Previously, in Trip's Life...

31 January 2004 - Saturday

Today I have... played zangband. Well, and written about 1k words.

Make a comment!

30 January 2004 - Friday

Last day at (the remains of) AltaVista. Sniff.

Despite the lack of happiness engendered by lack of money, multiple buyouts, bad location, 3am escalations, and so on, I'm going to miss this place, or at least these people.

You'd think I'd be better at this, having left several jobs before. Oh well.

* * *

Well, that was a quick exit interview.

My waist feels all unbalanced without the Nextel. I may have to get a personal phone just so I don't walk lopsided.

* * *

Yum, ped yarng! And now I know which of my cow orkers actually liked me. :)

* * *

There is a work bowling-and-pizza thing which I might have gone to had people not tried to pressure me into it. Instead, I will go home and vegetate, because I have the Pretty Big Sleepies. Also, I should make the most of being a bum.

Time catches on, eh? by You know. (Tue Dec 21 09:13:21 2004)

All I can say is:

"My grumpiest cow orker has been laid off. Dilbert flashbacks. Netcom flashbacks. Realization that I am now grumpier than any of my cow orkers."

All your bases are belong to us!

Re: Time catches on, eh? by Trip (Tue Dec 21 10:04:21 2004)

The scary thing is, I wasn't the grumpiest person in my group at AV. In fact, for a while I was no more than third-grumpiest.

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29 January 2004 - Thursday

Penultimate day! I have now packed up my motivation to take home!

Also, I have a phone scream at 11:00 on Monday, so perhaps I will not end up starving in the gutter.

* * *

Although proportional extra damage has many things going for it, the one thing that flat damage had was less (percentage) spread in damage for higher base damage. I suspect the course of correctness is something like sqrt(number_of_d6s) per increment (rounding nearest, so 1-2d6: 1, 3-6d6: 2, 7-12d6: 3, 13-20d6: 4, 21-30d6: 5). One increment per, hm. 2 points of hit margin, I guess, since this is intermediate between completely flat at 1/1 and proportional at N/3.

Am I overanalyzing this? Almost certainly. What's your point?

* * *

Hee hee hee!

* * *

Look, look, it's a thought!

I think it would be best if bonus damage from extra successes affected damage taken by the target more than it affected penetration of the target's defenses. That is, no matter where you stab Ferrous Man with your switchblade, it's not going to matter, even if you roll way way up. However, if you stab someone who doesn't have piles of resistant Def, it matters a lot where you stab them. On the other hand, if you have some hope of getting through the target's defenses, it can matter where you hit for both penetration and damage.

So, figure bonus damage using the flat method (+1 Stun per point of success, +1 Body per three points of success), and see if that penetrates the target's defenses. If 0 or more Stun gets through (base Stun plus bonus Stun is no less than Def), add the bonus Stun again. Same for Body.

Too complicated? Just plain stupid?

Bonus Damage by Lynx (Sun Feb 1 01:16:11 2004)

Sounds like you're trying for a critical hit thing. If you want to simplify things, then make it actually simple. Dump resistant defense, etc. and just have defense (absorbs X damage per hit) and DCV (evade a hit). Make it a +1/2 advantage or something to be immune to critical hits (bonus damage from success).

Re: Bonus Damage by Trip (Mon Feb 2 13:26:56 2004)

Not really a critical hit thing, I just want armor penetration to not vary as much as damage. But I don't want it to not vary at all. Perhaps this is a failure of simplicity, yes.

Abolishing killing damage is appealing, but a normal human shouldn't be able to be nearly immune to handguns. Even armor-piercing normal damage of 3-4d6 isn't going to do Body through 10 Def.

Make a comment!

28 January 2004 - Wednesday

Ah, power frameworks!

Elemental controls are relics of a time when roleplaying was so primitive that real character concepts were rare and valuable and had to be purchased at exorbitant cost. We have advanced since then, and character concepts are now the default, so there will no longer be bribes offered. Instead, characters without concepts will be fed to the Martian war machines.

(Completely random digression: is it generally true that when a desired behavior is rare, you must reward it to get people to do it, while if it's the norm, you can maintain it just by punishing deviation? It seems like it upon first thought. Probably a resource thing; other things equal, it's cheaper to work on the case that's in the minority.)

Some mechanism like variable power pools is probably necessary, and given Hero's (and thus Antihero's) use of the point as the fundamental unit both at character creation and during play, it'll probably turn out to be much like the existing VPP mechanic. So, we can leave that one alone.

Multipowers, I am uncertain about. I have heard the position that since attacks are the most commonly multipowered powers, and you already can't use more than one of them at once, it's a crock to get such a huge price break. But on the other hand, if buy flight, forcefield, and an attack, I can use them all at once, so shouldn't I have to spend fewer points to get three attacks of the same point costs? (Yes, I am aware of the differing assumptions about the point costs of attacks here.)

Perhaps Tristat has the right idea in giving a cost break to all attacks except the largest, and otherwise having powers that can't operate at the same time take a limitation.

* * *

Antepenultimate day!

* * *

I really spend a lot on comics and DVDs. I should probably stop that since I'll be unemployed next week. But I like them!

* * *

Converting AlQuest characters to Fantasy Hero took the whole evening, but was fairly successful, though the handwaving nearly caused us to lift off a few times.


multiattacks by Bryant (Wed Jan 28 14:59:26 2004)

In Hero 5th, you can explicitly attack with two powers at once.

Re: multiattacks by Trip (Wed Jan 28 15:29:32 2004)

Even if they're not linked? Wacky!

Make a comment!

27 January 2004 - Tuesday

Pre-antepenultimate day of AltaVista!

* * *

Cafeteria not too bad today.

* * *

Campaign page for Heroes of Nexus up! Not complete, since well no complete characters yet, but hopefully good anyway.

* * *

Hm. Dave is also dubious about hit margin adding to damage. He prefers what I think of as a more simulationist style, in which the player thinks about the best tradeoff between hit probability and damage before making the attack roll. Now, he admits to being pretty old-school, and doesn't have a better suggestion for combining to-hit and damage into one roll, but Dave is a lot smarter than I am, so if he's dubious, I should probably be dubious also.

* * *

The last episode of Love Hina Again did not surpass the previous two in fan service, but rather in cheesy plot devices. Oh well.

* * *

Now I'm back to thinking that maybe extra damage from hit margin should be proportional to base damage. In keeping with the way presence attacks do an extra level of effect on the chart for every three points of success margin, we could redefine an extra success to be three points of hit margin, keep base damage at 3N Stun and N Body for an Nd6 attack, add N Stun and N/3 (round nearest) Body for each extra success, to a maximum of 6N/2N at three extra successes. This does let you get up to twice your base damage, but you have to hit by 9 to do it, which requires the best possible roll (about 1.5%) even if you're 2 CV up on the target. For any hit margin from 0 to 5, you do average damage &plusminus) 15%; from 6 to 8, it's about like having Brad roll your dice.

This a) regularizes the importance of extra damage across power levels, and b) removes the advantage you would otherwise get by making your attack armor-piercing penetration no range mods vs ECV, so it's not without benefit. It does require a little more calculation, but with few enough possible outcomes that you can easily scribble it on your character sheet.

