Monthly Archives: June 2017

Mom’s Continuing Health Issues

I’m going to comment briefly on the Numenera FreeRPGDay adventure before venting about Mom’s health, which I expect will be the bulk of this post.

I was planning on running the Numenera FreeRPGDay adventure on that day. My FLGS gave me the adventure early so I could prep for it (which is a very good thing), but Mom was supposed to be home from the hospital that same Saturday with no one else to watch over her. So I cancelled the game, but held on to the adventure.

I found the adventure a pretty weak introduction to the Ninth World, if not the Cypher System.

The adventure desperately needs a GM summary, as I could not follow what was going on until near the end, when the writer, Dennis Detwiller, finally tells the GM what’s going on. Without that summary, it just seems the PCs are thrashing around pointlessly, trying to survive in a world that is not the Ninth World. Yes, Detwiller immediately sends the PCs to a parallel universe, rather than writing an adventure actually set in the Ninth World.

For a game that touts its place as a game of discovery, there is a fair amount of combat in the early phases of the adventure. And as I’m now running the adventure for my Thursday night group, I’m finding the combats pretty tough for what seem to be beginning characters. My players have made it only through the first encounter, as the first combat encounter is a touch too powerful for the pregen characters provided.

The adventure then becomes less a game of discovery and more a series of arcane puzzles. Again, a GM summary would have saved me a fair amount of confusion and frustration while reading, as I was trying to determine what I would have been able to fit into a five hour session. I did eventually figure things out when I got to page 16 of a 17 page adventure, which is where Detwiller finally spills the beans on the point of the adventure.

For the Thursday night game, I’ve already determined what encounters will be cut, but I’ve also seen that some of the combats are going to have to be modified. I feel that, for an introductory adventure, this adventure really is a poor choice. I’m regretting choosing it over the Vortex adventure provided with the starter box.

I’m having trouble remembering the exact sequence of events of the last couple of weeks regarding Mom’s trips to the hospital. She’s been in and out so frequently in the past few weeks that it’s difficult to keep track. Yesterday was the latest, and she’d only been home for 18 hours (or less).

Let’s see… we sent her to the hospital on June 5th. She was there until after her birthday on the 10th, released on the 15th, with a UTI that the hospital missed and assumed was constipation. Last Sunday, the 18th, she complained of “feeling oogie.” Monday the 19th, we sent her to the other Community Hospital. They treated her for the new/continuing UTI. She was completely different from when she was in the hospital between the 5th and 15th, being more alert and coherent.

Why did we send her to the other hospital? Because the dialysis center Mom goes to recommended that or putting Mom in hospice, as Mom wasn’t capable of helping get herself dressed or even sitting up for long. Monday was a bad day, once I got this news. Then we learned of the infection and saw Mom better and got some hope again.

Friday, we had a meeting with the palliative team at that hospital. It seems locally, much fewer services are offered in palliative care than is discussed on the palliative information site. That might be because of Mom’s insurance, but I’m not sure. End result is that palliative care won’t get us better, whole family care, so we won’t be pursuing it. That and that we need to somehow get Mom to stop the passive-aggressive crap and discuss how long she’s going to fight off dying.

She came home on Saturday and we sent her back per her request yesterday with difficulties breathing. They gave her oxygen and she immediately felt better, but the EMTs said she had diminished lung noises. The hospital told my sister that Mom had only had dialysis twice last week instead of the usual three, which might be why she’s got the extra fluids in her system.

The past couple of weeks have been very stressful. Like I mentioned above, we need to focus Mom on discussing the possibility of her demise, but she’s avoiding it. I got so upset yesterday seeing Mom wheeled out again that I nearly broke down. That she seems to bounce back so strong every time doesn’t help. Those bounces have created expectations that are eventually going to prove unrealistic. We all need to be more ready than we are.

It’s frustrating how quickly the hospitals try to send Mom home without all of her issues resolved. It’s frustrating that she avoids the discussion of her future. Like I said, life is stressful right now.

That’s all I’ve got for now.



Pete and Repeat Went Up the Wall…

(Note: the first half of this post was started on June 9th, a few days after the last post. I thought I’d posted the draft and had simply not promoted it. Obviously I was wrong and I’m adding to the post now.)

After my last post, I sat down and re-examined the Google Docs file I’ve been using to write my thoughts about my superhero project. In so doing, I realized a problem with my creative flow: I cover the same ground multiple times. I noticed this with the StarSea as well. I continuously go over the same ideas.

So, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to change the way I work. I was looking to do that when I got my first iPad. That was why I was typing the five notepads I had filled when I started on the StarSea project. The idea was that eventually I would move the text files into some sort of database or wiki that would allow me to connect segments together. My distraction from that caused me to not learn this lesson.

Now I’m going to try something new. I was largely able to stay on track with the Adventurers! Rewrite by using index cards, numbered as chapters so I could follow them like an outline. So I’m going to try the card system with my superhero project and see how it works.

I’ve also got a Trello app for my mobile devices that I might try working with soon. I’m thinking about picking up OmniOutliner, too. It was included on one of my laptops as free software a few years ago, and I like using it, but that version doesn’t work like this new version, which works across devices through iCloud. While the app is relatively inexpensive for the Mac, it’s a bit more than I want to pay for the mobile version, even though I’ll be able to use it on both devices. I’ll be giving it more thought in the near future.

I really haven’t done much with this index card idea since I wrote the above. I mentioned the UTI issue last time. About the time I started this post, she was given Ativan to help her sleep. Unfortunately, sedatives like that linger in the diabetic’s body, especially in my mother’s case, as her liver also doesn’t function correctly. The liver and kidneys filter drugs out of the system, and when they don’t work, the filtering they should do obviously doesn’t happen. That’s part of the reason for dialysis. So from that point to now, Mom’s mind has been altered. It wasn’t frightening (at least what I experienced), and in fact, it was kind of amusing. But now it’s persisted.

We brought her home Thursday night, and put her directly to bed. Friday morning she was complaining of pain and acting very strange. She wasn’t very coherent, but she could answer questions, but mostly the answers were her repeating her complaints and then crying in pain. So we sent her back to the hospital, where they dialyzed her, as well as drawing a liter of fluid from her abdomen. It tested clean, so it seems it was just her body allowing fluid to pool. She came home last night, and complained enough that I was up attending to her three times this morning, shifting her position in the bed as best I could. All day today, she has been listless and lethargic. And since she’s been in bed again for a week, she again has no muscle tone or strength. Things are not going well. And tomorrow is her first dialysis after leaving the hospital, so we’re wondering if she’ll be able to transfer to a wheelchair for transport.

That’s all for now. Maybe I’ll remember to discuss FreeRPGDay at length. The short version is that I spent a lot of time prepping an adventure I ended up having to cancel. There is plenty more there, but I’m out of time for tonight.


Usual, Tired Sunday

Not sure what to discuss tonight, but it has been two weeks so it’s time again.

Update: After outlining and doing a bit of typing, the week went to hell and I’ve had trouble getting back to this post. I’ll insert updates like this as appropriate.

For a gaming blog, I write a lot about my personal life, such as it is. Lately, it’s been a consuming part of my reality, so I’m writing about it. I practically have no choice.

Mom is at the center of that. She came home the Thursday after the last post. We got the equipment the day before that. We got a crash course on using it all and have been moving her from bed to recliner and back since. I could link to a video to show you, the gentle reader, how the lift works, but suffice it to say it’s a complicated mess, and while it can be done by a single person, it’s not really a one-person job moving Mom.

We currently clean her on her bed, as well as dealing with her waste. She’s already had another UTI, along with its attendant shakiness. On the upside, she has started helping herself more with standing in the lift, rather than just hanging limp. But she still can’t transfer from recliner to wheelchair without the lift. Because she can’t transfer, we’re not going to try to go to Yosemite, but we are going to throw a party here at the house for her birthday.

It’s been stressful, but life continues.

Update: This is really where things went to hell. Monday night we had to send Mom back to the hospital as the UTI got out of control, again. She didn’t black out like she usually does, we just came to the conclusion that things could get a lot worse if we didn’t nip the issue in the bud. So, we’re making trips to the hospital again, which takes time from everything else.

I’m going to quickly cover some of the media I’ve been partaking of lately. Wonder Woman and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 have both been viewed In the theatre and enjoyed. Both are visually stunning, and both have solid stories, although I found the final battle in Wonder Woman somewhat… forced? Contrived? I’m not sure. Just… unsatisfying.

