Category Archives: Reincarnated

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.



Busy, Busy, Busy!

I haven’t mentioned here, but a few weeks ago, near the beginning of March, Mom had to go back to the hospital with a mild case of pneumonia. It took a couple of weeks for her to get over that, as well as the other infections she developed while there. whenever she’s at the hospital for more than a couple of days, she ends up sitting and lying around so much she can’t stand up and needs physical therapy. So, she’s been out of the house for a couple of weeks now. That means I can work more, as I’m not caring for her every other day. So lately I’ve had a couple of weeks in which I’ve worked three or four of the weekdays. That’s great for my pocketbook, but horrible for getting anything done after work. That means I’ve just been kicking back after work and not motivated to accomplish anything meaningful to me. But I have accomplished a little.

One of the few things I’ve done is some work with my Dragon Age character. After the last post, we did character creation. I was afraid my GM might not want me to follow a certain path (a specialization that uses others’ pain to empower the character), as it’s pretty dark. He was cool with it though, and we got on our way.

My character is an escaped elven slave, and it’s interesting to play a character who wants to keep a low profile. It’s really coloring my decisions as the character moves through the world. For example, there was a weapon throwing contest, which the character would be pretty good at, but I decided he wouldn’t want to draw the attention of those who might turn him into a bounty hunter and return him to slavery. It’s very different for me, as I usually end up with my characters right up front, even if I don’t build them to be there. I look forward to seeing where the character goes in the course of the game.

I’m also building a mini for him. At first, I bought a couple of the new unpainted plastic Elven Ranger minis WizKids is producing for D&D, but after purchasing them, I realized they are Drizzt. I could paint them as high elves or whatever, but the fur mantle on his cloak is simply too damned recognizable. Instead, I’ll use a WHFB Dark Elf Corsair with two blades. I think he’ll have a good, dynamic pose that will be fun to paint.

My Superhero Rebuild project hasn’t been a big focus either, although I had some breakthroughs. I cleaned out the waterlogged box of game books and found some of my old Street Fighter stuff (the books were all destroyed). In there, I’d actually included histories on Agent Omega/Vindicator/ShadowWalker and Dr. Power. While I don’t have all their powers, etc., I do have the important things: their histories and some other details, like Dr. Power’s secret identity.

I’ve pretty much rewritten AO/V/SW’s history, as it was a bit dated and I wanted to make the timeline work better for 20 years later. I’m still not sure what happened between the last of the Champions games and the present, but I moved that character forward about 20 years in about 15 minutes.

Still not sure what to do with his missing years and travels to alien dimensions. My first thought had been to do a Planetary Romance/Sword and Planet (John Carter) sort of thing. However, that doesn’t necessarily move the character in a direction I like. If I don’t do that, I’m not sure what to do with him. I’ve also become interested in proprioception and situational awareness as superpowers. I think he will continue to be a gear-based character. That just seems to make sense.

This weekend at the local Bookwyrm gaming convention (had about 100 people at the con at the same time I was) I got to play a game called Phoenix: Dawn Command. It’s created by Keith Baker, the guy who created the card game Gloom and the D&D setting Eberron. I had a fantastic time with it, although it was a difficult location, and I’m sure the other players didn’t see my enthusiasm throughout most of the game. We were in the Story Room of a library, and the shape of the room caused the noise of other tables to drown out some of the players’ voices, especially the DM’s. And I ended up with another healer/social character, which I only realized later. I’m getting rather tired of that combination.

However, the game play was very entertaining. The idea is that your characters are reincarnated heroes of some time past. In fact, I first heard about it at the same time I got the idea for the Reincarnated setting I’ve been working on. P:DC was one of the inspirations for the setting, alongside Age of Sigmar.

These Phoenixes are brought into schools (classes) which determine their abilities. Those schools are very much a niche protection system, as only one player can choose a particular class. Each school is also based on the character’s first life, and death. We used pregens, so I saw none of the character creation material. The book and box are pretty bland as far as shelf appeal, but the real art treat is the cards used for challenge resolution. They are Tarot card sized and include some very stylized art that enhances the feel of the setting, a medieval world that is slowly being overrun by a group of evils collectively known as the Dread.

