Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Technical Trouble... Please Stand By...

My main computer has decided to develop some kind of problem with software, and I can't browse the world wide web.  I can connect, but can't load webpages.  So until I can sort out the problem, I'll either surf at the library, or on my laptap, at places with free wifi, which is what I'm doing now.  It's also put a kibosh on frequent blog posting.

A week or so ago, my digital camera also decided to go all wonky, and not take photos.  I can turn it on, and get the menu, but I can't take any photos.  Not sure what the problem is with it, but it may meet the business end of a sledge hammer.  I mean, if it can't be fixed cheaply, then I might as well, have a little  fun.  I'm not sure if these things can even be repaired.  We live in such a disposable society these days.  I once found a VHS and DVD player that someone had thrown away, but I checked it out, and it worked.

I'm not a huge fan of technology right now.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving, and enjoys the holiday.  On Friday I will be heading to Half-Price Books EARLY to get in line for a chance to win the $100 gift card.  Even if I don't win, if I'm one of the first hundred in line I will get a $5 gift card, with that and with the 15% off coupon I have I will get a really cheap gaming book.  I'm not sure what I will get yet, but it may be Warlord, the Reaper's Miniatures rules.

Once again everyone have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

[ Kinship ] The Dromedary Part Two

The smell of fresh popcorn filled the lobby, as the small group entered the theater.  The snack bar was self-serve, since it was free anyway, although one or two people usually served everyone else.  Otherwise it got a bit crowded behind the counter. 

The candy selection seemed to change every week, and at times it could get very weird.  No one knew what a chocolate covered Meklo was, and no one wanted to find out either.  One thing that never changed was the popcorn.  It was always ready, and always fresh.  No one seemed to question who prepared it.

Fred the Nerd was the first one into the theater, but as the others gathered their snacks, he came back out.

"Someone is in there!  I don't know who it is!"  Walking backwards, Fred stumbled over a kink in the carpet, spilling soda and popcorn everywhere.

Verna walked over to the doors, and glanced inside.  "Oh no worries.  I know who it is.  He's not dangerous... at least not to us.  However, don't sit next to him, or bother him.  He likes his solitude."

The small group of Kinship citizens sat in the back rows, and many of the newcomers wondered who the man was.  The movie wasn't that much different from the original, except the small girl was a boy in this version.

About halfway through the movie, the theater light's flashed on and off.  The projection of the movie vibrated, got blurry, and eventually froze.  A burning spot appeared, and then there was a high pitched wail.  Then a strange, vibrantly colored vortex appeared on the screen.

Larry got to his feet.  "Maybe we better leave?"

A loud roar came over the speakers, and everyone jumped to their feet, except the man in the middle row.  Popcorn, candy, and soda was either dropped, or discarded.

Verna was clutching her hands together.  "This isn't right.  We better get the sheriff."

The vortex grew in size, and something... monstrous was moving through it, into the theater.  The man stood, and in his hand he held an Uzi.  Raising it towards the beast, he started firing, a stream of glowing bullets hitting the beast.  It roared in pain, and a tentacle reached out, and knocked the firearm out of the man's hand.

The man looked back, and most who recognized the man, gasped in surprise.

"You folks better leave now.  I'll handle this."  A sword then appeared from somewhere, and the man turned back toward the monster.  He jumped up on the seat, and leaped towards the monster.  Covering twenty feet easily, the man landed on the monsters chest, and shoved the sword into the monster.

A dagger appeared in the man's other hand, and he began stabbing the tentacles that were now writhing around his body.  The monster reeled, and fell back into the vortex, taking the man with him.  With a whoosh and a pop, the vortex closed.  The monster and the man were both gone.  The movie resumed playing.

Larry, a newcomer, scratched his head.  "Was that? I mean, I've seen the photos, but..."

Verna chuckled.  "Yeah, that was Elvis, not sure if it was Elvis Prime or not, but it doesn't matter.  He always seems to show up when he's needed.  It's a shame that his movie night was interrupted.  Think I'll go tell the sheriff what happened.  I need some coffee now anyway..."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Awesome Dice

Which comes first?  A gamers love of dice, or the love of the games you use them in?  A sort of chicken and egg question.  Of course I think gaming dice are cool.  I like all sorts of dice, specialty, and the plain jane variety.  The very large and the ultra-tiny.  Dice are just cool.

