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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

perusing GenCon list

(warning: gratuitous and arbitrary use of exclamation points!)
Not a single game of Rolemaster!
A couple Swords & Wizardry!
One Tunnels & Trolls!
Several Traveller and AD&D!
Nice to see Toon!
What the F is True Dungeon?(!)

I really just want to know how much space is given over to pick-up games and such!

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Tunnels and Trolls play-by-post is going pretty well. It's been going for about 2 weeks now. Some players bounce in and out, some are daily, some are 2-3 times daily - there's a total of 8 that have made characters, and all but one have participated to some degree. I'm glad to run a game again. It's been too long since I've run anything except what came to be one-offs, auto-aborts,
etc. I feel like I could do this for the rest of my life. I don't mean that in a dramatic sense - I mean it in the sense of 'as long as there's an internet and players' (both of which factors will certainly outlast me). I've tried to open it up as a sandbox and keep accepting players, but the idea was put forward to run an immediate adventure so that we could get out feet wet, get used to PBP. They're proving an inventive lot, really entertaining.

Warhammer FRP continues, in which I play a Dwarf named Yrkoll. The name: its all about the Yrk to me - I don't know why I've always been fascinated with that glob of letters. Yrkoon? That's the only citation I can think of (and only thought of it after I named the charater Yrkoon, and then remembered where it came from...early-senior-moment. One of those naming things...we're in the middle of out first combat, and I think I had a bursh with death in the form of an arrow graze, knocking my leather cap off...

The apothecary at Vedron's is starting an OD&D on rpol that I've joined, and I'm thinking about jumping into something really heavy over at AlternateHistory.

I'm trying to help the Swords & Wizardry project by categorizing creatures for the Monster Compendium encounter tables. It is exactly the kind of RPG-as-OCD task I love love love
and I think that S&W and OSRIC are both really relevant projects. It took some lurk time at the boards before I began to realize that I could help these worthwhile projects - to realize how easy it was even just to offer help.

Starting now to plan for GenCon. Never been. Kinda scared. But, I think it's time. I went to small local conventions in the Northern Indiana area when I was young. But the biggie? I generally avoid crowds as much as I can - and I'm pretty good at it. But there's just too much going on, and over the last few years I've really become very comfortable with how important gaming (and non-mindless escapism in general) is to me. Always has been. Gaming was a huge determinant in my life-of-the-mind (Barton Fink anyone? hoot hoot!).

I started an email interview with the owners of the Griffon Bookstore in South Bend Indiana. This is the FLGS I grew up with. Grew up in is more accurate. The owners (Ken and Sarah) have taught Russian for many years, and provided the only real outlet in town for minatures, a variety of RPGS, board and wargames for more than 30 years now. Unfortunately, I have totally let myself get wrapped up in other things (mostly the games listed above...) and haven't finished it up yet. Dammit! Gotta do that soon...

EDIT: and now helping the computer-translator English of Epées & Sorcellerie become human-reader English. This game is really cool!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Internet vs Books

7 years ago I made a New Year's Resolution (with capital letters) that I actually fulfilled! Read. Constantly. That was it. No real aspirations towards massive life overhauls or anything so dramatic - self-improvement? Bah. I'll go browse Barnes & Noble if I need some of that...

I've always read anyway, but it really did become something that I was dedicated to. Stopped watching TV. Rarely watched movies. Free time was generally spent somewhere in the middle of a sci-fi novel, histories, "literature" (you know, fancy writing about made-up stuff), sometimes game-books.

Now there's the Internet.
My resolve has crumbled. I've got 6 books started (6!), and I can't finish any of them - haven't been able to finish an actual book without a great deal of effort over the last few months (i.e.
since I got on the Internet last November)

So I do end up reading all the time now, PDFs, blogs, forums, articles, etc - it is amazing how
much information is available (I'm sure I'm the first to have noticed that...) Anyway - it looks like the Internet has won this particular face-off.