Challenge resolution is handled by placing cards from your hand out to try to achieve a total that is compared to a chart, which was included on the pregen sheet. There are three suits, each associated to a typical game ability: Strength, Grace, and Intellect. Grace is both physical grace and internal grace, as it is used for social challenges as well as physical. As the characters have a personalized deck with cards that favor their abilities, it is rare that a character can’t get a relatively decent spread of cards. As well, each character can always use his favored suit as a different suit if needed.

So, the game has some level of tactical/strategic play alongside a very story driven setting. As well, in an encounter, there is a card called the Torch. The Torch acts as the initiative system, with the players literally “passing the Torch” to the next player in line, which is determined by the player ending his turn at that moment. Enemies have a Speed stat, which determines how many players go between their actions. So for example, the dreadknights we faced always had a speed of 2, which meant two of us players would go, then the dreadknight, then two more of us, then the dreadknight again.

As well, the Torch lists a number of elements that are part of the encounter. These elements function like scene aspects in Fate, but each can only be used once. Having this list in front of you or another player is a good reminder they exist. It really helped us actually use those “aspects.” My character used one, and I came up with an effect that helped create a fun story. There was a listing for “Discarded Chains” on the Torch. I decided my cleric character walked by the chains on the way to a villain, picked up a chain, charged it with magical energy and flailed the villain with it. This made for a fun story and brought smiles to everyone’s faces.

At some point, I may pick up the game. I think the kids could play it and have a lot of fun, and I think the rest of the people I play with would be entertained by it as well. However, the book is heavy, there are a lot of cards, all in a very well constructed box, so the game is a little spendy for an indie game ($65 compared to the usual $20), so it may be a while before I pick it up. But it would be a worthy addition to any indie player’s game library.

Something I’ve been stumbling on for the Reincarnated setting I’ve been working on is the map. One thing I’ve wanted to do with it is have my players build the individual nation-states for the region of the fallen empire we would be playing in. I’ve been fascinated by the map below since I found it, and I’ve wanted to somehow incorporate something like this into my map.


Obviously, each octagon or circle is an encounter location, which is what attracted me to the map. This map is a campaign flowchart, essentially. I find that a brilliant idea, that it is laid out so plainly to that end.

But in thinking about this map, and our discussions after my Thursday night game, I realized that what I think I really need for my map is a variation of a Western Marches campaign. We talked about doing a Western Marches style game (a setting idea by game designer Ben Robbins, creator of Microscope, Kingdom, and the upcoming Follow), which consists of a safe and boring base for the players, while they make excursions to the West of the base to assault ancient ruins and monsters, which absolutely do not exist anywhere to the East. In imitation of Moorcock’s Corum, which I’ve mentioned is also an inspiration for the setting, I plan on putting the safe zone one an island from which the players can jump off to attack the invader gods and their followers. I need to think a little more about how to do this, and I think flowcharting the setting a little bit more might be in order.

Finally, I bought and started reading Economix, in an effort to educate myself on, well, Economics. I’d stumbled across this site and book a few weeks ago, and something sparked me to really dig into the subject (mainly my brain getting hooked on it after driving by yet another strip mall going up in town). I can’t recommend this book enough, and I’m only 58 pages in. If you weren’t an Economics major, or like me you simply failed to ever take a course in the subject, you might want to look into this book.

I think that’s all this time around, so I’ll complete things and get off to bed so I can get to work in the morning.


Thursday Nights and Super Heroes

It’s been three weeks, so we’ll try it again!

Titansgrave Finale

Last Thursday, we finished Titansgrave. The final battle was short and went pretty much as expected: No one ever considers not killing the bad guy. I think everyone was happy with the play, but not that we won’t be continuing until the second season comes out. I came to the conclusion that the world isn’t quite my thing. I don’t want to create my own adventures in the setting. I want my own world.