A few months back I received an email from Brian Wood with a request to plug his website, which has a dice store and a blog.  Unfortunately life was a real pain at the time, and I never got around to plugging his site.  I keep seeing the email in the Inbox folder, and finally decided I needed to mention the site.

It's Awesome Dice.  On the blog is a cool article about the "History of Dice".

There's a very cool black Dragonscale dice bag that he sells in the webstore that I am now coveting.  It's a bit pricey at $49.95, but I need a new one, because my ancient, trusty Crown Royal bag finally fell apart.  Unfortunately it's out of stock, which is just as well.  I can't justify buying one right now, but eventually I will.

So if you're looking for some new dice check out Brian's website.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Busy, busy, busy... and then OUCH.

So you can gather from the post title that I've been busy.  I was trying to organize the garage and make space for some gaming.  I was so busy that Sunday my back was messed up yet again, and I was wiped out.  I've had trouble with my back for a while now, and finally I had an MRI done the same time they did one for the cyst.  I was diagnosed with degenerative spinal stenosis.  The PA said that they would reevaluate it in a year.  MEH.

I can work for a couple of days, maybe two, but then I'm usually on my back for at least 12 hours, or longer.  Even after I can get up, I'm usually still slow, weak, and limpy.  Not a great feeling.  Anyway, I've been resting for a couple of days, and trying to decide what to do next.  I need to get back to work, but if I find steady work, then I usually only last a few days.  The employer really doesn't like it when a new employee calls in sick the first week.  Even if it's a temp job.

So I plan on looking again, and hopefully I can find something not too strenuous, but in this economy I don't have much hope.

I probably won't be posting much what with the holidays coming up, and job hunting, but when I can find the time I will post something.  I have plenty of Kinship stories brewing in my head.  I'm also working on a book about miniature war games.  It's going to be a comprehensive look at the hobby, and will hopefully cover every rule set published.  Which is kind of daunting.  I just started compiling a list of rule sets, and I'm up to 28.  This doesn't include any historical miniature rules. 

I'll primarily be discussing this project on my miniatures blog, the Mayhem of Miniatures.  There's a link to it on the left sidebar.  I plan on covering EVERYTHING, even fan-created rules, so if you know of a certain rule set, I would appreciate hearing about it.  I'll be creating a page soon, listing the rule sets I know about.  It will be interesting to find out how many there are exactly.

I have other projects in mind as well, but if I say too much I usually end up jinxing myself.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Detective Character

"Where there is no imagination there is no horror."
– Arthur Conan Doyle
One of my favorite new shows on television is Elementary. I'm a fan of Sherlock Holmes stories, and of course Arthur Conan Doyle. In my opinion this show is well written, and one of the best offerings on television this season. This is a great "reimagining" of the character while still retaining almost all of the things that made Sherlock Holmes a great character.

Doing some research on Holmes, and his creater, I was astounded at how well the writer/s of the show researched the mythos of Sherlock Holmes.

After tonight's episode I started thinking about detectives, sleuths, and investigators in role playing games, and how in all the games I've ever run, no one ever played one. For me it would be fun to play a detective, a solver of mysteries, it doesn't really matter what genre; horror, science fictions, supers... a detective character could work in any of them.

The fun part of playing a detective, ( at least for me ) would be actually using deductive reasoning, and to a lesser extent abductive reasoning, in the game to solve mysteries.  Not an easy skill to develop. Sure you could use skill rolls, but where is the fun in that? It's also not very satisfying. Sure some players wouldn't mind, but me? If I can't figure it out, then I wouldn't want a roll of dice to let me succeed.  Sure perception rolls are fine, but anything else I would want to depend on me thinking things through.

Now, I'm not so sure it would be easy to run a game for a detective character.  Describing the scene of the crime, providing clues, suspects, etc. would have to be carefully accomplished.  Too many clues, and it's too easy, not enough, or misleading clues, would make it impossible for the player or players.

"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth".
Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes had an almost super-human perception, a keen intelligence, and that, in combination with an esoteric, broad knowledge base, made him a very skilled detective. Well, his knowledge was primarily about things that would help him solve crimes.  Nothing else really interested him.  Sherlock Holmes was all about solving crimes.  He needed the challenge.

