m completely discarding the Dungeon World combat rules, and I need to rethink my Cypher inspired rules a bit. My initial thought had been that everything would have a simple rating that would set all difficulties related to the opposition, and that would be a straight target number. With a die span of 2-12 with modifiers between -1 and +5, an odd span of numbers (1 to 17) is created. It doesn’t feel natural.

Pulling in more of Cypher could work, with Threat Ratings of 1 to 6 multiplied by 3 to determine the Target Number. Sadly, the lowest levels in each system aren’t especially difficult in either case. But thinking about it, a 6+ isn’t that easy for rolls with a low bonus. However, the big problem mathematically is that 18 is impossible to hit, unless I include other bonuses in the system. The big problem otherwise is the amount of derivation this system includes. It’s a direct rip off of the Cypher System, and that bugs me. Needs more thought.

Why I want to do something like this is to make threat creation easy. I mentioned this before. Both A! and DW are completely opaque in this regard, which I also mentioned before. (Does a little research in DW…) I was wrong about DW: It has a pretty open Monster Creation system. I just don’t care for it, just as I don’t care for a lot of the writing in that game. For a “quick” system, it seems awfully time consuming.


Yeah, more thinking.

I think I’m going to let things go there. I’m out of steam for this entry. I need to do some thinking on how to define threats.