Next Thursday Game: Dragon Age Tabletop

One of the guys at our Thursday night game has run the Dragon Age tabletop game, and since it uses the same rules as Fantasy Age, we’re going to play that next. I’ve been researching the setting to find a character concept, and I think I have a couple of ideas. We’re doing character creation this Thursday, and we’ll see what shakes out.

Next as GM: Numenera Starter

We’re going to rotate games and GMs for a while, which we pretty much decided after the 4e campaign ended. When my turn comes around again, I’m planning on running the adventure in the above mentioned starter set. Monte Cook Games used the “glimmer” adventure Vortex for the set, so if that runs short, I can dig out the PDF and run the rest.

We’ve discussed doing a “Western Marches” style game as well. I’m only sorta interested, but a recent video made mention of using Microscope and Kingdom to create some of the setting elements. I had Microscope and I’ve picked up Kingdom, but I haven’t read Kingdom yet. We might end up doing sessions of those as well at some point.

Superheroes Redesign 

Once the toy I mentioned a few weeks got under my skin and inspired me to revisit an old Champions character, the big got into my head to collect more of the figures and repaint them to fit the characters.

Yeah, characters.

As I got to thinking about my old Champions characters, I felt that one of the other characters I played way back in the late 80s and early 90s had more stories to tell, and he fit well with where I can see Knyte going. His name was Dr. Power, and he was a Superman rip off for the most part. Thing is, I can’t find either character’s (or any of the characters’) sheets or histories. That may be a good thing, because I feel that I can play with the characters without stepping on the GM’s toes. The portions of the characters he created aren’t part of my records any more, or my memory, so I’ll have to recreate those details.

Sadly, in searching for those character sheets, I found that a box of game books that I had just recently reboxed (as they were in a cardboard box that was falling apart) had been placed just right to end up not sealed as tight as I expected and got waterlogged in the recent rains. Many of the books will have to be trashed, but only some will be replaced. The damaged books are largely just not things I’m especially interested in any more. It’s time to let go.

Random thoughts about StarSea and the Reincarnated

I’ve had the odd thought here and there about both settings. For the StarSea, the distance is making me feel I was thinking too scientifically about the setting and it’s trappings. Some of my ideas weren’t “sufficiently advanced magic.”

With the Reincarnated setting, I had some thoughts about the elves and gnobblins, how they relate to one another, and how the elves relate to one another. Not that this has any relevance to gameplay, but it’s an enjoyable experience that keeps the world interesting.

That’s pretty much all I’ve got for this go-’round.


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.


A Little Better This Week

Still feeling a little chore adjacent doing a post, but I felt I wanted to, so I’m doing. Last week, I didn’t feel like it, so I didn’t. I think there’s going to be more whim and less scheduling to future posts. Except in November when I do NaBloPoMo.

Haven’t Pokemon Go‘d in a few days. The weather’s been horrible (around 108 degrees during the day), and the particulate content of the air, thanks to the many fires around the Central Valley, make it miserable to get out. My allergies get activated, and I’m afraid I’ll get another of my endless colds if I push myself too hard. It’s bad enough that I cough sympathetically to my mom’s coughing, I don’t need a consistent cough of my own.

I got to talking about the Reincarnated campaign the other night with one of my long-time friend’s (Rob, the Kids’ dad) about the economy of the Murder God’s followers. I’ve been trying to figure out how a huge band of killers who disdain civilization would maintain a society, and a lot of that hinges on economy. I knew I wanted the base of the society to be the enslaved, but I wondered how to things worked above that. Eventually, our discussion came to the idea that the Murder Cultists have established an economy of fear. Overseers keep the slaves terrorized, and take most of the slaves products, leaving them with sustenance-levels of products, and distribute the rest based on whoever has them bullied into service. Above that, lesser warriors move up the chain through assassination or die. Fear of their target is all that keeps them in line.

Limited amounts of weapons and armor are made. The armorers are part of the system, acknowledging that only the faithful deserve more equipment, and they prove their faith by murdering the weak. But killing those weaker than you only gets you their fear, and while fear has it’s uses, fear can’t buy you respect like killing someone above you can. Of course, the powerful are wary of their subordinates, but if the powerful truly fear their lessers, they are unworthy of their position and their lives.