But now I am very tired, so I sleep.

Make a comment!

26 January 2004 - Monday

First day of the last week of my AltaVista career. Sniff.

* * *

I got feedback from Adam on Antihero, which resulted in changing one thing (everyman skills are now bought with real points).

* * *

I am saddened by the not-goodness of the cafeteria. The salad weasel appears edible, at least. Perhaps I should bring in microwaveable weasels.

* * *

As threatened, the Bertanis were quite busy with LARP preparations, and Jimweasel showed up to distract them further for a while, but we discussed gaming at least vaguely. No one has recoiled in horror from Antihero, although possibly only because they haven't examined it closely, and we have character ideas (a fallen angel, a risen demon, and a djinni). Perhaps in a couple of weeks, we will be ready to actually game!

One thing that consideration of Antihero turned up is that it costs a lot more to buy all stats to human maximum than it did in Hero. Part of this is because there are new stats to buy (Soul, Spirit, Mental Def), and part because I decrocked Strength, but it's true regardless of the reason. Oh, and everyman skills cost real points. With all this, it looks like points for Antihero characters should be about 20-25% higher than for Hero characters of the same power level, even after I make Stun and Spirit figured stats based on Body and Soul. (Yah, I know, figured stats are wrong. But this makes some amount of sense! Really!)

Make a comment!

25 January 2004 - Sunday

Played a lot of zangband, didn't write much.

* * *

Al made some good points about Antihero, so I changed the way extra successes add to damage.

* * *

Earthdawn! We successfully raided a waypost and merchant ship of the Evil Empire, with our nethermancer getting only slightly dented, and Isidari got to defeat the merchant captain in a dramatic one-on-one duel! Having thus been persuaded that we weren't EE spies, the sky raiders dropped us off at our destination, so we could wander into the caer and get mugged by horrible freezing undead.

Unless there are Plot Twists, I expect we will finish next week and then go back to D&D3e.

Make a comment!

24 January 2004 - Saturday

I got up at an almost-not-completely-slothful hour to try to make the Post Orifice give me my package, but they failed me. They must SUFFER! But they did give Ayse & Ken their package, so I guess actual decimation isn't in order.

Then we went to Book Buyers and dropped off piles of books to be inspected for buyability. Only 239564396592 left to go!

* * *

Wrote some, played zangband some.

* * *

I got $60 of book credit and $50 of CD/DVD/weasel credit, and had only two books to take back home. Ayse & Ken got some credit too, which they promptly used. Well, not promptly, exactly, but starting when they found out how much they had. :)

Every time Ayse said she was almost done, I wandered off and found more books!

* * *

Watched more SuperGALs. Very very silly.

Make a comment!

23 January 2004 - Friday

First draft of AntiHero (thanks for the name, Christy!) is now up to be mocked.

* * *

Bah. Bruce's new corporate masters, Postini, don't want to hire me. They put some internal transfer weasel in that position. They obviously suck and are doomed to fail.

I guess I should hassle Taos more.

* * *

Woo! Black Company RPG! d20, of course, but what can you do?

It will be interesting to see if they butcher the magic.

* * *

Stirfry and Slayers is not like writing, but is good anyway.

Antihero by Lynx (Fri Jan 23 17:25:55 2004)

Huzzah! Good to see you taking a shot at streamlining Hero.

A suggestion: instead of d8 - d8, have the attacker roll 1d8 and add that to his value, and have the defender or GM roll 1d8 and add that to her value for resisting the attempt.

It seems like it could still be chopped down some more, but perhaps that's more a matter of laying out the rules all neat and properly instead of presenting it as a patchfile for Hero.

Re: Antihero by Trip (Fri Jan 23 17:48:18 2004)

I do offer the option of each side rolling a d8 when it's not obvious who the active person is, but in general, I think it's better to have only one person do the rolling and calculating.

It could definitely be slimmed down, yah, but I think I got most of the obvious protrusions. Time to playtest!

Playtesting by Image (Sun Jan 25 11:16:24 2004)

In general it's a really cool Hero streamline, and I should emphasize that before I nitpick. A few minor questions/comments, then one significant complaint.

- Can you delay? If not, your initiative system has some obvious problems. If so, can you delay and then take a recovery? If that's so, what does your passage about recovery no longer being "wait and see" mean?

- Lowering your DCV isn't just dangerous now, it's deadly; it's like taking off your armor, because not only will more attacks hit you, they'll always do extra damage. Can you at least recover at only -4 DCV instead of 0 DCV? That way it only guarantees that all attacks do an extra 6 STUN/2 BODY, instead of autokilling anyone in a high-powered campaign.

- Other than with movethrough, is it possible to perform any maneuver that has the effect of lowering your probability to hit in exchange for more damage if you do hit? And see "major complaint" below.

- You've removed the need for most combat maneuvers, because a lot of them do nothing more than the above probability-vs-damage tradeoff.

- I really like the damage on multiple tracks thing, and the spirit/soul stat pair. A mechanism for short and long-term fatigue falls almost directly out of this, and I've never seen a good long-term fatigue system in an RPG I've played.

- Removing END: yes yes yes! I've considered small STUN penalties for powers multiple times. I guess I agree with your free-of-cost base for all powers -- again, one can simply apply a couple "dice" of fatigue (short and long term) after combat has happened for a while.

- You are keeping the "no more than double effect from all modifiers together" rule, right?

Here's the major complaint. You've turned DEF into a figured stat based on DEX. I don't know that I like that; I don't like Ars Magica combat mechanics nearly as much as I like Hero mechanics, and this appears to be an attempt to be Ars Magica. Ars Magica combats, because the mechanism is so simple, are tedious and repetitive, for all that they're random.

DEX now adds to STR and DEF and EB and Transform and Entangle and every other attack and defense power. I think you've undervalued it at only 10 per point. Same complaint with skill levels: they're overvalued compared to adding dice of damage (unless you think the max-double-damage cap will come into play often enough to compensate. In low-power games, it might.)

Along the same lines, "more dice of attack" and "more OCV" are now nearly redundant mechanisms. Want to do more damage? Buy more attack or buy more OCV; regardless of your who you're fighting, it comes out to pretty much the same thing, except that one does a bit more low-end damage and the other does a bit more lucky-shot damage. You don't get a choice of different probability-damage curves anymore; there's one curve, and you only get to place a few constraints at the extremes; the middle is pretty much the same for everybody.

One possibility by Image (Sun Jan 25 11:23:31 2004)

Perhaps if you halved, or even 2/3ed, the benefit from hitting by a lot, I'd be less dubious. I.e. every +1 by which you hit does +1 stun, every +3 does +1 body. Still thinking. It's early in the morning and I haven't had much caffeine.

Oop, another couple bits by Image (Sun Jan 25 18:03:56 2004)

So what happens on an area effect? I try to target a hex. I hit it by +10 because I'm good. Do I do +10 damage to everyone in the blast? Or is it just the base damage? My sense is that area effect attacks shouldn't do more damage when you hit by extra amounts.

(Otherwise, if I miss by -4 (two hexes away), but people are still caught in the blast, do they take normal damage, or -4 to the damage?)