John Wick was also viewed. The gun-fu is pretty wild, and you really don’t watch that movie for any other reason. I was quite amused to notice that John doesn’t leave any target alive. There’s always a follow up head shot on every one he kills with a gun. Knives are handled a little differently, but that’s to be expected. An enjoyable film. I suppose I need to see the second movie now.

I’ve been watching the current season of Doctor Who and it’s “spin off ” Class. Both shows are obviously Steven Moffitt joints, as the writing is very similar. I’ve enjoyed Capaldi’s run as the Doctor. His eyes have so much depth as he performs. I’m not sure where I stand on Class. High schoolers taking on interdimensional threats while being angsty would seem to be up a Buffy fans alley, but I’m just not sure.

Update: I’ve also been watching Justice League Action on Cartoon Network, as well as Origins and Year Million on Nat Geo. It’s been good to see the JL back on TV. They’re short episodes with a real sense of humor to go with the little helpings of action. The Nat Geo shows are really interesting examinations of humans and their technology and how each has shaped our past and present and is shaping our future.

On to gaming finally. Kids’ D&D is coming to a close soon, and if we continue, I’ve decided we’re moving to Fantasy Age. After running Titansgrave and now playing Dragon Age, I just feel it’s an easier game to prep and GM. In fact…

I’m going to put the Adventurers! rewrite on hold for Fantasy Age. I really have begun to think that a lot of the tinkering I’m doing is lead in the direction of FA anyway. Plus, with Green Ronin announcing the release of Modern Age for GenCon this year, the game will expand and I can probably mix and match parts of the two games together to get what I want.

I do know there are things I want to tinker with in Fantasy Age. I want a “minions” system (one-hit mooks), which FA doesn’t really support, as even the weakest foes require at least two hits. I’m also thinking about using the DA Background system for races or subclasses, but I admit it’s been a while since I looked at FA character creation, so I may need to refocus my ideas.

I also am thinking about changing FA Magic for other systems, to create a more Mage the Ascension feel to magic. The kids will use the basic system for that game.

I’m also wanting to streamline the character stats back to the DA defaults. FA adds a couple of stats, like Fighting as separate from Strength, etc., that I think are honestly unnecessary.

I’m still cogitating on the Superhero updates. One of my stumbling blocks is the character’s age: how old is Richard Knyte? How long has he been in another dimension? The character was originally created in the 80s as the son of a Vietnam War era super. I imagined him about my age, maybe a little older. I’m not interested in creating (or recreating) an aging hero. I’d already determined that the character will not have aged significantly while in the other dimension…

I might need to supply a little back story. Back when I was playing Champions back in the 80s, the GM encouraged players to create a stable of characters covering different hero types. Richard Knyte was known as Agent Omega, a former member of a Hydra-style group who had fled and become their self-appointed destroyer. My enthusiasm for the character waned some, and he really was a one-note kind of character. Once the Hydra Analog was destroyed, he became a bit directionless, as one might assume. I changed the character’s codename to Vindicator, moved some points around on the character sheet, but I just couldn’t find the character’s place in the post-Hydra world. So, the GM and I agreed to retire the character for a while, punting him into another dimension for a while, until we could work something else out. In time, before I could bring him back, the GM and I had a falling out, and Richard Knyte remained in that dimensional hole.

About 20 years ago, I found an action figure that inspired me to redesign the character, as I’ve mentioned previously. That really didn’t work, and I realize now that the redesign in question didn’t deal with the character’s story. I just have him another new name and costume, but I didn’t deal with the underlying problem: what gives the character a reason to live? Something about that new action figure, tiny as it is, screamed at me, “I’m Richard Knyte and I have a story to tell!” (Adam Savage mentioned that puppets he has collected have done the same thing to him: suggested their character by simply being.)

So that’s why I’m working this project: Richard wants me to. I feel I need to do right by him. Because I’ve misplaced his origin, and (as I’ve mentioned) someone else created some elements of it, I need to rebuild his past and align that to his present.

Originally, Richard’s father was a hero code named Commando. I’ve since looked up the word to find out it means “a soldier trained to raid the enemy.” That doesn’t sound very heroic. So, I’m beginning to think maybe he wasn’t. Maybe Commando was the son of another, older hero from an earlier era, and Commando was his black sheep son. That older hero needs an original name, if I chose to continue with this history.

I’m going to leave it there. I’ve had some other thoughts on the superhero project, but I’m going to leave those for now or I’ll never get this posted. But that’s it for this post.