That’s all I have for tonight. Later.

A Hopefully Quick Post

My eyes are on fire, having been worked hard today, so I’m going to try to not be so long winded as I can be. I’d rather have a larger word count, but it’s quality, not quantity that important.

Once I got the idea in my head that I needed other worlds for the Reincarnated campaign, I decided to read the Plane Shift Zendikar file WotC made available a couple of weeks ago. Basically, the file takes one of the worlds of Magic the Gathering TCG and gives some background and racial mechanics for use with D&D 5e. The background was what sparked my interest. I was looking for how the world was structured in relation to the five types of mana in MTG, what influence the plane-devouring Eldrazi had on the world,  what the Eldrazi themselves are like, etc.

After reading the digital file, I found it points the reader towards an artbook on the Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch MTG releases. So, I went to the local Barnes and Noble and picked up the artbook. I’ve read some snippets here and there, and what really interested me was the idea that over the millennia since the Eldrazi were imprisoned, the three main creatures had become worshipped as gods, disassociated from the monsters they spawned. They become heroes in the eyes of the descendents of their victims. I thought that was a great twist on the history of the world. The kind of twist that it might be interesting to have the PCs in the Reincarnated setting have to deal with.

That is, what if the gods the PCs worshipped and worked for so long ago are now reviled for abandoning their followers to the horrors of the invader gods. This makes for a more interesting origin for the dark elves and goblins than I originally had, which was simply the pressures of wars against immigrants. That still has an appeal, especially with modern politics, but it’s almost too close to reality.

That last bit was also suggested by some of the rules in the PSZ PDF. Each race is presented in that file as a partial set of stats, but each non-human character must decide on a tribe or philosophy they are part of, which completes the race by providing the missing pieces. For example, all elves have +2 Wisdom, but the Tajuru Nation elves get +1 Charisma and the Joraga Nation elves get +1 Dexterity. There are more special items in each division, but this gives you a general idea of the importance of the subraces. Each race is also associated to a certain type of mana, which suggests personality traits and other roleplay elements.

I’d like to incorporate some of these ideas into the Reincarnated setting, as I think that world might benefit from some of these sorts of ideas. The mana flavor idea is what I want from the worlds beyond the world of the Reincarnated. I had originally had an idea for humans to have different races based on locations of origins as an explanation for skin colors and such.I have no idea if I’ll stick with that, and in fact I probably won’t. But I do know I want to get away from some of the tropes of fantasy that currently exist in gaming (like the very white high elves and very black dark elves). I’d like to more the route of the elves of Warcraft (the Night Elves are human allies and blue skinned, and the Blood Elves are orc allies and European in appearance), but different.

Yeah, so much for not being long-winded. I’ve written far more than I wanted here. I think this is a good thing, but my eyes are killing me. Time to go.


Feeling Creative Again

Last post needed to include a couple of events that I neglected. Well, one that I can remember right at the moment. The Smalls and I went out and saw Captain America: Civil War, which as has been commented elsewhere was basically the unannounced Avengers 2.5 movie. That’s not a bad thing, nor can I think of any connection to gaming, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Probably because that’s the point I felt this current creative streak started.

I also watched Pacific Rim. It had some neat ideas, particularly the explanation as to why the mechs/”jagers” required two pilots. However, it also had impossibeasts. While that’s part of anime, I really find them frustrating in all the artwork I see on Pinterest. To define “impossibeast,” I mean those impossibly large monsters that are most kaiju, as well as many large dragons in artwork. Get much bigger than a dinosaur like an apatosaurus, and their ability to move, much less consume enough calories to get the nerve impulse down a foot of tissue, becomes impossible. My mind has a lot of trouble suspending disbelief when encountering those crazy things.

That influences my thinking on creatures in my settings. So, the StarSea will have no creatures larger than a dinosaur, nor will the Reincarnated setting. This isn’t a big deal, but it’s something I want to keep track of. Of course, since I dislike the idea so much, I doubt I need the reminder, but it is part of my personal mission statement.