Musing on the math. I think it's okay but I need to be anal for just a bit.

I have a 9d6 (27-point) EB with 9 skill levels and I'm firing side-by-side with a friend who has a 12d6 (36-point) EB with no skill levels.

We both spent 60 points. My attack does precisely the same amount of damage but hits a lot more often -- like all the time instead of (typically) half the time -- especially against mid to high DCV opponents. (Only when opponents are of such low DCV that my attack starts to peg on damage do the scales start to even out. But even then, I can still multiattack much more effectively than he can.)

Then again, in Heroic campaigns, (9d6+9 skill levels) outclasses (12d6) anyway, since the former can trade out 6 skill levels for +3d6 damage and get 12d6 at +3 to hit, and has the option of keeping the skill levels as OCV to whack martial artists, and the only actual cost is that once you've traded out the skill levels to max your damage you can no longer push (and you can't multipower your skill levels). So maybe the problem isn't limited to Antihero.

Re: Playtesting, one possibility, another couple bits by Trip (Mon Jan 26 08:50:33 2004)

I find your arguments compelling, so I have reduced the bonus for a good hit to 1 Stun and 1/3 Body per extra success.

Minor nit: aren't skill levels 2 points? So 9d6 EB plus +9 OCV is 63 points... This blunts your point at least a little, I think, since now we're comparing 12d6 to 9d6 +7 or +8 OCV.

Hm. Can this be solved by using the proper weights for the Rule of X? OCV and DCV are now obviously worth somewhat more than in Hero, after all.

Make a comment!

22 January 2004 - Thursday

Happy Happy Bryantday!

* * *

Ah ha! So that's Earl's secret!

* * *

My readers are undoubtedly asking themselves, "Why is today so blissfully free of Corrupt Hero blather?" The answer, of course, is that I'm saving it up for later! More specifically, I am trying to get the end result of my chain of spurious logic written down, so I can make people harsh on it.

* * *

Words today: some.

Make a comment!

21 January 2004 - Wednesday

I don't usually descend into politics here, but this is really more like mocking religious fruitcakes, and I do do that. (Thanks, regis!)

* * *

Yay! I'm not alone on Ops Row today! I have Angie and all 2905629541205621692 of her germs to keep me company!

* * *

Okay, back to Corrupt Hero! I had ideas this morning, but then I did some work and some writing and got all sidetracked until, well, now.

Minor fix: damage-by-hit-margin needs to take into account powers that don't cost 5 per 1d6, even if only by saying, "Yah, so what?"

Ego powers will need to be redone, since Ego is now like 3-7 for humans, instead of 10-20. However, comparing Body on the effect dice to Ego now works. For each +10 on the existing table, you need 3 points of power effect left after subtracting the victim's Ego (since getting +10 with dice requires about +3d6). And, base Ego is now 3 instead of 2, so it all works out pretty well, and the +3 instead of +10 thing can be used with the Presence attack table too.

However, this complicates Mental Defense, since Stun damage from Ego Blast and effect from Mental Illusions/Mind Control/etc are now no longer on the same scale. The options seem to be either splitting Mental Defense into two separate powers (well, a power and a standard limitation on Ego), or redoing Stun/Body damage. The first is simpler, but the second makes things all consistent again... Indecision reigns!


The former would make Mental Def a power that costs, probably, 1 point for 2 MD, and subtracts straight from the Stun damage of Ego Blasts but doesn't affect Mental Illusions/Mind Control/Mind Scan/Telepathy at all. To resist those powers, you buy Ego with a -1 limitation, "Only to reduce effect level of mental powers". This is ugly, but requires less mutilation of existing mechanics.

The latter would involve reducing Stun damage to 1 point per old d6, or 1/3 what it was before, and probably therefore reducing Stun and Body base values to 1/3 (6 and 3, respectively), and increasing the cost of Stun, Body, and Def by a factor of 3 (3, 6, and 6, respectively). However, with the damage per die set to 1, I'm not sure how to do damage-by-hit-margin without small attacks having 0 base damage, or even less. Also, does this mean that attacks of 1-2 DC never do Body? So this option could be aesthetically pleasing, but has difficulties in implementation.


* * *

Ah, thought of another option! Have another stat that is to Ego what Stun & Body are to Con! Ego Blast itself does Stun damage, but the other ego powers do Psyche damage! Not sure how level of effect fits into this, but it preserves the ego-effect-as-damage metaphor, and even makes it stronger than in Hero.

Duh, level of effect would be how far below 0 you push someone's Psyche. And as it comes back, the level of effect drops. This means that two ego powers affecting one person add, though, and if someone has already been pushed to negative jillion by Brain Ferret's telepathy, Mentato the Psychic Spud gets the highest level of mind control for effectively free.

Of course, if we had a damage-as-addition metaphor rather then the Hero (and D&D and...) damage-as-subtraction metaphor, it would make sense to have a separate pile of "damage" for each mental effect on someone, while splitting or duplicating a Psyche pool is just weird.

Another step from Hero out into the darkness of my brain. Wheee.

* * *

But, since by analogy to normal attacks doing both Stun and Body, ego powers and transformation attacks could do both short-term and long-term damage, resistant Mental/Power Defense would mean something!

Every attack would have a "stun" effect, a "knockout" effect, and could have a "kill" effect, which I guess would mean it would have two piles of damage it could stack up. Probably "stun" damage would roll over into "body" damage at some ratio, so you could turn someone permanently to stone with your "stun-only" petrifaction attack, if you kept hammering them. But maybe not.

This could get complicated, but since most attacks do plain damage, which adds (two petrifaction attacks would add too, I suppose), you're not likely to have dozens of rows of hashmarks for dozens of different powers affecting you.

* * *

Okay, now I scuttle to pillage Gamescape and Lee's!

* * *

Gamescape has failed me. Lee's did okay. No new anime this week, which is, overall, probably good, since I haven't watched what I have now.

* * *

Ah. Hero has precedent for my wacky scheme: Transformation Attack.

* * *

Finished watching disc 2 of Someday's Dreamers and yep, the characters are just as scary as I thought.

Started disc 3 of SuperGALs. Possibly Ken needs to watch this.

* * *

Words today: real 0, but random 1600.

Make a comment!

20 January 2004 - Tuesday


* * *

More Streamlined Hero ("Speedster"? Might be a bit optimistic...) blithering.

After further consideration, I have noticed that there are a lot of Dex-based skills, but almost no Ego-based ones, so the costs should probably be something like 9 for Dex and 7 for Ego. Maybe even 10 and 6, although that seems pretty low for Ego.

Since Presence is no longer rated in dice, Presence attacks are probably best done as Presence+1d8-1d8 vs opposing Presence or Ego. Extra Presence attack is Presence with a -1 limit; Presence defense is also Presence with a -1, or Ego with a -1½. Table mapping margin of success to degree of awe instilled to be created later, but probably just multiply margin of success by 5 and use the old table.

If limiting Presence is a standard idiom then probably Com shouldn't be a perk, it should be Presence with "only for skills" (-½) and "only against people impressed by my appearance" (-1, at least in Nexus).