I haven't read every story about Sherlock Holmes, especially what's considered canon.  So I've set a goal to read all 54 short stories, and the 4 books.  Well, it's a goal for next year. With the holidays coming up, and me trying to get some things accomplished I can't start right away.

I've also been trying to remember if there was ever a RPG about Sherlock Holmes?  Guess it's google time!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Dictionary: the RPG.

No, I didn't come up the concept, and no, it's not about role playing a dictionary. It's a cool little "micro" RPG.

Check it out here... Dictionary: the RPG.

John Stater has come up with a neat idea here for a quick RPG. I find flipping open a dictionary, or other book and pointing to a word to be very synergistic, and a great creative aid. I do it all the time, and to make it into an RPG, well, that's a plus.

My first try was using the "Concise Edition" of the Webster's New World Dictionary with Student Handbook. I found I had to avoid the student handbook part. Not once did I find it conducive to the RPG, and I did try.

The rules on The Land of Nod are VERY BRIEF, but that's okay. It gives you lots of room for your own house rules. The one thing that wasn't covered was picking a genre, but that may have to be decided after you come up with your character concept. It's what I did.

So I flipped open the dictionary, and even though it's not required; I quickly pointed at a random word without looking. I was on page 77, and pointed at black-leg. UGH. An infectious disease of cattle and sheep, usually fatal. Nope, I scan down, and find black magic. That's more like it! A mage of the black arts. Now I have to find an adjective on the same page to describe my character. On the same page I find bizarre, and I think that will work fine.

Also a quick house rule I made up was the page number you get your character concept on is also your starting funds. So in the case of Black Hand, the dark mage's alias, which was also found on the same page, his starting funds is 77 silver.

Now I must think of a first task Black Hand wants to accomplish. Rule the world, no, too big of a goal. There's a magic book he wants from a local book merchant. So I have to find out if he succeeds. I randomly flip open to page 708, and hopefully there's an verb to help Black Hand "acquire" the book.

Hhhmmm... there's only soothe. Perhaps Black Hand casts some kind of calming spell, but I don't think that would help him get the book. However, there's the adjective, somniferous, sleep inducing. I think the calming spell gives Black Hand the time to cast sleep. Zzzzzz....

Locking the door, Black Hand binds and gags the book seller. He finds the book, and decides to help himself to the merchant's cashbox. How much does he have? Page number 708, so I decide that it's 708 silver. The merchant is after all a successful book merchant who sells rare, magical tomes. A different kind of merchant may only have half the amount, or even a less valuable denomination.  Black Hand is successful, and leaves out the back door, skulking down the alley. He's earned a free page flip in a later adventure.

Dictionary: the RPG is a fun, quick game.

So the house rules I came up with, are:

Starting funds are the value of the page number, ( of the page you found your character concept ) in whatever denomination you are using.  Well, I'm not sure what you would use starting funds for, but it just felt necessary.

Treasure is also the value of the page number. There also might be something else interesting in the area, if it's on the page.

Black Hand's next task? Reading the book to increase his magical knowledge.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hippogriffs: Egg Layers or Livebearers?

I was working on a post, and I was trying to decide if Hippogriffs laid eggs or gave birth to their young live?  Hhhmmm...

I checked my old AD&D Monster Manual, and according to the description of the Hippogriff, and the Griffon, they both lay eggs.  In the RMSS ( Rolemaster Standard System ) Creatures & Monsters no mention of either species being egg layers is made.

However, Griffin/Gryphon females are described as  giving birth to cubs, so that would seem to contraindicate them being egg layers.  Also, Hippogriff offspring are described as foals.  Again with the rear end of a horse that would seem to preclude the laying of eggs?

Now, I know I don't have to follow ANY description of Hippogriff's.  I can decide if they're egg layers, livebearers, or something else.  I've actually reached a decision, and it's kind of fun.  I always like to twist memes inside out, and change them to suit my warped imagination.

Doing my research I also found these terms...

Parturition is the act or process of giving birth to offspring. The terms used to describe parturition vary with the species of animal it is being used to describe. The following are examples of parturition terminology:

A dog whelps and gives birth to puppies
A cow calves and give birth to a calf
A sow farrows and gives birth to piglets
A ewe lambs and give birth to lambs
A horse foals and give birth to a foal


So I guess a Hippogriff would foal? What's the term for Griffin's giving birth?