Is this natural? How long does this dubious honeymoon last? I miss my long attention span! If I could keep it in mind long enough to search, maybe I could remember where I left it...
pg 62 Forever Peace - Joe Haldeman?
pg 84 The Dwarf - Par Lagerkvist? (a nasty little book about a nasty little guy...)
lost in between two articles in a John McPhee collection?
some random amalgamation of texts in noisms' Borges Library?

...there's no telling. Maybe I should do a Google search for my lost attention span...

At some point, I'm going to read a damn book again (waiting on a friend who's getting the last book of Lyonesse soon...). Leiber is one author I'd like to revisit - My guess is that I was too young to catch as much as is probably there (I was a 10 year-old reading things I could find out of Appendix N...and LotR OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN!). Moorcock stands up on re-reading (though Elric pales _heh heh_ against his weird-pulp and Dancers series...

I shouldn't complain - the net is pretty astounding - and the sense of community is singular and something I have found myself really valuing more than I would have anticipated. But these days all I can bring myself to buy are reference materials (good reference books are such amazing things...) - and there are still so many books I really really do want to read...

anyway. enough rant.

EDIT: While I was writing this the Web blowed up with the WotC PDF news.
Whadda Maroon! This post has nothing to do with those pdfs

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Play Reports vs Calindrical Events

I know play-reports are hit-or-miss - so bear with me.

Had a pick up game last night, a couple of friends came over unannounced kinda late-ish. Pulled out OGRE and my homemade hex-map (400x400, full color, cool cities and roads, wow!) that went with the scenario for the evening...
Empire Invades Fracticious World!
Player A (Imperial-Alexander):50 pts infantry, 3 Mark V Ogres
Player B (Supermen-Sun Tzu):30 pts infantry, 30 pts armor, 4 sabotages*
Player C (Techlords-Clausewitz):30 pts infantry, 50 pts armor, 1 Mark III Ogre

* sabotage means a 3:1 attack on any target

Despite the Techlord's scheme of an all howitzer buy and the skillful use of the Superman sabotages, the Imperials rolled over them. This meant that the world was under Imperial control.

So...We rolled up Traveller characters and ran them through their service careers(no scouts, one marine, one merchant). They got so old, we decided they had kids, so we rolled up the kids too. We mustered them out young and rolled on a table of worlds to determine where in the universe they mustered out (convienently together and coincidental)
  1. Thool
  2. Earf
  3. Leng (named after the huge plateau in it's ecliptic 'northern' hemisphere)
  4. Trantor

Now - before I move on to the roll on this table, we realized that having two generations 'modelled' we could flesh out the 'future history' of this homeworld. So I too rolled up a character (first gene-mush product of the two PCs...gross!) and then we decided to calve off doubles. With a cursory reconfiguration, and a brief pause to autofab, we let them loose in a safe sandbox program which we checked periodically...we were here to GAME not simulate...but old habits being what they are...

Anyway - back to what gaming is REALLY all about...the roll on the table came up 3 - Leng. Awesome! Marines vs Cthuloids! Break out CoC, the Night Gaunts tickle!tickle!tickle! and the scions of the Empire find themselves before the Masked Priest...

They waste him with their needle guns!

(At this point, not only was the sun rising, but our pseudo-selves had generated 34,000 generations on the homeworld! It had become a pastoral world of centaurs! Huh!)

Nevertheless, the Crawling Chaos responded - changed a subtle energy-state of the phlogiston, rendering jump drives inert - the shock wave emanating from Leng 'moving' so much faster than light that none had a moment to prepare (indeed! our sub-selves crashed! We spent the next few hours examining the error logs and dump. In their game they'd destoyed the universe several times and recreated it without our having noticed - gotten bored, retired to castles & keeps and spent most of their time trying to build the perfect 10' pole. Looks like they were really on to something when the Eldritch foulness took them...)

Yep. Just another pick-up game.

(tomorrow's game loop: ...Gamma World->Quirks->4e->Napoleonics->Aftermath->Gamma World...