Mental powers also need adjusting. Either dice total against Ego x5, or maybe Body on dice against straight Ego, and divide the table of effect by 5.

For purposes of the time chart, 1 old phase is 1 new round, and 1 old turn is 4 new rounds. This requires counting rounds, but shouldn't be too hideous.

Well, unless I implement some form of Chris's cool initiative idea, but I'm still shying away from that as complexity that hasn't been proven necessary.

Speaking of initiative, there should be some way to determine order of actions in a round. Straight Dex, roll to break ties? Dex+1d8-1d8? Dex+1d8? Dex+1d6? {Dex}d6? Okay, probably the first of those, but the possibilities are endless!

Looking at the possibilities for initiative, it occurs to me that I have created a monster that uses two different kinds of dice, thus afflicting it with the taint of D&D. On the other hand, I have seen players confused at trying to remember what they're doing with this particular handful of d6s (especially when it's a 3d6 attack), so this will help with that, and it's not as if d8s are hard to come by, especially among my target market. The days of having to raid Yahtzee sets for dice for RPGs are long past.

Although... since d6s are now used only to determine the effect of an attack, my idea for basing damage on the margin of success of the attack roll could eliminate them altogether. Instead of having an Nd6 attack, you'd just have an N damage attack, and you'd do N damage if you hit plus N more for every point you rolled over the target's DCV. (Effectively, setting all your d6s to margin_of_success + 1.) Against inanimate objects, effective margin of success should probably be capped at 4 or 5, but against living targets, the sky's the limit; how can you call a system heroic when ninjas can't kill people with paperclips? Body damage would be a flat 1/3 of Stun damage for normal attacks, and killing attacks would probably be treated the same as normal attacks but decreased only by resistant defense, thus both eliminating the Stun Lottery and giving heroes a disincentive to take killing attacks by making them more expensive (probably a +½ advantage, but maybe only +¼, depending on campaign).

I accept that this is probably too radical a proposal for the current instar of the Great Work, though.

* * *

You know, what I'm doing to Hero should probably qualify me as a villain. Or maybe the result will be the Villain system, being corrupted Hero.

* * *

Angie hasn't come in after going home sick yesterday afternoon, and Greg is spending the day dead for tax reasons at the Yahoo! main office, so I am ALL ALONE. And I'm leaving for Millbrae at 14:30.

* * *

Dicussed Corrupt Hero some with Chrisber. He thinks it's no longer Hero, and I probably have to agree. Removing the speed chart pushes it over the line, regardless of whether the other changes did. He also made some good points against my proposed hit-margin-affects-damage scheme, leading me to revise it.

The new scheme works like this: Your base damage/effect is 3 per d6 (and 1 Body for a normal or killing attack), and you do that much if you hit at all. Every two points by which you hit adds 3 points (and 1 Body, if applicable); an odd point is worth 2 (but no Body). This makes the bonus from a good hit much more important at the low end, so it's worth your Fantasy Corrupt Hero rogue's while to backstab low-DCV targets, but for a superhero, raw power is more important.

* * *

On the train to Millbrae, I finished reading The Anvil of the World, by Kage Baker, and I liked it quite a lot. If it weren't for the poor exchange rate between peanuts and dollars, I'd say Baker should be writing Exalted supplements.

* * *

Bleah, on-called. But I was on the train, on my way to Whisman Station Anime, and it's a priority 6 slip, so it will wait until later. If it were priority 3 or higher, I might feel obligated to skip anime to deal with it (although after spending the day alone on Ops Row it's hard to maintain the illusion that Yahoo! gives a damn), but it's not.

* * *

Wow, the second episode of Love Hina Again is even more gratuitous and over-the-top than the first. I fear the final episode.

People seem happy with the first two episodes of RahXephon, so I need not feel guilty about subjecting people to my weird tastes.

* * *

Dave compared my ramblings on Corrupt Hero to this quote on orthographic reform: the endpoint bears no obvious relation to the starting point if you put them side-by-side, but if you follow the chain of logic, it all makes sense. I take it as high praise that Dave and his Mighty Brain think I even have a chain of logic!

But I still need to fix mental powers and mental defense.

* * *

Can't do the slip I was on-called for, because the Inktomi spud who opened it didn't say where to get the file he wants installed. Blargh.

* * *

Words: uh, some. I had hoped to write a few official words after getting back from anime, but on the walk home I got the Ginormous Yawns, and then I had to investigate the oncall weasel, so now I am going to bed. I have definitely written way more than 100 words today, though, even if their countingness is suspect.

Orthographic Reform by Dave (Wed Jan 21 10:30:45 2004)

Well, darn, that was Twain, wasn't it.

Re: Orthographic Reform by Trip (Wed Jan 21 10:57:37 2004)

Well, it's attributed to Twain, anyway. :)

Re: Orthographic Reform by Chrisber (Fri Jan 23 16:17:10 2004)

The fascinating thing about that essay, is that you really get a feel for his accent. Twain's orthography is different than mine would be. I have in the past tried to invent my own extended English alphabet to fix similare problems, but it turned out that it only worked for me, because no one else I know has my accent.

Make a comment!

19 January 2004 - Monday

It was drizzling during my commute this morning, so I couldn't read while waiting for busses (sad; I am quite liking Anvil of the World) and was instead forced to think about streamlining Hero.

Obviously the first problem to fix is the two different resolution mechanics. Since target numbers are good, the existing skill system gets tossed and replaced with the OCV/DCV system, instead of vice-versa. So, Active Skill Value + (11 - 3d6) versus a target number, which might be another character's Dfensive Skill Value.

But (11 - 3d6) is pretty clunky; if Hero were being written today, it would probably use something like Feng Shui's positive and negative die. (11 - 3d6) is -7 to +8, so the best replacement is probably 1d8-1d8, for -7 to +7. Admittedly, the curve isn't quite the same (triangular rather than actually Gaussian) but it's probably good enough for gaming purposes.

Another obvious fix to apply is what I think of as the D&D3e fix (not because D&D3e has it, but because it needs it): eliminate division where you only use the result and discard the original number. For Hero, this means getting rid of all those attribute values that aren't breakpoints. There is no longer any need to be compliant with D&D1e's 3-18 attribute range.

When you put these two changes together, you end up rolling your attribute plus any levels in the appropriate skill (default probably -4; 1 point for -2, 2 points for -1, 3 points for +0, 2 points per +1, or -1/0/+1/+2/... for PS/KS/AK) plus 1d8 minus 1d8. This should sound familiar to Home Front players.

Okay, admittedly Fat-Free Hero still has more stats than Tri-Stat (so does GURPS, but we won't mention that) and a better damage system, so it's probably worth going on.

Strength isn't a stat, it's a power, so we'll put that aside for the moment. Ditto Body (which should possibly be combined with Con?). Comeliness is a perk. Figured stats should be defigured as a matter of principle, so they get set aside too.

This leaves us with Dex, Con, Int, Ego, and Pre. Int and Pre are simple: under the old regime, they cost 1 per point and were divided by 5 to get the number you actually used, so now each point costs 5. Con, which was also divided by 5, cost 2 per point, but a lot of its utility was in the figured stats it brought, so without those it's probably worth half that, or the same as Int and Pre.