I actually did the analysis of the Dungeon World system last weekend. I ended up with about 4 pages of condensed notes, and those got me going on ideas for the StarSea. Mostly, I was considering ideas for how to work Corruption with the DW system (and likely, by extension, any Apocalypse World-based ruleset. I just need to figure out some of the details, but the idea that there are some actions/moves anyone can take, I was able to cobble together a basic idea.

In regards to the Reincarnated setting, I did come to the conclusion that I’m going to want to add in alternate realities. That’s part of the Corum books and part of Age of Sigmar, both major inspirations for the setting (there’s even a bit of that in the Forgotten Realms where the Salvatore book I got the initial idea from). I haven’t much planned anything yet, but I think it’s a necessity. Maybe part of the plotline is to find allies in other worlds, or maybe the other worlds will show the players what will happen if they continue to lose to the Invader Gods.

Anyway, it’s now late and I need to get up in the morning, and I need to get the house shut down, so that’s all I’ll report.


Pity Parties and Planning

Last time was a bit of a pity party, as I look back on it. I wrote that I thought I was depressed, and I might still be. But I’m feeling better now. I can’t tell you why, though. Nothing has really changed in the household, except my sister’s stress level, which seems to have gone down a bit. She took a short “stay-cation,” which sees to have helped her. And that helps me some. And the puppy is a little less rambunctious (or she was until tonight, in which she seems to want to test me), which also helps.

The Boy and I went to the local event for International Tabletop Day, sponsored by the FLGS, Crazy Squirrel Game Store. We had a good deal of fun, even though we couldn’t stay all day. Maybe because we couldn’t stay all day. Maybe that made us put in more effort towards just enjoying ourselves. One of the other good things to come out of the day was a game called Loot ‘N’ Run. I was immediately taken by it, and picked it up during my Thursday Night D&D game. The Boy and I played a couple of times that day, and last night before our home game we played a number of times. We’ve had a load of fun with it. It plays fast and is simple to play. I recommend it, heartily.

I had forgotten last time that I’d done some map sketching for the Reincarnated campaign. I don’t think I’m going to use the sketching I did at this point. It adds some mythology to the world that I don’t believe I want to deal with. I’d rather keep things simple, and as I’m thinking like Michael Moorcock in regards to my storytelling (who never really deals with creation myths), I think not going that far, which this map idea does, is probably a good idea. Yeah, that was a horrible sentence. To simplify, my inspiration wouldn’t do something like this for a map, so I won’t.

I’ve gotten absolutely no farther with 13th Age. I just haven’t been especially inspired to read it. Not sure if it’s the d20-based system, or just that I have so many other things to read, but I just haven’t pursued it further. And I’ve been considering adding more to the reading list, re-reading the Chronicles of Corum, the other three Corum books by Moorcock in which Corum is mistaken for Lugh Silverhand of Celtic Myth. I’d mention a year or so ago re-reading The Swords Trilogy. I prefer those, as they storytelling is more fantastic, and Corum survives the series. Yes, Corum is dead by the end of his eponymous chronicles, and it seemed a bit of a downer. But the subject matter (invading gods) is in line with some of the ideas I have for the Reincarnated campaign. Just not sure I want to dig into books I didn’t like so long ago.

On the other hand, I’ve been thinking about doing some deconstruction on Dungeon World. I was reading a little about the system somewhere (a Wiki/a page somewhere, I think), which had some of what I want. I really want to get in and figure out what the bare minimum of the system is, and how I can maybe try building something more personalized to the settings I want to explore. Stripping it all the way down to the bone like I’m thinking might be going too far, and may be a lot more work than I need to do, but I feel the need to do it, regardless. The Apocalypse System is fascinating to me, and I think I need to indulge that. That may also be what’s blocking me on reading 13th Age.

In fact, I was approached by the owner of CSGS a while back about a D&D “Summer Camp” for kids at the store, and I think if I did it, I’d use Dungeon World for it’s simplicity. I don’t know that I can do the “Summer Camp” any more, with the responsibilities to the house, but the idea is still in mind, and Dungeon World is a possible game for it. It doesn’t sell as many D&D books, directly, but it’s what I’d like to try.