Dex and Ego are somewhat tricky, because they got divided by 5 for some things and 3 for others. 4 seems like a good compromise, so a point of Dex or Ego costs 8. (If it wasn't obvious, Dex costs 2 because it no longer gives you 1 point worth of Speed.) Possibly this is overvaluing Ego or undervaluing Dex, or both, but it will do for now.

Base value for stats is now 3.

Back to Body. Although it's tempting to make it a figured stat from Con, that would be Just Plain Wrong, so it stays at a cost of 2 and a base value of 10.

Strength is a perennial bugaboo, but perhaps we can smite it with the iron horseshoe of logic, thus: 1d6 (okay, 1 DC) of attack that's either ranged or stacks with Strength costs 5 points. Strength doesn't need to stack with itself, and it is kind of ranged (you can throw stuff), so that's a base of 5 points, -¼ for needing a handy object to use at range, but +1 for being versatile, for a net cost of 8 points per die. (To make TK, buy Strength without the -¼, for 10 points per die.)

Base value for Strength is 2d6 (16 points).

Onward to figured stats!

Most characters have PD and ED at fairly similar levels, so they might as well be combined into 1 power, Def, which costs 2 per point and is normally non-resistant; it can be made resistant with a +½ advantage. Forcefield is just Def, resistant, costs End. (Which brings up the issue of End, but that comes later.) If you want unbalanced PD/ED, buy some of your Def with a -1 limitation.

Speed, glurg. Phased combat is a time-consumer, at least in my experience: "Okay, Segment 5. Who goes on 5? Anyone? Anyone? Hey, you over there, don't you go on Segment 5?" followed by a pause while the player consults his character sheet and the speed chart. However, I'm not sure there's a better way to do small variations in number of actions, and large variations in number of actions can cause balance issues. This goes back on the table for the moment.

Recovery, Endurance, and Stun should be considered together. Now, I consider them.

<long pause>

Well, Body, End, and Stun is definitely too many stats to keep track of, and End loss rolls over into Stun loss anyway, so no more End. Powers shouldn't eat Stun at the same rate they formerly ate End, though, or everyone will pass out immediately. Maybe just one End per phase per power, increased normally by Extra End Cost. Oh, and no post-12 recovery (or after-the-typical-hero-takes-four-actions recovery); that just makes combat drag on and on. You can take an action to take a recovery (and no complicated taking the action now but not resolving it until next phase because you might get hit), and you get recoveries out of combat.

Since a point of Stun is now what a point of Stun plus a point of End was, it could arguably cost 1.5 per point, but the End component is less important, so I guess I'll leave the cost at 1. Base Stun is 20. Rec still costs 2, and has a base value of 4.

Back to Speed. Hm. I think Carl's point that multiactions are a better representation of a hero taking out a roomfull of mooks is valid, so Speed just gets tossed. Multiple Move-by already provides rules for multiactions, so we'll use those: -2 per additional action you want to do on your phase, roll them in order, once you fail at one, you can't succeed at any more. Or maybe a failure just gives you an additional -2 on all subsequent parts of the multiaction? Multiple failures on a really complicated multiaction would be cumulative, of course.

What does that leave? Powers, combat maneuvers, disads are all the same (except a few powers as noted above, and those are pretty minor changes). Anything else?

* * *

Discussion with Chris has convinced me that End should just go away entirely. Costs Stun is a limitation on powers: -¼ for 1 Stun, -½ for 2, -¾ for 3, -1 for 8, etc. Also, there is no separate Rec: use Con instead.

Also, Chris has a really nifty initiative/phased combat thing that I'm not sure I want to use, but it's so cool I must mention it!

Using a concrete example to avoid textbook-sounding generalities, it works like this: There are ten segments, numbered 0 through 9. Every player has ten numbered boxes on his character sheet, and a small counter to indicate in which segment he goes next. Every character has a Speed from 0 (zombie) to 9 (speedster), and a phase length, which is 10 - Speed. When someone acts, he moves his bead along the track a number of boxes equal to his phase length, wrapping around to 0 if he goes past 9. (Equivalently, he can add his phase length to the number of the segment he just acted on, drop the tens digit, and put the bead on the number that's left.) The GM calls out the phases 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 etc. Everyone acts on whatever phase their bead is on when it's called and then slides the bead to find out what number they need to listen for next.

Obviously the number 10 is chosen arbitrarily, although it does work well with the base-10 arithmetic beaten into most people at an early age. :)

* * *

Okay, I think I have to stop thinking about this until I get more feedback. I am getting unHeroic ideas like figuring margin of success on an attack into the damage.

* * *

Words: 253.

Multiactions by Image (Mon Jan 19 14:50:24 2004)

Give examples of multiaction? Make sure you don't set up a rule where you can take the first action at no penalty... show how a hero in a room with three mooks can choose to clobber one, two, or all three of them on his turn, and what the bonus/penalty is for each choice of action.

Re: Multiactions by Trip (Mon Jan 19 14:58:31 2004)

Clobber one mook: attack at normal OCV.
Clobber two mooks: attack each at -2 OCV.
Clobber three mooks: attack each at -4 OCV.

2d8 by Image (Mon Jan 19 15:14:57 2004)

Heh, 2d8 is more like 3d6 than I first thought. I think that it would work fine. The biggest difference is that 11- on 3d6 hits 62.5% of the time, while 9- on 2d8 hits only 56% of the time (and 10- hits 67%) -- so be a little more generous with an arbitrary +1 bonus when using the 2d8 system, or people will miss more than they expect to.

Re: 2d8 by Trip (Mon Jan 19 17:19:39 2004)

I don't think 6.5% is enough that people are really going to notice. Perhaps I am wrong, but I am certain anyway. :)

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18 January 2004 - Sunday

Since Adam didn't come down to game, we did not have brunch, and so I had to get a lift from Chrisber and Christyber. Then Jeremy was delayed because Rachel has broken her toe and couldn't drive Miriam to someone's birthday party. Eventually, however, we did game, and no one said I suck, so I guess that was good.

Now I am at home finishing my AQoJ writeup, after which I will scuttle off to eat Thai food and shop for groceries.

* * *

Words: 156.

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17 January 2004 - Saturday

Dave and I were awake until 2:00 watching Al play a remote descendent of Arkanoids called Ricochet. I think Marith and Sherilyn were up even later burbling, so there was much sloth in the morning. I suppose it's theoretically possible that Harold was sensible, but if so, we set him a bad example. Anyway, we eventually got our acts together for...

Amazon Quartet of Justice VIIb: "On the Path of the Sun! Trial by Fire!"

After fending off the spectral assault, Our Heroines retreat to their pocket dimension for the rest of the night. When they open the gate the next morning, they see sunlight pouring out of the mouth of the dungeon. Since the sun is rising on the other side of the sky, they find this somewhat peculiar, but by the time Fresa is done with her prayers, the light from the dungeon has faded without obvious effect.

Exploration straight in from the entrance reveals a long, straight, highly magical tunnel that should intersect the labyrinthine architecture of the rest of the place, but doesn't. The tunnel ends at what they calculate should be the same position as the center of the complex, however. After working some magic, Amaryllis and Fresa set out to examine the rest of the dungeon before the spell expires, but are immediately jumped by a vampire, some sort of flying-head monster, and a summoned imp. The latter two are quickly done in, but the vampire turns to mist and escapes through tiny crevices in the rock.

Now able to read the inscriptions on the walls, the Amazons determine that the complex is a temple to the god now known as Pelor, but contains nothing interesting except one inscription that translates as "We honor the sacrifice of Avalon and comply with [his/their] wishes as best we can, for the time will come when the fate of the world rises or falls on [his/their] legacy.". They open the gate to their pocket dimension in the hallway that the sunlight came from and wait for the next dawn.

As the sun rises at the mouth of the tunnel, its inner end melts away to let the light of the sun pour out from somewhere beyond. The radiance doesn't seem to be harmful, so Gabrielle, who happens to be a lay worshipper of Pelor, leads the Amazons through the portal into a realm of brilliant light.

The personage at the gate asks each "What is your name?", "What is your quest?", and one more question. For Gabrielle, the question is "What god do you worship?" (Pelor), for Fresa it's "Can you heal?" (yes), for Amaryllis, "Can you call fire?" (yes), and for Alyra, "Are you a virgin?" (no, surprisingly enough). When all his questions are answered, he gestures the Amazons past, and they enter a land where sky, earth, trees, and all are composed of sunlight.

Following the obvious path, Our Heroines soon come to a river. As they cross the ford, a water elemental attacks from concealment, severely battering Fresa. Gabrielle confuses it with a spell and scrambles up onto the far bank, and Amaryllis teleports herself and the other two to safety. The elemental charges Gabrielle, who did not get quite out of reach, but then the four are able to outdistance it on land. As it returns to the river, it salutes them.

The next test is first seen bounding over hills in the distance; as it draws nearer, the Amazons can see that it is the offspring of a dragon and a celestial dire sheep. Fortunately for Our Heroines, it has the brains of a sheep rather than of a dragon, and Amaryllis is able to blind it, produce a stone wall for it to batter its head against, and then roast it, without any of the Quartet being endangered.

From there, the way becomes drier and less verdant, until the Amazons are trekking through desert hills. The path leads through a small bowl-shaped depression, surrounded by magic wards, within which waits a minotaur. Since this is obviously another test, the four prepare themselves for battle and enter the arena. The minotaur downs Alyra, but Amaryllis teleports her to safety and pours healing potions into her while Fresa and Gabrielle finish it off. Just as it falls, though, two handsome celestials charge in from the opposite direction. One, mounted on horseback, rushes right in to the fray, while his winged friend (of the same kind as Gabe) hangs back a bit and attacks with magic. The rider, who is not particularly immune to magic, doesn't fare too well, but when his comrade calls for a parley, keeps fighting until his own friend knocks him unconscious to keep the fight from going on until someone got killed.

The winged celestial introduces himself as Paolo, admits that the Amazons have passed this test, and apologizes for his young impetuous brother, but does suggest that anyone following the sun's path should complete it by sundown. Healing is exchanged, no dates are made, and with a couple of scrolls with Flame Strike spells, Our Heroines journey onward.

The path of the sun leads into more fertile terrain, and then to the edge of a sea. Waiting for the Amazons on the beach is the biggest crab they have ever seen. Possibly, the biggest crab anyone has ever seen. Given time, they could probably do it in, but there doesn't seem to be any reason to do so, when they can outrun it, so they just leave it behind.

* * *

We broke there so that Harold could get home early enough to spend some with Danelle, so the path of the sun will have to be completed in our next episode, currently scheduled for 7 February.

This means we got home in time for me to write 116 words before passing out.

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16 January 2004 - Friday

No more Bruce! We took him to Compadres and fed him, and then he interviewed for his exit and took off. This is very strange, since Bruce started at AV the same week I did, so he has always been around. Man. Now I might have to do some work.

On the other hand, I got a backpack and an electric fan out of it, and Bruce has been charged with laying the smack down on the Postini recruiter.

* * *

Work still v. v. v. dead.

* * *

Headachey. No writing. :(

* * *

Zooming away to Roseville!

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15 January 2004 - Thursday

Work still v. v. dead.

* * *

Marith felt social, so she came over and made me show her the first three episodes of Inu-Yasha. Then she wandered away again.

* * *

Words: 363.

Reason for stopping: Finished Transmundane chapter 13!

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14 January 2004 - Wednesday

2 out of 4 of us had brought their lunch, so we failed to go out and I ended up eating a bad burrito. Sigh. At least Greg provided some of his home-made pickles.

* * *

The waves of uncaring that sometimes sweep over Ops washed me out to sea, just in time to run errands before going over to Ayse & Ken's to eat a good burrito. Two good burritos, in fact, or maybe a tostada and a burrito. (The first one, uh, was too full to close.)

* * *

Hounds of Balazar resumed after the long holiday scheduling doom, and we finally got our phat lewts from the dead Chaos weasels. Then we returned the kidnapped princeling and got more lewts, as well as official forgiveness from the king and piles of knowledge from the Lankhar My and Yelmalio priests. Apparently we are a threat directly to Yelmalio, not to Dykeen or its people. Huh.

Now we must convince people to let us help find the boss hawkrider Starnia, because she didn't kill us when she thought we had kidnapped the princeling, and that was pretty nice of her.

Pardon me while I fondle my new Disruption matrix. Woof.

* * *

Words: 112.

Reason for stopping: burritos!

Hm. Perhaps I should up my minimum to 250 words on days when I don't have anything else scheduled (which would not have been tonight in any case). That's a whole page (by incomprehensible editor standards, anyway), which is probably more of an accomplishment than a mere paragraph. On the other hand, I must be careful about ratcheting up the minimum, because that's what did me in last time.

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13 January 2004 - Tuesday

Hm. The Best Waiter at Thai City says that after February 1st, I'm not allowed to order anything except the panang. Other people can order whatever they want, just not me. I am Alarmed.

* * *

We finished Vandread (thus confusing CZR utterly, since he hadn't seen the first 24 episodes), started Cardcaptor Sakura (of which I have seen the first N, but nowhere near all 239562913), and saw the first Love Hina Again, which I think is the only Love Hina I haven't seen. Next week, RahXephon, which I at least haven't seen the ending of.

* * *

Words: 0

Reason for not starting: Not time between work and anime, too sleepy after anime.

alarmed by kit (Wed Jan 14 20:20:23 2004)

How Alarming!

Re: alarmed by Trip (Thu Jan 15 09:04:41 2004)

Indeed! I have a Dark Suspicion, but I guess I'll have to wait for February to find out!

hee hee by kit (Thu Jan 15 12:24:53 2004)

hee :)

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12 January 2004 - Monday

Yuck, Monday.

* * *

I continue to suck at foosball, although now we only play to 5 points instead of 10, so chance has a larger role in the outcome.

* * *

Words: 210.

Reason for stopping: Must game!

* * *

Tokyo Tower is dead! Long live... er... something else!