Well, outside of a quick comment on Pinterest giving me ideas for things in the StarSea as well as the Reincarnated campaign, shaking up my creativity and making me realize I can be a bit hidebound, I’m pretty much done for tonight. I’m hoping things continue forward like they have the past couple of weeks (with things feeling better). Time will tell.

That’s it. Later.

Week of Hell-Lite

Last week ended up being pretty rocky. Somewhat hellish, even. After the fire and my last post, we took my mother to the hospital again, as she’d been having bathroom issues since Friday. She was diagnosed with C-Diff again. On the upside, she was released the same day. The downside was I had to go retrieve her. Wednesday as pretty decent, as I worked. I was lead to believe I’d be off early, but I ended up finally checking out two hours later. Pay is great, but I was looking forward to getting out early. Thursday was okay until game time, but then I learned something else about technology that I didn’t know before: Group texts require your cellular data to be on. I usually leave mine off to keep usage down. So, I ended up sitting at the FLGS for an hour and a half because I didn’t realize that a text cancelling the game had been sent 24 hours previous. The week ended with having to put one of our dogs to sleep as she had advanced congestive heart failure. On top, Saturday morning, as I was leaving for the Kids D&D game I run, my laptop crashed on shut down, and my Launch Services crashed again, forcing me to run the script again.

The past couple of days have been better. I’ve started reading through 13th Age a bit, and a little other poking around. I did some thinking about the status symbols of the Raiders in the Reincarnated campaign, and I think I’ll be basing it on weapons and armor. A slave has no weapons, a freed man has a knife, a full warrior has an axe, an overseer has a whip, and powerful warriors have armor in addition to their weapons. This idea came from thinking about the economy the raiders might have substituted for a coinage system, core to civilization, which they would see as a sign of weakness. I need more than this, but it’s a start.

That’s really all I have time for tonight. I got involved in a long conversation on Facebook regarding how magic might change a medieval society, and got distracted from this, but it was a good conversation.


What a week…

So, I have my laptop fixed. It took all week, but I finally found a forum with the answers I needed.

First thing I did was backup my files. That took quite a while, as I have so many files locally. Then I scanned both my old laptop and the new one with Norton Antivirus. I followed that up with a Mac specific program called ClamXav. Norton proved what I paid for it (free app), but ClamXav found a couple of virii on each box, which I quarantined. However, that didn’t fix things. Each scan took a day or more, again because of the number of files I keep locally.

Ultimately, I did a search for the specific phrasing of the error, and found some forums that told me what I needed to know. Saturday night, while watching The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (I haven’t seen any of the other movies, and I now don’t feel I need to), I managed to execute the cure, a command-line process kill, and fix things. Apparently, since they introduced OS 10.11, there has been an issue with the Launch Services commands. When LS croaks, it hoses the Applications and Utilities folders. The apps are still there, but the OS can’t find them. But the command-line Terminal is an app, so you have to trick the OS into showing you an app, and they’ll run. Apple seems to be aware of this problem, but doesn’t seem to be doing anything about correcting the problem. And after releasing an update that hosed USB ports, or something like that, I’m still in a state of lost faith where Apple is concerned.

I managed to start getting things back up and running yesterday before bed. Some of my apps were screwed up by this, like not showing icons and such. When I didn’t complete things by 1AM, I went to bed. About 2:30, I was awakened by my frantic sister. There was a fire in our side lot, and I became a firefighter in short order.

I’ve written quite a bit on my Facebook about it, and if you’re a friend, you can read that there. I’m fatigued of it, at this point, but I expect I’ll tell the stoies a couple of more times this week. Once at work (as I didn’t work today; thank you, dumb luck), once for my Thursday night crew, and once more Friday night with the kids.

Between all the other crap of last week, I read a little of 13th Age, as I’m getting to The Tome Show 13th Age episodes from last year’s GenCon. Just an option I’m considering for the Reincarnated campaign. Cypher is also in the running, but I’m really not very enthusiastic about that option.

But that’s all for this week. Even after a nap this afternoon, I’m thinking I’ll be in bed as early as possible. So…