The players acceded to my sense of dissatisfaction and we officially put the campaign out of its misery. However, gaming is still considered good, so now we will play something involving wandering heroes in Nexus.

We're still looking for a good system, though. Criteria: not too tactical (no careful counting of hexes for each character's every turn), an actual power system (instead of "pick from the menu of what the game designers thought you'd need"), mechanics not too complex, explicit difficulty ratings, bell curve probabilities, doesn't suck. So far we've considered Nexus itself (can get complex, but I've already beat on it a lot; not currently in print), Hero (too tactical, no difficulty ratings), Feng Shui (streamlined Nexus, but with no power system), BESM/Tristat (sucks with no difficulty ratings unless sufficiently hacked), the Buffy RPG system (no power system), Adam's homebrew (not yet written), Over The Edge (like Adam's homebrew only not fixed), and d20 (too tactical, no power system).

Any suggestions from the peanut gallery? I may be reduced to trying to do a homebrew of my own, but my game-design neurons are all aimed at LC, so the results might be... problematic.

Homebrew Hero! by Lynx (Tue Jan 13 12:20:17 2004)

The plus of Hero is that they've already balanced out the various powers so you don't have to.

I'd go with using Hero to build characters, then simplify the actual gameplay with a homebrew system that just has energy (1 point for every 5 actual Hero END points) and life (1 point for every 5 actual Hero BODY points). When you're out of life, you're stunned unconscious, but if someone spends a round helping you, you can be revived to one life. Skip the lethality, that doesn't fit in a traditional four-color comic book world.

Energy gets spent on any power that hasn't been bought down to 0 END or doesn't use charges. Charges get replenished when you have a chance to stop somewhere and reload/recharge/whatnot. And you lose energy at the same rate that you lose life, i.e. if you get hit for 3 life, you also lose 3 energy.

Just a thought! I'm not familiar with the difficulty ratings you mention, though.

Re: Homebrew Hero! by Trip (Tue Jan 13 17:47:13 2004)

By difficulty rating I mean something like OCV/DCV, where you have a target number you have to beat that depends on what you're trying to accomplish, rather than just rolling under your skill no matter what you're doing. (Yes, yes, modifiers, but they seem to rarely get used.)

End/Stun/Body aren't really the part that slows things down. It's counting phases, then counting hexes, then counting hexes again a different way, then trying to remember the range mod for that many hexes, then adding up all the modifiers, then rolling, then having the other person roll block, etc, etc, etc.

Well, okay, keeping track of End seperately from Stun is annoying, but a small change.

I think what I want is something like Feng Shui with a real power system, or maybe something more abstract.

Homebrew Hero? by Lynx (Thu Jan 15 11:37:02 2004)

True, those are the things you have to handwave. Once you've designed the powers, then you know pretty much whether it is a short-range power, a long-range one, whether you can use it indefinitely or you have to rest between uses, etc. I'm just arguing here for borrowing wholesale from something that's been demonstrated to work.

True that modifiers do get used rarely... Dice-rolling is pernicious that way, because unless you're rolling percentile dice, you have a probability curve with more dice, so it's hard to increase or decrease the difficulty in a linear fashion.

I'll have to look at this Feng Shui thing. ('gryn)

Re: Homebrew Hero? by Trip (Thu Jan 15 12:54:45 2004)

It's true, there is a lot to be said for stealing from the best. I'm just not sure how well Hero does hold together if, say, there isn't much advantage to buying more movement after a certain point, or whatever. ("How many inches of movement do you have?" "1.. 2.. 3.. Lots!"

Feng Shui is pretty cool, but pretty genre-specific.

Torg! by Carl (Thu Jan 15 20:36:57 2004)

How about Torg? (perhaps with 2d10 instead of 1d20 to get a (sorta) bell curve, or 1d10-1d10 to generate a bonus from -9 to +9.) Admittedly, not much of a power generation system.

Hero could be changed to a target number system by just making things target numbers instead of roll under, although it might take a while getting used to wanting to roll high. Then toss out the speed chart (speedsters get 2 actions/round, everyone else gets one, possibly normals get one every other round), and END, and a few other things. Sadly, Sidekick doesn't strip it down that far, so I can't really suggest that. :-(

How about Everway, perhaps with dice to replace the funny card system?

Re: Torg! by Trip (Thu Jan 15 21:00:00 2004)

I think Torg is about equivalent to Feng Shui, modulo the cards. If you replace the d20/table with d10-d10, it's almost completely equivalent.

I think I'd probably make the Hero skill system use the same mechanic as combat: 3 points to avoid the nonproficiency penalty and use your stat/5 (or 3?) as your base Active Skill Value, 2 points for a skill level, add 11-3d6 to find what Difficulty Skill Value you make. Part of the point of using Hero would be the point balance and stuff, though, and I'm not sure how well that would translate to He (half of "Hero").

Does Everway even have a system, never mind a power system? Plus, I don't think any of us own it.

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11 January 2004 - Sunday

Today's good spam header: "faustian homomorphic cuckoo". Sounds like the overarching plot of Sovereign Powers, or maybe something from an Alastair Reynolds book.

* * *

Words: +333.

Reason for stopping: Time to game!

* * *

Goulash and noodles and broccoli with parmesan and orange bell peppers with balsamic brain sauce! Yum! I should mooch off of Ayse and Ken more often!

After we digested a bit, we resumed Ken's Earthdawn thing, which had been on hiatus over the season of holiday doom. This session, we levelled up (which is an in-character event in Earthdawn), hiked over a lot of really cold mountains to avoid the undead illusionist and the band of thugs chasing us, avoided being devoured by gargoyles, and won the provisional respect of trollish sky raiders. Due to a failure of visualization on my part, our own troll did get a little gargoyled, but we still came out ahead on that encounter.

Go us!

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10 January 2004 - Saturday

Yay! We finally killed the vampire king! It took a lot of explosives and some civil engineering, and also a couple of bottles of Amberite fire, but we finally got down to his secret crypt beneath the vampire industrial park and did him in! The vampire army wasn't destroyed, exactly, but a lot of their machines were banged around by the flood, and they were very demoralized. There are still vampires around, but they are not nearly the threat they were when organized.

Apparently now we are going to fast-forward to the end of the spring term, and introduce Ken's character, unless all Chrisber's muttering about "end of the campaign" wasn't a misspeaking.

* * *

The degree of my suckage at Brine Shrimp of Cataan is unsurpassed.

* * *

Words: +234.

Reason for stopping: Headache. Much too late. Wasted too much time trying to play zangband.

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9 January 2004 - Friday

Hey, look, I'm Famous for a Day on Button Men Online! Apparently I have lost the most games over the past two days (probably because the lack of work at work gives me lots of time to play BMO). Besides being able to gloat, I get 50% more payoff at the video poker game on the BMO site, the proceeds of which I can use to buy um something. A flag, maybe.

* * *

Today we had the going-away lunch for Ray and his boss Jan (pronounced Yawn). Now I know what PF Chang's is like: really loud.

Bruce failed to score with the cute hostess chick.

Today's fortune: "All your hard work will soon pay off."

Well, I'm hosed then.

* * *

Words: 214

Reason for stopping: Tired.

* * *

Well, I've managed to increase my starting 3 buttonyen to 60, so I guess the Famous for a Day bonus helped. However, that was a lot of clicking.

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8 January 2004 - Thursday

Argh! Something in my typeahead buffer looked affirmative, so zangband wrote my ignominious demise to the save file before I could copy it. No more power dragon scale mail! No more +16 speed! Sniff!

But on the other hand, I was getting to the part of the dungeon where everything summons all the time and everything takes forever to kill and bleah, so perhaps I don't mind all that much. Anyway, now I can concentrate more on writing!

* * *

Well, I could have concentrated on writing, but instead I went over to Ayse & Ken's and there was Simpsons and some searching for the lost art of conversation. Also, Dave distributed his spare Christmas presents.

* * *

I did successfully write 186 words, but mostly I got distracted by rereading bits of Transmundane. It's well known that I have no taste, but still, that's a good sign, right?

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7 January 2004 - Wednesday

Today was the last time Ray (Thro) will ever eat a bad burrito at AV. Sniff.

* * *

Ah, today is the day when all the graphic novels come out. Oof.

* * *

Kit hasn't read the latest bits of SMS yet, so I can't ask her if what I plan to do next is really stupid or only slightly stupid.

* * *

Transmundane words today: 139

Reason for stopping: Bedtime.

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6 January 2004 - Tuesday

I spent the entire Millbrae session talking about writing. It was amazing how many fewer awkward silences there were than when I had to talk about something boring like myself. Also, having read rec.arts.sf.composition for a few months makes me sound like I know what I'm talking about.

Norm seemed approving of my having set the bar lower for daily writing. He also suggested not adding a missed day onto the next day's quota, but that seems wrong to me, even though it's sort of the same principle. I guess we'll see how it goes.

* * *

Surprisingly, the second part of Vandread is pretty tightly-written. No wondering when the plot is going to put in an appearance, like with Cowboy Bebop. I think it may be with Steel Angel Kurumi in the category of "Shows I like even though they have no redeeming social value".

* * *

When I got home and logged on to do my writing for the day, I first checked my mail and grotted out my spam folder, which contained a message with the subject line "Re: YSTPHIUR, the black potato". Ystphiur is obviously an avatar of Shub-Niggurath! I now feel all inspired to work on Lovecraft Country!

* * *

SMS words today: 139

SMS words total: 54296

Reason for stopping: Bedtime.

writing by tinkerkit (Fri Jan 9 10:22:55 2004)

You know, not adding on the missed words sounds like a really good idea to me. I ought to try that. :)

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5 January 2004 - Monday

Despite going to bed on vacation schedule but getting up on work schedule, I seem to be conscious. We'll see how long this lasts.

* * *

Ah, the joy of catching up on a week and a half of workmail. And when I finish, I get to check my voicemail!

* * *

Not even real voicemail, just some confused fax machine. Which I guess is good, since any work call would have been sitting there since who-knows-when, but also bad, in that the recruiter guy has been using my work phone, so it could have been him but wasn't.

* * *

SMS words today: 430

SMS words total: 54157

Reason for stopping: Lame.

* * *

Tonight's anime: Prétear. It's a fairly standard magical girl show, but I am amused that the protagonist gets the symbolism of merging with her bishonen-harem and turns all red.

Hm, on later consideration, it may just be that what they're saying in Japanese, even if it's being translated literally, is just closer to a Japanese idiom.

(Translation hurts my brain. I don't see how humans who speak the same language understand each other, never mind different ones! Secreting pheromones is much easier.)

But at least Himeno doesn't say "Ew, good Japanese schoolgirls don't get mixed up with sordid things like saving the world!" all the time.

* * *

I read the two extant volumes of Tokyopop's "Rising Stars of Manga", and hm. These aren't professional mangaka, and it shows, but some of the stories are still pretty good. I liked more of the ones in the first volume, particularly "Trickster" and "Van von Hunter", but I'm not sure how much of that is my freakishness individual taste vs actual quality.

Okay, I liked "Trickster" a lot. So maybe I am a freak. But I'm a freak who is going to bed.

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4 January 2004 - Sunday

Say it with me: Yet More Sloth. Yet More Zangband.

Around afternoonish, though, Ken lured me to play more Seafarers of Catan, and I was crushed like the small chitinous life form that I am. Then we tried out the two extant sets of Portable Adventures, "Lair of the Rat-King" and "8th Grade" (consecutively, not combined, although we can see the appeal) and I was crushed twice more. Sniff!

After that, though, there was extremely yummy pork chop and unhealthy salad (it's all in the dressing) and the King of Iron Chef tournament on TiVo, so I returned home pretty late but quite happy.

* * *

SMS words today: 150

SMS words total: 53727

Reason for stopping: Got a late start, so bedtime already.

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3 January 2004 - Saturday

Yet more sloth and yet more zangband. I have a base speed of +16, though!

Also, grocery shopping. Yes, it's another exciting day here at Parasite Central.

* * *

SMS words today: 382

SMS words total: 53577

Reason for stopping: Got no brain.

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2 January 2004 - Friday

Having stayed up until nearly 03:00 playing zangband, you'd think I would have gone to sleep okay, but no, I was just another tourist in Insomnia City. When I did finally pass out, I had unpleasant dreams -- not nightmares, just dreams full of trying to do things and failing. Bleah. Eventually, though I did manage to get up and stagger off to Lee's for comics (two days delayed by (Christmas or New Year's Eve) and New Year's), and then back to the parasitelair to haul a table over to Ayse & Ken's to test Ken's new Seafarers of Catan!

It is a worthy expansion! We played the scenario that has a long island across the top of the board and the gold hexes in the two lower corners, and ended up with, pretty much, four neat shipping routes of the four colors running north to south. It could have been photographed.

My experimental strategy of starting off inland so as to get the most resources turned out to backfire, though, and I had to weasel around one end of the long island to get out to sea. I never really recovered from that, and finished last. Oh well. Perhaps someone will use the power of langauge to learn from my mistake.

* * *

With relatively little effort, I was able to lure Ayse & Ken to Thai City for dinner. This allowed me to pillage Gamescape as well, and I scored two Dying Earth RPG supplements.

I don't know that I'll ever play the DERPG, but I like reading it a lot.

* * *

Now I am catching up on my web page, prior to writing, because I do not have the special Real Genius exemption tonight!

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This is insanely geeky. (If it seems only moderately geeky, you obviously haven't read all the way to the end.)

* * *

SMS words today: 631

SMS words total: 53195

Reason for stopping: Got no brain. Got new comics.

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1 January 2004 - Thursday


* * *

More sloth, more zangband, with a break for Chef Chu's. On the way, I stopped at Tower to see if they had the new John C Wright and a particular new(ish) Kage Baker, and ended up with about eight hardbacks. Eeep. Two of them are presents, though, so that's okay.

Today's fortune: "Good things are being said about you." Well, I expect people will like their presents!

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I was going to write, in keeping with my New Year's Resolution to write at least a word or two every day, but I was fiendishly forstalled by an invitation to show Real Genius to Ken. Since I just got it on DVD, I was unable to resist.

Still a very fine movie, despite being almost 20 years old.

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